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AU Okays AstraZeneca Vaccine Use

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AstraZeneca Vaccine Faces Another Setback After Independent Board Questions Trial Data

The African Union (AU) says use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines should continue. The body said on Thursday it authorizes the jab alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) saying the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks.

Several European countries have suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccine amid concerns of blood clots side effects.

Many African countries are using the AstraZeneca shots distributed by a global scheme co-led by the who to kick-start immunization campaigns.

Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong told a news conference that the “benefits still outweigh the risks” and countries should “move forward”.

Nkengasong added that any adverse reactions should be monitored and reported. In Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo has delayed the rollout of AstraZeneca’s shot, citing the suspensions in Europe.

But other countries are forging ahead. Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria said they had not recorded any serious side-effects from AstraZeneca’s vaccine so far.

He said “I encourage countries…to continue with their vaccination campaigns and not to pause, as we are in a race against time. End quote.

AstraZeneca said on Sunday that a review of safety data of more than 17 million people in the United Kingdom and European Union who had been given its vaccine had shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

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Idriss Déby: Macron’s Tribute To Chad President Killed By Rebels

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Slain Chadian president, Idris Deby, is being buried today, Friday in the capital city N’Djamena. The funeral is being attended by world leaders, including French president Emmanuel Macron.

Déby was a key player in security strategy in the Sahel region.

Macron addressed his words to the casket, saying “you lived as a soldier, you died as a soldier with weapons in hand.

He added “You gave your life for Chad in defence of its citizens.”

Chad military reported president Déby was killed on Monday while on the frontline leading his troops against fighters of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), a group formed by dissident army officers in 2016.

Malian and Guinean leaders have arrived in N’Djamena despite warnings from the rebels that foreign leaders should not attend for security reasons.

Friday’s ceremony also saw a military march-past and a speech by Déby’s son, Gen Mahamat “Kaka” Déby Itno, who the army has named as the country’s new leader.

After a prayer is said at the grand mosque of N’Djamena, Déby’s body will be flown to Amdjarass, a small village next to his hometown of Berdoba, near the Sudanese border.

His son, 37-year-old general Mahamat Idriss Déby, has taken over power after his death.

Meanwhile, the US has urged its nationals in chad to exercise caution on the day of Déby’s funeral.

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Thousands Facing Hunger Over Mozambique Crisis – UN

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The United Nations says thousands of people are facing hunger as a result of the crisis in Mozambique. Several days of attacks in Palma last month were targeted at foreign workers and expatriates. Reports say the attacks have caused tens of thousands to flee.  Jihadists killed dozens of people in the five-day assault. At least 50,000 have been displaced – some to remote areas.

UN World Food Programme says the crisis in northern Mozambique is adding to a growing humanitarian crisis in the region. The agency says close to a million persons affected by the conflict in northern Mozambique are facing severe hunger, many lacking proper shelter.  The agency says malnutrition among children is also on the rise.

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Nigeria Heightens Security On Border With Chad

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Nigeria’s minister of defence Bashir Magashi says the country has heightened security on its border with chad following president Idris Deby’s killing by rebels.

The minister says this is because of external threats that would come from the influx of refugees. Magashi says only Nigerians living in Chad will be allowed back into the country.

Nigeria borders Chad in the north-east where Boko Haram militants have been active recently. Chadian soldiers have been part of the troops battling insecurity in west Africa.

Chad is seen as an important country to the international efforts to combat insecurity in the west African region.

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