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Angolan Police Disperse Protesters With Tear Gas

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The Angolan Police on Wednesday arrested some demonstrators who were protesting against rising living costs, unemployment and the postponement of local elections due to coronavirus.

Local reports said protesters in Luanda, the Central African country’s capital, were dispersed with tear gas.

A number of people were arrested.

Some were injured during the demonstrations, which had been banned by the authorities.

Last month, violent anti-government protests rocked the capital, Luanda, last month leading to the arrest of at least 100 people. Disenchantment with the government has risen in recent months, with several marches called against corruption, police brutality and unemployment.

On Tuesday, rights group – Amnesty International – asked the authorities in Angola to respect the country’s citizen’s right to protest.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda said the right to peaceful assembly is protected by the Angolan constitution and international treaties ratified by the country.

He said, “Angolan authorities must guarantee that protesters can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are protected by the Angolan constitution and international treaties ratified by the country.

“Past peaceful protests in Angola have been met with appalling brutality by the police, with demonstrators assaulted and arrested for no other reason than demanding accountability from the authorities. Amnesty will be monitoring the situation closely, and documenting any human rights violations. Staging a protest is not a crime.

“Angolan authorities must allow and facilitate this protest to go ahead, and ensure people’s legitimate demands for accountability and reform are not met with violence or reprisals.”

Central Africa News

DR Congo Rebel Leader, Ntabo Ntaberi, Jailed For Life For Mass Rape

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After two years of trial, a military court in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced a rebel leader, Ntabo Ntaberi, to life in prison for mass rape and crimes against humanity.

The two-year trial involved more than 300 victims is a landmark for Congolese justice, rights groups and the United Nations said.

Ntaberi was charged with war crimes including murder, sexual slavery and child soldier recruitment in DR Congo.

Also known as Cheka, Ntaberi surrendered to the UN mission in DR Congo in July 2017 after being on the run for nearly six years.

He was one of the leaders of a militia group known as Nduma Defense of Congo, which operated in the restive North Kivu province.

Authorities first issued a warrant for Sheka’s arrest in January 2011 but he remained at large until 2017, when he surrendered to U.N. peacekeepers.

Sheka and Séraphin Zitonda, a commander from another militia, received life sentences at the trial in the city of Goma for crimes committed in Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu between 2010 and 2014.

“This verdict is a source of immense hope for the many victims of the conflicts in the DRC: their suffering has been heard and recognized, and impunity is not inevitable,” said Leila Zerrougui, head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.

The men were found guilty of orchestrating raids on villages in Walikale territory in mid-2010 where 380 men, women and children were raped, and 287 killed.

“We salute the courage of the victims, who have continued to testify despite the threats,” said Yuma Fatuma Kahindo, a lawyer representing the group of victims.

According to the UN, Sheka’s forces and two other armed groups raped at least 387 civilians between July 30 and August 2, 2010, to punish them for alleged collaboration with Congolese government forces.

HRW said Sheka’s forces were also said to have held many women and girls hostage as sex slaves.

His soldiers are also accused of razing almost 1,000 homes and businesses and taking about 100 people off into forced labour.

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Central Africa News

World Bank Supports Education In Sudan With $61.5M

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World Bank slams Kenya's textile jobs as "mediocre"

The World Bank Board of Directors has approved an education programme, supported by a $61.5-million grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), for the Sudan Basic Education Support Project (BESP).

This constitutes the largest education financing project in Sudan, the Bank said in a news dispatch on Wednesday.

The project will enable Sudan to sustain and improve basic education for children, with significant support to teachers.

It will strengthen schools, community and government capacities to formulate policies and monitor progress at system level.

The project will also contribute to Sudan’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

“This programme comes in an opportune time because we are in the middle of a very difficult economic situation,” said Mohamed Alamin Altoum, Minister of Education of Sudan.

“The Project will certainly take us a good way towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Education (SDG4).”

The SDG4 looks at good quality education, and free and equitable education.

The funding will support efforts to improve student enrollment, retention, and reading proficiency in the early grades of primary education, covering all public schools.

It will give the support while prioritising investment in disadvantaged areas.

The World Bank said public school grants will be provided to disadvantaged schools to reduce education costs borne by parents, lowering the risk of dropping out, especially for girls.

The funding will also support volunteer teachers who are normally paid from community contributions, which are likely to decrease due to the economic crisis compounded by the impact of coronavirus.

“The World Bank is well positioned to support this project with focus on results-based financing given its considerable understanding and experience in engaging in education sector in Sudan,” said Milena Petrova Stefanova, World Bank Country Manager for Sudan.

To improve children’s learning environments, the funding will help purchase basic learning materials and equipment.

An estimated six million students will be provided textbooks, reading materials and reading support programmes.

Approximately 30,000 girls will benefit from improvements to the learning environment, including rehabilitation and construction of sanitation facilities, the Bank said.

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African Airlines to Consolidate Operations

AFRAA’s secretary-general Abdérahmane Berthé said smaller airlines need to consolidate and share basic facilities while established airlines need to co-operate and code-share to avoid operating in the same routes.

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The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) is urging the continent’s airlines to co-operate and merge operations to fill existing gaps in the sector and build resilience for post-Covid-19 recovery.

AFRAA’s secretary-general Abdérahmane Berthé said smaller airlines need to consolidate and share basic facilities while established airlines need to co-operate and code-share to avoid operating in the same routes.

Berthe says “AFRAA has conducted a survey and one of the issues identified is airlines operating the same route at the same time thus incurring losses.”

“We suggest that airlines co-operate and be innovative in order to rebound and recover from the pandemic.”

Speaking at the 52nd AFRAA virtual Annual General Assembly hosted by TAAG Angola Airlines, Berthé said by October, African airlines had lost more than $9 billion and expressed fears that a second wave of the pandemic could affect operations even further.

The virtual meeting replaced the conference that had been scheduled to take place in Luanda, Angola.

Related: Africa World Airlines and South Africa Airways sign agreement

Berthé added that in October, African airlines reopened 70.8 per cent of the pre-Covid-19 international routes but this might drop if infections increase.

He also added that “apart from Covid-19, AFRAA has also identified high taxes and charges as some of the challenges that hinder the growth and recovery of carriers on the continent.”

The virtual meeting was attended by African and global aviation leaders who sought to create a roadmap for a successful restart and recovery of the African aviation industry.

They appealed to governments and development financial institutions to continue supporting the industry to secure the continent’s social and economic recovery given the sector’s strategic contribution to national gross domestic product.

“Africa will need to focus on aviation as one of the critical drivers for socio-economic recovery and development.”

“We are conscious of the enabling role that aviation plays in facilitating trade and growing our economies as we collectively navigate these times, we will seek to emerge from this pandemic more resilient, organised and determined to succeed,” said Ricardo de Abreu, the chief guest and Angola’s Minister for Transport.

However, the recovery of airline traffic in Africa is expected to start with domestic markets.

 

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