Sunday, 18 May 2014

Boko Haram kills Chinese worker and kidnaps 10

A screengrab taken on May 12, 2014, from a video of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram obtained shows a girl, wearing the full-length hijab talking to the camera at an undisclosed rural location. Boko Haram released a new video on claiming to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging they had converted to Islam and would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed. 

Boko Haram gunmen killed a Chinese worker and kidnapped 10 others overnight in Cameroon, piling more pressure on leaders meeting in Paris on Saturday to thrash out a tougher strategy against the Nigerian Islamists.
Militants stormed an encampment used by Chinese road workers late on Friday in a region of northern Cameroon just across the border from the strongholds where they sparked global outrage by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls last month.
“The Boko Haram militants were heavily armed, they came in five vehicles,” an official in Waza, a town near the site of the attack, told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said the camp where the Chinese road workers stayed was usually guarded by soldiers from Cameroon’s elite Rapid Intervention Battalion, but many of the troops were in Yaounde for a military parade ahead of National Day on May 20.
“Cameroonian soldiers retaliated and the fighting lasted until 3:00 am,” said a local police chief, who said the militants also raided the police armoury in Waza overnight.
He said one Chinese worker was killed and 10 others had been missing since the attack and were believed kidnapped by the Boko Haram gunmen.
A source close to the Chinese embassy in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde spoke of 10 missing and one wounded but would not confirm or deny whether one had been killed.
News of the latest attack came as west African and European leaders gathered for a special meeting in Paris aimed at ramping up action against the increasingly regional threat posed by Boko Haram.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was expected to face pressure to cooperate much more closely with Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin at the half-day summit.
A long-running territorial dispute has soured relations between Nigeria and Cameroon, hampering any steps towards joint action against the militants.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters just before the summit that regional countries, backed by Western powers such as Britain, the United States and the European Union, would have to forge a “strategy to defeat Boko Haram more broadly.”
The group, which is waging a deadly campaign to create an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria, has achieved a new level of notoriety since it seized the girls a month ago.
“This is one sickening and terrible incident but they continue almost every day to commit terrorist acts and atrocities,” Hague said.
“There are many borders here and they are porous. This is very relevant to finding the schoolgirls. We want to see the countries in the region working together in creating an intelligence fusion cell,” Hague said.
“Nigerian security forces have not been well structured” to deal with the threat posed by Boko Haram, he added.
French President Francois Hollande discussed the conference and the hunt for the girls with US President Barack Obama in a phone call on Friday, the White House said.
Among the resources already put at Nigeria’s disposal have been US drones and surveillance aircraft but further Western military involvement is not on the agenda, officials say.
Instead, the emphasis is on sharing intelligence and knowledge about dealing with such groups.
France has particular experience in that area, having recently secured the release of a French family that was kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram fighters in Cameroon and then held in Nigeria for two months.
hinese national was killed and 10 others were feared kidnapped after an overnight attack in northern Cameroon believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram militants from Nigeria, a police said on Saturday.
“Boko Haram Islamists attacked a camp (of road workers). A Chinese was killed. Ten Chinese cannot be found since the attack. We think they have probably been kidnapped,” a local police chief said on condition of anonymity.
“Cameroonian soldiers retaliated and the fighting lasted until 3:00 am (0200 GMT),” the officer said.
“The Boko Haram militants were heavily armed, they came in five vehicles,” an official in Waza, near the site of the attack in a northern Cameroonian region near the Nigerian border, told AFP on condition of anonymity.
He said the camp where the Chinese road workers stayed was usually guarded by soldiers from Cameroon’s elite Rapid Intervention Battalion.
“Their numbers were thinner these past few days because many of them had gone down to Yaounde” for the traditional military parade marking National Day on May 20, the official said.
The police officer said the militants also attacked the police post in Waza overnight and raided its armoury.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Ngugi wa Thiong'o receives honorary doctorate from University of Bayreuth

