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Senegal: 6 midwives on trial over death of pregnant woman but health union kicks in their defence

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In Senegal, six midwives are being prosecuted in connection to the death of Astou Sokhna, a pregnant woman who died after a long wait for a Caesarean section for hours in a public hospital.

her thirties, and whose tragic fate has stunned the country, their lawyer said Wednesday.

A representative of the hospital, Abou Abdou Daff told journalists that four of the accused midwives “were imprisoned on Tuesday night” in the northern city of Louga and “two were provisionally released.”

Daff further revealed that the latter two had been “employed for more than four years as trainees with a modest remuneration and they were asked for results” in terms of the quality of care provided.

Local media reports that the midwives refused Sokhna’s request, arguing that her operation was not scheduled, and threatened to evict her if she insisted. The death has sparked reactions on social media and protests in the street of Louga.

Beyond legal action against the fingered midwives the Council of Ministers. had announced the dismissal of the hospital director. Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sall also acknowledged on April 14 that the death of Astou Sokhna could have been avoided with more vigilance.

Meanwhile, in solidarity to the affected medical professionals, the Alliance of Autonomous Health Unions (ASAS) has announced in a statement that it had begun a 72-hour strike on Wednesday, in “support of the comrades of Louga” prosecuted by the courts.

The union argued that the government did “not wait for the conclusions of the judicial inquiry to condemn the brave workers before deliberately throwing them in front of the media lynch mob (…) to try to hide in vain the flaws of the system which it is the guarantor.”

In the meantime, all six accused women will be tried on April 27 before the High Court of Louga.

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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