At least nine people are dead after a gunman wearing an explosive vest opened fire at a church in Cairo, before being shot and killed by police.
Egypt’s interior ministry said two officers were killed in the attack, with a further five security guards also injured, according to an Al-Arabiya reporter.
Two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said.
Police also diffused two bombs nearby.
One attacker was shot dead by security forces, the sources and the state-run news agency MENA reported. State television said the second had been captured.
The Health Ministry said that nine people had been killed on Friday in addition to the gunman, and five wounded, including two women in serious condition.
An image of the alleged gunman’s body was published on Al-Ahram newspaper’s website, showing a bearded man wearing what appears to be an ammunition vest.
Local media said the dead attacker had been wearing an explosive belt, and that two other bombs had been defused near the church.
Sirens were heard in central Cairo immediately after the incident.
Police have stepped up security measures around churches ahead of the Coptic Christmas celebrations on Jan. 7, deploying officers outside Christian places of worship and setting up metal detectors at some of the bigger churches.
The church is thought to be a place of worship for Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the largest religious minority in the country, accounting for around 10% of its 93 million inhabitants.
Earlier this year, ISIS claimed responsibility for two bomb blasts which killed dozens of churchgoers celebrating Palm Sunday in Egypt.
A bomb exploded inside a church in Tanta, before a suicide bomber was said to have targeted a Coptic church in the northern city of Alexandria.
At least 47 people are said to have died in the attacks.
And a bombing at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49 in December 2016, many of them women and children, in another of the deadliest attacks on Egypt’s Christian minority in years.
Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe
Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.
The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).
The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.
According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.
It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.
“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.
“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”
The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.
Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival
Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.
Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.
But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.
“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.
Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.
The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.
That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.
Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.
“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.
He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.
“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”
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