By Vanguard Staff Reporter
A roundup of the week’s biggest news and newsmakers
1. Chibok girls to be released as cease-fire agreed with Boko Haram
The Nigerian government announced an agreed cease-fire with militant group Boko Haram that will see the release of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April.
Nigeria’s highest-ranking military official, General Alex Badeh, announced the cease-fire agreement on Friday and ordered all of the country’s military chiefs to abide by the deal.
Top Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur speaking to the Voice of America said “the militants have agreed in principle to free the schoolgirls. The negotiations in the past had not yet ‘yielded any positive results’, but we are cautiously optimistic this time.”
The cease-fire talks were held in Chad and involved Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, and senior officials from Cameroon. However, Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce and there have been at least five attacks that have killed dozens since the announcement, which have been blamed on the group by security sources.
“We were jubilating. We had every reason to be happy … but since then the ceasefire has been broken in quite a number of places already,” Lawan Abana, a parent of the one of the missing girls, speaking to Reuters by telephone.
2. WHO declares Nigeria and Senegal free of Ebola
Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a “spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained.”
Nigeria won praise for its swift response after a Liberian diplomat ‘brought the disease there’ in July.
The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. An estimated 70% of those infected have died in those countries.
The WHO officially declared Senegal Ebola-free on Friday.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 4,500 people have died from the virus in West Africa and the region is still suffering from “widespread and intense transmission” as patients do not have access to adequate health care. There is also a social crisis developing as orphans of victims have been abandoned by relatives who are terrified of taking them in.
–krca.com, msn.com & bbc.com
3. A ‘hate crime in the middle of suburbia’ as Cynthia Joni is assaulted by Tim Osrin
IOL News has reported that Cynthia Joni, 44, of Khayelitsha, has opened a case against a Kenilworth swimming school owner and cyclist after he allegedly beat her up in broad daylight, without the two ever having met or even exchanged a single word as the man believed she was a prostitute.
Joni said she was on her way to work in Kenilworth on October 2 when an unknown man leapt from his car and slapped her repeatedly, then threw her to the ground, without any explanation. The man, later identified as local swimming coach Tim Osrin, was traced after people in the neighbourhood responded to her screams and took down his registration number.
Describing the incident, Joni said “He got out of the car and came straight up to me and just klapped me. Then he kicked me hard and I fell down. He hit me hard on my arms and legs. I fell hard on to the ground. My joints are all still sore – two weeks later. Each time I would fall to the ground, he would pick me up again and throw me hard down again”.
Sheila Wilson, one of Joni’s employers, described the assault as ‘a hate crime in the middle of suburbia’ on her Facebook page upon hearing the news and encouraged Joni to lay a charge.
Osrin has since excused his behaviour by stating that he thought Cynthia was a ‘prostitute’ and that she has trumped up the charges because he is white. He made a brief appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on a charge of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm. The case was postponed to November 27.
Meanwhile, the mobile campaign group, amandla.mobi has started a petition asking the Managing Director of Virgin Active South Africa Ross Faragher-Thomas, where Osrin is a swimming instructor, to ban him from using all Virgin Active swimming facilities in the Cape Town area. The petition has over 600 signatories since it was started this weekend.
4. Jackson Mthembu shot during ATM robbery
African National Congress Member of Parliament and former spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu was shot in the face while withdrawing money at an ATM in Witbank at the weekend, Mpumalanga police said on Monday.
“The suspect came from behind and pointed a firearm at him and instructed him to draw all his money from his account. Mr Mthembu turned around and unfortunately a shot went off and hit him in the cheek” said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
After that, the armed man and three alleged accomplices went to Mthembu’s car, where four of his friends were waiting and allegedly robbed Mthembu and his friends of their money and cellphones.
“Mr Mthembu was rushed to the Witbank hospital, where he is in a serious but stable condition,” Mohlala said.
5. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela accuses former husband of land fraud
African National Congress stalwart and Member of Parliament Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has filed papers with the Mthata High Court to challenge the last will and testament of her former husband, Nelson Mandela, seeking rights to his Qunu home as she says the registration of the house under his name was unlawful and should be set aside.
In court papers, Madikizela-Mandela claims her former husband may have committed land fraud when he registered a plot of land in Qunu, Eastern Cape, in his own name and is challenging the State Land Disposal Act, which the former president allegedly used to acquire the property.
Madikizela-Mandela claims that abaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo gave her the land when Mandela was imprisoned and that it is rightfully hers.
“The president cannot use the Act relied upon for his own personal benefit, and to allow that would be contrary to the provisions of the Act and the provisions of the Constitution for the Republic of South Africa,” she said in court papers.
“The deed of grant was irregularly obtained, and obviously there was misrepresentation or fraud since the property was obtained by me and not Mr Mandela.”
Madikizela-Mandela, 78, who was Mandela’s second wife for 38 years, was left out of his will, it emerged following his death in December last year.
–SAPA, iol.co.za, sundayworld.co.za
6. Banyana Banyana striker Portia Modise sets new African record with 100th goal
Banyana Banyana striker Portia Modise became the first African player to score 100 goals in international football during a 5-1 win over Algeria.
Striker Portia Modise scored her 99th and 100th goal for South Africa’s Banyana Banyana team at the Confederation of African Football African Women’s Championship game in Windhoek on Saturday.
An ecstatic Modise said it was a “great feeling” to hit the 100-goal target, a feat only 12 women and one man had previously achieved.
“I slept on it yesterday, and I woke up being sure I would score those two goals, and I did, helping the team to go through to the next round. So for me, it’s a great day,” Modise told BBC Sport.
It makes the Soweto-born player, who grew up playing football in the neighbourhood and rejected netball at school in favour of the beautiful game, the most capped player in the women’s national team with 113 caps.
In an interview with the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafu) before the match, Modise said “I still cannot believe that I’m just a few goals away from reaching another milestone in national team colours, it’s a great honour and I owe it all to my teammates who over the years have been supportive”.