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CAR MP Fires Into Air In Parliament

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Shooting In Nigerian House Of Assembly

A lawmaker fired into the air in the Central African Republic’s parliament on Monday after an altercation with a colleague as MPs were preparing to vote for a new speaker, an AFP journalist saw.

Alfred Yekatom, who represents the southern M’baiki district and is a former militia leader, drew his weapon during the dispute, then fired the gun as he ran away.

Yekatom’s motive for shooting the gun, which sent MPs rushing to the exit, was not clear.

He is a former soldier as well as the former head of a faction of the so-called anti-Balaka militia, which emerged in largely Christian communities in 2013 to fight a mainly Muslim rebel alliance, the Seleka.

Police arrested Yekatom while he was still in the parliament building.

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Moments later, more gunfire broke out as a car rammed the police barrier outside parliament.

In 2015, a UN Security Council committee slapped a travel ban and assets freeze on Yekatom for “engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the CAR”.

Parliament was to elect a new speaker on Monday, three days after a censure motion removed Karim Meckassoua, who represents a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Bangui.

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After years of confrontation between Muslim and Christian groups in the majority Christian country, Meckassoua’s election in 2016 was seen as a symbol of reconciliation.

On Sunday Meckassoua said he would challenge his sacking in the courts, calling for his ouster not to be turned into a sectarian debate – while noting that 38 of the 41 deputies who voted against him were Christian.

The former French colony’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, is a Christian, and observers have said that relations between him and Meckassoua have never been good.

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Sporadic gunfire was heard late on Friday in the PK5 district, Bangui’s economic hub and often scene of violence. There was also shooting in rebel strongholds Bria and Bambari, but it was not clear whether it was linked to Meckassoua’s fate.

Since 2013, the Central African government has been in control of only a small part of its territory, with vast parts living under the control of armed groups.

The country of 4.5 million, rich in diamonds and uranium, counts among the world’s poorest.

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African News

Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Conditions

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Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Condition

More than ten thousand Moroccan teachers have staged a new protest in the capital, Rabat, on Sunday to demand better working conditions.  This followed another demonstration that was broken up by police.

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These nationwide teacher strikes in Morocco have continued for three weeks and have drawn at least seventy-thousand public school teachers, marching across the country to protest against a new teacher employment contract they see as an attack on their rights and financial security.

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Their demands include legal due process for teachers facing dismissal, protection of the right to strike, periodic pay increases, increased teacher training, improved student transport and construction of more schools.

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Storm-Hit Areas

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Cyclone Idai: Cases Of Cholera Reported In Hit Areas

Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe were hit last week by one of the biggest and most aggressive cyclones ever recorded in the Southern African region.  It took the storm a few hours to kill hundreds, topple homes, uproot trees and leave scores of residents submerged in water.

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Mozambique’s third largest city, Beira, received the largest share of the devastation.  The Port City was turned upside down.  The extent of the devastation is massive, and the city is still primarily without electricity, running water and mobile phone service.

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Relief organizations, including the international federation of the red cross and red crescent societies, say some cases of cholera had already been reported.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe storm victims now face grief and hunger.  The country’s entertainment stars have organized a concert to raise funds to help victims.  There is growing fear of starvation in communities that have been cut off by smashed bridges or destroyed roads.

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UN says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now Up To 134

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United Nations says Death Toll From Massacre In Mali Now 134

The United Nations says death toll from massacre in a village in Mali has risen to 134.

An ethnic Dogon militia, already blamed for scores of attacks in central Mali over the past year, is said to have attacked an ethnic village just before dawn on Saturday. The militia accused the ethnic community of having ties to jihadist groups.

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A visiting UN representative said in Bamako the killings are an “unspeakable attack.”  Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutterres condemned the attack and called on Malian authorities to swiftly investigate and bring perpetrators to justice.

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