Category Archives: Humanitarian Issues

UN says attack on its Bor camp like a war crime

BBC
South Sudan conflict: UN outrage at deadly Bor attack

The UN has expressed outrage at a deadly attack on one of its bases in South Sudan, saying it could “constitute a war crime”.

Thursday’s attack by armed youths on the base in Bor left at least 58 dead, including children.

Thousands of civilians are sheltering from ethnic violence there.

The UN said its peacekeepers returned fire as a mob of some 300 people forced their way into the base in an “unprovoked attack”.

Thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since fighting began in December between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.

More than one million people have fled their homes in the conflict, some to neighbouring countries.

‘Lethal force’
The UN said: “The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms these acts and underscored that attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers may constitute a war crime.”

We will use force if at all necessary to protect people whose sole purpose for being inside our base is to stay alive”

Toby Lanzer, UN

It added: “The members of the Security Council called on the government of South Sudan to immediately take steps to ensure the safety of all civilians and UNMISS Protection of Civilian sites in South Sudan, to swiftly investigate these incidents, and to bring the perpetrators of these egregious acts to justice.”

Some 100 people were also wounded in the attack and the death toll may rise, the UN said.

The senior UN official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, praised the actions of the peacekeepers from India, Nepal and South Korea.

He told the BBC: “It is the bravery of the peacekeepers that managed to repel the attack. Unfortunately we have had significant loss of life.”

Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering at the base in Bor.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody conflict to become the world’s newest state.

South Korean peacekeepers were among those who acted to protect the base

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27085778

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Kenya-ICC – court summons unwilling witnesses in Ruto trial

BBC

ICC summons reluctant Kenyan witnesses in Ruto trial

Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto (R) reacts as he sits in the courtroom before his trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (10 September 2013) William Ruto denies instigating violence that killed some 1,200 people

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has summoned reluctant witnesses to testify at the trial of Kenya’s Vice-President William Ruto.

It said the Kenyan government had an obligation to serve ICC subpoenas on the eight witnesses.

Mr Ruto denies charges of organising ethnic violence after the 2007 election in which some 1,200 people died.

The withdrawal of witnesses has affected several other ICC cases related to the Kenya poll violence.

Kenya’s violent elections

Clashes in the Mathare slum in Nairobi in January 2008

  • Then-President Mwai Kibaki declared the winner of December 2007 elections – Raila Odinga cries foul
  • Opposition protests lead to clashes with police and degenerate into ethnic violence across the country
  • More than 1,000 killed and 600,000 flee homes
  • Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was in the Kibaki camp; accused of orchestrating violence against ethnic groups seen as pro-Odinga
  • Incumbent Deputy President William Ruto was in the Odinga camp; accused of targeting pro-Kibaki communities
  • Power-sharing deal signed in April 2008 after mediation by ex-UN chief Kofi Annan
  • Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto form alliance and win March 2013 election
  • Mr Ruto’s trial started in September; Mr Kenyatta’s now due to start in October

Mr Ruto is currently the most senior serving government official to be tried by the ICC.

Last year, charges were dropped against Kenya’s former civil service head Francis Muthaura as some witnesses were too frightened to testify and another witness had recanted his testimony, the ICC said at the time.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is also due to stand trial – he too denies the allegations of orchestrating the post-poll conflict in which 600,000 people were displaced.

His trial had been delayed until October to allow the prosecution to collect more evidence following the loss of two key witnesses.

Mr Ruto is on trial alongside Joshua arap Sanga, who as head of a Kalenjin-language radio station is accused of whipping up ethnic hatred in the aftermath of the election – a charge he denies.

In a statement, the ICC said on Thursday that, according to the prosecution, the “eight witnesses are now no longer co-operating or have informed the prosecution that they are no longer willing to testify”.

It said the witnesses could appear by video-link to testify and asked Kenya’s government “to make appropriate arrangements for the security of the eight witnesses until they appear before the court”.

Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta were on opposite sides of the 2007 election, but formed an alliance for the 2013 election that propelled them to power.

The Kenyan government – backed by the African Union (AU) – has pushed for the cases to be dropped.  bbc

South Sudan – BBC says dozens killed in attack on Bor UN refugee camp

BBC
17 April 2014
South Sudan conflict: Attack on UN base ‘kills dozens’

The UN base in Bor is home to some 5,000 displaced civilians

Dozens of civilians sheltering in a UN base in the South Sudan town of Bor have been killed in an attack by armed youths, the UN says.

