Music star Mabélé dies ‘from coronavirus’
PARIS – Congolese music star Aurlus Mabélé has died in hospital in France’s capital Paris, aged 67. Posts on social media from friends and relatives say he died of the coronavirus but this is not confirmed. His fans called him the king of soukous – a high-tempo Congolese dance music popular across Africa. His daughter, French singer Liza Monet, tweeted on Thursday that her father had died of the coronavirus. “I am inconsolable” she wrote. Fellow member of the supergroup Loketo, Mav Cacharel, also said on Facebook that he had died of the coronavirus. His manager, Jimmy Ouetenou, however, told BBC Afrique that it was not confirmed he died of the coronavirus and that he had long-term health problems. He was admitted to hospital on Thursday and died on the same day. Mabélé, whose real name is Aurélien Miatsonama, was from Congo-Brazzaville and moved to France in the 1980s.
Zim president defies own travel ban for swearing-in
HARARE – Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa attended the investiture of his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob in Windhoek on Saturday, defying his own government’s ban on anyone leaving the country over the coronavirus. Mnangagwa had insisted earlier in the week in Harare that he was equally bound to observe the travel ban. “I will only go out when it is necessary, inevitable,” he said. But on Saturday, Mnangagwa was present in Namibia at the swearing in of president Geingob, just a day after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Zimbabwe, where the health services are at breaking point. “We will stand with you in our common quest to consolidate and deepen regional and continental integration, more so in the wake of present threats such as Covid-19,” Mnangagwa told Geingob who was re-elected in November.
Algeria protests called off for first time in a year
ALGIERS – Algerian protesters have called off their weekly anti-government demonstrations for the first time in more than a year to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. This would have been the 57th week in a row that Algerians came out onto the streets. Authorities banned the demonstrations, but opposition activists also urged supporters to stay indoors. There have been at least 10 deaths and 90 confirmed virus cases in Algeria. Imprisoned activist Karim Tabbou was among the protest leaders who told demonstrators to suspend their marches, according to Reuters news agency. The protests began in February 2019 after the then president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he was going to seek a fifth term in office. As the protests grew, the 82-year-old scrapped his plans and stood down from power. But demonstrators continued to fill the streets every Friday.
Congo reports first virus death, five new cases
KINSHASA — The Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday reported its first coronavirus death, along with five new cases. The country has reported 23 cases since 10 March, and the death brings the total number of fatalities in sub-Saharan Africa to three, following those announced in Burkina Faso and Gabon last week. The health minister confirmed the fatality on Friday, along with the new cases. “All are Congolese. Our teams are taking care of them,” Eteni Longondo said on Twitter on Saturday. Though Congolese authorities did not offer information about the deceased patient, local media said he is a close relative of an unnamed minister who has herself tested positive. “I am a doctor before I am a minister. I care about the confidentiality of the sick, I cannot confirm today that any member of the government or anyone is sick,” Longondo said on Friday.
– Nampa-AFP-BBC News