Category Archives: Africa – International

South Sudan – Machar forces warn of full-scale war if talks derailed

Sudan Tribune
August 29, 2014 (KAMPALA) – South Sudanese rebels led by former vice-president, Riek Machar have warned of “full-scale” war against government forces, days after negotiations between the two rivals were pushed by East African regional mediators to 13 September.

Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the chairman of the opposition’s mobilisation team, claimed there was a “conspiracy” by some actors to derail ongoing talks.

“There is conspiracy by some members of the multi stakeholder dialogue and some actors in the peace talks to bury the aspiration of the South Sudanese people and keep the country in the state of confusion,” Oyet told Sudan Tribune Friday.

The official also accused some members of the regional bloc (IGAD) of allegedly having different interests likely to undermine effort to achieve reforms in South Sudan through a negotiated settlement.

“We telling you that what have transpired in Addis Ababa in the last IGAD Summit is an old monkey trick and a wrong scene. If those who should mediate the talks have become negotiators themselves we question what their interest in the conflict is and this leaves the credibility of the forum in question,” said the renowned academic.

He however said the opposition was ready for peace talks in order to find lasting peace in South Sudan, adding that they are not weak, but want peaceful means to resolve their differences and reunite the country.

“There is a clear case of vested individual and group interest which is overshadowing the talks itself at the expense of reforms, progress and peace agreement,” said Oyet, who insisted president Salva Kiir’s government was “buying time” to prolong talks for an end to war.

“We are warning that if the peace process does not hold, South Sudan will plunge into full scale civil war with all fronts active,” he said.

He accused the South Sudanese president of creating an unfortunate war on 15 December, 2013, which has resulted into thousands of deaths with nearly 1.5 million people displaced.

“We therefore calling on all our reserves, youth, students, women, our supporters within and outside government and our gallant forces to be vigilant and protect your aspiration or else it are no more,” said Oyet.

He further stressed that this was the last chance to put South Sudan on track and not power sharing as envisage by some quarters in the peace talks.

“South Sudan’s problem is not about who wants power, how and when, but there is need to address the root causes of the current crisis embedded in the status quo,” said the former University of Juba don.

The US-based Human Rights Watch, on Friday, said IGAD had missed an opportunity to reconcile the two rival factions as South Sudan as peace continues to elude the new nation at the brink of civil war.

Despite threats of sanctions from IGAD, both the US and European Union have already imposed travel bans and asset freezes for military leaders on both sides of the country’s conflict.

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Rebel fighters greet one another in a rebel camp in Jonglei State February 1, 2014 (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Lesotho – gunfire heard as army surrounds government and police buildings

Reuters
(Reuters) – Military units in Lesotho surrounded government and police buildings and gunfire was heard in the small mountainous southern African kingdom on Saturday, in what diplomats said appeared to be an attempted coup.

“Military police have surrounded State House and there are reports of gunfire,” said one diplomat from the capital Maseru, who asked not to be named.

South African radio stations also reported that private radio stations were off the air in the nation, which is surrounded by South Africa.

Political tensions have been running high in Lesotho since June when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane suspended the country’s parliament to avoid a no-confidence vote amid feuding in the two-year-old coalition government.

Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing had vowed to form a new coalition that would oust Thabane.

Neighbouring South Africa and the regional Southern African Development Community of which Lesotho is a member have warned the political rivals in the country that any unconstitutional change of government would not be tolerated.

Since independence in 1966, Lesotho has undergone a number of military coups. In 1998 at least 58 locals and eight South African soldiers died and large parts of Maseru were damaged during a political stand-off and subsequent fighting.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/30/uk-lesotho-coup-idUKKBN0GU04W20140830

Lesotho army seizes police HQ and jams radio and phones

Mail and Guardian
Armed forces have seized control of the country’s police headquarters and jammed radio stations and phones, says a government minister.

Lesotho’s military seized control of the country’s police headquarters and jammed radio stations and phones in the early hours on Saturday, a government minister and member of the ruling coalition told Agence France-Presse.

“The armed forces, the special forces of Lesotho, have taken the headquarters of the police,” sports minister and leader of the Basotho National Party Thesele Maseribane said, describing a possible coup attempt in the small nation located in eastern South Africa. “At four o’clock this morning [0200GMT] they were driving around the residence of the prime minister and my residence,” he said. “There have been some gunfighting since four [am] up until seven or eight.

“They’ve jammed phones, they have jammed everything,” he added. Maseribane said he fled hours earlier after being warned. “The commander said he was looking for me, the prime minister and the deputy minster to take us to the king. In our country that means a coup,” he added.

He insisted Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s government was still in control. “The prime minister and myself, [we are] still the coalition government. The prime minister is still in power.” Thabane was “fine”, he added, declining to elaborate where the prime minister was.

