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Angolan journalist Rafael Maques bags World Press Freedom award.

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Angolan journalist Rafael Marques has won a top press freedom award for braving decades of government harassment in his quest to fight corruption through journalism.

The journalist who has been jailed in the past for reporting on the plunder of Angola’s natural resources, was named ‘World Press Freedom Hero’ by the International Press Institute (IPI).



IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero award honours journalists who have made significant contributions to the promotion of press freedom, particularly in the face of great personal risk.

The award will be presented to Marques on June 22 in Abuja, Nigeria at the IPI’s annual World Congress and General Assembly. IPI will also present the 2018 Free Media Pioneer Award to Philippine news website Rappler.

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Marques started his journalism career reporting for state-owned newspaper Jornal de Angola in 1992, but he was soon fired after failing to favorably report on the government as expected.

In 2008, after years of writing for independent outlets in Angola and authoring numerous reports on human rights violations, Marques founded the watchdog website Maka Angola, which provides investigative coverage of corruption involving top Angolan political, business and military leaders.

His reports which have often called out former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his cronies for corruption, incompetence and sabotage of the national economy have earned Marques persecution and harassment.

In 1999, he was arrested and charged with defamation after describing president dos Santos as a dictator. He spent 43 days in pre-trial detention before being convicted and given a six-month prison term in March 2000. Angola’s Supreme Court later reduced the penalty to a suspended sentence.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi hailed Marques for his dedication to pursuing truth at all costs.

“Despite Angola’s systematic repression of independent media, Rafael Marques has managed, at great personal risk, to bravely and persistently shine a light on abuse of power at the highest levels”, she said.

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UN reports about 900 fatalities in DR Congo’s ethnic violence.

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The united nations report that at least 890 people were killed in over just 3 days in ethnic violence in western DRC in mid-december.

The UN Human Rights Office reports the violence took place in four villages between Banunu and Batende communities.



The UN however warns the death toll could be higher. But there seems to be conflicting death tolls for the violence.

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A local priest and a civil society activist earlier in the week said at least 400 people had died in bloodshed that even led to the government canceling voting in last month’s presidential polls.

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The UN insists that 890 is the number of people known to have been buried.

The recent attack from the ethnic clashes in Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe Province allegedly started when members of the Banunu tribe wanted to bury one of their traditional chiefs on Batende land.

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Britain, UN worry over Internet shutdown in Zimbabwe.

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In the wake of deadly protests against a fuel price hike, and an ongoing internet shutdown in Zimbabwe, the United Nations has urged the government to stop “excessive use of force” by security forces including firing live ammunition.

The government has said three people died during demonstrations that broke out on Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa raised fuel prices by 150 percent.

Lawyers and activists say the toll was much higher and that security forces used violence and carried out mass arrests to quell the unrest.



The internet was cut off earlier this week, with critics saying the government sought to prevent images of its heavy-handedness in dealing with protesters from being broadcast around the world.

Leading mobile operator Econet Wireless said the government had ordered it to shut down services.

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“We were served with another directive for total shutdown of the internet until further notice,” Econet said in a statement.

“Our lawyers advised that we are required to comply with the directive pending the court’s decision on its legality.”

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Friday’s fuller internet shutdown also affected emails.

Due to the shutdown, Harare banks were providing only partial services and no cash machines were working, a witness said, while long queues formed at petrol stations and shops.

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