Cameroon have dashed Nigeria’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals at the ongoing 2021 African Senior Nations Volleyball Championship in Rwanda.
The West African team beat their neighbours 3-1 (25-19, 25-27, 25-19, 25-20) in the men’s Quarter-final match at the Kigali Arena on Saturday.
Cameroon picked up the first set of the game 25-19 points before Nigeria recovered in the second set, fighting hard to win by 27-25 point. The 2019 runners-up charged out in the 3rd and 4th sets (25-19, 25-20) to book their place in the semis.
Head Coach of the Nigerian team, Usman Abdullah expressed satisfaction in the performance of his team against Cameroon.
Nigeria will battle for the 5th and 6th position at the Nation’s Championship on Monday and Abdallah said the next target is to win the classification matches.
“I am happy with the performance of the team; we wanted to beat Cameroon but they were a better side,” he explained.
“This Cameroonian team have been together for a long time, they finished second at the 2019 African Seniors Nations Championship in Egypt and most of them ply their trade in Europe. Nigeria is rebuilding her team and I am optimistic in the next three years, our team will be formidable.”
Former West Ham attacker Sebastien Haller scored twice in nine minutes to give the Ivory Coast a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over fellow African top-10 nation Cameroon in Abidjan on Monday.
Haller, who moved to Ajax Amsterdam last January after scoring 14 goals in 54 outings for the Hammers, converted a penalty on 20 minutes and later outpaced a defender and fired into the far corner of the net.
Moumi Ngamaleu pulled one goal back from another penalty, on 61 minutes, to set up a tense finish to the Group D showdown.
Ivory Coast top the table with four points after two rounds, Cameroon have three, and Mozambique one and Malawi none ahead of their match on Tuesday.
Group D is the only section of 10 in Africa featuring two countries among the 10 highest ranked in the continent — the Ivory Coast were 12th when the draw was made two years ago.
Meanwhile, South Africa edged Ghana 1-0 in Johannesburg through a 83rd-minute Bongokuhle Hlongwane goal and replaced them as Group G leaders.
Fielding a young, inexperienced side under recently hired Belgian coach Hugo Broos, the South Africans should have broken the deadlock earlier.
Percy Tau, who has quit English Premier League club Brighton to join Egyptian and African giants Al Ahly, had a first-half headed goal wrongly disallowed for offside.
Evidence Makgopa, one of many new faces after Broos complained about inheriting an “old” squad, missed a sitter just after half-time, poking the ball wide of an unguarded goal.
But with time running out and weakened Ghana looking like taking a point home, Hlongwane connected with a low cross and the ball rolled into the net via the far post.
Ghana lacked Premier League trio Daniel Amartey, Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp as South Africa is on the British coronavirus “red list”, which requires travellers to isolate for 10 days when they return.
– Goal-shy Uganda –
South Africa have four points and Ghana three from two matches, and Zimbabwe one and Ethiopia none ahead of their meeting in Bahir Dar on Tuesday.
Mali, who are seeking a first World Cup appearance, took a firm grip on Group E by forcing a 0-0 draw away to 10-man Uganda.
Defender Murushid Juuko was shown a straight red card on 65 minutes and Uganda had to settle for another goalless stalemate, after holding Kenya last week.
Benin failed to build on a matchday 1 win in Madagascar and had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Group J rivals the Democratic Republic of Congo in Cotonou.
Both goals were headed by senior players during the opening half with Dieumerci Mbokani, 35, putting the Congolese in front and Jordan Adeoti, 32, levelling.
Benin have four points and DR Congo two, while Tanzania, who have one, and pointless Madagascar face off in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
Niger equalled their record for the number of goal scored in a World Cup qualifier by coming from behind to trounce Djibouti 4-2 in Group A with Victorien Adebayor bagging a brace.
Djibouti are ranked 182nd in the world, making them the lowest of the 40 African World Cup hopefuls, and have conceded 12 goals in two outings.
The section is set to be dominated by African champions Algeria and Burkina Faso, both matchday 1 winners who clash on Tuesday in Morocco because the Burkinabe lack an international-standard stadium.
Djibouti, who have also created a base in Morocco, and Burkina Faso are among nine countries forced to use neutral venues either because the stadium facilities or the pitch are not up to scratch.
The Central African Republic and Liberia are other nations forced to play home matches abroad and they met in the Cameroonian port city of Douala, where Liberian Kpah Sherman scored the only goal.
