WEEK OPENER: 'Terrorists' win big, Zuma cornered as massive Burkina Faso rally protests 'life presidency' bid

Cameroonian footballer Ebosse dies after being hit by projectile in Algeria game, and Nigeria confirms 35 police seized by Boko Haram.

LIBYA’S parliament has branded as “terrorists” the Islamist militias that announced their seizure of Tripoli airport after a weeks-long battle and are challenging its legitimacy.

Fajr Libya is a coalition of Islamist militias, mainly from Misrata, east of the capital, while Ansar al-Sharia, which Washington also brands a terrorist group, controls around 80% of the eastern city of Benghazi.

Fajr Libya said Saturday it had captured Tripoli’s battered international airport from nationalist militiamen.

The announcement came a day after an unidentified warplane raided Islamist positions around the airport, killing 13 fighters, a Fajr Libya spokesman said.

The fall of the airport would be a major defeat for the nationalist fighters from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, who have held it since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

On Sunday, Egypt, whose leadership is fiercely anti-Islamist, denied any role in the air raid.

Libyan Islamists have charged that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind a raid around Tripoli airport on Friday night that killed 13 fighters.

Egypt on Monday is to host a meeting of foreign ministers of Libya and its neighbours.

Zuma in farmhouse cash trouble

In the opposite southern tip of the continent, South Africa’s ombudswoman has given President Jacob Zuma a fortnight to explain why he should not repay some of the $23 million of public money lavished on his farm, media reported Sunday.

Thuli Madonsela, who is in charge of overseeing public spending, said in March that Zuma had unduly profited from work to increase the security of his home in Nkandla, in the east of the country, including the building of a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle enclosure and henhouse.

Boko Haram seizes 35 police

To the west, 35 Nigerian police officers deployed to a training academy in the remote northeast are missing after a Boko Haram attack on the facility earlier this week, national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said Saturday.

The Islamists attacked the academy just outside the town of Gwoza on Wednesday, but authorities were only able to speak to the issue on the weekend.

Boko Haram seized Gwoza earlier this month, but the military has said it is preparing an offensive to retake the town in Borno state.

“Thirty-five policemen who are still missing from the facility as a result of the latest attack are being searched for with very promising prospects of locating them,” Ojukwu said in a statement.

He separately told AFP that it was premature to speculate on whether the officers had been taken hostage by the militants who have kidnapped hundreds of people during a five-year uprising.

Ebola stops health ministers meet

Next door in Benin, a meeting of African health ministers scheduled for early September has been postponed because of the Ebola epidemic, an official said Sunday.

The west African nation had planned to host the 64th session of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) committee of African health ministers from September 1 to September 5.

“This important meeting… has been postponed after consultations with (WHO) authorities,” Benin’s Foreign Minister Nassirou Arifari Bako said.

Meanwhile a patient who recently returned from West Africa suspected of being infected with Ebola was isolated in a Canadian hospital but tested negative.

He had recently returned from Guinea, one of the West African countries affected by the worst Ebola epidemic since its discovery four decades ago.

Cameroonian killed on Algerian football field

And Cameroon was dealing with the shock of the news that football player Albert Ebosse died after he was hit by a projectile thrown from the stands following his team’s loss in the Algerian football championship, APS news agency reported.

Cameroonian Ebosse, who was 24, was declared dead after he was rushed to a hospital at Tizi Ouzou, east of the capital Algiers, where the match took place on Saturday.

He scored the lone goal for his club JS Kabylie in the home match in what turned out to be a 2-1 defeat against USM Alger, on the second day of the tournament.

Fans had started throwing objects from the stands inside the Tizi Ouzou stadium after the match as the players were returning to their changing room.

Ebosse joined JS Kabylie in 2013, and was best scorer in the 2013-2014 championship.

Rally against presidency for life

In Burkina Faso, tens of thousands of people marched Saturday in the capital of Burkina Faso to protest against any move by the president to extend his decades-hold on power, in the latest such opposition rally.

President Blaise Compaore, an often-controversial figure of west African politics, has hinted he may seek a referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow him to run in 2015 polls.

Organisers said more than 100,000 protesters had taken part in the Ouagadougou rally in what they termed “record mobilisation.” AFP was unable to get a police estimate.

The rally spanned several kilometres and demonstrators marched to the presidency and back, shouting slogans such as “No to the referendum”, “Enough of Compaore’s dictatorship” or “No need for a strongman in Burkina.”

Anger has been growing against the planned referendum on whether to modify the constitution, which limits the president to a maximum of two five-year terms in office.

Compaore was only 36 when he seized power in an October 1987 coup in which his former friend and one of Africa’s most loved leaders, Thomas Sankara, was ousted and assassinated.

In 2005, constitutional limits were introduced and Compaore is therefore coming to the end of his second five-year term.


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