Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Egypt’s Brotherhood chief among 683 suspects sentenced to death

Egyptians react outside the courtroom in Egypt's southern province of Minya after an Egyptian court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and other alleged Islamists to death on April 28, 2014.
MINYA, Egypt
An Egyptian court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 682 other alleged Islamists to death today, a lawyer and prosecutor said, after two brief sessions the defence partly boycotted.
The same court in the southern province of Minya also reversed 492 of 529 death sentences it passed in March, commuting most of those to life in prison.
The court, presided over by judge Said Youssef Sabry, had sparked an international outcry with its initial sentencing last month amid an extensive crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsy.
The crackdown has reached secular leaning dissidents who supported Morsy’s overthrow but have since turned on the army-installed regime.
In Cairo, a court banned the April 6 youth movement that spearheaded the 2011 revolt against strongman Hosni Mubarak, following a complaint accusing it of defaming Egypt and colluding with foreign parties.
In Minya, the judge is to confirm the death sentences on June 21.
Under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the top Islamic scholar for an advisory opinion before being ratified. A court may choose to commute the sentences, which can later be challenged at an appeals court.
Of the 683 sentenced on Monday, only about 50 are in custody. The others have a right to a retrial if they hand themselves in.
Monday’s hearing lasted just 10 minutes, said Khaled Elkomy, a defence lawyer who was in court.
The verdict was the first against Badie, spiritual head of Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood, in the several trials he faces on various charges along with Morsy himself and other Brotherhood leaders.
Several female relatives waiting outside the courtroom fainted on hearing news of the verdict.
“Where is the justice?” others chanted. Some said family members had been unjustly convicted or put on trial. “My son does not even pray, he does not even know where the mosque is,” said one woman, whose son was among the 529 sentenced to death in March.
Karima Fadl, the mother of a man whose death sentence was commuted, said: “My son Khaled received a life sentence. “It is not better than a death sentence. It is still an injustice. He did nothing wrong.”
Those sentenced on Monday were accused of involvement in the murder and attempted murder of policemen in Minya province on August 14, the day police killed hundreds of Morsy supporters in clashes in Cairo.
Defence lawyers boycotted the last session, branding it “farcical” after the mass death sentencing which the United Nations denounced as a breach of international human rights law.
Lawyer Elkomy claims 60 percent of the 529 defendants, including teachers and some doctors, have evidence that “proves they were not present the day they were accused of attacking the Matay police station” in Minya, said the Avaaz human rights group.
The government has defended the court’s handling of the first mass death sentences, insisting the sentences were passed only “after careful study” and were subject to appeal.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Australian Navy seizes Sh24.9b heroin off Kenyan coast

 A screenshot of the article by Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the Sh24.9billion heroin seized by Australian Navy sailors on April 25, 2014. 

Australian Navy sailors have seized 46 sacks of heroin worth Sh24.9 billion ($290 million) from a boat off Kenyan coast.
According to Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the heroin was hidden among bags of cement.
In 2004, Sh6.4 billion cocaine was seized in Nairobi and Malindi and was said to be the largest haul to ever be netted in Africa.
Kenyan police also seized heroin worth $5.8 million on March 25, 2011 after it was sneaked into the country through an illegal landing bay along the coast.
The drug haul was being transported in two vehicles at Shanzu area, Mombasa when police struck at around 7pm on Thursday.
Three Kenyans, two Iranians and a Pakistani were arrested in the operation.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Do you know these children?

A group of lost children in an identification parade at the Milimani Commercial Courts in Nairobi on April 23, 2014. The children are being hosted at Nairobi Children’s Rescue Centre, Lower Kabete branch.
 A rescue centre in Nairobi has appealed to parents who have lost their children to visit it and establish if they could be part of a group currently in its custody.
Ms Jane Munuhe, a Child Protection Officer working with the Children Rescue Services, a Government centre is looking for the parents of the group of 22 children aged below 10 years and who were allegedly left or lost within the city centre in the last six months.
“Some kids are very small to even know the names of their relatives but with time they are able to identify them. However, the parents or relatives of these children must prove their relationship by producing relevant national documents. At times we even go for DNAs fully paid for by the government,” she said.
Ms Munuhe was speaking on Wednesday at a parade at Milimani Law Courts organised by Children’s Rescue Centre’s Lower Kabete branch to identify the children’s parents or relatives.
“I’m appealing to any person who may have lost a child within the last six months or even before; who may have information of someone who lost a child to come forward and identify their kin,” Ms Munuhe said.
The children in the group are: Brian Chaluo aged 6 years; Baraka, 8; Chris Obama Machanja, 5; Emanuel, 6; Derrick Otieno,7; Alfonso Ouma, 5; Junior Kaloki, 7; Joram Espira, 9; Tony (mentally challenged), 7; Hilda Akinyi, 6; Mitchele Obama, 6; Otieno, 3; Kevin, 4; Lavin Andizi, 6; Peter Akoth, 3; Rebecca, 3; Silah, 3; Wendy Atieno, 5; Wangare (Pamela Adhiambo), 7; Manu, 6; Opiyo, 7 and Kevin Kimani, 9.

