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Since the Southern Cameroons crisis started in 2016, the Yaounde government has been struggling to contain it to the two English-speaking regions of the country. Its initial attempts to pit Anglophones against Francophones fell flat on their face as Anglophones quickly checked any acts of violence against ordinary Francophones who have peacefully co-habited with their Anglophones compatriots for decades.

But the conflict which has been confined for two years and which has resulted in the death of some 5,000 Cameroonians, including more than 2,000 soldiers, is gradually rippling out into East Cameroon. The economic and political frustrations generated by the ailing and crumbling Yaounde government have finally pitted the French-speaking majority against the government.

The climax was reached in October 2018, when the Yaounde government which is popularly unpopular stole the people’s victory. Professor Maurice Kamto, the opposition candidate, was the clear winner, but since the country’s president, Paul Biya, has bought over the military, he used it to stay in power and ever since the Cameroon Diaspora has vowed to flush him out of power and even Cameroonians back home have begun to display a rare form of boldness that is gradually causing the country’s authorities to lose sleep.

On Saturday, January 26, 2019, the country was once more put in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Professor Maurice Kamto, the winner of last year’s presidential election had called for a peaceful march across the country and this time, many Cameroonians back home turned out. Faithful to its principle of intimidation and manipulation, the Biya government dispatched troops to confront demonstrators in many cities across the country.

Yaounde, Douala, Ebolowa, Bafoussam, Bafang and others witnessed huge crowds which passed on a clear message to the government. The demonstrators were clear. They called for an end to the slaughtering taking place in the two English-speaking regions of the country, an end to the electoral hold-up and an end to the corruption that has become the country’s hallmark.

To prove that it was still in control, government troops responded by firing live bullets at the demonstrators. A prominent Douala-based lawyer, Michelle Ndoki, and a popular opposition politician, Celestin Djamen, were among those who took bullets. This unfortunate situation has provoked a different situation in faraway France where Cameroon’s Diaspora is actively seeking to unseat Mr. Biya and his corrupt government.

The “Brigade Anti Sardinard” (BAS), a group born out of the need to counter the government’s corrupt practices which consist in giving bread and sardine to locals for them to vote the ruling party’s candidates in every election has swung into action. The group has vowed to disrupt all Cameroon government operations in Europe and North America and Saturday’s invasion of the country’s embassy in Paris was a demonstration of what they are capable of doing.

The BAS used the occasion to call for an end to the killing of Southern Cameroonians, adding that the shooting of an unarmed lawyer and others on Saturday was unacceptable. Members of the group brought down pictures of the head of state at the embassy and shattered the glasses. They also burnt pictures of the head of state and his wife, adding that each time a Southern Cameroonian is killed they would take over the embassy.

A BAS spokesperson declared that Biya was no longer the president of Cameroon and new embassy staff would be announced by Professor Maurice Kamto in the days ahead. He urged the military to stop taking orders from Mr. Biya, as the embassy takeover was Cameroon’s fall of the Bastille.

Speaking to the Cameroon Concord News Group during the embassy takeover in Paris, a member of the BAS stated clearly that “We are going to prove to Biya and his government that the country belongs to all Cameroonians. The government has killed 3,000 of our Anglophone brothers and we will no longer be mute while a brutal 86-year-old dictator continues to mow down our fellow citizens.”

He added that “more demonstrations have been scheduled and next time, all Cameroon embassies abroad will be taken over by the people. There will be a huge takeover in Washington and Berlin in the days ahead. The country belongs to us and not to the gerontocracy that has decided to take the country down with it.”

Meanwhile, the fighting in the two English regions of the country has intensified with army soldiers killing indiscriminately. On Friday, January 25, 2019, some sex-starved and alcohol inflamed soldiers opened fire on ten young men who had nothing to do with the conflict that is spreading pain and suffering among the population. The killings occurred in Mpondo Balong, a small settlement some 5km from Muyuka, a town not far from Buea, the southwest regional capital.

The killings have reignited tensions in the region as Southern Cameroonian fighters in the region have vowed to revenge. Early on Saturday, it was reported that soldiers and administrative officers were seen leaving the town for fear of being attacked by Southern Cameroonian fighters.

