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Cameroon: Patients stranded as doctors goes on strike

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A doctors’ strike in Cameroon left patients without critical care in the capital Yaoude on Monday, the latest in a string of union actions that have crippled a country in the midst of political crisis.

The doctors union, known as SYMEC, demanded better working conditions and pay and left nurses to attend to sick patients in some of Yaounde’s major hospitals.

The strike was not directly linked to other union action, but it adds to the turmoil in the central African country where protests have erupted since October in the Anglophone south- and northwest regions.

Teachers and lawyers have been on strike for months to protest at what they say is their marginalization by the French-speaking majority under President Paul Biya’s 35-year rule. In reaction, the government has shut down the internet in English-speaking areas.

At Yaounde’s Central Hospital on Monday, patients angrily waited to be seen, clutching prescriptions and test results, but there were no doctors in sight, a  witness said.

“My father had a motorcycle accident and must undergo surgery today. But there are no surgeons, we are told that there is a strike, and the nurse told us that they only deal with the sick in-house or by appointment,” said Marianne Balla, who was waiting in the Central Hospital.

The government said the strike was illegal as SYMEC is not a legally recognized union, a charge SYMEC dismissed as untrue.

It was not clear how well observed the strike was in other parts of the country. Some hospitals contacted  outside the capital said by telephone that they were operating normally.

The strike comes at a critical time for Biya, who is under pressure to peacefully resolve a growing crisis.

At least six protesters have been shot dead and hundreds others arrested during the rare challenge to state authority ahead of a presidential election next year.

In an apparent bid to stamp out online critics, the government has cut internet access in the two English-speaking regions for three months, hobbling business activity and prompting criticism from human rights groups and the United Nations.

Still, with Biya looking to extend his long rule next year, some expect government crackdowns to continue.

“With elections coming up next year, we can expect the situation to get much worse before it gets better,” said Jeffrey Smith.

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Motherland News

Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral

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Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.

A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.

Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.

She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer. 

Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.

The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.

 

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Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US

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Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.

At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.

 

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