Toby Lanzer, the UN’s top aid official in South Sudan, told the BBC that the youths broke through the gates and opened fire.

UN peacekeepers returned fire and eventually repelled the attackers, he said.

Almost 5,000 civilians are sheltering at the base in the war-ravaged town.

Thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since fighting began in December between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.

We’ve got clear rules of engagement and we will use force if at all necessary to protect people whose sole purpose for being inside our base is to stay alive. Toby Lanzer UN assistant secretary general in South Sudan

More than one million people have been displaced in the conflict.

Mr Lanzer said a group of about 350 youths had left the centre of Bor, in Jonglei state, and approached the base on Thursday morning, allegedly wanting to present a petition.

“They managed to force the gate open, they came in and started shooting indiscriminately,” he told the BBC.

“It is the bravery of the peacekeepers that managed to repel the attack. Unfortunately we have had significant loss of life. I can’t confirm the number but I can tell you it runs into the dozens.”

Base reinforced
Mr Lanzer, the UN assistant secretary general in South Sudan, said the youths were dressed in civilian clothing and it was not clear who they were.

“It was totally unprovoked and I think that meting out violence on a group of civilians who are sheltering and seeking protection from the United Nations is not only cowardly it is abominable,” he said.

Mr Lanzer added that the UN had stepped up security following the attack.

“We have further reinforced our base and we will send very clear signals to anybody who wishes to approach us with any intent of wrongdoing,” he said.

“We’ve got clear rules of engagement and we will use force if at all necessary to protect people whose sole purpose for being inside our base is to stay alive.”

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody conflict to become the world’s newest state.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27074635

 

Jok Madut Jok, Director of the Sudd Institute, Juba, has written:

With the conflict in South Sudan entering its fifth month, it is becoming clear that the country is heading into what many hoped would not happen, that this political rivalry would not develop into a civil war. But civil war it has become, with the rebel and government forces taking turns in occupying and taking control of state capitals and towns in Upper Nile region, the latest one being the rebel occupation of Bentiu, capital of Unity State. The signs that this is a civil war include the massive displaced population, the ratio of civilian deaths versus military, the turning of towns into rubble, the bitter language of “enemies” being used by both sides, and above all the hardening of ill feelings between the Nuer and the Dinka.

The longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to resolve this conflict, to restore civility, trust and coexistence. A good example of the intensification of emotions of revenge and counter-revenge that many have gone in for is the situation that transpired on Wednesday inside the UNMISS camp in Bor town. When the rebel occupied Bentiu this was celebrated by Nuer living in UNMISS camps, even in Bor and Juba, a really badly calculated celebration on the side of the IDPs, considering that they remain in the middle of government-controlled towns where their dancing in support of rebel successes is tantamount to a suicide. In reaction, supporters of the government could unleash their frustration on the Nuer IDPs, as the incident in Bor has demonstrated.

Considering that the rebels killed over 500 civilians upon taking Bentiu, including government officials, Darfuri traders, some 250 of whom were killed inside a mosque, and any non-Nuer civilian they met in town, there is no wonder why the mood of youth in Bor may not have been so conciliatory.

Another sign of a civil war is the rather bizarre fellowships such as Khartoum and Kampala being both on the side of Juba, with Khartoum and SPLM-north both on Juba side. I had always felt that this a shaky situation that could easily unravel. I was just unsure what was going to trigger its collapse, and the rebel retake of Bentiu on Monday may well be just the trigger that would lead to the collapse of these strange alliances, as Juba is already accusing Khartoum for aiding the rebels. There was a potential for Juba to use this position to bring Kampala and Khartoum closer for the first time since 1987, but now this potential for peace has become once again a potential for continued conflict between Uganda and Sudan. We are now witnessing the morphing of South Sudanese conflict into a battle field between regional powers, hence the start of a prolonged civil war, the victims of which will be the South Sudanese civilian population. With close to 4 million people on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, many arms back in the hands of civilians, ethnic raiding between Upper Nile and Bahr el-Ghazal, refugees streaming into the neighboring countries, with the hopes and aspirations for secured livelihoods, safety and prosperity, that South Sudanese had pinned to independence having now been replaced by death and destruction, what else do we have but a civil war?  https://www.facebook.com/jok.m.jok?fref=ts

South Sudan -30 dead after Bor youths attack UNMISS camp for IDPs

Sudan Tribune
30 people killed following clashes at UN base in Jonglei

April 17, 2014 (JUBA) – At least 30 people were killed in Jonglei state capital Bor on Thursday during clashes between local youth demonstrators and peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), medical sources told Sudan Tribune.

