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Covid-19: 5th wave intensifies in South Africa as infections pass 10,000

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For the first day since January, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases on Wednesday reported more than 10,000 Covid-19 new infections.

The institute announced 10,017 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Last week, the health authority said a new wave of the deadly virus driven by two new Omicron sub-variants in the country has led to a more than 50% increase in infections in 24 hours.

Worldometers reports that South Africa ranks 20 in the global ratings of death cases amongst 226 countries it collected data. That puts the country at the top of the list of cases and casualties in African countries.

The country relaxed mandatory negative results for inbound fully-vaccinated travellers, and other Covid-19 protocols last month but it appears the country might be forced to return to the relaxed rules with the development of the new wave.

Experts had predicted a fifth wave could start during the southern hemisphere winter months, sometime in May or June.

South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla, two weeks ago, confirmed that the country may be entering a fifth COVID-19 wave earlier than expected following a sustained rise in infections over the past 14 days.

Just under 50% of South Africa’s adult population of roughly 40 million have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, with 45% of adults fully vaccinated.

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Nigeria: Zamfara state government wants gun licenses for residents over insecurity

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The Commissioner for information in one of Nigeria’s Northern states, Zamfara state says residents in the state can start approaching the police command in the state for gun licences.

The troubled state wants individuals to carry guns to defend themselves against armed gangs of kidnappers causing havoc in the country’s northwest.

The commissioner, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara in statement said the state governor had directed the state police commissioner to issue 500 gun licences in each of the 19 emirates in the state to those wishing to defend themselves.

“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves,” Dosara said.

The state also banned the use of motorcyles and selling of petrol in three districts and one emirate, in areas which are the most affected by banditry, Dosara said. The state is divided into emirates and the emirates into districts.

“Anybody found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons at sight,” said Dosara.

Gunmen, locally called bandits, have been attacking and killing thousands of people in the country’s North-west since 2017. These assailants have attacked rural dwellers, destroyed their farmlands and in many cases only allow them to the farm after they have paid protection fees. They have also targeted travellers across the region in what some analysts say is one of the most lucrative kidnap-for-ransom syndicates in the continent.

Owning a gun in Zamfara needs permission from the state governor and state police commissioner.

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Ex-Liberian rebel warlord charged in US over attempt to obtain citizenship fraudulently

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A former commanding general of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), a notorious rebel group during the West African country’s civil war, Moses Wright, who had sought asylum in the US has been charged with fraudulently attempting to obtain US citizenship, among other crimes.

According to the United States Justice Department, the 69-year-old Wright lied about his involvement in the persecuting and killing of non-combatants during the war when he applied for US citizenship.

If convicted, Wright faces a maximum possible sentence of 165 years in prison and a $7m (£5.7m) fine, according to the JD.

“The United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals,” the United States Attorney, Jacqueline C. Romero, said on the indictment of Wright.

The indictment of Wright comes after two other former combatants in Liberia’s civil war, Mohammed Jabbateh and Thomas Woewiyu, were convicted in the US for similar offences while a third rebel leader, Sekou Kamara, was arrested earlier this year in New York.

The AFL was responsible for death of an estimated 250,000 Liberians which amounted to around 8% of the population at the time, in the war which started from 1989 to 1997 and in 1999 to 2003, according to a report by the Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in late 2021, which described the AFL as a “significant violator group found to be behind some of the civil war’s largest scale massacres.”

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