Africa 

Fighters step up attacks in Mozambique gas region, beheadings reported – U.N

GENEVA (Reuters) – People are fleeing a surge of attacks in northern Mozambique where witnesses have described beheadings, mass kidnappings and villages burned to the ground, the United Nations said on Friday. Officials said armed groups had stepped up assaults in Cabo Delgado province, the centre of an Islamist insurgency that has killed hundreds since it started in 2017. The northern region is also home to one of the world’s biggest recent gas finds, where Exxon Mobil Corp, Total and others are working. Displaced villagers have described killings, maiming, torture…

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Africa 

Two die in Zimbabwe gold mine collapse

HARARE (Reuters) – Two illegal Zimbabwean miners died and another was injured after the gold mine they were working in collapsed, the disaster management agency said on Thursday, as rescuers searched for more miners. Fortune Mupungu, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) chairman for Kwekwe district, 200 km south-west of the capital Harare, said rescuers had found two bodies. “The rescue operation has been going on and we are yet to identify any more miners. These are illegal miners who operate at night, so we cannot ascertain how many they were,”…

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Africa 

Two illegal Zimbabwe miners die in gold mine collapse, 20 trapped – media

HARARE (Reuters) – Two illegal Zimbabwean miners have died after the gold mine they were working in collapsed, while 20 others remained trapped underground, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported on Thursday. The newspaper quoted a Civil Protection Unit (CPU) official in Kwekwe district, 200 km south-west of the capital Harare, saying a rescue team had found two bodies but was yet to start rescuing the trapped miners. Head of the CPU Nathan Nkomo said he could not immediately comment. Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by David Evans Follow and like…

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Africa 

Ivory Coast navy seizes record cocaine haul off coast

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast’s navy has seized a record amount of cocaine plastic-wrapped in small bundles bearing the tattered logos of French fashion house Louis Vuitton and Pacena Black, a dark beer from Bolivia. The 411 kilograms of cocaine destined for the commercial capital Abidjan came from a Spanish-flagged ship that had been spotted by the navy idling 250 km (155 miles) off the coast since Jan. 30, the navy said in a statement on Wednesday. The ship offloaded the drugs onto a smaller boat which was picked up…

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Africa 

Sudan gives Israel initial okay for overflights- official

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan has agreed to allow flights heading to Israel to cross its airspace, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, two days after Sudan’s military head of state held a surprise meeting with Israel’s prime minister. The meeting in Uganda between Sudan’s Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu stirred controversy in Sudan after Israeli officials said it would lead to normalising relations between the two former foes. Tensions have risen between the military and civilian groups sharing power after last year’s overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir.…

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Africa 

First payments in South African silicosis settlement expected in Q2

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The first payments to miners who contracted the fatal lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis from a 5 billion rand ($340 million) class action settlement by gold producers are expected in the second quarter of 2020, a lawyer for the companies said on Wednesday. The companies involved are Harmony Gold, Gold Fields, African Rainbow Minerals,Sibanye-Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti andAnglo American South Africa. The latter no longer hasgold assets but at one time was a bullion producer. The most far-reaching class action settlement ever reachedin South Africa followed a…

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Africa 

Nigeria eyes increased trade and tourism with new visa policy

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria has eased its visa rules in an effort to boost trade and tourism as an African trade agreement promoting freer movement of goods and services comes into effect, interior minister Rauf Aregbesola said on Tuesday. “The objective of the reforms … is to strengthen Nigeria’s position as a key economy in Africa by attracting more foreign direct investment … and lifting Nigeria’s teeming population out of poverty,” Aregbesola said. The new visa policy is expected to boost tourism, aviation, entertainment, commerce and other areas where Nigeria…

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Africa 

Mercenary ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare dies aged 100

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Michael “Mad Mike” Hoare, one of the most famous foreign mercenaries to have played a role in Africa’s violent transition from colonial rule, has died aged 100. Born in British-occupied India to Irish parents, Hoare was best known for his exploits during the Congo Crisis in the 1960s and for leading an unsuccessful coup d’etat attempt in the Seychelles in the 1980s. His son, Chris Hoare, wrote in a Facebook post that his father died on Feb. 2 in a care facility in Durban, South Africa. Hoare…

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Africa 

Gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai attacked, imports from Israel unaffected

CAIRO (Reuters) – Armed men attacked a gas pipeline in the north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula late on Sunday, security sources and witnesses said, but gas imports through North Sinai from Israel were unaffected. Egyptian security forces have been battling an Islamist insurgency concentrated in North Sinai and that has escalated since 2013 with small-scale attacks common. A group of gunmen detonated explosives on the pipeline west of el-Arish on Sunday, causing a fire but no casualties, security sources and witnesses said. The pipeline carries gas to homes and factories…

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