St Petersburg, Russia. 23rd May, 2018. ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – MAY 23, 2018: Faustin-Archange Touadera (L), President of the Central African Republic, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a meeting at the Konstantin Palace in St Petersburg. Valery Sharifulin/TASS Credit: ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy Live News
It has been a year since the UN Security Council in its wisdom decided that it was a benefit to the Central African Republic for the Russian Federation to be granted a waiver on an arms embargo and send arms there. While this idea was being debated in New York the United States, France and the United Kingdom grudgingly gave their approval to this concept. The blowback from this move is radiating through the continent as we speak.
What was supposed to be a direct to direct Military training by the Russian Military to the reorganizing Army of the Central African Republic grew to include trainers and advisors from several Russian PMCs (Private Military Companies). Some of these companies have a history of operations in Africa supporting several nefarious regimes as they attempt to retain power by whatever means necessary.
The first question is what would compel Russia take such action? The easy answer is to some people Africa is not a major security concern. Therefore it is not an issue to be watched closely until some event occurs that brings the situation into focus. Another explanation could be addressed by the phrase “Nature abhors a vacuum.” As the United States and other powers seem to withdraw from African Interests Russia feels that it is in their interests assert their influence.
The apparent disinterest in the situation inside the Central African Republic by the west and the neighbors plays out to a tune that is seen as similar to heavy handed responses towards Sudan in the past has driven these regimes into their hands to conduct business. We are seeing this play out with new deals by Moscow with Eritrea, Eastern Libyaand Mozambique. These are countries for the most part have been shunned for Human Rights violations and other governance issues.
The move into Mozambique is proving to be an interesting one. Already there is an American PMC currently operating in the Country. This group is headed by Erik Prince who gained fame and scorn with the operations of Blackwater during its time as a contractor operating in Iraq after the US Invasion during the administration of George W. Bush. The situation in the Northeastern part of the country is a matter of concern for a year. A series of random attacks that seem not to be a matter of concern to the authorities in Maputo makes this move to potentially become a flashpoint between the United States and the Russian Federation. What happens when these two combustible elements collide? Will there be a quick disengagement? This is a scenario that is both scary and tantalizing. There have been fears that these attacks have been launched by Jihadists Elements moving into the region as some groups actively seek a new safe haven.
So considering how insular Russians can be how have they reacted to anyone who has been attempting to conduct any oversight? The situation in the Central African Republic has been unique for the actions of the accounting of the Russian Government to the UN in the number of weapons and amount of ammunition that has been sent to the strife torn country. Compare that to the reaction of Wagner group when some Russian Independent Journalists tried to investigate their actions in the country. This incident did raise some alarm bells regarding the actions of these group in Central Africa.
It is felt by some that the US and EU place too strict of a series of benchmarks on several of these states that restricts them from conducting any business with these states. This pushes them into the hands of Russia and other states where Business trumps other concerns. As long as these leaders get paid it doesn’t matter what happens inside their borders.
The influx of Russian PMCs may show that just like the US Military it may be overextended by current Operations in both Ukraine and in Syria. Outsourcing these efforts also gives the Kremlin what it feels a modicum of deniability that it often uses to temper critical voices from the International Community.
*The Author is President of the Washington DC based Red Eagle Enterprises whose mission is supporting African Business Development ,and also Providing Analysis of African Intelligence in a critical and timely manner for business, non-profits and Government.
File Picture.Nasa leader Raila Odinga with other leaders of the opposition alliance addresses a press conference at the OKOA Kenya secretariat in Lavington, Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO
A new spat in the opposition, National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition over the affiliates political parties’ funds contribution has emerged.
FORD-Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula, one of the coalition’s principals has threatened to sue Raila’s ODM party for sidelining its three political partners in sharing money allocated for the opposition.
Speaking on Sunday, the Bungoma Senator castigated ODM for denying his partners for denying its partners what lawfully belongs to them.
“ODM is appropriating all the political parties funds being paid from the exchequer to the exclusion of ANC, Wiper and Ford Kenya,” said Wetangula.
In rejoinder, ODM party led by its Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the party owes no one money adding that it has right to control the bigger share of the money owing to its large membership.
