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South Sudan NEWS Portal ®

Togo: Opposition calls for fresh anti-government march

A group of Togolese opposition parties called for a march in the capital Lome on 30 and 31 August to demand political reforms, according to a statement released Wednesday evening.

Cap 2015, a coalition of five parties, the Pan-African National Party (PNP) and another group of six parties also demanded the release of those arrested on 19 August during PNP demonstrations, and who are detained in several Cities of the country.

“In response to the expectations of the Togolese people, Cap 2015, the Groupe des 6 and the PNP agreed on Wednesday and agreed to join forces to bring about the liberation struggle of Togo,” the statement said.

“Already, Cap 2015, the Group of 6 and the PNP have made arrangements to contact other opposition political parties, civil society organizations, the Diaspora and all patriots, so that they can reinforce this great movement of national liberation, “adds the text.

These political parties are also calling for an “independent investigation to bring to justice the perpetrators and the sponsors of the violence” recorded during Saturday’s demonstrations.

These demonstrations left two people dead including one by a bullet in Sokodé, 300 km north of Lomé.

The Togolese opposition has been demanding for ten years that the Constitution – modified in 2002 – be revised, in particular to reintroduce a limitation of presidential terms to 10 years at the most.

It also requires a two-ballot system, a constitutional reform of the Constitutional Court and the Electoral Commission.

President Faure Gnassingbé succeeded his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma – who led Togo with an iron fist for 38 years – to the presidential election of 2005 with the support of the army, before being re-elected in 2010 and In 2015 during highly contested elections by the opposition.

British foreign secretary visits Libya’s Haftar, urges him to stick to ceasefire

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar during a visit to Benghazi on Thursday and urged him to stick to a ceasefire announced in Paris last month and to back U.N.-led efforts to end Libya’s conflict.

Johnson’s visit is the latest show of growing Western recognition of Haftar, who has long been supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates for his anti-Islamist stance.

Haftar is the dominant figure in eastern Libya and since early last year has spurned the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital, Tripoli, while making military gains on the ground.

The GNA, hampered by infighting and its failure to win endorsement from eastern-based factions, has largely failed to extend its authority or end the turmoil that developed after a NATO-backed uprising toppled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Since 2014 Libya has had rival governments in Tripoli and the east. It has become the main departure point for migrants catching boats to Europe and it has seen Islamic State establish and then lose a regional stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte.

International efforts to broker a political deal have resulted in two meetings between Haftar and GNA Prime Minister Fayez Seraj, one in Abu Dhabi in May and the other in Paris in July.

At the Paris meeting the two men shook hands on a ceasefire and elections next year, though Haftar quickly played down the commitments.

Johnson met Haftar during a visit to the eastern city of Benghazi, where Haftar declared victory in early July after a three-year military campaign against Islamists and other rivals.

He said he had encouraged Haftar to back new U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame’s efforts to find a political settlement for Libya by revising the 2015 deal that created GNA.

“Field Marshall Haftar has a role to play in the political process,” Johnson said in a statement. “I urged him to adhere to the commitments he made during recent meetings in Paris, to respect a ceasefire, and to work with Mr. Salame in order to amend the Libyan Political Agreement.”

Haftar, who fell out with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for two decades in the United States, remains a divisive figure in Libya. His forces have replaced civilian mayors in many eastern cities and talked of “liberating” Tripoli. Critics have said they fear a return to military rule.

On Wednesday, Johnson made his second trip to Tripoli to meet Seraj. He also travelled to Misrata, a port city and major military power that has led opposition to Haftar.

“I have encouraged all sides to resolve their differences by dialogue, not conflict, and to respect international human rights law,” Johnson said.

Since the meeting in Paris, Haftar’s Libyan National Army has threatened to advance into the eastern city of Derna, and tightened a blockade around the city.

The International Criminal Court has also issued an arrest warrant for a commander in an elite Libyan National Army unit accused of executing dozens of prisoners in the closing stages of the Benghazi campaign.

The Libyan National Army has said it is investigating the case.


South African musician Vusi Nova briefly kidnapped in Johannesburg

South African Afro-pop musician Vusi Nova was briefly kidnapped on Friday morning outside his home in Johannesburg.

Local media reports say a group of four armed men hijacked him and four other musicians when they arrived at his Melville home.

A gunshot was fired and three occupants of the vehicle were thrown out of the car leaving Vusi Nova and another musician in the vehicle, his management said.

