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Cameroon: Islamists attack refugee camp

Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be responsible for killing of 15 people and leaving the other six wounded in a grenade attack on a camp for displaced people in northern Cameroon on Sunday,August 2, a local official told. The village is located in the Mozogo district, close to the Nigerian border in the Far North region.

In the early hours, assailants threw a grenade into a group of sleeping people inside the camp in the village of Nguetchewe, said district mayor, Medjeweh Boukar. At present the camp is hosting around 800 people, he said.

Boukar was informed by the camp residents that 15 people had died. A security official confirmed the attack and the death toll. The wounded were taken to a nearby hospital, they added. The image of mourners around a grave appeared on social media.

“The attackers arrived with a woman who carried the grenade into the camp,” Boukar said, underlinging that women and children were among the victims.

Over the past month there have been twenty incursions and attacks by suspected Islamist militants, Boukar said.

The other Boko Haram suspect attack took place in State Borno, Nigeria, on July 30.

Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to establish an Islamic caliphate on the territory of Nigeria. «6 people killed, 27 wounded by 4 explosives fired into Borno state capital #Maiduguri, by suspected #BokoHaram insurgents yesterday 30 Jul, #Nigeria police reports. Attack, following failed attempt to invade army barracks 13 Jul, is 2nd major breach of city’s security in 3 weeks» wrote on his Twitter micro blog Nnamdi Obasi, the senior adviser for International Crisis group from Nigeria.

The violence, which has cost the lives of 30,000 people and displaced millions more, has frequently spilled over into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Image above: social media

South Africa: 58 murders daily

The number of homicides rose by 1.4% to 21,325 in the 12 months through March — an average of 58 a day — the police service said in its annual crime-statistics report.

The murder rate of 36 per 100,000 people was little changed from the previous year and compares with an international average of seven per 100,000. The number of rapes, sexual offenses and car hi-jackings also increased, but property-related crime declined.

“We are not where we want to be,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a briefing in Pretoria, the capital. “However we are pleased with the improvements in most stubborn crime categories.”

Violent crime is fueled by widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and perpetrators often know their victims, the police data show. A lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus should have a positive impact on the current year’s statistics, with preliminary data showing it helped curtail homicides and other crimes.

De Beers diamond mining to cut jobs

Diamond mining company De Beers is likely to have to cut jobs, its chief executive said on Thursday July 30, as it outlined strategy for an overhaul of its business after the coronavirus pandemic crisis hit demand for jewellery.

De Beers earlier reported plunging earnings in the first half of 2020 as a drop in rough diamond sales and prices hurt margins.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were just $2 million in the period, down from $518 million in the first half of last year.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver told media official consultations with workers will begin on August 11. The business overhaul “is likely to lead to some job losses, but I can’t tell you at this point what that number will be”, he continued.

Cleaver said the process would last for three months and involve a review of the entire spectrum of activities from mining to rough sales, retail and the corporate centre, but exclude joint venture businesses in Botswana and Namibia where the miner employs 20,000 people.

Zimbabwe: EU demands liberation of activists

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights,» reads the Tweet of the European Union delegation to Zimbabwe, demanding immediate liberation of Tsitsi Dangarembga (pictured), the novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the lawyer.

The EU’s cooperation with Zimbabwe, under the current funding period (2014-2020), aims to preserve the country’s democracy, bring stability, and build resilience to build a strong basis for an inclusive and sustainable growth.

At present Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in more than a decade, marked by hyperinflation, a local currency that is rapidly depreciating against the US dollar and acute foreign exchange shortages. An estimated 90% of Zimbabweans are without formal employment.

The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) focuses on:

– health
– agriculture-based economic development
– governance and institution building

The 11th EDF NIP amounts to €287 million. It is in line with the country’s agenda for sustainable socioeconomic transformation (ZimAsset) and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (2018-2020).

Zimbabwe is a low income country faced with several political and development challenges. However it has an educated population, is rich in natural resources, and has great potential for agriculture and manufacturing, but its development remains constrained by political and institutional bottlenecks.

Since the early 2000s, Zimbabwe has actually seen increased poverty, economic deterioration, and frequent droughts.

Harare in lockdown amid public discontent

Zimbabwe’s two main cities – Harare and Bulawayo – have been in lockdown since July 31, Friday, patrolled by the secuiry forces in an attempt of government to prevent protests called by activists over corruption and rapidly degrading economic situation, causing unprecedented hardships.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s critics blame his government the return to the authoritarian methods of late Robert Mugabe, banning demonstrations, and abducting and arresting opponents.

Mnangagwa has responded that the protests constitute an attempt of “insurrection” by the opposition.

The leading ZANU-PF party this week branded the U.S. ambassador in Harare a “thug,” accusing him of funding protests.

In central Harare, the capital, banks, supermarkets, and businesses were shut as police and soldiers patrolled the streets.

A journalist in Bulawayo, the other main city, described a similar situation there, with some police patrolling on horseback. Businesses also stayed shut in Harare’s townships, including Mbare – an epicenter of protests in the past.

Public indignation is rising over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.

More than a dozen activists sought by the police for promoting Friday’s protests were in hiding.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere and Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga separately said on social media they had been detained for protesting in their neighbourhood. Mahere posted a video of police advancing towards her and telling her to stop recording them. She later could not be reached for comment.

“The security situation in the country is calm and peaceful” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said.

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights» reads the Tweet issued by EU delegation in Zimbabwe, calling for immediate release of Tsitsi Dangarembga,the award-winning novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the Consitutional lawyer.

