Comoros: China, Comoros to Facilitate Pragmatic Cooperation

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) holds talks with visiting Comoros Foreign Affairs Minister Souef Mohamed El Amine in Beijing, capital of China, July 9, 2018. El Amine will attend the eighth ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) scheduled for July 10. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) — China and Comoros Monday vowed to strengthen mutual political trust and pragmatic cooperation.

The pledge was made by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and visiting Comoros Foreign Affairs Minister Souef Mohamed El Amine, who will attend the eighth ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) scheduled for July 10.

China believes all countries are equal members of the international community, regardless of their size, strength, or wealth, Wang said.

He called on the two sides to coordinate closely in international affairs and foster a paradigm of relations of equal treatment and win-win cooperation between big and small countries.

Saying China will attach more importance to the cooperation demands of small and medium-sized countries, Wang expressed China’s willingness to support Comoros in its bid for sustainable self-development.

For the common interests of both China and Comoros, Wang called for continued mutual understanding and support on issues concerning the two countries’ core interests and major concerns.

El Amine said his country maintains the One China principle and supports China to achieve complete national reunification.

He thanked China for its long-term support and assistance in Comoros’ development, and expressed his hope to push forward bilateral cooperation in infrastructure construction and human resources development.

Muslim Religious Leader Who Saved 300 Christians Fleeing Deadly Radicals to Receive Nigerian Honor

83-year-old Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, A Nigerian imam from the village of Nghar in Plateau State, is set to receive on Wednesday a national honor from President Muhammadu Buhari for his actions on June 24.

“I hid the women in my personal house and after that, I took the men into the mosque and hid them there,” Abubakar explains in an article in The Eagle online.

The Christians, who have been slaughtered in the mass this past year in Fulani raids, sought refuge from the armed radicals, who invaded 15 communities on that day.

When the Fulani arrived at Abubakar’s house, however, the imam claimed that the people inside were all Muslims, leading the herdsmen to move their search elsewhere.

Incident earlier reported that the herdsmen strongly suspected that the Christians had been sheltered by the imam, but still he did not allow them entry, despite fears they might burn down the mosque and his house.

Abubakar even prostrated himself on the floor in front of the radicals, crying and wailing, demanding that they leave.

And while the Fulani did agree to leave, they set two nearby churches on fire.

A Muslim religious leader will be honored for saving close to 300 Christians from Fulani herdsmen who wanted to kill them.

Breaking: Kwara Assembly Speaker, others defect to PDP

The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Ali Ahmad, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Mr Ahmad defected alongside other members of the Kwara state assembly on Wednesday.

His defection is coming less than 24 hours after Senate President Bukola Saraki and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed also defected to the opposition party.

“Today, as I and other members of the Kwara State House of Assembly dump the APC for good, I heaved a sigh of relief,” Mr Ahmad posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

“In 2014, I was terribly sad leaving PDP reluctantly with 36 other members of the House of Representatives. Today, I am the happiest leaving the APC for good.”

Details later…

POLITICSBREAKING: APC spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi confirms exit from party

Despite insisting he would not leave the ruling party through the backdoor on Tuesday night, Abdullahi took to his Twitter page to confirm his exit on Wednesday.

“In view of recent political developments in the country and within the All Progressives Congress (APC), I have decided to resign my position as the National Publicity Secretary as well as my membership of the party with effect from today.

“In the last few days, I have had to endure the flagrant usurpation of my role as the spokesman of the party in a manner that I consider unbefitting of a ruling party and inconsistent with my ethical standards.

“I have served the APC honestly and to the best of my ability and when I stood for and won my election at the last convention, it was a keen desire to continue to do so.

“However, in a situation whereby my loyalty is constantly brought into question; my subordinates deployed to subvert my office; and my views constantly second-guessed on the basis of my political affiliation, it has become imperative for me to review my position,” he wrote.

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF wins majority

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party appears set to win a majority in parliament after capturing 109 seats so far in national elections, the country’s electoral commission announced Wednesday.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has won only 41 seats so far. A total of 210 seats were contested.

Zanu-PF is led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule ended under the pressure of a military takeover in November 2017.

According to the electoral commission, 70% of registered voters cast ballots.

The commission has said it would only announce the result of the presidential vote once all 10,985 polling stations verified their results.

