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About 1,000 Soldiers, Kidnapped by TPLF Freed – Ethiopia’s Military

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About 1,000 soldiers, including senior military officers, kidnapped by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on 4 November, have been freed in an operation conducted by the National Defence Force (NDF) and the Federal police, a senior military officer has said.

NDF Indoctrination Director-General, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Tessema, was quoted by the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) as saying that the TPLF leaders had kidnapped some 1,000 soldiers of the Northern Command after inviting them to dinner on November 4 .

“The fugitive TPLF junta had been running with their hostages for about a month, till they kept them at a place called Adet, which used to be a command base during the armed struggle,” he added.

However, in a joint military operation conducted by the NDF and the Federal Police, the soldiers, including the Operations Deputy Head of the Northern Command, Brig.-Gen. Adamneh Mengsite, were freed without any harm.

According to Maj.-Gen. Mohammed, “the operation to hunt, arrest and bring to justice the TPLF junta cliques has been intensified by the NDF and the federal police”.

The Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in the Tigray region on November 4, after months of a confrontation between the political leaders in Tigray and those in Addis Ababa.

The TPLF, whose leaders remained the dominant force in the defunct Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), walked out of the ruling coalition and later organised elections, which were not sanctioned by the government.

Political disagreements worsened when the government decided to cut off the release of budget funds from the federal government. The leadership in Tigray declared they did not recognise the extension of the tenure of the Federal Government, Members of Parliament and the Federal Executive.

The military offensive toppled the governing authority in the Tigray region, but the group has been promising to retaliate.

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Museveni Defeats Bobi Wine To Re-emerge Ugandan President

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Incumbent Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni has been announced as winner of the country’s Presidential election.

The electoral commission of Uganda announced the final results of the election on Saturday, 48 hours after the polls.

Museveni won 5,851,037 votes (58.64%) of the votes to emerge winner of the election. Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) won more than 3 million votes and over 34% of he votes.

It is Museveni’s lowest votes tally in 6 elections and the lowest since he had 59% in 2006 against Kizza Besigye.

The Presidential election was marred with trouble-ridden campaigns with an opposition candidate, Bobi Wine having some of his supporters killed.

Prior to the election, internet was shut down in Uganda while CSOs and NGOs were not allowed to observe.

United States observers were also not granted accreditation.

More than half of the 18m people who registered to vote in Uganda participated in the election.

Bobi Wine has since rejected the results, as he accused Museveni of riggin the election.

Security operatives have since surrounded Bobi Wine’s house, as they failed to allow local and foreign journalists into his premises.

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Seychelles Reopens to Tourists Who Have Received Covid-19 Vaccine

The Minister for Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde told a press conference that added to receiving the vaccine, the traveller must also produce a negative PCR test taken within the prior 72 hours.

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The island country of Seychelles on Thursday re-opened its doors to visitors from anywhere in the world as long as they have taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, a top tourism official said.

The Minister for Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde told a press conference that in addition to receiving the vaccine, the traveller must also produce a negative PCR test taken within the prior 72 hours.

Tourists to the island country of Seychelles must provide an authenticate certificate which serves as proof of receiving the vaccination. With all these in order, the visitor will not need to go into quarantine upon arrival.

In the last several months, Seychelles had put restrictions on which country’s tourists were eligible to travel to the island nation because of the surge in COVID cases experienced by many countries.

“We hope that this will open up the tourism industry for the locals, primarily for the small hotels who are struggling on La Digue, Praslin and also on Mahe. And also provide the kick that our economy desperately needs,” Radegonde explained.

Come mid-March, visitors to the islands will only be required to produce a negative PCR test as the country hopes to have vaccinated 70 percent of its local population, achieving herd immunity.

As of Thursday, close to 2,000 vaccinations had been administered in the country since the programme rolled out five days ago.

According to Kathleen Cecile, the head of the National Technical Working Group for COVID-19 vaccination, the programme had a slow start, but by Wednesday 938 people had taken the vaccine, bringing the campaign close to its target of 1,000 doses per day.

“Based on today’s figures we can confirm that one team reached its target of 200 vaccinations per day, and another team exceeded 100 vaccinations by midday today, and we except all the teams to reach the target of 200 vaccination per day as of today,” said Cecile.

To date, there have been no reports of serious adverse side effects of the vaccine on any person, Cecile said.

When the campaign began, there were four vaccination centres on the main island of Mahe, namely at the Yellow and Green Roof at the Seychelles Hospital, the ICCS and Anse Royale.

The fifth team of health professionals was covering the islands of Praslin and La Digue. However, since Sunday, the country’s health ministry revised its deployment plan to include more vaccination centres.

“We want to ensure that we remain on track of our March target of 70 percent coverage to achieve herd immunity, so we are now stepping up the campaign”, explained Cecile.

The new centers for vaccination have been set up in five workplaces which were already operating a daily clinic for their staff and which fall under the group of essential workers. This includes the military, the civil aviation, and the Indian Ocean tuna canning factory.

The Sinopharm vaccine is being given to persons within the ages of 18-year-olds up to 60-year-olds in the island nation. 50,000 doses of the vaccines were donated by the United Arab Emirates government which will cover 25,000 individuals in Seychelles.

According to Florida Bijoux, the manager for Extended Programme for Immunization, the first doses can be administered within two weeks.

“We have managed to organise nine teams, with a target of 200 vaccines per day, meaning 1,800 vaccines per day. If we get the other vaccines needed for the remainder of the campaign, in the coming weeks, we can easily vaccinate 44,000 people within a month,” she said.

People working in the tourism industry will also make up part of the list of essential workers wo will receive the vaccines.

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Zambia Recieves 23 Million Euro EU Grant for Increased Access to Electricity

While speaking at the function, Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, said he was excited that the project was aimed at increasing modern energy services targeting rural areas in particular.

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The Zambian Government has received a 23 million Euros grant from The European Union (EU), towards the 62.5 million Euros Increased Access to Electricity and Renewable Energy Production (IAEREP) project under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA).

ZANIS reports that during the virtual grant signing and launch of the project held today in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, Secretary to the cabinet Fredson Yamba signed on behalf of the Zambia government while the ambassador of the European Union delegation to Zambia and COMESA, Jacek Jankwoski signed on behalf of the EU.

While speaking at the function, Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, said he was excited that the project was aimed at increasing modern energy services targeting rural areas in particular.

The support provided by the European Union could not have come at a more opportune time with provision of 23 million Euro grant funding to various private developers in the off-grid space, the minister said.

Nkhuwa further said it is gratifying to note that implementation of the off-grid projects would provide access to electricity services to more than 50 thousand people and 500 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

He went on to say that with this project, poverty will be further reduced and rural economic growth will be promoted through women involvement in order to promote gender equality.

The minister urged private companies who were awarded the grants to ensure that the intended benefits from the programme trickled down to the targeted rural communities who are the final beneficiaries.

And Ambassador Jacek Jankwoski expressed gladness to see that the clean energy development project is one of the key priorities for the Zambian government as stated in the seventh national development plan.

He said massive investment in the renewable sector are key to the realisation of the European Green Deal’s political priority.

Ambassador Jankwoski said projects like these will be a unique opportunity to stimulate the emergence of viable business models for decentralised solutions that will attract private capital for promoting affordable and sustainable energy services.

Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Clement Silavwe said the authority was grateful for the support it is receiving from co-operating partners and directly from the Zambian government.

Mr Silavwe pledged the full commitment of the authority to work with all stakeholders and submit reports as required.

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