                                         Ngugi wa Thiong'o speaks at the University of Bayreuth on May 5, 2014.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o on Monday received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bayreuth, Germany.
The doctorate was awarded by the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), where Ngugi had worked shortly in the 1980s as a guest professor.
Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible, president of the University of Bayreuth, Brigitte Merk-Erbe, the Mayor of Bayreuth and Prof. Dr. Dymitr Ibriszimow, head of the institute, all took to the podium to express their gratitude for Ngugi's literary works and his contribution to the upholding of culture through his work.
In his acceptance speech, Ngugi shared his view on the importance of languages and cultures. According to him, the world is like an orchestra and every language spoken is an instrument in the orchestra. When only few languages dominate, then the global orchestra shrinks, with only few instruments.
Ngugi cautioned Africans who have lost their mother tongues in the name of adopting European languages as the only form of communication. People have rejected their languages and this has put Africa in a "linguistic prison" which hinders cultural and intellectual development in Africa, Ngugi said.
"Every language, every culture, has a role to play and none is superior nor inferior to the other. This kind of thinking is a fallacy," he insisted.
The diversity of languages that characterises Ngugi's work and its worldwide reception was also reflected in the readings that took place during the event.
The literary scholar and BIGSAS graduate Samuel Ndogo from Eldoret, the translator Dr. Thomas Brückner from Munich, the scholar and translator Dr. Wangui wa Goro from the UK, BIGSAS doctoral student and journalist Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard from Munich as well as the literary scholar and BIGSAS graduate Ndi Gilbert Shang from Kenya contributed texts in three languages: Kikuyu, the language in which Ngugi's literature was originally written, as well as English and German.
On the same day, several partnership agreements between the BIGSAS on behalf of the University of Bayreuth and seven African Universities were signed.
Among those who took part in the signing were Prof. Dr. Richard K. Mibey - Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya; Prof. Dr. Wail Benjelloun - Université Mohammed V – Agdal, Rabat, Morocco; Prof. Dr. Malegapuru Makgoba - University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Prof. Dr. Orlando A. Quilambo - Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mosambique; Prof. Dr. Brice A. Sinsin - Université Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin and Dr. Worash Getaneh Shibeshi - Addis Ababa University, Ethiopien.

IMF asks Uganda to avoid debt crisis

               Ms Ana Lucía Coronel, the IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda.
Kampala- The International Monetary (IMF) has asked the Uganda government to avoid accumulation of domestic arrears and increased domestic borrowing as these might lead to a domestic debt crisis.
Uganda is currently faced with a large volume of arrears which stand at about Shs2.2 trillion, while at the same time it has heavily borrowed from the domestic financial market to the tune of Shs1.7 trillion using treasury bills and bonds.
The IMF mission team has been in the country for the last two weeks carrying out reviews on its new Policy Support Instrument (PSI) with Uganda.
At the end of the mission on Tuesday, Ms Ana Lucía Coronel, the IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda, said on the expenditure side, that it will be essential to focus on areas that support growth and job creation.
“In particular, the mission urges the authorities to take steps to avoid incurring domestic arrears that weaken economic management by impairing budget planning, increasing costs for the government, and negatively affecting those who conduct business with the government,” Ms Coronel said.
“There is also a need to pay increased attention to revenue mobilisation. Following the recent large shortfall in tax revenue and the risk of reductions in foreign aid, broadening the tax base and improving efficiency in tax administration are more critical than ever,” she added.
Ms Coronel said the mission encourages the government to take decisive action to increase tax revenue collections pointing out that this would involve reviewing existing tax laws and eliminating tax exemptions that have little benefit for production but undermine growth-enhancing spending and constrain the vibrant private sector growth.
Collection of tax revenue by Uganda Revenue Authority is hindered by high levels of non-compliancy, however, the IMF says efforts should also focus on strongly enforcing compliance by all taxpayers.
The IMF says the ongoing issuance of national identity cards should support the government’s efforts to achieve the long-awaited plan to raise Ugandan tax revenue and bring it closer to regional standards.
Ms Coroner explained that sound fiscal policies supported by robust revenues and predictable spending would help reduce the need for large borrowing in the domestic market to finance government operations, and effectively contain interest rate increases on government securities.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Turkey mine blast kills at least 205, hundreds trapped

