Africa at a glance

Friday October 11 2019

Indian businessmen Ajay Gupta and younger

Indian businessmen Ajay Gupta and younger brother Atul Gupta during an interview with Business Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on 2 March 2011. The United States on October 10, 2011 placed sanctions on the duo and their other sibling Rajesh for running a significant corruption network in South Africa. Their assets within US jurisdiction will be frozen and dealings with US citizens and businesses outlawed. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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  • Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy was on Friday awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation.

The Nobel Committee said the $934,000 award was in particular in recognition of "his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea."

After coming to power in April 2018, Abiy, 43, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 73, signed a peace deal later that year formally ending a 20-year-old stalemate between the countries.

  • US blacklists S.Africa's Zuma-allied Guptas over 'corruption'

The US Treasury announced sanctions Thursday on South Africa's Gupta business family, close friends of ex-president Jacob Zuma, calling them a "significant corruption network" that dispersed bribes and misappropriated millions in state funds.


The three Indian-born Gupta brothers - Ajay, Atul and Rajesh - are at the center of a South African investigation into rampant corruption during Zuma's nine-year administration.

The sanctions include freezing of assets under US jurisdiction and outlawing of transactions between them and American citizens or businesses.

A South African court was scheduled to rule Friday on whether to proceed with an earlier case involving corrupt payments Zuma allegedly received from a French arms company during the 1990s.

  • Sudan appoints first female judiciary chief

Sudan's ruling body on Thursday appointed two top judicial officials, including the country's first ever female chief of the judiciary.

Veteran Supreme Court judge Neemat Abdullah Kheir was appointed as chief of the judiciary while Taj Al-Sir Ali as the country's new prosecutor general, the official SUNA news agency reported.

The appointments are in line with the 11-member council's aim to achieve gender balance in public offices and come after last month's appointment of Asma Mohamed Abdalla, as the country's first ever female foreign minister.

  • Benin president launches 'dialogue' without key opponents

Benin President Patrice Talon on Thursday launched a political "dialogue" to calm tensions sparked by the opposition's exclusion from April elections despite his key foes being in exile following a crackdown.

The West African nation has faced a political crisis since the parliamentary vote earlier this year that saw Talon's allies win all the seats as opposition groups were effectively banned.

The president invited nine political parties to the "dialogue" - set to last until Saturday - but key opposition groups say the former business magnate is masking his increasingly authoritarian rule.

  • Prominent Egyptian dissident 'tortured' in jail

Amnesty International on Thursday accused Egyptian authorities of torturing detained activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, denouncing what it described as the use of "extreme brutality" to crush dissent.

The rights group said the torture as well as the mistreatment of his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer illustrated the ruthless tactics the Egyptian authorities were using to silence critics.

Abdel Fattah, 37, an iconic figure of the Arab Spring uprising that unseated longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, was detained at the end of September.

  • Liberia shuts radio station critical of president

Liberian police on Thursday closed a radio station critical of President George Weah, accusing it of inciting violence, and used tear gas to disperse people protesting against the move.

Roots FM, owned by Henry Costa, is one of the leaders of a group that organised a large anti-government street protest on June 17, paralysing several areas of the seaside capital Monrovia.

Liberia's solicitor general said the station was engaged in criminal acts of extortion and blackmail.

He gave an edict that all public demonstrations have to be sanctioned by the government of Liberia, belying Weah's pledge at the UN General Assembly last month to protect democracy and human rights.

  • S.Africa president calls for tolerance towards migrants

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged South Africans to be tolerant of migrants following recent xenophobic violence, as hundreds of waryrefugees camped outside UN offices demanding to be removed the country.

In August and early September, the country saw a wave of xenophobic violence that left 10 South Africans and two migrants dead when mobs descended on foreign-owned stores in and around Johannesburg, destroying properties and looting.

"There needs to be more tolerance, there needs to be more understanding," Ramaphosa told the upper house of parliament in Cape Town saying the unrest was "driven by criminality."

  • Eight people feared dead after DR Congo plane goes missing

A cargo plane that was providing logistical assistance for a trip by DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has gone missing, the country's Civil Aviation Authority said on Friday.

It said air traffic controllers lost contact with the Antonov 72 on Thursday, 59 minutes after it took off from the eastern city of Goma.

The plane, carrying four crew and four civilian and military passengers, was "providing logistics" for the president, the authority's director general, Jean Mpunga, said in a statement.

  • Iran women attend football match for first time in decades

Thousands of Iranian women on Thursday attended a football match for the first time in decades, after FIFA threatened to suspend the country over its controversial stadium restrictions.

Their presence inside Tehran's 100,000-capacity Azadi Stadiumt turned talismanic as Iran went on to blowout Cambodia 14-0 in the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia.

For nearly 40 years, the Islamic republic has barred female spectators from entering football and other sports stadiums, with clerics arguing women must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.