Both Mnangagwa and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa hinted they were ahead on Tuesday in the country’s first election without the name of former ruler Robert Mugabe on the ballot.

Mnangagwa, 75, who took power after helping to orchestrate a de facto coup against Mugabe in November, said he was receiving “extremely positive” information on the election. Meanwhile, Chamisa, 40, said his party was poised for victory.

Commission Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba told reporters in Harare on Tuesday that the commission was confident there was no cheating or rigging in the largely peaceful vote. Observers were present to monitor the election for the first time in years, including 20 teams from the US Embassy in Harare.

A report published by African Union observers Wednesday said that “by and large, the process was peaceful and well-administered

Chamisa — the country’s youngest ever presidential candidate — who took over the MDC leadership following the death of its founder Morgan Tsvangirai in February, tweeted on Tuesday that his party had done “exceedingly well.”

During the campaign, Chamisa aimed to appeal to younger voters with promises of electoral reform, tax cuts and jobs.

While his message may strike a chord, he does not have the same level of backing from the security forces or military who oversaw Mugabe’s departure.

But both men face a mighty challenge to help the country recover from the dire economic situation that was inflicted upon it by Mugabe’s rule

Russian Film Director Killed in Africa, while filming documentary

Russian Director, Journalists Killed in Africa While Filming Documentary

Alexander Rastorguev

YouTube screengrab

Filmmaker and Putin critic Alexander Rastorguev alongside cameraman Kirill Radchenko and reporter Orhan Dzhemal were reportedly making a film about Russian mercenaries operating in the Central African Republic.

Alexander Rastorguev, a prominent Russian documentary filmmaker and critic of President Vladimir Putin, was killed in the Central African Republic alongside cameraman Kirill Radchenko and reporter Orhan Dzhemal while filming a new documentary.

The news was reported by several Russian sources. The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the death of three people with identification documents that belonged to Rastorguyev, Dzhemal and Radchenko.

The three men were found dead outside the city of Sibut, located 188 kilometres north of the Central African

Rastorguyev, Dzhemal and Radchenko were reportedly making a documentary about Wagner group, a Russian private military firm, for the Investigation Control Center, an investigative journalism organization, founded by exiled former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Wagner contractors reportedly carried out clandestine military operations in Syria and East Ukraine on the Kremlin’s orders, but Russian authorities have denied that.

Wagner is reportedly tied to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Putin, CBS News reported earlier. Prigozhin has also been linked to a Russian trolling factory that allegedly targeted American voters in the 2016 presidential campaign.

While details about the killing of the three Russians are still sketchy, Sibut’s mayor Henri Depele was quoted by Reuters as saying that they were ambushed by armed men who opened fire on their vehicle and that their driver survived.

Rastorguev was known for documentaries that were highly critical of Putin’s regime, such as Srok The Term,which chronicled the Russian opposition movement.

Buea ‘peaceful’ protest march ongoing(pictures)

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The Mayor of Buea, Ekema Patrick, dressed in black is at the Independence Square with dozens of Buea citizens including council workers ready to take part in the “peaceful” protest as earlier announced.

Reports from Buea say the Mayor is currently at the Governor’s office with thousands of Buea residents. They marching against recent insecurity unrest in Buea and up coming Anglophone conference scheduled to take place in Buea.

Mayor Ekema is quoted to have informed South West Governor, Bernard Okalai Bilai, that the people of the South West  are determined to be freed from threats propagated by extremists, especially those abroad.

Burundi reversing school pregnancy ban not enough to protect girls – campaigners

Campaigners say tens of thousands of girls in Africa are ostracised or shamed for becoming pregnant every year, despite most having no sex education.

NAIROBI, July 31

– Burundi’s rollback on banning pregnant girls and expectant teen fathers from attending school is a victory for child rights, but steps must be taken to curb sexual exploitation and teen pregnancies, campaigners said on Tuesday.

Burundi’s education ministry on Friday reversed a month-old policy under which pregnant teens and young mothers, as well as the boys who made them pregnant, no longer had the right to be part of the formal education system.

The ministry did not give a reason for lifting last month’s ban, which had sparked widespread criticism from rights groups who said it was retrogressive.