The two were driven away by the hijackers who dropped off the other musician first and then later dropped off Vusi Nova who was reported to have been stripped of his clothes, beaten and abandoned in Soweto, Times Live reports.

His manager Lance Stehr said the other musician also had his ear partially cut off but both of the victims are safe.

The award-winning musician is reported to have been picked up by the police after they were alerted of his whereabouts.

South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on the public to with information on Vusi Nova’s hijacking to assist the police in their investigation.

“We’re relieved to hear that musician Vusi Nova is safe and call on those with information of his hijacking to assist law enforcement agencies,” he tweeted.

We’re relieved to hear that musician Vusi Nova is safe & call on those with information of his hijacking to assist law enforcement agencies.— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) August 25, 2017

Armed hijacking is rampant in South Africa with attackers sometimes killing their victims.

Vusi Nova is an award-winning musician who rose to fame in 2013 with his debut album Walk Into The Light.

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Voting extended in three Angolan provinces

Angola’s Independent Electoral Commission says voting has been extended in the provinces of Benguela and Lunda Norte after 15 polling stations could not be opened on Wednesday.

According to the spokesman of Angola’s electoral Commission, Julia Ferreira, the vote did not hold after a helicopter carrying electoral material crashed in Moxico.
Observers say voting went on hitch free in other areas.

The main opposition party UNITA has denounced alleged electoral fraud around Houambo as Angolans await results of the elections expected to be released before Friday.

Jose Eduardo Dos Santos who has ruled Angola for 38 years is stepping down with defense minister Joao Lourenco tipped favourite to win the presidential election.

Many political analysts say a defeat of the ruling party is almost unimaginable. However, a better performance by the opposition is equally expected.

IGAD urged to settle Juba airport row

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to address the disagreement between the government and the UN over protection of Juba International Airport. Over the weekend, the government grounded...

Dozens dead in two ferry accidents in Brazil

Dozens of people died when a ferry capsized in Brazil’s coastal Bahia state,
in the country’s second fatal accident this week.

Local authorities said 21 others were rescued by the navy after the accident on an early morning short route from the island of Itaparica.

Survivors say the boat capsized after it was hit by a powerful wave about 200 meters from the marine

Salvador, one of Brazil’s most famous cities, is located on a peninsula near a handful of islands used daily by commuters.

In a separate incident, a passenger boat sank on the Xingu River in the Amazon’s Para region to the north, leaving at least 21 dead with five people still missing. It is thought the ferry may have sunk after getting caught in a storm.

The Para state government said in a statement the boat was not legally authorised to carry passengers.

The Amazon waterways are one of the main forms of transport in a region which has relatively few roads.

Lion and hippo teeth seized in Senegal’s biggest ivory haul

Senegal has seized hundreds of figurines and clusters of lion and hippopotamus teeth as part of the biggest ivory haul in its history and arrested two men illegally selling the merchandise, sources involved in the operation said on Thursday.

Bones, teeth and claws of wild animals are thought to have mystical powers in West Africa and are used by local religious leaders called marabouts to make potions and talismans which are sold in fetish markets.

Increasingly, they are also shipped to buyers in China for use in traditional medicine, part of an illegal trade that has devastated Africa’s elephant and rhino populations.

While Senegal has some wild animals such as lions left, the merchants are thought to have bought most of the items in Nigeria and trafficked them from there, according to Charlotte Houpline, director of WARA, a non-governmental organisation that participated in the investigation.

The organisation is a member of a law-enforcement network in Africa called Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE).

The Senegalese water and forestry department and police collaborated with WARA in Tuesday’s operation at the Soumbedioune seaside market place which involved dozens of agents, a Senegalese official said.

The stall had 780 carved items of elephant ivory weighing a total of 20 kilograms and the other animal remains from hippos, lions and warthogs weighed 23 kilograms.

Separately in Benin, a tribunal sentenced two ivory traffickers to more than three years in prison on Thursday, the director of EAGLE’s affiliate there said.


Ethiopia arrests ‘terror suspect’ with over half a million dollars cash

Authorities at a border post in Ethiopia’s east have arrested a man transporting over half a million dollars in cash.

Head of communications in the Oromia state said police on Wednesday arrested the suspect, one Habanee Arabnuur, at the Bordede check point.

A 34-second video shared by the communications chief showed that money comprised bundles of $100 bills.

