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News & Announcements

Sierra Leone Medical Association Mourns Untimely Exit Of A Promising Member

For everyone who knew or associated with Dr. Gabriel Omobowale Olapade before his untimely death, there is a common impression: He was a young man who was determined to make an impact on the lives of people through his chosen profession. For late Gabriel Olapade, medicine was not just a profession but a passion he lived with a desire and dedication to making an impact by touching lives.

Until his death, he was the resident anesthetist at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He studied at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (USL), where he acquired his MB ChB, and later did his housemanship for two years.

His voracious desire for education geared towards seeking more knowledge led him to earn a Diploma in Anesthesia. Unfortunately, he died from head injuries sustained in a road accident while on his way to respond to an emergency call to see a patient at the ICU, where he was incidentally admitted after the accident.

Gabriel was an easy-going, humble and dedicated family man, married with two children. No doubt, the medical association in Sierra Leone has lost a rare gem and comrade in Dr. Gabriel Omobowale Olapade.

 Adieu!

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Somalia Suicide Bomber Kills 15 Army Recruits

At least 15 army recruits have been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a military training camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Army officer Mohamed Adan said the bomber behind Tuesday’s attack was disguised among recruits queueing up outside the General Dhegobadan Military Camp when the explosion occurred.

“I have counted about 15 new recruits who have been killed in the blast,” Adan said, adding that the death toll could be higher.

The injured people were taken to Mogadishu’s Madina Hospital, according to the Reuters news agency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in the capital for 18 months.

Hotels and security checkpoints are commonly attacked in Somalia.

In December 2019, 81 people were killed by a suicide car bomber at a checkpoint in the city centre, while the last significant assault on a hotel killed 11 in August 2020.

Somalia has been mired in interlocking crises for the last 30 years, with repeated bouts of civil war, clan conflict, armed rebellion, famine, and political instability.

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Kenya Plans Reopening Embassy In Mogadishu

Kenya will very soon reopen its embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, promising that it would honor Somalia’s invitation to restore diplomatic ties, thus marking a thaw in the often-tense relations between the Horn of Africa neighbors.

Ties between the countries were severed on December 15 after Kenya hosted the leadership of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognised by the central government in Mogadishu.

On June 12, Somalia’s foreign minister, Abdirizak Mohamed, wrote to his Kenyan counterpart offering to resume full diplomatic ties “in the spirit of good neighbourliness”.

On Monday, June 14, Kenya’s foreign ministry responded with a statement that said “it welcomes and acknowledges the invitation by the federal government of Somalia to restore diplomatic relations” and that it would reopen its embassy in Mogadishu “as soon as possible”.

It also said Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya was invited to resume duties in Nairobi as well.

Last month, Somalia signalled its intention to resume ties with Kenya, but the detente stalled after Kenya, a few days later, banned flights between the two capitals without explanation. The flights have since resumed.

Somalia has long bristled at what it calls Kenya’s meddling in regions beyond its border, while Nairobi has accused Mogadishu of using it as a scapegoat for its own political problems.

The neighbours are also engaged in a long-running territorial dispute over a potentially resource-rich stretch of the Indian Ocean claimed by both nations.

The dispute reached its nadir in early 2019 when Kenya recalled its ambassador after Somalia decided to unilaterally auction off oil and gas blocks.

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Ugandan Court Grants Bail To 18 Supporters Of Bibi Wine

On Monday a Ugandan military court released on bail 18 supporters of singer-turned-opposition leader Bobi Wine detained since the start of the year on charges lawyers and government critics say are politically motivated.

“They were granted bail, so for now they have some temporary freedom,” their lawyer, George Musisi, told Reuters.

The move follows the release on May 25 of the first batch of 17 activists from a group of 35 originally detained on Dec. 30 for violating COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

They were subsequently charged in a military court with weapons offences, even though all the accused are civilians.

Wine, 39, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has galvanized a large support base, especially among the country’s youth, provoking a deadly crackdown from the government of veteran leader, Yoweri Museveni,76.

He stood against Museveni in the country’s Jan. 14 presidential election, but results released by the electoral body said he had lost to Museveni.

Wine rejected the results, alleging ballot stuffing, intimidation of his supporters and falsification of ballot tallies. The U.S. also said the poll was not credible and has sanctioned officials. The government denied election fraud.