A miner came out helped by friends after an explosion in Manisa on May 13, 2014. At least 200-300 workers were working in the mine when an electric fault caused an explosion. 
At least 205 people were killed and hundreds more remained trapped underground after an explosion at a coal mine in western Turkey, the government said Wednesday, warning that rescue efforts faced a race against time.
The toll has risen rapidly since Tuesday's disaster in the province of Manisa, when a total of 787 mineworkers became trapped inside the mine.
Rescue operations continued overnight for the hundreds of people still underground. Of those rescued alive, 80 were injured, four of them seriously, said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
"We fear the number could rise even further because those who came to help out may be among the injured and affected by the smoke," he told reporters.
"As the time passes, we are very quickly heading to an unfavourable outcome," he added.
Earlier a security source told AFP that there were pockets in the mine, one of which was open so rescuers were able to reach the workers, but the second was blocked with workers trapped inside.
The explosion was believed to have been triggered by a faulty electrical transformer at around 1230 GMT Tuesday.
Hundreds of people gathered around the explosion site as rescuers brought out injured workers, who were coughing and struggling to breathe due to the dust.
Sena Isbiler, a mother of one of the miners, stood on top of piles of wood, craning her neck to see who was being led out of the mine.
"I have been waiting for my son since early afternoon," she told AFP.
"I haven't heard anything about him yet."
Arum Unzar, a colleague of the missing miners said he had lost a friend previously "but this is enormous."
"All the victims are our friends," he said as he wept.
"We are a family and today that family is devastated. We have had very little news and when it does come it's very bad," he added.
Fire officials were trying to pump clean air into the mine shaft for those who remained trapped some two kilometres (one mile) below the surface and four kilometres from the entrance.
Late Tuesday evening injured people were still emerging from the collapsed mine -- some walking, others being carried by rescue workers while being given oxygen.
Nearby, security officers tried to keep ambulance routes clear to ensure help could reach the victims.
The mining company Soma Komur issued a statement saying the mine had maximum safety measures.
"Unfortunately, some of our workers have lost their lives in this tragic accident," the statement said.
"The accident happened despite maximum safety measures and inspections, but we have been able to take prompt action," it added.
Energy Minister Yildiz promised that if it was discovered that any negligence was to blame for the disaster "we will not turn a blind eye to it. We will do whatever necessary including all administrative and legal steps."
Turkey's ministry of labour and social security said the mine was last inspected on March 17 and was found to be compliant with safety regulations.
But Oktay Berrin, a miner, said workers were not protected underground.
"There is no security in this mine," he told AFP.
"The unions are just puppets and our management only cares about money."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said he would arrive in Soma on Wednesday after cancelling a trip to Albania.
Speaking in Ankara, the leader expressed his "heartfelt condolences" to the families of those who died.
"Some of the workers have been rescued and I hope we will be able to rescue the others," Erdogan said.
Energy Minister Yildiz told journalists in Soma that a team of 400 people were involved in the rescue effort and that the main cause of the deaths was carbon monoxide and dioxide poisoning.
"Time isn't working in our favour. We need to get them out. We could be in a troubled situation," he said.
The miners are all thought to have gas masks, but it was not clear how long they would last.
Vedat Didari, a professor of mining, told AFP that the biggest risk was the lack of oxygen.
"If the ceiling fans are not working, the workers could die within an hour," said Didari, from the Bulent Ecevit University in the city of Zonguldak.
Explosions and cave-ins are common in Turkey, particularly in private mines where safety regulations are often flouted.
Turkey's worst mining accident happened in 1992 when 263 workers were killed in a gas explosion in a mine in Zonguldak.
Soma is one of the key centres for lignite coal mining in Turkey, a district with a population of around 100,000 where the mines and a lignite-fired thermal power plant are the main economic activity.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

