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S. Sudan, Zimbabwe to deepen ties through education

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 18/09/2019 - 08:11

September 17, 2019 (JUBA) - South Sudan and Zimbabwe have agreed to deepen relations through exchange programs in education.

Students take part in an English class at a government school in Bentiu on November 13, 2010 (AFP)

Speaking to reporters in the capital, Juba on Tuesday, the higher education minister, Yien Oral Lam Tut thanked the Zimbabwean government an initiative that has seen several South Sudanese students enroll in various universities in the South African nation.

"Our bilateral relations will continue and our universities will still be linked with universities of Zimbabwe. South Sudan's higher education is still an eight-year-old baby that is still moving ahead but we are pleased that our counterparts and friends are still assisting," he said.

On Monday, a high-level delegation from Harare led by Zimbabwe's vice president, Kembo Mohadi arrived in the capita, Juba and held discussions with officials centered on issues like the revitalized peace deal implementation, agriculture, education and foreign relations.

Victor Muzvidziwa, a representative of the Zimbabwean higher education minister, said his country was willing to help train and build capacity of South Sudanese through educational exchanges.

"We hope to even deepen the exchange relations between our two nations and to ensure that as we travel this journey, we are co-partners in ensuring that education will make a big difference to the industrialization and modernization of our nations," he remarked.

This year, nearly 70 South Sudanese students have graduated from various Zimbabwe universities and 79 are still pursuing their studies.

South Sudan, a nation hit by civil war since 2013, has one of the world's highest illiteracy rates.


Categories: Africa

Hamdok visits Egypt Wednesday as his meeting with French president postponed

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 18/09/2019 - 07:58

September 17, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will travel to Cairo Wednesday, while his visit to Paris, scheduled for Thursday, was postponed to a later date

Sudan's new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok speaks during a press conference, in Khartoum on August 21, 2019 (AFP Photo)

Cairo will be the second town that the head of the Sudanese transitional government visits after his two-day trip to Juba.

Minister of Cabinet Affairs Omer Monis said that Hamdok's trip to Egypt comes within the framework of strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing cooperation with its neighbours.

Despite the border dispute, the two countries seek to open a new page and develop bilateral relations and boost economic cooperation. Sudanese and Egyptian officials vowed to bring the relationship between the countries back to the time before al-Bashir's regime.

The Sudanese premier was supposed to stay one day in Cairo and to be in Paris on Thursday morning for a symbolic meeting with President Emmanuel Macron who wanted to show his country support to the Sudanese revolution.

But reliable sources told the Sudan Tribune that Macron on Tuesday has requested from Khartoum to postpone Hamdok's visit until a later date due to an unforeseen and emergent situation.

The visit, however, will take place very soon in the upcoming days most likely after the end of the UN General Assembly meetings, said the source.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Khartoum on Monday for talks with Sudanese officials and pledged 60 million Euros in aid to the east African country. Also, he promised to support Hamdok' government in its efforts to end European and U.S. sanctions, cancel Sudan foreign debt.

Hamdok was expected to request Macron to support his efforts to achieve peace in Sudan and to encourage leaders of Darfur armed groups residing in France to join the negotiating table.

The Elysee Palace announced Monday that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet on Thursday with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who will stop in Paris before to travel to New York to take part in the UN General Assembly.

The prime minister will lead high-level Sudanese delegation to the New York meetings and is expected to deliver Sudan's speech on 27th this month.

"Sudan's participation in UN General Assembly meetings is the first step to introduce the county with a new face and to engage with the international community positively as a leading and responsible country," said Monis.


Categories: Africa

President Kiir meets Eritrea's special envoy to South Sudan

Sudan Tribune - Wed, 18/09/2019 - 07:14

September 17, 2019 (JUBA) – South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and the Eritrean special envoy to South Sudan, Osman Salih held a meeting in the South Sudanese capital, Juba on Tuesday.

President Salva Kiir and the Eritrean special envoy to South Sudan, Osman Salih at State House in Juba, Sept, 17, 2019 (PPU)

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, South Sudan's deputy Foreign Affairs minister, Deng Dau Deng said Osman handed over to the South Sudanese leader letter from his counterpart Isaias Afwerki.

