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Archive for August 16th, 2009

Somali pirates find 7 bodies, blame Egyptians

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009

The tugboat MV Buccaneer is seen in an undated photo released by it's owners, Micoperi Marine Contractors of Ravenna, Italy on April 11, 2009.  REUTERS

The tugboat MV Buccaneer is seen in an undated photo released by it’s owners, Micoperi Marine Contractors of Ravenna, Italy on April 11, 2009. Somali pirates found seven dead colleagues floating in the ocean on Saturday and vowed to take revenge against Egyptian fishermen REUTERS

BOSSASO, Somalia (Reuters)

Somali pirates found seven dead colleagues floating in the ocean on Saturday and vowed to take revenge against Egyptian fishermen they say killed them during an escape, an associate of the pirates said.

The 34 fishermen had been held hostage by the pirates since April, but they managed to overpower their guards on Thursday and fled in their two fishing vessels after a gun battle.

Two of their captors were killed during that shoot-out, and the pirates said the Egyptians took several others with them.

“We have found seven of our dead colleagues floating in the sea,” said the associate, who gave his name as Farah, by telephone from one of the gangs’ strongholds, Las Qoray.

“The Egyptian crew members killed them … we used to welcome them and treat the Egyptians better than other hostages, but if we capture more of them we shall get our revenge.”

Sea gangs from the failed Horn of Africa state have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms targeting shipping using the strategic Gulf of Aden that links Europe to Asia.

source.nation.ke

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Darfur activists criticise US envoy

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009

Alain Le Roy, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, inspects the guard of honor by the Nigerian contingent of the African Union peacekeepers at a UNAMID Sector West military camp in El-Geneina, West Darfur, July 14, 2009.   REUTERS

Alain Le Roy, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, inspects the guard of honour by the Nigerian contingent of the African Union peacekeepers at a UNAMID Sector West military camp in El-Geneina, West Darfur, July 14, 2009. Frustrated by the world’s failure to end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s western Darfur region, some advocacy groups have turned on the new US envoy, accusing him of helping Khartoum thwart peace. REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS, Sunday (Reuters)

Frustrated by the world’s failure to end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s western Darfur region, some advocacy groups have turned on the new US envoy, accusing him of helping Khartoum thwart peace.

The unusual public censure highlights a growing divide on Darfur. One side are those who feel more engagement with — and less criticism of — Khartoum is needed to end the suffering in Darfur. On the other are those who support more pressure, more sanctions and possibly military action if Sudan blocks efforts to secure peace in the region.

The Darfur conflict has been going on for more than six years. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died since 2003, compared to Khartoum’s official death toll of 10,000. The world body also says some 4.7 million people in Darfur rely on aid to survive.

In an open letter to US President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force General Scott Gration, actress Mia Farrow and other activists said that Gration’s strategy with Sudan was prolonging the crisis.

“We believe that your conciliatory stance and reluctance to criticise (Khartoum) both excuses and emboldens (it), thereby facilitating its ongoing reign of terror and well-known strategy of ‘divide and rule,'” the letter said.

Gration has advocated loosening some US sanctions against Sudan to enable Washington to deliver development aid to southern Sudan ahead of a 2011 referendum, after which it is expected to split from the north. He also has said there was nothing to justify keeping Sudan on the US terror blacklist.

Gration says he needs to engage the governments of north and south Sudan, rebel groups and other key parties to revive the stalled Darfur peace talks and to ensure the north-south civil war does not erupt again. But he also supports keeping up the pressure — including most sanctions — on Khartoum.

John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group, also was critical of Gration. He described his deep disappointment at what he felt has been the Obama adiministration’s failure — through Gration — to take the tough line on Sudan that Obama supported as a US senator.

source.nation.ke

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Nigerian police raid Islamic sect in the western Nigerian state of Niger

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009

Women are evacuated from the camp of Islamic community Darul Islam in Moka August 15, 2009.

