Daily Archives: December 9, 2018

AMNESTY SAYS EXECUTIONS RISING IN SOUTH SUDAN, GOVERNMENT DENIES IT

JUBA– Amnesty International accused South Sudan of stepping up use of the death penalty with seven executions this year including one who was a child when convicted of murder, and said another 342 people were on death row.

The world’s youngest nation has embraced this outdated, inhuman practice and is executing people, even children, at a time when the rest of the world is abandoning this abhorrent punishment, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty’s regional director, said in a statement.

The president of South Sudan must stop signing execution orders and end this obvious violation of the right to life.

Presidency spokesman AtenyWekAteny rejected Amnesty’s statement, saying no one had been executed in South Sudan since 2011 and a moratorium had been placed on the practice since 2013.

He also said the death penalty remained on the statute books, adding, If you kill a person, you will be executed.

In 2017, 53 countries issued death sentences and 23 of them executed at least 993 people, Amnesty reported earlier this year, with the most executions in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

SOMALIA: BLAST KILLS TWO GENERALS AND SEVEN GUARDS

MOGADISHU– Nine Somali soldiers including two generals were killed on Thursday by a blast just outside the capital Mogadishu, militants and an army official said.

Militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility, saying it had destroyed a military pick-up truck carrying the generals and their seven bodyguards near Dhanaane village just outside Mogadishu on Thursday afternoon.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, identified the slain generals as Omar Aden and Abdi Ali.

We destroyed their pick-up with a roadside bomb near Dhanaane village, he said.

A military official confirmed that the two generals and their guards had been killed while others were injured.

Al Shabaab has for years been fighting to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and install its own rule based on a strict interpretation of sharia law.

The country has been gripped by insecurity and lawlessness since the early 1990s.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

DR CONGO ARRESTS ARMY COLONEL IN CONNECTION WITH KILLING OF UN MONITORS

KINSHASA– A Congolese army colonel has been arrested in connection with the killing of two U.N. sanctions monitors, a prosecutor said – the first member of the security services detained over the case.

Zaida Catalan, a Swede, and Michael Sharp, an American, were killed in March 2017 while investigating reports of atrocities during an armed conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region between government forces and the KamuinaNsapu militia.

Congolese authorities initially blamed the militia, arrested about two dozen alleged fighters and charged them with involvement in the killings. The government later said it could not exclude the possibility state agents were involved.

TimotheeMukuntu, the prosecutor overseeing the case, said that Colonel Jean de DieuMambweni had been arrested but no formal charges had yet been filed.

Mambweni has previously denied any role in Sharp and Catalan’s deaths.

The prosecutor said Mambweni was arrested after a session in the trial of some of the arrested militia members on Thursday.

Defencelayers at the hearing in the central city of Kananga said prosecutors played an audio recording of what they said was the colonel meeting the U.N. monitors at his house two days before their deaths.

In the audio recorded by Catalan, Mambweni was heard giving the monitors the number of a translator for them to use on their mission, and then calling the translator himself, two defence lawyers said.

Mambweni denied in court testimony last month that he had introduced them to the translator or played any part in the planning of their mission or their deaths.

Defence lawyer TresorKabangu also said members of his team had requested that Congo’s interior minister at the time of the killings, Emmanuel RamazaniShadary, appear in court to explain negotiations he led with KamuinaNsapu representatives.

Shadary is now President Joseph Kabila’s preferred candidate to replace him in the Dec 23 presidential election.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

ZAMBIA: CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES LUNGU CAN STAND FOR 3RD TERM AS PRESIDENT IN 2021

LUSAKA– President Edgar Lungu can stand in presidential elections due in 2021, Zambia’s top court ruled, finding that he would not be breaching a constitutional two-term limit.

The ruling will strengthen Lungu’s hand at a time when Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, is grappling with mounting debt and an economic slump caused by depressed commodity prices.

Lungu’s first period in office lasted only one year and six months, when he took over after the death of the previous elected president Michael Sata. He then won election in a disputed vote to a second, full term in August 2016.

Lungu’s supporters argued that the constitution says a president is only deemed to have served a term if he is in office for at least three years of the full five-year term.

Constitutional Court President HildahChibomba said the ruling by the seven judges of the court had been unanimous.

Our answer is that the (Lungu’s first) presidential tenure of office…cannot be considered as a full term, Chibomba said.

The official opposition party was not available for comment.

Lungu told supporters in November that Zambian judges could plunge the southern African country into chaos if they made any adventurous rulings, according to the Zambia Daily Mail and Times of Zambia.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

AT LEAST 17 KILLED IN DR CONGO – MAYOR

KINSHASA– Seventeen people have been killed in two attacks by a militant group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The regional army’s spokesman said five of the killings – in the troubled Beni region near the Ugandan border – happened during an attack on barracks in the village Paida.

The government has often blamed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants for killings, robberies and kidnappings, but sometimes it is unclear who the true assailants are.

ADF is an armed group formed in late 1990s by a puritanical Muslim sect in the Ruwenzori mountains of western Uganda.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK