Sunday, April 30, 2023

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sun. April 30, 2023

Listen to the Sun. April 30, 2023 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this podcast in its entirety just click on the following link: Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast 04/30 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (

The episode features our PANW report with dispatches on the security crisis in the Republic of Sudan where the United States has increased its military presence in the Horn of Africa region; the ruling Southwest Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) of the Republic of Namibia says it remains committed to prosperity in the country; Zimbabwe is implementing policies in an effort to contain inflation; and regional states in East Africa are meeting to map out strategies for dealing with the ongoing conflict in Somalia. 

In the second and third hours we look more in detail at the situation in the Republic of Sudan where for the last two weeks clashes between the two dominant military structures have prompted widespread displacement, injury and deaths. 

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, for Sat. April 29, 2023

Listen to the Sat. April 29, 2023 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire. 

You can hear the entire podcast of this program at the following link: Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast 04/29 by Pan African Radio Network | Politics (

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the continuing clashes in the Republic of Sudan between the two military structures; there has been a demonstration in the West African state of Mali demanding the withdrawal of United Nations Peacekeeping Forces; Tunisia is reporting that over 200 bodies of migrants have been washed up off the Mediterranean coast; and the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville has announced the formation of a joint economic project to develop its natural gas resources. 

In the second and third hours we continue our coverage of the Sudan security crisis. 

We will examine the humanitarian situation along with the efforts to bring about a permanent ceasefire. 

Armed U.S. Drones, U.S. Navy Ship Assist in Evacuation of American Citizens in War-torn Sudan

A U.S. official confirmed to NBC News on Sunday that a U.S. Navy ship, the USNS Brunswick, has arrived in Port Sudan, Sudan, to assist with the effort to evacuate American citizens.

April 30, 2023, 2:30 PM EDT

By Josh Lederman and Henry Austin

Armed drones escorted hundreds of Americans as they began their escape from war-torn Sudan on Saturday amid fierce fighting between the military and a rival paramilitary group.

The unmanned aerial vehicles flew above a convoy of buses as they made the 500-mile journey from the African nation’s capital, Khartoum, to Port Sudan on the country's east coast, a U.S. official familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News. Several hundred Americans were on board at least a dozen buses, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A U.S. official confirmed to NBC News on Sunday that a U.S. Navy ship, the USNS Brunswick, has arrived in Port Sudan, Sudan, to assist with the effort to evacuate American citizens.

The official says that it is likely that some of the U.S. citizens who arrived in Port Sudan via the U.S.-organized bus convoy will board the ship to leave Sudan, but details are still being worked out.

Officials said that the U.S. government was likely to release more exact figures of the number evacuated in the convoy once the Americans had made it safely to the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. 

Separately, a Pentagon spokesperson said “the Department of Defense deployed U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to support air and land evacuation routes, which Americans are using.”

Sabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, said the U.S. was “moving naval assets within the region to provide any necessary support along the coast” and that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had “approved a request for assistance from the Department of State to support the safe departure.”

Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson, said Saturday that “intensive negotiations” by the U.S. with the support of “regional and international partners” created the conditions allowing the evacuation of citizens and noncitizens alike, including Saturday’s operation.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Saturday that U.S. nationals were among almost 1,900 foreign evacuees who arrived in the port of Jeddah by ship on Saturday. It did not say how many Americans were on board.

The evacuation came as fighting continued despite the extension of a fragile truce between the country’s two top generals, Sudan’s de facto ruler, Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and his former deputy, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo — a former camel dealer widely known as Hemedti who leads the Rapid Security Forces, a rival paramilitary group. 

The pair had previously teamed up to co-orchestrate the coup that overthrew the government in October 2021. But their alliance spectacularly broke down over how to manage the transition to a civilian government and a disagreement over how the Rapid Security Forces should be integrated into the armed forces and what authority should oversee the process.

The bombardments, gun battles and sniper fire in densely populated areas have hit civilian infrastructure, including many hospitals. Khartoum, a city of some 5 million people, has been transformed into a front line.  

In some areas in and around the capital, residents told the Associated Press that shops were reopening and normalcy was gradually returning as the scale of fighting dwindled after the shaky truce. But in other areas, terrified residents told the AP that explosions were thundering around them and fighters ransacking houses.

Several attempts at a cease-fire have so far failed.

Miller, of the State Department, said the U.S. continued “to call on the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to end the fighting that is endangering civilians.” He said that Americans had been discouraged from traveling to Sudan.

There was some good news as the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement that a “badly needed” 8-ton medical shipment consisting of surgical dressings, anesthetics and other medical supplies arrived at Port Sudan on Sunday.

The Red Cross said that a second plane carrying additional supplies and emergency personnel was on its way to the country.

Josh Lederman is an NBC News correspondent.

Henry Austin is a London-based editor for NBC News Digital.

Abigail Williams and Associated Press contributed.

Sudanese Police Deploy Central Reserve Unites in Khartoum

Central Reserve Forces deployed in Khartoum on April 29, 2023

April 29, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese police deployed the Central Reserve Forces in the streets of the capital Khartoum to maintain security, amid calls from the Rapid Support Forces to withdraw them so as not to deal with them as enemies.

The police press office said in a statement that “police forces are deployed on the roads to secure public and private property and arrest robbers” who storm abandoned homes after the eruption of the armed conflict in Khartoum.

The media office posted photos on social media showing dozens of heavily armed Central Reserve soldiers on four wheels vehicles equipped with machine guns.

The army said units of the Central Reserve Police had been deployed in areas south of Khartoum and would be deployed successively in Khartoum areas.

These police units are considered fighting forces that participated in the fight against the armed movements in Darfur and some areas of Kordofan.

On March 21, 2022, the United States imposed sanctions on the Central Reserve Police of Sudan for serious human rights violations committed during pro-democracy protests. The move was made after reports of excessive use of force and violence against peaceful demonstrators.

According to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a Central Reserve Police force had joined the army in the Al-Shajara area, south of the capital Khartoum, adding that the army was preparing to attack their position in the areas.

The RSF called on police chiefs to withdraw all its forces and prevent them from participating in the attack.

“The police are a civilian-national body that should not take sides. We warn the police forces and their leadership not to interfere so that we do not have to treat them as an enemy,” the RSF said in a statement.

The situation in Sudan remains tense, with fierce clashes erupting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces on April 15 in 12 of Sudan’s 18 states.

Although the fighting is mainly concentrated in the capital city of Khartoum, the violence has spread to other areas particularly in Darfur, leading to concerns over the safety and security of civilians.


Sudan’s Fighting Death Toll Rose to 528 -Health Ministry

Two men walk past a building damaged during battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals in the southern part of Khartoum, on April 23, 2023. - Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands wounded since the fighting erupted on April 15 between forces loyal to the Sudanese army chief and his deputy who commands the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). (Photo by AFP)

April 29, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health has reported that the death toll from clashes between the army and the Rapid Support has risen to 528, with thousands injured.

On Saturday, the ministry released a statement on the human causalities of fighting from 15 to 27 April 2023, indicating that battles are mainly taking place in the states of Khartoum and West Darfur.

” 528 people had been killed and 4,599 others injured according to the records of the hospitals in Sudan,” said the Federal Health Ministry.

The clashes have caused significant damage to hospitals and medical facilities, making it difficult to provide medical care to those in need.

The statement also highlighted that the armed tribal conflict in West Darfur state resulted in the destruction of El Geneina’s main hospital and the Ministry of Health’s headquarters, causing a large number of uncounted deaths.

In a statement on Friday, Human Right Watch called on the Human Rights Council to hold an emergency meeting and create a mechanism to collect and preserve evidence of grave violations, identify likely perpetrators, and make recommendations for accountability.

On Friday, Human Right Watch called for an emergency meeting of the Human Rights Council to create a mechanism for collecting and preserving evidence of grave violations, identifying likely perpetrators, and making recommendations for accountability.

The rights group further added that UN member countries should support the emergency session to send a clear message that the international community will no longer tolerate abuses.

The Steering Committee of the Sudan Doctors Syndicate reported that 70% of the hospitals adjacent to the areas of clashes are out of service.

They added that 61 out of 86 basic hospitals in the capital and the states are unable to function, while some of the remaining 25 hospitals only provide first aid and are at risk of closure due to a lack of medical personnel, supplies, water, and electricity.

The committee also reported that 15 hospitals were bombed, 19 were subjected to forced eviction, and military forces attacked 6 ambulances, not allowing others to pass.

It also reported that 15 hospitals were bombed and 19 others were subjected to forced eviction by the RSF militiamen, in addition to the military attacks on six ambulances and preventing others from passing.

The clashes caused the displacement of thousands of people in the capital, Khartoum, and West Darfur, from their homes. Looting and insecurity spread and the prices of food commodities rose.


Sudan’s Army Leader Says He Did Not Send a Delegation to Juba

Al-Burhan addressing troops in Al-Fashaga after the killing of 7 Sudanese soldiers on June 27, 2022

April 29, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The commander-in-chief of the Sudanese army stated that they had only “accepted in principle” the IGAD initiative to stop the war and emphasized that they did not send a delegation to Juba.

South Sudan, IGAD, the Trilateral Mechanism, and the Quad announced a meeting in Juba of the Sudanese warring parties to negotiate a permanent ceasefire that would pave the way for a return to the negotiating table and the resumption of the political process.

In an interview with U.S.-funded TV Alhurra, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan said that there were several initiatives to stop the war, which has affected the Sudanese people and the region. He added that they received an initiative from the IGAD countries through “our brothers in South Sudan,” and “in principle,” they welcomed this initiative.

“But we did not appoint a representative, and we did not send a delegation (to Juba),” he further stressed.

He also said that the RSF leader did not agree to send a representative to Juba.

The United Nations, African Union, IGAD, the UN’s five permanent members and the Arab League called for the immediate resumption of the political process, through dialogue and negotiations to establish a transitional civilian-led government.

Al-Burhan questioned Hemetti’s recent remarks that he wanted to restore democracy in Sudan and asked how a tribal militia could talk about restoring democracy.

“We know the objectives of the RSF and what their purposes are. They want to take over this country. We know very well what their intentions are and who they were negotiating with,” he added.

He went on to say that he thought the RSF leadership accepted the merger, but later it became clear to him that their real intention was not to merge. He reiterated the need for the “demise of the Rapid Support Forces either by negotiations” leading to their integration into the national army “or fighting them.”

On Friday, both sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire, and the fighting continued in Khartoum and the outskirts of the capital.

Al-Burhan’s rhetoric during the interview seemed critical towards the signatories of the political framework agreement, which is aimed at restoring transitional civilian rule, but he did not take a clear stance against them.

On Saturday morning, the Sudan Armed Forces spokesman issued a statement saying that the army thwarted “a failed attempt to seize power by a rebel force and full political cover with the aim of hijacking the Sudanese state in favour of a one-man rule project”.

The statement did not talk about any military developments in the country.

Al-Burhan said that the reason why the Rapid Support Forces controlled a number of strategic sites in the capital was that they were assigned to guard them.

He also reiterated that the presence of the RSF fighters in residential neighbourhoods is hindering their efforts to eradicate it but stressed that it is only a matter of time.


Anti-war Watchdog Warns Against Expansion of Armed Conflict in Sudan

Smoke rises from the tarmac of Khartoum International Airport as a fire burns, in Khartoum on Sudan April 17, 2023 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video.

April 28, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – An anti-war watchdog in Sudan has warned against the expansion of the armed conflict in Khartoum between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that broke out nearly two weeks ago.

In a weekly bulletin issued on Thursday, the Sudan Conflict Observer (SCO) said that “the army prepare to launch a new offensive on the RSF troops which are spread in residential neighbourhoods and public buildings in Khartoum.”

“With RSF fighters sheltering in civilian buildings the fighting may be more intense and concentrated than during previous phases,” said the SCO which is composed of Ayin, Human Rights Hub and the Sudan Transparency and Policy Tracker.

“Sudanese belligerents accepted to meet in Juba on Friday to discuss a permanent ceasefire with a mechanism to monitor its implementation,” the report said.

However, on the same day, “the army commander-in-chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan excluded to negotiate with the RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo Hemetti.”

The anti-war watchdog further said that “the clashes in West Darfur between the Sudanese army and RSF militiamen draw civilians into the fighting along tribal lines.”

“A full civil war, where civilians pick up arms as a response to the militarization of mainly Arab nomadic communities, loomed large,” said the report.

To read the full text of the report, which covers the five most important stories in Sudan during the last week, please go to


Namibia’s Ruling Party Reaffirms Commitment to Prosperity

By Xinhua 

April 30, 2023

Namibia’s ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) on Saturday called on the nation to reflect on the party’s achievements and to continue the work of socioeconomic emancipation.

Speaking at the party’s 63rd anniversary in Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa Region, SWAPO party president Hage Geingob reflected on the party’s history as a successful liberation movement. “We liberated Namibians to ensure a life of dignity for each and every citizen,” Geingob said.

The president highlighted some of the achievements gained over the past 33 years since independence, noting that the ruling party has been hard at work for the equal rights of all citizens to access health, education, food, and security, among others.

“My wish as president of the SWAPO party is for us to continue and to complete the important work of the second phase of our struggle, that of socioeconomic emancipation,” Geingob said.

The SWAPO, which was founded on April 19, 1960, liberated Namibia from colonialism and white minority rule. 

High Energy, Housing Costs Blamed for Zimbabwe’s Monthly Inflation Rise in April

By Xinhua 

April 30, 2023

Zimbabwe’s month-on-month inflation rate rose to 2.4 percent in April, gaining 2.3 percentage points on the previous month’s rate of 0.1 percent, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) said Wednesday.

The jump in the rate of inflation was mainly due to increases in housing, water and electricity rates, as well as a rise in prices of gas and other fuels, the ZIMSTAT said.

“The Consumer Price Index for housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels had the highest month-on-month inflation rate of 7.9 percent, followed by health at 4.0 percent,” the ZIMSTAT said.

Annual inflation dropped to 75.2 percent in April from 87.6 percent in March, continuing with its downward trend against the background of a tight monetary and fiscal policy stance by the government.

Zimbabwe’s monthly and annual inflation progressively declined from peak levels of 30.7 percent in June and 285 percent in August last year, respectively, following a tight monetary and fiscal policy stance by the government.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the country’s central bank, envisages annual inflation to progressively decline to between 10 percent and 30 percent by year-end.

Regional Leaders to Meet in Uganda Over Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia

By Xinhua 

April 30, 2023

Leaders of countries contributing troops to the peacekeeping mission in Somalia are set to meet in Uganda to discuss the achievements made so far and plans to start withdrawing from Somalia.

The leaders will evaluate the achievements made in the implementation of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) mandate and review the drawdown plan in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions to extend authorization until June 2023 and exit by Dec. 31, 2024, Ugandan military said in a statement Monday.

The statement said technical officials from troop-contributing countries to the ATMIS had already arrived in the country to prepare for the heads-of-state summit, which will take place Thursday.

The summit follows a meeting by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni last December.

According to the statement, Julius Kivuna, who is the head of the Ugandan delegation, called upon experts to discuss and come up with workable recommendations to support “the smooth and peaceful drawdown process of the ATMIS Troops.”

Kivuna also commended the regional countries for their efforts to build peace in Somalia. “These efforts have led to a number of achievements, including saving lives, improved infrastructure, and social services that have greatly improved the lives and livelihoods of our brothers and sisters in Somalia,” Kivuna said.

The ATMIS was created when the African Union reconfigured the AU Mission in Somalia jointly with the Somali government. Following the reconfiguration, the ATMIS became operational on April 1, 2022. Since then, it has been working to prepare the Somali security forces to take over responsibility for security in the country by 2024.

Angola’s Population to Reach 36.7 Million in 2023

By Xinhua 

April 30, 2023

Angola’s population is expected to reach 36.7 million in 2023, with a life expectancy of 61 years for men and 66 years for women, according to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report.

The country’s total fertility rate is 5.1 per woman, significantly higher than the global average of 2.3 children per woman. It is only surpassed by Niger (6.7), Somalia (6.1), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.1), Chad (6.1), the Central African Republic (5.8), and Mali (5.8), said the UNFPA State of World Population Report 2023, which was released on Wednesday.

In terms of population growth, the report estimates that Angola’s population will double every 23 years, while the global average is 76 years.

The report also shows that Angola has a high percentage of young people, with 45 percent of the population aged below 14 years and only 3 percent aged over 65 years.

According to the report, the contraceptive prevalence rate among women aged 15-49 in Angola is 17 percent, compared to 50 percent worldwide. The adolescent birth rate per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 in Angola is 163, while the global average is 41.

The UNFPA report also predicts the world’s population will exceed 8 billion in 2023, analyzing demographic, reproductive, and sexual health indicators in 200 countries and regions.

Tanzanian Parliament Orders Environmental Body to End Noise Pollution

By Xinhua 

April 30, 2023

Deputy speaker of the Tanzanian parliament Mussa Azan Zungu on Monday ordered the country’s environmental body to end the noise pollution.

The state-run National Environment Management Council (NEMC) should address the issue before the situation is out of control, said Zungu, who was speaking in the House chamber. “Noise pollution can cause health problems for people, including the elderly, across the country.”

Selemani Jafo, the minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Union and Environment, in February announced a one-week ultimatum to noise polluters. He told the noise polluters to rectify their businesses before they faced the music, including closing down their undertakings.

A report by the NEMC mentioned 12 major noise polluters, including bars and lounges, said Jafo, citing leading regions with noise pollution as Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Dodoma, Kigoma, Mtwara and Morogoro.

Minority Leader Expresses Concern Over Current State of Banking in Ghana


April 30, 2023

Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority Leader in Parliament, has called for serious discussion of the financial difficulties local banks are facing and how they could be supported to weather the storm.

“It’s no secret that many of these banks, which are essential to supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana, are facing severe financial difficulties,” he said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency.

Dr Forson, former Deputy Finance Minister under the ersthwile Mahama Administration, said the New Patriotic Party-led Government had implemented policies that had eroded the capital of most of the local banks, under the Economic Management Team.

That, he said, was having a devastating effect on their ability to lend to businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the growth of the economy.

“I believe it’s time for a serious discussion about how we can support our local banks and help them weather this difficult period,” he said.

IMF Board Approval for Ghana Could Delay – EIU Predicts

By News Desk 

April 30, 2023

Ghana’s hope of securing an International Monetary Fund board approval soon is expected to delay owing to prolonged external debt-restructuring negotiations, and the involvement of numerous stakeholders in the process.

This is according to London-based economic and political analyst, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The EIU in its 2023 Country Report on Ghana, stated that it anticipates Ghana to secure restructuring agreements on its public external debt during 2023-24, involving official and private creditors alike.

It however notes that, given the country’s pressing macroeconomic crisis, “the conclusion of a domestic debt-swap operation in February and increasing international attention on speeding up external debt restructurings, our core forecast remains that the IMF programme will be approved by mid-2023.”

“We expect Ghana to secure restructuring agreements on its public external debt during 2023-24, involving official and private creditors alike. This will include a combination of write-offs, maturity extensions and reductions in interest rates. We expect official creditors to agree to a deal in 2023, and this, combined with the domestic debt restructuring that has already been secured, should provide enough reassurance to reduce Ghana’s risk of debt distress and allow the IMF to approve the agreed programme”.

“However, there is a material risk that IMF board approval will be delayed owing to prolonged external debt-restructuring negotiations, given the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the process,” it noted.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, earlier this year indicated that Ghana is likely to receive the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Board approval for a $3 billion bailout by the close of May 2023.

Mr. Ofori Atta said Ghana has made significant progress in terms of restructuring its debt and called on external creditors to support the country’s application for an IMF programme.

This has raised missed expectations among many stakeholders as the country had earlier hoped to secure an economic bailout with the IMF in March.

In July 2022, Ghana requested for a three-year, US$3bn extended credit facility (ECF) from the IMF. An arrangement was agreed with the IMF in December 2022, with the aim of restoring credibility among investors, building reserve buffers and improving fiscal and debt sustainability.

However, debt restructuring needs to be agreed upon with Ghana’s external creditors before the IMF’s Executive Board can sign off on the ECF.

The EIU report also highlights that on the back of Ghana’s discussions with the IMF, the risk that the country will fail to regain access to international bond markets will be high in the near term, given investor concerns over high debt and prolonged restructuring negotiations.

The EIU further warned that macroeconomic instability and a public debt crisis will weigh on Ghana’s business environment and its ambitions to become a West African trading hub. A weak regional regulatory environment, poor transport links, and low foreign trade, except in commodities, will also hamper progress.

The report emphasizes the need for Ghana to remain committed to fiscal consolidation in 2023-27, underpinned by an IMF program, to bring the public finances and debt back onto a sustainable path.

CSOs Petition IMF to Exempt Ghana’s Basic Education Sector from Expenditure Cuts

By News Desk 

April 28, 2023

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) together with representatives of over 600 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have petitioned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) board to exempt Ghana’s basic education sector from what they described as brutal expenditure cuts ahead of the bailout programme.

The CSOs explained that the expenditure cuts arise from Ghana’s bid to meet conditionalities for its Extended Credit Facility application.

In a statement, the CSOs noted, “Eduwatch and representatives of over 600 Civil Society Organisations working to promote access to quality basic education and social protection in Ghana, submitted a petition to the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The petition calls on the IMF Board to remove brutal expenditure cuts in Ghana’s basic education sector, arising from Ghana’s bid to meet conditionalities for its Extended Credit Facility application”.

The various CSOs comprise Africa Education Watch, ActionAid Ghana, SEND Ghana and Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC).

Ghana in its quest to secure the IMF bailout has been directed to work towards meeting the conditionalities thereby increasing taxes in some sectors of the economy.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has revealed that Ghana is likely to receive the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Board approval for a $3 billion bailout by the close of May 2023.

Mr Ofori Atta speaking to Eurobond holders at an Investor’s Presentation Forum said Ghana has made significant progress in terms of restructuring its debt and called on external creditors to support the country’s application for an IMF programme.

“We do at this time expect an IMF board approval in May [2023] and contemplate a rapid negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with our creditors. We have made significant efforts on all fronts. We hope we could reach an agreement in principle with you our Eurobond holders quickly”.

“We understand this is a challenging time for all of you to commit and offer financial support to all of you. But please be assured we are fully committed to you and your advisors to ensure an equitable solution,” he said.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Sudan Hospitals Short of Medicine and Staff as Fighting Intensifies

Africa News

Medical staff working at the Al-Now Hospital in Omdurman, Sudan, have complained of lack of resources as they struggle to deal with the influx of patients.

“There is a huge lack in the medical teams and a huge lack in the hospital’s facilities. In normal circumstances there are teams, now the shift is longer as not enough doctors exist, there are only two doctors or one doctor who covers one or two departments and sometimes three departments," says Dr Alaa Mohammed, a doctor at the Al-Now hospital.

Volunteers at the facility also complained there was no fuel for ambulances and the dialysis department was lacking in resources.

At least 512 people, including civilians and combatants, have been killed since April 15, with another 4,200 wounded, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry.

The Doctors’ Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties, has recorded at least 387 civilians killed and 1,928 wounded.

Lesotho: Meet the First Chef to Have Documented Basotho Cuisine

The Star Ingredient. Episode 7.

Africa News

By Naira Davlashyan and Pascalinah Kabi

28/04 - 08:01

A number of years ago, Lesotho star chef, Ska Moteane, received a rather unusual request from a client. They wanted her to incorporate some Sesotho dishes into a menu she was preparing for them, "and I just realised then I didn't even know how they are cooked!"

Chef Ska laughs remembering this conversation from 2009 when she had returned to her home country after walking away from a hugely successful career in South Africa.

"I looked everywhere, I went on Google, I looked in bookshops… I could not find any Sesotho recipes."

Chef Ska realised that if she didn't document Sesotho cuisine, it might disappear, so this became her labour of love.

Listen to the episode:

Saving Basotho food culture

And so, Ska travelled to the remotest parts of this mountainous kingdom; to the villages with no roads leading to them, places cut off from electricity and far removed from the conveniences of modern life.

"Everywhere I went, I was just looking for the senior people there to sit down with, so they can tell me the stories behind the food and the stories behind the dishes", she recalls.

The food Chef Ska discovered was "simple" and full of "clean flavours".

"We don't use a lot of spices. You'd find that our dishes have two, three ingredients", she says.

Sorghum and beans, amaranth, wild greens and African spinach… Chef Ska was rediscovering the food of her ancestors and taking notes.

The thing that surprised her the most was discovering how "nutritious" Basotho food was.

"Actually, we don't need more than what we have because we've always been eating complete meals".

In the beginning, the villagers received Chef Ska with a mixture of intrigue and bemusement. After all, traditional Basotho dishes are more often seen as food for the poor and aren't very popular in the cities."Everyone was like, Why? We want the Western stuff and you come to us with this boring stuff", chuckles Ska, remembering her trip.

"I'm like, Look, I just want to do it. I just want it to be documented. I want it there for my children, for my great, great, great, great, great-grandchildren. For future generations".

"I never knew how to cook it"

Upon her return Chef Ska standardised the recipes and compiled them into a cookbook, "Cuisine of the Mountain Kingdom: Cooking in Lesotho", which she then self-published.

Written in English, the book has piqued the curiosity of readers beyond Lesotho’s borders. Chef Ska's interviews have appeared in publications across Africa, Asia and Europe.

"When I self-published, it was just to keep the information", she remembers.

"I didn't know that the book would do so well because I think I didn't understand why nobody had ever thought of doing it before".

In 2012, Ska won the prestigious Gourmandet Cookbook award for best African cookbook. But the most remarkable feedback came from the Basotho people themselves.

"Basotho people were like, I never knew how to prepare this dish. My grandmother used to make it, she passed on and I never got a chance for her to teach me how it's done".

Helping highland farmers

Completely surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho is heavily dependent on its richer neighbour for resources, including remittances.

While trying to cook traditional recipes, Ska realised the scale of the challenge in securing locally grown ingredients.

Small-scale farmers struggle to bring their produce to the cities, and the cities rely instead on imported foods.

"If COVID taught us anything with the problems that we experienced during the lockdown when the borders were closed", she points out.

"We are now working very, very hard to reclaim food sovereignty, to make sure that we actually feed ourselves".

Once Ska finished writing her book, she turned her attention to educating farmers on the importance of producing and distributing local ingredients. But thankfully, she didn’t have to embark on this journey alone.

If you want to know more about Lesotho's food culture and hear the full story of Chef Ska Moteane, listen to this episode of the Star Ingredient.

Ska will also share her recipe for a traditional Basotho dish, Nyokoe.

Ingredients for Nyokoe





Cook the sorghum and beans separately until soft. Sorghum might need 40 minutes to cook. Beans can take up to 2 hours depending on the variety.

Ingredients for a free-range chicken with spinach

Free-range chicken


African spinach

Rape leaves



Clean and boil the free-range chicken until cooked. Separate the meat from the bones.

Cut the onions and fry them in a pan until golden. Add the chopped spinach and rape.

Cook for about 8 minutes. Make sure to not overcook the greens, they should be a bit crunchy.

Serve all elements on one plate and season with salt.

Malian Protesters Demand Exit of UN Peacekeeping Force

Africa News

Hundreds gathered Friday in Mali's capital Bamako to call for MINUSMA the UN peacekeeping mission in the West African country to leave.

Protestors responded to a call by local political and activist groups close to the country's military junta to attend the protest meeting.

The protestors, many waving Russian flags, say the UN peacekeepers' decade-long presence is no longer required.

Mali, ruled by a military junta since a first coup in 2020, is battling armed groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State organization with the help of Russian paramilitary mercenaries.

The demonstration comes at a time when the Malian army has suffered one of the largest attacks by armed jihadist groups in central Mali and when MINUSMA human rights reports frequently accuse the Malian army of human rights violations.

The regime-supported anti-United Nations tensions seem set to continue to rise with presidential elections set for next year, which some might not want to be analysed too carefully by neutral observers or peacekeepers.

210 Migrant Bodies Wash Up on Tunisia Coast in Under 2 Weeks


TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia’s coast guard says it has recovered around 210 bodies of migrants under two weeks that have washed up on the North African country’s central coastline amid an ongoing increase in migration.

Preliminary examinations of the bodies indicated that the migrants were from sub-Saharan Africa, according to the National Guard’s Houssemeddine Jebabli.

The number of bodies recovered was announced Friday. Of the 210 dead migrants found over 10 days starting on April 18, about 70 of those were recovered from the beaches of eastern Sfax, the neighboring Kerkennah islands and Mahdia, according to prosecutor Faouzi Masmoudi, who oversees migration issues.

These three areas are starting points for most attempts to migrate to the Italian coast, including onward to the remote island of Lampedusa, he added.

The increasing number of dead migrants has overwhelmed the Habib Bourguiba hospital morgue in Sfax, the capacity of which is 30 to 40 bodies.

To ease the pressure on hospitals, local authorities are working to speed up the burial of the victims after carrying out DNA tests and possible identification by relatives, Masmoudi said.

Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesperson for the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), an nongovernmental organization specializing in migration issues, said that local authorities had last year committed themselves to setting up a special cemetery for migrants, “on the grounds that they are not Muslims.”

But Amor said that this is still not ready, leading to the difficulties in finding burial places.

Following a visit earlier this week by European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that Tunisia and the European Union agreed to promote the voluntary return of sub-Saharan migrants to their countries of origin.

During her stay, the EU official met with Tunisian Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar, Interior Minister Kamel Feki and Social Affairs Minister Malek Ezzahi.

Migration to Europe has been on an upward climb, peaking in 2022 to 189,620, according to the International Organization for Migration. That’s the most since 2016, when close to 400,000 left their homelands, and one year after more than 1 million people, mostly Syrians fleeing war, sought refuge in 2015.

For many sub-Saharan Africans, who don’t need a visa to travel to Tunisia, the North African country serves as a stepping stone to Europe, while others come from Libya, which shares a border with Tunisia.

Congo Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project Paves the Way for Energy Security on the Back of Gas

In a ceremony held in the presence of the President of Congo and Eni's CEO, the Congo LNG project was officially inaugurated, heralding the country's journey towards becoming a thriving natural gas exporter

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 28, 2023/APO Group/ -- In a significant development for the energy sector, the President of the Republic of the Congo, H.E. Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Claudio Descalzi, CEO of global energy major Eni, gathered on April 25 to lay the foundation stone for the Congo Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. This groundbreaking initiative represents the country's inaugural venture into natural gas liquefaction and serves as a crucial diversification strategy for Eni.

With a projected annual output of 3 million tons (equivalent to approximately 4.5 billion cubic meters per year) by 2025, the project holds immense potential for the Republic of the Congo's energy sector. The project includes an accelerated development schedule and a zero-flaring approach, comprising the installation of two floating LNG (FLNG) plants which will process gas from the Nenè and Litchendjili fields – already in production – as well as any new fields that come online. The FLNG vessels will have a production capacity of 0.6 million tons per annum (mtpa) and 2.4 mtpa, and will begin production by 2023 and 2025, respectively.

The African Energy Chamber – as the voice of the African energy sector - supports the project as it represents a significant step towards achieving energy security in Africa by leveraging natural gas resources. Congo LNG will play a pivotal role in meeting the energy needs of the Republic of Congo, while also bolstering economic growth and offering valuable export opportunities.

The establishment of Congo LNG reflects the country's fortitude to unlock the potential of its natural resources and strengthen its position in the global energy market. By harnessing gas reserves and embracing LNG production, the Republic of the Congo aims to become a key player in the energy sector, driving economic growth, job creation, and technological advancements. Congo LNG aims to tap into the abundant gas resources of the Marine XII block, providing the country with a reliable source of power generation. Additionally, the project will contribute to Africa's energy security through the provision of LNG for the regional energy market, thereby kickstarting industrialization and socioeconomic growth in Africa. In addition to boosting domestic opportunities and value addition from gas, the project is set to generate significant revenue for the country by supplying LNG to international markets, with a particular emphasis on Europe. As such, the significant of the project cannot be overstated.

"Today we celebrate the launch of one of Eni's main projects, made possible by the collaboration with the Republic of the Congo and destined to significantly contribute to both Italy and Europe’s energy security and industrial competitiveness. This outcome speaks to the importance of long-term collaboration with our African partners at a time when important strategic choices need to be made regarding future diversification of supply routes and European energy mixes, in the direction of energy accessibility and availability and progressive decarbonization,” stated Descalzi, Eni's CEO at the inauguration ceremony.

The project demonstrates the value of public-private partnerships in Africa’s energy sector, showcasing how collaboration between African resource-rich countries the international oil companies leads to successful project developments.

"We commend the Minister Jean-Richard Bruno Itoua and SNPC’s Raoul Ominga and their teams and Eni for their visionary approach in launching the Congo LNG project. This significant move not only positions the country as a key player in the global LNG market but also signifies a major step towards energy security in Africa," states NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that, “The development of natural gas resources and LNG production in Africa is vital to meet energy demands, drive economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. The Congo LNG project serves as a role model for other African nations, enabling them to harness gas resources, create value-added industries, and contribute to Africa's energy transition. It signifies a major milestone in Africa's energy journey, solidifying the continent's position as a key global energy player. ”

The AEC's support for Congo LNG underscores the importance of regional cooperation in driving sustainable energy solutions and strengthening Africa's energy landscape.  We hope to see more project updates during African Energy Week in Cape Town. This major step towards energy security through gas exploitation not only benefits the Republic of the Congo but also paves the way for other African nations to leverage their natural resources for sustainable development.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Sudanese Face ‘Shocking’ Delays, No Aid at Egypt Border

After perilous journey to the border, people escaping war wait for days without any humanitarian assistance before crossing into Egypt.

By Arwa Ibrahim

28 Apr 2023

Long lines of 50-person buses queue in Argeen, one of two main crossings along the Egyptian-Sudanese border, as they carry thousands of people escaping fighting in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, to neighbouring countries.

Mounds of luggage pile up next to crowds of hungry and exhausted people, including children, chronically ill people, and elderly men and women. They wait in the scorching April heat without food, water, sanitary toilets or access to basic healthcare before crossing into Egypt.

Many of those waiting have been traumatised by heavy artillery and air strikes that hit their homes or struck nearby after battles broke out between the Sudanese army and the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15.

The fighting has killed at least 460 people, injured more than 4,000 and shut down 60 percent of the capital city’s hospitals, according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

Those who cannot afford the extortionate costs of the journey to the borders of neighbouring countries or are unwilling to face the uncertainty it brings remain trapped in Khartoum and other cities where food, water and fuel are scarce.

Those who left have told Al Jazeera that instead of finding respite at the borders, they are met with long delays to get their visas processed and a lack of international aid.

“The situation is simply shocking, and my main concern is that it’s getting worse by the day,” says Yousra Abdelmoneim, a 27-year-old Sudanese-Egyptian accountant who crossed into Egypt after a three-day journey from Khartoum.

“There are no basic services or healthcare, no international aid organisations, and no access to free food or water,” she says. 

No humanitarian aid presence

Abdelmoneim says she crossed into Egypt with family members after waiting 24 hours at the border and paying hundreds of dollars to reach Wadi Karkar, a bus station near Aswan in southern Egypt.

Like many who spoke to Al Jazeera, she says she saw not a single international aid organisation on the Sudanese side of the border and only an Egyptian Red Crescent mobile health clinic on the other.

“There was nothing on the Sudanese side. Just a small straw shed and a place selling some sandwiches. No services, not even water being distributed,” Abdelmoneim says.

On the Egyptian side, the situation was not much better, but Egypt’s health ministry announced on Friday that it be stepping in to provide medical services the border crossing for everyone arriving from Sudan.

“Just a small cafeteria selling tea, water, but only if you have Egyptian currency,” says Abdelmoniem, recounting that there were “no other international NGOs, no UN trucks nor personnel, no humanitarian organisation giving out food or urgent medical care.”

Abdolmoniem’s concerns were shared by a Sudanese man fleeing the conflict. The international aid worker who did not wish to be named for security reasons says he was also “shocked not to see any UN agencies at the border”, adding that people even had to pay 2,000 Sudanese pounds [about $4] for a straw bed while waiting to cross the border.

There was no one to provide medical care to the many people arriving exhausted, depleted and dehydrated while others were in need of life-saving medicines or urgent medical care for chorionic illnesses.

“When the Ukraine war broke out, when the Tigray crisis happened, everyone was on the ground, but this time, there’s no one,” the aid worker-turned-refugee tells Al Jazeera from Aswan, where he arrived on Wednesday after paying $200 for a bus ticket and waiting with about 30,000 other people for nearly four days to clear the crossing. “Where are the international aid organisations?”

Long delays

After long and difficult journeys, people reaching the Egyptian side of the border say they were divided into groups of Egyptians and foreigners and told to queue up at two windows served by one staff member each. After submitting their passports and forms, they waited some more for their paperwork to be processed.

“It was a very haphazard process with no logical order, with no distinction as to whether you were Egyptian or a foreigner,” Abdelmoneim says. “Many people around us had been waiting for two days without their names being called out.”

Unlike the rest of their group, two of her male cousins did not hold an Egyptian passport or a valid visa and were denied entry at Argeen. They were told to go to Wadi Halfa for their paperwork to be processed, but five days later, they remain stuck there, she says.

For Abdelmoneim, the nightmare continued every step of the way. After they were allowed entry into Egypt, the group was told that like many other buses, theirs did not have the correct paperwork. They were forced to disembark and waited another five hours until they found another vehicle to help them cross into Egypt because they were not permitted to do so on foot, Abdelmoneim says.

“We paid $200 each to reach the border, and another $150 just to get to Aswan,” the accountant says. “Reaching safety is a privilege that only few can afford.”

Safa Kazzam, a 38-year-old Sudanese-Swedish mother, who crossed the border on Saturday says many of her family members have been stuck in Argeen for three days with no sign of when they will be able to clear the crossing.

“To be met by this after such a long and difficult journey is insane,” Kazzam says.

‘Lack of UN presence’

Olga Sarrado, a spokesperson at the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), told Al Jazeera on Wednesday that it was expecting 270,000 Sudanese refugees to cross into Chad and South Sudan, including South Sudanese returning home, but did not have projections for Egypt.

Egyptian media outlets have reported that more than 10,000 people had crossed through the land crossings of Qastal and Argeen from April 21 to Tuesday. According to witnesses, the number of people reaching the Egyptian border has been much higher.