The ODM claimed it contributed highest number of votes to the coalition during last year’s polls unlike its partners. They refuted claims by Wetangula that he contributed much to the presidential vote saying the same vote was nullified by the Supreme Court while October 26 repeat poll they boycotted.
“The Ford Kenya has no locus standi. The money belongs to ODM and it is the party which will decide what to do with it. There is nowhere it is agreed we share money with anybody,” Said Edwin Sifuna.
ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire reiterated Ford Kenya has no authority to demand funds advanced to the Orange party. He maintained that funding from the treasury is a constitutional right after meeting the criteria set by the political parties Act, 2011.
The act states that a political party must secure at least 3 per cent of the total number of votes at the previous general elections to qualify for the funding.
The party must also have 20 elected legislators, 3 Senators, 3 Governors and at least members of the county assemblies. The two-thirds of its registered office bearers must not be of the same gender.
Among its partners ODM is the only party qualified to receive funds. The Raila led party has 73 elected Members of Parliament, 20 Senators. Ford Kenya has 12 legislators and one Senator, Wiper has 21 Members of Parliament and three Senators while ANC 13 legislators and 3 senators.
Bosire reminded Wetangula his “messy and noisy divorce” remarks after the coalition stripped him off the minority Senate post. He accused him of making baseless demands even when he is aware that his party does not qualify for public funding.
“I have tremendous respect for Wetangula who appears to be an authority in law. But this time he has gotten it very wrong and wants to pursue the messy situation he promised,” said Bosire.
The Nasa affiliate parties have in the recent past been fueding over sharing of funds. They want a share of money allocated to political parties and keep monthly contributions from their legislators.
Frequent rows have marred the opposition since the famous handshake, threatening to tear it apart. Wetangula had labeled the outfit a moribund organization while ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi insisted it is alive and active.
Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Zanzibar, Mozambique and Seychelles have united to contrive policies aiming at safeguarding their marine and aquatic resources so as to improve their economies.
The heads of these states in addition to the African Union chairperson Mousa Faki among other leaders are holding a three day Global Sustainable Blue economy Conference in Nairobi.
Speaking during the inauguration of the conference yesterday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta revealed four new measures Kenya will implement to boost its blue economy. The measures are: adoption and introduction of new policies, head-on confrontation of waste management and plastic pollution in waters, responsible and sustainable fishing and security in the seas.
The Head of the State also announced the formation of the Blue Economy Implementation Standing committee to enlarge institutional governance mechanism to improve coordinated management of the blue economy.
Upgrading of the Kenya Maritime School, revival of maritime transport and adoption of a programme to accelerate the development of fisheries are the strategies that are expected to complement the measures.
The leaders noted that blue economy will stimulate trade, increase revenue and create jobs. Kenyatta appealed to the leaders to be keen on the impact of human action on the health and productivity of maritime resources.
“We have paid inadequate attention to the impact of human action on the health and productivity of our waters and as a result, many of the ocean systems are under immense stress. Their ability to act as a climate regulator and as a key engine for economic and sustainable development is being progressively eroded,” Kenyatta said.
His Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni suggested the removal of those who have invaded riparian land. He gave an example of how his country is using eccentric means to eject those leaving in wetlands.
“We are trying to bribe our people who encroached wetlands to get out. It is a type of a bribe but it is better than using crude methods because we might lose votes if they are violently evicted,” he said.
The stakeholders are expected deliberate on the opportunities and challenges and practical actions that can be taken to help the world change to change to blue economy.
The conference comes just one week after President Kenyatta launched Coast Guard Services at coastal region to protect maritime resources.
Vice Chancellor & Principal USL, Prof. Foday Sahr signing the verification book at the Administrative Building at IPAM
The University Of Sierra Leone (USL) has started a verification exercise for their staff at the Institute of Public Administration and Management secretariat, Tower Hill, in Freetown.
Speaking to journalist immediately after presenting and verifying his documents, Vice Chancellor & Principal USL, Prof. Foday Sahr said the verification process was done in order to check fakes, so as to ensure faith with the university in achieving quality education adding that the university started verification for students and same should be for staffs and academics.
