What’s Going On: Burkina Faso suspends France Radio, Kaduna-Abuja rail resumes operations & More

Notable headlines from around the continent

“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.


Burkina Faso’s military government has suspended the broadcast of France’s Radio France Internationale (RFI). The outlet, widely listened to in many West African countries, is accused of false reports and giving a voice to armed groups. At the beginning of the week, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) threatened in a video to attack villages defended by the pro-government VDP militia in Burkina Faso. The VDP are civilian volunteers given two weeks’ military training to work alongside the army carrying out surveillance. In a statement released by the government spokesman Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, Radio France International (RFI) had contributed to a desperate maneuver of terrorist groups to dissuade thousands of Burkinabe citizens mobilized for the defense of the country.

In addition, the government criticized the station for saying Burkina Faso’s President Captain Ibrahim Traore, had said there was an attempted coup against him. RFI’s management, in a statement late Saturday, said it “deeply deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question the professionalism of its stations”. Adding that the suspension was not legal as it was made without prior notice or implementation of procedures from Burkina Faso’s communications regulator. This is the second West African country after Mali to take the French broadcaster of the airwaves this year.


14 people were killed and three people are missing after a flash flood swept away church congregants. The churchgoers were conducting a baptism ceremony on Saturday when they were swept away by the strongly flowing Jukskei River. The Johannesburg Emergency Services believes that about 33 people were at the river when the incident occurred. Fifteen of them are believed to have been swept away due to heavy currents experienced during a storm.

Robert Mulaudzi, spokesman for the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services stated officials warned residents about the dangers of conducting the rituals along the river. “We have been receiving a lot of rain on the city of Johannesburg in the last three months, and most of the river streams are now full,” Mulaudzi said during a news briefing. The search for the missing bodies is still ongoing with help from the fire department, government and emergency services.


Two months after Nigerian authorities announced the potential return of services on the Abuja-Kaduna railway line, movement has returned to the route. The services were suspended after an armed gang attacked a moving passenger train with 360 passengers on 28th March. They blew up the rail track killing at least eight passengers and abducting more than 60 people. The railway line which is a vital link between Abuja and Kaduna is set to open on Monday. Transportation Minister Mu’azu Sambo said that adequate security had been put in place to ensure the safety of passengers.

The Nigeria Railway Corporation is introducing new security measures, including surveillance devices to monitor the tracks and the trains.  Passengers will also have to provide their national identification numbers. It also says the purchase of tickets by proxy is only limited to minors and a specified number of adult passengers. Last week the transport minister Muazu Sambo carried out a test run from Kaduna. The train resumes with only two services. The announcement by the Managing Director of the NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, said the first train departed Rigasa train station in Kaduna State to Abuja by 8:00 in the morning while from Abuja, the first train departed Idu train station to Kaduna State by 9:45 in the morning.


On Sunday, Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga said they will hold countrywide rallies to seek opinions from the public on the petition to remove four commissioners from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). He said December 7 will mark the start of a series of consultations on the state of the nation. The opposition leader has been at stale ends with the country’s president Mr. William Ruto since he outdid him in the general elections carried out in August. Speaking in Kisumu, the ODM leader said the rallies will begin in major cities and spread out to other towns. Mr. Odinga repeated his calls for rallies to resist the capture and emasculation of key institutions, accusing President William Ruto’s government of mutilating the Constitution. T

The rallies are also intended to show support for four top officials of IEBC who are facing removal through a tribunal formed by the President. Since then, two out of the four commissioners have resigned. Leaders who attended the Tuesday Azimio Parliamentary Group meeting stated that the call for mass action was proving divisive as it does not capture the aspirations of the people to join them on the streets. Raila, on Sunday, promised that during the rallies, he will make a revelation on what transpired during the election. However, the Head of State said his administration will not block the Azimio leader from going to the streets, so long as the demonstrations do not degenerate into the destruction of property. He gave instructions to Interior CS Kithure Kindiki to provide security during the demonstrations.