The Eritrean official, according to the minister also appreciated the role Kiir played in ending the political crisis in neighbouring Sudan.

On his part, however, the Eritrean special envoy, said a wide range of bilateral issues were discussed between Juba and Asmara.

In August last year, President Kiir visited Asmara and held talks with Afwerki during which the latter expressed his support to South Sudan and urged Kiir to enhance relations with the Horn of Africa countries.

The two-day visit, observers said, was seen as a confirmation of a new dynamic in the Horn of Africa region following last year's reconciliation between Addis Ababa and Asmara.


Categories: Africa

DR Congo Ebola outbreak now a Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 21:29
The second worst Ebola outbreak of all time, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was officially declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Wednesday, with the head of the World Health Organization calling for countries to ‘take notice and redouble our efforts”.
Categories: Africa

Ebola emergency meeting to go ahead as UNICEF warns of higher risk to very youngest children

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 16/07/2019 - 17:13
Ahead of a key expert meeting convened by the United Nations to decide whether to declare the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) an international health emergency, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF warned that the epidemic “is infecting more children” than earlier outbreaks.  
Categories: Africa

‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 15/07/2019 - 22:48
Deadly, attacks on health workers in Ebola-hit areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including one at the weekend that left two dead, are an indication that combating the disease outbreak will require far greater international support, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Monday. 
Categories: Africa

With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme

UN News Centre - Africa - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 22:20
Access to education in Somaliland is extremely limited, with more than 50 per cent of children in Somaliland out of school. In an effort to address the problem, the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, has partnered with the government, and the global fund Education Cannot Wait, to launch a programme designed to help children affected by ongoing crises in the country.
Categories: Africa

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

UN News Centre - Africa - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 18:57
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the terrorist attack that took place on July 12 in southern Somalia. 
Categories: Africa

Pledging ongoing UN support during visit to cyclone-hit areas, Guterres praises resilience of Mozambicans

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 22:25
Determined children learning in classes without roofs, resilient women farming without tools or much land, and grateful people who survived a cyclone that destroyed their livelihoods; on his final day in Mozambique, UN chief António Guterres witnessed first-hand the inner strength and resilience of the storm-ravaged country's people.
Categories: Africa

In aftermath of Libya airstrike deaths, UN officials call for refugees and migrants to be freed from detention

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 17:07
“As a priority, we ask that 5,600 refugees and migrants currently held in centres across Libya be freed in an orderly manner and their protection guaranteed” the UN refugee and migrants chiefs said in a joint statement, released on Friday.
Categories: Africa

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 11/07/2019 - 21:33
Arriving in Mozambique to express solidarity and see for himself the damage wrought by two back-to-back cyclones earlier this year, UN chief António Guterres on Thursday said “undeniable moral authority” lay with its people, who had borne the brunt of a disaster linked inexorably to climate change, and a warming world. 
Categories: Africa

Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 11/07/2019 - 15:10
Health workers have started a massive measles vaccination campaign in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a region that’s in the grip of the second deadliest Ebola virus outbreak on record. 
Categories: Africa

Interview: Inside What Was Ethiopia’s Jail Ogaden

HRW / Africa - Thu, 11/07/2019 - 11:03

Several months later, in August 2018, the Somali Region’s president at the time, Abdi Illey – was arrested. As president of the Somali region, he was ultimately responsible for regional security forces in the region. He was replaced by Mustafa Omar, a long-time activist and UN worker. Mustafa’s appointment as president heralded in a new era of human rights reform and hope in the Somali Region, and one of the first steps as president was to shut down the notorious Jail Ogaden. Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher Felix Horne speaks to Audrey Wabwire about his recent visit to the Somali Region and the now-empty prison, and the Somali region’s path towards healing.

Why did you go to Jail Ogaden?