Igad condemns killings in South Sudan

Members of the White Army, a South Sudanese anti-government militia, attend a rally in Nasir on April 14, 2014. Conflict in South Sudan has triggered a serious risk of famine that will kill up to 50,000 children within months if immediate action is not taken, the UN has warned. 
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development has condemned the spiraling violence in South Sudan and called on the international community to put pressure on President Salva Kiir’s government and rebels to stop the war.
In a statement Thursday, Igad Executive Secretary Ambassador Mahboub Maalim said the effects of five-month long violent conflict in South Sudan are catastrophic with thousands of lives lost and over a million people displaced.
"The conflict has also seriously disrupted economic activity and food production with imminent risk of serious famine. In this respect, the Executive Secretary calls on the international community to act now to put pressure on both parties to stop the war and prevent a deeper catastrophe from unfolding in South Sudan,” he stated.
He condemned the killing of 200 people in a Mosque in Benitu on April 15, 2014 and the April 17 attack in the UN Mission in South Sudan (Unmiss) compound in Bor that left 40 people dead.
“These recent incidents are particularly alarming as they involved deliberate targeting of civilians in massacre proportions,” he said.
Mr Maalim said the violence was also undermining the ongoing peace process and violates a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the SPLM/A signed on January 23, 2014.
He urged the Sudanese government and rebels led by Riek Machar to demonstrate their commitment to the Igad-led mediation process saying it was the only viable means of resolving the conflict.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ugandan troops capture LRA commander, free 10 hostages

                                                  Ugandan soldiers patrol the central African jungle during an operation 

KAMPALA, Tuesday
Ugandan troops have captured a fugitive Lord’s Resistance Army rebel officer and freed 10 hostages, the army said Tuesday, after battles with the elusive jungle insurgents.
Charles Okello was captured in the southeast of the Central African Republic, army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told AFP, describing him as a field commander of the “notorious” LRA.
“Most importantly we released 10 people, seven children and three women, who had been held hostage for six months,” he told AFP.
The Ugandan army is leading a US-backed African Union force tasked with capturing the LRA’s leaders, several of whom are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Rebel chief Joseph Kony, who launched a rebellion in Uganda two decades ago, is wanted by the ICC along with fellow top commanders on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges including murder, sexual slavery and using child soldiers.
 Long driven out of Uganda, LRA fighters now roam remote forest regions of CAR, Sudan, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Second Somali MP killed in Mogadishu

An armed man stands in front of the remains of the car in which a Somali lawmaker was assassinated and another wounded on April 21, 2014, in Mogadishu, in the latest in a series of bomb attacks in the war-ravaged capital.

Unknown gunmen shot dead a Somali lawmaker on Tuesday in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, who was the second Somali member of parliament (MP) killed in 24 hours, Radio Mogadishu reported.
Lawmaker Abdelaziz Isaq Mursal was shot dead as he left his home in the western district of Dherkenlay in Mogadishu, according to the report.
"The attackers escaped in a vehicle after the killing. Somali security forces arrived in the scene of the incident," Radio Mogadishu reported.
The killing of the MP comes a day after lawmaker Isaq Mohamed Riino was killed in a car bomb explosion.

Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the killing of Riino and the militants vowed to continue targeting Somali government officials.
The killing of the MP was widely condemned by the Somali government, UN envoy and African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said the killing was a cowardly act and vowed to bring to justice those behind the deadly bomb blast.
UN Somalia envoy Nicholas Kay described the killing as a terrorist act and called for a "full investigation" of the assassination of Riino while Amisom said the assassination was "unacceptable" as representatives of the Somali people, "any attack on MPs is an attack on the people."
Somali government officials vowed to tackle insecurity in Mogadishu which has lately been witnessing intermittent explosions and targeted killings of both civilians and government officials.
The extremist Al-Shabaab group has been pushed out of several key areas in the south and center of Somalia by Somali government and Amisom forces.