Unconfirmed reports circulated on Thursday that the Egyptian authorities had granted organisations, including UN agencies, permission to visit the border with Sudan.

While human rights organisations and activists raised the alarm on what they describe as a slow and inefficient humanitarian response on the Sudanese border, it remained unclear why international aid groups were not there. Al Jazeera had not received a response from the UNHCR at the time of publishing.

“We are hearing that the UN has not been providing support at the border, which has compounded the problem for the people fleeing Sudan,” says Abdullahi Hassan, Sudan and Somalia researcher at Amnesty International.

Sherine Tadros, deputy director of advocacy and UN representative for Amnesty, called out the apparent lack of provisions at the border crossings, explaining that there remains no food, water or basic services such as places to sit, sleep, shower or use the toilet.

“These are people who left everything behind, their homes and belongings, … their entire lives to make this 1,000km [620-mile] journey from Khartoum to the border,” Tadros says. “At the very least they deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity as they wait to enter Egypt, and they should be given safe passage.”


Sudan Peace Groups Deploy Combatants to Protect Civilians in North Darfur

Peace signatory groups patrol to protect civilians in El Fasher of North Darfur on April 27, 2023

April 27, 2023 (EL-GENEINA) – Five armed movements, signatory of the Juba peace agreement, on Thursday, deployed hundreds of fighters on four-wheel drive vehicles to secure the city of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.

The deployment aims at protecting civilians from militia attacks, as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued their attacks on the city of El Geneina in West Darfur.

Observers fear that the ongoing conflict between the army and the RSF paramilitary group, made up of the Arab tribes of Darfur, may lead to the involvement of Darfur armed groups in the ongoing conflict in the country.

Ahmed Hussein Mustafa, the spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Movement- Minni Minnawi told Sudan Tribune that a joint force comprising 5 armed movements with 120 military vehicles has been formed to secure the headquarters of government institutions, international organizations, and all areas west of El Fasher.

“The force aims to maintain security and stability, spread reassurance among civilians, combat negative phenomena, and resolve unruly groups that have appeared in the past days, active in looting, theft, and assaulting civilians and their property,” Mustafa said.

During the past few days, El-Fasher witnessed bloody clashes between the army and RSF fighters in different parts of the city, killing 61 civilians.

Mediation by the governor of North Darfur, Nimir Abdel Rahman, and traditional leaders succeeded to establish a permanent cease-fire.

However, armed Arab groups appeared on motorcycles and four-wheel drive vehicles in the city’s neighbourhoods after the fighting stopped. They carried out widespread looting and assaulting civilians in El Fasher. Also, they attacked Shala prison, releasing all inmates.

The SLM-MM spokesman stressed that the armed movements have taken a neutral position since the outbreak of the war and are seeking to mediate between the warring groups to stop the conflict and resort to a negotiated settlement.

The armed movements that make up this force are the SLM-MM, the SLM- Transitional Council headed by Al-Hadi Idris, in addition to Justice and Equality led by Gibril Ibrahim, the Sudan Liberation Forces Gathering, and the Sudanese Alliance Forces.

El Geneina in fire

In a new development of the conflict between the Masalit and Arab tribes, armed militias launched a violent attack on El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, for the fourth day.

The conflict has claimed more than 90 lives until Wednesday, as thousands of people fled to neighbouring Chad seeking refuge from the militiamen.

Mohamed Hasaballah, a resident of the “Customs” neighbourhood, reported that the armed Arab tribes raided the western and eastern neighbourhoods of the city,  firing indiscriminately and causing many deaths.

Hasaballah said he saw the armed men setting fire to the temporary shelter camps for the displaced, and forcing the residents to flee.

“What is happening in El Geneina is genocide and ethnic cleansing in the absence of the army, police and regular agencies,” he said.

A medical source confirmed that the headquarters of the Ministry of Health were completely destroyed, looted, and set on fire. He also reported an attack on the Geneina Teaching Hospital, the destruction of X-ray machines, and the doctors’ residence.

The source added that a number of medical personnel were killed.

Activists spoke about the continued influx of armed men from the states of North and Central Darfur to El Geneina, highlighting fears that if the conflict continues for more days.


Trilateral Panel, Quad Call for Permanent Ceasefire in Sudan

People fleeing street battles between the forces of two rival Sudanese generals, are transported on the back of a truck in the southern part of Khartoum, on April 21, 2023 (AFP photo)

April 28, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The Trilateral Mechanism and Quad countries welcomed the Juba meeting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and called for a permanent ceasefire to pave the way for the resumption of political talks.

On Friday, representatives of the Sudan Armed Forces and the RSF met in Juba to discuss ways to de-escalate the ongoing fighting in Khartoum, which broke out on April 15.

The Quad countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and the UAE, and the Trilateral Mechanism, comprised of the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), issued a joint statement on Thursday welcoming the Juba meeting.

The joint statement underscored that the purpose of the Juba meeting is to achieve a permanent ceasefire in the country in line with the peace plan agreed upon in an international and regional virtual meeting held on April 20, chaired by the head of the African Union.

The Quad and the Trilateral Facilitation Panel further called for the establishment of humanitarian corridors and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in Khartoum.

The April 20 communiqué called for “the immediate resumption of the political process, through dialogue and negotiations, towards the establishment of an inclusive, democratic transitional civilian-led government.”

The virtual meeting was chaired by the President of Comoresn chair of the African Union with the participation of the UN General-Secretary, IGAD Executive Secretary, General Secretary of the League of Arab States, President of the European Commission, Sudan’s neighbouring countries, three African countries members of the UN Security Council, Norway, UNSC Permanent five members and three Gulf Countries:  Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.

On Thursday, the two belligerents announced their commitment to the renewed three-day ceasefire but traded accusations of violating the truce.

Sudan Tribune journalists confirmed sounds of gunshots and bombs in several parts of the capital throughout the night as civilians in Khartoum city are facing food, power, and water shortages.


Heavy Clashes Rock Sudan’s Capital Despite Truce Extension


Evacuees cross into Egypt through the Argeen land port, after being evacuated from Sudan to escape the conflict, east of the High Dam Lake on the international border lines between Egypt and the Sudan, Thursday, April 27, 2023. (AP Photo)

CAIRO (AP) — Heavy explosions and gunfire rocked Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman early Friday, residents said, despite the extension of a fragile truce between the county’s two top generals whose power struggle has killed hundreds.

After two weeks of fighting that has turned Khartoum into a war zone and thrown Sudan into turmoil, a wide-ranging group of international mediators — including African and Arab nations, the United Nations and the United States — were intensifying their pressure on the rival generals to enter talks on resolving the crisis.

So far, however, they have managed to achieve only a series of fragile temporary cease-fires that failed to stop clashes but created enough of a lull for tens of thousands of Sudanese to flee to safer areas and for foreign nations to evacuate thousands of their citizens by land, air and sea.

In a sign of the persistent chaos, Turkey said one of its evacuation planes was hit by gunfire outside Khartoum with no casualties on Friday, hours after both sides accepted a 72-hour truce extension.

The U.K. said it would end its evacuation flights on Saturday evening, after numbers of British citizens seeking an airlift began to decline. After a slow start that attracted criticism, Britain has run regular military flights from an airfield near Khartoum to Cyprus. As of Friday evening, it had airlifted 1,573 people, including nationals of several European countries.

“You have another 24 hours if you are eligible to make your way to the airport and we will get you on a plane,” Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said.

Fierce clashes with frequent explosions and gunfire continued Friday in Khartoum’s upscale neighborhood of Kafouri, where the military’s warplanes bombed its rivals, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, residents said. Clashes were also reported around the military’s headquarters, the Republican Palace and the area close to the Khartoum international airport. All these areas have been flashpoints since the war erupted on April 15. Explosions also rang out across the river in Omdurman.

