Unknown gunmen kill peacekeeper in South Darfur

May 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – A Nigerian soldier of the African Union-United Nation Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was shot dead by unknown gunmen in downtown Nyala, South Darfur state capital on Wednesday.
No official comment has been issued from the UNAMID on the incident.
However, an official source at the Mission told Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity, that gunmen shot at a Nigerian blue helmet while he was buying spare parts from the industrial zone in downtown Nyala.
According to (…)


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Darfur rebels accuse government of committing mass crimes in recent clashes

May 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) Wednesday have accused government forces of committing mass crimes against innocent residents in more than 90 villages in North Darfur State.
The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen clashed during four days from May 19 to 22 with the SLM-MM and the SLM-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) in East and North Darfur.
In a joint statement (…)


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Ethiopia under state of emergency: Internet, religion and the Addis tram

January 2017 was a year since I arrived in Congo Pointe Noire to assume responsibility as a web journalist with Africanews. Leaving Accra – where I had spent all my life – for a new environment felt strange but I yearned for the challenge ahead.

Even though I arrived on an Air Ivoire flight that took me through Abidjan to Pointe Noire, I opted for Ethiopian Airlines for my journey to and from Accra for during my vacation in March this year. The lure of Addis and flying on the continent’s top airliner was at the heart of my choice.

A choice that was a no-brainer despite a caution by schedule officer, Natacha that I would have to layover in Addis Ababa. I had worked on Ethiopian stories over the last year especially political and economic ones and I needed a feel of the country come what may.

So even though I was heading to Ghana in West Africa, I looked at the flap display spell out my route – Pointe Noire – Brazzaville – Addis – meaning I would be heading eastwards, flying over Entebbe (Uganda) and Juba (South Sudan) en route to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

It was nightfall when we arrived at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Having gone through entry procedures and getting my hotel reservation, I fetched the bus that was to send me to my hotel. As I waited with other passengers I could not help but admit that the weather was dead chilly.

An encounter with Addis Hotel Wi-Fi

Finally at the hotel, I received the key to my room and two chits – one for supper and the other with a Wi-Fi password. Surprise! Which Ethiopia was I in? I quizzed myself. The one in the fifth month of a six-month state of emergency? The one that had restricted access to the internet?

Second surprise, I did not need to key in the password before whatsapp messages began filing in, the last I had received was almost eight hours back, before the plane left Pointe Noire. But there was an issue – an intriguing one for that matter.

The internet connection allowed messages to come through but one could not upload and/or download any material. Accessing Facebook also took an eternity and I eventually gave up on that. This was the reality I had been writing about over the past months.

Addis skyline at night and the Chinese rail line

After the jerky, murky internet experience I stood by the window of my room on the 5th floor of the Dabredamo Hotel and the view was riveting. Addis Ababa’s lighted skyline was a sight to behold and I savoured it.

Then I looked at the streets below and for the first time I saw the Ethio-Djibouti electric rail line that was launched last year. It run mostly underneath the many highway roundabouts and was sandwiched by the main roads.

I did not see the coaches run on the tracks but I knew that despite its predominantly burdening political challenges, landlocked Ethiopia was serious about opening up to more business with its neighbours.

Religion like the cold, hits you as you enter Addis Ababa

Ethiopia, the only African nation that was not colonized has a visibly religious aspect that one cannot escape. That reality hits you as does the coolness of the night.

One sees people kneeling in the grass at various intersections involved in one form of prayer or the other. Veiled women are seen briskly going to and fro at specific places. A more visible portrayal of religion was present as we headed to the airport for the final journey to Accra.

I did not hear the adhan (Islamic call to prayer) and I did not see a mosque but the ancient built cathedrals were an imposing and ever present feature with the faithful filing in and out of these places.

I left behind a serene Addis Ababa, a fact that does not distract from the simmering political tensions for which the regime has been repeatedly tasked by partners to initiate reforms. If the politics is set to suit everyone, Addis would undoubtedly keep soaring to greater heights.

Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa
Web journalist
Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo
alfa.shaban@africanews.com

KWEKWE NOT COLLAPSING : MAYOR

KWEKWE Mayor Councillor Matenda Madzoke has said the city is being shunned by investors because of false reports suggesting that infrastructure in the city was at risk due to disused mining tunnels below the central business district.

Clr Madzoke said…

FLOOD VICTIMS TO BE RELOCATED

Government has identified land to relocate flood victims in the Midlands province whose homesteads and fields were destroyed by Cyclone Dineo induced floods early this year.

Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Jason Machaya said in an in…

BABY DIES AS POLE FALLS ON HIM

A THREE-year-old baby died from head injuries sustained after a wooden pole fell on him as he was playing with his five-year-old brother at home in Plumtree.

Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Philani Ndebele confirmed the in…

Kingpin in lynching of Ghanaian army captain reports to police

The Ghana Police Service on Wednesday said it was collaborating with the military high command to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the death of a captain.

The Police in a statement said they had dispatched a specialist team to Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region to “gather further evidence and intelligence regarding the murder of Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama on Monday 29th May, 2017.”

The team comprised a homicide squad, crime scene management and action units of the Police Operations all from the headquarters in Accra.

They also confirmed that a major local level politician – referred to as Assemblyman – who was said to be the kingpin of the calls to lynch the captain had handed himself in to the police.

“Presently, police are keeping six suspects related to the murder of Captain Mahama in custody. They are William Baah (the Assemblyman of Denkyira Obuasi), Bismark Donkor, Philip Badu, Kofi Nyame, Anthony Amoah and Kofi Badu,” their statement read.

Re – murder of Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama pic.twitter.com/ilsXycApqN— Ghana Police Service (@GhPoliceService) May 31, 2017

The police further assured residents of safety and asked them to volunteer information they had on the issue. There was a mass arrest of suspects following the incident but as at now only the six remain in custody.

The police also issued a caution to people on the need to hand over suspected criminals to the appropriate authorities. “… the public is cautioned to desist from meting out punishment or instant justice to suspected wrong doers as such acts are unlawful. All persons suspected of having done any wrong should be reported and handed over to the Police.”

The slain soldier who was due for promotion to the rank of Major was lynched by a mob in the town when he went out jogging on Monday. He was suspected of being an armed robber as he was in house attire and reportedly in possession of a gun.

After he was attacked and killed, his body was also burnt. He had been detailed to lead a military contingent that was in the area as part of the army’s operations against illegal mining – popularly referred to as “galamsey”.

GRACE MAKES NEW APPOINTMENTS

The Zanu-PF Women Affairs national executive council, yesterday announced the appointment and re-assignment of three of its key members to fill in vacant posts left by the departure of Cdes Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo and Cde Sarah Mahoka.

Cde Moyo deputi…

Ivorian arms cache discovery: Top aides of speaker of parliament queried

Authorities in Ivory Coast have questioned two senior military officers close to parliamentary speaker Guillaume Soro, one of his spokesmen said on Wednesday, after an arms cache was found recently in the home of an aide.

The weapons were seized from a house in Ivory Coast’s second-biggest city, Bouake, owned by Soro ally Souleymane Kamarate Kone – known locally as ‘Soul to Soul’ – by mutinous soldiers during a four-day revolt over bonus payments.

Unrest within the ranks of the army this year has tarnished the image of the world’s top cocoa grower, which has emerged from a 2011 civil war as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

Kone has been questioned twice by gendarmes accompanied by a prosecutor and was due to appear for a third session on Wednesday, said Issa Doumbia, a member of Soro’s communications staff.

Soro’s head of security Lieutenant-Colonel Youssouf Ouattara – known as Kobo – and his deputy Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Yeo, were questioned on Tuesday.

“They were questioned yesterday evening, first Kobo and after Yeo,” Doumbia said. “For the moment we do not know what they want.”