It is the middle of the night in Cameroon’s largest port city, Douala, and the floodwaters are rising fast and quietly.
Alerted by frightened neighbours, Hummel Tsafack hastily sends his children to safety and grabs a few possessions. A few minutes later, brackish water pours into the family home.
Flooding is an annual hazard during the July-September rainy season in Makepe-Missoke, a poor district in the heart of this city of more than three million people.
But, impelled by suspected climate change and worsened by urban planning and blocked drains, such events have become more and more frequent.
“The TV burned out, the refrigerator burned out,” Tsafack, 35, sighed after the most recent flood earlier this month. “Everything has been trashed.”
“As soon as we hear thunder, we raise the beds,” his neighbour Francois, a man in his fifties, said. “Everyone here is scared. The water rises so fast.”
The two men have stark memories of a flood in summer 2020 that devastated the neighbourhood and paralysed Cameroon’s economic capital on the Atlantic coast.
Francois’s small home is steeped in damp and none of his household appliances work. The concrete floor has holes in numerous places.
“We have already patched that area seven times. Every time there’s a flood, it breaks up and we have to start again,” he said.
– Population growth – “We moved here because it was cheaper. We aren’t going to move again,” Francois said, though the endangered neighbourhood is located in a flood zone where building is officially banned. People continue to settle there, driven by the lack of space in a city with a population growth rate of more than 5.5 percent per year.
The gap is widening between demand and supply for available land as nearly 110,000 newcomers per year look to put down roots in Douala.
Even before climate change, Doula was already prone to rising water.
The region has almost 250 kilometres (155 miles) of inland waterways and abundant tropical rainfall which averages around 4,000 millimetres (157 inches) per year.
The city lies at the mouth of the Wouri River, on a low coastal plateau, and is influenced by the tides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Meteorological data for the past 20 years record a decrease in precipitation, but the overall decline masks an increase in extreme weather events such intense rainfall.
The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that coastal cities are on the front line of the climate crisis, threatened by rising sea levels and storm surges.
Floods will displace millions of Africans in the coming decades, and by 2050 inflict costs of up to $60 billion (51 billion euros) per year in the 136 largest coastal cities, it predicts.
– Plastic waste – But part of the impact from flooding also comes from environmental management.
The banks of the river in Makepe-Missoke are littered with plastic waste.
“Look at all the rubbish that the people here have thrown away,” said environment specialist Didier Yimkwa.
“Add to this the silt and the spread of invasive plants which build up the river bed. When there’s heavy rain, the water overflows,” he said.
To tackle the problem, the city has built around 40 kilometres (25 miles) of drains since 2012 and improved basic services in some neighbourhoods, such as waste collection.
But trash is strewn everywhere in poor districts of Douala and the drains are often clogged with plastic, preventing them from doing their job.
“Thirty percent of waste is estimated to end up in the wild,” Joseph Magloire Olinga, Douala’s deputy director of research and environmental protection, told AFP.
“We need a serious change in land use when it comes to providing homes for people,” Olinga said.
“This means having a denser city centre and building high-rise dwellings — but in some areas, property developers have bought up the land and don’t want to sell it.”
The authorities are still allocating flood-prone areas to construction projects.
“In neighbourhoods like Makepe-Missoke, the goal is to strengthen resilience — to live with the risk of flooding while also minimising it,” Olinga said.
“But what’s sure is that it will also be necessary to get some inhabitants to move because of the threat.”
Clashes between fishermen and herders in Cameroon’s Far North region over the past week have killed 32 people and forced thousands to flee to neighbouring Chad, the UN said Thursday.
“A total of 19 villages were burned,” in the violence in the Logone-Birni district near the border, according to the UN Refugee Agency, which said the fighting “caused the death of 32 people and injured 74”.
“In Cameroon, local authorities in the Far North are working to restore calm and are providing assistance to victims,” the UN said.
The clashes between Choa Arab herders and Mousgoum fishermen were caused by tensions overfishing and agricultural resources.
Machetes, knives, and arrows were used in the violence, according to a local authority in Logone-Birni contacted by AFP.
The clashes forced 11,000 people from both communities to seek refuge across the border in Chad.
“These displaced persons are 85 percent women and children,” Iris Blom, UNHCR’s deputy chief in Chad, told AFP.
Around 7,300 people are displaced within Cameroon.
“In Chad, the new arrivals are in urgent need of shelter, especially during the rainy season. Many are sleeping under trees and some have taken refuge in schools or host families,” according to the UN, which said “food and water needs remain pressing”.
