Friday, September 25, 2009




Villagers in the Congo's Plateaux nord region have started mapping their forest resources, in a move officials say will help to protect their interests. "We began making maps which show where we grow things, where we hunt, fish and gather - everything which allows us to live from day to day," said Denis Bongo, village headman in Assengue, Ollombo District. The initiative started in the first half of this year in Assengue, Ibangui, Epounou and Inga villages in Ollombo District, with the aim of protecting their livelihoods in the face of rampant deforestation and logging activities. Implemented by the Congolese Human Rights Forum (OCDH) with the Rainforest Foundation of UK (RFUK), the project aims to promote the rights of forest communities to access, control and utilize the forests in accordance with Congolese law. (IRIN)

Ivory Coast

An oil trading firm has agreed to pay more than USD 46 million in compensation to people in Ivory Coast who say they were made ill by dumped waste in 2006. Trafigura, with offices in London, Amsterdam and Geneva, said 30,000 people will each receive USD 1,546. The money is in addition to the nearly USD 200 million that the company paid the Ivorian government in 2007. Trafigura and the plaintiffs' lawyers agreed that a link between the dumped waste and deaths had not been proved. A joint statement by the company and the British lawyers representing the Ivorians, Leigh Day and Co, said at worst the waste had caused flu-like symptoms. (BBC)


The drought that has ravaged parts of northeastern Kenya, killing a large number of livestock, has affected the availability of milk, in turn undermining child nutrition, say officials. "Most [of my livestock] died as we migrated. My youngest child, a girl, became ill and died on the way," said Joseph Lemanyan, a livestock keeper. His family is among hundreds to have moved south to the foothills of Mount Kenya, but there they lost more cattle because of the cold weather. The death of so many cattle has reduced the supply of milk, which should form a large part of the daily diet of children. (IRIN)


A senior ally of Madagascar's ousted leader on Wednesday accused the government of breaking a deal signed in Mozambique last month on the release of political prisoners. The Indian Ocean island's justice minister confirmed Sept. 22 that Manandafy Rakotonirina had been found guilty of threatening state security and usurping public office. Critics of Africa's youngest leader, Andry Rajoelina, who toppled Ravalomanana in a March coup, say he is cracking down on key political opponents as he seeks to consolidate his internationally-ostracized government. (Reuters)


A high-level Rwandan rebel indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal for his role in the 1994 genocide has been handed over to the court after being arrested in the neighboring Congo (DRC). Gregoire Ndahimana, a high-level figure in the FDLR, was arrested in eastern DRC by the Congolese Army on Aug. 10, and handed over by the Congolese Government to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) at the weekend in a transfer facilitated by the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC. (UN News Service)


The United Nations is investigating the use of its vehicles by suicide bombers who killed 17 African Union peacekeepers at their main base in Somalia, a senior official said on at the weekend. The Somali government warned on Sept. 18 that Islamist rebels from the al Shabaab group had six more stolen UN cars primed with explosives ready for suicide attacks."There are very large numbers of UN vehicles in Somalia that have been used for a variety of projects," said Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. Insurgents overran and looted UN compounds in Jowhar and Baidoa in May and July. (Reuters)

South Africa

South Africa's murder rate has dropped slightly, but the country faces a distressing rise in rapes, robberies and hijackings, South African police said Sept. 22. The number of murders decreased 3.4 percent to 18,148 between April 2008 and March 2009. That still leaves 50 murders a day in the country of some 50 million people. Sexual offenses increased 10.1 percent, with a total of 71,500 reported offenses. Robberies at homes and businesses increased more dramatically, up 27.3 and 41.5 percent respectively. South Africa has one of the worst crime rates in the world, putting the government under pressure to show that safety is improving ahead of next year's soccer World Cup. (AP)


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern at an upsurge in fighting between Sudanese Government forces and rebels in the war-scarred region of Darfur and urged both sides to cease hostilities and turn to the negotiating table. Media reports indicate that as many as 18 civilians have been killed and numerous properties destroyed in the area in and around the town of Korma over the past week. “The Secretary-General calls on all parties to use restraint, renew their commitment to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and redouble their efforts to reach a political settlement of the conflict in Darfur,” a statement issued by his spokesperson said. (UN News Service)


A court in north-western Tanzania has sentenced three men to death by hanging for killing a 14-year-old albino boy. They were found guilty of attacking Matatizo Dunia and severing his legs in Bukombe district in Shinyanga province. In the past two years there has been a huge rise in murders of albino people. Witchdoctors use their body parts in potions they claim bring prosperity. Dozens of people have been arrested, but the justice system is notoriously slow and this is the first conviction. In July a court in Burundi sentenced one person to life in prison and eight others to jail for the murder of albinos whose remains were sold in Tanzania. (BBC)


President Yoweri Museveni said on Sept. 23 Uganda would achieve economic growth exceeding 7 percent in 2009/10, higher than previously forecast. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, he focused on economic development rather than recent violence in his country. Museveni said Uganda's economy had grown at a rate of 6.5 percent for the past 23 years, and achieved 7 percent growth last year despite the global recession. "In this financial year (2009/2010), our rate of growth will be in excess of 7 percent," Museveni said. The east African country has experienced steady growth over the past two decades. The Finance Ministry had previously forecast Uganda to grow 6 percent in 2009/10. (Reuters)

No comments:

Post a Comment