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World Tour: African leaders meet despite military takeovers


WORLD Radio - World Tour: African leaders meet despite military takeovers

Plus, protests over Alexei Navalny’s death in Germany, tribal violence in Papua New Guinea, and a Christmas celebration in Colombia

African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Moussa Faki at the Assembly of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Saturday Associated Press Photo

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with our reporter in Africa, Onize Ohikere.


ONIZE OHIKERE: AU Summit — We start today in Ethiopia where African leaders have wrapped up a two-day summit.

The African Union meeting came as the continent battles a host of issues. AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat called out the leaders’ failure to stop unconstitutional government changes.

Six member countries were absent from the meeting after the bloc suspended them following military coups.

FAKI: [Speaking French]

Faki says here that the African Union has not seen such a high number of military takeovers since its creation, which was in 1999.

He also raised concerns over the ongoing conflict in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Meanwhile, tension still remains high in Senegal where President Macky Sall postponed general elections initially scheduled for this month.

Azali Assoumani is an AU Chairperson.

ASSOUMANI: [Speaking French]

He says here that he hopes Senegal remains a model for other countries on the continent.

AUDIO: [Protesters chanting]

Navalny’s death — Over in Germany, protesters chant “Putin the killer” outside the Russian embassy in Berlin.

The protest followed the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Friday.

The 47-year-old had previously survived nerve agent poisoning and received multiple prison terms. Russian officials said he died from “sudden death syndrome” after he collapsed in a Siberian penal camp.

But Navalny’s team has insisted he was murdered. Authorities have not released his body to his family and they detained more than 390 people who took part in memorials.

Navalny leaves behind his wife Yulia Navalnaya, and their two children.

NAVALNAYA: [Speaking Russian]

Yulia says here that she will continue her husband’s fight for freedom.

Mourners also lit candles and dropped flowers outside the Russian embassies in Romania and London.

AUDIO: [Responders talking]

Papua New Guinea violence — In Papua New Guinea, an escalation in tribal violence has left at least 26 people dead.

Authorities said one tribe in Enga Province was leading a group of allies and mercenaries to attack a neighboring tribe when it was ambushed.

Police deployed more troops to the remote highlands region as they anticipate a possible retaliatory attack.

The South Pacific nation of about 10 million people has more than 800 languages. An influx of illegal firearms has turned tribal violence more deadly.

David Manning is the Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner. He says authorities have been concerned about the proliferation of small arms in the region.

MANNING: But our priority is to ensure that we have a structure and a strategy that is able to not only understand and respond better to the challenges up there, but ensuring that, you know we, going forward, have a far more effective command that is able to deal with, you know, the conflict areas, the internally displaced people.

Enga faced a three-month lockdown back in July after tribal conflict.

AUDIO: [Music]

Colombia Christmas celebration — We wrap up today in southwest Colombia, where members of the Afro-Colombian community wore colorful dresses, played music, and danced for a fairly late Christmas celebration.

The tradition began nearly two centuries ago when enslaved Africans could not celebrate Christmas as they worked through the holiday. So, they pushed back their own festivities to 45 days after Christmas, keeping with a local tradition that reintroduced new mothers to society 45 days after delivery.

Helen Dayana Mina was one of the dancers at the festivities.

MINA: [Speaking Spanish]

She says here that they enjoy Christmas celebrations like everyone else in December, but the February celebrations hold more importance because of the connection to their ancestors.

That’s it for today’s WORLD Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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