It was also reported that Southern Cameroonian fighters in Muyenge, a village on the foot of Mount Cameroon, had decided to join forces with those in Mpondo Balong and Muyuka to give army soldiers a run for their money. It is obvious that more lives will be lost and, from every indication, the southern Cameroons crisis still has many more scenes which will be playing out in a manner that will be far from being pleasant.

In the Northwest, the fighting is still going on, and many more lives have been lost. Over the last two weeks, government forces have been shooting down anything that crosses their path. Nurses, teachers and civil servants have all been targeted by the trigger-happy soldiers who want to let their masters in Yaounde know that they are doing a good job.  Nobody in the region is safe, even children are being targeted by soldiers and many of them are quick to brand even 3-year-old children as terrorists. The military’s killing of a baby last week in Kumbo has left many people wondering about the government’s real objective.

From every indication, the crisis in Southern Cameroon will not be over anytime soon, as the cycle of violence has finally taken root. With the Yaounde government ignoring all calls for an inclusive dialogue and given that it has a huge appetite for military action, it is obvious that the fighting will go on for a long time, especially as more armed groups are emerging on a daily basis in the two English-speaking regions.

According to an audio clip sent to the Cameroon Concord News Group chairman, a new armed group has been born in the Muyenge-Muyuka-Kumba area. The Southern Cameroons Liberation Organization (SCLO) has clearly indicated that it would use some of the worst methods to make its presence known in the region. Its objective is to fight for the total liberation of Southern Cameroons and it holds all is fair in war and love.

Also speaking over the phone with the Cameroon Concord New Group Chairman in the United Kingdom, the military commander of the SCLO said his group would use the most gruesome methods to send Yaounde army soldiers packing from the region.

“We are in the business of war to kill and we will stop at nothing to prove that Southern Cameroons belongs to us. Our method of choice will be the beheading of soldiers and traitors and these shows will be captured on video. The world should therefore be prepared to watch the newest show in town. Our brothers have been slaughtered by soldiers like animals. We are prepared to bring death and pain to them and their families. We have nothing to lose. We have been robbed of our happiness, our oil and our land. Our faith is worse than death. Dying will therefore be a better condition for many of us. Our fighters, who are God’s fighters, will be carrying bombs and other destructive explosives to cause maximum damage. We are ready to take death and destruction to East Cameroon so that those who have been indifferent to our plight can also have a taste of what we have been going through for two years,” he said.

The 31-year-old SCLO commander who elected anonymity, urged the Southern Cameroons Diaspora to stay united. He said “unity will take us closer to our goal and we will be able to defeat the enemy who has beaten our dust many times. The enemy may be well equipped, but its equipment alone will not give it the victory it needs. We are prepared to put our lives on the line and we hope that our brothers in the Diaspora will keep on encouraging us by providing bullets and guns. We need those dangerous weapons to teach Biya and his people that we are not scared. They might have killed some of our people, but we will never surrender. Their strategy will fail. They thought they could strike fear into us, but they are mistaken.”

“We know the French are supporting the enemy. We are therefore determined to ruin French business interest in Cameroon. The French are backing the wrong horse and we are prepared to kill that horse. The French have just lost Congo and it is clear that they will soon lose Southern Cameroons and La Republique as they continue to support a dying horse,” he pointed out.

The Southern Cameroons crisis that started as a joke some two years ago has finally become a millstone around the government’s neck. For many decades, Southern Cameroonians have been complaining about marginalization with a view to seeking a peaceful resolution of the issues facing them. But the Yaounde government has been ignoring them, holding that the country’s minority could be easily brought under control.

Despite numerous letters to the country’s president, Paul Biya, for more than three decades, the situation has never been the subject of any discussion in Yaounde. Mr. Biya and his government have never considered the Southern Cameroons question as an issue that can threaten national security and integration.

Mr. Biya and his bunch of ministers are used to looking down on their citizens and they hold that paying attention to all the memos on Southern Cameroonian issues will be dignifying a bunch of people who are just second-class citizens.

They have simply not gotten it right. They have failed to understand that those who make peaceful change impossible only make violent change inevitable and this is what is happening today in Cameroon. The refusal to listen to the plea of the people of Southern Cameroons has finally exposed the government and made the country ungovernable.

