Africa starts 2020 bat­tling ex­trem­ism, Ebola and hunger

Antelope Valley Press - - Second Front -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG (AP) — A tragic air­line crash with far-reach­ing con­se­quences, cat­a­clysmic cy­clones that may be a har­bin­ger of the fu­ture, the death of an African icon and a new leader who won the No­bel Peace Prize. These African sto­ries cap­tured the world’s at­ten­tion in 2019 — and look to in­flu­ence events on the con­ti­nent in 2020.

The bat­tles against ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence and Ebola will also con­tinue to be ma­jor cam­paigns in Africa in the com­ing year.

Cy­clone Idai ripped into Mozam­bique in March, killing more than 1,300 peo­ple, mak­ing it “one of the worst weather-re­lated dis­as­ters ever to hit the south­ern hemi­sphere,” ac­cord­ing to the U.N. A month later Cy­clone Ken­neth roared into north­ern Mozam­bique, killing more than 50 peo­ple.

This was the first time in recorded his­tory that Mozam­bique had two ma­jor cy­clones, prompt­ing some to worry that the coun­try, with a 1,000-mile In­dian Ocean coast­line, may be prone to more storms as a re­sult of cli­mate change.

Across Mozam­bique more than 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple re­main in ur­gent need of as­sis­tance, ac­cord­ing to the U.N. Mozam­bique also starts 2020 trou­bled by on­go­ing at­tacks on ve­hi­cles in the coun­try’s cen­tral area and by Is­lamic ex­trem­ist at­tacks in the coun­try’s North.

Ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence con­tin­ues to vex Africa from the east to the west.

2019 be­gan with ex­trem­ist vi­o­lence. In Kenya in Jan­uary, in­sur­gents launched an as­sault on a lux­ury ho­tel and shop­ping com­plex in Nairobi that killed at least 14 peo­ple.

The year came to an end with ex­trem­ist at­tacks across the con­ti­nent.

A bomb in So­ma­lia killed 78 peo­ple, in­clud­ing many univer­sity stu­dents, in the cap­i­tal, Mo­gadishu, on Dec. 28, the dead­li­est at­tack in years. So­ma­lia’s al-Shabab, al­lied to al-Qaida, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the bomb­ing.

In Nige­ria ex­trem­ists linked to the Is­lamic State group cir­cu­lated a video show­ing 11 hostages, most of them Chris­tians, be­ing ex­e­cuted. They were thought to be killed on Christ­mas Day. The ex­trem­ist group, which calls it­self the Is­lamic State West Africa Prov­ince, said the cap­tives were ex­e­cuted as re­venge for the killing of Is­lamic State group lead­ers in Iraq and Syria in Oc­to­ber.

Congo starts the year wag­ing a dif­fer­ent kind of war — a cam­paign against Ebola, which has killed more than 2,200 peo­ple since Au­gust 2018. The med­i­cal ef­fort to con­trol the sec­ond dead­li­est Ebola out­break in his­tory has been se­verely ham­pered since the start by the pres­ence of sev­eral armed groups in eastern Congo, the epi­cen­ter of the epi­demic. It was hoped that new vac­cines would help con­trol the out­break more quickly, but the vi­o­lence has ham­pered those ef­forts.

Congo’s Pres­i­dent Felix Tshisekedi, elected in 2019, said in Novem­ber that he was op­ti­mistic that the Ebola out­break would be ended be­fore 2020, but the epi­demic con­tin­ues through­out Eastern Congo.

Associated Press

In this April 29 file photo, a woman shows one of her feet af­ter walk­ing in the mud near a site where two houses were crushed by the col­lapse of a mas­sive, sprawl­ing dump­site fol­low­ing rains from Cy­clone Ken­neth, in Pemba city on the north­east­ern coast of Mozam­bique.

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