Category Archives: East Africa

Ethiopia: Oromo arrests

3.10.2020 Ethiopia’s Oromiya region police have arrested 503 people on accusations of planning to incite violence during an annual Thanksgiving festival – Irreecha – this weekend and seized guns and hand grenades, the state affiliated Fana news agency reported.

Fana Broadcasting also reported on Octobere 2 that police and intelligence services had foiled what they said were plans to incite violence in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia ahead of the Irreecha festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.

The latest arrests happened a week after Ethiopia’s attorney general said about 2,000 people had been charged over deadly violence after the killing of popular Oromo musician and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa in June.

Fana News Agency, quoting Oromiya region police commissioner Ararsa Merdasa, said on October 1 officers seized guns and hand grenades during the arrests, ahead of a celebration in the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday, October 3, and in Bishoftu in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia on Sunday, October 4.

In the violence following Haacaaluu Hundeessaa assassination in June, at least 166 people were killed. More than 9,000 people were arrested, including some politicians from Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province.

Long-suppressed frustrations frequently explode into ethnic violence.

Last year’s Irreecha festival in Addis Ababa was held peacefully amid tight security. But in 2016, a stampede, triggered by a clash between police and protesters during celebrations in Bishoftu, south of the capital, left more than 50 dead.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the continent’s fastest growing economies and is due to hold elections next year.

Decades of frustration over government repression and democratic reforms by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, have emboldened regional power-brokers keen to challenge the ruling party.

Kabuga transfer to Arusha UN Court

High-level Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga,84, can be handed over to a United Nations tribunal for trial, a top French court ruled on 30 Septembere.

Kabuga is suspected of playing a major role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsi Rwandans were murdered by a Hutu uprising. Prosecutors accuse Kabuga of chairing a radio station that helped orchestrate the genocide, as well as working to create and fund a genocidal militia in the capital, Kigali. He used to be a wealthy businessman at the time.

The 84-year-old had evaded justice for 25 years but was caught outside Paris in May of this year.

The Court of Cassation in Paris upheld an order from a lower court to send Kabuga to a UN tribunal on charges including genocide, persecution and extermination.

He will now stand trial at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) based in Arusha, Tanzania. The MICT took charge of prosecuting Rwandan genocide suspects after the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) formally closed in 2015.

His lawyers had argued that he should not be extradited due to his frail health and claimed that the UN tribunal would be biased.

Ethiopia Grand Dam dispute

In his speech to the United Nations the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter water dispute between the three African countries.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July, the move which has risen concerns of damages to the farmers along the Nile, deprived of water supply. However the three states have returned to African Union (AU) -led mediation.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries,” he told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process,” Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Tensions between neighbours escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt untangled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen in case of dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t.

Sudan: separation of religion from state

Sudan’s transitional government agreed to separate religion from the state, ending three decades of Islamic rule. (Image: Khartoum)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, signed a declaration in Addis Ababa, the capital city, adopting the principle.

For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected,” the document states.

The accord comes less than a week after the government initialed a peace deal with rebel forces aiming at end of fighting that ravaged Darfur and other parts of Sudan under ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The larger of two factions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought Sudanese troops in the nation’s border states, has refused to sign any agreement that doesn’t ensure a secular system.

Sudan is recovering from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and implemented a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law that intended to shape the country as the “vanguard of the Islamic world.” Al-Qaeda settled théorie and the U.S. designated Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993, later imposing sanctions until 2017.

Mali officers propose civil transition

After months of civil unrest, and absence of any meaningful response to the demands of the people, Mali military took the lead announcing their plan to nation on moving towards a civil and political transition.

International agreements will be respected, including the agreement with the Tuareg rebels. The resolutions of the national dialogue will be implemented. Credible and transparent elections will be organized, the group of officers said in a TV statement.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta announced his resignation on the night of August 18-19, explaining that he had no choice but to submit to the will of his rebelling army to prevent blood from being spilled.