Since the conflict started, the Yaounde government has made one mistake after another. In January 2017, it arrested and jailed Southern Cameroonian leaders who had called for a federal system that would guarantee that the people take ownership of their own development projects.

Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor-Balla, Dr. Fontem Neba and Mr. Mancho Bibixy were captured and hastily taken to Yaounde in the belief that the population’s anger would be doused. This only inflamed Southern Cameroonians, and things took a turn for the worse following the arrest of Sisiku Julius Ayuk and Co. in Nigeria one year ago.

When the government kidnapped Julius Ayuk Tabe and others and dumped them in jail, it felt it had cut the “snake’s head.” But it was mistaken. The Southern Cameroons crisis is a hydra. It develops a new head each time the old one is cut off.  This makes it hard for the rebellion to be crushed, especially as most Southern Cameroonians are living abroad.

The crisis has ruined many businesses and the unemployment rate in the region has reached alarming rates. Silicon Mountain, a hub for many start-up firms in the South West regional headquarters of Buea, has been put out of business and even state corporations have been forced to close shop by the determined fighters who have been spreading fear in the region by amputating those who dare to go to work during ghost town days.   Rather than seek to appease a people who have been hurting for decades, the Yaounde government has proceeded to employing tricks and violence in the hope that it will come out of the conflict victorious.

The fighting is going on with both sides committing incredible atrocities. Cameroon, once an oasis of peace in a desert of chaos, has finally become a massive killing field. The two English-speaking regions are awash with arms. The Southern Cameroonian Diaspora is living up to its word. It had promised to destabilize Cameroon and the country has been caught up in a downward spiral.

The Diaspora is still pouring weapons into the country and this is giving the pool of willing fighters on the ground, a reason to fight to a bitter end. The Diaspora has the capacity to reduce Cameroon to a small unstable nation. Many Southern Cameroonians are living abroad because of the marginalization that the government had orchestrated against them and, today, the government is being hoist in its own petards. The pouring of weapons into the region has reduced the country’s army into a boys’ scout team. Pressure from the fighters is being felt even in Yaounde. The Diaspora is finally punishing the Yaounde government for its sins and crimes against Southern Cameroons.

From the look of things, Cameroon will never be the same again. That is the message the Yaounde government is yet to understand, but it must understand it if it wants peace to return to that region of the continent. Southern Cameroonians have crossed the Rubicon and they are not ready to make any giant steps backwards. The government must accept that only dialogue can bring back peace to the country. The reality on the ground clearly indicates that it will never win this war. The Diaspora is a huge factor and it will continue to play its role until the Yaounde government collapses.

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AFRICA UPDATE

ANC wins South Africa’s election with 57.5%

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The final tally of the South African election is out, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), winning 57.51% of votes cast.

The website of the Electoral Commission, which showed 100 per cent capturing of the 17 668 318 votes cast, showed that the ANC polled 10,026 047 votes, which is less than the 11 million votes won in 2014.

Analysts said the electoral performance was the worst since the party came to power in 1994, with legendary Nelson Mandela as president.

The biggest opposition Democratic Alliance got 3,618,992, representing 20.76% of the votes, also lower than the 22.2 per cent or the 4 million votes won in 2014.

ANC rebel, Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Party came third with 1,881,331 votes, representing 10.79 per cent of the votes cast. In 2014, EFF got 6.35 percent of the votes.

With 26,779, 025 people registered to vote, turnout was estimated at 65.99 per cent.

According to the electoral body, 235,449 votes were voided in the 22,924 of the voting districts captured, out 22,925.

 

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AFRICA UPDATE

Algerians demand sweeping change as President Bouteflika era ends

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Flag-waving Algerians have celebrated the resignation of veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but vowed Wednesday to keep protesting to demand sweeping change to the country’s political system.

The 82-year-old’s departure, announced on state media late Tuesday, followed weeks of massive demonstrations that have shaken the North African nation.

Car horns sounded on the streets before jubilant crowds converged in the centre of the capital Algiers to cheer his departure.

Many Algerians have never known any president other than Bouteflika, who held power for two decades but was rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013.

‘TOO LITTLE, TOO LITTLE’

Protesters in Algiers welcomed his departure but said they were determined to continue demonstrating, rejecting any transition that leaves power in the hands of the “system”.