Monday, 21 April 2014

I won’t choose successor, Mugabe says

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe lights the flame of independence during celebrations held to mark the country's 34th independence anniversary on April 18, 2014 in Harare.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says he will not appoint a successor as jostling for his post continues to intensify.
President Mugabe told Ghanian-born British filmmaker Roy Agyemang in a BBC documentary that he had assessed his potential successors but wanted Zimbabweans to choose their next leader.
“I have people in mind who would want to be. But I have looked at them.
“I have not come to any conclusion as to which one, really, should be. I leave it to the choice of people. Perhaps when we get close to the election I will have some in mind,” he said
Zimbabwe will hold its next elections in 2018 but President Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, has refused to talk about his retirement.
His Zanu PF party would hold an elective congress in December this year but his position is unlikely to be contested.
However, the party is reportedly divided into two factions, one that backs Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from President Mugabe.
The long time ruler recently told his clan that none of the touted successors were guaranteed of the top job.
“It must be leadership that derives from the people, chosen by the people, goes back to the people, listens to the people and is guided by the demands of the people,” he told the BBC.
President Mugabe has been accused of manipulating elections to remain in power despite reports of his failing health and waning popularity.
In the past, he has said that he would not retire as long as his party is divided and is facing disintegration.
Last year he won a presidential election overwhelmingly after stumbling in the 2008 polls where he lost the first round to longtime opponent Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zanu PF has also regained the two thirds majority it had lost to the opposition that same year.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Thousands attend Eldoret prayer meeting

Head of the Repentance and Holiness Ministry David Owuor with little Wanjiru during a crusade in Eldoret on April 19, 2014.

Over 6,000 ushers and 1,000 police officers punctuated the second day of self-proclaimed prophet David Owuor’s “National Thanksgiving Meeting” at the Eldoret Sports Club, on Saturday.
Acting Uasin Gishu County police commander Nelson Taliti said police were keeping vigil as Dr Owuor ministered for followers from all over Kenya and from neighbouring countries.
They were driven to Eldoret in over 500 buses – and many more in private vehicles – while many more walked or used public transport.
“Tomorrow (today) there will be no standing space here because there are more buses coming,” Dr Owuor told the congregation.
People from South Korea and USA were spotted in the crowd, waving their countries’ miniature flags as they joined other worshippers from Dr Owuor’s Repentance and Holiness Ministry.
“This is what the people of Kenya want; they want the Lord!” he declared.
Dr Owuor’s “Train of the Lord” and “River of Healing” swept through the usually quiet – even during Easter – Eldoret.
The crusade, which started on Friday with the washing of the streets of the town, attracted a huge number of enterprising residents, who experienced brisk Easter business selling foodstuff and second-hand clothes.
At the prayer meeting, Dr Owuor castigated immorality in present-day society, and condemned Christian leaders who he said oppress their faithful. He also urged leaders across the world to “unite and work together in solidarity.”
The meeting was attended by, among others, Kericho County Governor Paul Chepkwony, Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno, Nandi County Women Representative Zipporah Kering’ and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi.
Ms Annette Ambaisi, a worshipper who spoke to the Sunday Nation, said she had travelled from Nairobi’s Shauri Moyo Estate. “I have witnessed the glory of God through the prophet’s teachings,” she said.
Most of the worshippers who could not afford hotel accommodation rates camped in the cold as they waited for Dr Owuor.
Elsewhere, Mombasa residents were on Saturday treated to a rare free shoe cleaning exercise by Christians from various churches in the region as part of Easter celebrations.
The Christian faithful of the Mombasa Church Forum (MCF), who were joined by worshippers of the Trinity Chapel, called out to pedestrians, drivers and other people walking past Digo Road, where they set up with their tools to offer a free “shoe clinic”.
The locals, mainly Muslims, were taken aback and said they had been moved by the kind gesture extended by the group.
“My friend and neighbour who is a Christian has offered to clean my shoes for free. That they have put aside religious, tribal and other differences means a lot,” said Ahmed Hamza, a resident of Likoni.
Another resident, Mohammed Abdulkarim, said: “This is a wonderful idea during the Easter period, especially coming from our Christian brothers. Love, peace and harmony is important and it is what we all want.”
MCF Secretary Stanley Prince said they came up with the shoe-cleaning exercise as a demonstration of the Christian teachings of love and brotherhood during the Easter period.
“We are here to clean the shoes of everyone irrespective of their religion, just as Jesus Christ showed love without choosing,” Mr Prince said.
“It is a show of our love to our neighbours, particularly now when there has been so much animosity between Christians and Muslims over terrorist teachings.”
Meanwhile, security forces in Mombasa continued their thorough check-ups of vehicles and pedestrians for the second day as Operation Usalama Watch entered its second week.
There were huge traffic jams extending as far as the North Coast from the Kongowea, Kisauni and Nyali junction as every motorist and cyclist was ordered to produce their national identification documents by the hawk-eyed traffic police officers.
At the Buxton junction heading to Nyali Bridge, there was yet another road block targeting public service vehicles from town and the busy Mwembe Tayari bus stages.

