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Fuel tanker blast kills 10 in Nigeria

The fuel tanker exploded, causing a blast that tore through the surrounding area

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Fuel tanker explosion kills 10 in Nigeria

At least 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed off the road and exploded as people gathered fuel, the emergency services said on Tuesday.  The truck overturned close to shops as it was travelling through the village of Ahumbe in Benue state on Monday.

Local residents rushed to collect the leaking gasoline but the fuel exploded, causing a blast that tore through the surrounding area. “We have removed at least 45 dead bodies from the scene of the incident while over 100 people were affected,” Benue state Federal Road Safety Commission Sector Commander Aliyu Baba told reporters. 

“Owing to the nature of the inferno, I am afraid more discoveries might be made today as rescue efforts continue.” A local council spokesman put the number of dead much higher at 64, but police refused to confirm any toll. 

Witness Paul Otukpa said a 14-seater bus was engulfed by the blast, leaving only one survivor. Petrol tanker and pipeline blasts are common in Nigeria, that boasts a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas industry.

Fires and explosions often occur as people try to siphon fuel from pipelines and also following accidents involving fuel tankers on bad roads. In January, at least eight people were killed in Odukpani, in the southern state of Cross River, in an accident of this kind.

In July 2012, at least 104 people were killed and some 50 others injured in the southern state of Rivers due to a similar incident.

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Sudan announces new sovereign council to lead transition

The council will be headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and a civilian PM due for announcement Wednesday

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Sudan announces new sovereign council to lead transition

Sudan’s generals and protest leaders on Tuesday formed the sovereign council that will steer the country through three years of transition towards civilian rule.

The body replaces the Transitional Military Council that took over from longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir when he was forced from power in April amid relentless protests.

The Islamist general appeared in court Monday, sitting in a cage to face graft charges — a sight that the two-thirds of Sudan’s 40 million inhabitants who were born under his rule could hardly have imagined.

The very first steps of the transition to civilian rule after 30 years of Bashir’s regime proved difficult, however, with disagreements within the protest camp holding up the formation of Sudan’s new ruling body for two days.

The names of the joint civilian-military council’s 11 members were eventually announced late Tuesday by the spokesman of the TMC.

The council includes five members of the military and will be headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who was already the head of the TMC.

“The president of the sovereign council will be sworn in tomorrow morning at 11:00 am (09:00 GMT),” TMC spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi said in a short televised address. 

Burhan will head the council for the first 21 months and a civilian will take over for the remaining 18 months of the transitional period, which is due to end in 2022 with democratic elections.

New Prime Minister Wednesday –

Among the six civilian members of the new ruling council are two women, one of them from Sudan’s Christian minority.

The protest camp last week picked Abdalla Hamdok, a former UN economist based in Addis Ababa, as transitional prime minister. He will be formally appointed on Wednesday.

The transition’s key documents were signed on Saturday at a ceremony attended by a host of foreign dignitaries, signalling that Sudan could be on its way to shedding the pariah status it had taken on through years of devastating war in Darfur.

But amidst the euphoria celebrating the promise of civilian rule, unease was palpable within the protest camp that brought about one of the most crucial changes in Sudan’s modern history.

One reason is the omnipresence in the transition of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, a paramilitary commander and one of the signatories of the documents, whose forces are blamed for the deadly repression of the protests.

Sudanese women, who played a leading role in the protests, have also expressed their shock at female under-representation in the transition.

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Cameroonian separatist leader jailed for life

The 10 were convicted of charges including “terrorism and secession” -Martin Luther Achet, state prosecutor

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Cameroonian military court sentences separatist leader, 9 others to life
Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, leader of Cameroon's separatist group (File photo)

A military court in Cameroon Tuesday handed down a life sentence against the head of the country’s anglophone separatist movement, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, and nine of his followers, lawyers said.

The 10 were convicted of charges including “terrorism and secession,” the state’s lawyer, Martin Luther Achet, told reporters.

Ayuk Tabe was the first self-proclaimed President of “Ambazonia”, a breakaway state declared in October 2017 in two English-speaking regions of the country.

The government responded with a military crackdown.

Attacks by both sides have left hundreds dead and forced nearly 500,000 people from their homes, according to independent monitors.

English-speakers account for about a fifth of the population of 24 million in Cameroon, which is majority French-speaking.

They are mainly concentrated in two western areas, the Northwest Region and the Southwest Region, that were incorporated into the French-speaking state after the colonial era in Africa wound down six decades ago.

READ: Jailed leader of Cameroon’s separatist group begins hunger strike

Anglophones have chafed for years at perceived discrimination in education, law and economic opportunities at the hands of the francophone majority.

But the government rejected demands for autonomy and dispatched thousands of troops to the region after “the Republic of Ambazonia,” an entity that is not recognised internationally, was proclaimed on October 2017.

Last month, Human Rights Watch accused the security forces of committing “brazen crimes” against citizens, including unlawful killings and use of excessive force.

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Ebola kills 7-year-old boy in DR Congo’s South Kivu

The first death in South Kivu was a woman in her twenties who evaded movement controls to travel from the North Kivu town of Beni

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Ebola kills 7-year-old boy in DR Congo's South Kivu | News Central TV
(File photo)

A child has died from Ebola in DR Congo’s South Kivu, health authorities said Monday, the second person to succumb to the virus since the epidemic spread to the eastern province.

The announcement last week of the first confirmed cases in South Kivu revived concerns that the highly contagious disease could cross the porous borders of the country, where it has claimed more than 1,900 lives since August last year.

“A seven-year-old child died yesterday (Sunday) of Ebola” in South Kivu’s Mwenga region, said Claude Bahizire, communication officer of South Kivu’s provincial health division.

The first death in South Kivu was a woman in her twenties who evaded movement controls to travel from the North Kivu town of Beni, the epicentre of the outbreak, to South Kivu’s capital Bukavu and then Mwenga. 

She died on Wednesday, and her seven-month-old son has been diagnosed with the virus and is receiving treatment.

Bahizire said that “two other suspected cases, two women, have been detected and admitted to Bukavu’s transit centre”.

The two women “were in contact with the woman who died last week while she was staying in Bukavu on the way to Mwenga,” he added. 

The outbreak of the haemorrhagic virus began in North Kivu on August 1, 2018, and spread to Ituri province.

The health ministry also announced that “a new health zone had been assigned in North Kivu”.

A confirmed case of Ebola has been recorded in North Kivu’s Pinga region, in Walikale territory, a source said without providing further details.

According to the latest numbers published on Sunday, 1,934 people have since died, while 862 have been cured.

The latest outbreak is the second-deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

Also on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the nine countries that share a border with DR Congo to show solidarity to stop the spread of Ebola.

“We now have an Ebola vaccine that is more than 97 per cent effective and treatments that are more than 90 per cent effective if used early enough,” he said in Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville.

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