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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agree To Form Unity Government

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Relief As South Sudan Unveils New Ministers

South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.

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Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.

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There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

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South Africa Says Ports Remain Open Despite Lockdown

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South Africa Says Ports Remain Open Despite Lockdown

South Africa says its ports remain open to all types of cargo. The department of transport said in a notice shared by the South African maritime safety authority on its website that essential goods are being prioritized where possible.

The notice contradicts communications from port authorities last week that said South Africa’s bulk terminals, would shut for the duration of a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

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The government has now decided that all cargo will be accepted for loading and off-loading to ensure a functional supply chain across all ports.

South Africa has the highest number of coronavirus cases in sub-Saharan Africa, and the government is worried that infection rates could get out of hand if the virus starts spreading rapidly in the country’s poor and overcrowded townships. Health minister Zweli Mkhize says “hundreds of thousands” of coronavirus tests will be conducted to understand the true number of infections and halt their spread.

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Covid-19 Causes Low Voter Turn Out In Mali

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Covid-19 Causes Low Voter Turn Out In Mali

Mali officials are reporting a voter turnout of just 36 percent for the country‘s legislative elections.

Minister of territorial administration, Boubacar Alpha Bah, said on Thursday many chose to stay away from the ballot boxes because of threats of violence and covid-19 pandemic.

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Mali went to the polls on Sunday, to elect new lawmakers in an election that has been long delayed over security concerns.

Polling day was marked by several violent incidents in the volatile north and centre, including kidnappings of officials.

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Provisional results released on Thursday indicate a leading opposition figure, Soumaila Cissé, was elected in the first round, but also show a second round of voting will be needed in some districts where no candidate won a majority.  The results also show many candidates who support president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta will likely face a second round of voting by the middle of this month.

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Tanzania Extends Visas For Stranded Tourists

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Tanzania Extends Visas For Stranded Tourists

Tanzania’s immigration department says it is approving three-month visa extensions for foreign nationals who can’t leave the country because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign visitors, who applied online, were granted the three-month visa extensions. Residents and holders of other passes, such as exemption certificates and dependent pass holders, have been given a one month extension at no cost.

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The immigration department also says, if the pandemic situation persists after the expiry of the extension period, holders would have to report to the main immigration office in Dar Es Salaam. Those who have already surrendered their residence permits or passes have also been urged to report to the main office.

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Tanzania has so far reported 20 cases of coronavirus, including one death and two recovered patients. The ministry of health has said it was tracing and monitoring more than 500 individuals who are believed to have had contact with those who have tested positive.

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The nation has not suspended international flights and its border crossings are still open, but airlines have suspended flights to the country. Tanzania’s neighbors have also restricted cross-border travel as a precaution to stopping the spread of the virus.

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