Kampala, Kigali: The contrasting capital cities

                                                                         Heavy traffic at the Jinja Road roundabout in Kampala

Motos (Boda-bodas) respect traffic rules. No carrying two passengers or overloading. They stop at traffic lights till given green light; whether there is a traffic officer there or not. There is also no unnecessary hooting.
No helmet, no riding a motorcycle, or on one. However, riders in the rural areas break the law. In Rusizi District, I saw three people on a motorcycle and only the rider and last passenger had helmets. I also saw a similar case around Karumuna hill in Bugesera District.
Office life
Office workers rarely go for meals at eating places adjacent to the offices. Many go home for lunch, while some pack. There is no sending for food or tea as you continue working from your desk. The reason was for safety and also culture, I was told by many. Nevertheless, cafeteria is most preferred.
Fast-Foods (Take-away)
In Kigali, there is no kind of life you see at Wandegeya, Kabalagala, Kansanga and Ntinda where during weekends, or while driving home, people stop for a quick-meal or take-away. Dine out is not a Rwandan culture, I was told.
Forex bureaus
Forex bureaux open 24 hours. There are almost everywhere, including Kigali suburbs equivalent to Kawempe, Najjera, Bweyogerere, Nateete and others in Kampala.
Radio stations in Kigali keep a shape eye on the press in Uganda daily. For instance, K-FM and Magic FM do much of press review from Ugandan newspapers. I heard two presenters during a long press review talking about Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura’s insistence of militarising the Force. There is also self-censorship in the Rwanda media, especially on leaders.
Ugandan music competes favourably and sometimes dominates airwaves on some stations in Kigali, depending on the show and the time. On Women’s Day, Jamal’s music dominated airwaves in Kigali. He also performed at Serena Kigali.
I heard a presenter interviewing him live before he left Entebbe airport for Kigali. I also observed that Chameleon, Weasel and Radio and Juliana Kanyomozi’s music were most played. On Sunday, Judith Babirye and Pastor Wilson Bugembe’s music competed favourably against the local gospel music.
While I was at the Kisementi/Remera road-junction with a Rwandan friend, we joked about there being a pharmacy at every a hundred meters in and around Kigali, just as there is a take-away at every corner and junction in and around Kampala. The pharmacies in Kigali look like what a pharmacy should be – very neat.
Mobile money kiosks
In Kigali, mobile money and air time kiosks are impermissible on the streets. They are also very few and scattered. They operate in shops inside buildings. In other words, there are no street kiosks whatsoever, other than billboards and signposts attached to the buildings.
While discussing a small Fido dido or Nandos kind of business establishment in Kigali, a Rwandan woman, who recently relocated from Bukoto in Kampala to Kigali, disagreed with me when I said Kampala is now clean.
She said: “No. But I like the lifestyle of Ugandans. They know how to enjoy life.”

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Here, at last! High-flying KQ acquire Dreamliner

