MAIL & GUARDIAN: Africa

Volcano erupts in restive DRC region

A volcano has erupted near the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), spewing lava in an area devastated by a major eruption four years ago. The area around Goma has seen days of clashes between forces loyal to a dissident former general and the DRC's army that have killed at least three people.

Moroccan monarch’s powers in the spotlight

Moroccans are currently engaged in a debate about the possibility of reducing the constitutional powers of their king -- this after a collective of NGOs issued an appeal titled For a New Constitution That Works. The appeal also speaks of the need for Parliament to be able to investigate and control the executive.

Kenya’s first land policy perhaps not the best

Historical injustices that have resulted in landlessness among Kenyans have been the focus of recent public discussions on a land policy -- the first to be drawn up in the East African country. Previously, Kenya has had no clearly defined laws on how to manage land, leading to a breakdown in land administration. Disparities in land ownership, tenure insecurity and squatting have occurred, often resulting in conflict.

Top DRC court to rule on presidential challenge

The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Supreme Court will announce its ruling in failed presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba's challenge to the election results on Monday, presiding Judge Kalonda Kele said. The court has been examining Bemba's legal challenge to the presidential elections since November 20.

Rwanda’s war shifts to the tribunals

An international arrest warrant against nine close aides of Rwanda's Tutsi President, Paul Kagame, on a charge of participating in the assassination of former Hutu leader Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994 has led to a new diplomatic war over Rwanda. A French judge this week ordered the arrest of nine high-ranking Rwandan officials.

‘What is the WSF? Something that will bring me medicine?’

In just two months' time the World Social Forum (WSF) will get under way in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, marking the first instance in which Africa is acting as sole host of the event. With the East African country also home to Kibera -- sometimes referred to as Africa's largest slum -- it could be argued that there is no more appropriate venue for the 2007 WSF.

First Bemba troops moved from tense Kinshasa

Around 50 soldiers loyal to Congolese former rebel chief Jean-Pierre Bemba were withdrawn from Kinshasa on Thursday after President Joseph Kabila gave an ultimatum for Bemba's forces to be removed from the city. Diplomats intensified efforts to head off another confrontation between soldiers and supporters of the two rivals, who faced off in a historic presidential run-off vote.

Hostage death raises stakes in Nigerian oil crisis

The death of a British hostage in Nigeria's oil-producing south in a shootout between kidnappers and troops raises the stakes for oil workers but is unlikely to change much for the industry. Abductions of oil workers are frequent in the lawless delta but this was the first time a foreign hostage has died.

Receding wetlands poisoning Lake Victoria

Destruction of wetlands around Lake Victoria, a source of drinking water to millions, is fast removing a buffer that stops it being poisoned by sewage and industrial waste, a Ugandan wetlands expert said on Wednesday. ''The worst case scenario is the lake is going to die, even with its huge size,'' said Paul Mafabi, head of the government's wetlands programme.

Rare Ethiopian lions poisoned to cut costs

Rare Abyssinian lion cubs are being poisoned at a zoo in Ethiopia because staff cannot afford to keep them, a wildlife official said on Wednesday. The dead cubs are sold to taxidermists for each to be stuffed and sold as ornaments, said Muhedin Abdulaziz, the administrator at the Lion Zoo in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Oil boom fuels Dubai dreams in Angola’s capital

Just south of Luanda lies one of Angola's biggest construction sites, part of a plan to transform the ramshackle capital of one of Africa's top oil producers into the best city money can buy. Freshly laid roads wind between a 120-store shopping mall, a state-of-the-art health club, schools, clinics and luxury condominiums.

Cameroon finds little unity in diversity

For some time now, the sporadic eruption of inter-ethnic conflict in most of Cameroon, sometimes with tragic consequences, has prompted concern about the future of this Central African country. The first notable tensions between ethnic groups date back to the beginning of the 1990s.

Somali Islamists clash with Ethiopian forces

Muslim fighters on Tuesday clashed with Ethiopian forces near the seat of Somalia's government, inflicting large numbers of casualties and destroying armoured vehicles, officials and witnesses said. The Islamists ambushed an Ethiopian convoy in Qasah-Omane, a small village about 70km south-west of Baidoa.

Rwanda rejects calls to indict president

Rwanda on Tuesday rejected calls by a French judge to indict President Paul Kagame over his alleged involvement in the death of the country's former leader, which sparked the 1994 genocide. ''The allegations are totally unfounded. The judge is acting on the basis of gossip and rumours,'' Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama said.

WHO: Africa’s hopes hinge on health care

Africa will never climb out of poverty unless devastating health challenges such as a ''silent epidemic'' of maternal and child death are tackled, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a report released on Monday. Some of the biggest health problems Africans face are worsening despite attempts to reverse them, the African Regional Health report said.

What are Africa’s alternatives to oil?

As crude oil prices soar on the world market, many African oil-importing countries are starting to think more seriously about ways to lessen their dependence on the fuel. They fear that continued high spending for imported oil may jeopardise the economic growth they have registered in recent years. As a result, alternative forms of energy are starting to look more attractive.

Data shows shocking statistics of child abuse in Zim

New data shows a child is abused every hour in Zimbabwe and more than half the reported cases involve sexual abuse, a coalition of child protection groups said on Friday. ''Are Zimbabweans really horrified by these statistics?'' said Childline director Audrey Gumbo.

Chad readies troops to help Central African Republic

Chad announced plans on Friday to send troops to help its southern neighbour Central African Republic and confront what it said was a widening regional war waged by Sudan from its violent Darfur region. The announcement signalled an escalation of the Darfur conflict, which has increasingly been spilling over Sudan's western borders into Chad and the Central African Republic.

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