The Africa Report: 4 October

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

Rescuers and covered corpses of immigrants near Lampedusa early on October 3. At least 134 asylum-seekers drowned and 150 were rescued after a boat carrying some 500 people caught fire and capsized near an Italian island. Picture: AFP


In yet another tragic attempt to escape Africa and enter Europe, 134 people have drowned and at least 200 remain missing after the smuggler ship they were on sank before entering Italy's Lampedusa.

Italian authorities have rescued just over 150 shaken survivors, but have called on the rest of Europe to assist with the tragedy.

The majority of those who died or have not yet been found are children and women, three of which were pregnant.

The skipper of the ship, a Tunisian man, has been arrested.

This time of the year is particularly bad as many refugees rush to get to Europe before the winter and while the waters are still calm.

Most of the refugees who try to enter Europe travel through Libya.

In this case, the capsized boat was carrying 500 refugees from Eritrea and Somalia.

Just last week, 13 men drowned when they boat ran aground in Italian water and in total, more than 17,000 African refugees trying to reach Europe.



Locals on the island of Madagascar have killed two tourists and one Madagascan man for allegedly trying to traffic the organs of a young boy.

An eight-year-old local boy went missing in the north of the island, a popular tourist attraction, and when he was found, parts of his body and organs were missing.

According to locals, one of the men involved admitted to involvement in organ trafficking and directed them to the other two involved.

One of the alleged organ traffickers has been arrested.

The two tourists who have been killed are believed to be Italian and French nationals.

Island residents are enraged by what has become a common occurrence of organ trafficking which will not bode well for the upcoming elections on 26 October.



Sudanese opposition leader, Hassan al-Turabi, has warned of a looming civil war following on-going petrol riots.

Government officials have reported 33 deaths as a result of the petrol riots whilst activists are reporting at least 140 deaths.

The recent removal of fuel subsidies to save the national budget has increased petrol prices to the point that Khartoum residents have taken to the street, burnt down a gas station, and opened fire at a police station.

Despite the on-going riots, President Omar al-Bashir has announced he will not and cannot cut the petrol price.

The Sudanese economy has been heavily impacted since the independence of South Sudan in 2011 who took 75% of oil production with them.

However, al-Turabi has warned that the riots are part of a greater tension within Sudan and that if matters are not resolved or al-Bashir does not step down, a civil war would be inevitable.