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Ethiopia: Six Students Feared Dead in Tigray’s Bus Attack

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No fewer than six students are feared dead after gunmen attacked a bus in Tigray, northern Ethiopia.

According to reports, there was a shootout between the attackers and soldiers escorting the bus, which was carrying students returning from a graduation ceremony in the Tigray’s capital, Mekelle.

The bus was reportedly stopped many times at road blocks as it made its way from Mekelle.

It is not clear who carried out the attack but this shows Tigray is still volatile months after the federal government said the conflict with the regional authorities was over.

Meanwhile, the United Nations says civilians in Tigray are facing “extremely alarming” hunger as fighting between federal government forces and the regional Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TFPL) remained an obstacle to reaching millions of people with aid.

The Ethiopia/Tigray conflict, now in its fourth month, has killed thousands of people. But little is known about the situation for most of Tigray’s six million people, as journalists are blocked from entering, communications are patchy and many aid workers struggle to obtain permission to enter.

Civilians have suffered and reports from aid workers on the ground indicate a rising in acute malnutrition across the region. According to the UN, starvation has become a major concern.

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UN Agencies Make $266m Appeal to Feed 3Million Refugees in East Africa

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Two UN agencies – the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) – has made an appeal for about $266 million to end food rations for over three million refugees in East Africa.

Michael Dunford, the WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa, made this remark in a joint statement with the UNCHR in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

He noted that funding shortages had forced cuts up to 60 per cent while growing risks include increased malnutrition
and anaemia as well as stunted growths in children.

Dunford admits the agencies have never had such a terrible funding situation for refugees. They now have a 266-million-dollar shortfall for the next six months for
refugees’ minimum needs.

There are deep concerns that if cuts continue, refugees will be forced to choose from very difficult decisions; stay in the camps where food and security are deteriorating or risk going back home where it is unsafe.

The immediate priority must be to restore assistance to at least minimum levels for refugees, many of whom lost the lifeline
of remittances due to the global impact of COVID-19.

According to the UN agencies, funding shortfalls have forced WFP to slash monthly assistance for refugees by up to 60 per cent in Rwanda, 40 per cent in Uganda and Kenya.

There was also a 30 per cent slash in South Sudan, 23 per cent in Djibouti and 16 per cent in Ethiopia.

The agencies say the impact of the funding shortfalls on refugee families is compounded by COVID-19 lockdowns and measures to contain spread.

This has already reduced the availability of food in markets in refugee camps and wrecked many refugees’ hopes of supporting their families through casual labour and small businesses.

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Amnesty Accuses Al-Shabaab, Govt Forces of War Crimes as Civilians Die in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Conflict

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Amnesty International (AI) has accused federal forces, an armed group known locally as ‘Al-Shabaab’ (unrelated to Al-Shabaab in Somalia) and a private military company hired by the Mozambican government, of war crimes and the death of hundreds of civilians in the ongoing conflict in Cabo Delgado.

In the report, “What I saw is death: War crimes in Mozambique’s forgotten Cape”, the human rights watchdog documents serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties, resulting in widespread death, destruction and a humanitarian crisis that has caused more than half-a-million people to flee.

It also details accounts of violence against civilians by ‘Al-Shabaab’, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations by government security forces, and indiscriminate attacks by South African private military company, Dyck Advisory Group.

“The people of Cabo Delgado are caught between the Mozambican security forces, the private militia fighting alongside the government and the armed opposition Al-Shabaab – none of which respect their right to life or the rules of war,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

“All three have committed war crimes, causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians. The international community has failed to address this crisis as it has escalated into full-blown armed conflict over the last three years.

“We are calling on all parties to the conflict to immediately stop targeting civilians, and for the government of Mozambique to urgently investigate the war crimes we have uncovered.”

Amnesty International said the report, based on interviews with 79 internally-displaced persons from 15 communities, focuses primarily on the impact of the increased fighting in Cabo Delgado since a major attack by Al-Shabaab on Mocímboa da Praia in March 2020.

Amnesty International said it also reviewed satellite imagery, photographs and medical and ballistics information.

It said its Crisis Evidence Lab completed an open source investigation of available social media material, adding that it also interviewed analysts from international organizations, journalists, humanitarian workers, and local human rights monitors.

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President Uhuru Replaces Kagame as Chair of the East African Community

President Uhuru Kenyatta replaces President Paul Kagame as chair of the East African Community. The forum also appointed two new judges to the East African Court of Justice, a regional Court that litigate on treaties of the East African Community.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, of the Republic of Kenya has replaced Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame as chair of the East African Community summit for 2022.

Last year, President Kenyatta became the seventh Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), a partnership of African Heads of State and Government advocating and mobilising resources in the continent-wide fight against malaria.

The East African Community leaders also appointed Kenya’s Peter Mathuki, as the next Secretary-General.

Two new judges were also appointed to the East African Court of Justice, a regional Court that litigates on treaties of the East African Community.

President Paul Kagame in his capacity as outgoing chair of the Summit, convened the meeting which held virtually on Saturday February 27, 2021.

Rwanda’s Richard Muhumuza was named to the EACJ first instance division while Anita Mugeni will sit on the bench of the court’s appellate chamber.

Other judges to the court First Instance Division include Justice Nestor Kayobera, Justice Yohane Bakobora Masara , Justice Kathurima M’inoti and Justice Richard Wabwire Wejuli to the court’s Appellate Division.

Richard Muhumuza

Justice Kayobera emerged as judge president of the court, Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire as the vice president, Justice Masara as principal judge and Justice Audace Ngiye as Deputy Principal judge.

The judges replace Justice Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, Justice Liboire Nkurunziza, Justice Aaron Ringera, Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi, Justice Dr Faustin Ntezilyayo, and Justice Fakihi Jundu. They were acknowledged by the Summit for their selfless service to the community.

Read also: https://newscentral.africa/african-continental-free-trade-area-to-commence-despite-tariffs-uncertainty/

Among the items on the agenda are: consideration of the request by the DR Congo to join the EAC, and progress report on the verification exercise for admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia, which had submitted its application in February 2012.  The EAC currently comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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