RIFT

Reuters revealed last week that the mutineers were tipped off about the location of the arms in a phone call. The development shifted momentum in their favour and forced the government to capitulate to their demands.

The soldiers declined to say who had placed the call. But the discovery of the weapons at the home of Kone – Soro’s director of protocol – has provoked a rift between the speaker’s supporters and some other members of the ruling coalition.

Soro headed a northern rebellion between 2002 and 2011 that helped President Alassane Ouattara to power after his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a 2010 election.

He is considered one of the main contenders to take over from Ouattara, who cannot run for re-election in 2020, but he faces strong opposition from others in the ruling coalition.

Soro has so far declined to comment on the weapons.

Diplomats and analysts worry that a series of army mutinies beginning in January, which have exposed a lack of civilian control over the armed forces, may be a symptom of jockeying for position by political figures ahead of the 2020 vote.

Reuters

Ivorian arms cache discovery: Top aides of speaker of parliament queried

Authorities in Ivory Coast have questioned two senior military officers close to parliamentary speaker Guillaume Soro, one of his spokesmen said on Wednesday, after an arms cache was found recently in the home of an aide.

The weapons were seized from a house in Ivory Coast’s second-biggest city, Bouake, owned by Soro ally Souleymane Kamarate Kone – known locally as ‘Soul to Soul’ – by mutinous soldiers during a four-day revolt over bonus payments.

Unrest within the ranks of the army this year has tarnished the image of the world’s top cocoa grower, which has emerged from a 2011 civil war as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.

Kone has been questioned twice by gendarmes accompanied by a prosecutor and was due to appear for a third session on Wednesday, said Issa Doumbia, a member of Soro’s communications staff.

Soro’s head of security Lieutenant-Colonel Youssouf Ouattara – known as Kobo – and his deputy Lieutenant-Colonel Adama Yeo, were questioned on Tuesday.

“They were questioned yesterday evening, first Kobo and after Yeo,” Doumbia said. “For the moment we do not know what they want.”

RIFT

Reuters revealed last week that the mutineers were tipped off about the location of the arms in a phone call. The development shifted momentum in their favour and forced the government to capitulate to their demands.

The soldiers declined to say who had placed the call. But the discovery of the weapons at the home of Kone – Soro’s director of protocol – has provoked a rift between the speaker’s supporters and some other members of the ruling coalition.

Soro headed a northern rebellion between 2002 and 2011 that helped President Alassane Ouattara to power after his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a 2010 election.

He is considered one of the main contenders to take over from Ouattara, who cannot run for re-election in 2020, but he faces strong opposition from others in the ruling coalition.

Soro has so far declined to comment on the weapons.

Diplomats and analysts worry that a series of army mutinies beginning in January, which have exposed a lack of civilian control over the armed forces, may be a symptom of jockeying for position by political figures ahead of the 2020 vote.

Reuters

Burundi’s acute fuel shortages blamed on dollar crunch

Fuel shortages have paralysed the small central African nation of Burundi, threatening further damage to an economy already moribund after years of political violence and raising questions about the role of the country’s only oil importer.

The problem has damaged two big foreign investors, Kenya’s KenolKobil and South Africa’s Engen, a subsidiary of Malaysian parastatal Petronas.

The shortages, which forced the government to introduce rationing on May 16, have paralysed commerce and caused food prices to jump by around a third, raising the prospect of a wave of economic migration. More than 400,000 people have already fled Burundi into the volatile central African region.

Anti-corruption campaigners said the fuel shortages became severe after Burundian company Interpetrol Trading Ltd. received the lions’ share of dollars that are allocated by the central bank to import fuel.

“The oil sector is undermined by favouritism and lack of transparency, because the rare hard currency available in the central bank reserves is given to one oil importer,” said Gabriel Rufyiri, head of anti-graft organisation OLUCOME.

The central bank declined to answer Reuters’ questions.