“I want my daughter to remember this historic day. Bouteflika’s gone, but it’s far from over,” said 35-year-old Amal, who wore a T-shirt with the slogan “I am against the system” and vowed to march again on Friday.

For 44-year-old engineer Hamid Boumaza, Bouteflika’s resignation was “too little, too late”.

“Bouteflika’s departure is no longer enough. We want them all to go. We want full freedom and we will march for as long as necessary.”

‘DEMOCRATIC CHANGE’

Algeria’s Constitutional Council said Wednesday it had accepted Bouteflika’s resignation and informed parliament that his post was officially vacant.

Some 20 Algerian civil society groups said they would refuse a transition of power that kept the same structure in place, calling for protests Friday for “democratic change”.

“Bouteflika’s resignation… is a first victory… but it is not enough,” they said in a joint statement.

Algeria’s constitution says that the speaker of the upper house of parliament, currently 77-year-old Abdelkader Bensalah, should now act as interim leader for up to 90 days during which a presidential election must be organised.

‘PROTECT THE PEOPLE’

Algeria has largely avoided the turmoil unleashed by the Arab Spring uprisings that brought down rulers in neighbouring Tunisia and Libya.

But discontent, particularly among the young, turned to anger after Bouteflika announced in February that he would seek a fifth term in office in an election that had been scheduled for this month.

He dropped his bid in the face of the mass protests but also postponed the vote, angering Algerians who saw the move as a ploy to stay in power.

Pressure mounted Tuesday when armed forces chief Ahmed Gaid Salah called for the president’s impeachment, insisting the military’s “sole ambition” was to “protect the people”.

BOUTEFLIKA APOLOGY

Soon after, state television announced that Bouteflika had submitted his resignation to the Constitutional Council.

The decision aimed “to contribute to the appeasement of the hearts and minds of my compatriots, to allow them to take Algeria towards a better future to which they legitimately aspire,” his resignation letter read.

Footage showed Bouteflika, dressed in a beige North African tunic and sitting in his wheelchair, handing the letter to the council’s head, Tayeb Belaiz.

In another letter published Wednesday by state news agency APS, he offered his apologies to the Algerian people for “every shortcoming”, but said he was “proud” of his contribution to the country.

“I leave the political stage without sadness or fear for the future of our country,” he wrote.

“God is witness to my sincerity and my loyalty.”

‘AUTHORITARIANISM’

Although credited with helping foster peace after Algeria’s decade-long civil war, Bouteflika has faced criticism for perceived authoritarianism.

Former prime minister-turned-rival Ali Benflis said his departure was the “woeful epilogue” to the past two decades and praised the protest movement as “a peaceful people’s revolution”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised “the mature and calm nature in which the Algerian people have been expressing their desire for change,” said a UN statement.

“He looks forward to a peaceful and democratic transition process that reflects the wishes of the Algerian people,” it added.

The United States said the future of the country “is for the Algerian people to decide”.

Long-time ally Russia called for a transition without foreign “interference”.

TRANSITION

The foreign minister of former colonial power France, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said he was confident Algeria’s “democratic transition” could continue “in the same spirit of calm and responsibility” seen in recent weeks.

Algerian business tycoon and long-time Bouteflika backer Ali Haddad was placed in detention Wednesday, days after being arrested while trying to cross into Tunisia with undeclared currency and two passports.

Haddad, described by Forbes as one of Algeria’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, was widely seen as a political tool of Bouteflika.

The judiciary has launched graft investigations and, local media report, banned a dozen Bouteflika-linked businessmen from leaving the country.

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AFRICA UPDATE

#Xenophobic Attack: Community Condemns killing Of Nigerian In South Africa

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The President of the Nigerian Community in South Africa, Benjamin Okoli has criticised the killing of a Nigerian, Ire Chinello by an unknown attacker on 31st of March.

Okoli made this known in a provided information through a statement made available in Abuja, condemned the killing, which he described as cult related as senseless.

According to him, the killing was not a xenophobic attack but a cult related crisis among Nigerians living in South Africa.

He explained that the deceased, popularly known as Ire, was shot and killed at Sunnyside Pretoria, South Africa in what seemed like a cult related killing.

