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Africa in brief: August 21 – 28

UGANDA

Bomb, run, wash your hands

What to do when you’ve meddled in another country, failed to learn anything and then walked away, leaving chaos? When the United States did this in Vietnam, it famously took in some of the people whose lives it had turned upside down. Now, though, the supplier of global democracy (and guns and destabilisation and anti-abortion campaigns et cetara, et cetera ad infinitum) doesn’t want to carry the consequences of its actions. So it has found a new mode: 2 000 Afghan refugees will be hosted by Uganda, with the US covering the costs. Uganda has the highest number of refugees in Africa and has the third most globally.

SENEGAL

100-million ticks

Senegal-born Italian TikTok star Khaby has become only the second person in the world to amass 100-million followers on that platform. He gained that popularity by making videos where he (rather sarcastically) points out when people have overcomplicated some task.

Côte d’Ivoire

Ebola (re)detected

The United Nations’ health agency reported a second suspected case of Ebola in Côte d’Ivoire earlier this week. Close contacts of the cases have been identified and no deaths have yet been reported. It is suspected that the confirmed case is the Zaire strain that claimed the lives of 12 people in Guinea earlier this year during the four-month outbreak that ended in June. The strain has been deadly in various regions.

NIGERIA

Nigeria state oil companies replaced by private company

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company will be disbanded and replaced by a private company. The more than 50 year old company was created to manage the joint venture between the country and international oil companies. The private company will profit from Nigeria’s natural resources but, if it doesn’t evade taxes, will add money to the national purse that way.

FRANCE

Macron shows Europe’s love

Afghanistan is rare in being a country that France hasn’t meddled in. It left that job to its peers. Wary of an upcoming election, and thinking this means he has to run to the right, Emmanuel Macron said Europe needs to “anticipate and protect itself from a wave of migrants”. The French president has also suggested that his country might be reducing its military presence in Africa. Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, replied with this: “The West’s moral bankruptcy in Technicolor: Invade, mess up, escape, leave a human tragedy behind, wash hands!”

MALI

‘Your army’

Colonel Assimi Goita (C), President of the National Committee for the Salvation of People. (Michele Cattani/AFP)

Mali’s coup leader Assimi Goïta went on national television this week to, rather belatedly, explain why he took over the country (for a second time). He said: “Men and women came together to express their desire for change. The people responded massively to the call. The national army, your army, could not just wait-and-see: it therefore took upon itself its responsibilities and intervened to enable the popular desire for change to become a reality.” A benevolent dictator? Sure.

SPORT

Afcon groups set

The Africa Cup of Nations draw took place this week, placing the 24 participating national teams in six roster groups who will play each other in early January 2022 in Cameroon. Delayed by Covid-19, the tournament is also being played earlier in the year because of the Qatar World Cup. Cameroon is also racing to be ready in time, having been stripped of hosting rights the last time the tournament was held, in 2019.

CAMEROON

Thousands flee to Chad

Recent clashes between fishing and herding communities in Cameroon have resulted in at least 10,000 people fleeing to Chad, the UN’s refugee agency recently reported. Violence erupted last week in the Far North region of the country on land that is sandwiched between Nigeria on the west and Chad on the east. According to the agency, 85% of those who fled are women and children. Cameroon’s Far North is also still battling jihadist attacks from northeast Nigeria.

ALGERIA

Mob justice after massive fires

Thirty-eight year old Djamel Ben Ismail was killed in Algeria by a group of people who believed that he was responsible for starting several of the fires that were ravaging parts of the country. The fires which were mostly in the Kabyle region claimed the lives of at least 90 people as well as olive groves and livestock. Judicial police confirmed that Ismail was wrongly accused and said that the crowd was in “collective hysteria”. As of Friday, at least 61 people had been detained. Ismail’s family said that he had travelled over 300km to go and help those fighting the fires.

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