‘Mysterious’ disease kills 17 Nigerians, Zuma cancels Indonesia trip over attacks, and other top Africa stories

Tunisia has prevented more than 12,000 would-be jihadists from leaving the country to join militant groups abroad; and Khartoum bans newspaper.

A “MYSTERIOUS” disease that kills patients within 24 hours has claimed at least 17 lives in a southeastern Nigerian town, the government said Saturday.

“Seventeen people have died of the mysterious disease since it broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town,” the government spokesman for Ondo state, Kayode Akinmade, told AFP by telephone.

The disease broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town on Ondo state. (Photo/AFP).

The disease, whose symptoms include headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, killed the victims within 24 hours of their falling ill, he said.

Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Akinmade added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had information on 14 cases with at least 12 dead.

At least 19 Tanzanian gold miners were killed when the pit they were working in collapsed in the northwestern Msalala district, a local government official said Saturday.

File photo shows group of miners resting near a gemstone mine in the city of Arusha, northern Tanzania, on March 30, 2008, after it flooded during heavy rain. (Photo/AFP).

“The pit collapsed and buried several people who were working in it, efforts are going on to dig out more bodies,” said local district commissioner Benson Mwampesaya, saying 19 bodies had been recovered.

Tanzania is Africa’s fourth largest gold producer, and the precious metal is one of the top foreign exchange earners for the country.

South African President Jacob Zuma said Saturday he was cancelling a state visit to Indonesia in order to deal with a wave of xenophobic violence against immigrants and other foreigners.

Zuma “has cancelled his visit to Indonesia in order to attend to matters at home relating to the attacks on foreign nationals,” his office said.

Sudanese security agents seized the entire Saturday edition of a newspaper over an article about an activist who was detained in the run-up to the country’s general elections, its editor-in-chief said.

The National Intelligence and Security Service took the entire run of independent daily Al-Youm al-Tali from the printers late on Friday, Muzamil Abu al-Gasim told AFP.

“All copies of the newspaper’s Saturday edition were seized by the security and intelligence apparatus,” he said.

A man reads a newspaper as he rests on his moped in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on July 31, 2011. (Photo/AFP).

Abu al-Gasim said the NISS told him the edition was confiscated because of an article he published the previous day about Sandra Kaduda, an activist who was held for three days.

Kaduda was driving to an opposition rally against the elections in the city of Omdurman on Sunday, the day before the polls started.

Kaduda was released on Wednesday and “found in very poor health and with signs of ill treatment,” Amnesty International said.

The article in Al-Youm al-Tali had called for “the disclosure of the group that kidnapped the activist Sandra,” Abu al-Gasim said.

The independent daily’s latest confiscation came after polling ended across most of the country in four-day general elections President Omar al-Bashir is widely expected to win.

Rights groups had accused his government of stifling media and civil society in the run-up to the vote.

Abu al-Gasim said that the NISS had suspended his newspaper’s publication for 21 days last year without giving a reason.

NISS agents seized the entire print runs of 14 dailies on February 16, one of the widest crackdowns on the media in recent years.

Tunisian authorities have prevented more than 12,000 would-be jihadists from leaving the country over the past two years, Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli said on Friday.

Tunisian Interior Minister Gharsalli speaks with journalists during a press conference on March 26, 2015 in Tunis. (Photo/AFP).

Speaking to a parliamentary committee examining an anti-terror bill, he said his ministry had prevented “12,490 Tunisians from leaving Tunisian territory to travel to combat zones” in Iraq, Libya and Syria since March 2013.

Authorities estimate that between 2,000 and 3,000 Tunisians have still managed to head abroad for such purposes, representing a long-term threat to security at home.

Since a popular uprising ousted long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia has been targeted by jihadist violence, which has killed dozens of police and soldiers.

More recently, 21 foreign tourists were gunned down when jihadists claiming links to the Islamic State group assaulted the capital’s Bardo National Museum on March 18.


The UN Security Council warned that upcoming elections in Burundi could turn violent and vowed to take action against those who are fomenting unrest.

The 15-member council called on the government and the opposition to refrain from acts of violence and intimidation ahead of the May parliamentary vote and the presidential polls that will follow.

“The upcoming elections are an extremely sensitive issue that has the potential to spur violence and undermine the peace sustained for almost a decade in Burundi,” the council said in a statement.

The members vowed “to respond to any actions in Burundi that threaten the peace, security or stability in Burundi by actively facilitating violence, including by reportedly distributing weapons to youth groups.”

Burundi, a small landlocked nation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, emerged in 2006 from a brutal 13-year civil war.

Police on Friday fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters in Bujumbura calling for President Pierre Nkurunziza to step aside and not run for a third term.

UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday warned that the country was at a “crossroads” between a fair vote that would boost the country and a route back to its “horrendously violent past.”

Also Friday, the US State Department said it was deeply concerned by the rising tensions in Burundi and called on all parties “to play a constructive and peaceful role in this electoral process

Related Content


blog comments powered by Disqus