He said that the verification process has been an ongoing process as it is part of the president’s vision in attaining Free Quality Education.
‘’Already the verification have over 94 people from IPAM, 93 from COMAHS, 202 from FBC and 55 from USL secretariat’’, he said.
Prof. Sahr said the response so far has been good adding that they have engaged both staffs and academics on the relevance of the verification process.
He revealed that this academic year, student union government would be active in all colleges within the University, citing that NJala University had already done theirs adding that the university is ready to create the enabling learning environment for students.
Chairman USL verification Committee, Dr. Dalton Faulkner, said their mandate was to check people working in the university so as to verify their documents adding that the principal USL has been interviewed which shows the seriousness of the issue within the University of Sierra Leone.
He however said the whole exercise he believed would come to an end in January
2019 adding that they will brief USL and its authorities after the exercise.
The Verification Committee Chairman said the verification process has been challenging with some staffs stating that they cannot trace their certificates and diploma adding that they will informed the authorities, verify from the institutions whether they have such persons in their book and if there no proof the university with take its necessary actions.
The USL Verification exercise is done by colleges with in the country which includes Fourah Bay College, Institute of Public Administration and Management and College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences.
The Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, a US 501(c) (3) public charity founded in April 2018, works to bring emergency humanitarian relief to affected persons of the ongoing crisis focusing on basic needs such as food, sanitation, water, and medical supplies. CHRI is also advocating for a speedy resolution of the crisis.
In a November publication, CHRI expressed deep gratitude to their growing list of donors and volunteers who have helped in accomplishing many project. Emergency pregnancy and motherhood supplies for 100 internally displaced women in Cameroon (disbursement to Caritas in process), thirteen biweekly supplies to Anglophone political prisoners since May 2018, to Ikom Central, Nigeria in May 2018 with food and sanitary supplies reaching over 900 refugees.
CHRI strongly believes every effort should be urgently undertaking by the international community to help resolve the Anglophone crisis and armed conflict in order to end the senseless loss of lives and human sufferings. “A public event entitled the Cameroon conundrum” which was planned for November 8th, 2018 in Birmingham was postponed on the request of the US State Department…. We are working with the Institute for Human Rights to reschedule this event to continue to bring attention to this crisis” the statement read.
“CHRI has also partnered with Caritas Kumba (a church-affiliated non-profit in Cameroon) to provide emergency motherhood and childbirth assistance to 100 pregnant IDPs at a cost of $4000. The next outreach to refugees in Nigeria will be to the Bakassi local government area where there has been a recent influx of refugees due to the escalating conflict after the October 7 presidential election in Cameroon”.
Anglophone refugees in Ikom in line to receive donated food items
The organization is also calling on potential donors to come in an assist so as to provide the basic necessities needed by the displaced. “….The unmet needs are vast and the opportunity to do more is great…. All funds donated are used to support people affected by the conflict. $10 can provide one weeks’ worth of essential food for a refugee”.
CHRI efforts have reached even to detainees at the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaounde
The Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions started in 2016 and has slowly degenerated in to a full-fledge armed conflict. According to the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, over 4,000 deaths have been witnessed with the figure rising daily. An estimated 500,000 or more people are either internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in neighboring Nigeria. The UN has declared a humanitarian crisis while some fear another Rwandan genocide.
Young women led NGO-CSO calling for an end to the kidnapping of children and teachers
Some women-led civil society organizations and Non-governmental organizations have called for an end to the present sufferings caused by the ongoing crisis in the North West and South West Regions especially the kidnapping of students and teachers. The statement was made during a Women Coalition for Peace and Development press conference on Saturday November 25 at the Pan African Institute of Development West Africa, PAID-WA.
During the past weeks students, teachers, schools and Universities in Cameroon continue to endure significant violence. On Monday 5th November, 78 students were kidnapped as PSS Nkwen, in Bamenda, North West Region but later released. The school also suffered another separate attack in which 11 students were kidnapped and later released.