Since last year security forces have detained hundreds of Wine’s supporters for interrogations, according to rights activists, the government and opposition officials. Some of those detained have been freed, while others who were detained have not been traced anywhere in official detention facilities.

Those released on Monday include Wine’s long term singing partner Nubian Li, with whom he has sung ballads alleging violence against the opposition and other rights abuses.

“These young people spent six months in jail over charges that were simply punishment for supporting the opposition,” Musisi said.

Museveni has led the east African country since 1986 and is currently Africa’s fourth longest-ruling leader. He has previously dismissed allegations about abuses.

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Zambia’s Ex-President, Kenneth Kaunda, Hospitalised

Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda has been admitted to a military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, his office announced in a statement Monday.

“The office and family of the First President wish to inform the general public that Dr Kenneth Kaunda has been unwell and was admitted to Maina Soko Medical Centre” said the statement issued by his administrative assistant.

Kaunda was among leaders who formed frontline States to respond to white minority rule and agitate for the liberation of southern Africa.

He started as a popular leader but became increasingly autocratic and banned all opposition parties.

While in power, Kaunda hosted many of the movements that fought for independence or black equality in countries in the region, including South Africa’s African National Congress.

He ceded power in the first multi-party election in 1991.

Still waving his famous white handkerchief, the founding president is rarely seen in public due to old age.

KK, as he is fondly called, a vegan of many years, is one of the few remaining African liberation heroes and has seen the country’s relatively smooth transitions between leaders.

He is still somewhat popular, but not exactly in the political sense.

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12 Dead As Gunmen Attack Plateau Village In Northern Nigeria

Gunmen have invaded a community on Sunday night in plateau state killing 12 persons in Kashe, Kuru District, South Local Government Area of the state.

Reports have it that the gunmen invaded the village in motor bikes shooting sporadically at the sleeping community.

Reacting to the incident, a federal lawmaker from the place Dachung Bagos condemned the killing of 12 persons in Kashe. After touring the area, Bagos described the incident as “sad and unfortunate”.

He decried the spate of killings in his constituency and the state in general.

“This is very sad and unfortunate; that 12 able-bodied men are killed for no reason.

“This is a failure to secure the lives and property of citizens.

“This is why we have been clamouring for state police, because with such arrangements, insecurity will drastically reduce.

“I don’t know if the government is waiting for this to happen to public figures before it beef up security in our communities,” he said

Bagos called on security agencies to intensify efforts at safeguarding the lives and property of the people.

He also called on the people to be patient and law-abiding, and to desist from embarking on reprisal attacks.

“I am pleading with the people to be patient and law abiding.

“We will continue to emphasize the need for restructuring of the security architecture that will address our current security challenges,” he said

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UNICEF Demands Immediate Release Of 150 Abducted Nigerian Students

The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has demanded the immediate release of 150 kidnapped Nigerian school children.

The appeal is coming two weeks after the abduction of the students from the Salihu Tanko Islamiya School in Tegina, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State in the north-central part of the country and UNICEF expressed deep concern about the fate of the children, some of whom are as young as three, and called for their immediate and unconditional release.

In a statement on Monday, signed by Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF was worried about the mental and general well-being of the abducted children.

The statement partly read: “We are appalled that two weeks after 150 students were abducted from their school, they continue to be held by their abductors.

“Parents are grieving their children’s ‘disappearance; siblings are missing their brothers and sisters – these children must be immediately and unconditionally released and safely reunited with their families.

“It is horrifying that schools and schoolchildren continue to be targets of attack, and in this particular incident, even children as young as three years old. We can only begin to imagine how frightened they are, and the impact this will have on their mental health and well-being.”

UNICEF stressed that attacks on students and schools were not only reprehensible but a gross violation of the right of children to an education. It is a right that any society can ill-afford to violate.

The organisation called on the Nigerian Government to take all measures to protect schools in the country, and implement the promises made in the Financing Safe Schools in Nigeria Conference in April this year, so that children will not be fearful of going to school, and parents afraid of sending their children to school.

“Schools must be safe places to study and develop, and learning should not be a risky endeavour,” said Rushnan Murtaza.

“There are very few – if any – things more important for any society than ensuring the safe education of its children.”

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COVID-19: Zimbabwe Imposes Lockdown In Two More Districts

The Zimbabwean government has announced a two-week localized lockdown for Hurungwe and Kariba districts in Mashonaland West Province following a spike in Covid-19 infections.

