Category Archives: Entertainment

Armed Men Attack Sudan’s Protesters But Fail to Derail Negotiations

KHARTOUM The sound of gunfire echoed late into the night in Khartoum on Monday evening, as security forces clashed with demonstrators almost immediately after Sudan’s ruling military council announced it had reached an agreement with protest leaders on a transitional authority.

Firing tear gas and live bullets and beating protesters, armed men in uniform descended on barricades set up by protesters, witnesses said, killing several and wounding dozens.

Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council blamed unidentified elements for the attack and said one military police officer � an army major � was among the victims.

But it was unclear who was responsible for the shooting.

On Nile Street, protesters set up rows of consecutive roadblocks of stone and metal, burning tires and pressing north against their heavily armed adversaries.

Meanwhile, soldiers on trucks mounted with machine guns patrolled among the protesters � creating confusion as to who the men in uniform are. Yassir Mohamed, a lawyer, spoke to VOA after fleeing gunfire on Nile Street just before midnight.

“Unfortunately, I can’t say who attacked us,” he said. “But from what I’ve seen and experienced, it was [likely] shadow soldiers and National Security who caused this massacre.”

National Security Agency

Sudan’s notorious National Security agency is loyal to former President Omar al-Bashir, who was in power for 30 years until a military junta toppled him in April following months of street protests against his often dictatorial rule.

Sudan’s regular army has defended protesters who have camped out in a massive sit-in against previous attacks by Bashir loyalists � nearly all protesters say they support the army soldiers who have stood with them.

But besides the army and National Security personnel, there are also military police and a heavily-armed Darfuri militia � the Rapid Support Forces � linked to ousted President al-Bashir.

Many protesters also say there is a “shadow force” also loyal to Bashir.

Adding to confusion is the belief among protesters that these various groups may be wearing each other’s uniforms.

The military took power after ousting al-Bashir on April 11 from three decades of rule. The coup followed four months of anti-government protests sparked by fuel and food shortages in which dozens were killed in clashes with security forces.

Protesters have erected barricades and blocked roads around Sudan’s Defense Ministry, where they have been ever since demanding the military hand power to civilians. They expanded their barricades in recent days as confrontation with security forces became more frequent.

Those with gunshot wounds were taken to nearby hospitals. Others were treated on the street before being rushed to a field clinic set up by protesters, dozens of injured people streamed in as gunfire crackled outside.

Medical workers struggled to make space for the incoming wounded in the makeshift hospital.

Many of the injured people suffered from inhaling tear gas that security forces fired at protesters.

Others had head wounds and say they were beaten with thick welts and scars along their backs from blows by sticks, whips, and rifle butts. One of them was Yusuf el-Sair, who said a member of the Rapid Support Forces � who was in uniform � beat him under the Blue Nile Bridge on Nile Street, a flashpoint for confrontation in recent days.

“Gunfire is usually normal but, people started running, and Rapid Support Forces started coming under the bridge,” he said. “I tried to hide since I have a disability and can’t run, but an RSF soldier started beating me. I yelled, “I’m hurt! I’m hurt!”, he said, but the soldier didn’t listen and just kept beating.”

Guns for hire

El-Sair accused the Rapid Support Forces of being an undisciplined militia. The RSF was created by al-Bashir to put down insurgencies in Darfur and other areas, and has also patrolled borders to stop migrants from heading toward Europe.

The commander of the RSF is now the deputy head of the Transitional Military Council.

“They are militias of gun for hire, there’s no doubt,” el-Sair said of the RSF. “Because anybody who would kill or hit people for money without reason is just a mercenary.”

Monday’s violence came as a surprise as the ruling military council has been in talks with protest leaders for the past few weeks on forming an interim government.

But the field clinic’s Dr. Iman el Tijani said the situation appears to be escalating.

“The first days of the sit-in there was a lot of violence to be honest from the forces, and then there was a stillness or calmness afterwards for almost a little bit less than a month,” she said. “And now recently, especially today, there’s been a relapse into the violence.”

Monday night’s violence seemed timed to upset progress in talks between Sudan’s military and protest leaders on a transitional authority.

The attacks came just hours after the military council announced they had reached a deal.

Sudan’s prosecutor general’s office had also declared former President Omar al-Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters.

As the night wore on, the body count rose. In one section of the sit-in, men carried the body of one person killed in the clashes, chanting songs and waving Sudanese flags as ambulance sirens whined nearby.

The military council and protest leaders have said the violence will not stop them from forming a transitional government before holding elections.

But with attacks on them increasing, protesters have to figure out which troops are with them and which are against them.

Source: Voice of America

Zimbabweans Air Anger Amid Economic Meltdown

CHINHOYI, ZIMBABWE Pro-government statements are the norm in Chinhoyi, the hometown of former president Robert Mugabe. But that was not the case at a public meeting Saturday, as Zimbabweans grappling with poverty amid the flailing economy are using every chance they can to voice to their anger.

Doug Taylor Freeme, a former leader of the predominantly white Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, was among those who spoke.

“When the president came into power, he made an appeal: ‘Please, can all those financial institutions come into Zimbabwe and bring investment here.’ Our president has no need for him to be traveling all over the world looking for the money. It’s here. We just need the right documentation so that we can put the right security in place and I can promise, overnight, there will be a huge change,” Freeme said.

When he speaks of documentation, Freeme is talking about giving farmers the legal right to their land. Most white commercial farmers were pushed off their land in the early 2000s by the government and replaced by black peasant farmers.

