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AFRICA NEWS BRIEF • April 25, 2016

Congo: Republic president names one-time opposition leader as PM

Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso named former finance minister Clement Mouamba as prime minister, bringing a one-time opposition leader into the government, state television said on Saturday. The appointment comes a month after Sassou Nguesso was elected to a five-year term that extends his long rule over the oil producing country. Sassou Nguesso led Congo between 1979 and 1992 and returned to power after a civil war in 1997. Mouamba was a senior member of the Pan-African Union for Social Democracy (UPADS) but was expelled from the opposition party for participating in consultations that preceded a referendum last October on changing the constitution to allow Sassou Nguesso to serve a third term.

Nigeria: Presidency – One Million Poor Nigerians to Receive N5,000 Monthly

The presidency yesterday disclosed that one million poverty-stricken Nigerians will be given N5,000 every month for sustenance.It also explained why the much anticipated change agenda is taking time to manifest, just as it firmly rejected the insinuations that poverty and lack are products of the change mantra, describing such claim as opposition criticism that erroneous and misplaced. The above positions are contained in a statement issued by the senior special assistant to the president on media, Garba Shehu. The presidential spokesman noted that the president understands the pain and the cries of the citizens of this country and that he is having sleepless nights on how to make their lives better. Shehu said, “Contrary to assertions by a faction of the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), the president’s energy and focus are on changing the life of Nigerians, with a view to making it better than he met it. He then disclosed ongoing plans for change to include those for social investment.

Africa: Congolese Music Legend, Papa Wemba, Dies After Slumping On Stage

Congolese Music legend, Papa Wemba, died around 9:10 GMT in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast capital, his manager Marie Laure Yaone, has confirmed in a Facebook post. The Soukous maestro, who was performing with his band at the FEMUA 9 musical concert, slumped on Stage at about 5:30 GMT on Sunday. His dancers and members of the Red Cross could not revive him on stage and subsequently rushed him to a hospital where he later died. “I do not have the strength to put this information on Facebook,” Ms. Yaone wrote in French.” She had published a post of how the musician slumped and was rushed to the hospital.

Central Africa: Congo Signs Landmark U.S. $200 Million Deal to Protect Forests

Dakar — The Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday signed a landmark $200 million deal with donors to tackle deforestation and reduce carbon emissions as part of a wider plan to protect the tropical forests of the Congo Basin. Congo, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest after the Amazon, is the first country to sign an agreement with the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), launched in September 2015 by six African nations and European donor countries. The initiative, which also covers Central African Republic, Cameroon, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, aims to restart protection efforts in the Congo Basin, which has become a target for the expansion of palm oil plantations as available land in Indonesia dwindles. Protecting forests is widely seen as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce the emissions driving global warming. Loss and degradation of forests account for about 15 percent of emissions each year, conservation groups say.

South Sudan: U.S. accuses South Sudan sides of blocking peace, warns over support

Washington accused both sides in South Sudan’s two-year conflict of blocking peace efforts and protested, rebels said, by pulling funding for a flight to return their leader Riek Machar to the capital. Underlining growing international frustration over months of delays and wrangling, the U.S. State Department said South Sudan’s government had as recently as Saturday refused to give landing permission to planes carrying Machar. Machar himself, the United States said, had obstructed arrangements by arbitrarily asking for more forces and heavy weapons to precede his arrival. Machar’s return to join a unity government with his foes, originally scheduled for early last week, was meant to seal a peace deal signed in August to end fighting that has killed thousands and forced a million to flee their homes. “Given the actions by both sides to prevent or delay his return, it is now time for the parties to assume primary responsibility for facilitating the return of Riek Machar to Juba,” the State Department said late on Sunday.

Burundi: General shot dead dropping child off at school

A security advisor to Burundi’s vice-president has been shot dead while dropping off his daughter at school in the capital Bujumbura. General Athanase Kararuza and his wife died instantly. No group has said it was behind the attack. More than 400 people have been killed in the turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term last April. A string of high-ranking army officials have been targeted during the conflict. Security forces have also been accused of killing opponents and dumping them in mass graves by rights group Amnesty International. Shortly after the attack, the International Criminal court announced that it was starting a preliminary investigation into the violence in Burundi. This will decide whether a full-blown investigation will take place, which could result in charges against those accused of being behind the violence.

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