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Thousands Of CAR Refugees Flee To Cameroon After Polls

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At least 30,000 Central Africans have fled their country since the 27 December presidential elections, and sought refuge in Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville.

Following clashes between the army and rebel groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says close to 5,000 CAR refugees have fled to eastern Cameroon.

The agency says that at least 500 Central African refugees enter Cameroon every day. As of December last year, Cameroon was host to over 316,000 CAR refugees.

Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, who was in Garoua-Boulaii over the weekend to assess the situation, worries that the influx of refugees could constitute a security risk.

A voluntary repatriation process was already underway, but the recent spike in violence in the country means that process has to be stalled while the new wave of refugees means more pressure will be put on scarce resources.

Rebels under the Coalition of Patriots for Change, who now control two thirds of the territory, have overrun several key towns in CAR as they mobilise towards the capital, Bangui, following the December elections, which they rejected.

Cesar Tshilombo who is the deputy country representative of the UNHCR in Cameroon says the new arrivals have been reporting cases of abuse, looting and violence.

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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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