The Kenya Airways Dreamliner B787 on touchdown at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) during the official reception in Nairobi 
National Carrier, Kenya Airways on Saturday received its first of the nine Dreamliner aircraft it has ordered.
This ends a four-year delay in the delivery of the aircraft. 
The modern aircraft touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11 a.m. after a 16-hour direct flight from its manufacturing base in Seattle, USA.
The Dreamliner is 56.7 metres long, tail height 16.9 metres and wing span 60.1 metres and a passenger capacity of about 250. The air plane costs approximately Sh11 billion and flies at 43,000 feet for between 7,600 – 8,000 nautical miles without stopping.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was received at the airport by President Uhuru Kenyatta and is the first of the six to be delivered this year in a 10-year plan that seeks to sharpen Kenya Airways’ competitive edge on the global market by plying to destinations in Europe and Asia. 
An additional five Dreamliners will be delivered each month from June until October to bring the number to six this year of the nine it has ordered as part of its long-haul fleet. All the nine Dreamliners were to be delivered before the end of this year but the remaining three will be delivered from 2015.
“We had planned to have this aircraft about three to four years ago but this delayed for a number of technical reasons with the manufacturing process but in the end, the dream has come to be true,” the airline’s chief executive officer Titus Naikuni said on Saturday.
Kenya becomes the second African country after Ethiopia to acquire the Dreamliner as it races to enhance its position as a leading airline on the continent. The first ever delivery of the aircraft was made to All Nippon Airways of Japan in September 2011.
The aircraft has been named the “Great Rift Valley”, after the geographical feature that runs across the East African region and is a key tourist attraction.
Speaking during the function, President Kenyatta said the delivery of the Dreamliner paves the way for Kenya Airways to further deepen trade connections with the world, especially through long haul flights.
“The Dreamliner has great national and continental significance. This aircraft will contribute greatly towards opening up Kenya and the continent at large for trade, tourism and other interactions with the rest of the world,” President Kenyatta said.
“We intend to begin flying to Paris, Beijing and Shanghai, in addition to increasing the frequency of our flights to Guangzhou,” Mr. Naikuni said. The airline will ply the Nairobi – Paris (France) route in June to mark its initial passenger service.
The Dreamliner can fly from Nairobi to Beijing non-stop and has superior performance while carrying more passengers and cargo to further distances.
It has the very latest features in aviation, design and technology and is touted to have a fuel efficiency of up to 20 per cent less than other long-haul aircraft.
The B787 is quieter, has lower cabin pressure, higher humidity levels and ambient mood lighting.
It has larger overhead bins and custom-made seats in Business and Economy class as well as cleaner air continuously circulating through an advanced filtration system.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Africa leaders in Belgium for EU meet

Vice President Edward Ssekandi (L) bids farewell to President Museveni at Entebbe airport on Tuesday before the President set off to Brussels, Belgium to attend the 4th EU-Africa summit .

With helicopters circling overhead, snipers on rooftops, sirens baring through the streets, and military police manning fortifications, European and African leaders kicked off a two-day summit here seeking to renew a valuable relationship under threat from new suitors.
A stronger show of force was underway thousands of miles away in the Central African Republic where the European Union launched a military operation to end the political instability in the country that the UN warns threatens to spiral into religious extremism and potential violence.
Details of the size of the EU force deployed to CAR were not immediately available but officials in Brussels said it had a short-term mandate with a view to handing over to a peacekeeping force from the African Union or the UN.
“The launch of this operation demonstrates the EU’s determination to take full part in international efforts to restore stability and security in Bangui and right across the Central African Republic,” Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy and security in-charge, said.
The military operation in CAR is only the latest in a growing list of EU interventions in Africa, following a French-led intervention in Mali, counter-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa and the NATO-led attacks in Libya that dislodged Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The attack on Gaddafi, who had hosted the last EU-Africa summit only a year before his death, sparked renewed claims of African nationalism and calls for “African solutions to African problems”. However, such solutions have been slow in coming and, the EU has grown increasingly more visible in its military engagements, although Brussels is keen to present its activities as partnerships with the African Union.
The EU has contributed more than Euros 1.2 billion to peace-building efforts across the continent through the Africa Peace Facility since 2004 and sees gunboat and helicopter diplomacy as key to maintaining close relations.
Amidst growing interest in Africa from China, America and other emerging economies, the EU has put on a charm offensive, seeking to overcome its colonial legacy and emerge as Africa’s “partner”, perhaps the most popular word in the bureaucratic corridors in Brussels.
“There are things on which Europe needs Africa,” Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, said Wednesday during the opening of the summit, pointing to climate change and migration.
Manuel Barroso, his counterpart from the European Commission, was more saccharine, speaking of “a partnership based on mutual respect, a partnership of equals”, but tough discussions lie ahead.
Migration – in particular the EU’s treatment of illegal migrants seeking economic refuge on the continent – has emerged as a potential sore point, with Ban Ki Moon, the UN secretary general, and Human Rights Watch calling for more humane treatment of those who undertake the often perilous pilgrimages from poverty.
Access to markets for trade also remains controversial. The EU has set October as the deadline for a deal on the controversial Economic Partnerships Agreement between it and Africa but civil society activists, who turned out in the spring sunshine in Brussels to demonstrate outside the summit venue, show that agreement and consensus are yet to be achieved.
Trade between the two continents grew by 46 per cent between 2007 and 2012 and the EU remains a key import and export partner. However, Africa continues to export raw materials while importing manufactured goods as well as food from Europe.
“Opening up markets to the EU will not help us if we are still exporting stones and importing cars,” an African diplomat in Brussels said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of his country. “We have to figure out how to manufacture goods and export finished products before we can talk about being partners with anybody.”
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan: “We expect that at the end of this summit, the relationship between EU and Africa will be enhanced and become stronger and stronger in terms of our economic development and also in terms of our commitment to maintain peace and human security in Africa.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Five shot dead as bandits ambush Turkana village