The abduction of children during conflict is one of the six grave violations identified and condemned by the UN Security Council. “No grievance or national history justifies the kidnapping, harming and torture of children”, Emilia Miki, Founder/CEO of Denis Miki Foundation and Efeti Ventures said. She also reiterated that Cameroon is the 81st Country to endorse the Safe School Declaration-a declaration which governments pledge to not use schools for military purposes and to protect them during military operations. “….Cameroon’s endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration signals the government’s commitment to better safeguard learning and mitigates the devastating damaged caused by attacks.”
Some teachers had had properties stolen while others have been verbally abused and according to Emilia Miki, these issues are underreported by the media and given inadequate attention by politicians and activists. She said: “When they (teachers) are killed and kidnapped all they get is shares on social media with comments “RIP”, “God help us” and others. When a journalist is locked up it becomes front page news in every media outlet….. That is solidarity which of course is encouraged. But we shouldn’t as if teachers’ lives don’t matter. Teachers trade unions themselves have gone numb perhaps out of fear for their own lives”.
The members of the coalition have urged both parties of the conflict (separatists, government forces and all those benefiting) to do their utmost to see that places of education are places of safety and also called on the development of initiatives to promote and protect the right to education and continuation in times of conflict.
“The continuation of education can provide life-saving health information as well as advice on specific risk and safety measures in societies facing armed conflict”, said Dopgima Stella, Founder of Center for Youth and Family Empowerment (CEYOFE).
Feka Parchibell Nadum, Founder of Hope for Vulnerables and Orphans and a teacher made a plea to the International communities-especially the UNO, AU, USA, France and UK to unanimously condemn violence against civilians and make clear that no political objective justify tempering with the right to education and abducting of sleeping school children from their beds.
Teachers and school administrators have suffered the most in this crisis. Several teachers have been murdered, maimed and kidnapped in the past weeks as education comes under increasing attack in the English speaking regions of Cameroon. Over 30 schools have been the targets of violence.
“Sophie Mandengue Maloba, a teacher and 42 year-old mother of three died when three armed men riding a motorcycle attacked a school and fired gunshots in Muyuka. An unnamed teacher was killed in similar circumstances three days earlier in Kumba. In the past weeks, armed men have increased their campaigns of violence against school targets notably attacking teachers and school administrators” she added
To Baiye Frida, Founder of Blessing Associates for Women and Children (BAWAC) said “these kidnappings may only be a tip of the iceberg and without swift international action, the crisis will likely worsen”.
They concluded by stating that “people should start talking and denouncing this barbarism meted on teachers or we wait for the next teacher to be a victim who maybe you or me. The violence against teachers has become a national crisis and need to be addressed urgently. We as a people must stand up for our teachers”.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Anglophone crisis has seen several calamities, loss of property and lives. Over the past two years, a political standoff between Cameroon’s Francophone dominated government and the country’s Anglophone minority-some of whom are seeking independence have become a full-fledged human rights crisis. Hundreds are thought to have been killed, over a thousand homes burnt, and dozens of schools attacked. An estimated 250,000 people have had to flee their homes for safety.
L-R, Barrister Tchakounte Charles, New Bar President and Barrister Morfaw Evaristus, New Bar GA President
Barrister Tchakounte Charles has been elected president of the Cameroon Bar Association. He was appointed this Sunday November 25 by his peers after a stormy general meeting that saw the withdrawal of his predecessor Jackson Ngnie Kamga.
Originally from Nde, Western Region, he was appointed at the end of the Elective General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association that took place in the nation’s economic capital Douala.
During the election, Jackson Ngnie Kamga finished tenth with a total of 758 votes far behind Tchakounte Charles who had 1158 votes.
His victory has raised aspirations as many watch to see his reign especially with the huddles lawyers faced in the past two years in connection to the Cameroon Anglophone crisis.
Days to elections, a lawyer had confided in The Sun Newspaper why they saw him as the best choice. “Barrister Tchakounte should be voted as Batonnier because he is level headed and understands the stakes of the profession taking into consideration that he is a blend of both the Common Law and the Civil Law.
He takes over from Ngnie Kamga-the latter who has been in power for some three years. Barrister Tchakounte who ran with the motto “The protection of the Lawyer and the Balance of Cultures” will serve as president for a period of two years.