Image above: social media

Botswana investigates elephants mysterious deaths

Preliminary laboratory tests explaining the reason for hundreds of mysterious elephant deaths in Botswana point to a naturally occurring toxin as a probable cause, a senior wildlife official said.

The government has sent samples to laboratories in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States for tests.

It was highly unlikely that an infectious disease was behind the shocking deaths of at least 281 elephants, added Cyril Taolo, acting director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Officials had been investigating to establish the cause of death more than two months after the first carcasses were spotted in the Okavango Panhandle region.

Initial investigations appeared to rule out common causes like poaching and anthrax.

We have received more test results from other countries including the United States, and so far the results show that it’s highly unlikely that the cause could be an infectious pathogen,” Taolo said.

Our main attention … is now on investigating broader environmental factors such as naturally produced toxins from bacteria that are found in the environment, such as water bodies.”

As of last week it had received results from bacterial detection and toxicology tests in Botswana, histopathology tests in South Africa, and bacterial detection and histopathology tests in Zimbabwe.

Taolo said toxicology results were expected from South Africa soon.

It’s a game of elimination where we start testing the most common causes and then move on to the less common ones. We then have to verify and corroborate these results from different laboratory tests. We are hoping to provide a more concrete update tomorrow,” he continued.

Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.

The elephant deaths have concerned the conservationists, who fear deaths could spiral out of control if a cause cannot be established rapidly.

Uganda: 11 years in jail for killing gorilla

A poacher has been jailed for 11 years after he confessed to killing a rare mounteen silverback gorilla in Uganda last month.

The gorilla, named Rafiki, which means “friend” in Swahili — was part of the famed Nkuringo gorilla group that lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is a legend among tourists across the world.

Rafiki was reported missing on June 1 and his mutilated body was found the next day inside the park.

A postmortem report revealed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device to his abdomen and internal organs.

The poacher Byamukama Felix was arrested a few days later with bush pig meat and several hunting devices in his possession, authorities said.

Byamukama pleaded guilty to several charges, including killing a gorilla, entering a protected area and being in possession of illegal meat.
The convicted told authorities he killed Rafiki in self-defense when he went with a group to hunt in the park and they came across the group of gorillas. The silverback charged and he speared it, he said.

Three other men who were arrested with Felix remain in custody awaiting trial as they have pleaded not guilty.

EU launches CAR advisory mission

The Council today adopted a decision launching the European Union CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA).

The mission was initially established on 9 December 2019, with Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2110. Following the achievement of Initial Operational Capability, the mission will now become operational on 9 August for an initial period of two years.

Under the authority of the EU head of mission, Mr Paulo Soares, the objective of the mission will be to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the local authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.

The mission coordinates closely with the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community, as well as the other CSDP mission present in the country: EUTM RCA.

The Council today also decided that the mandate of EUTM RCA will be extended for a further two years until 19 September 2022. The decision follows the Strategic Review of the Mission.

EUTM RCA is a military training mission launched by the EU in 2016 to provide strategic advice to the Central African Republic’s political and military authorities, as well as education and training to its armed forces.

Image above: social media.

Borrell enhances efforts to protect refugees

«A new report by @Refugees shows that thousands of refugees and migrants continue to be victims of widespread and extreme abuses. The EU will enhance further its efforts to address these dramatic situations and protect these persons from the criminal bands that prey on them» the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted via his micro blog.

The spokesperson of the European Commission has clarified that the Tweet refered to the «dramatic sitution» caused by activities of the criminal bands, meaning the reiteration of the engagement, and underlining the will to increase the efforts «until the problem is solved».

«Fighting the human traffickers, and smugglers is not the only way, because there are several layers to support people, and prevent them from making this dangerous journeys, and we have been discussing this too, that we need to tackle the root causes of the migration, we need to cooperate with the countries of origin, and transit, and this is ongoing, and we are willing to enhance the cooperation even more to achieve results in terms of reducing the numbers of people, who are embarking on this journeys, reducing the number of people, who are forced to leave their homes, and make sure that those who leave are not exposed to this disgraceful and outrageous treatment, and exploitation by the smugllers and traffickers» the spokesperson has underlined.

The EU has already made the steps before, the spokesperson has reminded, mentioning the operation IRINI, to cut the flow of weapons to Libya, to enhance the UN arms embargo, but this opeation is also has a secondary task to deal with migration and fight against the smugglers. The EU has been undertaking measures, and taking steps, and is determined to continue fighting this “dramatic” situation of the refugees and migrants, the spokesperson concluded.

Image: Josep BORRELL

Borrell regrets events in Somalia

“Somalia is still on a long journey of national recovery to become free of insecurity, free of debt and free to vote leaders into power. Until that time, the leaders of the Somali nation bear a special responsibility to ensure that a consensus is achieved and maintained in national politics” reads the statement of Josep Borrell the head of the European Union, while diplomacy reacting upon recent events in the Horn of Africa.

“Regrettably, the developments in the House of the People of Somalia on Saturday represent a setback for Somalia and for the confidence of the European Union in the progress of Somalia.

“The procedures under which a motion of no confidence in the cabinet was passed did not meet minimal constitutional requirements. This vote occurred a day after the conclusion of a much anticipated meeting between the President and Federal Member States at which it was agreed that consultations would follow and a further meeting would occur on August 15. These actions entail a serious disrespect for the constitutional foundations of Somalia, on which the European Union has been investing.

“The European Union will review carefully how these events have come to pass, who bears responsibility and to what extent they deviate Somalia from the progress it was making and to which it had committed itself to its international partners”.

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