Lokoriman Kalale, a police reservist, was shot when bandits raided Kakong village in Turkana South district last month. In last Friday’s attack, two reservists were killed when raiders ambushed Kaptir and Kapelbok villages in Turkana South.
Five people, including two police reservists, were killed on Friday evening by bandits in Turkana South.
Four others were injured and taken to Kaptir dispensary and then transferred to Lodwar District Hospital.
According to a police reservist who took part in a three-hour stand-off at a grazing field between Kaptir and Kapelbok villages, there were about 200 bandits.
“Pupils from Kapelbok primary school who were on their way home in Lomopus village informed us at 3 pm that they had seen armed attackers,” said the reservist who declined to be named.
And addressing journalists at Kaptir village, Katilu county assembly member James Abei said only four bodies had been brought home.
“The fifth body is still in the battle field,” said Mr Abei.
He said such raids are common in Turkana South because police reservists were disarmed after an administration police man was killed at Nakwamoru.
A sobre mood engulfed the two villages as residents discussed the sad event in hushed tones.
Mrs Losinyon Ekidor said she has now lost her entire family to bandits.
“I lost my husband and a son last year to bandits. I buried them and now I have lost my remaining son Paulo Ekidor and my animals,” said Ms Ekidor as a group of youth dug a grave for her son, just next to her husband’s grave.
Katilu Ward Administrator Simon Koloi said the bandits took three firearms, two belonging to the reservists.
At a public baraza attended by Turkana South police chief Kipsang Changach, women who looked shaken, told the government to relocate them once they finish buying their husbands and sons. Residents also urged the government to recruit and arm reservists.
Meanwhile, calm has returned to Barpello in Tiaty in Baringo County following Friday’s killing of a General Service Unit officer by suspected Pokot raiders.
Two other officers were injured during a two-hour shootout which saw the officers held hostage for hours until a Kenya Wildlife Service helicopter airlifted them.
The officers were part of a joint police force that was on its way to Marigat after recovering animals that had been stolen from Kapindasum in Baringo South on Thursday night.
Baringo County Commissioner Benard Leparmarai and Baringo County Police Commandant Hassan Barua said the two officers are in a stable condition.
“The officers repulsed the raiders and were coming back with the animals when they were ambushed by a group who sprayed them with bullets killing one of the officers,” Mr Leparmarai told reporters at Kabarnet District Hospital.
“It is clear that many herders still possess firearms. We will not rest until guns in the wrong hands are re-possessed. This attack will not cower our soldiers,” he said.
Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim, whose constituency has suffered most of the attacks, accused fellow leaders.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation, she criticised Tiaty MP Asman Kamama for failing to attend a security meeting at Chepkalacha GSU camp recently attended by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Kagame renews charge that France took part in Rwanda genocide

President Paul Kagame. He has once again accused France of "participating" in the 1994 genocide in an interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the mass killings. 
PARIS, Saturday
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has once again accused France of "participating" in the 1994 genocide in an interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the mass killings.
Speaking to the weekly Jeune Afrique, Kagame denounced the "direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide".
He also accused French soldiers who took part in a military humanitarian mission in the south of the former Belgian colony of being both accomplices and "actors" in the bloodbath.
The interview was to be published Sunday as Rwanda prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the atrocities that claimed at least 800,000 lives, mainly of minority Tutsis.
Paris has repeatedly denied the accusations and insisted that French forces had striven to protect civilians.
Kagame's FPR rebels overthrew the Hutu-led government, and his party still controls the government, but many of those accused of the worst crimes of the war escaped, allegedly under the cover of a French military mission.
In 2008, a report by Rwanda's MUCYO commission of inquiry concluded that France had trained the militias that carried out killings and French troops had taken part in massacres. It accused 13 politicians and 20 officers by name.
"Twenty years later, the only thing you can say against them (the French) in their eyes is they didn't do enough to save lives during the genocide," Kagame told Jeune Afrique.
"That's a fact, but it hides the main point: the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide and the participation of the latter in its very execution," Kagame said.
Kagame's assertions come as relations between Kigali and Paris -- which were completely frozen from 2006 to 2009 -- have improved, notably since France last month, in a landmark ruling, sentenced former Rwandan army captain Pascal Simbikangwa to 25 years in prison for his role in the massacres.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira will be on hand in Kigali on Monday at events marking the sombre anniversary.

