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Ethiopia Bombs Tigray

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Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that air strikes have been conducted in the northern region of Tigray, days after he announced a military operation there.

The strikes hit sites in and around the regional capital Mekelle and destroyed heavy artillery including rocket launchers, Mr Abiy said in a statement broadcast by state-affiliated Fana.

On Wednesday, Mr Abiy announced a military operation against Tigray after he alleged that regional troops had attacked a military command post hosting federal troops.

The army’s deputy chief of staff has accused regional troops loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of treason.

The TPLF used to be the dominant force in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition but its power has waned since Mr Abiy became prime minister in 2018.

Aiby said that the federal government tried for several months to avoid a confrontation with the Tigray region but that the efforts had failed.

In a Twitter thread, the Prime Minister said, “Operations by federal defence forces underway in Northern #Ethiopia have clear, limited & achievable objectives — to restore the rule of law & the constitutional order, and to safeguard the rights of Ethiopians to lead a peaceful life wherever they are in the country.

“The Federal Gov patiently tried for several months to resolve differences with TPLF leadership peacefully; we tried mediation, reconciliation, dialogue. All failed b/c of TPLF criminal hubris & intransigence. In the last straw, TPLF attacked the Northern Command based in Tigray.”

He added, “Article 51 of FDRE Constitution, listing powers & functions of federal gov’t stipulates that “It shall protect & defend the Constitution”. To discharge this duty the gov’t is taking measures to enforce the rule of law against a clique that attacked our National Defense Forces.

“Ethiopia has no place for criminal elements. The proud Ethiopian people of Tigray & other citizens cannot be taken hostage by fugitives from justice forever. We shall extract the region of these criminal elements & relaunch our country on a path to sustainable prosperity for all.”

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COVID-19: Kenyan Lawmaker Seeks Dedicated Road Lanes For Ambulances

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A Kenyan lawmaker, Nominated Senator Iman Falhada Dekow, has asked the parliament to create designated special lanes on major roads and highways for ambulances.

According to Dekow, creating designated road lanes for ambulances will ease emergency medical evacuation during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

She noted that the Traffic Act 403 Section 119 provides special treatment of ambulances when they are taking people to hospital but most drivers in the East African country make it hard for the vehicles to rush patients in need of emergency medical services to the hospitals.

Dekow said most motorists do not give way for the ambulances forcing them to manoeuvre traffic yet they are carrying critical patients.

“It is important that traffic police enforce traffic rules and ensure motorists who block ambulances are arrested,” she said.

She said the trend is common in towns with high traffic levels, such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru and Mombasa.

The Traffic Act 403 Section 119 validates traffic Rule 83, which states that: “Drivers should give right of way upon hearing sirens indicating the approach of police vehicles, ambulances or fire engines.”

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and without a coordinated response to these incidents; there is a potential of unnecessary increase in morbidity and mortality,” Dekow said.

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Kenya Planning To Destabilise Somalia, Minister Alleges

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Osman Abukar Dubbe, the Minister for Information Culture & Tourism of The Federal Republic of Somalia, has accused neighbouring Kenya of plotting to destabilise his country as it prepares for general elections.

Dubbe accused Kenya of political interference and hosting opposition leaders in Nairobi.

Politicians from Somalia’s southern Jubbaland regional state were among those who have previously held meetings in Nairobi amid discussions over Somalia’s 2020/2021 elections.

Speaking during a press conference broadcast live on the Facebook page of the state TV, Dubbe said, “We respect Kenya, appreciate our neighbourliness and mutual interest. On our side, we always uphold these principles. However, Kenya seems not to be interested in that but rather wants to pursue an inappropriate daydream and is a state focused on ambitions to pursue taking the Somali land and waters.

“Mogadishu has never hosted a single opposition politician from Kenya, who want to create tension in our neighbours, but instead, Nairobi has become a base where attacks on Somalia are launched from. It has become the base where agreements reached inside Somalia are violated.

“(Nairobi) has become a place where plans to cause political tensions intended to destabilise the emerging governance in our country… That is why we had recalled our ambassador from Nairobi for consultation,” the information minister said.

Dubbe also said al-Shabab seized territories in southern Somalia after the Kenyan Defence Forces that are part of AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom) withdrew from strategic towns in the region.

“After the Kenyan forces withdrew from the towns without informing anybody they were seized (by al-Shabab). Imagine the problems the Somali people who lived there experienced. Is that something we can ignore. Go and ask the residents in Fahfadhun what had happened to them,” the minister told reporters in Mogadishu.

On Monday 30 November, the Somali federal government recalled its ambassador to Nairobi and asked Kenya’s ambassador to Mogadishu “to depart for consultations”.

The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied reports that it is interfering in Somalia’s internal and political affairs.

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have been marred in recent years largely due to a maritime dispute over a 150,000 square kilometre area in the Indian Ocean rich in oil and gas deposits.

According to the National Electoral Commission, Somalia will hold presidential elections on February 8, 2021, which will be preceded by legislative elections from December 1 to 27, 202.

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Uganda Presidential Election: Bobi Wine Resumes Campaign Tomorrow

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Bobi Wine, the candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the forthcoming Ugandan presidential election, has said he will resume campaigning on Thursday.

Bobi Wine, a former reggae musician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said this after a meeting with the electoral commission on Wednesday.

He told reporters that he had asked the electoral body to protect opposition politicians from harassment by the security forces.

The 38-year-old had requested a meeting with the Electoral Commission chairman, Simon Byabakama after police blocked him from holding a campaign rally at Budondo sub-county headquarters in Jinja city.

Security operatives were also said to have fired live bullets at Bobi Wine and some of his supporters. A bullet was said to have hit the tyres of the presidential candidate’s car.

Kyagulanyi told journalists that since he started his campaign, security personnel have continued to harass him and the Electoral Commission has remained silent on the matter.

“I have been forced to think that the electoral commission has lost track of this race and left us to be tormented and disrespected by security organs which are meant to be protecting us,” he said on Tuesday.

At the meeting, Bobi Wine told Byabakama to ensure that the security forces stop blocking roads and venues to prevent opposition candidates from campaigning.

The police have repeatedly defended themselves, saying they were implementing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Uganda will hold its election in January 2021.

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