Doctors in the Sudanese capital said the RSF has been abducting medical personnel to treat its wounded fighters — a sign the paramilitary was struggling to get medical support.

One doctor forwarded to The Associated Press a voice note shared on a chat group for Sudanese healthcare workers, warning them not to wear medical uniforms or hand over identification listing a profession if fighters stop them on the street.

Nada Fadul, a Sudanese-American infectious disease physician at the University of Nebraska who is working with community health leaders in Sudan, said she knows of five doctors taken by the RSF from Khartoum streets since the start of the fighting.

One abducted doctor said he was forcibly taken to an unknown location in Khartoum earlier this week. There, he saw dozens of wounded fighters, a stockpile of medical supplies and two other kidnapped doctors working. He spent three days treating fighters with gunshot wounds, burns and other injuries before he and the others were released on Wednesday night, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for his safety.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said “light weapons were fired” at a C-130 aircraft heading to Wadi Sayidna airbase on Khartoum’s northern outskirts to evacuate Turkish civilians. The plane landed safely, the ministry said in a tweet, and no personnel were injured.

The Sudanese military blamed the RSF, which denied firing on the plane.

Over the past 14 days of pummeling each other, the military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the RSF led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, have each failed to deal a decisive blow to the other in their struggle for control of Africa’s third largest nation.

Still, world powers have struggled to get them to adhere to announced cease-fires. A bloc of East Africa nations has put forward a initiative for the two sides to hold talks, and a gamut of mediators are promoting the plan, including the African Union, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.

Burhan on Friday ruled out negotiations with Dagalo, accusing him of orchestrating a rebellion against the state, a day after the military expressed openness to the talks under the initiative. Dagalo “wants to rule Sudan, seize its resources and magnify his wealth,” Burhan said in an interview with U.S.-funded Alhurra TV, denying that he wants power for himself.

Both Burhan and Dagalo have been involved in crushing pro-democracy activists and together they pushed out civilians from an interim government in a coup in 2021. The former allies fell out in recent months in disputes over an internationally brokered deal meant to pave the way back to a civilian government, including over the issue of incorporating the RSF into the military.

The rivals’ battles in the streets with artillery barrages, airstrikes and gunfire have wreaked misery on millions of Sudanese caught between them. Many have left Khartoum to the northern borders with Egypt, or to the city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

Around 40,000 South Sudanese, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees who had been living in the capital have fled Khartoum since fighting erupted, the UN’s refugee agency said Friday. Many are now sheltering in refugee camps in White Nile, al-Qadarif and Kassala provinces, said Fathi Kasina, a UNHCR spokesman. Sudan hosts over 1.3 million refugees, including over 800,000 from South Sudan, according to U.N. figures.

Those who remain in Khartoum have been living in rapidly deteriorating conditions, mostly trapped inside their homes for days. Food, water and other services have become scarce, and electricity is cut off across much of Khartoum and other cities. Fighters roam the streets in the capital and other cities, looting and destroying homes, shops, businesses and open-air markets.

At least 512 people, including civilians and combatants, have been killed since April 15, with another 4,200 wounded, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry. The Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties, has recorded at least 387 civilians killed and 1,928 wounded.

Dr. Salah Tour, of the Doctors’ Syndicate in West Darfur province, said at least 113 civilians were killed on Thursday alone in the city of Genena, where fierce clashes among tribal militias have raged despite the cease-fire. A total of more than 190 civilians have been killed there this week and most of them have not yet been added to the nationwide tallies of the dead.

The health care system is near collapse with dozens of hospitals out of service. Multiple aid agencies have had to suspend operations and evacuate employees.

The French military evacuated dozens of employees with the U.N. and other international aid agencies Thursday night from al-Fasher, a city in Sudan’s western Darfur region, to Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The evacuation came a day after armed fighters rampaged through the city, battling each other, killing dozens and looting shops and homes. U.N. envoy Volker Perthes remained in Sudan along with a small team.


Associated Press writers Andrew Wilks in Ankara, Turkey, and Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

Extremists Kill 33 Soldiers in Latest Burkina Faso Attack


OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — A large number of Islamic extremists launched an attack on Burkina Faso’s military in the country’s east, killing 33 soldiers and wounding a dozen others, the army said Friday.

The assault took place Thursday in the Gourma province town of Ouagarou, according to an army statement.

“During particularly intense combat, the soldiers of the detachment showed remarkable determination when faced with an enemy that came in very large numbers,” the statement said, adding that 40 jihadis also were killed.

Fighters linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have waged a violent insurgency in Burkina Faso for seven years. The violence has killed thousands of people and displaced around 2 million.

It also has divided a once peaceful nation and fueled frustration that led to two coups last year. The new junta leader, Capt. Ibrahim Traore, has promised to secure the country. But some civilians say they also fear Burkina Faso’s security forces, which they accuse of extrajudicial killings and the disappearance of untold numbers of others accused of supporting the militants.

Meanwhile, attacks are intensifying and spreading as jihadis blockade villages, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from moving freely.

Earlier this month, gunmen killed at least 40 members of Burkina Faso’s security forces in the northern part of the country, and dozens of others were wounded.

Local residents have accused the security forces of brutally killing civilians in the north. The United Nations has called for a thorough and independent investigation into what it called the “horrific killing of civilians.”

Zimbabwe Plans to Launch Digital Currency Backed by Gold


FILE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, John Mangudya holds a sample of a gold coin at the launch in Harare, on July 25, 2022. Zimbabwe will launch a digital currency next month by introducing “tokens” that are backed by gold reserves and can be transferred between people and businesses as a form of payment, the country's central bank said Friday April 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe will launch a digital currency next month by introducing “tokens” that are backed by gold reserves and can be transferred between people and businesses as a form of payment, the country’s central bank said Friday.

The move is aimed at shoring up Zimbabwe’s faltering national currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, which is fast depreciating amid yearslong economic woes in the southern African nation.

The Bahamas, Jamaica and Nigeria have already launched digital currencies backed by their central banks, with several other countries, including China, running trial projects. The United Kingdom is moving closer to it by asking for public input on the idea. The U.S. and European Union are considering similar moves.

In Zimbabwe, the new tokens “will be fully backed by physical gold held by the bank” and will go into circulation on May 8, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gov. John Mangudya said. People can buy the tokens and use them as a way to save their money or conduct “person-to-person and person-to-business transactions and settlements,” Mangudya said.

People will be able to buy the tokens through banks and make transactions using “e-gold wallets or e-gold cards” held by banks, he said.

Trust in Zimbabwe’s currency is desperately low after people in 2008 had their savings wiped out by hyperinflation, which reached 5 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, nearly a world record.

The hyperinflation resulted in the country at one point issuing a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars banknote before the government was forced to temporarily scrap its currency and allow the U.S. dollar to be used as legal tender.

In 2019, the government reintroduced a Zimbabwean currency and banned foreign currencies for local transactions. But few took heed and the black market thrived, while the local currency quickly devalued. The government relented and unbanned the U.S. dollar.

With memories of that disastrous inflation, many people today prefer to seek scarce U.S. dollars on the illegal market to keep at home as savings or for daily transactions, where U.S. currency is still used. Faith in the Zimbabwe dollar is so low that many retailers and even some government institutions don’t accept it.

On the official market, the exchange rate is just over 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the U.S. dollar. However, it’s about double that amount of local currency on the illegal — but flourishing — street market, where greenbacks are readily available.

Zimbabwe has tried to stave off the depreciation of its currency with unusual ideas before. In July 2022, it launched gold coins as legal tender to stabilize the local currency. But many people struggling to buy everyday basics such as bread found them too pricey.

The introduction of the digital currency will ensure that “those with low amounts” of money can trade them “so that we leave no one and no place behind,” Mangudya told Zimbabwe’s The Sunday Mail newspaper last weekend.

International gold prices determined by the London Bullion Market Association will dictate the local pricing of the tokens, Mangudya said.

