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The Africa Report: 05 June

EWN Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish, reports on the day's top African news

Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan

NIGERIAN GOVT BANS BOKO HARAM AND OTHERS

Following the announcement of the United States (US) rewarding those who provide information on Islamic militants in North and West Africa, Nigerian authorities have enforced a ban on Boko Haram and its offshoot terrorist group, Ansaru.

Both the reward by the US and the ban by the Nigerian governments are firsts in the fight against terrorism on the African continent.

Nigeria has been embroiled in a physical onslaught aimed at cleansing the northern regions of the country of the terrorist organisation Boko Haram.

The Islamic north, known as Boko Haram's stronghold, is a region of Nigeria in dire poverty. Thus, the question has been asked whether an economic boost by President Goodluck Jonathan's government would have been a more effective tool against terrorism.

Nonetheless, the ban sees any member or associate of Boko Haram and Ansaru facing up to 20 years in jail.

CAR HALTS GEM TRADE TO PREVENT BLOOD DIAMOND SALES

Following the coup d'état in the Central African Republic (CAR) in March, concerns about blood diamond sales have increased, culminating in the stoppage of the gem trade by the CAR government on Tuesday.

President Michel Djotodia has halted diamond sales, saying that he wants to make sure that the trade is not being used to fund conflict.

Cash sales have been put on hold pending reforms in the country and a centralised clearinghouse will be set up to oversee the trade.

The Kimberley Process, a joint initiative by governments, industry and civil society to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, had recently suspended the CAR until the situation in the country improved.

The CAR Minister of Mines, Oil, Energy and Water Supply, Herbert Gontran Djono Ahaba, also the nephew of Djotodia, is currently in South Africa.

Also on his way to South Africa is the man overthrown by CAR rebels, ousted leader Francois Bozizé.

MOROCCAN MINISTER USES BERBER TONGUE IN PARLIAMENT FOR FIRST THE TIME

In a historic move by the Moroccan Health Minister, Hossein El Ouardi, the indigenous Berber language, Amazigh, was spoken for the first time in parliament.

On Tuesday, Ouardi was questioned by parliament about the inadequate health infrastructure in the northern area of Hoceima - a region populated by Berber-speaking people.

The Minister chose to steer from the norm of Arabic and decided to reply in Amazigh saying he would visit the area and resolve the problem.

Morocco's new constitution, introduced after the Arab Spring protests, recognised Amazigh as an official language for the first time.

Berbers are the people who occupy North Africa, from the west of the Nile Valley to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to the Niger River, with many living in Morocco and Algeria.

The Berber people inhabited the area before the immigration of Islamic groups to the region.

Famous Berbers include international football stars, Zinedine Zidane and Ibrahim Afellay.

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