Nairobi (Kenya) - Authorities, faced with mounting security challenges and the prospect of losing power in upcoming polls, are responding with brute force to crush terror threats and dissent in East Africa, a report by Amnesty international says. Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s regional director for the wider East African region, said “The statistics of death and the scale of violations in the region do not give much cause for optimism.”
Johannesburg (South Africa) - On 21 March 1960, the apartheid police opened fire on a crowd of protestors in Sharpeville, killing 69 people. Five decades on, post-apartheid South Africa remembers these events on Human Rights Day. The government has attempted to depoliticise the event, shifting the day from one that is associated with the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) to one that South Africans generally commemorate, irrespective of their political persuasions.
The escalation of violence by 'Islamic State' in Libya over the past month has contributed fresh horror to an already bloody conflict. However, the prospect of IS succeeding in establishing a new branch of its 'caliphate' in North Africa is far from certain. The Geneva talks process led by the United Nations in Morocco is in tatters, against a background of trademark spectacular murders of captives by IS. Yet further talks could take place.
Far North (Cameroon) - Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young people in northern Cameroon, who lack access to school and employment, are increasingly fighting alongside Boko Haram, local authorities say. “We know Boko Haram is recruiting [youth] in Cameroon,” said Colonel Joseph Nouma of the Maroua Defense Regiment, speaking from the capital city of the Far North. “When you go to border villages, all you see are women and children and old people. Young [men], between the ages of 10 and 45 are no longer there. They are across the [Nigerian] border with Boko Haram militants.”
Abuja (Nigeria) - A Swiss non-governmental advocacy organisation, the Berne Declaration, BD, has uncovered how the Congolese government is denied millions of dollars from its oil export through a shady deal involving a Swiss oil trading firm, Philia SA.The investigation also reveals Philia SA's links to the Congolese President's son, Denis Christel Sassou Nguessoa, and a Nigerian investment banker, Ikenna Okoli.
I may have been wrong about the end of President Robert Mugabe. I assumed that nothing in Zimbabwe would change until he was carried feet first out of office. In one way that is correct. He will not retire. He will try to retain the title of President of Zimbabwe until he dies. He told a recent visitor that work keeps him young and went on to say what a wonderful woman Mrs Thatcher was. Sadly, he said, she died young because she gave up office and stopped work.