The development comes after the government extended a localized lockdown for Kwekwe district in the Midlands Province after detecting the highly transmissible Delta variant first detected in India.

Announcing the localized lockdown Friday night, Chief Director of Curative Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Maxwell Hove said the restrictions were meant to prevent a spike in infections and give health facilities a better chance to contain the virus.

“More than 40 cases were recorded in the last three days. The ministry has therefore declared a lockdown in the hotspots of Kariba and Hurungwe districts. The lockdown will be reviewed after two weeks,” said, Hove.

“Those living outside Hurungwe and Kariba are prohibited from visiting the two districts. The public is advised that health education, contact tracing, and isolating positive cases is being done.”

Hove urged those who had not yet been vaccinated to get their jabs at the nearest health centres.

Slightly more than one million people in Zimbabwe have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

As of Friday night, the southern African country had recorded 39,688 positive cases of Covid-19, with 36,970 recoveries and 1,629 deaths.

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Gunmen Kill Guard At Home Of Niger’s Parliament President

Machine-gun-wielding attackers on the home of Seini Oumarou, president of Niger’s National Assembly, has killed one of his guards and seriously wounded a second, authorities said.

The attack, which happened overnight Friday to Saturday, was carried out by two men on a motorbike, Osseini Salatou, an adviser to Oumarou, told journalists on Saturday.

“They machine-gunned the guards (posted in front of his home), killing one of them” and seriously wounding the other, he added.

AFP says that Niger’s interior ministry confirmed the attack in a statement Saturday evening, adding that the two attackers had tried unsuccessfully to drive off a four-wheel-drive vehicle parked in front of the building before leaving the scene.

Officials had opened an investigation into the attack, they added.

Oumarou leads the National Movement for the Development of Society, which was in power between 1999 and 2010.

Now 70, Oumarou placed third in the first round of the December 2020 presidential election, before throwing his support behind the eventual winner, Mohamed Bazoum.

In the violence that erupted following Bazoum’s election win in February, protesters attacked Oumarou’s home, shooting dead one of his bodyguards.

Niger lies on the edge of the Sahara desert, where security is a growing concern after attacks by ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda-linked armed groups from neighbouring Nigeria, Mali and Libya.

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13 Persons Killed In Syria Deadly Hospital Attacks

At least 13 people, including two medical staff, have been killed and several wounded in two separate artillery attacks in the northern Syrian town of Afrin controlled by Turkey-backed fighters, activists, and aid the group said on Sunday.

The first attack, according to Aljazeera, struck a residential area, while the second hit a hospital shortly afterwards, civil defence sources told Reuters news agency. Video footage on social media showed casualties amid the ruins of the al-Shifa Hospital, which went out of service after the attack.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling, which reportedly came from areas where Syrian government troops and Kurdish-led fighters are deployed.

The governor of Turkey’s Hatay province, across the border from Afrin, and Turkey’s defence ministry also said the attack killed 13 civilians and injured 27, adding that it involved rocket and artillery shelling of the hospital. The governor’s office blamed the attack on Syrian Kurdish groups.

Members of the Syria Civil Defence (White Helmets) sift through the rubble at al-Shifa hospital following the shelling of the rebel-held city of Afrin in northern Syria [Bakr Al-Kasem/AFP]

Ankara condemned the attack, saying it was launched by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF said it was not behind the attacks.

Ankara considers the YPG a “terrorist” group linked to Kurdish separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), inside Turkey. The PKK is designated as a “terrorist group” by the United States and the European Union.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 18. Al Jazeera could not verify the conflicting death toll figures.

“The shelling targeted several areas of the town and hit the hospital,” Syrian Observatory Director Rami Abdurrahman was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

The artillery fire originated from northern Aleppo province “where militia faithful to Iran and the [Syrian] regime is deployed, near the zones run by Kurdish forces”, he added.

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), an aid group that assists health centres in opposition areas confirmed that the hospital was targeted by two missiles which destroyed the polyclinic department, the emergency and the delivery rooms.

Two of the 13 killed were hospital staff and two were ambulance drivers, said SAMS. Eleven staff were injured.

SAMS said the hospital was one of the largest facilities in northern Syria that offered thousands of medical services each month and its coordinates were shared as part of the United Nations-led deconfliction mechanism.

Afrin was largely cleared of YPG fighters in 2018 through a military operation by Turkey. Ankara now retains a large military presence in the area, deploying thousands of troops.

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