“There’s still a lot of danger. People who have arms are running around Maseru.” The government secretary was unreachable for comment. A shaky coalition has governed the kingdom, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa, since elections two years ago. Coalition partners patched up the fragile deal through mediators in June. – AFP

http://mg.co.za/article/2014-08-30-lesothos-military-seizes-control-of-police-headquarters

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Kenya – ICC’s Bensouda given one week by court to say if she can prosecute Kenyatta

Capital FM/allAfrica

Photo: IRFJ

International Criminal Courct Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda (file photo)

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber V (b) has given Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda up to Friday next week to state if she is prepared to start President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case.

The judges have also given the Defense and the Legal Representative of Victims up to September 10 to file any responses.

“Noting the importance of timely and efficient preparations and in order to provide the necessary guidance for parties and participants, the Chamber orders the prosecution to file a notice confirming whether it anticipates being in a position to start trial,” the judges ordered.

The orders were issued on Thursday morning by trial judges Robert Fremr, Geoffrey Henderson and Kuniko Ozaki who presides the case.

They said it is imperative for Bensouda to state if she is ready for the case for purposes of efficient planning, ahead of the scheduled date of October 7.

The president’s defence team has always argued that the prosecution has no case and urged judges to dismiss it altogether

Bensouda in February told the court that she did not have evidence against Kenyatta which prompted the court to vacate earlier dates of commencement of his trial and place it on October 7 to allow the prosecution time to collect more evidence.

She argued that if the Government of Kenya would submit ‘crucial documents’ that had been requested, it would be in a position to gather evidence to show the criminal liability of President Kenyatta in the Nakuru and Naivasha attacks during the 2008 post election violence.

During a status conference last month, the prosecution and Attorney General Githu Muigai on behalf of the Kenya government gave to the court an update of the documents submitted and those pending.

The prosecution complained that Kenya had not yet fully complied in submitting all required information regarding President Kenyatta.

Muigai complained that it was impractical to fulfill some of the requests made by the prosecution due to their ambiguity and lack of specifications especially on land ownership and third parties of companies associated with Kenyatta.

He said the requests also have to be done according to the legal framework and that Kenya was not ready to violate its laws to fulfill ICC’s requests.

President Kenyatta’s lawyer Stephen Kay accused the ICC of lack of objectivity and decisiveness in the case against his client.

He complained that even after the Office of The Prosecutor in February admitted to the court that it did not have evidence against Kenyatta, the court has allowed it time to do ‘fishing expedition’ for evidence that is not relevant to the case.

allAfrica

Kenya blows up ship and huge heroin haul

Capital FM

Ship with Sh1bn heroin haul blown up off Kenyan Coast

HEROIN-BOAT

By JOSEPH MURAYA | August 29, 2014 Kenya, Aug 29 – Kenya Defence Forces have destroyed heroin worth Sh1 billion in a ship off the Coast of Mombasa.

The drugs were blown up together with the ship on Friday in an operation witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta from a helicopter overflying the Indian Ocean.

Experts involved told Capital FM News that the vessel was mounted with explosives which were detonated some 16 nautical miles south of the coastal town of Mombasa.

The Head of State on Thursday warned that “the Port of Mombasa will no longer be a passage for the importation of illicit drugs.”

“Tomorrow, I will lead security agencies in destroying a ship seized with heroin valued at Sh1 billion last month.”

He said the incident will serve as a lesson to those who bent, “on ruining our children. We do not care who owns the ship or the drugs.”

“We will not allow drug barons to destroy the future of our young people. We will track and deal with them decisively.”

The drugs were extracted from the 1,800 litres of the ship’s diesel reservoir on July 15 where they were concealed when it was intercepted off the Kenya Coast in Lamu by Kenya navy officers.

On April 25, Australian Navy sailors patrolling the coast of Africa seized another haul weighing more than one tonne on a suspicious sailing boat.

The estimated the street value of that heroin haul was put at $290 million (over Sh20bn).

Crew from HMAS Darwin boarded the wooden boat east of Kenya and discovered 46 sacks of heroin hidden among bags of cement.

The Navy said the drugs from the dhow were taken aboard HMAS Darwin.

President Kenyatta has vowed to enhance the war against drug trafficking where Mombasa is worst hit among other major towns in the country. Capital FM

South Africa – guilty verdict in case of men accused of shooting exiled Rwandan general

timeslive

Four guilty of shooting Rwandan exile in Johannesburg

REUTERS | 29 August, 2014 14:06

Exiled Rwandan General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa. File photo
Image by: REUTERS
A South African court on Friday found four men guilty of trying to kill an exiled critic of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, in a case that had strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Former Rwandan army chief General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa survived being shot in the stomach as he was being driven into his Johannesburg home in 2010, the same year he fled Rwanda after falling out with former ally Kagame.

