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Kenya To Enhance Conservation Of Vultures Amid Extinction Threats2 minutes read



Kenya will earmark sufficient resources to promote conservation of vultures amid threat of extinction linked to habitat destruction and retaliatory poisoning by herders.

Officials disclosed this on Saturday at an event to mark International Vulture Awareness Day.

Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, said that protecting vultures and other birds of prey from a myriad of threats is key to maintain ecosystem balance and sustain rural livelihoods through tourism.

“We are committed to saving the endangered population of vultures in the country because they provide vital ecosystem services besides attracting legions of local and foreign tourists,’’ said Balala.

Kenya is home to eight out of 15 most threatened species of vultures across the African-Eurasian region but community-led efforts to restore the population of this migratory birds have intensified.

Balala said that Kenya is a signatory to international treaties aimed at strengthening the resilience of birds of prey grappling with threats like climate change, habitat fragmentation, lack of food and electrocution by power lines.

“There is an urgent need for implementation of a national vulture conservation strategy.

This strategy lays emphasis on curbing vulture poisoning and illegal trade in their body parts,’’ Balala said.

He said that contractors involved in the development of energy and transport infrastructure projects should establish buffer zones for vultures and other endangered migratory birds.

Fred Segor, the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Wildlife noted that the government has invested in community-led conservation projects to help restore the population of vultures which has declined in the last five decades.

“We are engaging communities to help protect vultures’ habitats and curb retaliatory poisoning of the animal carcass by pastoralists that have emerged as the leading cause of the death of these birds of prey,’’ Segor said.

He added that by feeding on animal carcasses, vultures ensure that the spread of disease-causing pathogens is minimised.

East Africa News

Kiplimo wins epic 3000m showdown in Rome Diamond League



Uganda’s athletics sensation Jacob Kiplimo proved that his recent great form is showing no signs of slowing down after he won the men’s 3000m race at the 2020 Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, Rome’s Diamond League track and field meeting on Thursday.

In a race billed as “The Battle of The Jacobs”, between the two 19-year-old sensations Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Norway’s 1500m European record holder and Uganda’s World Cross Country Championships silver medallist, both men faced off in an exciting 100m sprint finish. The Norwegian was clearly in the lead heading towards the line but Kiplimo caught him and pulled clear at the 60m mark to win in a time of 7.26.64. The time is a national record for Uganda, World lead and Diamond League record. It is also the fastest time since 2007.

Ingebrigsten finished second in 7:27.05, also a new Norwegian national record while Stewart McSweyn of Australia placed third with 7:28.02 earning a new Australian and Oceania record.

The only runners who have gone quicker at 3000m now are Daniel Komen with the world record of 7:20.67, Hicham El Guerrouj, Ali Saidi-Sief, Haile Gebrselassie, Noureddine Morceli, Kenenisa Bekele and Mohammed Mourhit.

The latter holds the European record after running 7:26.62 while representing Belgium, but some will now consider Ingebrigtsen the real record-holder due to Mourhit’s career being blighted by a drugs ban for taking EPO.

Kiplimo’s victory comes just a week after he upstaged Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega to win the 5000m race at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic with a personal best time of 12:48.63.

World record holder for the 5000m Joshua Cheptegei hailed his countryman.

“Huge congratulations to my colleague Jacob Kiplimo upon running the 6th fastest all-time over 3000m in Rome with a time of 7:26, running a world lead, national record, the future is indeed bright. Let’s carry this momentum unto next year’s Olympic games,” Cheptegei said.

Elsewhere, South Africa’s Akani Simbine broke the 10-second barrier as he raced to victory in the men’s 100m in 9.96 seconds ahead of Ivory Coast’s Arthur Cisse (10.04) and Filippo Tortu of Italy (10.9).

In the women’s 100m race, another Ivorian, Marie-Josee Ta Lou placed third with a season’s best 11.14 seconds. The race was won by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah who ran a world-leading 10.85 seconds while American Aleia Hobbs finished second in 11.12 seconds.

