Kenya – school lost seven teachers in Mandera massacre

Nation

School lost seven teachers in Mandera massacre

A school lost seven teachers in the Saturday bus attack by suspected Al-Shabaab militia.

Relatives of some of the 28 people killed by Al-Shabaab militants are consoled by Kenya Red Cross staff shortly after viewing the bodies at Chiromo Mortuary, Nairobi on November 23, 2014. Majority of the victims teachers. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A school lost seven teachers in the Saturday morning bus attack by suspected Al-Shabaab militia.

They taught at Dawa Primary School, according to Township Ward Rep Feysal Abdinoor.

Local leaders said Mandera Town experienced the biggest loss as most of those killed were teachers, medics and security officers whose absence will be greatly felt.

Mr Abdinoor condemned the attack saying it was meant to create conflict between Muslims and other religions.

On Saturday, Al-Shabaab hijacked a Nairobi-bound bus and executed 28 people in a chilling dawn attack at Arabiya in Mandera near the Kenya-Somali border.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers on Sunday instructed their members who are not residents but based in Mandera, Moyale, Marsabit, Turkana, and other unsafe areas to relocate to their home counties over rising insecurity.

(READ: Knut directs teachers working in North Eastern to return home)

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion instructed the teachers to register at their respective Teachers Service Commission home branches and await fresh deployment.

South Sudan – SPLA says plans for uprising uncovered in Equatoria

Sudan Tribune

November 23, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) claimed it uncovered a plan by some politicians and former militia members allegedly to form a rebellion parallel to that of the armed opposition led by the country’s former vice president, Riek Machar.

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Troops from the South Sudanese army (SPLA) have been engaged in an armed struggle with rebel forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar since mid-December last year (Photo: Reuters)

“Through coordination and the work of true and patriotic south Sudanese people from Equatoria region, who are peace loving members, we have discovered some disgruntled politicians and former members of militiamen in the person of Martin Kenyi,” a senior military intelligence officer told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The army, he claimed, has closely been following activities of Kenyi and his group over the past months until it allegedly landed on a group that agreed to reactivate Equatoria Defense forces to fight an independent state from the rest of the republic of South Sudan.

“The group conducted their meeting in Kampala, Uganda on Tuesday last week and they agreed to appoint Martin Kenyi as the overall commander of the group,” said the senior army officer.

The group, as part of its resolutions, reportedly agreed to operate as a separate entity from the armed opposition led by Machar.

“Their objective is to fight for separation of Equatoria region from the rest of South Sudan,” claimed the military source.

Sylvester Akar and Michael Okuni were allegedly named the movement’s chief of general staff and head of mobilisation respectively.

Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the allegations from the military, although several opposition sources and government critics from Equatoria region do not rule out the existence of armed opposition groups intending to defend people.

Kenyi was commander of the Equatoria Defense Force, a military wing of political group associated with Theophilus Ochan Loti, who broke away from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) at the height of the past civil war between 1983 and 2005.

Kenyi later became a member of the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF), a group of armed forces operating in southern Sudan, aligned with the government of Sudan against the SPLM/A. The SSDF was a composition of tribal militiamen based in their areas, which were used by Khartoum to resist SPLM/A incursions during the 1980s, alongside fighters who remained loyal to Machar after 1991 split.

The group signed the Khartoum Agreement in 1997, which committed the government of Sudan to self-determination for southern Sudan, but for which the referendum promised was never conducted, prompting Machar to return to the SPLM/A in January 2002. Most of his forces, together with a group of government allied militias which joined the SSDF in mid-2001 continued to maintain their commitment to the Khartoum agreement until peace signed in 2005.

Kenyi as the military leader of the Equatorial Defence Force, one of the components of the SSDF, became the 11-man military high command of the SSDF. During the last round of the Inter-govermental Authority on Development (IGAD) negotiations held in Kenya in May 2003 on the security arrangements, Kenyi was a member of the government of Sudan negotiating team.

(ST)

South Africa – Eskom declares power emergency

Reuters

(Reuters) – South African utility Eskom declared a power “emergency” on Sunday and told large industrial users to cut their consumption by up to 10 percent to ease pressure on the strained national grid.

The declaration is on top of two days of rolling blackouts, and was caused by generators producing 1,700 MW of power at two plants tripping out, Eskom said. It also said a front of cold weather sweeping across the country had increased electricity demand.

The utility said the risk of further scheduled power outages on Monday and Tuesday was “medium to low”.

Zambia – court to decide on copper mining in national park bordering Mana Pools

Mail and Guardian

Zambia’s High Court is to decide on issuing a license for a copper mine in a game reserve bordering Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools world heritage site.

