South African Court Declares ICC Withdrawal Unconstitutional

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

CAPE TOWN, South Africa– The North Gauteng High Court in South Africa has declared that South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court unconstitutional.  The court’s reasoning behind this decision is that because the parliament was not consulted in making the withdrawal, the withdrawal is unconstitutional.  The court has ordered that President Jacob Zuma and the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs revoke their notice of withdrawal.

A picture of the ICC logo on a glass wall.

The ICC. (Photo Courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

This ruling comes at an interesting time in the international community.  The Gambia, which is under new leadership, just recently revoked its own withdrawal notice.  After the ruling in South Africa there is now only one African nation who wishes to withdrawal, the country of Burundi.  Many in South Africa are excited about the ruling, mainly because of South Africa’s human rights focused foreign policy.  South Africa has worked to keep good human rights record since the end of apartheid.

While this ruling is welcome by many the government can appeal the ruling to a higher court, which they most likely will.  The government is still reeling after the visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s in 2015.  While the Sudanese President was visiting Johannesburg for an African Union summit the South African government openly ignored an ICC arrest warrant for al-Bashir.  The Sudanese President is wanted for alleged war crimes.

For now members of the international community are happy with this victory that will help save the International Criminal Court.  Until the government appeals South Africa will not be able to withdrawal from the court.

For more information, please see: 

Arab News – South African Court rules ICC Withdrawal Unconstitutional – 23 February 2017

BBC Africa – South Africa’s Decision to leave ICC ruled ‘invalid’ – 22 February 2017

Daily Maverick – Hasty, irrational and unconstitutional: High Court’s damning verdict on SA’s ICC withdrawal – 24 February 2017

Human Rights Watch – South Africa High Court Rejects ICC Withdrawal – 22 February 2017

The Gambia Rejoins the ICC

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–The Gambia has committed to rejoining the International Criminal Court.  The country formally recanted its original withdrawal from the International Criminal Court in a letter to the United Nations on February 10, 2017.  This decision comes after the inauguration of newly elected President Adama Barrow.

Judges at the International Criminal Court.  (Photo Courtesy of ENCA)

The Gambia’s recant of withdrawal leaves two African countries as outliers who are still pursuing withdrawal from the International Criminal Court.  Burundi and South Africa are still hoping to withdrawal from the court.  Both countries have unique reasons why they are trying to withdraw from the court, but one critique of the court has been that only African leaders have been held accountable through the courts justice mechanisms.  However, many of the individuals who have been held accountable were self referrals to the court from their country of origin.

The Gambia’s withdrawal has quelled concerns regarding the uncertainty of the International Criminal Court.  While there has been criticism of the courts jurisdiction, overall the court is the only of its kind that holds people accountable for international crimes.  Secretary General Antonio Guterres applauded the Gambia’s decision to stay: ‘‘The Secretary-General welcomes that The Gambia will remain a State Party to the International Criminal Court’s founding instrument, and remains confident that States Parties will continue to further strengthen the Court through a constructive dialogue.’‘  Clément Capo-Chichi, the Africa Coordinator for the Coalition for the ICC (CICC), a global NGO network, said the “decision to reverse withdrawal from the ICC is a crucial development for victims of grave crimes and the rule of law”.  For now the Gambia has helped quell fears of a collapse of the International Criminal Court, but whether or not this stability will continue remains to be seen.

For more information, please see: 

Africa News – ICC exit: UN chief hails The Gambia’s decision to stay – 17 February 2017

ENCA – Gambia to stay in ICC – 17 February 2017

Human Rights Watch – Gambia Rejoins ICC – 17 February 2017

News Ghana – Gov’t of Gambia to Rescind Decision to Live ICC – 17 February 2017

Kenya Declares Drought a National Disaster

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

NAIROBI, Kenya– Kenya declared a national disaster on Friday February 10th due to an ongoing drought that started in October.  By declaring a national disaster, Kenya will be able to receive aid and has called for international aid in order to help people across the country.  According to reports 2.7 million people are in need of food aid in the country.

