Category Archives: International

Warring Sudanese Factions Reach Peace Accord

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President and leader of rebel troops Reik Machar shake hands in 2015.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice President and leader of rebel troops Reik Machar shake hands in 2015.

By Chuma Kisu

According to international reports South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Rich Machar signed a peace agreement to end the young country’s brutal, almost five year civil war.

The deal, made in Sudan’s capital Khartoum was signed in the presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

After the ceremony, Machar said to reporters that the ceasefire would end the war and open a new page for South Sudan.

The agreements’ provisions include the ending of hostilities, opening routes of humanitarian aid, the release of political detainees and other prisoners, and, within four months, the formation of a unity government to govern for a period of 36 months until free and fair elections are held.

An additional part of the deal also allowed members of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to deploy forces to enforce the ceasefire. This provision has been very unpopular amongst the opposition factions in South Sudan; many of whom believe this allows Sudan and other states to meddle in South Sudanese affairs.

The latest peace agreement engendered cautious optimism. The last agreement in August 2015 fell apart completely when intense fighting erupted in the capital Juba in July 2016. Just last week, the first round of talks mediated by the reformist Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, failed to resolve disagreements.

In addition there are many factions that were not included in the agreement, and dealing with their contentions will be a major challenge to implement the deal.

The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013, when President Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup d’etat against him. The political crisis fomented a serious conflict with an ethnic element. Forces largely rallied along tribal lines between Kiir’s predominant Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer.

The war has ravaged South Sudan’s agriculture, destroyed its economy, and displaced approximately 3 million people. According to the international humanitarian group CARE, 7 million people of the country’s 12 million are in need of food aid.

Not only has the country been put on the brink of famine, but it has created the largest refugee crisis in Africa since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Though it is very difficult to accurately gauge due to conditions on the ground, the civil war has killed an estimated 50,000 to 300,000.

Ethiopia and Eritrea Renew Ties

"Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrean President  Isaisa Afwerki meet in historic gathering in the Eritrean capital to improve relations."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrean President Isaisa Afwerki meet in historic gathering in the Eritrean capita.

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

According to international reports, Eritrea and Ethiopia are set to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties after almost 20 years of hostilities.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaia Afwerki made the announcement during a landmark meeting in the latter’s capital Sunday, July 8, 2018.

It is the first time in almost two decades the leaders from the two East African neighboring nations met to discuss normalizing relations.

Reports indicate that peace between Ethiopian and Eritrean people will make the Horn of Africa region an area of both peace and development.

Relations between the two countries were severed following a border dispute in which tens of thousands of people were killed in the late 1990s.

The leaders also announced they would re-open their embassies.

“If there is peace between Ethiopian and Eritrean people, the Horn of Africa region will be a region of peace and development. Our people who live scattered as refugees in humiliation will come back with dignity. Our citizens will not be sold and exchanged like commodities,“ Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed said.

“Congratulations Dr. Abiy. We are together in the future journey. We will confront challenges and opportunities together and win together. Above all congratulations to the people of Ethiopia and to the people of Eritrea,” said Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki.

The talks were the product of an unexpected peace initiative by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister which could transform the Horn of Africa region.

Direct international telephone connection was also restored on Sunday between the two countries “for the first time after two decades,” an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s chief of staff wrote the statement on Twitter after a summit between Ahmed and Afkwerki began.

Deadly Fire Kills 15 In Kenyan Market

By Chuma Kisu

Thursday's tragic market fire in Nairobi killed at least fifteen people.

Thursday’s tragic market fire in Nairobi killed at least fifteen people.

According to international reports a deadly fire swept through the largest open-air market in Kenya Thursday, June 28, 2018. It is reported that the fire killed at least 15 people, including five children. It also injured 70 others according to Kenyan officials.

“We have lost 15 people from this tragedy this morning,” said regional coordinator Kangethe Thuku on Thursday.

“We’re yet to establish the cause of this fire,” he said, which is believed to have started in a timber yard.

Search and rescue efforts have continued for at least nine bodies that remain in the smoldering ruins of the market’s furniture section.

Traders and nearby residents described fleeing the area as buildings collapsed.

The fire broke out at 1am in Nairobi’s Gikomba market, with local fire authorities containing the blaze within a couple of hours, as some victims were ferried to Kenyatta National Hospital in the capital.

The hospital’s acting CEO Dr Thomas Mutie said that 28 males, 42 females and 17 children had been admitted to the hospital so far.

“Most of the patients have been seen in and discharged … and are being managed for anxiety, inhalation or burns,” he said.

“Five of them are severe inhalation or burns and are being taken care of in ICU.”

He said all admitted burn patients had suffered burns to at least 30 percent of their body. “We want to assure the public that we’re taking the best care of the patients,” he said.

Officials have set up a post for those seeking information about family members, with patient visits limited to prevent the spread of infection.

Local Kenyan station NTV said hundreds of thousands of Kenyan shillings worth of property had been destroyed, with the exact figure yet to be determined.

This is not the first loss for market traders, who have experienced at least six major fires at the market in the last eight years.

Traders speaking to the media on Thursday morning said they’d yet to receive compensation for previous damages, and now faced further losses.

Egypt Deploys Women Police Officers

By Shujaa Kwanzaa

Egyptian Female Police Officers patrol streets.

Egyptian Female Police Officers patrol streets.

According to international news reports Egypt has intensified deployment of female police officers on Monday, June 18, 2018.

These officers are deployed to combat complaints of sexual harassment on the streets and other public areas, during the Eid al-Fitr holiday. This holiday marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

According to reports, the policewomen are highly trained to confront harassers and bring offenders to police stations for legal action. They have been trained as well to deal with various forms of law enforcement.

The female officers were heavily used at several places in the capital where sexual harassment could possibly occur due to overcrowding, such as the ticket windows of parks and cinemas, Corniche al-Nile and downtown Cairo.

According to reports, Brigadier Nashwa Mahmoud Director of the Department on Violence Against Women heightened the presence of female police officers in the vicinity of parks, amusement parks, cinemas, downtown Cairo, and the places of gatherings to thwart any harassment attempts, in coordination with a large number of women’s rights associations and the National Council for Women (NCW).