A discussion paper on best practice for mining in the SADC region found that Zambia disregarded expert advice and mining developments were being permitted in protected areas of high biodiversity call. Pictured: Equinox copper mine in Zambia (Reuters)

The High Court in Zambia is hearing an application from civil society organisations that are trying to stop the granting of a licence for a copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

Australian-owned mine Zambezi Resources Limited was given a 25-year permit in 2011 to prospect and mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park. The Kangaluwi Copper Project will see an opencast mine being built in the park, which is a formally protected area and part of the Zambezi River’s catchment Zone.

It is also across the river from Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, a world heritage site.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists the Lower Zambezi National Park as a category two protected area. This means it must be maintained for “ecosystem protection” and recreation. In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation encouraged the Zambian government to apply to make the park a world heritage site – this would then create a trans-boundary park with Mana Pools.

Compromising ecological value
The park stretches along 120km of the Zambezi River, and the government’s tourism agency says it is the fourth most visited park in the country. In 2012 the Zambian Environmental Management Authority rejected the mine’s environmental impact assessment.

“The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project because it is located in the middle of a national park, and thus intends to compromise the ecological value of the park as well as the ecosystem,” it said.

But in February the mine was given permission to go ahead by Zambia’s minister for Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. But this was temporarily halted, thanks to a court challenge from the Zambia Community Natural Resources Management Forum.

The mine has said it will make a mine that does not damage the ecosystem in the park. Earlier this year it released a statement saying, “Zambezi Resources promises to build the world’s greenest copper mine.”

Negative consequences
Groups opposing the mining say it is within the middle Zambezi elephant corridor. This was created to allow the herbivores to move freely along their traditional migratory routes. It is also home to several endangered species, such as the African Wild Dog.

One of the principal opposition groups, the Zambian Community Based Natural Resources Forum – a grouping of non-governmental and community organisations – said the mine would “generate negative impacts” beyond Zambia’s borders. It would lead to “significant alteration of the area’s hydrological system”.

This would threaten Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, and was therefore threatening to create conflict between the states, it said in a statement last week. It would also be in contravention of regional water sharing agreements, it said. “The mining operation is likely to increase surface and ground water contamination in the Zambezi River and other local streams.”

It said that while the mine would create 250 jobs, more than 800 people were employed in local tourism. The mine would “lead to significant loss in tourism operations.”

Given the mine’s sensitive location and potential adverse impact on tourism, the group said it should not go ahead. “There is no feasible scenario under which the proposed project would proceed without causing severe and far-reaching environmental and geopolitical impacts.”

‘Stop the mine’
A discussion document paper on best practice for mining in the whole Southern African Development Community region, drafted by mining consulting firm Estelle Levin and released two months ago, found that Zambia’s “strong legal framework” was not being implemented. It used the Kangaluwi Copper Project as a case study. “Flaws have resulted in expert advice being disregarded and mining developments permitted in protected areas of high biodiversity call,” it said.

A comprehensive report by independent reviewer Dr Kellie Leigh, done for opposition groups, and released last week, proposed that the mining be scraped. “There is considerable risk of long term damage beyond the life of the project, to the health and well being of communities, wildlife and the environment.”

It also said that a if the mine went ahead, it would set a dangerous precedent for other mining in national parks.

Last week a coalition of Zimbabwean civil society groups called on their environment minister to put pressure on his Zambian counterpart to stop the mine.


Kenya – Ruto says security forces killed 100 Al Shabab after Mandera atrack

BBC
The Kenyan military has killed more than 100 al-Shabab militants linked to a deadly attack on a bus, Kenya’s deputy president says.

William Ruto said the armed forces had carried out two operations in Somalia, destroying equipment and a camp from which the bus attack was planned.

In Saturday’s attack, gunmen pulled non-Muslims passengers from a bus in northern Kenya, killing 28 of them.

A local governor said a total security overhaul was needed.

Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks in Kenya since 2011, the year that Kenya sent troops into Somalia to help battle the Islamist group.

Mr Ruto gave details of the military operation after attending a Sunday service at a church in Nyahururu.

The driver of the bus tried to accelerate away from the militants, but the vehicle got stuck in wet mud
“I can assure you that those behind the attack did not even take their supper,” he was quoted as saying by the Standard newspaper.

“They were killed by our officers who we sent out immediately after the attack. They did not find time to celebrate their heinous crime.”

He said security officials were in “full control” and urged other leaders to co-operate with the government rather than criticise it.