Samburu pastoralists are allowed access on January 24, 2017 to dwindling pasture on the plains of the Loisaba wildlife conservancy

Herding cattle in Kenya. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

Kenya is not due for another rainy season until April, meaning that the drought will most likely remain in place until then.  Aid organizations fear that they will not have enough to contribute to Kenya’s needs.  The United Nations World Food Programme is running $22 million short for 6-9 months.  The World Food Programme works to provide children around the globe with a meal that is sometimes their only substantial meal of the day.

Kenya is also contributing its own funds to alleviate the drought.  President Uhuru Kenyatta released $70 million to be used to combat the drought while local governments released close to $2 billion total.  The country is also dealing with the loss of agricultural land and access to water.  Kenya is facing increased desertification and is experiencing a loss of access to water in the Mau Forest Complex due to human activity.

Kenya is not alone in their struggles with food insecurity and the effects of the long lasting drought.  All of East Africa continues to struggle with the effects of the drought.  The International Federation of the Red Cross stating that 11 million people across East Africa have been affected.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta declares drought a national disaster – 10 February 2017

News 24 – Kenya declares worsening drought a national disaster – 10 February 2017

Sputnik International – Kenya Appeals for International Aid as Drought Threatens Mass Famine – 12 February 2017

Yahoo News – Kenya  declares drought a national disaster, seeks help – 10 February 2017

Somalia Elects New President Amid Many Challenges in the Country

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia–Somalia elected a new President on February 8.  Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, a dual US/Somali citizen, won the election.  Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud conceded the election after two rounds of voting stating: “History was made. We have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.”

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo. (Photo Courtesy of The Guardian)

Farmajo was sworn in on the same day that he was elected, bringing hope to a country that has not had a new President in over 10 years.  The country has long been seen as a trusteeship and has a weak central government.  Farmajo has in the past served as prime minister and brings a good background to the job.  He was educated in the United States and has promised to rule Somalia without undue influence from the neighboring countries.

Farmajo also begins his rule at an interesting time in Somalia.  Not only is Somalia one of the seven countries that is affected by President Trump’s travel ban, but Somalia also faces a refugee crisis at home.  Many Somali nationals live in the Dadaab refugee camp located in Kenya.  As of right now, it is uncertain whether the camp will close, leaving thousands in uncertain waters.  Farmajo will have to deal with that reality, as well as the relations with the United States regarding President Trump’s travel ban.  Refugees that may have been settled in the United States who are Somali nationals may become something that Farmajo has to worry about.  The crisis could get better or worse under Farmajo’s rule.

For more information, please see: 

Al Jazeera – Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo declared Somalia president – 8 February 2017

BBC Africa – Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo chosen as President – 8 February 2017

Chicago Tribune – Former prime minister, a U.S. citizen, wins Somalia presidential election – 8 February 2017

The Guardian – Somalis greet ‘new dawn’ as US dual national wins presidency – 8 February 2017

PBS Newshour – Somalia’s President sworn in amid Refugee Crisis – 11 February 2017


Cameroon Blocks Out Internet in Some Parts of the Country

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

YAOUNDE, Cameroon– Cameroon has blocked internet access in the North West and South West parts of the country.  These parts of the country have been home to anti government protests in the past few weeks.  Many feel that the blockages are unnecessary and counterproductive.

Demonstrators in Bamenda

Anti government protests in Bamenda. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

For many, the blockages are believed to target protesters, so they are not able to use social media. Some people with mobile cell phones have also received threatening text messages stating that if they post inaccurate information online they will be subject to excessive fines and even jail time.  Cell phone providers haven’t been helpful, replying to customer service complaints that there are other forms of communication available to those who have had the internet blocked.

Because the South West region of Cameroon is a major technology center in the region, some companies have been forced to relocate workers to other parts of the country in order to continue work.  While internet blockages have been common for the past 12 months, it is the blockages in the North West and South West, which are mainly English speaking, that have caused protests.  These protests have been happening since the beginning of the year and Cameroonians only become more frustrated by the lack of access.  Everyone from businesses to activists have been affected by this blackout.