Another attempt on Nyamwasa’s life in March this year intensified diplomatic tensions as South African Justice Minister Jeff Radebe warned Rwanda that “our country will not be used as a springboard to do illegal activities”.

Rwanda’s ambassador in Pretoria responded by denying Kigali was involved in attacks against exiles and the countries traded tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats.

South African Magistrate Stanley Mkhari said four men – two Rwandan and two Tanzanians – were guilty of the first count to commit murder four years ago. He also found them guilty of joint possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Sentencing was expected next month.

Mkhari said there was not enough evidence to link two other accused – Nyamwasa’s driver Richard Bachisa and Rwandan businessman Pascal Kanyandekwe – to the crimes.

Prosecutors had accused Kanyandekwe of being a key organiser of the attempted killing and of working with Bachisa, who had been driving Nyamwasa and his wife home when a gunman accosted them at the security gate.

South African police have also been investigating the New Year’s Eve murder in a posh Johannesburg hotel of another exiled Kagame opponent, former Rwandan spy chief Patrick Karegeya.

Rwandan political exiles sheltering in other countries in Africa, Europe and the United States have pointed an accusing finger at Kigali for dozens of attacks on Kagame’s critics on foreign soil, charges Rwandan leaders have dismissed.

Kagame, who has won Western praise for rebuilding Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, denies his government ordered the attacks, but has said “traitors” should expect consequences, a remark that dismayed Western donors of the Great Lakes state.

Rwanda’s 1994 genocide saw Hutu soldiers and militia slaughter around 800,000 mostly ethnic Tutsis, while the international community largely stood by.

Critics say Kagame, who led his predominantly Tutsi rebel movement to power after the genocide and won support from Western powers as an ally in turbulent central Africa, has taken advantage of Western guilt over the genocide to increase persecution of opponents.

The United States has expressed concern at what it calls “politically motivated murders of prominent Rwandan exiles”.

South Africa has refused to extradite Nyamwasa despite a request by French authorities who say he is one of the officers who knew of Kagame’s alleged order to shoot down a plane carrying the then presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, which triggered the 1994 genocide.

Spain has also sought Nyamwasa’s extradition for war crimes and crimes against humanity in respect to the murder of Spanish citizens in Rwanda and the massacre of thousands of Hutu refugees at a football stadium.  timeslive

Senegal confirms first ebola case

BBC

Ebola outbreak: Senegal confirms first case

Health workers take off their protective suits after finishing disinfecting areas at the Pita hospital on August 25, 2014Senegal had already closed its borders to neighbouring Guinea to try to stop the spread of the virus

Senegal’s health ministry has confirmed a first case of Ebola, making it the fifth West African country to be affected by the outbreak.

Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told reporters on Friday that a young man from Guinea was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The man was immediately placed in quarantine, she added.

The current outbreak, which began in Guinea, has killed more than 1,500 people across the region.

At least 3,000 people have been infected with the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned it could get much worse and infect more than 20,000 people.

Guinea riot

Senegal had previously closed its border with Guinea in an attempt to halt the spread of Ebola, but its frontiers are porous.

A soldier from the Sierra Leone army stands near an Ebola information poster outside Kailahun, on August 14, 2014.The affected countries have been running public information campaigns to warn about Ebola

It had also banned flights and ships from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the three worst-hit countries.

But the Guinean health services reported on Wednesday “the disappearance of a person infected with Ebola who reportedly travelled to Senegal,” according to Senegal’s health minister.

A young Guinean student later turned up at a hospital in the capital, Dakar, said Ms Seck, but he did not reveal that he had had contact with Ebola patients in his own country.

Senegal, a major transit hub for aid agencies, has a large Guinean population.

Separately on Friday, residents of Guinea’s second largest city, Nzerekore, rioted after its main market was sprayed with disinfectant in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

Health workers take off their protective suits as they finish their shifts at Pita hospital in Guinea - 25 August 2014Treatment centres in the affected West African states are already said to be operating at full capacity

The exact cause of the riot is not clear – some people reportedly feared the spray would spread Ebola. Police responded by firing tear gas.

A 24-hour curfew is currently in place in the city, which is the capital of the Forest Region, where the Ebola epidemic has its epicentre.

However the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah in Guinea says the town has miraculously remained free of Ebola so far.

There have been relatively few cases in Guinea recently, with far higher infection rates in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and six deaths in Nigeria.

Map

On Thursday, the WHO unveiled a plan aimed at stopping transmission of the virus in the next six to nine months.

Among its recommendations, it said countries affected should conduct exit screening to prevent the disease from spreading to a further 10 countries.

The plan calls for $489m (£295m) to be spent over the next nine months and requires 750 international workers and 12,000 national workers across West Africa.

line

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host

BBC