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Uganda Deploys More Troops As Death Toll From Protests Hits 28

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Uganda’s military has increased deployment of troops in the capital, Kampala, and in major towns to counter protests that broke out following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.

The East African country will hold elections in January 2021, but the early weeks of campaigning have been marked by an alarming amount of violence.

On Friday, the East African country’s Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, announced that the death toll from violent protests in parts of Uganda after the arrest of opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, has risen to 28.

Enanga said 12 more people succumbed to their injuries sustained in the Wednesday and Thursday protests.

Authorities said at least 75 people were injured with bullet wounds, tear gas canisters and hit-and-run attacks.

“We would like to inform the public that a total of 28 people have died, following the violent political demonstrations in multiple areas since Wednesday,” Enanga said.

“The confrontations began after the arrest of Kyagulanyi due to his continued blatant disregard of the Electoral Commission guidelines, which were further escalated, after bloggers posted fake news that he had been killed,” the spokesman said.

Enanga said a total of 577 suspects had been arrested across the country, adding that bows and arrows, “piles of stocked tyres, bottles, drums of fuel and evidence of mobile money transactions funding the rioters” were seized.

“The violent demonstrations were being coordinated by a group of 300 ring leaders who were actively coordinating the distribution of tyres to their flash points and hotspots, using motor vehicles and boda bodas (commercial motorcycles),” he said.

Following the violence deputy army spokesperson, Colonel Deo Akiiki, has told the media that soldiers will be deployed at all major roads leading into the capital.

There will also be an increased security presence at sensitive areas such as fuel reservoirs and petrol stations.

A 21:00 local time curfew will be strictly enforced with immediate effect.

The curfew was already in place as a coronavirus safety measure, but the public were not strictly adhering to it.

Kyagulanyi’s arrest on Wednesday in the eastern district of Luuka for allegedly flouting COVID-19 guidelines sparked sporadic protests in some parts of the east African country.

“We will continue to work with all partners, to enforce laws prohibiting acts of violence,” Enanga said.

“The joint task force is committed to ensuring that all Ugandan’s freely exercise their constitutional rights in a safe, peaceful and lawful manner,” he said, referring to a multi-agency organ set up to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We would like to warn those that are already drawn into the violent protests and those that are intending to join to reject such calls and remain law-abiding,” Enanga said.

Uganda’s Electoral Commission earlier this month cleared 11 presidential candidates, including incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, to run in the 2021 general elections.

The electoral body urged candidates to follow the strict COVID-19 guidelines, such as keeping the size of campaign rallies to no more than 200 people, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Since Wednesday, groups of young people have set up barricades, burnt tyres and piles of rubbish in the streets of Kampala and other towns.

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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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Tigray Crisis: Top Official Linked To TPLF Surrenders – Ethiopian Govt

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The Ethiopian government said on Tuesday that the former speaker of the House of Federation, Keria Ibrahim, who was one of the top officials of Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) has surrendered.

Ibrahim is one of nine executive committee members of TPLF, whose forces have been fighting government troops for the past month.

She served as speaker of the House of Federation, Ethiopia’s upper parliamentary chamber, before resigning in June after the planned August election was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, Ms Ibrahim accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of running a “dictatorial regime” and violating the constitution.

In September TPLF went on and held its local elections, a move that angered the Federal Government.

Mr Ahmed launched a military offensive in Tigray on 4th November, accusing TPLF leaders of treason after its fighters attacked a government military base.

The month-long conflict has killed hundreds and displaced thousands of people.

Despite the PM announcing over the weekend that the military campaign was over and successful, fighting is reportedly still ongoing in parts of Tigray region.

It has been difficult to verify claims from the Federal and Tigray regional governments because communication is heavily hampered.

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