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Niger tanker truck explosion death toll rises to 76

Niger held three days of national mourning from Wednesday to Friday in memory of the victims.

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Niger tanker truck explosion death toll rises to 76 -state television
Seventy-six people have now died in Niger's capital Niamey overnight when an overturned tanker truck exploded as crowds tried to collect spilt fuel, authorities and witnesses have said. (Photo by Boureima HAMA / AFP)

The death toll from a May 6 tanker truck explosion near the international airport in Niger’s capital has risen to 76, state television reported late Sunday.

An earlier official report Tuesday gave 60 dead, including 55 who died at the time of the explosion a few hundred metres (yards) from the airport in Niamey.

Most of the victims were trying to collect spilt fuel flowing from the overturned truck when the blast occurred. About 40 people were injured.

Security official Hamani Adamou Abdoul-Aziz had earlier warned that the toll was likely to rise as several people had sustained severe, life-threatening burns.

The driver of the truck has told investigators that an electrical failure caused him to lose control of the vehicle and its brakes. The truck overturned by the railway track as he was trying to stop it and people then rushed to collect petrol spilling from the vehicle.

According to witnesses, a motorcyclist who had filled his cans tried to restart his bike, which caused a spark that ignited the 50,000 litres (13,000 US gallons) of fuel.

The massive explosion on route RN1 near the airport left the burnt truck’s wreckage, motorbikes and debris scattered over the road.

Nearby houses were damaged by the fire.

Niger held three days of national mourning from Wednesday to Friday in memory of the victims.

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Africa News & Updates

Two paramilitary officers and a soldier killed in an ambush in Mali

The two paramilitary officers were killed on Sunday when an improvised explosive device blew up as they walked near the entrance of a military post

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Two paramilitary officers and a soldier killed in an ambush in Mali

Two Malian paramilitary officers were killed by a mine explosion outside a military base and a soldier died in an ambush in the north of the country, the armed forces said on Monday. Since French troops helped force out jihadists in 2013, parts of northern Mali remain out of control of security forces and violence has spread to other areas of the country.

The two paramilitary officers were killed on Sunday when an improvised explosive device blew up as they walked near the entrance of a military post in Sokolo in the central Segou region, Mali’s armed forces said on Twitter.

In a separate incident in the north, an army patrol escorting civilians was ambushed between Niafounke and Tonka, around 100 km south of Timbuktu, the army said. It said one soldier was killed and another wounded in the exchange.

Attacks in Mali are mostly in the north. But since 2015 violence has also hit the centre and south of the country. Along with militant attacks and militia violence, Mali also struggles with intercommunal and ethnic clashes.

Earlier this month, an attack on Sobane Da village in the centre of Mali killed 35 people in an ethnic Dogon enclave in the diverse Mopti region. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appealed for calm after the attack sparked fears of a tit-for-tat cycle of ethnic killing.

Malian army bases are also often attacked. Eleven soldiers were killed in April by suspected jihadists who attacked a post in Guire in the centre of the country, and in March an assault on the Dioura military camp killed nearly 30 soldiers.

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Weekend sports: the Big 5 Review

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Big 5 review

Cameroon suffer 3-1 defeat to the Netherlands at the FIFA Women’s World Cup

Cameroon fell to the Netherlands 3-1 in their 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup group stage match in Valenciennes, France.

Vivianne Miedema got a brace for the Dutch and Dominique Bloodworth scored the other, and the only goal for the African side came courtesy Aboudi Onguene. Cameroon have lost their two matches at the competition and play New Zealand in their final group game.

Morocco, Nigeria, Mali lose friendly games as African teams prepare for AFCON 2019

Ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, African teams played friendly games in preparation for the biennial tournament.

Host nation Egypt won 3-1 against Guinea, Algeria beat Mali 3-2, fellow North African side Morocco lost to Zambia 3-2, Nigeria lost to Senegal 1-0 and it ended 1-1 between Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare wins 100m at Diamond League in Rabat

Africa’s athletics stars shone bright at the Diamond League in Rabat.

The women’s 100m produced an African one-two as Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare edged Ivory Coast’s world 100m and 200m silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou, winning in 11.05secs.

The women’s 800m race lacking Caster Semenya – for whom an invitation to compete came too late to be practicable – was won by Kenya’s Nelly Jepkosgei in 1min 59.50secs.

Ethiopia’s world 1,500m record holder Genzebe Dibaba produced a 2019 world-leading time of 3min 55.47sec to win.

Proteas beat Afghanistan to win first match at ICC Cricket World Cup

South Africa revived their faint World Cup hopes with a nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Cardiff.

Having failed to win any of their first four matches, they dismissed a winless Afghanistan for 125 after two rain delays cut the match to 48 overs.

Imran Tahir struck twice in his first over and Quinton de Kock scored 68 as South Africa reached their revised target of 127 with 19.5 overs to spare. A much greater challenge awaits South Africa in their next match against New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Ashante Kotoko beat rivals Hearts of Oak on penalties in NC Special Competition semi-final

Asante Kotoko advanced to the final of the Normalization Committee’s Special Competition following penalty shootout victory against rivals Hearts of Oak at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The Porcupine Warriors took the lead as early as the 4th minute through Abdul Fatawu Safiu from an assist from Naby Laye Keita. A late penalty in the second half from Christopher Bonney restored parity for Hearts of Oak before they eventually lost 5-4 on penalties.

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Kenyan authorities say Ebola case is a “false alarm”

The Health Ministry has spelt out a list of preventive measures that Kenya has already taken.

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Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki speaks to the media as travellers at the arrival terminal are screened by port health service, at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi

Kenya sought to reassure the public and foreign visitors on Monday after a suspected Ebola case, which turned out to be negative, was detected near the border with Uganda.

Uganda last week reported three cases of Ebola, two of them fatal, among people who had been to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where an epidemic has been underway since last August.

Kenyan Health Minister Sicily Kariuki said a 36-year-old woman in the western county of Kericho had fallen ill with headache, fever and vomiting, which can also be symptoms of Ebola.

Further examination found she did not have the disease, Kariuki said at a press conference staged at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“The Rapid Surveillance and Response Team has examined the patient, who is in stable condition, and has confirmed that she does not meet the case definition for Ebola,” she said.

“I wish to reassure all Kenyans and our visitors that we do not have any cases of Ebola.”

The Ugandan cases were confirmed in a town that is more than 600 kilometres from the border with Kenya.

Kariuki spelt out a list of preventive measures that Kenya had already taken.

They included the installation of thermal cameras at entry points to detect people with high temperatures, as well as isolation units to host suspected cases. More than 250 health ministry workers have been deployed at entry points as part of this strategy.

The minister called on the public to be vigilant, urging anyone with Ebola-like symptoms who had travelled to affected countries to go to the nearest hospital.

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