Interpetrol’s lawyer, Sylvestre Banzubaze, said: “I am not associated with the day-to-day operations and only intervene on legal questions. You should address your questions directly to Interpetrol sources.”

He did not respond when asked for further contacts and the company does not have a website.

Rufyiri said that government sources told him that the bulk of dollars for fuel purchasing had been allocated to Interpetrol since March this year.

Reuters confirmed with two other sources that Interpetrol received the bulk of dollar allocations. Other companies only received a small fraction of the dollars they needed, the sources said, severely damaging their businesses.

Earlier this month, South African petrol company Engen confirmed it had sold its assets in Burundi to Interpetrol.

Engen declined to comment further. KenolKobil also declined to comment, but Burundian citizens say most of their petrol stations have been closed for three months.

SOLE IMPORTER

Interpetrol is now the sole oil importer and runs all the fuel storage tanks in the country, said an industry source.

Banzubaze said there was “no link” between Interpetrol’s shareholders and any member of the government.

But a 2011 U.S. State Department report described attempts by senior government officials to pressurise judges into dropping a corruption case against the company, owned by brothers Munir and Tariq Bashir. Neither the government nor Interpetrol’s lawyer responded when asked about the status of the case.

Government officials blame dollar shortages on aid cuts that donors imposed after President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in 2015, triggering a wave of political violence.

“These days, fuel importers don’t get enough dollars to bring petroleum products,” said Daniel Mpitabakana, the government’s director of fuel management.

Burundi’s economy shrank by 0.5 percent last year, and the International Monetary Fund expects no growth at all this year and 0.1 percent next year.

Black market prices for fuel range between 5,000 to 6,000 Burundi francs per litre, vendors said, double the official price of 2,200 francs.

The street exchange rate is 2,600 francs to the dollar, although it is just over 1,700 to the dollar at the central bank. Only the central bank can receive dollar deposits and allocate dollars to businesses.

In the capital, queues at empty petrol stations snaked around the block. One civil servant said he had taken the last three days off work to search for gas.

“I have no fuel for days and I don’t know if by chance will get it today,” he said, asking not to be named.

Burundi has also been battered by drought and almost two years of political instability. Hundreds of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee abroad during the political violence, which still sometimes erupts in low-level clashes.

Almost 3 million of Burundi’s 11 million citizens are dependent on food aid, the U.N. says.

Reuters

Burundi’s acute fuel shortages blamed on dollar crunch

Fuel shortages have paralysed the small central African nation of Burundi, threatening further damage to an economy already moribund after years of political violence and raising questions about the role of the country’s only oil importer.

The problem has damaged two big foreign investors, Kenya’s KenolKobil and South Africa’s Engen, a subsidiary of Malaysian parastatal Petronas.

The shortages, which forced the government to introduce rationing on May 16, have paralysed commerce and caused food prices to jump by around a third, raising the prospect of a wave of economic migration. More than 400,000 people have already fled Burundi into the volatile central African region.

Anti-corruption campaigners said the fuel shortages became severe after Burundian company Interpetrol Trading Ltd. received the lions’ share of dollars that are allocated by the central bank to import fuel.

“The oil sector is undermined by favouritism and lack of transparency, because the rare hard currency available in the central bank reserves is given to one oil importer,” said Gabriel Rufyiri, head of anti-graft organisation OLUCOME.

The central bank declined to answer Reuters’ questions.

Interpetrol’s lawyer, Sylvestre Banzubaze, said: “I am not associated with the day-to-day operations and only intervene on legal questions. You should address your questions directly to Interpetrol sources.”

He did not respond when asked for further contacts and the company does not have a website.

Rufyiri said that government sources told him that the bulk of dollars for fuel purchasing had been allocated to Interpetrol since March this year.

Reuters confirmed with two other sources that Interpetrol received the bulk of dollar allocations. Other companies only received a small fraction of the dollars they needed, the sources said, severely damaging their businesses.

Earlier this month, South African petrol company Engen confirmed it had sold its assets in Burundi to Interpetrol.

