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Matters arising

Aug 20, 2013, 10:47 AM

It has always been disturbing and, in fact, totally incomprehensible that while the rest of the world is fighting tooth and nail in trying to contain the much-talked about financial crisis hitting the world, the continent of Africa, especially now North Africa and Egypt in particular, is in one way or the other engaged in some sort of conflict.

From Libya to Egypt, Zimbabwe to Nigeria, problems have continued to rage unabated.

In Egypt, the military-backed Egyptian government has imposed a state on emergency as Egyptian troops brutally evicted protesters from two public squares using sniper fire, tear gas and armored vehicles, in which hundreds of people have died. The crowds were calling for the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted from the presidency by the military last month.

Despite the crackdown, leaders of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood vowed to continue their public opposition to his overthrow.

In Libya, Interior Minister Mohammed Khalifa al-Sheikh has resigned only three months after taking up the post.

Mr Sheikh said he lacked the support of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, and complained of interference by members of the General National Congress (GNC).

The Interior ministry has come under pressure to deal with violence that has plagued Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr Sheikh was the second cabinet minister to quit within two weeks.

Also, there have been reports of fresh attacks by suspected Islamists in Nigeria. Suspected Islamic militants have attacked a town in north-eastern Nigeria, killing at least 11 people, reports said.

Witnesses said gunmen shot civilians and police in Damboa, about 85km (52 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

The area is a stronghold of the Boko Haram militant group.

The group was blamed for the deaths of 44 people in a mosque in the nearby town of Konduga last Sunday.

Local official Ayamu Lawan Gwasha said security forces repelled gunmen who attacked the police station and a military post in Damboa on Thursday night.

In Zimbabwe, Southern African leaders have called for the West to lift all sanctions imposed on the country after endorsing President Robert Mugabe’s victory in disputed elections last month.

Zimbabweans had “suffered enough”, Malawian President Joyce Banda said.

The EU and US imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 after accusing Mr Mugabe of brutally cracking down on his opponents - a charge he rejected.

The entire African continent is yearning for peace, and nothing else. We have lost many of our loved ones in the continent, and any action that can create another conflict must be urgently tackled.

Some of the things happening daily on the continent are both shocking and worrying. The killings have to stop!

Dialogue must take centre-stage. Escalating instability, extremism and violence are not in anyone’s interest.