Saturday, 28th January 2023

West Africa

Articles related to West Africa

The Cameroonian government has denied that it asked any country to mediate in its conflict with separatists trying to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia in its minority English-speaking regions. The latest comes after Canada last week said it had received a request to work on a peace process.

In a statement issued on Monday, Cameroon said it had "not entrusted any foreign country or external entity with any role of mediator or facilitator to settle the crisis". 

In response, a spokesperson for the Anglophone separatists, said they had taken note of the government's latest statement while Ottawa on Tuesday said it was in touch with both sides in the conflict, maintaining that it’s statement still stands.

Since 2017, factions of secessionist militias have been battling government troops in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. 

The conflict with government troops has left at least 6000 people dead and nearly 800,000 people displaced according to the Canadian government.

-Africa News

After Senegal, Ghana is the latest African country where officials have been called out for misappropriating or mismanaging funds dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ghana audit service report on the government's covid-19 expenditure for the period going from March 2020 to June 2022 is widely commented on social media.

In all, GH¢21,844,189,185.24 (over a billion US $) was mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. 

The 119-page long report highlighted irregularities in the management of some tranches of the funds.

Among them, the payment of unapproved risk allowance at the ministry of information. It appeared that "senior management staff and other supporting staff" of the ministry paid themselves a total amount of GH¢151,500.00 as COVID-19 risk allowance for coming to work during the lockdown period."

That went against "presidential directives and without approval from the office of chief of staff."

Indeed only frontline health workers were to receive an additional allowance of 50 percent of their basic salary per month for March, April, May and June.

Failure to take delivery of vaccines

According to the report, the authorities failed to take delivery of some COVID-19 jabs it paid for. The Ghanaian Ministry of Health paid an amount of US$120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines.

However, just "5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at US$38,322,000.00 were supplied to the National Cold Room."

The chief director of the Ministry of Health explained that the amount was paid in anticipation of receiving all the vaccines within a short space of time for vaccination in the country.

He cited "unexpected vaccine donations into the country, coupled with limited vaccine storage capacity and the slow uptake by Ghanaians to be vaccinated" as factors that made it impossible to receive the Janssen "vaccines that had been paid for".

This was leaving a difference of over 81 billion US$.

Some Ghanaians took to Twitter to voice their disappointment and tagged the report #NPPGrandCovidTheft.

The Ghana audit service carried out the audit in accordance with its statutory mandate and following a request by the Minister for Finance.

Many officials in sub-Saharan Africa are suspected of misappropriating or mismanaging funds dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, including in Cameroon, Guinea and South Africa.

-Africa News

People in Burkina Faso have broadly welcomed plans by the military government to oust French troops within a month.

The state broadcaster announced the move on 21 January saying the decision had been made to end the presence of France's military on Burkinabe soil.

It follows mass protests in the capital Ouagadougou demanding the French exit. 

Student, Anicet Ouédraogo, said: "It's a very nice initiative. I would even say that they were late. It was necessary to do it very early because at present we need frank partners who can really work with Burkina Faso."

Another Ouagadougou resident, Balamoussa Coulibaly, added:  "Their presence has no value. That is, they are not making any effort to get us out of this crisis. 

So, I think we need a change, and at all levels. So I think that their departure is a good decision on the part of his Excellency Captain Traoré."

Adama Tapsoba simply said: "They just have to leave then, they just have to leave us alone and then we only want peace. Nothing but peace."

More than 60 years after Burkina Faso's independence, France has maintained strong economic and humanitarian aid ties with its former colony.

But many have lost patience with France.

-Africa News

Nigeria's health authorities confirmed a deadly outbreak of diftheria on Friday (Jan.20).

In Kano state, one of the worst-hit states in the country's north, Dr. Aminu Tsanyawa the health commission for the state has recorded more than 70 suspected cases along with 25 deaths related to the bacterial infection.

The total number of confirmed cases and deaths is not yet known. 

Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention revealed it initiated an emergency response to the outbreak and is monitoring the situation in four of the nation’s 36 states.

Authorities were first alerted about an outbreak among children in Kano state in late December, according to the state's chief epidemiologist.

Diphtheria causes breathing difficulties, heart failure and paralysis. The people most at risk are unvaccinated or live areas or with poor sanitation.

Nigeria has not had a diphtheria outbreak of this magnitude in recent years. The nation's capacity to diagnose the disease and treat patients is limited in many remote areas.

-Africa News

The president of the transition in Burkina Faso, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, estimated on Tuesday that a new "phase" had been "triggered by the terrorists", against civilians, a few days after the kidnapping of around fifty women in the north of the country.

"Today another phase has been triggered by the terrorists. On the military side, our men are determined to confront them, so they are starting to attack innocent civilian populations, humiliate them, kill them", declared the president. Traoré during a meeting at the University of Ouagadougou with students from all over the country.

Thursday and Friday, about fifty women were kidnapped by suspected jihadists in two localities north and west of the town of Arbinda (north), according to the authorities of the region. Ground and aerial searches are underway to find them. The UN demanded their "immediate" release. 

Arbinda is located in the Sahel region, an area under blockade by jihadist groups, which is difficult to supply. According to a security source contacted by AFP, "the supply of Arbinda began Tuesday morning", by air.

"There were two helicopter rotations this morning for supplies. It was about time because we have had nothing to eat for months. Just leaves which are also becoming scarce. This morning a few dozen people had started a demonstration to demand this supply before seeing the helicopter," confirmed Souleymane, a resident contacted by AFP.

"We really needed this supply by air. The ideal would be to have a land convoy very quickly because the population is large and relies only on these supplies to hold on and not starve," added Amadou, another resident.

On Tuesday evening, the Burkinabè general staff asked "all those of goodwill to make available to the army, free of charge or at a social price, trucks with drivers for the transport of food and basic necessities. “, in order to “ensure the supply of populations living in areas with strong security challenges”.

Captain Traoré came to power at the end of September during a coup d'etat , the second in eight months, and promised to tackle the jihadist violence which has targeted soldiers but also civilians for several years.

"Since October, the number of attacks has multiplied," he admitted on Tuesday. According to him, the jihadist groups which are rampant in particular in the north and east of the country have "set to work" to "discourage from the start" the new authorities of the transition.

"We are determined to solve this terrorist issue. This war, we did not choose it. Burkina did not attack anyone. We were attacked and we have been defending ourselves since then", he insisted.

Burkina Faso, particularly in its northern half, has been confronted since 2015 with increasing attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. They left thousands dead and at least two million displaced.

Nearly a million people currently live in these blocked areas, in the north or east of the country, according to the United Nations.

-Africa News

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