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Angola: 200 march in protest for abortion rights

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At least 200 demonstrators protested under heavy police surveillance in the Angolan capital Luanda on Saturday against a draft law criminalising all abortions.

The proposed new penal code has been sharply criticised, including by Isabel dos Santos, reported to be the richest woman in Africa and the daughter of veteran President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The mostly female protesters chanted “Freedom for women”, “Prison will not solve anything” and “Let us decide”, before dispersing after about two hours.

Public protests are rare in Angola and can often be targeted by Angola’s security forces, but the peaceful march was allowed by authorities.

The draft penal code, currently before parliament, punishes anyone who has an abortion or performs one with up to 10 years in jail.

“The government or lawmakers have no right to decide whether we must have a child or not,” Lauranda Gouveia, a marcher, said.

“If this law is passed, women who get pregnant after rape will have the choice of trauma, prison or possible death after a clandestine abortion,” added Sizaltia Cutaia, of the local Open Society activism group.

The draft code was strengthened after lobbying by church leaders and has triggered public debate.

Isabel dos Santos this week used her Instagram social media account to denounce the “criminalisation of women”.

Dom Manuel Imbamba, spokesman for the Episcopal Conference of Angola, said that it supported the anti-abortion law, saying “life cannot be negotiated or trivialised.”

The ruling MPLA party on Thursday said that a vote in parliament next week had been postponed.

Angola, which had been ruled by President dos Santos since 1979, is updating its 1886 penal code dating back to the Portuguese colonial era.

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Nigeria: Boko Haram leader exposes rest Chibok girls whereabouts

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One of the arrested Boko Haram leaders and kidnappers of the Chibok schoolgirls, Mallam Mayinta Modu, alias Abor has revealed that each of them received N60,000 as ransom before they freed one batch of the abducted girls.

 Modu, who hails from Bama Local Government Area, Borno State had confessed to being one of the Boko Haram Commanders that coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, including several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.

This was following the arrest of 22 suspected Boko Haram members who participated in the kidnapping of the girls.

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 They were paraded at the Borno Police Command, Wednesday, by Deputy Commissioner-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.Modu revealed that one Mallam Chingori, is in custody of the remaining Chibok girls at Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.

Upon interrogation, he said: “I cannot ascertain the number of people I slaughtered or killed before my arrest. All I can say is that as a member of the sect and with the roles I played in the course of our fighting against infidels, government and security agencies, I was promoted as one of the sub-commanders.

“I actively participated and coordinated the kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in April, 2014.

“After we abducted the girls, we separated them and put them in different locations in Sambisa Forest under the care of our top commanders.

“The name of my top Commander is Mallam Chingori. He kept some of the girls in his custody in Sambisa hideout before relocating to Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.

“At a point, when we released some of the girls, we were given N60,000 each for escorting the girls to one undisclosed location, before we went back to base, Sambisa.

“I may not know whether our Commander who gave us the ransom money also took his share of the money; all I can say is that we were many that collected such amount.

“As it is, the remaining girls are in the custody of our top Commander (Chingori) who later relocated from Sambisa to Gulumba village of Bama town.”

Modu could, however, not state who paid the ransom, but admitted that some of the girls were still in the custody of the sect in different locations in the forest.

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Egypt: Human rights activists criticises new social media law

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Human rights activists have criticised the adoption of a new law that gives the state powers to block social media accounts and penalise journalists held to be publishing fake news.

Under the law passed on Monday, social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law.

The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, headed by an official appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will supervise the law and take action against violations.

The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors.

The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by Sisi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited, but does not explain further.

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