Children play inside a camp for internally displaced persons from the Nuer ethnic group inside the UNMISS compound in Bor, the capital of South Sudan’sJonglei state, on 27 February 2014 (Photo: AFP/Jim Lopez)
The clashes occurred about 9:30am (local time) when armed youth from Bor town opened fire on the UN compound where thousands of people displaced by ongoing violence in the country (IDPs) are currently sheltering.

UNMISS health worker William Oyual said 20 people were killed when armed local youths forced their way into the compound.

Bior Kuer, who works at Bor civil hospital, said another two people died at the health facility from wounds suffered during the fighting.

According to Kuer, 14 others were wounded, with three in critical condition.

UNMISS confirmed the fighting through spokesman Joe Conteras in Juba, but has yet to provide further details.

The UN base housing an Indian contingent of peacekeepers was overrun by the youths. who opened fire indiscriminately, killing an as yet unconfirmed number of people, including women and children.

It is not yet clear what provoked the attack on the IDPs, predominantly from the Nuer ethnic group, of which former vice president turned rebel leader Riek Machar hails.

Conflicting reports suggest the incident was triggered by the recent capture of Unity state capital Bentiu by rebel forces aligned with

Sources say youth from the Dinka Bor tribe went to the UNMISS base to deliver a memo of protest demanding IDPs be relocated from the area after they were angered by celebrations inside the compound on Wednesday of Bentiu’s capture.

The South Sudan army’s (SPLA) director of information and public relations, Brig. Gen Maluak Ayuen, said the incident in Bor occurred after civil society representatives delivered a memo against Machar supporters in the UNMISS compound.

He confirmed the death of four civilians, adding that the final death toll is not yet known.

Meanwhile, Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, condemned the killing of IDPs “in the strongest terms possible”.

“Many survivors I spoke to confirmed to me that many people were killed and the base was deserted. Some of the survivors had to run to the bushes, while others made it to the other official camps of the Korean [peacekeeping] contingents,” he said.

Dak was also unable to confirm the death toll, but said eyewitnesses had described large numbers of dead bodies lying on the ground.

Officials from the Jonglei state government refused to comment when contacted by Sudan Tribune.

The incident in Jonglei delivers another blow to a ceasefire agreement signed between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces in January.

Bentiu, which has changed hands several times since conflict erupted across the country in mid-December, was recaptured on Monday by rebels, reportedly aided by Sudan’s feared Janjaweed Arab militia group.

The SPLA also claims South Sudanese rebels are receiving training inside Sudanese territory.

Both the rebels and the Sudanese army (SAF) have denied the claims.

(ST)

Nigeria – Borno local officials deny army report on release of schoolgirls

Reuters

Nigeria local authorities say most of abducted schoolgirls still missing

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Thu Apr 17, 2014  (Reuters) – Authorities in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state denied on Thursday a statement by the armed forces which had said most of the more than 100 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels had been freed in a military rescue operation.

“As I am talking to you now, only 14 of the students have returned,” an aide to Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima told Reuters, asking not to be named.

The assertion directly contradicted a statement issued late on Wednesday by national armed forces spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade in which he said only eight of the students were still missing after the military operation.

The Borno governor’s aide said the 14 girls found safe so far “escaped” and were not rescued.

An uncle of two of the teenagers who were snatched on Monday by Islamist Boko Haram militants from the government secondary school at Chibok in Borno state said the search was still going on.

“Two of my nieces, Laraba and Hauwa, are still missing, … twenty other girls from our village are missing,” Isaiah Rabo told Reuters by phone from Chibok. His daughter was among those who escaped from the abductors.

There was no immediate explanation for the contradictory versions regarding the mass abduction of the schoolgirls aged between 15 and 18, which has shocked Nigeria.