City out-punch rivals to Premier League glory

Goals from Samir Nasri and skipper Vincent Kompany saw Manchester City to a 2-0 win over West Ham as they claimed their second Premier League title in three seasons.
Sunday's final day of the league season victory at City's Eastlands ground crowned a triumphant first English campaign in charge for Manuel Pellegrini, the Chilean manager celebrating his first domestic championship in Europe.
Winners of the League Cup earlier in the year, City added the championship in fairly routine fashion.
While City's main challengers Liverpool faltered in the past two weeks -- notably in losing at home to Chelsea and squandering a three-goal lead to draw at Crystal Palace -- the unflappable Pellegrini ensured his club kept their composure, culminating in Sunday's victory over Sam Allardyce's Hammers.
By the time Nasri shot City into a 40th minute lead, the pressure around Eastlands had already been lifted considerably with the surprise news from Anfield that Liverpool had fallen behind to Newcastle.
That left Pellegrini's team in the position of potentially being able to lose to West Ham and still regain the title they won so memorably on the final day of the season in 2012.
Nonetheless, defeat seemed highly unlikely with City enjoying 75 percent of the possession prior to the opening goal.
Inevitably, City made the pressure count before the half-time whistle as Yaya Toure played a short ball to Nasri and the visiting defenders showed a rare lapse in concentration by backing off the midfielder.
That invited the France international to attempt a shot, which Nasri duly did, producing a sweetly-struck right-foot effort which flew in via the left-hand post and a slight touch from diving goalkeeper Adrian.
As they had done in securing a vital midweek victory over Aston Villa, City showed admirable patience prior to Nasri's strike, prodding and probing at the opposition's defence without offering them any hope on the counter-attack.
It took until the 18th minute for Sergio Aguero, recalled after a lengthy injury lay-off, to test Adrian with a 25-yard shot which was comfortably saved and, just as news filtered through of the opening goal at Anfield, Toure's curling shot just missed the target from the edge of the area.
Aleksandar Kolarov's spectacular 30-yard attempt was tipped over acrobatically by Adrian and Aguero showed nimble footwork on the by-line only for his drag-back to be skied over the target by Edin Dzeko from six yards.
After the goal, Aguero's glancing header flew just wide and David Silva's shot was deflected onto the bar as City sought to ensure they enjoyed an anxiety-free second half.
Ultimately, it required only four minutes of that second period for City to kill off the contest and ensure their 17th home victory in 19 league games this season.
Nasri's left-wing corner was met by Dzeko who neatly twisted to turn the ball goalwards, directly into the path of Kompany, who swept the ball in from six yards.
Matt Taylor's shot from the edge of the City area was well off target as City goalkeeper Joe Hart awaited his first save of the match but, as news came through that Liverpool had equalised in their game, it was merely a question of by how many Pellegrini's team would win their title-decider.
Aguero headed just wide from a Pablo Zabaleta cross, Silva's shot was deflected behind and Aguero mishit from six yards after another Zabaleta centre when it appeared easier to convert into the gaping West Ham goal.
The closing minutes entered practice match territory, although Adrian was required to save smartly with his feet to block a close-range shot from Nasri.
Finally, West Ham showed some fire, but in the incorrect manner, as a minor scuffle between players from both teams in the final minute ended with Aguero and Mark Noble both being cautioned for a needless clash.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Putin says Russia has pulled troops from Ukraine border

A handout picture released by the Prime Minister Press Service shows Ukraine's Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) embracing a trooper during his visit to a checkpoint near the Ukrainian eastern city of Slavyansk on May 7, 2014. President Vladimir Putin told pro-Russian rebels fighting in east Ukraine to halt plans for independence referendums and said his troops had been withdrawn from the border, a potential breakthrough in the worst showdown between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday told pro-Russian rebels fighting in east Ukraine to halt plans for independence referendums and said his troops had been withdrawn from the border, a potential breakthrough in the worst showdown between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.
The Russian leader also hailed a planned May 25 presidential election in Ukraine, previously criticised by the Kremlin, as a "move in the right direction".
The softer tone of the surprise comments -- delivered during a meeting in Moscow with the visiting head of the OSCE -- suggested a potential resolution of the geopolitical confrontation and on-the-ground conflict in Ukraine that had been building towards war.
Russia's stock market immediately soared over three percent, and the battered ruble jumped to a five-week high against the dollar.
Russia's markets climbed sharply on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin urged the postponement of a referendum on separate status for Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions and cautiously backed presidential polls.
The MICEX stock index climbed 3.45 percent while the RTS index rose 4.52 percent at about 1420 GMT.
The ruble also rose sharply against the euro and the dollar, with the euro worth 48.78 rubles and the dollar worth 35.03 rubles.
The Ukraine conflict with its recurrent threat of military intervention by Moscow caused the West to impose targeted sanctions and has led to massive capital flight from Russia.
The ruble has fall to levels last seen during the 2008 global financial crisis.
In early March ahead of the referendum in Crimea on joining Russia, the euro reached a peak value of 51.20 rubles and the dollar rose to 37 rubles.
NATO said Wednesday it had seen no sign of Russian troops withdrawing from the border with Ukraine, despite President Vladimir Putin's claim they have been pulled back.
"We have no indication of a change in the position of military forces along the Ukraine border," a NATO military official said.
Putin had said earlier that in response to Western concerns of a possible Ukraine invasion, Moscow had pulled troops back.
"We were told constantly about concerns over our troops near the Ukrainian border. We have pulled them back," Putin said.
"Today they are not at the Ukrainian border but in places of regular exercises, at training grounds," he said after meeting Swiss president and current OSCE chief Didier Burkhalter.
US and NATO officials estimate Russia massed 40,000 troops on the border with Ukraine as the Kiev government battles pro-Kremlin militias.

