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Algerian authorities clamp down on newspaper over unfavourable publication, detain journalist

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The Algerian authorities have clamped down and banned a newspaper, the Echorouk, for publishing a story that was not favourable to the government.

A senior journalist with the newspaper which maintains anti-goverment stance, Belkacem Haouam, was also arrested in a raid on Saturday and has been placed in pretrial detention due to an article he wrote about stopping the export of Algerian dates containing harmful pesticides, a claim the Ministry of Commerce later denied.

The decision to arrest Haouam reportedly came after the Ministry filed a complaint against the newspaper and the journalist, alleging that the report had caused harm to the national economy.

After the arrest of Haouam, he was charged to the court to appear before the public prosecutor and the investigating judge, who ordered him to be put him on pretrial detention after being formally charged.

Also as a result of the report, Echorouk was prevented from being printed, with remnants of it last publication on Friday confiscated.

In the “offensive” article published on September 7, Haouam had written about a decision taken by the Minister of Trade to immediately stop the export of Algerian Deglet Nour dates after they were withdrawn from several European markets because they contain high levels of chemicals not licensed in Europe.

The article angered the Ministry of Trade and Export Promotion, which issued a statement refuting this information.

“Everything mentioned in this article is based on baseless and unjustified information that harms the national economy and the wealth of our country. The quality of Algerian dates is preferred at all international levels,” the ministry asserted in the statement.

“This unprofessional behaviour is based on the writer’s failure to investigate the facts and the reliable information provided by directorates. The ministry’s efforts largely focus on promoting and encouraging non-oil exports.

“The ministry has decided to take all necessary measures against the writer of the article and the relevant newspaper including judicial prosecution before the competent authorities,” it insisted.

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Another Ugandan health worker dies from Ebola Virus

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Another health worker in Uganda has died due to complications from the Ebola Virus Disease, making it the fourth recorded death of an official since the outbreak of the Sudan-strain of the virus in last August, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng, who announced the death of the health worker, said the victim identified as Ms Margaret Nabisubi, an anaesthetic officer, died at about 4.33am after battling the infection for 17 days.

“The 58-year-old succumbed to Ebola at 4.33am this morning at Fort Portal Hospital (JMedic) after battling the disease for 17 days,” Dr Aceng said in a tweet.

“The late Margaret is the 4th health worker we have lost in the current Ebola outbreak after the probable case of a midwife, Dr Mohammed Ali and the health assistant in Kagadi District. May their souls rest in eternal peace,” Aceng added.

She added that President Yoweri Museveni was very concerned about the situation and has mandated the Ministry to do everything possible to contain the spread.

The country’s disease control agency, in a statement said so far, the confirmed cases of the virus infection have increased to 43 and the deaths have also increased to 13 as of Tuesday.

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ECOWAS mediator, Mohamadou Issoufou, meets Burkina Faso new ruler, Captain Ibrahim Traore

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The delegates of regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States have concluded mediation for Burkina Faso after recent unrest surrounding a military coup that ousted Lieutenant colonel Damiba last Friday.

The Friday coup was led by one of his trusted allies, Captain Ibrahim Traore, eight months after Damiba had overthrown the democratically elected President Roch Kabore in January and there has fear of a counter coup as shootings eusued at the capital on Saturday.

The mediator team led by Mahamadou Issoufou on Wednesday met with the country’s new ruler Captain Traoré who promised to keep the commitments made in July by the previous leadership regarding the organisation of elections and a return of civilians to power by July 2024 at the latest.

While briefing newsmen after the meeting, the mediator reaffirmed his commitment to the Burkinabe people.

“We will report on our mission to the current president of ECOWAS and to the heads of state. But I can already assure you that ECOWAS will remain at the side of the Burkinabe people.

“We will continue to accompany the Burkinabe people in this very difficult ordeal they are going through”, said Mahamadou Issoufou, ECOWAS mediator for Burkina Faso.

The West Africa sub-region has witnessed a series of military coups in recent years. In MaliGuinea, and Burkina Faso since August 2020.

 

 

 

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