Monday’s raid on the Chibok school showed how the five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency has brought lawlessness to swathes of the arid, poor northeast, killing hundreds of people in recent months.

It occurred the same day a bomb blast, also blamed on Boko Haram, killed 75 people on the edge of the capital Abuja, stirring fears of violence spreading from the north of Africa’s No. 1 oil producer and most populous nation.

President Goodluck Jonathan was meeting his National Security Council on Thursday to review the security situation.

 

South Sudan: bad news for China as Machar attacks oil fields

African Arguments

– By Tim Steinecke

SudanOilField

The current conflict in South Sudan has now lasted nearly half a year, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese. Oil, South Sudan’s only major source of revenue, has neither been the reason for nor the focus of the conflict up to this point. But this is rapidly changing as the flow and whereabouts of the oil revenue, as well as the security of the oil fields themselves, moves to the very centre of the conflict.

Although production is only at half-capacity, oil revenue continues to fill Juba’s coffers with roughly $15 million a day. The income from the oil sector is the main financial support for the government of Salva Kiir in Juba and its armed fight against former vice president Riek Macher and rebel groups. Riek Machar has, in recent weeks, been struggling to maintain his fight against the government, in part due to a relative lack of resources available to the rebels compared to the government.

Over the last week the attacks on both the oil fields and a planned refinery in the oil-producing Unity State have intensified significantly. Attacking South Sudan’s oil sector is intended to cut off Salva Kiir’s main source of income and limit his political and military capabilities severely. It is highly unlikely that a scenario will develop in which the armed groups around Riek Machar are able to secure access to substantial oil revenues. However, threatening to, or actually disrupting oil production might be used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with Kiir’s government, as well as in the ongoing negotiation process currently underway in Addis Ababa. Disrupting oil revenues means cutting deep into the lifeline of the government in Juba as well as threatening both the profits of international oil companies and the safety of their personnel.

All of this is bad news for the main actors in South Sudan’s oil business, namely the three national oil companies; the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), and Malaysia’s Petronas. It is especially bad news for Beijing and somewhat ironic that China might find itself once again at the epicentre of the conflict in South Sudan.

China, unlike the other two international actors in South Sudan’s oil sector, has always played a more significant political and economic role in Sudanese-South Sudanese politics and economics as well as the regional oil sector. It was a result of the close ties between China and the government of Sudan (North) that rebel groups targeted Chinese companies ahead of independence in 2011. The goal was to increase their leverage over the government in Khartoum. Following independence, China and South Sudan went through a rough yet effective phase of rapprochement. Their new relationship even managed to survive the oil shutdown between January 2012 and April 2013. Then, in December 2013, the armed conflict broke out.

China’s role in the region has become more obvious over recent months. China’s special envoy to Africa, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, undertook numerous trips to the region since December, leading some international commentators to question the future of Beijing’s non-interference policy. Ambassador Zhong not only visited Juba, but also Khartoum, Addis Ababa, and Kampala, all of which Beijing has established very close relations with and all of which are key actors in South Sudan’s conflict. While China might not be ready to abandon its formal notion of non-interference, South Sudan’s conflict has shown a more confident and assertive side of Beijing’s diplomacy.

Riek Machar and his armed followers will recognise the political and economic leverage that Beijing has, not only with Salva Kiir in Juba, but throughout the region. If Machar wants to pressure Kiir into further concessions and show his remaining influence in South Sudan, targeting the oil sector and its foreign actors, such as Chinese companies and their personnel, would be a potentially effective step.

Any action involving the South Sudanese oil sector and Chinese companies will create something of a dilemma for Riek Machar. On the one hand, any action involving the oil sector and Chinese companies will improve his bargaining position and give further credence to his position as a power-broker in the country. On the other hand, Machar risks alienating China as the most important external power in the country and entire region. China remains a critical future partner should Machar’s plans succeed. But the rebel leader will also want to uphold an image of statesmanship and respectability as a  future partner for Beijing, rather than that of a dangerous outlaw.

With the rebel attack on Bentiu this week, Machar has proven that he is willing to take on South Sudan’s oil sector. His warning to foreign oil companies to vacate the region within a week seems to indicate that he is not yet ready to involve China and other foreign actors. It is a slippery slope, since Machar himself recently admitted that controlling all factions of the rebels is proving to be a difficult task.

