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Former South African soldier sentenced to death in South Sudan

Posted AFP

on  Friday, February 23   2018 at  14:12

A former South African soldier was sentenced to death in South Sudan on Friday for attempting to overthrow the government.

Ex-colonel William Endley, 55, was "sentenced to death by hanging" for espionage and conspiring to overthrow the government, said judge Lado Eriminio Sekwat at a court in the capital Juba.

Endley, who can appeal the ruling, was also sentenced to nine years and four months in prison for other related crimes, which must be served before his execution.

The South African was hired in 2016 to advise former vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar on the planned integration of rebel forces into the national army under the then peace deal.

Weeks after the peace agreement collapsed during days of heavy fighting that rocked the capital in July 2016, Endley was arrested.

He was charged along with rebel spokesman James Gatdet Dak, who was sentenced to death by the same court on February 12 for treason.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011, but little more than two years later, civil war broke out over a dispute between Machar and President Salva Kiir.
Tens of thousands have since died while four million have been forced from their homes as successive peace talks have failed.

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Five Congolese refugees shot dead in Rwanda


on  Friday, February 23   2018 at  10:54

At least five Congolese refugees were shot dead and 20 others were injured on Thursday in western Rwanda, the police has said.

About 2,000 refugees from Kiziba settlement in Karongi district had marched out of the camp to protest against reduced food rations by the UN agency, World Food Programme (WFP), on Tuesday.

Despite a scuffle with Rwandan soldiers where some of the refugees are said to have been shot at and wounded, they walked to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, offices some 15km from their Kiziba camp where they have been camping.

On Thursday, police tried to disperse them using teargas, a situation which quickly turned chaotic.

Confirming the incident, Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson Theos Badege accused the refugees of pelting officers with stones and sharp objects.

The police said that the officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs, the UNHCR, and local leaders urged the protesters to return to their camp as their grievances were being looked into.

“However, these calls were met with strong resistance that turned violent. Refugees armed with sharp objects (stones, sticks and metal pieces) began to assault police officers, who then used teargas to disperse the unacceptable riots and secure the nearby community,” RNP said.

“When the attacks persisted, we used proportional force that left 20 rioters and 7 police officers injured. They were rushed to hospital, 5 rioters unfortunately succumbed to their wounds and 15 arrested for illegal demonstration, taking hostage and inciting violence,” the police said on its Twitter account.

One of the refugees, who identified himself as Fiston Munyaburanga, told The EastAfrican that they would continue to fight for their rights or be facilitated to return home.

“We are hungry. We cannot continue to die of hunger inside the camps. We would rather go home,” Mr Mumyaburanga said.

The Kiziba camp hosts 17,000 Congolese refugees.

Rwanda houses more than 173,000 refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi in six camps in the country of whom over 100,000 are Congolese.

Following the Tuesday protests, UNHCR Wednesday urged Rwandan authorities to exercise restraint while also cautioning refugees against making uninformed decisions on repatriation "out of desperation".

UNHCR said humanitarian assistance in Rwanda remains "severely underfunded" which led to the decision by WFP to reduce food assistance by 10 per cent in November last year and by 25 per cent in January.

The agency said its 2018 appeal for $98.8 million to support refugees in Rwanda is only is two per cent funded, while WFP warned of more food ration cuts if its $2.5 million monthly spend is not met.

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Listeriosis kills 172 in South Africa

Posted AFP

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  19:37

Listeriosis in South Africa has killed 172 people since the start of last year, officials said Thursday, as the country struggles to contain the world's largest reported outbreak of the disease

Listeriosis is caused by a natural bacteria found in soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces, and can contaminate food especially meat, dairy, seafood and fresh produce.

It is prevented by basic hygiene and washing food, but South African authorities admit the source of the worsening outbreak is still not unknown.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said 915 cases of listeriosis had been confirmed since January 1, 2017, leading to 172 deaths.

Affects children

The new toll was a sharp jump on the 61 deaths confirmed by early last month.

The United Nations has said South Africa's listeriosis outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever worldwide.

The disease mainly affects children and has a three-week incubation period, making it difficult to track.

The bloodstream

Most of the current cases have been in Gauteng Province, which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, with other cases concentrated in Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Contamination in humans can result in flu-like illness, infection of the bloodstream and, in severe cases, infection of the brain which can prove fatal.

People with compromised immune systems, like some of those living with Aids and pregnant women, are at a heightened risk, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It advises people to wash hands and kitchen surfaces, keep raw and cooked food separate, to cook food thoroughly and store it in the fridge.