General Assembly President Elected
Before the election of the president of the Cameroon Bar Association of Sunday, election to the post of president of the General Assembly took place Saturday November 24. Barrister Evaristus Morfaw was then appointed as president replacing Barrister Nico Halle, who had respected his words by stepping aside after serving just one mandate.
Barrister Morfaw is a lawyer with the Cameroon Bar Association with over 17 years standing. As an expert in human rights and humanitarian actions, Barrister Morfaw enjoys doing cases that touch on human rights violations.
Barrister Morfaw was part of the defense counsel for the case against Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and others who were arrested at the height of the Anglophone crisis. They latter (Fontem and Balla) spent some seven months in Kondengui until they were released thanks to a presidential pardon.
The new Bar General Assembly Vice president is Barrister Kless Yves Patrice Kouanou. The duos are all Yaounde-based lawyers.
Some 15 members were elected to the Bar council. They include: Tchakoute Charles, Memong Olivier, Atangana Bikouna, Ngo Daniel, Fojou Piere, Mbah Eric Mbah, Mbuyah Fri, Mohamadou Souleymanou, Ebah Ntoko Justice, Soup Sylvain, Nzoh Divine, Batey Suzanne, Akum Michael, Deugoue Raphael and Enow Agbor Benjamin.
A court in Milan is considering charges of corruption against Eni and Shell in a controversial oil deal that led to Nigeria losing an estimated $6bn.
The campaign group Global Witness has calculated the OPL 245 deal in 2011 deprived Nigeria of double its annual education and healthcare budget.
Eni and Shell are accused of knowing the money they paid to Nigeria would be used for bribes.
The Italian and Anglo-Dutch energy giants deny any wrongdoing.
This unfolding scandal, which is being played out in an Italian court, has involved former MI6 officers, the FBI, a former President of Nigeria, as well as current and former senior executives at the two oil companies.
The former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, was found guilty by a court in France of money laundering and it emerged he used illicit funds to buy a speed boat and a chateau. It is also claimed he had so much cash in $100 bills that it weighed five tonnes.
Global Witness has spent years investigating the deal which gave Shell and Eni the rights to explore OPL 245, an offshore oil field in the Niger Delta.
It has commissioned new analysis of the way the contract was altered in favour of the energy companies and concluded Nigeria’s losses over the lifetime of the project would amount to $5.86bn, compared to terms in place before 2011.
The analysis was carried out by Resources for Development Consulting on behalf of Global Witness, as well as the NGOs HEDA, RE:Common and The Corner. The estimated losses were calculated using an oil price of $70 a barrel as a basis.
Eni has criticised the way it was calculated because it ignores the possibility that Nigeria had the right to revise the deal to claim a 50% share of the production revenues.
Shell is one of the oil firms facing corruption charges
Deal or no deal
Campaigners say the deal should be cancelled.
“We discovered that Shell had constructed a deal that cut Nigeria out of their share of profit oil from the block,” Ava Lee, a campaigner at Global Witness told the BBC’s World Business Report.
“This amount of money would be enough to educate six million teachers in Nigeria. It really can’t be underestimated just how big a deal this could be for a country that right now has the highest rates of extreme poverty in the world.”
Nigeria is the richest economy in Africa, but despite having large resources of oil and gas millions of people are poor.
Lucrative OPL 245
It is understandable why Eni and Shell wanted to acquire the rights to develop OPL 245, because it is estimated to contain nine billion barrels of oil.
But the process of how they secured the contract is dogged by claims of corruption.
The court in Milan is weighing evidence of how a former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, awarded ownership of OPL 245 to Malabu, a company he secretly controlled.
He is accused of paying bribes to others in the government, such as former President Goodluck Jonathan, to ensure that process went smoothly.
Shell and Eni are accused of knowing the $1.1bn they paid to Nigeria would be used for bribes, claims based on the content of emails which have since emerged.
“Looking at the emails it seems that Shell knew that the deal they were constructing was misleading but they went ahead with it anyway even though a number of Nigerian officials raised concerns about this scandalous, scandalous deal,” says Ava Lee from Global Witness.