The CNPC, as well as OVL and Petronas, have reason to be concerned for their investments, profits, and the safety of their staff. The governments in Beijing, Delhi, and Kuala Lumpur have to consider playing an even more constructive and active role in finding a solution to South Sudan’s conflict. It is in their best interests too.

Tim Steinecke is a PhD student at St Andrews University working on the influence of national oil companies on Chinese, Indian and Malaysian foreign policy towards South Sudan. You can follow him on Twitter @t_steinecke.

Nigerian military says it frees 107 kidnapped female students, 8 still missing

Premium Times

 

“With this development, the Principal of the School confirmed that only 8 of the students are still missing.”

The Nigerian military has confirmed that it has freed majority of the 129 female students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

The students were kidnapped on Monday night by suspected Boko Haram members.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, Chris Olukolade, confirmed that only 8 of the girls were still held captive by the insurgents.

Of the 129 kidnapped students, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, earlier in the day confirmed that 14 of the girls escaped from their abductors.

“More students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok have been freed this evening in the on-going search and rescue operations to free the abducted students,” Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, said. “With this development, the Principal of the School confirmed that only 8 of the students are still missing. One of the terrorists who carried out the attack on the school has also been captured.”

“Efforts are underway to locate the remaining 8 students.”

With 14 of the girls escaping on their own, and 8 still unaccounted for, it implies the military freed 107 of the kidnapped female students.  Premium Times

Last Chadian troops leave Central African Republic

BBC

CAR conflict: Chad says all its troops withdrawn

Chadian peacekeepers in CAR Chadian troops made up a sizeable part of the African Union’s contingent in CAR

Chad’s entire contingent of peacekeepers has withdrawn from the Central African Republic (CAR), a military official has confirmed.

The withdrawal followed accusations that Chad had aided Muslim rebels in CAR, a charge it denied.

Chad had about 850 soldiers in a 6,000-strong African Union (AU) force battling to end conflict between Christian and Muslim militias.

The UN Security Council voted last week to send 12,000 troops CAR.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned of “ethno-religious cleansing” in CAR, with lynchings, decapitations and sexual violence going unpunished.

France has 2,000 troops working alongside the AU force.

‘Malicious’

“The last soldier crossed the border on 13 April,” Souleyman Adam, the Chadian commander in CAR, said, AFP news agency reports.

An anti-Balaka fighter in Bangui, CAR (14 December 2013) Anti-balaka militia members say they are avenging the killing of Christians

Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno ordered the pullout after a UN investigation found that Chadian troops “opened fire on the population without any provocation” in the capital, Bangui, on 29 March.

Thirty people were killed and another 300 were injured in the shooting, according to the UN.

Chad’s foreign ministry dismissed the findings as “malicious”, and said Chadian troops were being blamed for “all the suffering in CAR”.

CAR exploded into religious conflict last year after Muslim rebel leader, Michel Djotodia, seized power in the mainly Christian country.

Mr Djotodia resigned in January under diplomatic pressure, but violence between Christian and Muslim militia groups has continued.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict and tens of thousands more have fled the country.

The UN says that about 1.3 million people – a quarter of the population – are in need of aid.

Central African Republic – thousands flee gun battle as Chadians withdraw

Reuters

Thousands flee gun battle as Chad withdraw from Central African Republic

BANGUI Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:35am BST

Internally displaced people wait for food distribution by a foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) in the town of Boda April 15, 2014. REUTERS-Goran Tomasevic
People sit on a car as they drive near Bangui April 14, 2014. REUTERS-Goran Tomasevic

1 of 4. Internally displaced people wait for food distribution by a foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) in the town of Boda April 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic

Related Topics

BANGUI (Reuters) – Thousands fled a gun battle between Chadian troops escorting a convoy of Muslim civilians and local militia in Central African Republic, Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Tuesday, as Chad completed a withdrawal of soldiers from its violence-ravaged neighbour.

Central African Republic has descended into chaos since the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition seized power a year ago. Its abuses on the majority Christian population triggered waves of revenge attacks, leading to thousands of deaths and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, including the majority of the country’s Muslims.

The Chadian troops were escorting the last 540 Muslim residents of the north-western town of Bossangoa to Gore in Chad when militia attacked the convoy at night on April 11 as it passed through Boguila, around 310 miles (500 km) north of the capital Bangui.

