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Mali hit by sanctions as its neighbours shuts borders

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MALI

West African leaders have imposed sanctions on Mali after the country’s military government announced a long delay to the elections originally planned for February.

The West African regional bloc, Ecowas, which met in Accra on Sunday, agreed to close borders with Mali as well as implement a range of economic sanctions.

Mali’s military government in response said that it was closing its land and air borders with Ecowas and recalling its ambassadors from member states.

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In a statement, the junta said it “strongly” condemned “illegal” sanctions imposed on the country.

West African leaders have been calling for a return to civilian rule since a group of army officers toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta following street protests in August 2020.

Mali’s military rulers now say elections could take place in December 2025 instead of February 2022 as originally agreed – a delay the West African bloc deems unacceptable.

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Sanctions have been seen to be effective in the past, but a second coup last year forced out the interim civilian government, testing the resolve of regional leaders pushing for reform.

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Popular Zambian Prophet Says President Hichilema To Rule Zambia For 10 Years

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1642778703 Hichilema

Zambian prophet Isaac Praise has dropped a prophecy regarding President Hakainde Hichilema’s political future saying he will rule Zambia for 10 years.

According the man of God, by 2031, more than 80% of Zambians will still want Hichilema to continue ruling.

He was however said that it will not be an easy journey for Hichilema as he will face forces and criticisms against his type of leadership.

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“I was shocked to see President HH ruling this county up to 2031 without resistance because will be enjoying almost 95% support from Zambians in 2026”, said the Prophet.

He Continued; “Calculate the 40 weeks with me, 40 weeks of hardships for all Zambians start from Sunday 19th December 2021 and will permanently end on Saturday 24th September 2022 after which Zambians will see light and will cherish the fact that President Hakainde Hichilema was sent by God to set Zambia free from economic hardships.”

He added that after 2022, opposition political parties will have no support as 90% of their supporters will agree with the economic policies of President Hakainde Hichilema.

“I was shocked to see President HH ruling this county up to 2031 without resistance because will be enjoying almost 95% support from Zambians in 2026”, said the Prophet.

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Update: Atleast 17 dead in Ghana explosion

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1642778404 Ghana

An explosion caused by a truck carrying explosives for a mine killed at least 17 people and injured 59 others Thursday and devastated a town in western Ghana, the government said.

The explosion occurred around noon Thursday in Apiate, not far from Bogoso, a mining town in the Western Region, about 300 kilometers west of Accra, the capital of the mineral-rich West African country.

Videos authenticated by AFP show a large crater, blown houses and debris strewn across the ground for hundreds of meters. Several lifeless bodies, some dismembered, are visible and testify to the violence of the explosion.

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According to the first elements of the investigation, it was “an accident involving a truck transporting explosive materials for a mining company, a motorcycle and a third vehicle that took place near an electrical transformer and led to the explosion,” said Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah in a statement issued Thursday night.

At around 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT), the authorities had counted “a total of 17 people unfortunately confirmed dead”, and “59 injured people rescued”, he said.

Of the 59 injured, 42 have been treated in health centers, some “in critical condition”, said the minister. All hospitals in the area have been mobilized, and a plan has been activated to evacuate people in critical condition to Accra.

“Ghost town”

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“It’s a black Thursday. So far, 500 houses have been affected. Some have been completely leveled by the blast while others have developed cracks,” Sedzi Sadzi Amedonu, deputy coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization, told AFP in the evening.

“It’s almost like a ghost town now. Some houses have been burned, others have been covered by debris, and search and rescue operations are still ongoing,” he added.

Survivors of the explosion, interviewed by the local press, told of scenes of desolation.

Like Abena Mintah, who explained that he ran to the scene of the accident to see if he could help rescue any victims.

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“The driver of the truck carrying the explosives ran towards us to tell us to stand down and a few minutes later we heard a loud bang,” he explained.

“I became dizzy and fell into the bush. I managed to get up and saw several dismembered bodies in the street,” said the witness, who suffered minor injuries to his feet and hands.

In order to avoid a second explosion, the authorities have deployed a joint team of police and military experts. They “will examine the situation and put in place security measures,” the government said.

Authorities have asked residents to move away from the blast site and evacuate to surrounding villages. Schools and churches were opened for them to stay overnight.

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By late afternoon, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo had lamented on Twitter “a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic event”, and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Deadly accidents related to the mining sector are common in Ghana, but most often involve the collapse of artisanal mines, mostly illegal.

In June, at least nine people died in the collapse of such a mine in northern Ghana.

Ghana is Africa’s second-largest gold producer, after South Africa. The country’s mining industry involves both large global players and artisanal mining, many of which are illegal.

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