The governor of the Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakari, said the initial spark for the deadly clashes was a “trivial” incident between two individuals.
Bloody clashes between communities are relatively rare in Cameroon, but frequent in nearby Chad.
At least 22 people were killed on August 7 in a conflict in Chad between sedentary farmers and nomadic herders.
Three gendarmes were killed by Anglophone separatist rebels in Cameroon’s Northwest Region, the latest deaths in a bloody four-year conflict, a perfectly told AFP on Sunday.
The attack on Saturday follows the murders of two soldiers and an official in the neighbouring Southwest region in two separate incidents.
Five other officials also kidnapped in one of those attacks were still missing on Sunday.
“Three gendarmes who were at their checkpoint were attacked and killed” by separatists, Ngoketunjia county prefect Quetong Handerson Kongeh told AFP, adding that two of the three killed had been decapitated. A fourth managed to escape.
He said a large number of rebels overwhelmed the gendarmes who “could not defend themselves”.
A bitter independence struggle by English-speaking rebels has been raging in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions since 2017.
Members of the anglophone minority in the country’s westernmost provinces have long complained of being marginalised by the French-speaking majority and 88-year-old President Paul Biya, in power for 38 years.
From 2017, their demonstrations devolved into a bloody conflict.
The rebels have extended their violent attacks against police and soldiers to civilians.
UN and international aid groups say both army troops and anglophone rebels have committed abuses and crimes against civilians.
In the past four years, more than 3,500 people have been killed and over 700,000 have fled their homes to escape the conflict.
The United States on Monday announced visa restrictions on individuals accused of fueling violence in western Cameroon, which has seen vicious fighting for four years between army troops and separatist English-speaking rebels.
Members of the anglophone minority in the country’s westernmost provinces have long complained of being marginalised by the French-speaking majority and President Paul Biya, in power for 38 years.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the visa restrictions would apply to those “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.”
“We continue to call for both the Cameroonian government and separatist armed groups to end the violence and engage in a dialogue without preconditions,” he added in a statement.
It gave no details on the number or names of those affected by the US visa measure.
In the past four years, more than 3,500 people have been killed and over 700,000 have fled their homes to escape the conflict.
The UN and international aid groups say both troops and rebels have committed abuses and crimes against civilians.
Cameroonian officials, led by Minister for Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji have repatriated over 5,000 Nigerian refugees to Borno State Government.
According to a statement on the Facebook page of Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum, the handing over took place on Monday in Amchiide, a border community between Nigeria and Cameroon, close to Banki in Bama Local Government Area of Borno central.
The handover ceremony was attended by top officials from Cameroon, including the Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakary, and officials of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The statement added that the returnees were part of thousands of Nigerians, mostly from Borno, who since 2014, fled in batches to Minawao camp located in Mokolo, far north region of Cameroon, to escape Boko Haram’s killings.
“Cameroonian Minister for Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji Paul announced that President Paul Biya had approved a big relief package which included food items, mattresses, blankets, and other non-food items for distribution to all 5,000 returnees as support.
“The Minister commended Governor Zulum for constructing homes where the refugees were to be resettled.
“Governor Zulum had approved funds and supervised the ongoing construction of over 6,000 urban and low-cost resettlement houses sited in Banki, Gwoza, Kondugu, Kaga, and different others, with a substantial number already completed. Majority of them are used for resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons,” the statement added.
Zulum in response thanked the Cameroonian President, other officials, and host communities, for taking good care of Nigerian refugees in the last six years.
The governor also appreciated the donation made by President Biya.
Separatist fighters in Cameroon killed six people in a raid on an army post in the troubled English-speaking Northwest province, the government said Saturday.
The dawn raid on Friday involved “armed separatist groups” and claimed the lives of four soldiers and two civilians at Matazem, said a statement from communications minister and government spokesman Rene Emmanuel Sadi.
Matazem sits on the border between the Northwest province and the predominantly French-speaking West province.
On Wednesday, in Northwest province, the government said “separatist terrorists” killed four soldiers and a civilian in an attack on an official convoy.
Anglophone separatists have been fighting for independence in Cameroon’s two mainly English-speaking provinces, Northwest and Southwest, since October 2017, launching regular attacks on the army.
Most of Cameroon, a former French colony, is French-speaking, and the separatists cite decades of grievances at perceived discrimination by the francophone majority.
But their self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia has not been recognised internationally.
International rights groups and the United Nations have denounced the toll the conflict has taken on the region’s civilian population, who they say are frequently victims of crimes and abuses on both sides.
