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Coronavirus: Somalia resumes local flights

Farah Lamane

BBC Somali Service

Volunteers handing out coronavirus supplies in Mogadishu, Somalia
Getty Images
Somalis in the capital are being encouraged to wear face masks

Somalia’s cabinet has approved the resumption of local flights from Sunday, with one daily passenger flight to and from regional states.

Aviation Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Oomaar told the BBC that the airports were re-opening with precautionary steps:

The pandemic has not yet been eradicated, but it has been agreed that it's the appropriate moment to resume flights, while minimising the number of travellers.

There’ll be six domestic flights per day. We’ve also developed new methods of operations such as social distancing, face masks and hand sanitisers for the passengers, and instructions on what to do inside the aircraft."

Somalia suspended all flights when the country recorded the first coronavirus three months ago.

The country has recorded 2,944 cases of Covid-19, including 90 deaths.

France rejects new probe into Rwanda plane shooting

Samba Cyuzuzo

BBC Great Lakes

Armed Rwanda Patriotic Front soldiers investigate the site of the plane crash that killed President JuvTnal Habyarimana May 26, 1994 in Kigali,
Getty Images
The downing of the plane triggered the 1994 Rwandan genocide

A French appeals court has rejected a request to reopen an investigation into the shooting down in 1994 of a plane carrying the then-Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarima.

The incident sparked the Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 people were killed.

The inquiry was dropped in 2018, but Habyarimana's widow, Agathe, and the families of other victims had appealed against the decision.

But it may not be the end of the case, as civil parties have already said they will move to a higher court, the AFP news agency reports.

Relations between the France and Rwanda have been turbulent ever since a French judge in 2006 accused several close associates of current Rwandan President Paul Kagame of being behind the assassination of Habyarimana.

At the time Mr Kagame was the leader of a Tutsi rebel force which was fighting the Hutu-dominated government.

He has always said that Hutu extremists shot the missiles that brought down the president's plane.

Under current French President Emmanuel Macron, political relations have improved.

Ethiopia closes TV station 'for fanning tensions'

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC News, Addis Ababa

Hachalu Hundessa
Singer Hachalu Hundessa's death has triggered ethnic unrest

The authorities in Ethiopia have closed the main office of local TV station - the Oromo Media Network (OMN) - accusing it of fanning ethnic and religious tensions in the country.

Two others - Asrat, which broadcasts in Amharic, and Dimtsi Weyane, which mainly has programmes in Tigrinya - are being investigated over the same issues.

The move comes after several days of violence triggered by the killing of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa on Monday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

His songs focused on the rights of the Oromo people, the country's largest ethnic group, and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

At least 80 people have died in the wave of unrest caused by Hachalu's killing and many more have been arrested.

In the city of Dire Dawa alone, which is 500km (310 miles) east of the capital, the police say they have arrested at least 200 people.

Some calm has returned to the country, and Addis Ababa is seemingly back to normal.

But tensions remain high in parts of the country and the internet is still being regularly cut off.

Homemade bomb explodes in Cameroon's capital

A small homemade bomb exploded in Cameroon’s capital wounding two people, the third minor explosion of its kind in Yaoundé in recent weeks.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

“It’s a homemade bomb like the two that exploded recently,” Yaoundé's administrative officer Jean Claude Tsila told the Reuters news agency, declining to respond directly when asked who the authorities believed had made the explosives.

The attack was was also reported on state television:

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Government forces have been fighting Anglophone separatists in western Cameroon since 2016, but the conflict is more than 200km (120 miles) from the capital.

Nigeria 'still testing Covid-19 herbal cure'

Nigeria's health minister says Covid-Organics - a herbal tonic produced in Madagascar and touted as a cure for coronavirus - has ingredients used for malaria treatment, but the government is still probing its effectiveness for Covid-19.

Osagie Ehanire said that preliminary results of analysis by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) confirmed it contained artemisia, a plant used in malaria treatment.

"Further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for research is approve," the minister is quoted by Nigeria's Premium Times as saying.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against using untested remedies for coronavirus.

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina has been promoting the herbal tonic across the continent.

At its launch it was revealed it had artemisia and other Malagasy plants.

Samples of "Covid Organics" or CVO, are on display in Antananarivo
Some African countries have imported the tonic from Madagascar

Uganda boda boda rider kills himself 'over bribe'

Patricia Oyella

BBC News, Kampala

Hussein Walugembe
Twaha Kaweesa
Hussein Walugembe was upset that he could not get his boda boda back

A 29-year-old motorcycle taxi rider in Uganda has died after setting fire to himself inside a police station after officers failed to release his impounded bike.

Hussein Walugembe’s motorbike was confiscated in the south-western district of Masaka, about 134km (83 miles) from the capital, Kampala, on Monday.