#Ethiopia- Oromia region pr head posted video saying region’s police apprehended a man traveling with US$541,671 in Bordede, east Hararghe— Addis Standard (@addisstandard) August 24, 2017

He is reported to have confirmed that he took the money from the capital Addis Ababa and that it was meant to fund the activities of anti-government elements trying to incite violence and destabilize the region.

Ethiopia’s volatile security situation led to the imposition of a state of emergency in October 2016. The six-month duration was extended after expiry by four months. The parliament voted to lift it earlier this month.

Large scale anti-government protests were the reason for the state of emergency but there are instances of armed clashes and bomb attacks that have forced western governments to issue travel advisories for specific areas.

The United States and United Kingdom have maintained their security alerts imposed since last October even though the state of emergency has been lifted.

South Africa police rearrests 6 escapee prisoners, 14 still at large

Police in South Africa have rearrested six out of twenty prisoners who escaped while they were been transported to a prison facility.

Explaining the circumstances surrounding their escape on Wednesday, a police statement read: “The prisoners escaped after a truck was ambushed at Pat Mbatha Road near South Gate train station by a group of men armed with rifles.

“A truck door lock was broken before the prisoners escaped. They were awaiting trial prisoners charged with various crimes including armed robbery, housebreaking and theft and possession of drugs. Police officers were not injured.”

They subsequently announced that they had launched a manhunt for the escapees and called on the public to volunteer information. The group of twenty (20) awaiting trial prisoners escaped  while enroute to a Johannesburg  Correctional Service from the Johannesburg Magistrate Court.

“One of the prisoners was already sentenced to 17 years imprisonment after he was convicted for an armed robbery. Several leads are being followed to arrest them,” the statement further confirmed.

South Africa’s crime statistics is one of the highest on the continent. The country has suffered high profile burglaries recently, including a heist by ‘fake police’at one of its biggest airport, the OR Tambo airport – when U.K. bound cash was stolen.

Offices of the police and that of a top judge have also been burgled in what police minister, Fikile Mbalula, described as an ‘insider job.’ People have also been shot and killed with rampant cases of car jacking.

Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Guinea face U.S. visa sanctions over deportees snub

Three African countries risk visa suspension by the United States due to their refusal to take back nationals who scheduled to be deported from the States.

West African neighbours, Guinea and Sierra Leone, are listed with East African nation Eritrea completing the list. A Sierra Leonean journalist reports that the three have been put on what the U.S. terms ‘recalcitrant nations’ list.

By implication, the U.S. could suspend the issuance of visas to its government officials as a punitive measure. The State Department, he added, is due to officially communicate the position to the respective governments.

In the case of Sierra Leone, the refusal to take back deportees was because the foreign ministry had contested their nationality status of the affected persons. A claim the State Department rejects insisting that all persons marked for deportation held valid Sierra Leonean passports.

There is a point of concern for the affected countries given that the 72nd United Nations General Assembly takes off in a little over two weeks in New York. Under the sanction regime, U.S. Homeland Security reserves the right to refuse entry to officials even on arrival in the country.

The U.S. have long threatened a number of African countries with mass deportation of their nationals. 7000 Ghanaians were threatened with deportation in April this year before 70 of them were sent back in June – all of them in handcuffs.

Ethiopia bomb blast injures 13 in Oromia region as shutdown continues

A bomb explosion in the town of Jimma, located in Ethiopia’s Oromo region has injured about 13 people, local media portals have reported.

The town’s police commander, Inspector Fadil Mohammed, also confirmed the incident. Jimma is one of the main towns in southwestern Ethiopia, a fertile region where the government in 2004 had planned to resettle hundreds of thousands of peasant farmers.

The state-affiliated Fana broadcasting corporate reported that the injured persons were receiving treatment at a specialized referral hospital. Among them were a 10-year-old boy and two women.

The attack comes on the second day of a five-day stay-at-home strike called by opposition activists. The attack is said to have occured in a busy part of the town.

The strike, which is largely being observed, is to demand the release of political prisoners detained during the state-of-emergency rule. Ethiopia was forced to impose the rule in the wake of spreading anti-government protests particularly in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

People in the region have previously staged a shutdown to protest tax hikes by the government. Police confirmed that they are on a manhunt for the attacker.

Aside closed businesses, the BBC reports that road blocks have been mounted in parts of the region affecting public transport.

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