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Africa

2 Arrested Over Savannah Region’s Missing Vehicle

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 21:22
Information reaching DGN Online indicates that two persons have been picked by the Northern Regional Police Command in connection with the missing Toyota hilux belonging to the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council. The suspects are Alhaji Suleimana Illiasu, and Opoku Kwadjo Evans the driver. The Northern Regional Police Public ...
Categories: Africa

NDC launches e-payment platform to raise funds

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 21:21
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has officially launched an e-payment platform to facilitate its fundraising activities. The new electronic platform, including an application interface dubbed: NDC GHANA , a website, www.ghanandc.com and a short code, 216 or 714 24 will be for special contributions and dues collection among its members ...
Categories: Africa

AFCON 2019: Alex Iwobi Eyes Nigeria Victory Over Tunisia Ahead of the third place match of the 2019

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 21:15
Ahead of the third-place match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi is eyeing a victory for the Super Eagles of Nigeria over the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia to ensure they have something to take back to Abuja. The two giants of Africa football missed out on booking a place in the grand finale aft ...
Categories: Africa

Normalization Committee Set To Rebrand GFA With New Name And Logo

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 21:15
The Ghana Football Association (GFA) Normalization Committee (NC) is reportedly planning to change the name of the association and has also proposed a new logo as part of plans to rebrand before handing over to a new administration. The NC has been put in place to reform football in the country following an investigative piece from ace J ...
Categories: Africa

Miyaki Wins Best New Music Act of The Year Award social mediaentertainment awards 2019.

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:56
Fast rising dancehall/afro pop artist, Miyaki has won his first awards. The Vision Music Group(VMG) artiste was honoured last night at the Social Media Entertainment Awards. The event which happened last night, 13th July, 2019 at the KNUSTFORD Hall saw many artistes, entertainers and their management being honoured. The ldquo;Ice Cream Ma ...
Categories: Africa

It’s A Celebration For Patoranking In “wilmer” Video

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:56
Multiple Award-winning African superstar Artist Patoranking, today unveils the latest visual from the critically acclaimed sophomore album ldquo;Wilmer rdquo; The title track of the album ldquo;Wilmer rsquo; which is an ode to his daughter features close friend and collaborator, Georgian Star Bera. The visuals of this standout fr ...
Categories: Africa

S.Africa graft inquiry adjourned following Zuma complaint

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:39
A South African panel questioning former president Jacob Zuma over alleged graft during his time in office suspended work Wednesday after he complained that the questioning was too harsh. We adjourn the proceedings until Friday morning, I am confident that there are reasonable prospects that ways could be found to address the concerns by the fo ...
Categories: Africa

French Yellow Vests protests have been an 'earthquake' for some businesses

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:39
The Yellow Vest protest movement has had a relatively moderate impact on the French economy as a whole, according to a parliamentary report, though some businesses and sectors suffered considerable - even permanent damage. The economic affairs commission of the National Assembly was tasked with calculating the direct and indirect economic impa ...
Categories: Africa

Eye on France: Transport minister to save the planet

ModernGhana News - Wed, 17/07/2019 - 20:39
In the wake of yesterday's resignation of the scandal-plagued François de Rugy, France has a new ecology minister. She's Elisabeth Borne and, along with the environment, she's going to remain in charge of the Ministry of Transport. Elisabeth Borne was the obvious choice, according to all the Paris commentators. She used to be the boss of the ...
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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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