What’s Going On: State of emergency in Sudan lifted, Nigeria records six monkeypox cases & more

Notable headlines from around Africa

“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.

State of emergency in Sudan imposed during coup lifted

Sudan’s battle towards democracy has not been a walk in the park. After being in the hands of dictators for almost over 3 decades, the country’s transition to democracy is hopeful after a previously imposed state of emergency was lifted. Sudan Army chief, Abdel-Fatah al Burhan, imposed the state of emergency in October 2021 due to widespread protests after he headed a coup that dissolved the civilian-military government, which had been a transitional government until the next general elections in 2024.The civilian-military government stepped into power in 2019 after former president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown due to deteriorating economy and increased cost of living which resulted in civilian protests.

The military replaced Omar al Bashir with the Transitional Military Council, creating more tension between the military and civilians, which resulted in the Khartoum massacre that led to the death of over 100 people. From this point they worked with civilians in the Forces of Freedom and Change alliance agreeing on a 39-month transitional government. After the military took over the government, under Abdel-Fatah al Burhan, civilian Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilian ministers declared the coup illegal and refused to recognise the transfer of power. On October 25, pro-democracy protesters called for Abdel-Fattah to step down and the protests became violent. Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest after the military declared a state of emergency on the same day. Ministers opposing the coup were detained and stripped off their positions

On Sunday, seven months later, Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan lifted the state of emergency imposed. The army chief states the move is aimed at creating the right atmosphere for dialogue that achieves stability for the transitional period. The decision was reached after a meeting with military officials decided for the lift of the ban and release of all detained protestors. The military takeover which received international condemnation has seen over 98 civilians killed by security in crackdowns on the demonstrations. The military officials also recommended for the reinstatement of Qatar-based Al Jazeera network to resume operations in Sudan, after authorities banned it in January for “unprofessional” coverage of protests.

About 50 people killed by assailants in Burkina Faso

Residents of Madjoari, an eastern rural village in Burkina Faso are dealing with the crippling trauma after around 50 people in their community were killed by armed assailants. The country has been facing increased, religion-based terrorism as the country has been shaken by Al-Qaeda and Islam State Group Terrorists since 2015. The recent attack has been termed as a jihadist attack, with the Madjoari area considered under jihadist territoy. The 50 people were killed as they were trying to flee the area.

The increase of jihadist-related crime has worsened the Jihadhist insurgency, deepening the effects of the war between the rebels and the government. Despite joint efforts from national and regional security operatives, the violence has expanded and has intensified in the past decade, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians annually and widespread displacement of people. For the past 2 months, attacks against civilians and soldiers have taken over 200 lives. Burkina Faso, particularly the north and east, has been hit by movements affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State for seven years, which have killed more than 2,000 civilians and soldiers and displaced nearly two million.

Nigeria records six cases of monkeypox and one dead

While 2020 (and much of 2021) was held hostage by Covid-19, 2022 might have a new vicious virus outbreak. The Monkeypox which originated from the West and Central African regions, and has been spotted in clusters on different occasions, is causing increasing global hysteria, due to its mild outbreak in Europe, parts of Africa and across the world. With the trauma of the recent coronavirus still looming, there’s fears this viral disease would halt life just as we’re readjusting to normal. According to experts, however, unlike the Covid-19 which experienced several mutations, there is no mutation of the virus as it is a DNA virus.

Earlier this month, Nigeria recorded its first death from monkeypox this year, in a “40 year old patient with underlying health conditions.” On Sunday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) announced it has confirmed 21 out of 66 suspected cases of the disease, which is usually regularly found in Nigeria. 15 of the cases were confirmed between the beginning of the year and late April, while the remaining six cases were confirmed in May. The NCDC said genomic surveillance is ongoing at its National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and so far, all of the cases have been confirmed to be caused by the West African clade Monkeypox virus. The health agency has also asked the Nigerian populace to be on high alert for symptoms of the virus, and adhere to public health and safety measures.

11 newborn babies die in a fire at Senegal Hospital

A fire in the neo-natal unit took the lives of 11 new-born babies, while only three were spared, at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane. Authorities believe an electric short circuit caused the atrocious flame. After announcing three days of mourning, the president of Senegal Macky Sall fired the health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr. There was a noise and an explosion that lasted about three minutes, with the fire brigade arriving a few minutes later.

Senegal’s healthcare system has been on a rocky boat due to health scandals. This incident comes over a month after the nation mourned the death of a pregnant woman after three midwives denied her cesarean, and a similar fire-based incident at the neo-natal unit of a hospital in the northern town of Linguère last year. Investigations have since been launched to find out the cause of the fire and to also improve Senegal’s health care system. The country’s president asked for a review of all the equipment and infrastructure dedicated to new-borns who need assistance with machines for their care, while rights group Amnesty International has urged the government to create an “independent commission of inquiry to determine responsibility and punish the culprits, no matter the level they are at in the state apparatus.”

Pope Francis appoints 21 new cardinals, 2 being African

Pope Francis has announced that two African clergy will be promoted to cardinals in the Catholic Church. The two he named are Bishop Peter Okpaleke from Ekwulobia in south-east Nigeria and Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr from Wa in northern Ghana and they will be installed during a consistory in August which means they will help in choosing the incoming pope in case he dies. In 2020, Peter Ebere Okpaleke, became the first bishop of Ekwulobia, a new diocese in Nigeria

The list of the new Cardinals includes eight from Europe, six from Asia, four from Central and Latin America, and one from North America. The last Consistory to create new cardinals took place on 28 November 2020. Pope Francis created 13 new cardinals including Archbishop Antoine Kambanda of Rwanda’s Kigali Archdiocese who became the first-ever Cardinal in Rwanda.