As part of the restrictions to control the spread of Covd-19, the government has banned motorcycle taxis - or boda bodas - from carrying passengers.

They are able to operate between 06:30 and 17:00 local time but must only transport cargo.

According to the police, Mr Walugembe had lent his bike to a friend, who was caught ferrying a passenger on Monday.

Mr Walugembe reportedly became frustrated with the police after visiting the station several times to demand its release.

On Thursday, he locked himself in a room at the station and set himself ablaze using petrol concealed in a water bottle and match sticks.

Officers at the station ferried water in jerrycans to put out the fire.

An officer who was with him at the time suffered minor injuries and several files and computers were destroyed.

Some motorcycle riders have alleged to local media that officers were asking for a $40 (£32) bribe to release the bike.

The police station in Masaka
Wilson Kutamba
The police station is under investigation

Following the self-immolation, regional police spokesperson Paul Kangave said an investigation had been launched into the conduct of the entire traffic department.

He said the force’s Professional Standards Unit would be looking into allegations that the officers were demanding bribes after vehicles were impounded for flouting lockdown restrictions.

Boda boda riders in Uganda
Getty Images
Boda boda riders are currently banned from taking passengers

Riding boda bodas is a substantial source of income for thousands of young people in Uganda, many of whom are currently out of work.

The government began easing lockdown restrictions in May but maintained those on boda bodas.

President Yoweri Museveni said in late June that they could lead to the further spread of the virus if allowed to transport people at this stage.

Uganda so far has 900 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 847 recoveries and no deaths.

Many of the cases have been reported among long-distance truck drivers and their contacts.

Covid-19: 40 South Africa soldiers test positive

The South African Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed that at least 40 of its officers have tested positive for coronavirus.

"Like all other front-line workers, SANDF soldiers are exposed to the scourge of Covid-19, more than the average citizen," the defence forces said.

The troops are from an infantry battalion based in Cape Town, and were deployed to the northern Limpopo province help another battalion "safeguarding" the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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On their arrival on 13 June, the soldiers were placed into a 14-day quarantine as a precaution and then screened for Covid-19.

"Those found positive were isolated in a facility inside the base that has been specifically established and prepared for this purpose."

Tanzania becomes a middle-income country

Peter Wakaba

BBC News

People walk at a market in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The GNI per capita is the dollar value of a country's final income in a year, divided by its population

Tanzania is now officially a middle-income country after the World Bank published a reviewed classification of world economies.

The East African nation enters into that bracket of middle-income countries with a GNI per capita of between $1,006 (£806) and $3,955 - a rough measure of each person's annual national income.

Last year, Tanzania’s economy grew by 6.8% in 2019 and 7% in 2018, one of the fastest growth rates in the world.

According to analysts, this rate of growth has been going for over a decade, and continued after President John Magufuli took office.

The country is the second largest economy in the region and now joins Kenya as the second East Africa Community member state in the middle-income bracket.

Apart from lifting millions out of poverty, the real benefit or even loss of graduating from least developed country status should become apparent for Tanzania in coming days.

Businesses reopen in Ethiopian capital after protests

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC News, Addis Ababa

Police patrol the streets of Addis Ababa
Unrest in the country was sparked by the killing of a musician

Many businesses and offices in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa reopened Friday morning, with the city appearing to resume some normalcy after days of deadly protests.

Public transport has also resumed, though there is still heavy security presence on the streets.

On Thursday night, the city mayor addressed the public urging everyone to get back to work.

The authorities have closed the Addis offices of three television stations linked with groups from three different ethnic groups, saying they are being investigated for fanning ethnic animosities.

But the stations, Asrat, Oromia Media Network and Dimsti Woyane, have continued to broadcast from their studios,

At least 81 people were killed in the country after the death of a popular singer Hachalu Hundessa sparked huge protests in the Oromia region.

Meanwhile In the eastern city of Diredawa, where two people were killed in the aftermath of the musician's killing, the police say they have arrested more than 270 people in connection with the violence.

Read more: The singer whose murder sparked Ethiopia protests

Algerian activists freed ahead of independence day

Karim Tabbou is greeted upon release

The Algerian government has provisionally released a key protest movement leader, Karim Tabbou, and three other activists ahead of the country's independence day.

He was released alongside activists Amira Bouraoui and Samir Benlarbi on Thursday.

Tabbou is one of the most prominent figure of the "Hirak" movement that forced the downfall last April of long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

He was sentenced to a one-year jail term in March for an "attack on the integrity of national territory" after a speech he made, which was posted on Facebook, criticised the role of the army in politics

Amnesty International, which lobbied for Tabbou's release, welcomed the "good news" and called for the "immediate and unconditional" release of all other "prisoners of opinion" held in Algeria.

Algerian activists had been holding weekly anti-government protests for more than a year until March when the coronavirus pandemic spread to the country.