Bigombe in CAR as Kony hunt rages

Mbarara-Ntungamo-Kabale highway seen from Ntungamo Town. The road has proved to be a death trap for many road users despite being in good condition. 
Uganda’s Minister of State for Water Betty Bigombe and Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Achana II flew to Obbo in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Tuesday and apologised to the population for the atrocities the LRA rebels committed against the local population.
“We regret Kony’s action in the neighbouring countries and we call for cooperation in ending these atrocities,” Rwot Achana II said, adding: “There is no difference on what he was doing in northern Uganda and what he is doing to you here; we are hoping that he comes to his senses and he stops it with immediate effect.”
In a related development, a top US military commander on Thursday tasked a purported LRA peace emissary to provide a recent photo of Joseph Kony or persuade the warlord to telephone him as proof that the self-declared envoy is not a masquerader.
A one Okello Mission, who identifies himself as “LRA’s special peace envoy”, has been sending out emails to the African Union, the United Nations, the US government and media houses announcing the group’s intention to end the conflict peacefully.
Col Kevin Leahy, who commands the US Special Operation troops carrying out the counter-LRA offensive in CAR, replied in an email: “The United States will not entertain your proposal unless you demonstrate proof that you are representing Kony. Your letters alone are not sufficient.”
On Tuesday, Ms Bigombe who initiated the first peace talks with Kony in 1993, said the rebel leader does not listen to counsel to “stop his ruthless activities”.
The Obbo meeting followed Kony’s reported request for dialogue, days after the United States government deployed hundreds of additional Special Forces and specialised aircraft to accelerate the Washington-funded counter-LRA offensive to capture or eliminate the indicted LRA commanders.
Kony’s whereabouts remain unknown, but regional military officers say LRA is diminished.
The AU team is using both military engagement and come-home messages broadcast on local radio stations and leaflets to encourage defections among the rebels, he said.
About Kony’s lord resistance army
Rebellion. Kony began his rebellion in 1987, ostensibly to install a government run on the Biblical 10 commandments, but his forces have built notoriety for mass killings, rape and abductions in northern Uganda and the neighbouring DR Congo.
Off to CAR. In 2009, the LRA fled to CAR, following the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces offensive that smoked them out of their new bases in eastern DR Congo. They have since committed atrocities against civilians in CAR.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Police detonate bomb found near Eastleigh

An officer from Bomb Disposal Unit checks an Improvised Explosive Device that was found buried by the road side at Mlango Kubwa, Nairobi on April 01, 2014

Bomb disposal experts have detonated a bomb that had been buried in the ground outside a residential area at Mlango Kubwa near Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.
Police had earlier cleared traffic and pedestrians along Juja road over suspicion there were explosive materials near the place.
The police said there were three men at the site who fled when they saw security officers on patrol. The officers then checked and found wires protruding from the ground.
A loud bang could be heard as the bomb went off. Experts were still checking whether there are more explosives.
The section of Juja Road remained closed to traffic and the public, police said, even as curious onlookers milled around the scene.
 The bomb was found near Eastleigh estate where six people were killed.
Police launched a security operation and arrested over 600 people

Rwandans grapple with reconciliation

                                                                                Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.