Okoli said: “There has been a spate of cult killing among Nigerians, that had claimed so many lives, as many as no fewer than 25 Nigerians lost their lives over a period of fewer than two years.

“This senseless killing has reduced us to near nothing in the eyes of the South Africans and the police, who see us as killers, cultists, fraudsters and drug dealers.

He further revealed that the South African police never take any Nigerian cases serious after a series of such attacks, “It makes the police not to take our cases serious, having considered it good riddance to bad rubbish.

”Our appeal, however, to the South African authorities is that the police must consider every case and investigate same on its merit with the aim of bringing the culprits to justice,” he said.

However, the Consul General of Nigeria in Johannesburg, South Africa, Godwin Adama, who also condemned the killings declared the cultism related cases as ”an alarming rate.”

“The killing of Mr Ire Chinello, a case of cult related killing at Sunnyside Pretoria; eyewitness account indicated that he was killed by unidentified gunmen, who fled the scene.

“Cult related killing among Nigerians has assumed an alarming proportion in South Africa,

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AFRICA UPDATE

Protesters gather in Algiers as President Bouteflika clings to power

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Thousands of protesters gathered in central Algiers on Friday, piling pressure on President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to resign days after the country’s powerful military called for his removal.

The army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaed Salah, on Tuesday asked the constitutional council to rule whether the ailing 82-year-old president is fit for office.

Bouteflika, facing the biggest crisis of his 20-year-old rule, has failed to placate Algerians by reversing a decision to seek a fifth term. “Streets pressure will continue until the system goes,” said student Mohamed Djemai, 25.

Protesters have ambitious demands. They want to overthrow an an entire political system and replace it with a new generation of leaders capable of modernizing the oil-dependent state and giving hope to a population impatient for a better life.

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AFRICA UPDATE

Cholera cases jump to 138 in Mozambique’s Beira after cyclone

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The number of confirmed cases of cholera in the cyclone-hit Mozambican port city of Beira jumped from five to 138 on Friday, as government and aid agencies battled to contain the spread of disease among the tens of thousands of victims of the storm.

Cyclone Idai smashed into Beira on March 14, causing catastrophic flooding and killing more than 700 people across three countries in southeast Africa.

Many badly affected areas in Mozambique and Zimbabwe are still inaccessible by road, complicating relief efforts and exacerbating the threat of infection.

Although there have been no confirmed cholera deaths in medical centers in Mozambique yet, at least two people died outside hospitals with symptoms including dehydration and diarrhoea, the country’s environment minister Celso Correia said.

“We expected this, we were prepared for this, we’ve doctors in place,” Correia told reporters.

The government said for the first time that there had been confirmed cholera cases on Wednesday.

Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Institute said the local death toll from the tropical storm had increased to 493 people, from 468 previously.

That takes the total death toll across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to 738 people, with many more still missing.

Vaccine to arrive

“Stranded communities are relying on heavily polluted water. This, combined with widespread flooding and poor sanitation, creates fertile grounds for disease outbreaks, including cholera,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement.

The World Health Organization’s Tarik Jasarevic said 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine were expected to arrive on Monday.

The United States Defense Department said on Friday it had authorized an additional $8.5 million in humanitarian assistance for Mozambique, bringing the total to $15 million. About 50 US military personnel have been sent to Mozambique to assist with logistics, including transporting food and medical supplies.

Cholera is endemic to Mozambique, which has had regular outbreaks over the past five years. About 2,000 people were infected in the most recent outbreak, which ended in February 2018, according to the WHO.

But the scale of the damage to Beira’s water and sanitation infrastructure, coupled with its dense population, have raised fears that another epidemic would be difficult to contain.

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AFRICA UPDATE

Uganda Police Probes UN As Relief Food Kills Three

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Uganda Police is currently investigating a supply of food from the World Food Programme (WFP) after three people died and more than 150 others became sick in recent days, police said.

The food was part of a community feeding programme in the northeast Karamoja region, a semi-arid area where the UN food agency has long provided food aid for people facing poor harvests.

People suffered diarrhoea, nose bleeds and other health problems after eating the food, police said in a statement.

Police are “actively investigating the death of three people…from eating adulterated or poisonous food supplied by the WFP,” according to the statement.

Samples of the food and patients’ urine and blood had been sent to a government laboratory for analysis.