“Burundi’s u-turn on its recent ban against pregnant students and teenage mothers who are in school is welcome,” said Elin Martinez, child rights researcher with Human Rights Watch, calling the ban “highly damaging” to thousands of students.

“The government should take this opportunity to develop a sound policy that fully supports teenage mothers to return to school, whilst ensuring it adequately tackles the root causes of teenage pregnancies.”

Forty percent of victims of physical or sexual violence are teenage girls in Burundi. About 11 percent of girls aged 15-19 are sexually active, while 7 percent have had at least one child, says the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Campaigners say tens of thousands of girls in Africa are ostracised or shamed for becoming pregnant every year, despite most having no sex education. Many such cases involve rape.

Yet in some countries such as Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, they have been expelled from school in a bid to discourage adolescents from being sexually active.

Other countries such as Morocco and Sudan, apply morality laws that allow them to criminally charge adolescent girls with adultery, indecency, or extra-marital sex.

Burundi’s Minister of Education Janvière Ndirahisha ordered the ban in all private and public primary and secondary schools in a letter to provincial education directors dated June 26.

The ministry then issued a statement on July 27 saying all schools would after all take girls who are victims of unintended pregnancies, and boys who made them pregnant. Government officials did not give a reason for the reversal.

Campaigners said global criticism of the ban may have pressurised authorities into making a u-turn – but added that much more needed to be done to curb the sexual exploitation of young girls and high rates of teen pregnancies.

“In many cases, girls are from low income, rural families and are exploited sexually by teachers who offer to pay their school fees, pass their exams – or even buy them basics things like sanitary pads,” said Naitore Nyamu-Mathenge, a lawyer from the campaign group Equality Now.

“Burundi must look at integrating comprehensive sex education into all schools, they need to ensure girls understand what consent and exploitation is.

“They must also ensure those who sexually exploit these girls are prosecuted as it will act as a deterrent.”

Burkina Faso: At least 35 people die after a series of terrorist attacks

It is feared the death toll could rise and five emergency centres have been set up to treat the high number of casualties .

At least 35 people have died and 90 more were injured after a series of attacks in Burkina Faso, believed to have been conducted by Islamic extremists.

Seven soldiers were killed in the country’s capital Ouagadougou after gunmen opened fire on the French embassy and army headquarters.

Eight of the militants were killed during the attacks in the former French colony and several other people were wounded among the security forces.

It is feared the death toll could rise and five emergency centres have been set up to treat the high number of casualties.

It is not clear how many militants were involved in the violence, which was called a terrorist attack by Jean Bosco Kienou, director general of Burkina Faso’s police, and French prime minister Edouard Philipe.

US judge defers ruling in Berlin-Namibia genocide case

namibiausA US judge on Tuesday heard arguments from lawyers representing the German government and indigenous groups from Namibia but deferred a decision on whether to hear a lawsuit demanding reparations for colonial genocide.

US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain presided over the one-hour hearing in a New York federal court but concluded the session by saying that she would not rule immediately. She also did not set a date for a decision.

The German government wants the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds of state immunity from prosecution. The Herero and Nama groups are seeking reparations for the genocide of their peoples under German colonial rule.

Tens of thousands of Hereros and around 10,000 Nama people were killed between 1903 and 1908 after rising up against German colonial rule in South West Africa, which is today Namibia.

The Herero and Nama people brought the class-action lawsuit last year, seeking reparations over the tens of thousands killed in the massacres.

Germany, which has acknowledged that atrocities occurred, is currently in talks with Namibia on reaching an agreement that would contain an official apology and promise of development aid.

The lawsuit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute that allows non-US citizens to make claims in US federal court for international law violations.

On Tuesday, lawyer Jeffrey Harris argued that Germany should benefit from the principle of immunity from prosecution as a sovereign state.

Kenneth McCallion, the chief lawyer for the Herero and Nama tribes, argued that several exceptions to that principle were applicable.

Germany owns four buildings in New York, which were acquired with public money, coffers that McCallion argued were boosted by colonial plundering.

He also sought to establish the principle of commerce between Germany and the United States, by pointing to a German museum’s 1924 sale of genocide victims’ bones to a US collector who subsequently donated them to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Harris countered that there was no direct link between funds used to buy the New York properties and colonial activities, and said the bones’ purchase did not amount to commerce with the United States.