For more information, please see:

BBC Africa – Why has Cameroon blocked the internet? – 8 February 2017 

Eyewitness News – Cameroon Torn By Protests Over Internet Blackout – 8 February 2017

Os News – Internet Shutdown Hits Businesses in Cameroon – 8 February 2017 

Quartz Africa – Cameroon has shut down the internet in its English-speaking regions – 23 January 2017

Global Gag Rule Could Affect Africa Putting Women’s Lives in Danger

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

AFRICA– President Donald Trump has reinstated the Global Gag Rule, a policy that affects many African abortion providers.  The Global Gag Rule puts a funding restriction on USAID funds that are distributed to foreign nations.  Under the Global Gag Rule, funds will not be provided to clinics that provide abortion or counsel patients on abortion.  The Trump Administration has gone even further by not only restricting funding for reproductive health services, but health services in general.

Dr John Nyamu

Kenyan gynecologist John Nyamu performs an ultrasound.

According to many different providers, this will lead to severe funding cuts as many African providers rely on these aid dollars.  Marie Stopes International is projecting that the funding restrictions will have a devastating impact on women’s health in Nigeria.

“Without US funding, from 2017 to 2020, over 1.8 million unintended pregnancies will probably occur; more than 660,000 abortions will happen and over 10,000 maternal deaths will not be averted,” says Effiom Effiom, a country director for Marie Stopes in Nigeria.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation regional office in Africa also stands to lose up to $100 million of US funding because they will not be able meet the requirements without compromising service.

In the end the policy which claims to help reduce the abortion rate will actually most likely work to increase the abortion rate according to the Economist.  Because clinics may be forced to shut down because of the funding restrictions which leads to a decrease in the availability of contraceptives such as condoms and birth control.  Without these protections unplanned pregnancies and abortions increase and women’s health is endangered.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – How Trump abortion funding cuts could affect Africa – 28 January 2017

The Daily Vox – When Men Make Decisions About Women’s Bodies, Nobody Wins – 28 January 2017

The Economist – A policy intended to cut abortions is likely to do just the opposite – 28 January 2017

Washington Post – Banning funding to foreign abortion rights organizations will cost women’s lives – 27 January 2017

Zambian Police Banned from Marrying Foreigners

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

LUSAKA, Zambia– Zambian police have been forbidden from marrying foreigners.  The Head of Police in Zambia issued a memo on Monday January 23 advising Zambian police to not marry foreigners effective immediately.  This ban is put in place in order to protect the Zambian people.

Zambian police officers arrive at the University of Zambia where students protest against the government’s removal of fuel and mealie meal subsidies on May 17, 2013 in Lusaka

Zambia police in the capital of Lusaka. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

For police officers who already have foreign spouses have to register their spouses by Monday January 29th.   If they do not register their spouses they will face disciplinary action.  Many are upset about this law which some are claiming is unconstitutional.  However, police spokesperson Esther Katongo defended the order by saying, ““Issues of security are delicate. If not careful, spouses can be spies and can sell the security of the country’’.

She also stated that this law has always been on the books, but given the new security situation in Zambia, it is now being enforced.  Action was being taken in order to ensure that police were complying with this previous requirement.  Some are criticizing the move saying that instead of worrying about spouses the police should better train their officers to be more professional.

For more information, please see: 

Africa Review – Outrage after Zambia police banned from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017

BBC Africa – Zambia police banned from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017

News Agency of Nigeria – Zambia police ban foreign wives – 23 January 2017

Vanguard – Zambia bans police officers from marrying foreigners – 23 January 2017


The Gambia Missing $11 Million after President Jammeh Exile

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia– Former President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia has finally relinquished the office of the President after the threat of military intervention in the Gambia.  West African leaders urged former President Jammeh to transfer power to President Adama Barrow.  Jammeh ultimately heard their calls and fled the Gambia on Saturday, two days after his term as President had ended.

