Hundreds of supporters of former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma remained camped outside his home on Sunday vowing to render the country ungovernable if he is jailed.
After historically sentencing him to a 15-month term for contempt of court, South Africa’s constitutional court agreed to hear Zuma’s challenge to rescind the order.
A surrender deadline was set to run out on Sunday but after refusing to testify in a corruption trial, Zuma has shown no sign he will hand himself in to the authorities.
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In a show of force, Zuma loyalists clad in their ANC regalia have been camped outside their embattled leader’s Nkandla homestead in Kwa-Zulu Natal province for weeks.
Some on Sunday were singing, “Don’t rush the war, war kills!”
“If (Police Minister) Bheki Cele comes here to arrest uBaba (Zuma) he must start with us,” Lindokuhle Maphalala told AFP.
Vowing to protect Zuma against jail time, the protesters called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to step down.
“We are here to say Ramaphosa must step down. Must step down”, a visibly angry loyalist said. “As from Monday we will make the country ungovernable.”
Police, under orders to arrest Zuma if necessary, were stationed across the province on Sunday in a bid to control the crowds descending on Nkandla.
The Jacob Zuma Foundation said he would address the media on Sunday.
If the 79-year-old fails to turn himself in by Sunday, police will be given a further three days to arrest him.
17 killed, 59 injured by explosion in western Ghana
At least 17 people were killed and 59 injured Thursday in a devastating explosion in a western Ghana town after a truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle, the government said.
The blast left a huge crater and reduced dozens of buildings to dust-covered piles of wood and metal in Apiate, near the city of Bogoso some 300 kilometres (180 miles) west of the mineral-rich West African country’s capital Accra.
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The minister said initial signs point to “an accident involving a truck transporting explosive materials for a mining company, a motorcycle and a third vehicle” which took place near an electrical transformer.
Out of 59 people injured, 42 are receiving treatment in hospitals or health centres and “some are in critical condition”, Nkrumah added.
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo called it a “truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident”.
The government said those in critical condition would be moved to hospitals in Accra and police asked surrounding villages to open their schools and churches to accommodate any additional casualties.
A team of police and army explosion experts were deployed to “avoid a second explosion” and put in place security measures after the blast, the government said in a press release.
Ethiopia hails return of looted artefacts
Ethiopia on Saturday hailed the return of precious artefacts looted by British soldiers more than 150 years ago, after a long campaign for their restitution.
The collection — recovered from Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands — includes a ceremonial crown, an imperial shield, a set of silver-embossed horn drinking cups, a handwritten prayer book, crosses and a necklace.
Most of the items were plundered by the British army after it defeated Emperor Tewodros II in the Battle of Magdala in 1868 in what was then Abyssinia.
The treasures were unwrapped before the media at Ethiopia’s national museum on Saturday, more than two months after they were formally handed over at a ceremony in London in September.
Ethiopia said it was the largest such repatriation of artefects to the country, with its ambassador to Britain, Teferi Melesse, describing it as of “huge significance”.
Calls have long been mounting in Africa for Western countries to return their colonial spoils, with many prized national treasures held abroad in museums or sometimes private collections.
Earlier this month, the West African state of Benin welcomed back nearly 30 royal treasures seized during France’s rule more than 130 years ago.
– ‘Great injustice’ –
The Ethiopian government is still fighting for Britain to return other stolen artefacts including sacred wooden and stone tabots or tablets, which represent the Ark of the Covenant.
The tabots are housed in the British Museum in London — which has a vast trove of foreign treasures — but have never been put on public display.
Ethiopia is also seeking the remains of Tewodros’ son Prince Alemayehu who was taken to Britain after the emperor committed suicide following his battlefield defeat.
“A variety of artefacts which are a legacy of our culture and values were looted during the battle and taken out of the country illegally,” said Tourism Minister Nasise Challi.
“Countless of our artefacts are found in various museums, research centers and in the hands of private individuals,” she said at Saturday’s event, appealing for their return.
Ethiopia, one of the world’s oldest countries with a rich and ancient cultural and religious heritage, has said it considers the ransacking of Magdala a “great injustice” that has been a thorn in relations with Britain.
Several of the returned items were due to be auctioned but were bought by the non-profit Scheherazade Foundation with the aim of repatriation. Others were acquired from private dealers or investors.
Among them was a set of medieval manuscripts dating back to before the 18th century, which had been due to be auctioned in the Hague.
Ethiopia is also negotiating for the return of a bible and cross that were set for the auction block in the United States.
“These restitutions are taking place in a global context where the role of museums in portraying colonial histories and the legitimacy of displaying looted artefacts is being questioned,” Ethiopia’s National Heritage Restitution Committee said in a statement in September.
Seven killed, five injured in Burkina Faso ambush
Seven police officers were killed and five others injured in an ambush by gunmen on Friday in the Sahel region in Burkina Faso, the police said in the capital Ouagadougou.
According to a police statement, the ambush targeted a squad of the Republic security companies officers of Dori while on a mission to ensure security on Dori-Essakane road axis in Seno province on Friday morning.
“Unfortunately, seven police officers were recorded dead following the attack. Five others were injured and taken to Dori regional hospital center where they are currently under care,” the police said.
The source also said a sweep operation by Burkina Faso’s defense and security forces is underway in the area.
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