Kenya has arrested an unspecified number of suspects and recovered a gun linked to the shooting of Italian-born conservationist Kuki Gallmann at her conservation park over the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.
The 73-year old author of the memoir “I Dreamed of Africa” was shot in the stomach on Sunday in her 100,000-acre (400 square km) ranch and nature conservancy in Laikipia in the north.
Gallmann was recovering in intensive care at a Nairobi hospital, where she underwent a seven-hour operation, after being airlifted from Laikipia, her family said on Monday.
“We have recovered a gun which is now undergoing ballistic tests to confirm whether it was the gun used to shoot Kuki,” Joseph Nkaissery, the interior minister, told a news conference.
He did not say how many suspects the police were holding. He described the attack on Gallmann, who was in a vehicle at the time of the attack, as an “isolated” act of banditry.
A wave of violence has hit Kenya’s drought-stricken Laikipia region in recent months. Armed cattle-herders searching for scarce grazing land have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches from poor-quality communal land.
At least a dozen civilians and police officers have been killed in the violence.
Kenya dispatched its military to the area last month to help restore calm and disarm communities. The minister said the operation was going as planned.
Many residents of the area accuse local politicians of inciting the violence before elections in August. They say the men are trying to drive out voters who might oppose them and win votes by promising supporters access to private land.
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King)
ABUJA/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria | Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 whom they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok three years ago in exchange for prisoners, the presidency said on Saturday.
Around 270 girls were kidnapped in April 2014 by the Islamist militant group, which has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.
Dozens escaped in the initial melee, but more than 200 remained missing for more than two years.
Nigeria thanked Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross for helping secure the release of the 82 girls after “lengthy negotiations,” the presidency said in a statement.
President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the girls on Sunday afternoon in the capital Abuja, it said, without saying how many Boko Haram suspects had been exchanged or disclosing other details.
A military source said the girls were brought on Sunday morning from Banki near the Cameroon border to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state where the insurgency started.
The release of the girls may give a boost to Buhari who has hardly appeared in public since returning from Britain in March for treatment of an unspecified illness.
He made crushing the insurgency a pillar of his election campaign in 2015.
The army has retaken most of the territory initially lost to the militants but attacks and suicide bombings by the group have made it nearly impossible for displaced persons to return to their recaptured hometowns.
“The President directed the security agencies to continue in earnest until all the Chibok girls have been released and reunited with their families,” the presidency said.
More than 20 girls were released last October in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Others have escaped or been rescued, but 195 were believed to be still in captivity.
Buhari said last month that the government was in talks to secure the release of the remaining captives.
Although the Chibok girls are the most high-profile case, Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of adults and children, many of whose cases have been neglected.
Although the army has retaken much of the territory initially lost to Boko Haram, large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the militants. Suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year.
Some 4.7 million people in northeast Nigeria depend on food aid, some of which is blocked by militant attacks, some held up by a lack of funding and some, diplomats say, stolen before it can reach those in need.
Millions of Nigerians may soon be in peril if the situation deteriorates, as authorities expect, when the five-month rainy season begins in May and makes farming impossible in areas that are now accessible.
This part of Nigeria is the western edge of an arc of hunger stretching across the breadth of Africa through South Sudan, Somalia and into Yemen on the Arabian peninsula. The United Nations believes as many as 20 million people are in danger in what could become the world’s worst famine for decades.
(Additional reporting by Tife Owolabi and Ulf Laessing; editing by Angus MacSwan and Jason Neely)
Somalia’s Minister of Health, Mohammed Abdullahi, recognizes Ethiopia’s admirable position of accepting refugees and offering support while other countries are closing their doors to refugees. There are currently over 800,000 refugees in Ethiopia, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. As of February 28th of this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that 246,859 refugees are Somalian and 342,573 are South Sudanese. The primary cause of displacement from Somalia is due to conflict and drought. However, Ethiopia has offered an extended hand to Somalia and is recognized as an instrumental provider in the region as people are treated with dignity and “respect basic human rights.” Uganda has also welcomed 520,000 refugees since July 2016 but has faced great difficult as roughly 3,000 South Sudanese refugees pour into the country each day.