World powers join search for abducted Nigerian schoolgirls

Members of civil society groups shout slogans to protest the abduction of Chibok school girls during a rally pressing for the girls' release in Abuja on May 6, 2014, ahead of World Economic Forum.
An urgent international effort to help Nigeria find more than 200 girls kidnapped by Islamist militants is focused on providing intelligence as experts try to locate the hostages.
Amid global outrage over the kidnapping, the United States, France and Britain are sending specialist teams to Nigeria, which said London had agreed to deploy "satellite imaging capabilities."
China promised to supply "any useful information acquired by its satellites and intelligence services," according to President Goodluck Jonathan after talks with visiting Chinese premier Li Keqiang.
Extremists from the Boko Haram group seized a first group of schoolgirls in Nigeria's volatile northeast three weeks ago, saying they were holding them as "slaves" and threatening to sell them.
The militants have since kidnapped more girls in the area and attacked a village, massacring scores of civilians. The violence and mass abduction has triggered worldwide anger.
Western governments divulged few details about the precise type of support offered to Nigeria but officials said intelligence from satellite imagery and possibly drone surveillance aircraft would be a crucial element.
Washington plans to send a team of fewer than 10 military personnel as well as specialists from the Justice Department and the FBI, US officials said.
"We're moving swiftly to put in place a team at our embassy in Abuja that can provide military, law enforcement and information-sharing assistance in support of Nigeria's efforts to find and free the girls," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. The United States, which like France flies Reaper drones out of Niamey in Nigeria's neighbor Niger, would not confirm if surveillance aircraft were part of the package of assistance.
"We're discussing with the Nigerian government any type of information sharing arrangements that we can agree to," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.
Defense officials acknowledged the US military had relatively weak ties with Nigeria and unlike many other African states, the government in Abuja has shown little interest in major training programs.
"In the past, the Nigerians have been reluctant to accept US assistance, particularly in areas having to do with security," said John Campbell, former US ambassador to Nigeria.
"Whatever assistance we might provide and might be welcomed by the Nigerian side is likely to be essentially technical," Mr Campbell said.
Satellite imagery and other technological surveillance would likely represent Washington's primary contribution, said Brian Jenkins of the Rand Corporation think tank, a former Green Beret who used to work as an adviser for companies facing hostage situations.
At the moment, the main task is to track down where the girls are being held, he told AFP.
"The first job is to locate where they may be. Are they all assembled in a single area that can be identified? Or have they already been scattered?" he said.
The United States also could advise Nigeria if it tried to negotiate with the kidnappers, as could the teams from France and Britain, which have experience with hostage situations, he added.
With two drones based in Niger as well as troops and aircraft deployed in Chad and Benin, France is well-placed to help track the militants that operate throughout the area, analysts said.
"It's an area we know well and where our intelligence services are active," said Eric Denece, director of the French Center for Research on Intelligence.
French support also presents a chance "to return a favor" to Nigeria, which helped in the release of French hostages abducted in Cameroon by Boko Haram, said defense expert Pierre Servent.
Some US lawmakers have suggested staging a rescue mission, but Western officials made clear there was no plan at the moment to organize such a dangerous operation.
"This is not something where the US has some magic. This isn't a rescue of a captain and his crew on a ship in the Indian Ocean," Mr Jenkins said.
"The idea that the US will just intervene and send in commandos and bring these girls back. . . I wish that were the case, he said."
"History suggests this could be turn out to be a long affair."
British commandos joined Nigerian forces on a failed rescue operation in March 2012 in the northern city of Sokoto in which two hostages, a Briton and an Italian, were killed by their captors.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