The Chadian soldiers fought back, and three wounded were later admitted to MSF facilities in Boguila and Paoua.

“We witnessed the majority of the population fleeing in panic to the bush,” Stefano Argenziano, MSF head of mission in the country, said in a statement on Tuesday, estimating that around 7,000 people were displaced in the clash.

“We are worried that the gun battle may have resulted in more people being injured. For the moment we cannot access the area to verify if this is the case and evacuate the wounded,” Argenziano said.

The United Nations said earlier this month it was trying to urgently evacuate 19,000 Muslims from Bangui and other parts of Central African Republic who are surrounded by anti-balaka Christian militia threatening their lives.

Chadian troops, at the heart of African efforts to stabilise the country, have escorted convoys carrying tens of thousands of Muslims.

N’Djamena began withdrawing its troops from Central African Republic’s African Union peacekeeping mission, known as MISCA, earlier this month, however, following a series of violent incidents including an attack on a market that killed 30 civilians.

MISCA officers confirmed on Tuesday that Chad had competed its withdrawal and the AU mission and soldiers from a French intervention force had replaced them.

“They left with all their kit without waiting to be relieved,” said a MISCA commander whose Congolese troops had replaced the Chadians in the towns of Kabo and Batangafo.

The United Nations Security Council last week authorized the creation of a nearly 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic in a bid to end the violence. The U.N. operation will assume authority on September 15 from the 5,600-strong MISCA force. Reuters

 

Tanzania – Dar floods kill 40 and strand hundreds

Tanzania Daily News/allAfrica

Tanzania: Hundreds Stranded At Ubungo Terminal

Photo: Emmanuel Gbemudu/IRIN

Floods cut off Dar es Salaam from other parts of the country (file photo).

HUNDREDS of passengers travelling upcountry were still stranded at the Ubungo Bus Terminal in Dar es Salaam yesterday following the weekend downpour that washed away bridges, literary cutting off the country’s commercial capital from other parts of the country.

Major bridges connecting the city and the regions crumbled under the pressure of the rains, which also flooded roads and villages.

They include the Ruvu Bridge along the Morogoro- Dar es Salaam Highway, Mpiji Bridge along the Dar es Salaam- Bagamoyo Road as well as Mzinga Bridge that connects Dar es Salaam and the southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara and some parts of Coast region.

The Director-General of Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), Dr Agnes Kijazi, said the rains will continue although not in the same degree of ferocity as those witnessed over the weekend.

“Our earlier caution for heavy rains ends today (yesterday) but we are still working around the clock to examine the situation,” the TMA boss said.

According to the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Saidi Meck Sadiki, as of yesterday 13 people were confirmed dead as a result of the floods caused by the rains.

A visit by this newspaper at the terminal witnessed hapless passengers who were unsure of when they would make it to their destinations, as authorities have banned any passenger bus to leave the terminal due to the destruction of infrastructure.

As of Monday afternoon, only passenger buses and small vehicles were allowed to cross the Ruvu Bridge, which was earlier impassable as water had overflown it.

The Officer-Commanding Station (OCS) at the UBT, Inspector of Police Yusuf Kamotta, told journalists that as of 1:00pm on Monday there was no bus, which was allowed to leave the terminal.

“Only buses and small vehicles that were stuck at Ruvu were allowed to pass over the bridge and bring their passengers to Dar es Salaam after they were stranded there for the past few days,” Inspector Kamotta explained.

The buses started arriving at the terminal at mid-day yesterday. Some drivers of the buses tried to persuade Inspector Kamotta to allow them carry passengers and continue with the journey but he was adamant.

There were also passengers who wanted assistance from the police to have their fare refunded after they booked buses to travel by unscrupulous touts, only to learn later that there would be no journey after all.

Mr Sadiki was optimistic, however, that transport to upcountry regions would resume in the near future as the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) was working to repair damages at the affected bridges.

The Territorial Traffic Police Commander, Mr Mohamed Mpinga, said authorities had decided to stop vehicles from crossing over the Ruvu Bridge after it was deemed unsafe.

He explained further that efforts were underway to fill the affected area with boulders to make it stronger to allow vehicles to cross over the bridge safely.