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The Africa Report: 19 December

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

Madagascan elections 2013. Picture: https://www.facebook.com/DrRobinsonJL

MADAGASCAR'S UNPRECEDENTED PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

An unprecedented presidential debate was televised in Madagascar on Thursday night.

The presidential debate saw candidates Jean Louis Robinson and Hery Rajaonarimampianina

Campaigning has stopped one day ahead of the run-off and parliamentary elections on Friday.

Voting is scheduled to end at six o'clock on Friday evening but is predicted to die down in the late afternoon due to forecast showers.

These elections are critical to the rebuilding of the island country and will hopefully restore it to normality thus bringing much-needed foreign aid back to Madagascar.

Currently, the 90% of the country is living on less than $2 a day.

LAMPEDUSA IMMIGRATION MANAGER FIRED

The manager of the Lampedusa Immigration Centre has been fired following the emergence of footage revealing degrading treatment of African migrants.

The footage that was broadcast on Italian television revealed how migrants are badly treated by the Centre's staff.

The broadcast occurred on International Migrants Day, a United Nations campaign which aims to raise awareness around the rights of migrants.

The European Union, who has donated a tremendous amount of money to ensure that human rights and proper conditions are observed, have condemned the treatment.

The EU has called on the Italian government to deal with the matter immediately.

Lampedusa mayor Giusy Nicolini expressed the contrite of many Italians, saying the Centre looked like a concentration camp.

This is just one case of how badly African migrants are treated in the places they flee to in order to find refuge and security.

Around the world, African migrants - legal or illegal - are facing discriminatory treatment.

Lampedusa receives tens of thousands of African migrants who try to enter mainland Europe via the Italian island.

In October, the island saw one of its worst accidents when almost 400 migrants drowned in an attempt to reach their shores.

Saudi Arabian forces are sending immigrants to deportation centres in their hundreds.

In Israel, thousands are being held in detention without trial.

UN FEARS CIVIL WAR IN SOUTH SUDAN

The United Nations has expressed concern that the violent clashes in South Sudan could escalate into civil war.

Fighting broke out on Sunday between soldiers whose loyalty lay either with President Salva Kiir or his former deputy, Riek Machar.

Kiir has accused Machar of attempting to stage a coup which the latter has denied.

The main fighting took place in the capital city of Juba but has spread.

The UN estimates that at least 500 people have been killed in less than a week and more than 20 000 have been displaced.

Ethnic tension has been reported as another reason for the conflict.

President Kiir is a member of the majority Dinka group and Machar a member of the Nuer group.

As a result of the worsening situation, the British government will be airlifting Britons from the troubled nation on Thursday.

Both the United States and British embassies have withdrawn non-essential personnel and have published travel advisories to deter nationals from visiting South Sudan.

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