News in brief

Weekly round-up of the continent’s major stories

Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi dies

The body of former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is lying in state as the nation awaits his funeral. Mr Meles, 57, died this week from an infection while he was being treated at a hospital in Belgium.

According to Ethiopian state media, Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will take over as Prime Minister until elections in 2015.

Nine prisoners executed in Gambia

A report by international human rights NGO Amnesty Interational has said that nine death row prisoners have been executed in Gambia. In a speech marking the end of the holy festival of Ramadan, President Yahya Jammeh said that all of Gambia’s 47 death row inmates would be killed by next month. The deaths mark the first cases of capital punishment in the country since 1985. Amnesty International says that many of the death row inmates are political prisoners who have not had a fair trial.

Trial date set for son of Gaddafi

The Libyan state prosecution service has announced that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, will go on trial in September. A warrant had been issued by the International Criminal Court, which wishes to try Mr Gaddafi for crimes against humanity at its base in The Hague, but it is thought that he will instead be tried before a Libyan court in the town of Zintan.

South Africa: More than 40 killed in mine violence

South African police have been accused of “massacring” more than 30 striking platinum miners as a protest over pay escalated into savage violence. According to reports, police arrived to disperse a crowd of striking workers, resulting in a stand-off which led to an angry confrontation between the two groups. As the situation deteriorated into violence, police allegedly opened fire, killing 34 miners. The incident was captured live on television. The confrontation followed a week of turmoil, in which ten people, including two police officers, had already been killed at the mine during violent clashes. President Jacob Zuma has ordered an official inquiry into the deaths.

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