KDF won’t withdraw, Ruto warns and asks judges to be hard on killers

Deputy President William Ruto addressing the Press outside his office on May 5, 2014. He said terrorists will not be allowed to dictate to or blackmail the Government into changing its local or foreign policy. 
Deputy President William Ruto Monday described the weekend terrorist attacks as acts of desperation by Al-Shaabab fighters who are on the run as the noose tightens around their necks.
Mr Ruto said Kenya would not withdraw its forces from Somalia until order is restored.
He insisted that despite the terror attacks in Mombasa on Saturday night and on Thika Road in Nairobi Sunday evening, the security agencies had foiled many more and eliminated terror cells.
“Even a single act of terrorism makes hundreds of successful deterrent measures seem unhelpful,” he told journalists when asked to give more details about foiled attacks.
He said the government was in control of the security situation and described the latest terror attacks as acts of desperation from Al Shabaab, who he said were on the run.
“Those of us who are telling us that we should get out of Somalia are telling us to perform an act of cowardice, to run away from killers and terrorists and people who feed on the blood of others.
We will not. We will face them, confront them, deal with them and defeat them,” said Mr Ruto.
He was responding to calls by ODM interim leader Anyang Nyong’o who on Sunday said Kenya should withdraw its forces from Somalia to stop further terrorist attacks on its own soil.
“I want to confirm to you, if there is a doubt you had in your mind as to whether we are on top of this situation or not, take it from me, we are on top of this situation and this country is going to be safe for our children, businessmen and the 40 million we have in this country,” Mr Ruto said.
But Monday, Prof Nyong’o criticised Mr Ruto saying: “The Deputy President can afford to say that his government cannot be intimidated because he does not take matatus and has no relative in Somalia. The ordinary Kenyan is intimidated by increasing insecurity in the country.”
After the September 21 attack on Westgate Mall, in which 67 people were killed, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that despite the attack, Kenya would continue with its mission in Somalia.
In response, Al-Shabaab posted a message online saying that the President’s statement was an indication that Kenya had not learned any lesson.
“We will strike Kenya where it hurts the most, turn their cities into graveyards and rivers of blood will flow in Nairobi,” the terrorist group said.
Monday, Mr Ruto challenged the Judiciary to play a bigger role in the war against terrorism by ensuring that suspects arrested and charged in connection with terrorism are not freed on bond.
“We believe that there is more that the Judiciary can do to make sure that these people, once arrested and identified as terror suspects, do not find their way into the general population and continue to execute their evil schemes,” he told a press conference in Nairobi.
In its own defence, the Judiciary said it had already organised a meeting between the top security organ and the Chief Justice. It provided a letter from Chief Registrar Anne Amadi inviting members of the National Security Council, apart from the President and his deputy, to a meeting to address these concerns.
“It is important for the judicial officers to understand the imperatives and challenges of national security.
The meeting that the Chief Justice proposes will afford the two arms of government an invaluable forum to share perspectives on this critical issue in public interest,” Ms Amadi said in the letter dated April 28, 2014.
Monday, Mr Ruto asked the public to support the war on terrorism by being vigilant and reporting suspicious people and objects to the police.
“It is important for Kenyans to realize that it is in their patriotic interests to make sure that these people are reported to law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Juba: UPDF to follow Museveni’s order

Brig Joseph Musanyufu, the new UPDF chief of personnel and administration, at the decoration ceremony in Mbuya, Kampala yesterday
The UPDF Commander he UPDF Commander of Land Forceof Land Forces, Maj Gen David Muhoozi, has said the regional meeting on South Sudan scheduled for next week in Juba might come up with “a political solution” to the conflict that is ravaging the country.
“We hope the Igad [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] meeting scheduled next week will give a political solution to the violence in Juba,” he said yesterday.
Maj Gen Muhoozi, who was addressing journalists at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala after the decoration ceremony of three newly-promoted army officers, said as UPDF commanders, they do not make independent decisions and cannot determine whether to stay in South Sudan or withdraw.
“We follow what government especially the Commander–In-Chief [Museveni] directs,” he said while responding to a question fielded by a journalist on when the UPDF expects to withdraw from South Sudan.
Different groups, including rebels, loyal to former vice president Riek Machar, have asked for a complete withdrawal of UPDF, saying their presence was interfering with South Sudan’s internal affairs.
The decorated officers included, Brig Muhanga Kayanja, the overall commander of UPDF troops in South Sudan under the Zulu Task Force.
He was promoted for the “good work” he has done as a field commander, Gen Muhoozi said.
Brig Joseph Musanyufu, the new UPDF chief of personnel and administration and UPDF head of women affairs, Lt Col Rebecca Mpagi were also decorated with new ranks.
The director general, Internal Security Organisation, Brig Balya and Lt Col Betty Musuya who were also supposed to be decorated, didn’t attend the function.
President Museveni promoted Col Mpagi, the first UPDF aviation engineer and Lt Col Musuya in March during Women’s Day celebrations in Kumi, saying they had attained required needs for promotion.
South Sudan war
Violence broke out in the world’s youngest nation, pitting soldiers loyal to President Salvar Kirr against a loose coalition of rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

Monday, 5 May 2014

70 victims taken to city hospital

Medical personnel attend to victims of the Thika Road twin blasts at the Kenyatta National Hospital on May 4, 2014. Some 71 victims of Sunday’s twin blasts on the Thika Superhighway were taken to a hospital in Nairobi. 
Some 71 victims of Sunday’s twin blasts on the Thika Superhighway were taken to a hospital in Nairobi.
Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital clinical officer Ayub Torore said two died as they were undergoing treatment.
Mr Torore said 12 of the patients he attended to had suffered critical injuries and were referred to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and other health institutions for specialised treatment.
Mr Kennedy Asoka, who was on a Mwiki-bound Mwi Sacco bus, said there was something odd about two young men who alighted before the bus left the terminus on Haile Selassie Avenue.
KNH received 16 women, 11 men and four children who were injured in the explosions.
One of the casualties, a woman, died on reaching the hospital, six were in critical condition while the rest were stabilised.
Addressing the Press outside the accidents and emergency ward, chief executive officer Lilian Tare said the referral hospital was doing all it could to help the injured.
Nurses were overwhelmed by the large number of patients in urgent need of critical treatment.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