Africa works diligently to welcome their neighbors in needs of crisis.
Health officials of Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan have praised Ethiopia’s role in hosting and supporting refugees.
Plan, Policy and Cooperation Affairs Head with Somalia’s Minister of Health, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated that Ethiopia made an exemplary deed to shelter a large number of Somali refugees who have been displaced due to conflicts and drought.
Abdullahi said: “Somali refugees here are receiving treatment, almost similar to Ethiopians, while other countries are forcing them to leave.”
The head noted that currently the Somali government is repatriating its citizens taking into account the relative peace and stability in the country.
For his part, Plan and Policy Director with Sudan’s Minister of Health, Seid Mohammed, said Sudanese refugees taking shelter in Ethiopia have been receiving the necessary supports. “Ethiopia respects the basic human rights of Sudanese refugees.”
Ethiopia’s refugees treatment deserves recognition, according to the director.
International Health Affairs Director-General with South Sudan’s Minister of Health, Dr. Kediende Chong said South Sudanese refugees consider Ethiopia a second home.
Currently, there are over 800,000 refugees in Ethiopia.
US ambassador to UN urges Security Council to impose sanctions on South Sudan to end humanitarian crisis caused by war.
Women and children wait to be registered prior to a UN food distribution. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)
The United States has condemned South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir for the state’s “man-made” famine and ongoing conflict, urging him to fulfil a month-old pledge of a unilateral truce by ordering his troops back to their barracks.
“We must see a sign that progress is possible,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing on South Sudan on Tuesday. “We must see that ceasefire implemented.”
South Sudan descended into civil war in 2013 after Kiir fired his deputy, unleashing a conflict that has spawned armed factions often following ethnic lines. A peace deal signed in August 2015 has not stopped the fighting.
UN South Sudan envoy David Shearer told the Security Council, “The political process in South Sudan is not dead, however, it requires significant resuscitation.”
The United Nations has warned of a possible genocide, millions have fled their homes, the oil-producing economy is in a tailspin, crop harvests are devastated because of the worst drought in years and millions face famine.
Some 7.5 million people, two-thirds of the population, require humanitarian assistance.
Around 1.6 million people have fled the country, while a further 1.9 million are displaced internally.
“The famine in South Sudan is man-made. It is the result of ongoing conflict in that country. It is the result of an apparent campaign against the civilian population. It is the result of killing humanitarian workers,” Haley said.
She also blasted deadlock among UNSC members on how to deal with the civil war in the country that gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
Haley said Kiir and his government were benefiting from the council’s division. She urged the council to impose further targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on South Sudan.
“You’re allowing President Kiir to continue to do what he’s doing,” she said. “If you truly care for the people of South Sudan, then we must tell the South Sudanese government that we are not going to put up with this anymore.”
The 15-member Security Council failed in December to get nine votes to adopt a US-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan despite warnings by UN officials of a possible genocide.
Eight council members, including Russia and China, abstained in the vote.
Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Petr Ilichev told the council that it was unfair to lay all blame on Kiir’s troops for the violence and that Moscow opposed additional sanctions.
“Sound peace in South Sudan will not be brought about by a Security Council arms embargo, but rather by targeted measures to disarm civilians, as well as demobilise and reintegrate combatants,” he said.
Johannesburg (AFP) – South African opposition parties, religious groups and civil society activists on Thursday launched a new alliance to try to force President Jacob Zuma to step down.
Called the Freedom Movement and backed by retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, it plans to hold a mass rally on April 27, the annual holiday marking South Africa’s first post-apartheid election in 1994.
Zuma’s sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last month fanned years of public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.
“Never before has there been a more urgent need to build unity of purpose to stop South Africa’s current trajectory,” said the movement at its launch in Soweto, a hotbed of the struggle against apartheid.
