News Brief

Mauritanian Government Arrests Gay Couple Following Country's First Alleged Same-Sex Marriage

Ten young men, including a gay couple, were arrested after a video surfaced on social media allegedly depicting the country's first same-sex marriage taking place.

Ten young men have reportedly been arrested by the Mauritanian authorities and are awaiting judgement for "acts contrary to morality, committing acts forbidden by Allah and circulating a ceremony of debauchery" according to reports by the AFP.

The arrest comes shortly after a video surfaced on social media allegedly depicting the young men conducting the country's first same-sex marriage.


The video of the alleged wedding ceremony, which is thought to have been shot in the capital of Nouakchott, has been widely shared on social media and caused outrage among conservative (read homophobic) Mauritanians who are opposed to homosexuality.

Despite the arrest of the young men, Mauritanian authorities now claim that their investigations have uncovered the true events depicted in the video—a party. Speaking on local television, Police Commissioner Mohamed Ould Nejib referred to the party as "the birthday celebration of a homosexual to which other gays had been invited." The young men remain in police custody.

The Human Dignity Trust reports that homosexuality and any "homosexual practices" including marriage and same-sex intimacy, are still considered criminal in Mauritania which is governed by Sharia Islamic law.

Muslim men who are found guilty of contravening the "Act Against Nature" article of the 1984 Penal Code, are punished with death by stoning while women are sentenced to to up to two years imprisonment in addition to a fine. Mauritania has, however, not enforced the death penalty since 1987.

Mauritania is a part of the 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which still criminalize homosexuality. On the other hand, countries such as Angola and Botswana both decriminalised homosexuality last year.

News Brief
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

South Africa Responsibly Reported A New Variant of COVID-19 - And Now The World Is Making Them Pay For It

In the world's latest attempt at making COVID-19 Africa's disease, South Africa is now being punished for good use of the advanced technology that identified the Omicron variant.

If there's one thing Western media is going to do, it's going to make African countries out to be the bad, irresponsible kids on the team.

Last week, South African scientists informed the globe that they had discovered and identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization went on to name Omicron. The variant's influence and characteristics are yet to be understood, as leading scientists in South Africa — and across the world — scramble to understand the next layer of the COVID-19 virus. It also means that it is impossible to dictate exactly where the variant originated from.

The news broke, and the world began to panic, with the brash reactions manifesting as a near-global travel ban, to and from South Africa, over fears of the latest variant. The almost immediate ostracization has resulted in hordes of foreign nationals within South Africa being "stranded", and South African citizens abroad not being able to get back home.

The Omicron strain was identified in neighboring country Botswana at the same time, but among a group of foreign diplomatic visitors, with two ministers warning Western onlookers from "geo-politicizing this virus". Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera went on to openly accuse Western countries of "Afrophobia" for shutting their borders with such haste, and in a manner that seems as if they've been waiting for the opportunity to do so. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director on the African continent said, "With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity." Israel announced over the weekend that they would enforce travel bans on all African countries... except those which reside in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc). U.S Governor Greg Abbott received backlash after ignorantly tweeting on Sunday that, "Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa."

According to Reuters, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and relevant parties have requested an urgent sitting this Friday with WHO's working group on virus evolution, to discuss the new variant and what this could mean for this next phase of the global pandemic. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the countries that have implemented travel bans on the country to rethink and ultimately lift them, vocalizing his disappointment in the ease with which world leaders are prepared to shut African countries out of an issue we are experiencing as a global unit. Ramaphosa also argued that the bans would not successfully stop the transmission of the newer variant, "The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic," he said.

This is not the first time that South Africa has been held liable for a newly discovered variant of the COVID-19 virus. Last December, a Beta variant was detected in the Southern African country and the world reacted in a similar way — inappropriately. Claims that the newly identified variant is the most dangerous are irresponsible are simply not true — scientists have little to no real information on how this variant may affect people, as it has just been discovered.

Informed individuals and social media warriors alike took to their handheld devices to set the records straight, with some congratulating South Africa's team for being responsible in their handling of a global pandemic. Even Piers Morgan got it right.


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