Women are evacuated from the camp of Islamic community Darul Islam in Moka August 15, 2009. Police in the western Nigerian state of Niger have raided the community and detained hundreds of its members, weeks after an uprising by a radical sect killed almost 800 in the remote northeast. Picture taken August 15, 2009. REUTERS

MINNA, Nigeria, Sunday (Reuters)

Police in the western Nigerian state of Niger have raided an Islamic community and detained hundreds of its members, weeks after an uprising by a radical sect killed almost 800 in the remote northeast.

Niger state police commissioner Mike Zuokumor said officers backed by reinforcements from the capital Abuja had surrounded the compound of the Darul Islam community on the edge of the town of Mokwa early on Saturday.

“We received a series of reports about the activities of the sect from neighbouring communities, the local government and the emirate (traditional leader),” Zuokumor said.

“Some of them were expressing apprehension concerning the activities of the group and it is our duty to ensure law and order among the citizens of the state,” he said.

Police and immigration officers were screening about 600 members of the sect who had been detained and taken to a nearby school for questioning, police spokesman Richard Oguche said.

Some of them were believed to have crossed into Nigeria to join Darul Islam from Chad, Cameroon and the country of Niger.

Local journalists said as many as 3,000 people were believed to live in the community. Male members dress in white robes while its women are fully covered in black.

Zuokumor said police had received reports that Darul Islam was forcibly holding women to be the wives of sect members. The arrests were peaceful and no shots were fired.

The leader of the sect, Amrul Bashir Abdullahi, originally from the northern state of Kano, told reporters after being detained that he had lived in Mokwa for 17 years.

“We are not against Western education as we are being accused, but we have our own belief which is not in any way an infringement of the state authorities,” he said.

“We decided to create a camp for ourselves outside the community because of the problems in the larger society. These are problems of corruption, drunkenness, prostitution and so on which Allah forbids,” Abullahi said.

Frustrated youth

Zuokumor said police wanted to find out more about the beliefs of Darul Islam and that any members found to be from neighbouring countries would be deported. Should investigations uncover evidence that women or children had been forcibly detained, those responsible would be charged, he said.

Africa’s most populous nation is roughly equally divided between Christians and Muslim and more than 200 ethnic groups generally live peacefully side by side. But there have been frequent bouts of religious violence.

Clashes three weeks ago between the security forces and members of a radical Islamic sect called Boko Haram killed close to 800 people in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, more than 800 km (500 miles) away from Niger state.

While the two groups are not known to be directly linked, the authorities suspect they share similar beliefs.

Boko Haram — which means “Western education is sinful” in the Hausa language spoken across northern Nigeria — was loosely modelled on Afghanistan’s Taliban movement and wanted sharia, Islamic law, more widely applied across the country.

Armed with machetes, bows and arrows, shotguns and home-made bombs, its members attacked symbols of authority in Maiduguri, including police stations, prisons, government offices and schools during a five-day uprising.

The uprising was put down when the military captured the sect’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, who was later shot dead in police detention. International rights groups condemned what they said appeared to be an extra-judicial, execution-style killing.

West African Islam is overwhelmingly moderate but sects such as Boko Haram are able to build a following because acute poverty, unemployment and a failed education system have left millions of youths angry and frustrated with the system.

“We believe … that we should distance ourselves from the world and serve Allah diligently without being polluted with the ills of society,” Abdullahi said.

source.nation.ke

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BUTERE COURT ADJOURNS KIDEROS CASE

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009

BY: JEFF OTIENO IN BUTERE

A case in which two people have been charged for threatening to kill Mumias Sugar Company Managing Director Dr. Evans Kidero was adjourned by Butere Principal Magistrate Benard Ochieng Ondego to September 4th 2009.

The adjournment came to fore when the complainant Dr. Evans Kidero failed to show up over grounds that he had gone to attend to pressing official matters in Nairobi.

One of the accused Mr. Naftali who is still in custody made a sustained but abortive plea to be granted bail.

His bond had been cancelled by the court earlier over grounds that he brought questionable medical papers from one of the doctors at Provincial General Hospital (Russia) to guarantee him reprieve. On perusal by the prosecution, they were found to be dubious.

The magistrate ordered that the doctor in question Kepha Otieno be summoned on 28th August to appear with register during mention before he gives a final verdict of bail application by the accused.

