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Ethiopia PM Meets AU Envoys But Bars Them From Tigray

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After more than three weeks of military conflict in Ethiopia, the country’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has on Friday met an African Union mission in Addis Ababa to try to mediate between his government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Initially, Abiy has refused to negotiate with the TPLF and has rebuffed calls for dialogue as “interference” in Ethiopia’s internal affairs as he branded international efforts to bring the two parties to the table as “unwelcome”. After Friday’s meeting with three special AU envoys,

The prime minister, who won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize said in a statement after Friday’s meeting with three special AU envoys that his government was seeking to ensure the protection of civilians, it was opening a humanitarian corridor, and it will welcome back Ethiopian refugees who fled into Sudan.

However, the prime minister said his government would continue its efforts against what it calls the “TPLF clique”.

The government has already said the AU envoys – former presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa – will not be allowed to travel to Tigray.

Abiy said he appreciated the “esteemed African elders” for their “readiness to support”, “this gesture and… the steadfast commitment this demonstrates to the principle of African solutions to African problems.”

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Emirates Airlines Temporarily Suspends Flights To South Africa

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Emirates Airlines says it will suspend all flights to and from south Africa from this weekend till January the 28th for operational reasons.

The Dubai-based airline says customers holding tickets with final destinations in South Africa during that period will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin. It did not elaborate further.

Emirates is popular to and from the country. South Africa has seen a surge in cases since a new variant was identified in the country in November.

Emirates is popular with travellers to and from South Africa, but there has been a sharp drop in travel because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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‘Unique’ COVID-19 Variant Detected In Kenya

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Kenya says it has detected a unique coronavirus variant in the south-east of the country, following a study by state-linked Kenya Medical Research Institute between June and October.

Scientists at the institute say more research needs to be done to assess the impact of the variant.

Kenya has so far confirmed nearly 100,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 1,700 deaths.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the faster-spreading South African variant has been detected in three African states – Botswana, Zambia and the Gambia in west Africa.

WHO says Africa has now surpassed three million COVID-19 cases, and daily case numbers were exceeding the first wave peak.

WHO an average of 25,223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18,104 daily average cases.

“Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point,” it added.

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Dozens Killed In Suspected Rebel Attack In Eastern DR Congo

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A senior provincial official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has on Thursday said at least 46 civilians are reported to have been killed in an attack by suspected rebel fighters on a village in the eastern part of the country.

Adjio Gidi, a provincial Interior Minister said as of this afternoon 46 persons are reported to have died and local security forces have been dispatched to the village in Irumu territory to investigate.

He added that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were behind the raid.

According to UN figures The Ugandan armed group is believed to have carried out a string of massacres in the eastern DRC, killing more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019.

Local army spokesman Jules Ngongo said after being alerted to the latest violence, troops went to the village and are in the process of recovering bodies. He did not say how many had been killed.

Some few days ago, unidentified attackers killed at least six rangers in an ambush in eastern DRC’s Virunga National Park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.

DRC’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are home to a constellation of more than 100 different rebel groups, many remnants of its brutal civil wars that officially ended in 2003.

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