Morning Digest: Doctors separate conjoined twins in Abuja hospital; British royal couple set for West Africa visit

1. Doctors separate conjoined twins in Abuja hospital

A team of Nigerian doctors successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins at a hospital in the capital, Abuja.

The doctors led by Dr Nuhu Kwajafa of the Global Peace Initiative confirmed the success of the operation that took them several hours, at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada.

The two boys were born in June but could not be separated until they were four months old.

2. British royal couple set for West Africa visit

The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will arrive in The Gambia later today, for the start of a nine-day tour of West Africa.

The royal couple will be visiting Commonwealth countries in the region.

The tour follows the selection of Prince Charles to succeed the Queen as head of the organisation by Commonwealth leaders in April.

Their first visit to Gambia will mark the county’s return to the Commonwealth after its former president – Yahya Jammeh – pulled out of the organisation calling it an “extension of colonialism”.

After his ouster in 2017, his successor – Adama Barrow – began the process of rejoining the 53-member organisation. The Gambia was readmitted in February.

They are also set to visit Ghana and Nigeria.

3. Tanzania forms anti-gay and nudity squad

Authorities in Tanzanian have announced the creation of a surveillance squad whose job it will be to identify gay people on social media and arrest them.

Paul Makonda, regional commissioner for the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, said the 17-member team would comprise of state officials from the Tanzania Communications Authority, the police and media practitioners.

Their mandate would be to scrutinise social media platforms to identify people who engage in same sex relationships.

At a news conference, Mr Makonda also appealed to city residents to delete any nude pictures from their phones, warning that strict measures would be taken against pornography.

He warned human rights groups that homosexuality was illegal in Tanzania.

However, there is no law prohibiting homosexuality in Tanzania, although sodomy is a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.

Public rhetoric against homosexuality has been on the rise in the country since President John Magufuli’s election in 2015.

4. Zambia top female Fifa referee dies

Zambia has lost one of its top female football referees after she succumbed on Wednesday morning to injuries sustained in an accident on Saturday.

Leah Namukonda, one of two female Fifa accredited officials, died at Ndola Central Hospital in northern Zambia where she was admitted.

She had gone to see a friend hours after officiating a domestic league match and she was involved in a road accident, according to Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Vice-President Rix Mweemba.

“We are devastated as an association because she was one of the few female referees we have… it’s very sad because we were one strong family,” he said.

Before Namukonda’s death, Zambia had two Fifa female referees and two assistants.

Gladys Lengwe is now the only female Fifa-accredited referee.

5. Mounie prefers python to squirrel 

Benin striker Steve Mounie supports his country’s plan to change the national football team’s nickname from The Squirrels to something that “reflects its ambitions”.

The Huddersfield FC player suggests the name be changed to Python:

Apart from the symbolism Mounie said the snake’s association would show the country is developing “some bite” on the pitch.

The Benin Football Federation (FBF) is in the process of changing the nickname of the national team to something evocative and respectable.

The Squirrels nickname was coined in the 1960s – apparently to reflect a small nation aiming to climb high.

But the country’s football governing body feels that it is time for a change in order to match the team’s ambitions.

It is not the first time Benin is looking to change the team’s nickname. A similar move was made in 2008, but proved abortive.

Benin have never qualified for the Fifa World Cup and have only played in three African Cup of Nations finals: 2004, 2008 and 2010.

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