Tutu, seen as the country’s leading moral authority, said in a tweet that he supported the movement, adding “it is important that we unite as South Africans to bring an end to state capture.”
“State capture” is a term that refer to the alleged corruption among Zuma and his associates.
Tens of thousands of South Africans have in recent weeks staged demonstrations demanding Zuma’s resignation.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance party and several small opposition parties backed the alliance as well as some trade unions and the National Religious Council.
Three weeks after the Catholic Church gave up mediating in the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s bishops are defending their record and blaming the impasse on politicians. However, attacks on clergy and parish buildings have also raised questions as to whether the church has come too close to politics in what’s widely considered Africa’s most Catholic country.
“The bishops’ conference mission has been interpreted by some as an attempt to distract attention from issues of the hour,” said Msgr. Jean-Marie Bomengola, secretary of the church’s Social Communications Commission.” But one shouldn’t miss the target when analyzing events here. The failure of negotiations should be blamed on the political and social actors who didn’t show a spirit of compromise. It’s to them that demands for an explanation should be addressed, and on whom pressure should now be exerted.”
Catholics in six archdioceses and 41 dioceses make up around two-thirds of the 67.5 million inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of Congo — according to the Vatican’s Annuario Pontificio yearbook, published this month — and runs an extensive network of hospitals, clinics and farms, as well as around half of all schools.
The country, formerly known as Zaire, has known little stability since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960, and up to 6 million people died in a series of 1995-2003 wars, fought mainly over Congo’s rich natural resources.
Last summer, the bishops’ conference launched a mediation bid after opposition leaders accused President Joseph Kabila of seeking to cling to power by delaying autumn elections.
An initial settlement in October wasn’t accepted by some opposition groups. So the talks resumed before the Dec. 20 expiry of Kabila’s second and final term, and the outcome, in the final hours of 2016, was an accord witnessed by foreign diplomats.
This allowed the 45-year-old president to stay in power until elections in late 2017 alongside a government headed by an opposition-nominated prime minister, with a National Transition Council monitoring the electoral process under veteran opposition leader Étienne Tshisekedi.
In a pastoral letter, the bishops said the accord reflected a “consensual and inclusive political compromise that sets out a realistic route,” and they warned that the whole Democratic Republic of Congo risked “plunging into uncontrollable disorder” if the accord failed.
However, negotiations to implement it have run into trouble.
Police and demonstrators battle in Kinshasa as talks between President Kabila’s government and opposition fall apart
Congolese police fired rounds into the air and launched tear gas canisters to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters in Kinshasa on Tuesday after talks between the opposition and President Joseph Kabila‘s government fizzled out.
Unrest broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo‘s capital after Catholic bishops withdrew from their role as mediators between the government and opposition in talks aimed at paving the way for delayed elections later this year.
Demonstrators, some burning tyres at city crossroads, took to the streets in several areas in Kinshasa.
A Reuters news agency witness saw opposition members gathering at the home of the late Etienne Tshisekedi, the main opposition party’s former leader, during a news conference with his son, the new Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UPDS) party leader, Felix Tshisekedi.
Many shops remained closed and some schools called parents to collect their children
Kabila’s mandate ran out in December but polls were not held because of what the government said were budgetary constraints, sparking violent protests at the end of last year in which security forces killed at least 40 people.
DRC’s conference of Catholic bishops (CENCO) helped negotiate a December 31 deal aimed at avoiding a political crisis by ensuring an election this year to elect Kabila’s successor.
In January, the bishops warned the deal was at risk of unravelling if politicians did not act quickly to reach compromises and implement it.
The bishops stepped aside on Tuesday after progress on the deal stalled, raising the prospect of renewed violence in a country that has suffered a succession of wars and rebellions.
“We think that there’s no longer anything to do,” Donatien Nshole, secretary-general of CENCO, told Reuters. “We have given all our time and all our energy, and in the meantime, pastoral work suffers.”
Kabila has ruled the mineral-rich central African nation since his father’s assassination in 2001. His critics accuse him of deliberately delaying elections in order to remain in power.