Those new farmers have no guarantee they will be allowed to stay, and no collateral to use to borrow money from banks. Without those, Freeme argues, the farms cannot be productive.

Even blacks who benefited from the land reforms, like tobacco farmer Ronnie Masango, say unless the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe addresses chronic shortages of cash and finds a way to preserve the value of the local currency, the bondnote, the southern African country’s economy will not recover.

“I hear people keep on saying parallel market, parallel market” he said, referring to a black market. “Where is that money coming from? At the banks, I cannot access my money. But in the streets I see people using cash. … We want cash in the banks. Not in the streets. So you will soon see commotion in the streets since the traders show off. Parallel market is the source of our economic problems. That is where corruption starts.”

Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe’s justice minister, says only patience will help as the country goes through what President Emmerson Mnangagwa calls “austerity for prosperity” measures to reverse years of recession under former president Mugabe.

“To be fair to the reserve bank, the reserve bank does not create a parallel market. A parallel market, or black market, is caused by shortages,” Ziyambi said. “So what we are coming up is austerity measures. The moment we have a scenario where our production increases, we kill the parallel market. We have to acknowledge [that] we had 20 years or so where there was no development.”

It remains to be seen if the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe can assure citizens that the economy will stabilize, but the opposition has indicated more protests will materialize unless the situation improves.

Source: Voice of America

North West Tourism reviews and further endorses National Tourism Career Expo

NTCE the right platform for tourism industry

The Department of Tourism in the North West, together with the NW Tourism Board and Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education Training Authority (CATHSSETA) reviewed and further endorsed the National Tourism Career Expo as a pivotal platform in the Industry.

The endorsement was made during the NTCE business networking session held during the Africa Travel Indaba held at the Durban ICC recently.

The Partners took advantage of the number of big business in the Tourism industry present at the Indaba to review and further showcase the successes recorded during the 2018 National Tourism Career Expo held in Sun City. According to those who were in attendance, the event (NTCE) is critically important to young pupil aspiring to be part of the Tourism industry.

Speaker after speaker more especially the youth, expressed how the Career Expo changed their view of the Tourism sector and different careers within the sector. The same view was accord by MEC for Tourism in the North West Wendy Nelson. She said that NTCE is a good foundation to introduce and put into practice the do’s and don’ts within the sector.

2018 was an eye opener for all of us in the North West Province and we have seen how the expo can expand and broaden our children’s mind-set.

The event provided an opportunity for tourism curricula experts to share the information with educators, and about 8000 learners and for stakeholders within the sector to share recent, reliable information on diverse careers available in the sector.

I must say that indeed last year’s event has managed to bridge the gap between the industry, government, leaners, educators and general populace who are business orientated. NTCE is unity at its best and it is not just a Departmental Tourism event, it is everybody’s affair as we have many stakeholders that helped us to host this noble episode. I must make mention of the fact that last year the NTCE saw the significance model of the value chain trend in motion. The North West saw a number of business people clinching deals through the exposure and the platform presented, said MEC Nelson.

She said that government will strive to addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

MEC Nelson’s views were also shared by Deputy Minister of Tourism Elizabeth Thabethe. She praised young people who are now owning establishments after graduating from Departmental programmes. Deputy Minister Thabethe further called on young pupil and the Department of Education to take advantage of the NTCE as it may open doors for the future.

NTCE will give pupil a great experience and put into practise the theory they have acquired from their text books. It will also open possibilities that they have never thought they will ever be in. Some of the pupil have never been in a hotel room and the NTCE will make that possible for them. I am also appealing to those in the hospitality, to ensure that they focus of traditional food. Most tourists prefer indigenous food, unlike their usual dish. But however please make sure that it remains in its good taste, said Thabethe.

Product owners who participated during the 2018 NTCE, remain optimistic that the career expo is one critical venture that will make it easy for young people and encourage them to bring more innovation into the Tourism sector. The General manager of the Sun City resorts, Mr Raul de Lima, Mankwe Travel’s ., and Hilton Group’s Manager Candice Meyer all agreed that their companies will continue to support and partners with the NTCE and further ensure that they assist in nurturing careers especially of young people.

Some of the stakeholders also committed to continue offering bursaries, Internships, and offering employment to young people.

This year’s NTCE will be held under the Theme: Broadening your horizons through tourism opportunities

Source: Government of South Africa

Sudan’s Bashir Charged Over Killings of Protesters

Prosecutors in Sudan have charged former president Omar al-Bashir with involvement in the killing of anti-government protesters.

In a statement Monday, the office of Sudan’s prosecutor-general said Bashir and others have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators.

Sudan’s military removed Bashir from power on April 11 after four months of large protests against the president and his iron-fisted rule.

The rights group Physicians for Human Rights has estimated that Sudanese security forces killed more than 60 people during a failed crackdown on the protests.

Bashir was transferred to a high-security prison in Khartoum several days after his ouster, according to relatives, and has not been seen in public since.

Source: Voice of America

Burkina Faso: 6 Killed in Catholic Church Attack

Gunmen killed six people attending mass at the Catholic Church of Dablo in northern Burkina Faso Sunday morning, officials and witnesses said.

The priest and five churchgoers were among the victims, a witness told VOA Africa.

“They were about forty on motorcycles,” the witness said of the attackers. “They made everyone lie down, executed 5 before torching the church.”

The attackers set parts of the church and nearby shops on fire before fleeing the scene roughly an hour and a half after they arrived. Multiple injuries have been reported.

Last week, gunman killed five people in a Protestant church in the small northern town of Silgadji.

Source: Voice of America