The scene outside Frederic Kazigwemo's home is a typical rural Rwandan scene: a cow chews under a rickety shelter, cassava dries in the sun, women weave baskets and children play.
But in Rwanda, where 20 years ago a genocide claimed over 800,000 lives, the difference is that Kazigwemo murdered his neighbours -- relatives of his wife's weaving partner and next-door neighbour in a "reconciliation village", where free housing comes at the price of forgiveness.
"It was hard living here at the beginning, as this woman's husband helped to kill my family," says Cecile Mukagasana, as she sits on a porch tying colourful string around grass to make coiled baskets for curious tourists.
Before 1994, different groups in Rwanda lived relatively peacefully together for much of the time and intermarriages were not uncommon.
But then "the government was teaching the Hutu that the Tutsis were colonising them again, so we must kill them and take their property," Kazigwemo said.
"They gave us guns and trained us to go and kill," he added, although his mob "used machetes and spears" to slaughter seven people.
"We didn't feel guilty. We were proud of it as the government was wanting us to do this, so we did it again."
In the second attack, Kazigwemo's gang -- among them "people who were sharp at killing" -- hacked two of Cecile's relatives to death.
Kazigwemo is one of around two million people tried over 10 years by the traditional "gacaca" court system, set up in the wake of the genocide as traditional courts were overloaded.
He had his sentence reduced after admitting to the killings and apologising for them.
"Before I apologised I didn't have peace in my heart, sometimes when I was standing somewhere, I would see the faces of those I killed in my eyes," he said. "Now I don't see them anymore."
But Dieudonne Gahizi-Ganza, the founder of Best Hope Rwanda that offers counselling to victims of rape, their children, and those of the killers, says that the gacaca trials aren't enough.
"Gacaca did a lot to bring about justice and also handle the cases of perpetrators, but we also need reconciliation," he said.
"After the genocide, we had more than 300,000 orphans and 500,000 widows," says Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana, Executive Secretary of the government's Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
"To recover, for them, it is not so easy", he said.
For Vestine Mukandahiro, who lives in one of the many mud-baked lanes lined by banana trees on the outskirts of Kigali, reconciling with a daughter born of rape took years.
Aged 13, Vestine decided that she couldn't kill herself or the baby, but "after she was born, I thought I couldn't be with my own daughter as I'd look at her face and she'd remind me of the rape," she said.
Vestine fled the family home as attackers hacked her entire family minus her two- and four-year old youngest siblings to death, only to stumble across her rapist in a field.
She said people treated her "like a prostitute" bringing "the child of a curse" into the community.
Reconciliation programmes focusing on grassroots and group counselling have lifted such widespread or overt stigma, but the double-edged sword of speaking out is that those born years after the genocide have been forced to relive it.
"Trauma cases -- it's something that can be transmitted from one generation to the next", said Gahizi-Ganza.
As the country prepares to mark 20 years since the start of the 100-day massacre on April 7, a cloud of fear and sadness still hangs over Rwanda, and a certain stoicism prevails at all times.
Questions of ethnicity are no longer allowed or included on identity cards.
The horrors of 1994 can now only be referred to as The Genocide Against The Tutsi -- a term that ignores the massacre of moderate Hutus and obscures a far from bloodless advance to power by rebel forces led by Rwanda's now President Paul Kagame.
"We don't talk about ethnicity. We only talk about our past," said 19-year old Yvette.
The only leisure activities Yvette can list are after-school clubs warning against AIDS and drugs and the "Never Again Club", where she and her peers dissect the genocide.
Yvette wants to grow up to be a role model in the community, to show that she can be useful and to avoid more friction.
"With my generation, we must make a big effort to make sure that what happened never happens again," she said.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

I'm ready for Gay fight - Museveni

Religious leaders give President Museveni a gift in Kampala yesterday to congratulate him for signing the anti-gays Bill into law. 


President Museveni yesterday told a rally of supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality Act that he endorsed the law to reaffirm Uganda’s sovereignty. The President said he did not approve of agitation by foreign powers against the new law.
Mr Museveni said the West have a wrong justification of homosexuality. He explained that besides the Bible being against the act, even long ago among African cultures homosexuals were referred to as ekifiire (walking dead).
“I want to thank honourable (David) Bahati and his group. I didn’t pay attention because I was involved in other sectors and little did I know it was a big issue. However, when big countries started giving us orders, I don’t like orders, especially from outside and I don’t know why these people became preachers for others?” Mr Museveni stated.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act is a brain-child of Ndorwa West MP David Bahati. He drafted a private members Bill which he presented to Parliament and it got overwhelming support. The gist of the Bill is the protection of, especially young children from homosexuality. The donor countries have since been up in arms, with some cutting aid.
The President stressed that homosexuality was unhealthy and people who indulge in it could get sexually transmitted diseases.
“I came to learn that homosexuality was unhealthy and this is because they go to a wrong address. Sexual organs of a human being are highly specialised,” he said.
Mr Museveni added that he delayed to sign the Bill because he wanted to be convinced that homosexuality was not genetic but due behavioural influence.
The President said he was going to meet religious leaders today to discuss the issue of establishing the Aids fund to cater for the 1.5 million people living with HIV/Aids since some donors are threatening to cut fund.
Earlier, speaker after speaker praised Mr Museveni for signing the Bill.
Other notable figures that the religious leaders described as saviours of African culture included MP Bahati who they said took a bold stand amidst intimidation from the West to introduce the Bill.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was praised for taking a firm stand to have the debate on the Bill.
Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said it was an historic occasion that saw the country united for purpose. Mufti Ramadhan Mubajje praised Museveni, saying he redeemed Uganda.
The representative of the Evangelical Movement, Pator Simon Peter Emwau, said the courage Mr Museveni took in signing the Bill is a reflection of what he took in 1970s and 1980s when decided to fight bad leadership.