As well as attacks targeting police officers and soldiers, the armed separatists — nicknamed “Amba Boys” — are increasingly kidnapping civilians, especially students and teachers they accuse of teaching French.
They have also murdered inhabitants who they suspect of “collaborating” with President Paul Biya’s administration.
More than 3,000 people have been killed and at least 700,000 have fled their homes since the separatists launched their armed campaign.
After being relatively spared by coronavirus (COVID-19), Africa is bracing for the pandemic’s second wave, noting how the microbe has once more cut a swathe through rich countries in Europe and North Africa.
The continent’s most-hit nations are again having to contemplate stringent public health measures as they await the arrival of the vaccine cavalry.
In South Africa, the start of summer has triggered traffic jams on roads leading to coastal resorts.
But this year, there will be no long, lazy days spent on the beach.
In popular tourist destinations, the coronavirus is spreading at an alarming speed. Authorities have ordered partial closures, limits on the size of gatherings, and an extended curfew.
As the African country worst hit in the pandemic, with almost 900,000 documented cases, South Africa is tightening up health restrictions.
But around Africa, a continent of more than 1.2 billion people, there are stark contrasts in the prevalence of the disease.
New cases are emerging in East Africa, in northern and southern Africa, but the trend in West Africa is a decline, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), an arm of the African Union.
Rising cases in the east
In Uganda, every region has been affected by the pandemic. Neighbouring Rwanda, a far smaller but densely populated country, registered almost as many new cases in December (722) as since the beginning of infection (797).
Bars and nightclubs have been shut since March. Heavily fined for breaking regulations, the owner of a Kigali bar told AFP he had lost everything. “Clients were drinking, but the police forced us to close.”
In Kenya, a second wave of the virus struck in September and led to the closure of schools and the prolongation of a curfew. Some health professionals say they are already waiting for a third wave.
For several weeks, Africa CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been pressing African governments to up their game for an inevitable second wave.
Nevertheless, the epidemic first reported in Africa nine months ago has not been as destructive as experts feared, across a poor continent severely lacking in health care structures.
Africa has reported 2.4 million cases, just 3.6 percent of the world’s total, according to a tally compiled by AFP.
The whole continent has registered more than 57,000 deaths, fewer for instance than the total for France alone (59,072).
While the low level of screening might call into question the reliability of the statistics, no African country has observed a peak in excess mortality, which would be a sign of the virus spreading under the radar.
Experts are still trying to understand why Africa, so far, has not been affected to the same extent as other continents.
Explanations include Africa’s youthful population, cross-immunity derived from previous epidemics and a still predominantly rural economy, which means less density of population.
Early and draconian measures imposed on citizens in most African countries clearly put the brakes on the spread of the disease.
But the social and economic consequences of lockdown policies have been disastrous for the weakest economies.
In nations where the stigma of Covid-19 has become less visible, daily life has rushed to resume its course, largely at the expense of social distancing and other barrier gestures.
In central Africa, Cameroon is preparing to host the 2020 African Nations Championship football tournament in January, postponed from last April because of the virus. Officials are counting on a partial reopening of stadiums.
Authorities in Senegal face calls for public protests against restrictions, while in Equatorial Guinea, nightclubs are the only places that remain closed.
“Generally speaking, the virus is continuing to progress in Africa,” warned Isabelle Defourny, operations director at Medecins sans frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, MSF).
MSF has noted a resurgence of Covid-19 both in capital cities and in rural areas, notably in Chad.
“We’re also seeing an increase in severe cases where oxygen is needed, particularly in Bamako (Mali), which was not the case during the first wave,” Defourny said.
The battle Africa must wage for access to vaccines is far from won. The likely cost will be `around 4.7 billion euros ($5.76 billion), but only a quarter of the nations on the continent can muster the required resources, according to the WHO.
A 90-year-old archbishop has been abducted with nearly a dozen other people in a western Cameroon region gripped by conflicts between anglophone separatists and security forces, the archdiocese said on Friday.
Christian Tumi, an archbishop emeritus and retired cardinal who has frequently sought to mediate in the crisis, was kidnapped on Thursday near Kumbo in Northwest Region “along with his driver and about 10 other people,” Samuel Kleda, Archbishop of the port city of Douala, said in a statement.
Anglophone militants have repeatedly carried out kidnappings, often for ransom, in the three-year-old conflict in the Northwest and neighbouring Southwest Region.