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Protest group calls for nationwide ‘civil disobedience’ in Sudan

The call for “civil disobedience” came a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Khartoum

News Central



Street 60 nearly deserted in the capital Khartoum. Hanging placards read in Arabic "Civilian and Peaceful".

A key protest group on Saturday announced a nationwide “civil disobedience” campaign it said would run until Sudan’s ruling generals transfer power to a civilian government.

The call by the Sudanese Professionals Association, which first launched protests against longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir, came days after a bloody crackdown on demonstrators left dozens dead in Khartoum and crushed hopes for a swift democratic transition.

“The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television,” the SPA said in a statement.

“Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world.”

It was still unclear how the campaign would unfold on the streets, especially in Khartoum where all key roads and squares have been deserted since Monday’s crackdown.

Led by men in army fatigues, the raid on the weeks-long sit-in outside the army complex left at least 113 people dead, according to doctors close to the demonstrators.

The health ministry says 61 people died nationwide in the crackdown, 52 of them by “live ammunition” in Khartoum.

Witnesses say the assault was led by the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who have their origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia, accused of abuses in the Darfur conflict between 2003 and 2004.

The call for “civil disobedience” came a day after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Khartoum seeking to revive talks between the generals and protest leaders on the country’s transition.

Protest leaders arrested

Sudan’s military council seized power in April after ousting Bashir on the back of months-long protests against his three-decade rule.

Since then, it has resisted calls from protesters and Western nations to transfer power to a civilian administration.

Several rounds of talks with the demonstrators finally broke down in mid-May.

In a bid to revive the negotiations, the Ethiopian premier held separate meetings with the two sides in Khartoum on Friday.

“The army, the people and political forces have to act with courage and responsibility by taking quick steps towards a democratic and consensual transitional period,” Abiy said in a statement after the meetings.

“The army has to protect the security of the country and its people and political forces have to think about the future of the country.”

But three members of an opposition delegation that met the Ethiopian premier were later arrested, their aides said Saturday.

Opposition politician Mohamed Esmat was detained Friday, while Ismail Jalab, a leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), was taken from his home overnight.

“A group of armed men came in vehicles at 3:00 am (0100 GMT) and took away Ismail Jalab… without giving any reason,” one of his aides, Rashid Anwar, told AFP.

He said SPLM-N spokesman Mubarak Ardol was also detained.

Esmat and Jalab are both leading members of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella of opposition parties and some rebel groups.

The Alliance, of which the SPA is a key member, was the main organiser of mass protests since December that led to Bashir’s ouster.

Call for international probe

The arrests threaten to further complicate efforts to reconcile the protest movement and the generals.

Following Monday’s brutal crackdown, chances of a quick democratic transition appear remote as protest leaders now insist that talks with the generals can resume only under certain conditions.

“The Transitional Military Council has to admit the crime it committed,” Omar al-Digeir, a prominent protest leader told reporters on Friday after meeting Abiy.

He demanded an international probe into “the massacre at the sit-in” and called for all military forces to be removed from streets across the country.

Digeir said the military council should also restore access to the internet and allow public and media freedoms.

Since the crackdown, Khartoum residents have mostly been sheltering indoors and the streets have been deserted.

RSF members and soldiers on Saturday cleared major Khartoum streets of roadblocks put up by protesters.

Demonstrators had used tyres, tree trunks and rocks to erect the makeshift barricades, which the generals had warned would not be tolerated.

RSF chief and deputy head of the military council, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has warned he will not tolerate “any chaos”.

Some barricades remained in place, witnesses said Saturday, but the protest site at military headquarters was out of bounds.

Troops and RSF paramilitaries surrounded it from all sides to keep demonstrators at bay.

The protest slogans that once rang across Khartoum — “freedom, peace, justice” and “civilian rule, civilian rule” — were nowhere to be heard.

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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

News Central



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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Africa News & Updates

Weekend sports: the Big 5 Review



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.

News Central



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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