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7 Killed, Almost 80 Injured In Morocco Train Derailment

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Cameroon Rail Operator To Appeal Disaster Conviction

At least seven people died and nearly 80 were injured after a shuttle train linking the Moroccan capital to a town farther north on the Atlantic coast derailed Tuesday, authorities at the accident site said.

The train derailed about halfway between Rabat and the town of Kenitra, near the city of Sale. Tangled in the wreckage were doors and seats that had been gouged out of place, while passengers’ belongings and glass from broken windows littered the accident site.

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Emergency workers rushed people to hospitals in Rabat, Sale and Kenitra while rescue teams searched for more victims with the help of cadaver dogs. Military personnel guarded the site as railway workers and authorities started to investigate why the train jumped its tracks.

Local residents were the first to reach the scene in the town of Sidi Bouknadel, helping injured or trapped survivors out of mangled train cars and covering the bodies of the dead. They reported the accident happened at around 09:30.

“We heard a gigantic explosion. The earth shook and the sound was unbearable,” Mourad El Kbiri, who owns a cafe near where the train detailed, told The Associated Press. “I rushed to see what happened. It was horrific. Disfigured bodies all over the place, blood and body pieces.”

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The Center for Blood Immunization declared a state of emergency and dispatched blood collection vehicles to Rabat, Kenitra, Sale and Sidi Bouknadel to receive donors.

The general director of state-owned railway company ONCF, Mohamed Rabie Khlie, and Morocco’s interior and transport ministers visited the accident site briefly, but refused to comment.

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The Moroccan king, Mohammed VI, offered to pay the costs of victims’ funerals out of his own pocket, state news agency MAP reported.

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African News

Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

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Zimbabwe: Government, Civil Servants Agree Salary Deal

Zimbabwe government and civil servants have finally agreed to a salary accord after the government increased its offer to four hundred million dollars, up by fifty million.

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This means government workers and civil servants will each receive an increment of a hundred twenty-nine dollars effective on April the first.

Negotiations for a further salary review, possibly in June, will continue with consideration of other non-monetary incentives.

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Apex council chairperson, Cecilia Alexander, says the welfare negotiations will continue until the welfare of civil servants improved.

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African News

Niger’s Top Court Outlaws ‘Fifth Wife’ Sex-Slave Maids

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Niger's Top Court Outlaws 'Fifth Wife' Sex-Slave Maids

Niger’s top court has outlawed the practice of keeping women as maids and sex slaves known as “fifth wives.”  This ends a decade-long legal battle by one victim that lawyers say could inspire others in the West African nation to seek justice.

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UK-based anti-slavery international, says the “fifth wife” custom, also known as “wahaya,” is when, in addition to the four wives permitted by Islam, rich men take on other, unofficial wives who live as domestic and sexual slaves.

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Thomson-Reuters Foundation says a Nigerien court had initially ruled in favor of the victim’s master, but she appealed the decision.  Last month, the Niger court of appeals ruled that her first marriage was never valid and that all “fifth wife” marriages are illegal.

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Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

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Gunmen Abduct Student Football Team In Cameroon

Gunmen have abducted twenty University of Buea male football team members in Cameroon’s southwest. A report says university Vice-Chancellor, Ngono Horace Manga, has confirmed the incident.

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The Vice-Chancellor is quoted as saying armed men stormed the university’s football ground and ordered the players who were training for an upcoming competition to leave with them.

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Manga also said the kidnappers contacted university authorities and demanded a ransom.  He did not disclose the amount for which they were asking.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

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