Dr. Kidero has got seven witnesses in the case. For starters on December 8th 2008, both accused informed the CEO that they had overheard in one of the Nairobi joints that there was a cartel who wanted to eliminate him before chrismas.

But it later emerged that it was a ploy to mint money from him culminating to police arrests.

END

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War over Raila rages on

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009

By Steve Mkawale, Peter Atsiaya and Vitalis Kimutai

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister William Ruto may not admit it but their political blocs are at war as Orange party bickering flared up on Monday.

The new war rekindles skirmishes from the last few months, between two key planks of Orange Democratic Movement Rift Valley and Nyanza MPs. One side asked Raila to sack ministers and MPs they perceive to be rebels, while the other claimed Raila was drunk with power as PM, and had forgotten those on whose shoulders he rode to the big office.

And Nominated MP Musa Sirma who, in language and disposition has broken off with Mr William Ruto, said those fighting Raila were writing down their political epitaph because the PM enjoys grassroots support in Kenyas largest province.

Raila went to Chepalungu over the weekend but local MPs kept off, a signal the after-taste of Mau Forest upcoming evictions, is still bitter in the Rift MPs mouths.

On Monday they spoke, some bitterly about Raila. But the PM, who has said he will neither be blackmailed nor forced to go back on his word that Mau must be cleared of human settlement, told the MPs he could bypass them and directly engage the people of Rift Valley.

The Agriculture Minister said, ” I do not want a shouting match between the Prime Minister and myself. I am preoccupied with the famine that is ravaging the country. I want to help Kenyans afford food easily.”

But on his part, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto who snubbed Railas visit to his constituency over the weekend, said, “We are not his hostages, we are free and independent and if he does not recognise us as elected leaders then we have no obligation to accord him respect since this is a two way traffic.”

He added: “Raila is drunk with trappings of power and pampering that come with being the Prime Minister.”

Cheragany MP Joshua Kuttuny expressed worry the party was headed for a split, adding: “Raila is a known party-breaker, and if he succeeds in breaking ODM as he is trying to do, it will be to his disadvantage since he will still need us in 2012.”

Kutuny accused the PM of undermining MPs through their opponents in their constituencies to fight growing opposition against him in Rift Valley. “What he did (in Chepalungu) was simply in bad taste and not befitting a leader of his stature. We do not want to fight him, but he is resorting to desperate tactics to handle the opposition against him. This will only serve to alienate him further,” he said.

Take firm action

But from Nyanza, Assistant minister Ayiecho Olweny, and ODM MPs Mr Polyns Ochieng (Nyakach), Mr Fred Outa (Nyando) and Mr Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu Town East) said Raila should sack ministers and assistant ministers who defied him on Mau issue.

They argued the actions of some of the Rift MPs was no longer excusable and asked Raila to take a firm action, once and for all.

“Cabinet reshuffle is long over due. If dropping defiant ministers would save Mau then be it,” said Mr Ochieng, adding President Kibaki should take advantage of this situation to trim the bloated Grand Coalition Cabinet.

Prof Olweny said: “Raila should get these stubborn ministers out of the Cabinet Some of them dont deserve to be ministers and assistant ministers.”

Outa claimed the countrys political leadership had plunged the nation into darkness, a trend he argued should be stopped.

He added the PM should drop defiant ministers and replace them with those ready to work with him from the same region.

“We have so many qualified MPs who can take up the ministerial positions being held by the defiant ones and Raila should elevate them.”

Shabir said Railas decision to deal directly with affected people would expedite the process of moving settlers from Mau forest to save the water catchments from further destruction.

The MPs said Rift Valley MPs were serving the interests of rich people who served in the last regime and who grabbed land in the water tower. They added that some of the MPs were protecting land they grabbed in the forest.

But Kuresoi MP Mr Zakayo Cheruiyot claimed Raila was, “doing what he knows best generating conflicts among the people for his selfish ends.”

The former Office of the President PS who claimed Raila was out to scandalise Rift MPs went on: “This is simple dictatorship, it is laughable that he has chosen to go that way and he will bear the consequences of his move.”

