News in brief

Weekly round-up of the continent’s major stories

South Africa: More miners injured in new shootings
South African police have said that four striking miners have been injured after being shot by rubber bullets near Johannesburg. The incident follows violent clashes between miners and police at the Marikana mine last week, which ended with police shooting dead 34 people.

Following that incident, 270 miners were charged with killing their colleagues in the confrontation at the Marikana mine. However, they have now been told that the murder charges, which had been brought using an obscure common law from the country’s apartheid era, have been provisionally dropped. The miners are expected to be released from custody during the week.

On Wednesday around 2000 miners marched at the Marikana mine in a bid to garner support for their protest over wages. Lonmin has said that worker attendance at the mines is lower than 5%.

Angola: National elections declared “free and fair”
Observers from the African Union have declared that Angola’s national elections have been “free, fair transparent and credible”. The election process had been criticised by the opposition Unita party, who claimed it was mired in fraudulent activity and illegality.

Incumbent president Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s MPLA party has a solid lead with 97% of the votes counted. The party has won 73% of the vote, while Unita won 18%.

President dos Santos has ruled Angola since 1979.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for Bush and Blair Iraq trials
South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that former British prime minister Tony Blair and US president George W Bush should be tried for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. Mr Tutu has accused the former Western leaders of lying about weapons of mass destruction in order to lead their countries into war in Iraq, saying:

“The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level… ”

Mr Blair released a statement in which he denied Mr Tutu’s claims, saying: “this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say”.

Nigeria: Singapore-owned oil tanker hijacked
A Nigerian navy spokesperson has confirmed that two ships and a helicopter are in the process of trying to rescue an oil tanker which was hijacked by pirates.The Singapore-owned tanker was carrying a crew of 23 when it was hijacked on Tuesday evening. The navy denied reports that the ship was taken from Lagos port, saying it happened at sea.

Ethiopia: Mausoleam planned for Meles Zenawi
The life of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to be commemorated with a mausoleum, acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn  has said.

The mausoleum will include a library and an exhibition of Meles’s life. Mr Meles died in Belgium last month at the age of 57. Thousands of people, including foreign leaders, attended the former primie minister’s funeral at the weekend.

Mr Hailemariam will remain as prime minister until Ethiopia’s next elections, which are due to take place in 2015.

Libya: Mauritania extradites former Gaddaffy spy chief
Mauritania has extradited former Libyan leader General Gaddaffy’s intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.  Mr Senussi is wanted by Libya for crimes allegedly committed during Gaddaffy’s regime. He is also wanted by France and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr Senussi fled Libya six months ago, but was arrested on arrival in Mauritiania, where he has been held since.

Mr Senussi is accused of multiple human rights offences, including his alleged role in the massacre of more than 1,000 inmates at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in 1996.


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