Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe to release thousands of prisoners

Zimbabwe's government pledged to release more than 2,000 prisoners because it cannot feed them, All Africa reported.

According to, President Robert Mugabe was forced to act after prison officials wrote to him, warning of possible disaster in the country's 46 prisons.

While commenting on the 2014 prisons budget in parliament, the permanent secretary for the justice ministry, Virginia Mabhiza, said she would have preferred to give more money to the prison department as she did not want inmates to die from starvation but could not afford it.

"In order to feed prisoners on the prescribed dietary scale, the ministry requires $21m [£12.5m] for the whole year but the department was only allocated $2.5 (£1.4m) for prisoners' rations."

London-based mining company responsible for human rights abuses in Sierra Leone

The government of Sierra Leone and a London-based mining company - the country's largest private employer - have undermined villagers' access to food and prevented workers from challenging abusive practices, Human Rights Watch said.

According to the report, the government and African Minerals Ltd forcibly relocated hundreds of families to an arid part of the Tonkolili district where they were unable to cultivate crops and sustain themselves.

"With investors flocking to Sierra Leone, the government has an opportunity to promote development for its desperately poor population," said Rona Peligal, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

"But the African Minerals Ltd case shows that unless the government puts a stop to mining operation abuses, the people who most need to benefit from development will be excluded from it."

soldiers burning
French troops secure an area after protesters from an angry mob set fire to the dead body of a Muslim man along a street in BanguiReuters

Heavy Fighting in Central African Republic blocks UN visit

Christian militia tried to block the evacuation of Muslims and disrupted a visit by a top United Nations aid official, Reuters reported.

The latest clashes began after Chadian troops tried to escort a convoy of Muslims out of the city, Songokoua Yetinzapa, a Bangui resident living in a vast camp for displaced civilians near the airport, said.

Their departure was blocked by the Christian anti-Balaka militia.

"When they drove in from Chad yesterday, the Chadians attacked civilians in Damara. Someone from the town called a radio programme to report what the Chadians did. This angered people in Bangui who set up roadblocks to prevent them from leaving," a spokesman for the anti-Balaka explained.

The conflict, which erupted in December, has pitted Muslim Seleka forces against Christian anti-Balaka militiasin violence that has left 2,000 dead more than a million people - 20% of the population - displaced.

President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson SirleafFlickr

Ivorian refugees extradited from Liberia

The head of the UN refugee agency in Liberia expressed concern over the alleged forced extradition of 14 Ivorian refugees, the BBC reported.

Khassim Diagne said they were among a group of 23 accused by Ivory Coast of being mercenaries.

"These are allegations but none of this is being brought in front of a court of law and none of these people has been tried. No investigation has been carried out," Diagne said.

The UNHCR said the extradition happened "in the middle of the night".

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaFlickr/Creative Common

Tanzania at risk due to heavy rains

Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) predicted long and heavy rains from March and has urged residents to take precautions, All Africa reported.

TMA director general Agnes Kijazi called on disaster management authorities and other stakeholders to get ready for the adverse weather.

Kijazi urged farmers and fishermen to pay more attention to monitoring the weather and planning accordingly.