For years, Human Rights Watch had received reports about torture, rape, and massacres in the Somali Region. One of the commonalities in the stories we heard was that many of those who were arbitrarily arrested and tortured ended up in Jail Ogaden. So, we decided to focus a major research project on documenting abuses in Jail Ogaden. When our report was released in July 2018, our research findings about the suffering in the jail were part of a chain of events that led to the closure of the prison, the release of all its political prisoners, and other positive changes in the Somali Region.


Front gate of Jail Ogaden, May 2019. 

© 2019 Felix Horne/Human Rights Watch

Now, after years of being not permitted to enter Ethiopia to conduct research, Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups can visit, although acquiring visas remains a challenge. During one of my first trips back to the country, I wanted to get to the Somali Region, visit Jail Ogaden, and see firsthand the prospects for justice and accountability and how the former political prisoners are trying to heal from past abuses.

What did you see at the prison?

Walking through the front gate of the prison was one of those moments exemplifying the changes we’ve seen in Ethiopia – a year ago, this would have been impossible. It was very emotional for me, as the faces of torture victims rushed through my mind. I kept replaying the stories they told me as I walked around the jail. It was quite something seeing this jail closed and empty, even as the evidence of its terrifying past could be seen all around.

The rooms were much brighter than I expected. I was told that, when the jail was still open, prisoners were told to decorate the rooms with colored scraps of paper to make it look like they were “happy” ahead of visits by dignitaries, including Ethiopia’s Human Rights Commission. I saw a lot of these scraps of paper still hanging on the ceilings. I also saw lots of graffiti on the walls with prisoners’ names and dates. Much potential evidence was strewn about. There were prisoners’ diaries and wardens’ logs just lying on the ground. Goats were walking around, grazing on grass and whatever else they could find.

I went to Room 8. Many former prisoners had told me how this room was specially set aside for torture and solitary confinement. It’s a small dark musty room with a damp air. It was chilling being in there and thinking about all the stories I had heard.


View of Jail Ogaden from one of the guard towers looking east, May 2019.

© 2019 Felix Horne/Human Rights Watch

Many people we interviewed spoke of a place in the jail where people were buried. When I went to that area, I saw lots of bones; some were definitely animal bones, but there were all kinds of bones there and I wondered whether the remains of former prisoners could have been there as well.

What happened to those running Jail Ogaden who oversaw the torture?

Some of those responsible for the abuses at Jail Ogaden are now in prison and facing justice. Others are on the run. When I was in the Somali Region last month, I interviewed Shamaahiye Sheikh Farah, commonly known as “Shamaahiye,” one of the former prison heads of Jail Ogaden and a colonel in the abusive Liyu police. I met Shamaahiye at another prison in Jijiga, capital of the Somali region, where he has been held since late 2018. He was tried and convicted of involvement in the deaths of several Jail Ogaden prisoners. He is now appealing his conviction and 18-year-prison sentence for his actions in Jail Ogaden.

It was quite emotional for me to remember all the victims describing the torture they endured, and then to see Shamaahiye in prison and in court. There’s a sense of justice. But disappointingly, media and civil society actors were not present at the court proceedings, and many people do not know about these arrests or proceedings. With many victims unaware that these trials are ongoing, it is a missed opportunity for their healing and reconciliation.

How did you conduct the research on Jail Ogaden given that Ethiopia would not permit access?

Between 2016 and 2018, we conducted interviews in ten countries with over 70 victims, perpetrators, and witnesses of torture and other abuses in Jail Ogaden, many of whom had fled Ethiopia after leaving Jail Ogaden. One of the things that sets this prison apart is that some of the torture was carried out in front of other prisoners, so there are many hundreds of witnesses for some of the torture, making it relatively easy to corroborate the incidents we investigated. We also obtained 25 hours of video footage from a 2011 Somali Regional government assessment of prison guard performance in the jail where prison guards described what they have done.

July 4, 2018 Video Video: Torture in Somali Region Prison in Ethiopia

Prison officials and security forces have arbitrarily detained and tortured prisoners for years in the notorious regional prison known as Jail Ogaden. Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, should urgently order investigations into the horrific situation, and the government should ensure regional security forces and officials are held accountable.

We used satellite imagery to help interviewees identify different areas, such as where food was cooked or where women were held. This allowed me to visualize dimensions, what the prison looked like, and the general layout without actually being able to visit.