Gambia's President Adama Barrow is seen in Dakar, Senegal January 20, 2017

The Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

President Barrow has been in Senegal where he awaited Jammeh’s departure.  He was sworn into office in Senegal and will be returning to the Gambia any day now.  Security forces from other West African nations have entered the Gambia in order to ensure a peaceful transition.  President Barrow has promised to bring change to a country that has been ruled for 22 years by former President Jammeh.  Barrow hopes to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring to light some of the human rights abuses that Jammeh committed.  Many of these allegations stem from the 1994 Coup in which Jammeh seized power.

Former President Jammeh on the other hand managed to flee the country while also stealing from the Gambian people.  Jammeh was flown out of the Gambia on a jet reportedly with $11 million from the Gambia’s treasury.  He also made away with three luxury car and has ten more waiting to be shipped to him.  While Morocco has offered Jammeh asylum he is currently staying in Guinea.  It is unclear what country Jammeh will make his final destination.  President Barrow has made himself clear that he does not want Jammeh in the country.  The former President’s presence would be distracting and unhelpful to the new government.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – The Gambia ‘missing millions’ after Jammeh flies into exile – 23 January 2017 

Latest News New Zealand – The Gambia Missing Millions After Jammeh Flies into Exile – 23 January 2017

Voice of America – Regional Security Forces Arrive in Gambian Capital Ahead of New President’s Return – 22 January 2017

Washington Post – Gambia’s Defeated Leader Finally Gave Up Power-and took Luxury Cars and took luxury cars and millions of dollars with him – 23 January 2017 



Talks in The Gambia Fail as President Jammeh Still Refuses to Step Down

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–The Gambia’s President-Elect Adama Barrow has left the Gambia for Mali as talks failed, and President Yahya Jammeh refused to relinquish power.  President-Elect Barrow will meet with West African leaders at a summit in Mali.  West African leaders as well as the African Union are calling for a smooth transition of power in The Gambia.  The African Union has publicly stated that they will not recognize President Jammeh as the legitimate leader of The Gambia should he continue to refuse to step down on Thursday, the day that President-Elect Barrow is set to take office.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh welcoming Nigeria's leader, Muhammadu Buhari, to Banjul

President Yahya Jammeh welcomes Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari, to the failed talks that took place late Friday in The Gambia. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

As talks failed in The Gambia, The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, addressed the Security Council stating that although the region has seen democratic progress there is still political uncertainty in some states.  The Gambia is one of the West African nations that may face difficulty having a peaceful transition of power since President Jammeh has refused to accept the election results.  The Security Council thanked Chambas for his remarks and decided to remain seized in the matter.

President Jammeh is rejecting election results that are viewed as legitimate by many African nations.  President-Elect Barrow won the presidency by a large majority.  President-Elect Barrow will focus a large amount of his time at the Mali summit seeking help from West African leaders.  After the Mali summit West African leaders may ask Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, to ask the Security Council to deploy troops to The Gambia in the event that President Jammeh does not step down.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Gambia dispute: African Union ‘will not recognise’ President Jammeh – 13 January 2017

BBC Africa – Gambia talks fail as president refuses to step down – 14 January 2017

UN News Centre – Amid progress in West Africa and the Sahel, UN envoy warns of region’s political challenges – 13 January 2017

Yahoo News – Gambian crisis takes centre stage at Mali summit – 14 January 2017

Somali Town Bans Lavish Wedding Spending

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MOGADISHU, Somalia– Beled Hawa, a town in western Somalia, has banned lavish weddings.  Leaders are growing concerned that the large, lengthy, and costly ceremonies are slowing down marriage rates.  Leaders hope this measure will help increase marriages and therefore reduce migration from the area.


A wedding of Somali migrants in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo Courtesy of The Independent)

There are many different types of restrictions.  First, is the limit on spending for gifts.  For new household furnishings for the couple, no more than $600 can be spent.  Then, there is a restriction on bride price, which still exists in Somalia.  Brides can be purchased for no more than $150.  Finally,  there are restrictions on the actual ceremony and reception.  No wedding receptions are to be held in hotels, and no more than three goats may be slaughtered to feed guests.