South Africa election commission promises credible polls

South Africa's largest opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters at a final campaign rally in Johannesburg on May 3, 2014 ahead of the May 7 polls.
South Africa’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) is promising nothing short of a credible General Election.
The commission says will ensure the exercise measures up to international standards as South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday.
And the Friday court ruling giving IEC boss Pansy Tlakula a temporary reprieve from charges of irregular tendering could not have come at a more appropriate time.
She can, for now, concentrate on executing her delicate mandate without much distraction.
Ms Tlakula is accused of acting irregularly in acquiring R320 million lease of the IEC headquarters in Pretoria.
The lease deal was done when she was the chief electoral officer.
A forensic audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers recommends that criminal charges be preferred against the architects of the irregular lease deal.
IEC last Wednesday opened the Election Result Operation Centre where votes will be tallied and complaints by any of the interested parties can be given immediate centre.
The centre is based in Pretoria’s Centurion region, at the Tshwane Event Centre and will receive the results from all the 22,263 polling stations to be verified and then displayed on three big screens.
So far, over 30 media organisations have been accredited to monitor the tallying at the centre, according to the IEC chief electoral officer Mosotho Moepya.
Besides the media, the centre will also host local and international election observers and representatives of all the 28 political parties participating in the elections.
The first results, to be displayed for all to see, are expected at midnight Wednesday going into Thursday.
“Everyone sees the vote tally together. Not even the chairperson of the IEC sees the result before it is displayed,” IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela said.
Ms Bapela explained that the votes will be counted at the 22,263 polling stations by IEC officials and other representatives.
Once counted, the number of votes is compared to the number of those who voted at a particular station.
“If they correspond, the tally is signed by the officials and party representatives. If it does not, a query is sent through to the centre,” Ms Bapela explained.
Security arrangements are also in place, according to the police spokesman Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale.
Lt-General Makgale said police would be deployed to every voting station and anyone attempting to destabilise the election would most certainly be arrested and prosecuted.
The military too will play a significant role in securing the election. According to a report in the Star newspaper on Friday, President Jacob Zuma had authorised the deployment of 2,000 troops to assist the police during the elections and the presidential inauguration.
Slightly over 25.3 million people have registered to vote in South Africa’s fifth democratic election.
The May 7 poll is a watershed for South Africa, being the first since the death of Nelson Mandela, credited with shepherding South Africa through a delicate transition from apartheid to a modern democracy.
Advanced voting by the South African diaspora has already been concluded. The votes are already being couriered to the Pretoria to await the tallying.
IEC has described the diaspora vote as a success with a commendable turnout.
Election officials will on Monday and Tuesday visit 295,731 voters in their homes, retirement centres, healthcare facilities and other places throughout the country to allow the physically challenged to cast their ballots.
Also to cast their ballots on Monday or Tuesday are some 90,698 voters who successfully applied for the consideration. They include essential service providers, such as security personnel.
For the rest of the voters, Wednesday is the day. Polling stations open at 7am local time and close at 9pm.