WFP was not immediately available to comment on the police investigation.

The food agency said on Saturday it had suspended distribution of Super Cereal – a fortified blended food – at all its operations in Uganda.

“From the outset, WFP has treated this as a matter of extreme urgency,” the agency said.

Uganda hosts a large population of refugees mostly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo where widespread insecurity has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people.

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AFRICA UPDATE

International tragedy! Check nationalities of Ethiopia plane crash victims

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People all over the World are worried at this time about the crash of Boeing 737 MAX 8 belonging to Ethiopian Airlines which reportedly killed all passengers aboard.

CNN reported that the passenger jet bound for Nairobi has crashed minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.

Ethiopian Airlines shared this image and said it showed CEO Tewolde Gebremariam at the crash site. Source: BBC

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 left Bole airport in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, at 8:38am (05:38 GMT) on Sunday and lost contact with the control tower just a few minutes later, at 8:44am (05:44 GMT).

“There are no survivors,” the airline tweeted alongside a picture of CEO Tewolde GebreMariam holding up a piece of debris inside a large crater at the crash site.

The airline said 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board the plane. David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), wrote on Twitter that agency staff were among those on board Flight ET 302.

Grief and sorrow know no borders, but Sunday’s Ethiopian Airline crash is truly an international tragedy.

When the Nairobi, Kenya-bound plane went down shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, it killed 157 people, seven of them crew members and one a security official, an airline spokeswoman said. The passengers were from 35 nations, the airline says.
“Among the most affected, as you may expect, is Kenya, which had about 32 passengers on board,” said James Macharia, Kenya’s transport minister.

According to Ethiopian Airlines, these are the nationalities of the victims that have so far been identified:

  • Kenyans: 32
  • Canadians: 18
  • Ethiopians: 9
  • Chinese: 8
  • Italians: 8
  • Americans: 8
  • French: 7
  • British: 7
  • Egyptians: 6
  • Germans: 5
  • Indians: 4
  • Slovakians: 4
  • Austrians: 3
  • Russias: 3
  • Swedes: 3
  • Spanish: 2
  • Israelis: 2
  • Moroccans: 2
  • Polish: 2
  • Belgian: 1
  • Djibouti: 1
  • Indonesian: 1
  • Irish: 1
  • Mozambican: 1
  • Norwegian: 1
  • Rwandan: 1
  • Saudi: 1
  • Sudanese: 1
  • Somali: 1
  • Serbian: 1
  • Togolese: 1
  • Ugandan: 1
  • Yemeni: 1
  • Nepalese: 1
  • Nigerian: 1
  • UN Passport: 1

Total: 150 passengers 

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Lailanews.com reports that Prof. Pius Adesanmi, a Canadian based Nigerian professor and satirist, who hailed from Kogi State was among the victims of the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed on Sunday from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya.

Adesanmi was said to be carrying a Canadian passport while another Nigerian whose identity is yet to be ascertained was carrying a UN passport, an Ethiopian Airline source in Lagos confirmed just now.

This means there were two Nigerians among the 157 souls on board the crashed 737-800 Max aircraft.

A Twitter user, John O. Oba, also tweeted:

“I just got information that Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian professor with Carlton University in Canada is among those that died this morning on the ill-fated Ethiopia airline. On his way to attend the AU ECOSOCC committee meeting in Nairobi. RIP”‏

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AFRICA UPDATE

So Sad: 157 lives perished in a plane crash

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An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane bound for Nairobi, Kenya capital city, crashed on Sunday.
The aircraft which took off from Addis Ababa, was said to have 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.
The crash occurred at 08.44 local time in Bishoftu, shortly after take-off from the Ethiopian capital.
The airline confirmed the incident in a statement. It, however, said it could not confirm if there are casualties.
According to the statement, search and rescue operations are underway near the crash site.
“Ethiopian Airlines regrets to confirm that its flight ET 302/10 March in schedule service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit),” the statement read.
“The aircraft B-737-800MAX with registration number ET-AVJ took off at 08:38 am local time from Addis Ababa, Bole lnternational Airport and lost contact at 08:44am.
“At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities. Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency.”
The Boeing aircraft was reportedly new and had been delivered to the airline just four months ago.

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