Engen declined to comment further. KenolKobil also declined to comment, but Burundian citizens say most of their petrol stations have been closed for three months.

SOLE IMPORTER

Interpetrol is now the sole oil importer and runs all the fuel storage tanks in the country, said an industry source.

Banzubaze said there was “no link” between Interpetrol’s shareholders and any member of the government.

But a 2011 U.S. State Department report described attempts by senior government officials to pressurise judges into dropping a corruption case against the company, owned by brothers Munir and Tariq Bashir. Neither the government nor Interpetrol’s lawyer responded when asked about the status of the case.

Government officials blame dollar shortages on aid cuts that donors imposed after President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in 2015, triggering a wave of political violence.

“These days, fuel importers don’t get enough dollars to bring petroleum products,” said Daniel Mpitabakana, the government’s director of fuel management.

Burundi’s economy shrank by 0.5 percent last year, and the International Monetary Fund expects no growth at all this year and 0.1 percent next year.

Black market prices for fuel range between 5,000 to 6,000 Burundi francs per litre, vendors said, double the official price of 2,200 francs.

The street exchange rate is 2,600 francs to the dollar, although it is just over 1,700 to the dollar at the central bank. Only the central bank can receive dollar deposits and allocate dollars to businesses.

In the capital, queues at empty petrol stations snaked around the block. One civil servant said he had taken the last three days off work to search for gas.

“I have no fuel for days and I don’t know if by chance will get it today,” he said, asking not to be named.

Burundi has also been battered by drought and almost two years of political instability. Hundreds of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee abroad during the political violence, which still sometimes erupts in low-level clashes.

Almost 3 million of Burundi’s 11 million citizens are dependent on food aid, the U.N. says.

Reuters

Hong Kong bans DRC poultry meat and products over bird flu outbreak

Hong Kong has announced a ban on all imports of poultry meat and products (including eggs) from the Democratic Republic of Congo following a bird flu outbreak.

According to the authorities, the move was to protect public health in the Chinese leading commercial trading center.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) said its decision was connected to the notification by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) about outbreaks of high pathogenic H5 avian influenza in the DRC.

“The CFS has contacted the Congolese authorities over the issue and will closely monitor information issued by the OIE on avian influenza outbreaks. Appropriate action will be taken in response to the development of the situation,” a spokesman said.

Three outbreaks of the flu was detected among poultry in the northeastern province of Ituri, the OIE said on Wednesday.

The virus was detected among ducks and hens in three villages near the border with Uganda, the OIE said, citing a report from the Congolese agriculture ministry.

The H5N8 strain of bird flu was present in Uganda, the OIE added, without specifying what type of H5 bird flu had been detected in Congo.

South Africa taxi operators threaten Toyota shutdown

Durban. — The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday threatened to shut the country down if Toyota — the manufacturers of the Toyota Quantum minibus preferred by government — didn’t respond to their grievances within the next seven days. The taxi operators brought traffic to a standstill on major Durban routes and surrounding…

Workers bid to sue SMM flops

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter An attempt by over 900 SMM Holdings non-managerial workers’ to file a claim against the firm for salaries and benefits dating back to eight years ago has failed at the High Court.The company shut down its mining operations, Shabanie and Mashava Mines in 2004 after Government annexed the assets from businessman…

‘KEEPER CRISIS AT CAPS

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter CAPS United are battling a goalkeeping crisis ahead of the CAF Champions’ League Group B match against Al Ahli Tripoli at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow, with both their senior ‘keepers in the casualty room. First-choice goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda and his deputy Jorum Muchambo yesterday did not train with the team. They…

Prostitution, drugs, violence in Zim music

Godwin Muzari Arts Editor A lot has been said about the vices of the local music industry yet, to those that are not directly involved in this entertainment circle, black spots that litter the underworld of musicians remain a matter of speculation and rumour. Over the years there has been talk about immoralities that ensnare musicians…