The Chepalungu MP said leaders from the region would continue to tell the people Raila is “one who does not keep or respect friends and a dictator to the hilt.”

He added: “We regret as a region to have voted for a man who has no respect for elected leaders, who lacks courtesy and too full of himself with an illusion of power that does not exist.”

PM free to visit the region

“I am sure that 90 per cent of those fighting Raila will not see the inside of Parliament come the 2012 polls,” said Sirma and warned those fighting the PM they would suffer from the backlash as he was still popular in the region.

Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat said Raila was free to visit the region in his capacity as PM, “but to imagine he can do so without consulting local MPs is unacceptable.”

“If he thinks he can work directly with the people without consulting the MPs then he is fooling himself. He should involve MPs just like the president involved leaders in Nyanza recently,” Magerer said.

He said the region leaders have no problem with Raila as long as he recognises respect is “mutual and reciprocal”.

Kutuny argued Raila risked being perceived to be under-rating the intelligence of those who voted for him.

“Forget about Omar Bongo of Gabon and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the real dictator is here in the person of Raila Odinga,” he said.

Kutuny added: “It is good that the PM has opened his heart and spoken his mind of what he thinks and feels of Rift Valley MPs, we have waited for this opportunity for long.”

Kutunyi claimed that Raila was moving around with parliamentary losers in the region, as he was uncomfortable with independent-minded MPs.

Bomet mayor Leonard Barsumei and Rift Valley ODM-K representative Sammy Seroney Barsumei said Raila was disrespectful to MPs.

“The Canaan he has been promising to take the people of Rift Valley may never come,” Barsumei said.

“Sirma was rejected by voters in Eldama Ravine and should not mislead the PM into taking suicidal moves,” said Seroney.

Other MPs who hit out at their Rift Valley colleagues were: Mr Cyprian Ojwang (Uriri), Mr Oyugi Magwanga (Kasipul Kabondo), Mr John Pesa (Migori) and Edick Anyanga (Nyatike)

source.standard.ke

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KIBOS SUGAR TO GENERATE POWER

Posted by African Press International on August 16, 2009


BY: JEFF OTIENO

Kibos Sugar Industry is to generate 25 mega watts of power out of which 22 mega watts will go to the National grid.

The fast growing Sugar firm is currently producing 3 mega watts for its own use but in a couple of weeks it will go the full throttle to attain the ambitious plan.

Speaking to journalists, the Managing Director Raju Channan revealed that already a foreign consultant has been contracted to ensure the plan is done within the stipulated time frame.

The move will be a boost to the power industry which is currently bedeviled with outages and rationing courtesy of the draught which has affected water levels in major dams.

Kibos Sugar last week officially launched an ultra modern weigh bridge where farmers will weigh their produce at their door step instead of travelling several miles which has always resulted in hefty costs and spillages.

A tone of sugar cane will be paid Kshs. 3000 within a week instead of Kshs 2,900 being paid by other local millers within a period of between 4 to 5 months.

The move early this week sparked fury and protests from other millers who wrote to Kenya Sugar Board to restrain Kibos from using the facility arguing that its tantamount to Poaching.

Local transporters who have also taken advantage of farmers have also protested bitterly about the location of the weigh bridge which is at Awasi in Nyando District.

Speaking to the press separately during the launching, a group of exuberant farmers in attendance described rival millers out bursts as an exhibition of ineptitude to compete in the now competitive liberalized market.

Its unfortunate that under performing Managers of some of these firms are now clinging on the weigh bridge issue to divert peoples attention to scrutinize them on their luck warm performance, the farmers noted.

Kibos which resumed crushing after a month long maintenance used over 400 million in repairs and has a capacity to crush 1,650 tonnes per day.

Its the first sugar industry to implement a recent ministerial directive which require that each and every miller install a weigh bridge within the farmers reach to avoid spillage and whopping costs which have been a burden to farmers.

Players in the industry are therefore watching what action the Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) will take against the miller which seems to be implementing a new policy they recently crafted to benefit the farmers.

All the three firms Kibos, Chemilil and the financially crippled Muhoroni Sugar are located in Nyando District

END

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