Although none of the new restrictions are aimed at it, Somali wedding celebrations can go on for weeks and leaders hope these restrictions may help curb that.  It is not unusual for a groom to spend $5,000 on a wedding, and some women were refusing to get married if they did not get lavish expensive weddings.  Beled Hawa’s commissioner told BBC that “Islamic teachings indicated that getting married should be cheap.”

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 13 January 2017

The Independent – Somali town bans expensive weddings in bid to reduce migration – 13 January 2017

XOGDOON News – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 14 January 2017

WB News – Somali town bans lavish wedding spending – 13 January 2017

Ivory Coast Now Calm After Two Day Mutiny

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch,  Africa Desk Reporter

YAMOUSSOUKRO, Ivory Coast– Things are now quiet in the Ivory Coast after a mutiny involving the country’s military.  On Friday  January 6th soldiers began a mutiny in Ivory Coast’s second largest city of Bouake.  The soldiers took over the city and demanded that they receive bonus pay.

Street scene in Bouake in Ivory Coast where calm returned after a mutiny by soldiers over pay, 8 January 2017

The streets of Bouake. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

While the main mutiny took place in Bouake other military camps in cities across the Ivory coast took place in the mutiny as well.  The mutiny stopped as Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi brokered a deal that allowed the soldiers to get paid on Monday the 9th.  Reports stated that soldiers were demanding 5 million francs each which is about 8,000 USD.  It is unclear what amount the soldiers received.

Despite the cessation of violence many citizens are still concerned that violence will break out again.  After all, it has only been six years since the end of the countries civil war which lasted ten years.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – Ivory Coast unrest: Calm reported after two-day mutiny – 8 January 2017

IOL – Calm in Ivory Coast after Ceasefire – 9 January 2017

Reuters – Streets of Ivory Coast cities calm after soldier mutiny – 8 January 2017

Stratfor – Ivory Coast: A Short Lived Mutiny Comes to an End – 9 January 2017

U.N. Officials Fear South Sudan is on the Brink of Genocide

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter 

JUBA, South Sudan– Officials at the United Nations are growing concerned that the situation in South Sudan could possibly turn into a genocide.  This conclusion comes as the newest country in the world has experienced increased violence since its creation.  Two years of violence has left about 50,000 people dead.

A refugee sits waiting at a reception centre in a Uganda settlement

A refugee sits in a camp in Uganda, displaced from the conflict in South Sudan. (Photo Courtesy of BBC Africa)

Since South Sudan was created the country has seen widespread violence.  Although violence has been present for two years things have picked up since July when aid workers were killed in the capital in Juba and violence increased in the capital city.  The conflict in South Sudan is the result of a rift between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar and other oppositition groups.

For more information, please see: 

BBC Africa – South Sudan refugee crisis: The wooden bridge between death and safety – 16 December 2016

Newsy – How Genocide In South Sudan Could Be Prevented – 21 December 2016

NPR – U.N. Worries South Sudan Is On the Brink of Genocide – 21 December 2016

Radio Tamazuj – Ban Ki-moon warns of imminent genocide in South Sudan – 21 December 2016


Opposition Calls on President Jammeh to Step Down after he Rejects Election Results

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

BANJUL, The Gambia–Opposition leaders in Gambia are calling for President Jammeh to step down after he rejected the countries recent election results.  Originally President Jammeh had accepted the election results and was going to allow for a smooth transition of power to President-elect Adama Barrow.  He has sense changed his mind which is not much of a surprise to the international community that does not have much faith in President Jammeh.  Jammeh has a questionable record as President of the Gambia as he has been accused of human rights violations

Source: Fatu Network

President Jammeh. (Photo Courtesy of Premium Times)

President-elect Adama Barrow has also been calling on Jammeh to step down in order to ensure a good transition.  Because of the countries lack of Supreme Court (it currently only has one justice) an election challenge would surely either drag on for a long time or be unduly influenced by Jammeh as he would appoint the remaining justices.  Either way opposition party members are eager to see Jammeh go not only in order to get the power that they won in the election, but also to ensure that The Gambia does not become a country of chaos after failed elections.