President Keïta, arrested in the company of his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé at the end of the afternoon and taken to the military camp from which a mutiny had started at the start of the day, appeared around midnight on public television ORTM, wearing a mask on the mouth.

Political tension has been accumulating since Keita won re-election in August 2018 in a poll that opposition parties said was marred by irregularities.

The government pushed ahead with a legislative election in March despite the coronavirus outbreak, causing further discontent after the Constitutional Court overturned 31 of the results. That decision handed Keita’s party 10 more parliamentary seats, making it the largest bloc.

Also in March, unidentified gunmen abducted Mali’s main opposition leader, Soumaila Cisse, as he campaigned in the country’s volatile centre. There is no inforamtion about him ever since.

Mogadishu Elite Hotel blasts left 43 injured

At least 16 people were killed in an suicide bomb atttack on Sunday, August 16, by the Islamist group al Shabaab on a seaside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Omar.

The toll includes 11 victims and five assailants, Omar underlind in a Tweet late on Sunday.

“Security forces lost one, 18 people were injured,” Omar said.

A group of armed men stormed the high-end Elite Hotel in Lido beach, after detonation of a car bomb and then opened fire with assault rifles. Later the Al Shabaab militants claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Dr Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of AAMIN ambulance services, told Reuters news agency on Monday, August 17, that in the aftermath of the attack they had transported at least 43 injured to the hosptials.

https://twitter.com/studio63_ke/status/1295289537703419906?s=21

Al Shabaab militants ambition is to topple the central government and establish Caliphate based on their own interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The Elite hotel is owned by Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, a lawmaker and former finance minister, and is frequented by government officials and members of the Somali diaspora.

Somalia has been plagued violence since 1991, when warlords of clans overthrew leader Mohamed Siad Barre and then started a protracted armed dispute over power among them.

Car bomb Mogadishu Hotel attack

The gunmen stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, following a huge explosion on its premises, witnesses and police said. Presumabley the assault has been undertakien in attempt to assassinate the Somali education Minister, experts said.

The attackers blew up a vehicle loaded with explosives and fought their way into the Elite hotel, police officer Osman Shine said by phone. The hotel is at the edge of Lido beach, an area frequented by senior government officials.

Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab launched the attack, a spokesman for the Somali government, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, said, adding that “there is gunfire ongoing inside.”

Two of the assailants have been shot dead by Somali security forces, according to Mukhtar.

Local journalists are reporting, quoting security sources, that at least four gunmen armed with AK47, suicide vests and grenades attacked the Elite hotel in Mogadishu. At least 5 people have died, dozens injured.

Al Shabaab claims suicide attack at Elite Hotel in Mogadishu, planned as assassination of Somali Education Minister, experts claim. Attack continued with fighters storming inside an engaging in ongoing clashes with security. The strike follows a long series of Shabaab attacks on hotels in Mogadishu via same strategy of suicide bombings. Local media reports on 10 people killed and 30 wounded.

Mozambique troops attempt to regain Mocimboa da Praia

Mozambique security forces were engaged in a heavy battle with Islamist insurgents to regain control of a strategic port Mocimboa da Praia in a gas-rich northern province, Defence Minister Jaime Neto said.

Neto has announced the operation a day after the Islamists staged an early morning attack and captured the port town of Mocimboa da Praia.

“At this moment, the defence and security forces are trying to control the situation,” Neto said to press in the capital Maputo. “However, it remains tense and fluid.”

The militants had infiltrated various neighbourhoods disguised in civilian clothes, before unleashing terror, looting and killing government troops and civilians, Neto underlined.

The assault was the latest and the most pertinent in a chain of intensifying attacks that have plagued the country’s northern region since 2017.

Authorities at Mozambique’s defence forces (FDS) confirmed that “terrorists” had launched “sequenced attacks” on several villages surrounding the port over the past week in an operation aiming to occupy the town.

Striking Mocimboa da Praia for a third time this year, the brazen attack was orchestrated a stone’s throw from the heart of the site of natural gas projects worth billions of dollars.

