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Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis: PM Declares Assault On Regional Capital Mekelle

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An African Union mission has arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to try mediating between the federal government and the northern Tigray state after three weeks of conflict.

Three former African heads of state – of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, Liberia -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe are part of the mission.

Their arrival coincides with what prime minister Abiy Ahmed has called the “final phase” in the assault operation in Tigray.

Abiy has already rejected international efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the fighting, describing the conflict in the nation that has killed 600 persons as a law-enforcement operation. Thousands have fled their homes into neighbouring Sudan.

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Baby Vaccination Drops In Rwanda Amid Lockdown

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Baby vaccination rate is of concern to Rwandan authorities.  The Rwanda biomedical center says it expects to vaccinate 360,000 babies every year with their first shot, but the number has dropped in Kigali during the total lockdown.

Some mothers in Kigali city say they cannot miss their babies’ vaccination schedules despite the city currently being in total lockdown.

At a vaccination exercise in Kigali on Monday, not all who were supposed to bring their babies for the vaccination showed up, thinking the medical personnel would not be available because of the lockdown.

The Rwanda biomedical center says the government spends $10 million annually to provide babies with no cost vaccinations.

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Tunisian Protesters Marching To Parliament Blocked

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Hundreds of Tunisians have taken to the streets in renewed protests.  The demonstrations first, in the town of Sbeitla were triggered by reports that an injured young man during last week’s clashes, Haykel Rachdi, had died. The man’s family said he was hit by a tear gas canister.

He had joined nationwide protests to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, which ushered in democracy and triggered the Arab spring uprisings across the region.

Soldiers were deployed to government buildings in the town after protesters tried to storm the police station.

On Tuesday, Tunisian police blocked the path of hundreds of protestors who were trying to reach the parliament building in the capital, Tunis.

It was the latest in a series of demonstrations that have been fueled by frustration at the lack of jobs and spiraling prices.

More than one thousand young protesters had been arrested during the previous protests, and many of the protesters on Tuesday were calling for their release.

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Morocco Begins Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccinations

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After Egypt, Morocco is set to become the latest country in Africa to roll out a vaccination programme against COVID-19 giving priority to frontline medical staff.

The country has received two million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and is expected to take delivery of half a million doses from China’s Sinopharm on Wednesday.

Morocco was hit hard last year when it recorded a higher number of cases compared to its neighbours

Tunisia has pushed back its vaccination campaign to April, while Algeria expects to acquire a batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vacc Oxford/AstraZeneca ine by the end of this month.

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