Ham and sausages

The NICD said it was optimistic that the source of the outbreak would be found, and urged members of the public "not to panic unnecessarily".

It warned vulnerable people to avoid processed, ready-to-eat meat products such as ham and sausages, soft cheeses, and unpasteurised milk and dairy products.

South African authorities said specialised tests were being conducted by experts at the NICD laboratories to detect the source and end the outbreak.

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Watchdog accuses Sudan of backing extremist groups

Posted JOSEPH ODUHA in Juba

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  17:14

Lobby group Enough Project has accused Sudan of providing support to extremist groups and radicalising and recruiting the youth to join the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda.

A new Enough Project report, released Wednesday, highlighted serious concerns about Khartoum's links to extremists, perpetrating faith-based abuses and regional destabilisation.

It urged the US to scrutinise its relations with Sudan as the latter seeks normalisation of bilateral ties with Washington and the removal from the rogue states' list.

The US last October lifted its Comprehensive Economic and Financial Sanctions imposed on Sudan in 1990s.

The move was based on Khartoum pledging to fight terrorism and to respect the US foreign policy on Sudan. It also promised to cease human rights abuses, allow unhindered access to aid agencies across the country and end the war in the Nuba Mountains and Darfur.

However, the Enough Project report noted that Sudan had faltered on its commitment to the fight against international terrorism.

“The Sudanese regime maintains alliances and policy stances that threaten US interest, US allies, and security in multiple regions across Africa and the Middle East,” Dr Suliman Baldo, a Senior Policy Advisor at Enough Project said.

He said Khartoum's position raised questions about its interests and reliability as a counterterrorism partner for the US and its allies.

“The US policy makers should seriously consider the potential threats and consequences of a softened stance on a regime that claims to fight terrorism while empowering extremist groups,” he said.

The report urged the US to press Khartoum to end support to groups that advocate violent extremist ideologies and pre-empt their extensive ongoing programmes for the radicalisation and recruitment of the youth into IS and al-Qaeda.

The report also alleged that Khartoum was exporting weapons to conflict-affected countries in Africa and the Middle East.

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Egypt court sentences 21 to death

Posted AFP

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  16:50

An Egyptian court sentenced on Thursday 21 people to death for planning attacks and weapons possession.

Only five of the defendants sentenced to death were present at the trial, and they may appeal the ruling.

The remaining 16 were tried in absentia and could get a retrial if arrested.

The court also sentenced four defendants to 25 years in prison each and three to 15 years.

They been accused of planning attacks and embracing "extremist ideology".

Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds to death for violence after the military toppled the divisive Islamist president Mohamed Morsy in 2013 and unleashed a crackdown on his supporters.

Many have appealed and won retrials, but executions have been carried out for at least 19 people since December.

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Somalia tops the corruption list

Posted CHARLES OMONDI in Nairobi and Agencies

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  13:36

Somalia has once a gain been ranked the most corrupt country in the world.

The Transparency International (TI) corruption perceptions index published on Wednesday, ranked the war-ravaged eastern Africa state the worst among the 180 covered.

The Berlin-based anti-graft group scores between 0 and 100, with 0 being most corrupt and 100 the least, based on data from international organisations like the World Bank, African Development Bank and World Economic Forum.

Somalia scored nine.

South Sudan, another war-wracked African state, was ranked second bottom.

Sudan and Libya were also ranked among the bottom 10, with scores of 16 and 17 respectively.

New Zealand tops the list as the least corrupt with a score of 89, followed by Denmark with 88.

Botswana is Africa's least corrupt country and number 34 globally, 61.

1. New Zealand 89 points
2. Denmark 88
3. Finland, Norway, Switzerland, equal at 85
6. Singapore, Sweden 84
8. Canada, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Britain 82
12. Germany 81

16. United States, Belgium 75
20. Japan 73
23. France 70
42. Spain 57
54. Italy 50
71. South Africa 43
77. China 41
81. Turkey 40
135. Russia, Mexico 29
151. Uganda 26

169. Venezuela, Iraq 18
171. Libya , North Korea 17
175. Yemen, Sudan 16
177. Afghanistan 15
178. Syria 14
179. South Sudan 12
180. Somalia 9

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Torrential rains kill at least 50 in Mozambique

Posted ARNALDO VIEIRA in Luanda

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  12:07

The torrential rains that pounded Mozambique for three consecutive days from Sunday killed at least 50 people, official said.

