News in brief

Nigeria: Explosion rocks Lagos port

Lagos’ port has this week been hit by a huge blast and fire following an explosion at an oil depot, Associated Foreign Press (AFP) reports.

The blast is thought to have occurred as fuel was being transferred between tankers docked at the port. Four people were wounded in the explosion, which caused surrounding buildings to shake.

William Auret, a witness to the incident told the BBC: “The fire started slowly and then expanded into chaos, exploding more than once. First one tugboat arrived… then several others joined it in an attempt to extinguish the fire. They [firefighters] seem to have the fire under control now.”

CAR: Government begins peace talks with Seleka rebels

Central African Republic’s President Francois Bozize has entered peace talks with the Seleka rebel alliance in neighbouring Gabon.

The negotiations were brokered by regional governments, along with the United Nations and the United States and come after Seleka last week announced it would cease its advance on the CAR capital Bangui and negotiate a peace deal, having already taken control of much of the north and east of the country.

Seleka is calling for the removal from power of Mr Bozize, who has not personally attended the Gabon negotiations. Mr Bozize has refused to step down from office, saying doing so would be “a betrayal of my country”.

CAR military forces had been bolstered in recent weeks by additional troops from neighbouring Chad, Gabon and Cameroon, who agreed to support CAR via the Fomac multinational force. In December France sent over 100 soldiers to protect its nationals, but it had joined the United States in ruling out military support.

South Africa: Nelson Mandela “continues to improve”

The health of former South African President Nelson Mandela is steadily improving, the government has said.

A spokesperson for President Jacob Zuma said that Mr Mandela “has made steady progress…and continues to improve.” Mr Mandela is recovering from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones. The 94-year old former President was in hospital for three weeks in December, and is continuing his treatment at his home in Johannesburg.

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