More than 80% of the world’s central banks are considering issuing digital currencies or have already done so, the consultancy PwC said in a report last year.

A NJ Pastor-politician is Gunned Down, and a Community Reels


SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) — Nicole Teliano used to play games on her phone in the mayor’s office while her mother worked down the hall several evenings a month, tending to the tedious, often acrimonious task of serving in local government.

The 11-year-old girl didn’t mind sharing her mother, Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour, with the nearly 50,000 residents of the central New Jersey town, the young people she nurtured as a pastor of a prosperity gospel church in Newark or the Nigerian church colleague she married in a festive ceremony in Abuja in November.

“Well, my mom was a little bit of extra, so I could share a little bit. There was enough to go around,” Nicole said in a family interview with The Associated Press this month.

Now, friends and loved ones are asking for help figuring out who gunned down the charismatic 30-year-old Dwumfour outside her Sayreville home on Feb. 1. The case is reverberating from New Jersey to West Africa, with touchpoints including politics, religion and money that echo across continents.

Authorities aren’t saying much. Dwumfour’s parents and new husband Peter Ezechukwu, who hoped to join his wife in the United States this spring but instead came for her funeral, are frustrated by the ongoing silence. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said it recognizes their concerns but needs to protect the integrity of the investigation.

“Eunice was too good of a person to let (her death) go unanswered,” Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said at a Feb. 8 memorial service, where hundreds mourned the stylish preacher known as “Pastor Eunney_K.”

“That smile” of hers, Kilpatrick said, “is not going to let us give up.”


Dwumfour (pronounced JEWM’-for), the eldest of five children born to Ghanaian immigrants, had been active in Christian ministry since she was a teen. She graduated from Newark public schools and, after having Nicole, earned a degree in women’s studies from William Paterson University in 2017.

During the 2021 council campaign, she described herself as a business analyst and volunteer EMT, and said she had moved to Sayreville in 2017 because it was a safe community. She had first joined the local Human Relations Commission, then won a close race for city council in 2021, running on a Republican ticket with church friend Christian Onuoha. Their surprise victories left the council with a 3-3 partisan split instead of a 5-1 Democratic majority.

Tensions often ran high at council meetings. It was something that Dwumfour addressed head-on in January. “It’s 2023 and my prayer for everyone is that our mindset will change,” Dwumfour said. “I’d like to wish everyone a happy and glorious new year.”

Four weeks later, she was dead.

Just before the shooting, Dwumfour dropped off a housemate who had been grocery shopping with her. She lived in the suburban apartment complex, Camelot at La Mer, with her daughter and two church friends, family said.

“We were waiting for my mom to look for a parking space, and then she was taking a lot of time, so we started calling her over and over and over, but it wouldn’t pick up. And then we heard gunshots, and we started calling the police,” recalled Nicole, who had dinner ready for her mother. “I thought it was fireworks.”

Neighbors saw a man in dark clothes argue with Dwumfour at her driver’s side window, then open fire before running toward the nearby Garden State Parkway and disappearing. Her white Nissan SUV rolled down the street and smashed into two parked cars.

Family lawyer John Wisniewski acknowledges that it could take time to examine everything from Dwumfour’s cellphone data to the bitter squabbles on council to the global nature of her work with her church, Champions Royal Assembly. With his help, the family finally met with investigators in March. He believes they’re “looking at everything.”

But people close to her fear the death of yet another Black woman in America will be forgotten.

“It’s just not common for somebody to come home from work and be ambushed in her parking lot,” said Karl Badu of The Church of Pentecost, the family’s pastor. “She was a councilwoman who just got murdered, brutally.”


Most of Dwumfour’s time and energy seemed devoted to Champions Royal Assembly, which met four or five times a week in a small storefront above a Goodwill store in Newark, where nearly one in three people live in poverty.

“God loves a cheerful giver!” Dwumfour said in a 2017 sermon posted online, extolling a central tenet of the prosperity gospel theology: that good things come to those who tithe.

Senior Pastor Joshua Iginla, who married Dwumfour and Ezechukwu in November, founded the group in 2006 and now oversees an 80,000-seat church in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. He travels by private jet and — according to his social media posts and Nigerian news outlets — gives away luxury cars, cash, generators and grain to widows, actors and others on his birthday, He also has a base in Johannesburg with his South African wife and bought a home in Springfield, New Jersey, a New York suburb, linked to his former wife, in 2017. Calls to that home went unanswered.

But court records and tax filings suggest money was tight in the church’s newer U.S. operations. Dwumfour, as an officer, had been named in a series of landlord-tenant disputes in Newark dating from 2017 to 2020 involving a related church entity, the Fire Congress Fellowship. That entity saw its income drop sharply in recent years — from about $250,000 in 2017 to just $350 in 2020 as the pandemic took hold.

And an eviction warrant had been sought on Jan. 3 for her Camelot unit before property managers dismissed the case on Jan. 16, according to court records. That same month, Dwumfour wrote on LinkedIn that she was looking for a new job.

Dwumfour and Nicole had previously stayed at a second unit at Camelot, one listed as the business address for both church entities. Pastor Osi King, a regional church administrator linked to that unit, did not return calls seeking comment.

Dwumfour made $5,000 a year for her Sayreville council work and, based on the tax filings, did not appear to take a salary from the church. The church had paid the down payment on her vehicle, but not the monthly payments, her parents said. Nicole thinks her mom also did some work as a nursing assistant, though other family members could not confirm that.

Onuoha, who does campus outreach for Champions Royal Assembly, held the lease on the Camelot unit where Dwumfour was staying when she died. He had hoped she might soon take it over.

“I was just so happy that she was married,” Onuoha, who spoke movingly about Dwumfour at the memorial, told AP. She seemed, he said, to be in “a very good place.”

Nicole was not so sure. She said her mother seemed down in her final days. “That week, she started acting sad,” Nicole said. She asked what was wrong, and her mother replied, “It’s just work. It’s a lot.”

“I knew it was something else,” Nicole said quietly.

Dwumfour’s husband spoke with her from Abuja an hour before she was killed. It was “just normal: ‘I love you.’ ‘How are you?’” said Ezechukwu, 36. “My wife’s always a happy woman. Even if she has an issue, you can never tell. Because she always smiles.”

Her father, noting her generosity, said Dwumfour once gave the full contents of her bank account — some $3,000 — to a relative in need. He had named her for his mother, giving her the middle name Konadu.

“I love her so much, and she loved me too,” Prince Dwumfour said. “Oh, I’m going to miss her.”


At the first borough council meeting of the year on Jan. 3, tempers flared over leadership assignments before Onuoha was named council president and Dwumfour — despite once saying she’d thought poorly of police growing up in Newark — the public safety chairperson.

She urged harmony in the new year.

“I’m not here because of the (Republican) party or any other thing. I’m here because I was appointed here by God., … and I’m here for my conscience,” Dwumfour said.

Three months later, the community is still reeling from her death. Kilpatrick, the mayor, announced on April 10 that she will not seek reelection. She and her family are concerned about a threatening letter sent to her while her friend’s killing goes unsolved.

Nicole is spending more time with her grandparents as she adjusts to life without her mother, whose words of wisdom she prefers to keep private. She had to give up the French bulldog mix she walked after school, which they had named Excellence. She also continues to spend time with her father. He did not return a message from the AP.

And Ezechukwu? Instead of a new life with Dwumfour, he has only memories and cellphone photos of their four-year romance, burnished through semi-annual church conferences held around the world.

“Nigerians,” Ezechukwu said, “want to know: ’What really happened? We believe in America — authority, the police and everybody. … We need justice for her.”

The family worries that day may never come.

“And the fear. Just to be plain honest — this is a Black woman, the first Black councilwoman in Sayreville. Are they just going to sweep this under the rug just like every Black person?” Badu asked. “We just need some assurance, that’s all.”