The Anglo-Dutch and Italian energy giants insist they have done nothing wrong, because they paid the money to secure the exploration rights directly to the Nigerian government.
Shell issued a statement to BBC World Business Report saying: “Since this matter is before the Tribunal of Milan it would not be appropriate for us to comment in detail. Issues that are under consideration as part of a trial process should be adjudicated in court and we do not wish to interfere with this process.
“We maintain that the settlement was a fully legal transaction and we believe the trial judges in Italy will conclude that there is no case against Shell or its former employees.”
Eni has also denied any wrongdoing and told the BBC that it questions the competence of the experts commissioned by Global Witness and its “partners”, as well as raising the possibility that the report by the campaign group is defamatory.
The Italian oil and gas company said “as this matter is currently before the Tribunal of Milan, we are unable to comment in detail”.
In a statement it noted: “Global Witness together with its partners Corner House, HEDA Resource Centre and Re: Common had requested twice to be admitted as aggrieved parties in the Milan proceedings. On both occasions, the request was firmly denied by the Tribunal of Milan.”
Eni also said it “continues to reject any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction”.
Campaigners say the deal deprived Nigeria of double its annual education and healthcare budget
Biggest ever corruption case
Campaigners believe this is a landmark case and the outcome of the trial in Milan will cause an earthquake to reverberate through the oil and gas industry.
Nick Hildyard of the Corner House wonders if investors are comfortable. “Fund managers should be alarmed at this brazen dishonesty,” he said.
Nigeria’s leader is being encouraged to intervene by Olanrewaju Suraju, from HEDA. “President Buhari should reject any deal,” he said.
The contrast between the way Italy deals with migrants and the actions of one of the nation’s biggest companies has been raised by Antonio Tricarico of Re;Common.
“The Italian government is discouraging Nigerian migrants trying to reach Italy by claiming that it will help them at home, but Italy’s biggest multi-national, part owned by the state, is accused of scamming billions from the Nigerian people.”
The outcome of the unprecedented court case in Milan could force the oil industry to change how it conducts its business, especially in countries where corruption is rife, because more transparency about contracts and payments made would discourage fraud.
South Sudan’s petroleum minister Ezekiel Gatkuoth welcomes potential investors during the second Africa Oil and Power conference in Juba. AP
Juba – South Sudan says South Africa will invest $1 billion in the world youngest country’s oil sector in what would be the largest investment in the East African country’s history.
Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul confirmed Friday’s signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Africa’s energy minister, Jeff Radebe.
However, Radebe told state broadcaster SABC that both countries would benefit from the MOU.
South Sudan has Africa’s third-largest oil reserves, at 3.5 billion barrels, and it hopes increasing production will help the country recover in the wake of the signing of a peace deal two months ago, between President Kiir and rebel leader Machar.
One analyst warned that despite the signing, there was no guarantee the South African money would come through, though it would be “incredible” if it did.
Now, South Africa would join Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and other oil and gas investors’ interests in South Sudan’s oil sector.
Juba government said the South African money would be used for the refining and processing of oil and gas, research and development, and the transfer of technology.
Radebe further said South Sudan had plans to build a refinery with “a capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day.”
South Africa, South Sudan’s new deal came shortly after South Sudan’s second Africa Oil & Power Conference, the country’s first major attempt to attract investors since the government and armed opposition signed the fragile peace deal in September. The previous agreements have ended in fresh gunfire.
“This is an enormous show of confidence in South Sudan’s potential,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power, which organized the conference. “South Sudan needs investment capital and infrastructure. Working with South Africa on this level will give it both,” he added.
On paper the deal looks implausible, according to the country observers and analysts, it’s just an MOU, and agreements like this, the implementation will be very long.
More so, South Sudan’s economy is one of the global’s most dependent on oil revenues. Its oil sector has faced inspection for allegedly using the oil cash to fuel the five-year civil war, but with the Khartoum and Kampala backing peace deal, the country is moving to revive its oil revenues to strength a country’s economy and infrastructure development.
Yekatom (center) is arrested by members of the armed forces on October 29, before being handed over to the International Criminal Court.
