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World Tour: Flooding in Madagascar


WORLD Radio - World Tour: Flooding in Madagascar

Plus: Mourning in Eswatini, Myanmar opium spike, and violence in Haiti

A man steers his boat that is used by residents to move around the street flooded with rain water in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 Associated Press Photo/Alexander Joe

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Onize Ohikere, World’s reporter in Africa.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Eswatini funeral — We begin this week’s World Tour in the southern African nation of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland.

AUDIO: [Mourners singing]

Hundreds of mourners and political activists sang and prayed together for Thulani Maseko, a 52-year-old human rights lawyer who was murdered last week. Unidentified gunmen shot him through the window of his home.

Maseko fiercely criticized the government of the tiny landlocked nation that’s home to Africa’s last absolute monarchy. Eswatini has long cracked down on dissent. It banned political parties in 1973.

AUDIO: [Singing]

Maseko was also a senior member of PUDEMO, a political movement pushing for a constitutional, multiparty democracy.

Hours before Maseko’s murder, King Mswati III warned activists who defy him not to shed tears about mercenaries killing them.

Briggs Bomba is the programs director of Trust Africa, a pro-democracy foundation.

BOMBA: What needs to be done is to support the people of Swaziland in their aspirations for freedom and democracy and justice and the starting point must be ensuring that perpetrators of heinous acts such as the assassination of Thulani Maseko are held to account.

Maseko’s death also drew in activists from other African countries, as well as diplomatic envoys from the West and the United Nations.

They called for an impartial investigation and prosecution of the culprits.

Madagascar flooding — We head over to Madagascar.

AUDIO: [Water flowing]

The island nation is still battling with the effects of a severe tropical storm that made landfall last week.

Storm Cheneso has killed at least 25 people and displaced nearly 38,000.

The storm flooded rivers, destroyed crops, and damaged buildings.

AUDIO: [Speaking Malagasy]

This farmer says he has to start replanting again after losing all of his crops, including cassava, rice, and groundnut.

Cheneso is the first tropical storm of the current cyclone season in southern Africa, which typically runs from November to April.

Myanmar opium spike — Next, to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where the military took over exactly two years ago.

The United Nations says the country is witnessing an opium production surge. Opium production increased by more than 30 percent last year, the first full growing season since the coup.

U.N. Representative Jeremy Douglas:

DOUGLAS: What we’re seeing is people returning to the employment opportunity that they have available to them in rural areas particularly in the north and in border areas and that happens to be opium.

The UN added that ongoing violence in Myanmar has also affected drug eradication raids.

The military junta has detained more than 17,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 others since the coup.

Haiti violence — We wrap up today in Haiti, where protesters have decried rising gang violence against police.

AUDIO: [Protesters yelling]

Police officers and other civilians set fires and marched in the capital city of Port-au-Prince in protest. Armed gangs last week killed six officers in an attack on a police headquarters in the north of the country.

Authorities shut down schools after protesters disrupted air traffic and tried to storm the prime minister’s residence. Gangs control much of Haiti and continue to kidnap people for ransom. Criminals have killed at least 14 police officers this year alone.

That’s it for this week’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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