President Jammeh is due to leave office on January 18, 2017 which is the end of his mandate.  Should Jammeh actually step down opposition members have said they are planning to prosecute Jammeh for crimes he committed during office.

For more information, please see:

BBC News – Gambia election row: Yahya Jammeh ‘should step down now’ – 12 December 2016

Joll of News – Gambia: President-elect Rejects Jammeh’s Election Challenge – 12 December 2016

NPR – Gambia’s Opposition Calls On President To Step Down After Election Defeat – 12 December 2016

Premium Times – Gambia election: Jammeh heads to Court – 12 December 2016

Egyptian Journalists Union Head Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

By Samantha Netzband 

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

CAIRO, Egypt– The Union Head of Egyptian Journalists was sentenced to two years in prison on November 19th.   Yahia Qalash — the head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate — and board members Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim were convicted for harboring wanted journalists.

Yehia Qallash at a protest rally outside the Journalist Syndicate headquarters in Cairo. Photo: 4 May 2016

Yahia Qalash speaks in front of Union headquarters. (Photo Courtesy BBC)

Prosecutors ordered Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim tried for harboring wanted journalists who spread lies.  These journalists came under fire after they started protests after the Egyptian government turned over two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.  Many Egyptians see this as an unconstitutional, non transparent act.

Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim have the opportunity to appeal their convictions.  In the meantime their bail has been set at $630.  They have the opportunity to go about their business as they await appeal.  This is the first time that the Union Head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate has been arrest in the unions over 75 year history.

Human rights activists are not pleased that Qalash, al-Balshy, and Abdel Rahim were put on trial.  Gamal Eid, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said, “This case shouldn’t have gone to court to begin with,…the decision is political…we are not talking about the law and judiciary.”  Dozens of other opposition journalists have been arrested under President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi rule, who has ensured that dissenters are quashed quickly.

For more information, please see: 

ABC News Austrailia – Head of Egypt press union sentenced to two years’ jail for harbouring wanted journalists – 19 November 2016

BBC – Egypt journalist’ union head gets two-year jail term – 19 November 2016

Wall Street Journal – Head of Egyptian Press Union Gets Two Years in Prison – 19 November 2016

Scores Killed in Mozambique Truck Blast

By Samantha Netzband

Impunity Watch, Africa Desk Reporter

MAPUTO, Mozambique– 73 are dead and over a hundred are injured in Tete, Mozambique after a truck blast.  The truck, which was carrying petrol from the port city of Beira to Malawi, exploded killing civilians.

A badly injured person arrives at Tete hospital following a fuel-truck explosion

A person injured from the blast arrives at a Tete hospital.  (Photo Courtesy of The Guardian)

It is still unclear under what circumstances the truck exploded.  Officials are exploring whether petrol was being sold at the time or the blast was triggered by a rush of civilians trying to siphon gas.  Government officials have recently raised the price of gas and the country’s currency has not been able to keep up with the increase.  Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest country’s.  Of the countries 24 million citizens more than half live in poverty.  The country gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 and soon after dealt with a 16 year long civil war which ended in 1992.  Since 1992 the country has struggled to end the widespread poverty that the country faces.

Because the blast happened in Tete in western Mozambique medical attention was not immediately near by.  Some victims traveled over 90km to receive medical attention.  The exact death toll of the blast is still developing, and the results of the lack of medical attention nearby will be revealed as the story develops.

For more information, please see: 

BBC News – Mozambique: Scores Killed in Fuel Truck Blast – 17 November 2016

The Guardian – Scores killed in Mozambique fuel-truck blast – 17 November 2016

Indian Express – Mozambique: At least 73 killed, 110 injured in truck blast – 17 November 2016