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14 bodies found after Nairobi rivers cleanup3 minutes read

Clean-up crews found the body of an eight-year-old boy who had been strangled and dumped near the Nairobi River

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A volunteer takes a break from cleaning out a section of Nairobi river that is adjascent to a micro-recreation park

A major operation to clean up the trash-clogged rivers in the Kenyan capital has led to the grisly discovery of 14 bodies, most of them babies and children, the local government said Friday.

On Friday, clean-up crews found the body of an eight-year-old boy who had been strangled and dumped near the Nairobi River, just days after the bodies of twin babies were discovered in a plastic bag.

“Nairobi county youth conducting cleaning of Nairobi River have today (Friday) found yet another body of a… boy strangled and dumped near the river,” said county government spokesman Elkana Jacob.

“This makes a total number of 14 bodies of adults and infants retrieved from Nairobi rivers since Governor Mike Sonko launched the clean-up exercise,” he said.

Rock arrangements mark the ground (foreground) where recovered bodies of infants are said to be buried on the bank of the heavily polluted Nairobi River, as volunteers take a break during ongoing cleaning activities next to a micro-recreation park initiated by slum youth that is situated on a section of the bank reclaimed from the heavily polluted river waters at Nairobi’s Korogocho shanty town. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Nairobi’s name comes from a Maasai phrase meaning “place of cool waters”, however the main river and its tributaries have fallen prey to industrialisation and chaotic urban planning.

Factories spew industrial waste into the rivers, while dozens of informal settlements with no proper sewage system or trash removal fill them with garbage and human waste.

Sonko announced the latest in a string of clean-up operations over the past two decades in May last year, however it began in earnest in early 2019.

“These numbers of dead bodies retrieved from rivers are worrying. We have called on the police to investigate these cases. Who are the people behind these senseless killings,” Sonko said in a press statement Saturday.

“Once we have clean running rivers, no one will dump anything into the waters without being noticed. My teams are working round the clock to ensure we achieve what we have decided to do.”

Volunteers manicure grass at a micro-recreation park initiated by slum youth situated on a section of the bank reclaimed from the heavily polluted Nairobi River in Nairobi’s Korogocho shanty town. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Aside from eight infants and the young boy found Friday, the bodies of five adults were also found during the operation this year in the Nairobi River, and its tributaries the Ngong River and Mathare River.

Fredrick Okinda, chairman of Komb-Green Solutions which is assisting in the cleanup, blamed illegal clinics performing abortions for some of the bodies found. He said some appeared to be foetuses.

“Some hospitals here are doing abortions to young ladies and they don’t have any place to dump the bodies,” he told AFP.

Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless the life of the woman is in danger.

Some of the babies appeared to have been “thrown after being born”, said Okinda.

His organisation had buried some of the babies next to the river.

“We are not surprised because you know this is a slum area… so when we come to the cleanup we were ready to face any challenge as long as we reclaim the lost glory of Nairobi River.”

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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