Jail Ogaden is now closed and there’s been some progress towards accountability for past crimes, but what’s next for the Somali Region?

It’s a good question. The Somali Region is trying to come to terms with its abusive past and is asking all the right questions about how to have meaningful accountability and justice on the one hand, with the need for reconciliation and healing on the other.

There’s are also the formidable challenge of reforming the security forces and rebuilding institutions like the judiciary that for years were suppressed or subject to politicized appointments. Positive steps have been taken in reforming the abusive Liyu police, although it’s still early days yet. The government’s commitment to these initiatives is commendable.


Report author with survivors of Jail Ogaden who were released in the days following HRW’s July 2018 report on Jail Ogaden.

© 2019 Felix Horne/Human Rights Watch

There also hundreds of thousands of conflict-related IDPs in the region, primarily those who fled clashes in 2017 and 2018 along the border between the Somali Oromia regions. Some fled because Oromo mobs burned their houses, or their family members were slaughtered by these mobs, sometimes with the collaboration of regional or local security forces. They cannot just return home.

In some parts of the country, the federal government is pressuring IDPs to return home. IDPs we spoke to in the Somali Region were quite clear that they did not want to return to their former homes in Oromia because they still feel unsafe, and they believe those responsible for the atrocities they fled are still walking freely. With over one million IDPs in the region due to the ongoing drought, and forecasts of more droughts, the humanitarian challenges in the region remain daunting.

And Jijiga and surrounding areas are still recovering from the awful violence of August 2018 when Somali youth loyal to then president Abdi Illey targeted non-Somalis. Churches were burned, non-Somalis were driven out of Jijiga, and at least 15 civilians, likely more, were killed. Many have returned to Jijiga but not all.

Federal, regional, and local elections are scheduled for May 2020, and while it’s not yet clear what role the Somali Region’s opposition Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) might play in elections, it is an obvious milestone for the Somali Region’s reform trajectory. ONLF was previously considered a terrorist organization by the federal government, but following a peace agreement in October 2018, they were removed from that list, have been largely disarmed, and have been welcomed back into the Somali Region where they operate freely.

So, the Somali Region government has taken a number of steps to improve the protection of rights and justice, but considerable challenges remain.

Categories: Africa

‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 10/07/2019 - 22:13
As UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrives in the southern African nation of Mozambique on Thursday for a two-day visit, he will be surveying the damage wrought by the deadly back-to-back cyclones earlier this year. UN News reports from the ground, on some of the extraordinary stories of loss, courage, survival and recovery, that have defined the months since then.
Categories: Africa

‘Beyond reasonable doubt’, international court convicts notorious DR Congo rebel leader of war crimes

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 08/07/2019 - 20:05
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, found former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda guilty “beyond reasonable doubt”, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, in the volatile Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between 2002 and 2003.
Categories: Africa

Africa Cup of Nations: Madagascar 2-2 DR Congo (Madagascar win 4-2 on pens)

BBC Africa - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 21:00
Africa Cup of Nations debutants Madagascar produce another upset to beat DR Congo 4-2 on penalties and secure a quarter-final spot.
Categories: Africa

Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Mikel Obi admits this will be his last tournament

BBC Africa - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 19:45
Captain John Mikel Obi confirms that Egypt 2019 will be his last Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria and vows to help the team 'finish with the trophy.'
Categories: Africa

Nigeria signs African free trade area agreement

BBC Africa - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 17:27
The African Union estimates that the agreement could boost intra-African trade by 60% by 2022.
Categories: Africa

Joe Kadenge: Kenyan football mourns death of legendary player

BBC Africa - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 17:06
Kenya's Football Federation (FKF) pays tribute to the country's legendary player Joe Kadenge who has died at the age of 84.
Categories: Africa

Desabre leaves post as Uganda coach by mutual consent

BBC Africa - Sun, 07/07/2019 - 14:46
Sebastien Desabre leaves his post as Uganda coach by mutual consent after the team's Africa Cup of Nations exit, the country's football federation announces.
Categories: Africa