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Central African Republic Rebels Take Key City As Fighting Escalates

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Rebels in the Central African Republic have reportedly seized the key city of Bambari on Tuesday. Government and UN sources also confirmed the fall of city.

Security forces and U.N. Peacekeepers have been battling rebels.

Rwanda and Russia sent troops and supplies to the C.A.R. to help counter a surge in violence by rebel groups ahead of Sunday’s election.

Bambari mayor says the seizure of the city is a sharp escalation of violence ahead of the presidential and parliamentary election.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera, is seeking re-election and has been trying to build support for the vote.

President Touadera said on Monday, the poll would go ahead as planned, urging people to ignore reports of a rebel advance.

Former president Francois Bozize is reported to be backing a new rebel movement that is trying to overthrow the government.

Bambari is located 380km northeast of the capital Bangui. Its capture could further complicate matters for the Central African Republic’s government which has already been struggling to govern as vast areas of the country remain in the hands of militias and rebel groups.

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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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