In Saturday’s attack in Mandera county, close to the Somali border, witnesses described how passengers were asked to recite passages from the Koran and those who failed were made to lie on the ground before being shot in the head.

Afterwards, at least one local official said that pleas for extra security in the area had gone unanswered.

On Sunday, Mandera Governor Ali Roba called on the government to “reshuffle” its entire security team in the region, saying that officers did not follow up on cases and that a state of insecurity was considered normal.

“Many suspects who are apprehended are released from cells under unknown circumstances, even when there is evidence of their involvement in crime,” Mr Roba told Kenya’s Daily Nation.

Somalia-based al-Shabab said it had carried out Saturday’s attack in retaliation for a government crackdown on mosques in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa that were allegedly used by extremists. Security forces seized weapons during the raids.

Mr Ruto said such police operations would not stop.

“We will not allow our praying places to be used as armoury,” he said. “This operation is going to happen no matter what.”

He also called on Muslim religious leaders to help ensure that mosques were not taken over by extremists.

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Kenya – Mandera calls for security overhaul after bus killings

Nation

In Summary
Mr Roba also criticised security personnel, accusing them of failing to take attacks seriously.
The governor accused the police of viewing insecurity in the county as normal.

By LUCAS BARASA

Mandera Governor Ali Roba has called for a total overhaul of security in the county following a wave of attacks by Al-Shabaab militants.

Mr Roba also criticised security personnel, accusing them of failing to take attacks seriously.

“The government should reshuffle the entire security team and officers on the ground,” Mr Roba said in a telephone interview with the Nation on Sunday.

The governor alleged that terror suspects arrested in the county had been released.

“Many suspects who are apprehended are released from cells under unknown circumstances, even when there is evidence of their involvement in crime,” Mr Roba said adding that he suspected some officers had been compromised.

Mr Roba accused the police of viewing insecurity in the county as normal.

“No follow-up is done on explosions that occur in the county. It is better for police to act on all information on terror than not to take any action.

“The war on terror can only be won through shared information. Police should value local intelligence so that when pastoralists tell them for instance that eight people have been sighted somewhere, they take it seriously,” Mr Roba said.

COUNTY GOVERNMENT ‘LOCKED OUT’

Mr Roba also criticised the Mandera County Commissioner, claiming the county government had been sidelined on security matters.

“The commissioner insists security is a national government function and has totally locked out the county government… Since his arrival he has never held a meeting with the county government on security. As governor, I have not received a security briefing,” Mr Roba said.

Unlike his predecessor who used to hold weekly meetings with the county government and local elders, Mr Roba claimed the commissioner has not held any meetings with the devolved unit’s security team.

However, the county government shares all information it gets through the director of security enforcement with the county commander on a weekly basis.

“What we have is one way communication. There’s total disconnect. There’s no forum for county and national government to share information… Currently, there’s no collaboration between county and national government on security at county level,” Mr Roba said.

He noted that public trust in the police was dwindling.

“We need to get an environment where the public can share information in a simple manner,” Mr Roba said.

Mr Roba condemned the killing of 28 Kenyans by Al-Shabaab militants in Mandera on Saturday and promised that the county government would provide funds through the Kenya Red Cross to assist in the burial of the victim.
The scene where 28 people were killed by Al-Shabaab gunmen in Mandera on November 22, 2014. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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Nigeria – Boko Haram kill 48 fishermen near Chad border

BBC
‘Boko Haram’ kills 48 Nigerian fishermen near Chad

Islamist militants from Nigeria’s Boko Haram have reportedly killed 48 people in an attack on fish sellers near the border with Chad.

A fish traders’ group said some victims had their throats slit whilst others were tied up and drowned in Lake Chad.

The attack took place on Thursday, but the news took several days to come to light because Boko Haram has destroyed mobile phone masts in the area.

It was the second major attack in two days by Boko Haram.

In Thursday’s attack, the traders were on their way to Chad to buy fish when militants blocked their path near the village of Doron Baga, some 180km (112 miles) north of Maiduguri in Borno state.

Abubakar Gamandi, the head of the fish sellers’ association, said the militants had used no guns.

“The attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multi-national troops,” he told AFP news agency.

Troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger have been deployed to the area and have a base at Doron Baga, but the military task force has had little impact, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos.

On Wednesday, Boko Haram gunmen attacked the village of Azaya Kura, also in Borno state, killing at least 45 people.

In this attack too, victims’ hands were tied behind their backs and their throats were slit. The attack was apparently aimed at punishing the community after four insurgents were pointed out to soldiers and were shot dead.

Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Nigeria since 2009.

It has stepped up attacks against civilian targets since the Nigerian military launched an offensive against the group last year.

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