Mocimboa da Praia lies less than 80 kilometres south of Afungi peninsula where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, one of Africa’s biggest single investment projects, is located.

The port in the Cabo Delgado province is a major traffic hub for the gas project.

The attacks in Cabo Delgado have displaced more than 250,000 people and caused more than 1500 deaths, according to the ACLED Data Project.

The attacks started in Mocimboa da Praia in 2017 and have since spread to massive swathes of Cabo Delgado.

The latest attack — the third on the town this year — was claimed by the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

The IS-affiliated group has the stated goal of establishing a Caliphate in the region.

In spite of the drop in oil prices and the global pandemic crisis, French company Total signed a $14.9bn senior debt financing agreement for Mozambique LNG on 17 July, after acquiring the asset from US-based Anadarko in September 2019.

The Mozambique LNG project involves plans to construct the country’s first onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, including the development of the Golfinho and Atum gas fields located within the Offshore Area 1 concession in Cabo Delgado Province, in northern Mozambique, as well as the construction of a two-train liquefaction plant with a total capacity of 13.1 million tonnes per annum.

IS captures Mozambique LNG port

Islamist insurgents have captured a strateguc port for LNG in the far northern Mozambique town of Mocimboa da Praia, close to the site of natural gas projects worth some $60 billion, local media reported. (Image above: illustration).

Local news site Zitamar said the port had been seized on Ausust 11 when naval forces ran out of ammunition to keep insurgents at bay after days of fighting in Mocimboa da Praia.

There have been no comments from Mozambique authorities so far.

AMENDED:

At the moment, terrorists have captured most of Mosimboa da Praia, entering the seaport area, which was defended by the Marine Corps of the Armed Forces of Mozambique” according to an article published at site free-news.su, siged by Oleg Soloviev (Oлег Соловьев).

“The besieged government marines were assisted by employees of the South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG). They, using helicopters, fired at the advancing groups of militants, holding back their advance. However, this assistance was short-lived, since the main DAG base is located 350 km to the south, in the city of Pemba, so the “choppers” could only be in the sky above the target for 15 minutes. In addition, DAG helicopters were used to deliver ammunition to the Marines” Soloviev continues.

“By the evening of August 11, the situation of the defenders of the security forces became more complicated. The Marines ran out of ammunition, so they were forced to retreat. At the same time, the jihadists did not experience a shortage of ammunition, since before that they had captured a large arsenal of army men.

“As a result, according to Mozambique media reports, IS militants completely captured the port of Mosimboa da Praia. In addition, the terrorists damaged one of the French HSI32 interceptor boats, which are in service with the Mozambique Coast Guard”.

Mauritius ecological disaster

The island nation of Mauritius has declared a “state of environmental emergency” after a Japanese tanker offshore began leaking tons of oil into the ocean.
MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on 25 July and its crew was evacuated. The inhabitants of the ilsland were left alone to solve the environmental crisis.

Since the date of the shipwreck the large bulk carrier has beenleaking tons of crude oil into the surrounding waters.
France has pledged support and the ship’s owner Nagashiki Shipping ensured it was working to combat the spill.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared the state of emergency late on Friday, August 7.
He underlined that the nation did not have “the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships”, and appealed to Preisent Macron for help. In his Tweet response French President vowed to deliver aid to the islanders from the Island of Reunion.

The French island of Reunion lies near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is home to world-famous coral reefs, and tourism is a crucial part of the nation’s economy.

Being registered in Panama, the MV Wakashio is owned by a Japanese company Nagashiki Shipping.

The island nation, which relies on its waters for fishing and tourism has deployed around 400 sea booms, physical barriers made of metal or plastic, to slow the spread of the oil.

The Japanese owners of a cargo ship leaking oil off the coast of Mauritius apologized and promised to do everything possible to contain the spill.

Mauritius is admired by tourists for its natural environment, beaches and water sports.

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