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Sudan Closes Border With Ethiopia Amid Clashes In Restive Region

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The Sudan says it has closed its eastern border with Ethiopia, located in Kassala State, because of rising tensions between Ethiopian federal authorities and the Tigray region.

A governor, Fateh Al-Rahman Al-Amin, says the border will remain closed until further notice.  He says he would travel to a village in Kassala state bordering Ethiopia and Eritrea, to assess the situation.  Al-Amin says Sudanese authorities would not allow any individuals or groups to enter the state with weapons.

The Sudan’s prime minister Abdalla Hamdok spoke by phone on Thursday with his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed, on the latest developments in Ethiopia.

A committee is said to be formed to look into how to deal with civilians who may seek refuge in Sudanese territory.

Ethiopian prime minister Ahmed ordered the army on Wednesday to take military action against Tigray region, effectively declaring war.  Hamed accused Tigray fighters of attacking federal troops stationed in the region.

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Okonjo-Iweala Named Forbes Africa Person Of The Year

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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”.

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Mauritania Uncovers Illegal Migration Networks

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Mauritanian authorities say they have uncovered more than 30 illegal migration networks and repatriated around 4,000 persons to various west African countries.

Interior minister, Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, told local media there had been an increase in the number of persons trying to reach Spain’s Canary Islands – an alternative route to the Mediterranean Sea where some migrants have been deterred by stricter controls and instability in Libya.

The United Nations has called for greater efforts to disrupt people-smuggling rings, after more than 140 persons died off the coast of Senegal in October in the deadliest shipwreck of the year.

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Amnesty Urges UN To Maintain South Sudan Arms Embargo

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Amnesty International is urging the United Nations Security Council to maintain its arms embargo on South Sudan amid what the human rights group calls “extreme violence by government forces, and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes.”

The UN security council is due to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before mid-December.

The council first established an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018.  It was renewed last year and subsequently extended by a year in may this year.

Amnesty says it had documented “a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces.”

The group cited a four-fold increase in violence in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Amnesty says as South Sudan was calling for the embargo to be reviewed earlier this year, “government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country.”

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