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East Africa News

Samatta hopes to inspire other Tanzanian footballers



Tanzanian international striker Mbawana Samatta hopes that his career can prove to be a source of inspiration and that many of his countrymen will follow him into the English Premier League.

The 27-year-old joined Aston Villa from Belgian Jupiler League side Genk on a four-and-a-half-year deal worth £10 million in January, becoming the first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League following a scoring debut for Villa in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth on February 1 2020.

“When I was starting my professional career, the ultimate goal I set myself was to play in England,” he said in a recent interview. “But more than a goal achieved, coming here was, above all, the realization of a dream. It’s a dream that a great many Tanzanian players pursue but one that had never been achieved before. I realize therefore how fortunate I am!”

“It’s a source of great personal pride, but I hope it can serve to help others,” he continued. “If I can succeed, then other Tanzanians can too. And if I can help them believe in themselves, so much the better!”

For Samatta, self-belief has been a key aspect of his success. His journey to the big stage of European football has not been without its obstacles, requiring him to show patience, perseverance and, above all, self-confidence. “Faith in God and faith in myself were the keys to my success,” he confirmed. “As well as that, there’s a lot of sacrifice, hard work, determination and discipline.”

The 27-year-old is already something of a legend in his homeland, having racked up 21 goals in 57 international appearances and playing a starring role in qualifying the Taifa Stars for the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, after a near 40-year absence.

“Qualifying for that tournament is certainly the best memory of my career to date, and there’ve been some wonderful ones,” he said, before adding: “It really was something special both for me and my country.”

However, Tanzania received a rude reintroduction to continental football at the finals in Egypt, where they suffered a first-round exit on the back of defeats to Senegal (2-0), Kenya (3-2) and Algeria (3-0). As captain, Samatta subsequently apologized to the fans and public on behalf of the team for letting them down. “I don’t want to dwell on that anymore. It’s behind us now and I’d rather look to the future,” he insisted, vowing, “we’ll make amends!”

The Taifa Stars have an immediate chance to redeem themselves. Not only are they in contention in the race to qualify for the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon (currently second in Group J behind Tunisia), they are very optimistic about a maiden FIFA World Cup™ appearance in 2022. After overcoming Burundi in the first round, they now find themselves alongside Congo DR, Benin and Madagascar in the group stage.

“If you look at where the national team was five years ago, this is not the same Taifa Stars. Enormous progress has been made. We’re developing slowly but surely,” he insisted. “I’m daring to believe that the rate of progress can be the same for the next five years with the best yet to come for the team.”

Would the ideal culmination of that progress be participation at Qatar 2022? “Yes, that would be the ultimate and would complete my footballing journey. There’d be nothing left after that but to retire,” he concluded with a laugh.

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East Africa News

Gunmen Shoot Six Dead In Burundi



Six people were on Friday shot dead in the northern part of Burundi by unidentified gunmen, the regional governor has said.

The killings come weeks after a similar incident occurred in a southern province.

Remy Cishahayo, army colonel and governor of Kayanza province, said unidentified gunmen launched the attack on Thursday night from the Kibira forest and fled to the same area after the attack.

“They arrived at a small centre, … killed six people including two kids studying in primary school II and V,” Cishahayo confirmed on state-owned National Radio Television of Burundi.

The centre attacked on Thursday is near the forest. The forest in the past served as cover for the ruling CNDDFDD – The National Council for the Defence of Democracy, Forces for the Defence of Democracy party – during its rebellion.

Two people were wounded and are receiving treatment, while the attackers kidnapped one person, Cishahayo said.

“People should stay calm and united ensuring security together ” Cishahayo said, adding the situation has returned to normalcy.

In late August, gunmen attacked the district of Bugarama in the southern province of Rumonge, where at least 16 people died in shooting with security forces.

Red Tabara, a rebel group fighting Burundi’s government and based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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