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Ex-Uganda Army Spokesman Dies Of COVID-19

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Former Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantazira has died after contracting Covid-19.

The retired colonel was admitted to hospital on Sunday morning complaining of chest pain, low blood pressure, diabetes and cough.

Government Spokesman Ofwono Opondo said tests confirmed that he had contracted Covid-19.

This was confirmed by the spokesperson of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso.

“The UPDF family with great sadness have learnt of the passing on of the deputy Executive director of Uganda Media Centre and deputy government spokesman Rtd Col Shaban Bantariza at Mulago national referral hospital. May his soul rest in peace,” she said in a tweet.

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) described Mr Bantazira as a loyal member of the government and party, which he served until his death.

Mr Bantariza was no stranger to controversy. Last year, he was sharply criticised by some for remarks he made at a retreat of leaders of the NRM.

He said he pitied people who think the NRM government would hand over power, adding that “we” would rather go back to the bush. He then went on to say that he had his three guns on standby in his car.

Bantariza was born in Mitooma district, in 1963. He attended St. Leo’s College, Kyegobe, in Fort Portal, Kabarole District for his O-Level studies before later joining Catholic brotherhood where he trained as an elementary school teacher.

He joined Makerere University in 1985 but later abandoned his studies and joined the National Resistance Army, led by president Yoweri Museveni. Bantariza attended guerrilla bootcamp in the Kabarore area, in foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. He also attended and graduated from the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, having studied the senior command course offered annually at the college

Bantariza served as the UPDF spokesperson from 2000 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2006. For a period of time, prior to February 2009, Batanzira, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, served as the commander of the Oliver Tambo Leadership School, in Kaweweta, Nakaseke District, in Uganda’s Central Region.

On 26 February 2009, he was appointed commandant of the National Leadership Institute (NALI), in Kyankwanzi, Kyankwanzi District serving in that capacity until he was relieved of his duties on 7 October 2011.

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Militants Ambush, Kill 25 Mozambican Soldiers

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Villages in Mozambique's northern region grapple with faceless jihadists

No fewer than 25 members of the Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (FADM), including a colonel and a major, died in an ambush by Islamist militants in Matambalale village in the district of Muidumbe, local media reports have said.

According to reports, 15 others were injured in the ambush.

A group of military personnel were on manoeuvres in that region when the incident happened on Sunday, according to local media.

The victims were part of a group sent to that district to reinforce security after last week’s attacks where homes were set ablaze and residents killed.

The army has not been available to confirm or deny the reports.

The three-year insurgency has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced about 500,000 others in Cabo Delgado, according to official statistics.

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Lightning Kills Four In Mozambique

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No fewer than four people have been killed by lightning strikes in Mozambique’s western province of Tete, the Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) announced on Wednesday.

News Central reports that Tete shares a border with neighbouring Malawi.

According to the institute, the victims include an elderly woman and a three-year-old child. One other victim was seriously injured and a residence set ablaze.

The incident follows a rainstorm accompanied by strong winds that left a trail of destruction in southern Mozambique.

Tete’s National Disaster Management Institute delegate, Alex Angelo, said the torrential rain also caused damage in Maputo province on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.

He added that thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain brought down trees and power poles and damaged public infrastructure in the districts of Matola, Boane and Marracuene.

The storm also destroyed homes, uprooted trees and electricity poles and blew away the roofs of some schools and a local prosecutor’s office.

The destruction occurred mainly in four districts within the province.

The meteorological authorities predict the bad weather may continue for four more days.

The situation is likely to cause flooding in the cities of Beira and Dondo, which were devastated by cyclone Idai last year, and cause erosion in Chimoio.

Meteorologist Acacio Tembe says the torrential rains are beginning a week earlier than expected and they will continue for long.

He added that the rains may cause the flooding of the Buzi and Pungue rivers.

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Tigray: Ethiopia, U.N Reach Agreement On Provision Of Aids

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The Ethiopian government and the United Nations (U.N) have reached an agreement on the provision of access to humanitarian aids.

This was revealed by U.N officials on Wednesday, as they claim that the Ethiopian government has agreed to the provision of aids in Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital.

Ethiopia and Tigray, a powerful region in the north of the country, have been at loggerheads since the 4th of November.

The Ethiopian government accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of destroying public properties and wreaking a havoc on the state.

This led to battles between the giant of the Horn of Africa and the rebellious Tigrayan forces.

The UN, through its refugee agency, warned about the lean supply of food to the more than 100,000 refugees in Ethiopia. At least 46,000 Ethiopians have also taken refuge in neighbouring Sudan, where they are short on food supply, according to the U.N.

Read also: UN Seeks $147m Support For Ethiopians In Sudan

Also affected in the food crunch are refugees in Eritrea, Ethiopia’s closest neighbours.

African envoys had called for a truce amid the Ethiopian government’s rejection of mediation from the international community.

Mister Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia said on Monday that Mekelle has been captured, as he revealed that no civilian was hit in the process.

His claims were however rejected by the leader of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael who claimed that the Ethiopian government hit civilians in its onslaught on Mekelle.

The TPLF has refused to back down from its conflict with Ethiopia, denying that the battle is not over, contrary to the claims of Mister Ahmed.

Ethiopia is gearing up for its election in 2021, with political matters forming a part of the reasons for the ongoing conflict.

Mister Ahmed postponed the Ethiopian elections in August, citing COVID-19 as the reason for the decision. The TPLF has accused the Prime Minister of illegally leading government by buying himself more time through postponement of the election.

The TPLF ruled Ethiopia for 27 years before the emergence of Mister Ahmed in 2018.

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