May 30, 2018

Algeria seizes 700kg of cocaine on container ship

Algeria seizes 700kg of cocaine on container ship Algerian authorities have seized more than 700kg (1,543lb) of cocaine smuggled aboard a container ship. The vessel, which was registered in Liberia, was transporting frozen meat from Brazil and had previously docked in the Spanish port of Valencia. It was due to offload in Algeria's western port of Oran but suspicions were raised when the captain refused to dock for three days. Acting on a tip-off, the Algerian coastguard forced the boat into port. The drugs were then found aboard the ship, the Vega Mercury, in boxes marked "halal meat". More than 20 people have been arrested over the drugs find.
May 30, 2018

Biafra shutdown cripples Nigerian cities

Biafra shutdown cripples Nigerian cities Image copyright Emmanuel Izuchwu / BBC Igbo Image caption People have been able to play football in deserted streets in Ariaria in south-eastern Abia state A stay-at-home protest by Biafran separatists in Nigeria has crippled cities and towns in the south-east. Streets are empty and markets, banks and schools are closed to mark the abortive attempt in 1967 to gain independence for the region. It led to a bitter three-year civil war in which more than one million people were killed. The authorities have warned the secessionists against street protests and security forces are on patrol. BBC Africa Live: More on this and other stories The man behind Nigeria's separatists Should regions get more power? South-eastern Nigeria is mainly inhabited by the ethnic Igbo community, who often complain of marginalisation - accusing successive governments of failing to develop their areas. Image caption Areas which pro-secessionist groups want as their..
May 30, 2018

How East Africa is cracking down on ‘fake news’

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 'anti-fake news campaign' Image copyright AFP Image caption President Kenyatta says the new law will help prosecute cyber criminals A new law in Kenya is the latest in East Africa to punish the spreading of "false information" and impose a lengthy jail term on offenders. It proposes a fine of $50,000 (£37,000) and/or up to two years in prison for publishing "false" information. The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes law also criminalises abuse on social media and cyber bullying. Critics of the "fake news" laws in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania say they are meant to muzzle independent media. The Committee to Protect Journalists had urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to send back the bill to parliament to remove clauses that it says violated press freedom and freedom of expression. The rights body said that parts of the law criminalised unauthorised access and sharing of government data which would remove protection for whistle-blowers. According to Keny..
May 30, 2018

Itai Dzamara: The man who stood up to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and vanished

Itai Dzamara: The man who stood up to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and vanished Image copyright Kumbirai Mafunda Itai Dzamara was one of the most outspoken critics of Robert Mugabe before his disappearance. Three years later, his loved ones are still waiting for answers. Kim Chakanetsa reports from Zimbabwe. Sheffra Dzamara has not seen her husband Itai Dzamara in more than three years. Her life changed irrevocably on the morning of 9 March 2015 when Mr Dzamara was abducted. Since then, she has lived a life in limbo, veering between hope and despair, unsure whether he is alive or dead. 'I have to smile'Despite his absence, Mr Dzamara is still very much a presence in the house they shared off a quiet street in Harare's Glen Norah Neighbourhood. In the corner of her living room is a large framed photo taken in a park on a sunny day. In it, Mr Dzamara and his wife stand side-by-side, smiling. A snapshot of a happier, easier time. Life since her husband disappeared ha..
May 30, 2018

‘I took 57 painkillers a day to get high’

'I took 57 painkillers a day to get high' In December 2017 British woman Laura Plummer was jailed for three years for bringing 300 Tramadol painkiller tablets into Egypt. While the sentence shocked many in the UK, the case shone a light on a painkiller addiction problem blighting millions of Egyptians. "When I was 15, we were playing PlayStation in a games arcade, and someone insulted me. I picked up a billiards cue and smashed it over his head. I was screaming abuse at everyone. I even broke the windows." Abdul Hameed, now 24, remembers the moment he realised his drug habit had spiralled out of control. Two years earlier, aged just 13, he had tried the opioid-based painkiller Tramadol for the first time. Like many young Egyptians, he started by taking one quarter of a 100mg tablet to get high. Image copyright Ahmed Maher Image caption Abdul Hameed, 24, was using Tramadol from the age of 13 "I felt like I was a superhero," he says. "I could do anything." By the time he we..
May 30, 2018

Africa’s week in pictures: 17-24 May 2018

Africa's week in pictures: 17-24 May 2018 A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere in the world this week. Image copyright AFP Image caption Wearing a multi-coloured skirt typically used in the dance, an Egyptian performs the Tanoura at el-Ghuri Culture Palace in Cairo... Image copyright AFP Image caption The dance, which incorporates the Sufi technique of whirling, is popular across the Middle East. Image copyright EPA Image caption While a Syrian group performs during the Festival de La Medina in Tunisia's capital Tunis. Image copyright AFP Image caption The royal seat of the Kingdom of Dahomey in what is present-day Benin is seen at a museum in France's capital Paris. Benin is demanding the return of treasures taken during colonial rule. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In Mbandaka city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a vendor holds some bush meat in a market. The city has been hit by Ebola, which can be spread when ..
May 30, 2018

South Africans’ anger over land set to explode

South Africans' anger over land set to explode Image copyright AFP "Africa is for black people. Period. We need our land back and we're going to take it by force," said a woman amongst an angry crowd trying to occupy a field on the north-eastern edge of Johannesburg in South Africa. She is wearing a red beret indicating her support for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a small, radical party which advocates the nationalisation of all land in South Africa. In a country grappling with so many different challenges, land reform has recently emerged as a dominant and potentially explosive issue - the focus of furious political contestation and increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. The field was empty, overgrown, unused, and far too much of a temptation. "This is my boundary," said 50-year-old Christina Mashaba, striding through the long grass and pointing to a stick she had pushed into the ground, some 15 yards (13m) away. "It's going to be my home… if the government will l..
May 30, 2018

Joseph Warungu: The handshake that left millions of Kenyans confused

Letter from Africa: The handshake that left millions of Kenyans confused Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta shook hands to end a political standoff following last year's controversial election In our series of letters from African journalists, Joseph Warungu reflects on the plight of supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga following his reconciliation last month with his bitter rival, President Uhuru Kenyatta. One of the games I enjoyed a lot in my childhood was called "kauka" in Kiswahili, which roughly translates as "freeze". The idea was, you would go about your normal business until your play partner shouted "freeze". This command forced you to stop dead in the middle of whatever you were doing, and keep very still until your friend "unfroze" you. The strategy was to catch you in an extremely awkward, embarrassing or uncomfortable moment, such as having your mouth wide open with houseflies hovering nearby. Unfortunately some ..
May 30, 2018

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani on the teenager fighting school bus sex pests

Letter from Africa: The teenager fighting school bus sex pests Image copyright Our Cries In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani admires a teenager's tenacity in tackling the harassment of pupils on the school commute. Allegations of physical or sexual abuse against teachers in Nigerian schools sometimes manage to grab a headline, but then fade without any follow-up story on how the case was resolved. In 2016, girls at a prestigious boarding school in Lagos abandoned their exams in protest at pervasive sexual harassment by a male teacher. Those of us who endured similar unchecked bad behaviour during our school days cheered them on. I know from personal experience of studying in Nigeria, how powerless students can sometimes feel when faced with abusers who act with impunity, knowing that the cultures of silence and respect for elders are on their side. So, I was impressed when I recently came across a Tanzanian tee..
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