(CNN)A Central African Republic (CAR) militia leader widely known as “Rambo” has been charged with a number of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and the use of child soldiers, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Alfred Yekatom is the former commander of a group of 3,000 members of the anti-balaka movement, a group consisting mainly of Christians that opposed a largely Muslim rebel alliance known as Seleka, the ICC said.
His crimes allegedly took place “in various locations within the Central African Republic, including the capital Bangui and Lobaye prefecture,” the court said.
The anti-balaka coalition, which translates to “anti-machete,” was formed after Seleka ousted President François Bozizé and replaced him with the country’s first Muslim President.
The coalition has repeatedly clashed with Seleka groups and led frequent massacres against Muslim populations in the country over the course of its ruinous civil war, according to Amnesty International.
Appearing in court to be informed of the charges leveled against him, Yekatom — who is also a member of Parliament — claimed that upon his arrest he was held in presidential detention for a month and was tortured and beaten with the butts of Kalashnikov rifles.
He was originally arrested by local authorities in late October, and was handed over to a tribunal in The Hague on November 17.
Yekatom appears before the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday.
The court accused Yekatom of crimes against humanity, including murder, imprisonment, torture and enforced disappearance.
Mutilation, intentional attacks against the civilian population and the use of soldiers under the age of 15 are among the war crimes of which he is accused.
A Human Rights Watch report last year said that armed anti-balaka groups in the CAR “have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war across the country during nearly five years of conflict.”
Yekatom will next appear in court in April, when evidence will be examined and discussed.
The Black Stars skipper claims he is being wrongly chastised by Ghanaians despite his sacrifices
Asamoah Gyan has called on Ghanaians to stop fabricating stories about his career and private life meant to tarnish his image.
The 33-year-old has not played with the Black Stars since September 2017 due to injury concerns and thus has been absent from the team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign so far.
His recent off-field incidents sparked an angry backlash from a section of Ghanaians who believe time is due for him to leave the team.
“Ghanaians can criticise me but it should be constructive,” Gyan told Adom TV.
“I’m not happy because about 99 per cent of the stories, rumours and other things about me are false and it is unfortunate. People just create their own stories either to promote their media or run me down which is very worrisome. I believe such things must end,” he added.
Gyan is yet to overcome his infamous penalty miss against Uruguay, which could’ve seen Ghana in the semi-finals of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
“I wish that day could come again for me to retake the penalty differently,” the former Sunderland striker said.
“I am still haunted by that penalty miss but I have to move on and hope to help the country win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations title to repair the damage. Ghanaians should pray for us,” he added.
Gyan has scored 51 goals for Ghana in 106 appearances since 2003.
Following the gruesome killings of Nigerian soldiers by suspected insurgent group in Itele North-eastern Nigeria recently, the Presidential candidate of Liberation Movement (LM) Dr. Kriz David has described the fight against insurgency in Nigeria as a big commercial venture among the nation’s political elite.
In a statement, Dr. David said: “Insecurity in Nigeria is a conspiracy of the political elite and the commercial gains being made by politicians and their cohort in the security institutions. There are verifiable proofs to validate these assertions. It is now very clear to everyone that we have been fed with lies and still been fed with lies. If the account of one of the soldiers to go by, you know that the fight against Boko Haram has been a big commercial venture for these vocational politicians. Despite the several billions of naira that was voted for the purchase of “intelligence and equipment” as they claimed, our military are ill equipped”
“If in 2018, Boko Haram can sack a military base, kill a battalion, what then is the fate of civilians? Life has become endangered in Nigeria. As president of Nigeria, I will solve the insecurity challenge within 60 days of assuming office.”
The Liberation Movement presidential candidate further reiterated that the essence of government is the sustenance and enhancement of the quality of lives of citizens. “I have a well proven strategy and model which I will use to achieve this. These vocational politicians created Boko Haram, therefore they can’t solve the problem they created”
“While the situation we find ourselves in is a sad one, Nigerians shouldn’t shift focus from the upcoming elections. It is time we stop electing leaders based on political, tribal and religious sentiments but elect leaders on the bases of meritocracy.” Dr. David said.