Former Algerian president dies aged 84; Djibouti denies detaining Somali president’s adviser; ECOWAS imposes sanctions on Guinea junta

Former Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika dies aged 84

The former president of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has died after a long illness at the age of 84. He led the country for almost two decades, stepping down in 2019 after his bid for a fifth term in office led to massive street protests.

Bouteflika played a key role in Algeria’s war of independence in the 1950s and 60s. Then in 1999, as Algeria emerged from a brutal civil war that killed almost 200,000 people, he became president at the urging of the military.

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His political career began early after Algeria’s independence from France in 1962, he became the world’s youngest minister of foreign affairs in his mid-twenties, a record that still stands. He held the job for 16 years and was an active member of the UN. As president of the general assembly in 1974, he invited Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to address the UN governing body – an unprecedented and ground-breaking move. He also insisted China should have a UN seat and stood against apartheid in South Africa. He is credited with giving young Nelson Mandela his first military training.

Bouteflika had rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013, which affected his speech and mobility.

Djibouti denies detaining Somali president’s adviser

Djibouti has denied that it detained the Somali president’s national security adviser and ex-spy chief, describing the allegation as “fake news”.

Earlier the Somali president’s director of communications, Abdirashid Hashi, shared a statement on Twitter which said Fahad Yasin had been unlawfully held. Mr Yasin was suspended from his post as director of the National Intelligence Service Agency (NISA) by Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble last week, after failing to provide a satisfactory report on the mysterious disappearance of intelligence agent Ikran Farah.

President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed then stepped in and appointed someone other than Mr Roble’s choice to head NISA and gave Fahad Yasin a job as his security adviser.

The row between the president and prime minister further escalated on Thursday night after the president suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Roble, a move swiftly rejected by the premier as “unlawful”.

Former Gabon Prime Minister dies after battle with Covid-19

Former Prime Minister of Gabon, Casimir Oye Mba has died on Thursday after contracting Covid-19. According to his family, until his death, he had been receiving hospital treatment in the country’s capital – Libreville – for the past weeks but was later transferred to France in critical condition.

EVOWAS imposes sanctions on Guinea junta

At a briefing after an emergency summit in Accra on Thursday, The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) resolved to sanctions the military junta in Guinea and requested that the country should be returned to the constitution system within six months. The president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said except for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde, the bloc would freeze the bank accounts and impose travel bans for junta members and their relatives.

Kenyan court jails ex-sports minister for six years over graft

Following the corrupt practices of embezzling funds meant for athletes in the Brazil Olympics five years ago, a Kenyan court has on Thursday passed a sentence against a former sports minister, Hassan Wario, to six years in prison. Delivering his judgment in the case that started in 2018, the trial judge gave Wario, who was appointed Kenya’s ambassador to Austria after serving in the cabinet, the alternative of paying a 3.6 million shillings ($32,742) fine to avoid being imprisoned.

Mali’s interim council grants amnesty to coup leaders

Mali’s interim parliament has granted amnesty to the leaders of the two recent coups in Mali.

Following an agreement by Colonel Assimi Goita and other army officers to respect the February 2022 deadline for civilian elections, an overwhelming majority of Mali’s National Transitional council passed a motion not to prosecute the coup leaders, after having overthrown President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August last year and interim president, Bah Ndaw, in May this year.

Nigerian government set to end Twitter ban

Three months after the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, the Nigerian government is set to lift its ban. Saying this during a post-cabinet media briefing in Abuja, the country’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said “If the operation has been suspended for about 100 days now, I can tell you that we’re just actually talking about a few, just a few more days now,” Mohammed said without giving a time frame.

When asked about state of negotiations between the countries and Twitter officials, Mohammed said authorities and Twitter officials had to “dot the I’s and cross the T’s” before reaching a final agreement.

Burundi’s Niyonsaba smashes women’s 2,000m world record

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba has on Tuesday broken the 2,000 metres world record, finishing with a time of 5 minutes and 21.56 seconds at a Continental Tour event in Zagreb. The 28-year-old, who won the 5,000 metres Diamond League title in Zurich last week was also an 800 metres silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics. She finished fifth in the 10,000-metre event in the just concluded Tokyo games, after having been disqualified for a lane infringement in her heat.

Somali President withdraws PM’s powers in escalating row

Following the bitter row that has plunged the country into a fresh crisis, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has on Thursday announced the withdrawal of the powers of the country’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. According to the statement released by the office of the president,

“The prime minister has violated the transitional constitution, so his executive powers are withdrawn… especially his powers to remove and to appoint officials until the election is completed”.

However, the two leaders have been in a row for the past few months and have clashed twice in the past ten days over dismissals and appointments to key security positions. The head of state said his decision is justifiable because the Prime Minister had taken “imprudent decisions that could pave the way for political and security instability,” and that he had not carried out “any consultation and collaboration with the president.

South Africans to nominate next chief justice

To deepen public confidence and independence of the judiciary, South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans to nominate their next chief justice of the country.

According to Ramaphosa, he said it will further “promote transparency and encourage public participation”. He said the public nominations will be sent through emails to the South African presidency before the next two weeks, then a constituted panel will shortlist three to five finalists which will be forwarded to the president.

Ethiopia and Egypt welcome call to resume dam talks

Following the UN security council’s calls to resume talks with neighbouring Sudan and Egypt to resolve their dispute and finalise their agreement on filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), Ethiopia’s foreign ministry has made a move to direct the matter to the African Union. In a statement released by the ministry, the Ethiopian government “believes the time is now for the Nile Basin countries to brace for and foster basin-wide cooperation,”

Egypt’s foreign ministry on its part has also urged all observers to facilitate the reaching of an agreement.

 

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