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Eight Migrants Drowned, 12 Missing Off Djibouti Coast2 minutes read

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The International Organization for Migration has said at least eight migrants have drowned and 12 went missing after smugglers forced them off a boat near the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

More than 30 people on board – thought to be Ethiopian – had been attempting to return to East Africa from Yemen. The Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Yemen have made the journey to Gulf nations more dangerous, and some migrants have turned back.

A spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration said 14 survivors are receiving medical treatment in Djibouti.

Some 14,000 African migrants are stranded in Yemen trying to return home after being expelled by Saudi Arabia as part of measures to control the coronavirus pandemic.

It is believed this boatload of migrants had failed to reach Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

Witnesses said three smugglers forced the young men and women into the water.

“Smugglers are known to exploit migrants on this route in this way, many having to pay or their families having to pay large sums to facilitate travel,” the statement said.

Eight bodies washed up onshore and were buried by authorities in Djibouti.

“This tragedy is a wake-up call,” said IOM spokeswoman Yvonne Ndege, warning that further tragedies could occur as hundreds of migrants are leaving Yemen every day on the precarious voyage by boat across the Bab al Mandeb strait.

In 2017, up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were “deliberately drowned” when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen’s coast.

And in 2018, at least 30 migrants and refugees died when a boat capsized off Yemen, with survivors reporting gunfire.

In September this year, more than 2,000 African migrants returned from Yemen and were assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in Djibouti, Horn of Africa.

The migrants, from Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea, including children as young as eight-years-old, returned to Djibouti after failing to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, border closures, and extreme danger along this migratory route.

They arrived hungry, tired and in need of medical assistance after making the treacherous boat journey back across the Gulf of Aden, and then walking for days to the town of Obock through the Djiboutian desert where temperatures reach 40C.

Many were forced to pay smugglers who often abandon them in the desert without food and water. Several of the migrants said they witnessed others die along the way due to dehydration.

IOM has helped and treated hundreds of migrants along the way over the last few months.

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East Africa Business News

Uganda Establishes First Free Zone at Entebbe Airport

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The government of Uganda through the Uganda Free Zone Authority (UFZA) has finalised plans to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport. The free zone is projected to boost export-oriented investment in the country.

The project will be implemented by the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) on a five acre piece of land acquired from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the Entebbe International Airport premises.

Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.

The development of the Public Free Zone projected to cost UGX 48billion will, on completion house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to promote enterprise. The Government of Uganda (GoU) has already awarded UGX 12.5 Billion for the first phase of the project.

Speaking at the site handover event, Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority Executive Director, said the project is expected to contribute cargo volumes, create hundreds of direct jobs and significantly improve Uganda’s exports.

“On completion, the project will support increased production quality assurance and value addition to commodities that are widely produced by the masses to improve household incomes, create employment and eliminate poverty as well as improve the value of Uganda’s exports,” he said.

Alinda was speaking while handing over the site for the construction of the Entebbe International Airport Free Zone at which he said they had acquired five acres from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for the development and contracted National Enterprise Corporation, the commercial arm of the UPDF for the construction.

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East Africa News

Fire On Kilimanjaro Under Control – Official

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A fire on Mount Kilimanjaro that had been raging for seven days is largely under control, the Director General of Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) said on Saturday.

“Thanks to work done by various stakeholders and rain which came in some parts of the mountain last night we have managed to contain the fire by 99 per cent,’’ Allan Kijazi said.

‘`What remains now are small patches in bushes which are still smoking and we are dealing with them as I speak,’’ he added, saying that a helicopter was being used in hard-to-reach areas.

The fire broke out on Sunday and, according to officials, has since destroyed at least 28 square kilometres of bush.

Officials have said some 500 people were working to quell the flames.

At 5,895 metres, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and also one of Tanzania’s landmarks.

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East Africa News

France Orders Trial Of Rwandan Doctor, Eugene Rwamucyo, Over 1994 Genocide

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A Rwanda doctor, Eugene Rwamucyo, is set to go on trial in France on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Rwamucyo is believed to be one of the masterminds of the genocide against the Tutsi in southern Rwanda in 1994.

In 2010, a French court blocked his extradition to Rwanda, where he has already been tried in absentia and sentenced to life in prison.

Now, French judges have ordered that the 61-year-old, who lives in Belgium, be put on trial over allegations of taking part in atrocities in Butare in southern Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

The doctor’s lawyer said that his client rejected the allegations.

Dr Rwamucyo is expected to appeal against the decision, which would delay the trial for a further year.

Around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in ethnic killings carried out by extremist Hutus.

Rwamucyo, a doctor at Maubeuge hospital (North) in France, was suspended in October 2009 when the management of the establishment learned that he was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan government.

He was later fired.

Rwamucyo was finally arrested in May 2010 in Sannois (Paris region) when he had just attended the funeral of another Rwandan, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, co-founder of Radio and television free of the Thousand Collines, the extremist anti-Tutsi radio station. The Versailles Court of Appeal, however, opposed his extradition in September 2010, ordering his release.

He was first indicted in 2013 for “participation in an agreement to commit the crime of genocide”, then in 2018 for “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”, and placed under judicial control, with ban on leaving the Schengen area.

According to reports, France is home to some wanted Rwandans accused playing active role in the genocide. They included Agathe Kanziga, widow of former President Juvenal Habyarimana, Manasse Bigwenzare, a former judge, and Sosthene Munyemana, nicknamed “the butcher of Tumba” for atrocities he was involved in southern Rwanda.

There is also Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Catholic priest accused of having a direct hand in killings in parts of Kigali.

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