Telephone, internet, and banking services are reportedly down in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, following clashes between federal troops and regional security forces.
Diplomatic sources say heavy fighting broke out in Tigray region on Wednesday morning, after the prime minister Abiy Ahmed sent in soldiers in response to what he said was an attack on federal troops.
Residents reported bursts of gunfire early on Wednesday morning on the outskirts of the regional capital, Mekelle.
Ethiopian government has now declared a six-month-long state of emergency in Tigray following Wednesday’s escalation of tensions.
Prime minister’s spokesman, Billene Seyoum, told the media, without elaborating, that military operations in Tigray had commenced.
The government said in a statement, the emergency is meant to “maintain the country’s peace, the safety and security of its citizens and to prevent acts that may lead the country to further unrest and instability.”
Flavoured HIV Drug For Children To Be Rolled Out In Africa
Aid agencies say flavoured tablet for children living with HIV will be rolled out in Africa next year. The un estimates more than one and a half million children around the world live with HIV with only half receiving any treatment.
The UN explains one thing that has made it difficult for young children to take their anti-retroviral medication has been its bitter taste. Another problem has been the cost – despite some significant progress in recent years.
Health experts say the low cost strawberry-flavoured tablet will be given in doses that are suitable for children living with HIV. That means no more crushing up of adult-sized tablets.
It is to be the first generic paediatric version of a key anti-retroviral therapy which will even be available for babies. Reports say, in a few months, children in Benin Republic, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zimbabwe will receive the new tablets.
The new treatment will cost 120 dollars a year instead of its previous nearly 500 dollars a year cost.
A landmark agreement between UNITAID and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) will see HIV treatment among children reduce by 75% in low and middle-income countries with access to more appropriate treatment.
Mali: COVID-19 And Conflict Lead To Rise In Child Trafficking
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR says child trafficking is on the rise in Mali, with more under-aged children being recruited by armed groups and forced to work in gold mines. It says the children were exposed to “the worst forms of child labour, economic exploitation, and physical, sexual and psychological abuse
UNHCR, says, the situation is worsened by conflict, covid-19 and deteriorating economic conditions. Particularly in Gao and Kidal where many areas are controlled by armed groups.
As schools remain closed because of conflict, insecurity, covid-19 or teachers’ strikes, children are reported pushed towards informal gold mines.
UNHCR says a network of humanitarian agencies has documented 230 cases of child recruitment in the first half of the year, compared with 215 cases all of last year.
It also found an estimated 6,000 children, disproportionately boys, working across eight mining sites in Mali.
The U.S State Department report says, Mali is a source, transit, and destination country for transnational trafficking, and that internal trafficking is more prevalent.
Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year
Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has on Tuesday been named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2020.
Forbes Africa disclosed this in a tweet saying Okonjo-Iweala who is a candidate for the office of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been named “The 2020 African person of the Year.”
Reacting to the news, Okonjo-Iweala said she is “thrilled to be named Forbes Africa-CNBC ‘2020 African of the Year’ following in the footsteps of my great brothers Paul Kagame and Akin Adesina.”
She added “This award is for Africans suffering the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me”.