Blood and tears as blasts rock Mombasa

Four people lost their lives after an explosion in Mombasa central business district that also ripped apart a Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal. The bus usually plies the Thika-Mombasa-Malindi route. The blast also affected the rear section of another bus that was parked nearby.
At least four people were killed last night and scores injured when explosions rocked Mombasa as police heightened security in the coastal town.
He said the blast was set off by a hand grenade that was hurled at a group of people at the Mwembe Tayari bus terminal as they waited for transportation to their destination.
Eyewitnesses are conflicted as some say the grenade was hurled from a probox while others say it was from a motorcycle.
The blast in the central business district also ripped apart a Chania Travellers bus, shattering windows and mangling metal. The bus usually plies the Thika-Mombasa-Malindi route.
The blast also affected the rear section of another bus that was parked nearby.
The other blast went off in Nyali near a popular resort, but no one was injured.
Nelson Marwa, The Mombasa county police commissioner said that two women and one man died on the spot.
The blasts came at a time when police have heightened security over looming threats from Al-Shabaab terrorists who have previously been blamed for past explosions in the Coast and Nairobi.
Eye witnesses and emergency rescue workers told the Sunday Nation that they had counted at least three people who had succumbed to injuries from the blast at the Kenol/Kobil petrol station opposite Coast Bus terminus.
Police and rescue workers rushed at least twenty two people to the Coast General Provincial Hospital where one other person lost their life raising the death toll to four.
Heavily armed police and emergency services rushed to the scenes of the blasts to rescue the injured and secure the area.
There was confusion as crowds milled around the scene as emergency workers rushed to the rescue. Mombasa County police commander Robert Kitur led the security operation.
“We are aware of two explosives in Mombasa county. We are already at the scenes and there is no need to panic. Everything is under control,” said Mr Kitur.
The second explosion went off at the Reef Beach Resort was said to have been caused by a bag left behind by a man of Caucasian origin.
"The man walked towards the beach leaving his bag and made as if to swim. He however, surreptiously left the beach and the explosion happened soon thereafter," said Mr. Marwa.
No one was injured however the blast caused panic that was fuelled further by claims that other public places in the city were targets for attacks.
Residents stayed away from the usually bustling streets of Mombasa however Mr. Marwa was quick to reassure the residents that their safety was assured as they would tighten security.
"We will secure all bus and matatu terminals starting Sunday to thwart any further attacks on members of the publics. I urge all the residents to ignore th erumours doing rounds and go about their normal business," he added.
This week, the government deployed 700 security personnel to the Coast to help deal with insecurity in the region.
Speaking during a security meeting at the county commissioner’s boardroom in Mombasa on Tuesday last week, the County Police Commander Kitur said the officers include regular police, Administration Police and officers from the General Service Unit.
Mr Kitur commended the government for increasing the number of security officers at the Coast.
Mombasa County commissioner Mr Nelson Marwa said apart from the deployment of the additional security personnel, there are other security measures being put in place.
These include improvement of infrastructure, deployment of more officers to the new police station at the Likoni Ferry channel and new scanners for the Kenya Ferry Services to deal with insecurity at the channel.
“The government has increased the number of police officers at the Coast with some being those who recently graduated from the Kenya Police College in Kiganjo, Administration Police College in Embakasi and GSU recruits,” he said.
“We thank the government for supporting us in terms of personnel. We have more than 700 officers on top of those we have in the region,” he added.
In March the state of insecurity prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to dispatch his deputy William Ruto to Mombasa to meet with leaders and security chiefs to work out ways of fighting back terrorism.
The government also launched a major operation to weed out aliens, some of whom are suspected to be supporting or working for terror networks.
The government is also grappling with extremist cleric who are accused of radicalising youth Muslims.
April 23, 2014: Two policemen among four people killed in Nairobi after a suspicious car that they had intercepted exploded as it was being taken to the Pangani Police Station.
March 31, 2014: Six people are killed and dozens others seriously injured in blasts in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.
March 30, 2014: A suspected terrorist dies and a Madrassa is destroyed when an explosive device he was assembling prematurely goes off in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
March 23, 2014: Two gunmen enter a church in Mombasa and shoot at the congregation. Two people die on spot while four others succumb to injuries in hospital pushing the death toll to six.
March 18, 2014: Detectives in Mombasa and Federal Bureau of Investigations, seize 270 rounds of ammunition, one AK-47 rifle, Improvised Explosive Devices, grenades, detonators and mobile phone for detonating the bombs.
 in a vehicle that was parked at a police station for several days.

Some past terror attacks
February 18, 2014: Three men are found with a grenade and arrested at Pand-Pieri estate in Migori Town by police acting on a tip-off.
January 5, 2014: A home-made bomb explodes in a kiosk in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, injuring a man. A grenade is hurled at a police vehicle at Kona ya Musa on the Lunga Lunga-Diani road.
January 2, 2014: 10 people are injured after a grenade is hurled intoTandoori Bar in Diani.
December 14, 2013: At least four people are killed and over 30 injured when an explosive device placed in a Number Six matatu that plies the Eastleigh goes off near Pangani Girls School in Nairobi.
December 12, 2013: Two British tourists in Mombasa narrowly escaped death when a grenade hurled at their vehicle failed to explode.
June 10, 2013: Sixteen people are injured when an explosive device is hurled at an open-air crusade in Likoni, Mombasa outside Earthquake Miracle Ministries.
December 7, 2012: Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan is injured and two people are killed in a grenade attack in Eastleigh, Nairobi
December 5, 2012: Eight people are injured when an explosive goes off near a scrap metal store in Nairobi’s California estate in Eastleigh