Category Archives: East Africa

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.

Al Shabaab attack in Mogadishu

A huge blast rocked a military base in Mogadishu, Somalia capital, killing at least eight people and injuring 14, emergency workers said, and the militant group al Shabaab has already claimed responsiblity.

Soldiers opened fire after the explosion which sent clouds of smoke into the sky, said a resident of from the area.

“We ran indoors in fear,” a witness told to Reuters agency correspondent. “Soon I could see a military pickup speeding and carrying many soldiers covered with blood. I do not know if they were all dead or injured.”

Army officer Major Abdullahi Mohamud said it was an attack. “It must be a suicide car bomb, I am now transporting casualties,” he said.

Claiming responsibility for the incident, the military operations spokesman of the al Shabaab group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: “We conducted a successful martyrdom operation on a major apostate military base in Mogadishu.”

“The enemy suffered many casualties and wounded, military vehicles destroyed.”

Somalia has been plagued by violence since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew leader Siad Barre and then started military operations against each other.

Since 2008, al Shabaab militants has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-recognised central government and establish its rule based strictly on Islamic Sharia law.

Taiwan-Somaliland diplomatic ties

Taiwan and the African region of Somaliland, which claims independence, will establish representative offices in each other’s capitals, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on July 8. Till present Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with 15 countries because of pressure from the Communist China, which considers the island to be an integral part of its territory with no right to state-to-state relations.

However in February this year Taiwan signed the agreement with Somaliland, strategically located on the Horn of Africa, and Minister Wu added Taiwan’s contacts with Somaliland, a self-declared state internationally recognised only as an autonomous region of Somalia, dated back to 2009.

The top diplomat told reporters in Taipei that eight other nations or international bodies had representative offices in Somaliland, including Ethiopia, although not China.

“I think what we are doing is not much different from other countries,” Wu said, adding that Somaliland had declared independence in 1991 and since then held three democratic presidential elections.

“They have been recognised by many countries as a very free, democratic country in Africa,” the diplomat added. “So, in essence, Somaliland is an independent country.”

China’s influence is not far away, though, as it runs its first ever overseas military base in neighbouring Djibouti.

“International military forces, including those from China, patrol the waters around Somalia on anti-piracy missions.

China and Taiwan have traded barbs for years over the international recognition of the island.

In Africa only the Kingdom of Eswatini has established full diplomatic ties with Taiwan, however in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Embassy doors remain closed.

Ethiopia: death toll rises to 166

At least 166 people have been killed during violent demonstrations that spontaneouls occured in Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Hachalu Hundessa, police said July 4.

Pop star and activist Hachalu, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Addis Ababa on June 29 night, fuelling ethnic tensions threatening the fragile peace and democratic transition.

“In the aftermath of Hachalu’s death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces have lost their lives in the unrest in the region,” said Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner of Oromia region, in a statement on the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Another 10 are known to have died in the capital Addis Ababa.
Girma said that a further 167 had “sustained serious injuries” and that 1,084 people had been arrested.

Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security officers and inter-ethnic violence.

Girma added that the violent unrest had now “completely stopped”.
Hachalu’s music gave voice to Oromos’ widespread sense of economic and political marginalisation during years of anti-government protests that swept Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018.

Malawi opposition wins presidency

On Juin 27 Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi opposition leader, was declared the winner of a re-run presidential election, replacing incumbent Peter Mutharika’s discredited win 13 months earlier. For the majority of independent analysts the victory has been assessed as a triumph for democracy in Africa.

Chakwera, 65, secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote on Juin 23, the electoral commission said, winning over Mutharika. Chakwera won election to a five-year term as President of the nation of 18 million people.

“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Chakwera said after his win, which sparked wild late night celebrations on the streets of the capital Lilongwe, his stronghold.

A rerun of the 2019 election was ordered after the Constitutional Court found the ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.
That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re-elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.
Mr Chakwera, who came second in that election, argued that tallying forms had been added up incorrectly and tampered with.

The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads up the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the philosophy and theology graduate has pledged to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.

Burundi President calls opponents to return

After new President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye was sworn in early following the sudden death of his predecessor, he promised to unite the country that has been cut off by the intrnaiotnal aid donors due to endemic human rights abuses.

Ndayishimiye, 52, a retired army general, was declared the last month’s presidential election winner as the ruling party’s candidate, defeating the opposition’s Agathon Rwasa and five others. In accordance with the procedures, he had been due to take office in August, but the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza this month opened his way forward.

“I will defend Burundi’s sovereignty and ensure freedom of every Burundian citizen and protection,” Ndayishimiye said at the ceremony in Gitega – the political capital of the country.

New President urged people who had fled the country, including critics of politics and human rights activists, to return.

“What did those who went to complain to the world, get? I rather call on them to come back,” Ndayishimiye said.

Ndayishimiye headed the department of military affairs under late President Nkurunziza, and served as minister of the interior and security.

The United Nations said in recent years that under Nkurunziza’s rule members of the state security forces and the ruling party’s youth wing routinely gang-raped, tortured and killed political opponents.

Burundi, the nation of 11 million people is one of the world’s poorest countries. It became an international pariah after Nkurunziza crushed protests triggered by his decision to run for a third term in 2015.

EU welcomes Somalia-Somaliland dialogue

“The resumption of dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland that occurred in Djibouti on 14 June is an important and positive step in the process of normalising their relations, bringing renewed hope not only for the people of Somalia and Somaliland but for the whole Horn of Africa. It is an essential part of confidence-building measures to reconcile differences and promote peace-building, prosperity and development in the region. Djibouti and Ethiopia played a determining role in making this dialogue happen”, reads the text of the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“Somali President Mohamed Abdillahi Mohamed Farmaajo and Moussa Bihi Abdi committed to continue working on advancing this peace-making process.

“Continuation of these talks without interruption and in good faith is the only sustainable way forward for a durable peace, prosperity and security. The European Union, present as an observer to the talks, will spare no efforts to support the process”.

Both Somalia and Somaliland are intended to celebrate in a few days the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the whole of Somalia from colonizers.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland got its independence in 1960 but days later joined Somalia. In 1991, it declared independence from the rest of the country following war with the government in the capial city Mogadishu.

Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed mandate extended

Ethiopia’s parliament approved an extra year in office for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after August elections were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken two days after a leading opposition politician resigned as speaker of its upper house in apparent protest at the delay.

The upper house voted for a resolution that extends the terms of federal and regional lawmakers and the executive branch of the government for between nine and 12 months, House spokesman Gebru Gebreslassie annnounced.

The elections will tale place within that period, once health authorities determine that the coronavirus is nolonger a threat to public health, Gebru Gebreslassie added.

Ethiopia had recorded a total of 2,336 cases of COVID-19 and 32 deaths by 10 June.

COVID19: Urpilainen announces €55M Kenya aid

“Team Europe stands by Kenya during Covid-19 with €55m package of support. €25m to ensure #SafeTrade at borders and to support #SMEs with affordable loans to stay afloat, €30M in budget support to #GoK to create space for priority public expenditure in response to pandemic” EU Commisisoner Jutta Urpilainen announced.

Kenyan relevant authorities announced 134 new positive cases on June 5, and 2,474 total confirmed cases, 51 new recoveries, 643 Total discharged and recovered, total 79 fatalities.

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