The spokesman for the Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), Mr Paulo Tomas, was quoted by the local media saying the fatalities were recorded in the capital Maputo and the neighbouring town of Matola.

"The people who lost their lives were directly affected by floods and strong winds that toppled their homes in Maputo and Matola," Mr Tomas told reporters.

Rubbish mound

"There are predictions of possible floods and erosion in Maputo and Beira, as well as destruction of infrastructure," he added.

The deaths have added to Mozambique's woes after 17 people were killed when a rubbish mound collapsed in a poor district of Maputo on Monday.

Torrential rain is thought to have caused the loose waste to shift and crash down on the shacks, trapping the occupants who were sleeping at the time of the incident on Sunday night.

Maputo has received heavy rains since Sunday, causing flooding that has damaged homes, roads and learning institutions.

INGC confirmed that at least 150,000 people have been directly affected.

The rains are expected to continue till the end of the month, and families living in risky areas have been advised to relocate.

Severe drought

Mr Tomas said that urban areas in the south and centre of the country would continuously be affected by adverse weather conditions.

The rains have come after Mozambique, like other southern Africa states, experienced a severe drought.

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Uganda police chase journalists from court

Posted JOSEPH KATO in Kampala

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  11:24

Two Ugandan journalists have been reported assaulted by police officers seeking to prevent them from covering a court session in Kampala.

Mr Suleiman Mutebi and Mr Ponsiano Nsimbi of the Vision Group were assaulted by the security officers as they tried to cover the trial of former police officer Muhammad Kirumira.

Mr Kirumira is facing charges of extortion, unlawful exercise of authority and corruption.

The accused

The relatives of the accused were also prevented from attending the court session.

Police court chairman Denis Odongpiny said on Tuesday that Mr Kirumira’s case was rescheduled for Thursday since one court member was engaged in other duties at the time.

“We shall not sit today (Tuesday) because our member is engaged in meetings. We have decided to hear his case on Thursday when all members will be around. He is still detained at Nalufenya,” Mr Odongpiny said.

Last Tuesday, Mr Kirumira marched out of police court protesting ‘harsh ‘bail conditions that demanded him to get a senior officer in rank and to report to PSU every working day.

His response

On Wednesday, a section of MPs tasked Justice minister Kahinda Otafiire to explain why Mr Kirumira had been ‘arrested like a rat’ by fellow police officers.

Gen (Rtd) Otafiire was on Wednesday appearing before the Human Rights committee of Parliament chaired by Mitooma MP Jovah Kamateeka.

In his response, Gen Otafiire, said he would ask the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura for answers.

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Africa today at a glance

Posted AFRICAREVIEW.COM and Agencies

on  Thursday, February 22   2018 at  10:09

EAC leaders in Uganda

The East African Community (EAC) heads of state gather in Kampala, Uganda for the 2018 summit.

Lungu in Rwanda

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on the final day of his two-day state visit to Rwanda.

Zimbabwe railway revival

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangangwa commissions the first phase of the $400 million railway network to be revived using funds raised from Zimbabweans living abroad.

Rains kill in Mozambique

Torrential rains claim at least 50 lives in Mozambique with the fatalities reported in the capital Maputo and the neighbouring town of Matola.

Cameroon drugs firm unveiled

Cameroon’s Prime Minister Philemon Yang inaugurates $30 million Africure Pharmaceuticals Cameroon S.A, an Indian firm, in the commercial capital Douala.

Tunisia poll deadline

Last day for candidates to register for Tunisia's first municipal elections since the 2011 revolution

FAO talks in Sudan

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Africa region conference continues in Khartoum, Sudan. The conference ends on Friday.

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Israel jails Eritrean asylum seekers

Posted BBC

on  Wednesday, February 21   2018 at  20:07

The Israeli authorities have jailed 16 Eritrean asylum seekers after they refused to be deported to Rwanda.

These are the first asylum seekers to be indefinitely detained under Israel's mass deportation plan of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals to Rwanda and Uganda.

Some 600 asylum seekers have been handed deportation notices so far, with some 35,000 asylum seekers at risk of being affected, reports the Israeli refugee rights organisation the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

The asylum seekers were picked up from the Holot detention centre, where some people have started a hunger strike.

The migrants

The Israeli government issued a notice to thousands of African migrants in January to leave the country or face imprisonment.

The government promised the migrants up to $3,500 for leaving within 90 days.

Earlier this month, the Israeli government decided they would give asylum specifically to Eritreans who deserted the army.