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    UN rights council appoints former ICC prosecutor to lead Ethiopia probe

    The UN Human Rights Council picked the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to lead a panel investigating violations of human rights in the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the Council said on Wednesday.

    Ethiopian federal troops went to war with Tigrayan forces in November 2020. Since the war erupted, Reuters has reported atrocities by all sides, which the parties to the conflict have denied.

    The Council voted in December to establish an Independent Investigative Commission, to look into alleged violations by all sides and identify perpetrators with a view to accountability.

    Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national who was chief prosecutor at the ICC between 2012 and 2021, will lead the panel of three, the Council said in a statement.

    The panel will “establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses, collect and preserve evidence, identify those responsible, where possible,” the Council said.

    It will also “make such information accessible and usable in support of ongoing and future accountability efforts.”

    The team will brief the Council during its mid-year session and present a written report towards the end of the year.

    (Reuters)

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    Kefi pushing for Tulu Kapi construction start

    Aim-listed Kefi has restarted development activities at the Tulu Kapi gold project, in Ethiopia, following a suspension in 2021 as precautionary measure owing to the security situation in the country.

    The company has been working with the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines to expedite the Tulu Kapi project, while the civil war has since abated after peaking in December last year.

    Mining Weekly previously reported that Kefi’s current activities include preparing new host lands for resettling households, as well as building accommodation for construction personnel.

    An appropriate security system is also being installed in preparation for construction and operations. Additionally, the joint venture partners are undertaking an external independent security assessment of the project site, district and transport routes.

    The project’s principal contractors, Lycopodium for plant construction and Corica for mine services, are expected to deliver the final costings for confirmation at the end of April.

    The anticipated final capital estimate for the project has not changed from previous guidance and remains fully covered by nonbinding subscriptions from the project’s financing syndicate.

    (CREAMER MEDIA)

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    Paga Group launches in Ethiopia

    Mobile payments and financial services company, Paga Group, has partnered with the Bank of Abyssinia, amid regulatory approval from the National Bank of Ethiopia to launch its online payment gateway in the country.

    Paga’s partnership with the Bank of Abyssinia is both a milestone and a core, strategic development in Paga’s growth strategy.

    Established in 1996, and with close to 700 branches and over five million customers, the Bank of Abyssinia is one of Ethiopia’s leading banks. It is also a pioneer in Ethiopia of digital finance and payment solutions.

    “Ethiopia is on the cusp of a digital transformation. Paga has a long history working in Ethiopia, and we are very excited for this next phase of our involvement in Ethiopia, where we can provide innovative payment and financial services to the market,” said Adam Abate, CEO of Paga Ethiopia.

    “We are equally excited to be partnering with the Bank of Abyssinia, which has demonstrated its commitment to and capabilities in driving Ethiopia’s digital economy forward. Combined with Paga’s innovation and technology, we believe our offering will be very exciting for Ethiopian consumers and businesses,” Adam added.

    Through its online payment gateway and other capabilities, Paga will help drive the digital economy in Ethiopia by enabling sellers to pay and get paid easily online. Paga will leverage its experience and international partnerships to deliver world class online payment services.

    (Africa Tech)

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    30 Ethiopians in custody go on hunger strike over slow repatriation

    More than 30 Ethiopian nationals are on a hunger strike at the Buruburu police station, Nairobi, to demand their fast repatriation.

    The aliens started their strike on Tuesday as they demanded that they be sent back to their country as ordered by the court.

    Some victims are said to be too weak and sick because of the hunger strike.

    The aliens had been arrested from a house in Donholm while waiting to be smuggled to South Africa as promised by their agent. Two suspects believed to be behind the smuggling were arrested.

    They were taken to court and it was then ordered they be repatriated immediately.

    Police say they have informed immigration officials and the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi to fast track the order and have them taken back to their country.

    Nairobi’s Deputy Police, James Mugera said the issue was under control and they will solve it. “Initially, there was a language barrier but we are now fine and solving it,” Mugera said.

    And following the incident, Ethiopian authorities say 139 nationals detained in Kenya for illegal entry have been freed.

    (The star)

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    HORN In BRIEF

    Somalia extends election deadline to mid-March

    Somalia extended its deadline to finish voting for the Lower House of Parliament on Friday, the latest in a series of election delays that risk starving the country of budget funds.

    The fragile Horn of Africa nation has struggled to hold elections, with polls delayed by more than a year, bedeviled by political squabbling and a simmering extremist insurgency.

    The election was due to be completed on Friday and pave the way for lawmakers to pick a President.

    But Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf said the deadline had now been revised to March 15, 2022.

    “The National Consultative Council… expressed their disappointment with the fact that they could not meet the deadline,” Yusuf said in a televised address.

    The announcement came days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that it might have to stop its program in Somalia if the polls were postponed again.

    The IMF program is due for a review in mid-May but election delays mean that a new administration may not be ready to endorse planned reforms in time, forcing an automatic halt, the Somalia fund’s mission chief, Laura Jaramillo Mayor, told AFP.

    (Alarabiya news)

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    Sudan welcomes military base agreement with Russia

    Deputy Chairman of Sudan Sovereignty Council, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalu Hmidti (Gen.), reported that he discussed cooperation with Russian officials on national security and political issues.

    Hmidti held a press conference at Khartoum Airport after his eight-day visit to the Russian capital, Moscow concluded.

    Hmidti said that meetings were held with many officials in Russia, and discussed all issues between the two countries; especially politics and economy.

    Mentioning that he also met with Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolay Patrushev, Hmidti said that they discussed the issue of national security in Russia and Sudan in the field of experience sharing, joint cooperation, fight against terrorism and education.

    Hmidti also said “The issue of the Russian military base is the issue of the Sudanese Defense Minister. There is a lot of talk about this base. There are Russian bases in different countries in Africa. I cannot understand the interest behind the establishment of this base. If the establishment of a military base in Sudan is in the country’s interest and does not threaten its national security, there’s nothing wrong with getting along with them or anyone else.”

    (Africa news)

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    Pope to make long-promised trip to South Sudan

    Pope Francis will travel to the war-scarred countries of Congo and South Sudan in early July, the Vatican press office said.

    “At the invitation of their respective heads of state and bishops,” the pope will visit Kinshasa and Goma in Congo from July 2-5, 2022 and Juba, South Sudan, from July 5-7, 2022 said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

    The Vatican’s March 3 announcement said further details would be provided later.

    Chris Cox, the head of media for Anglican Archbishop, Justin Welby of Canterbury, told Catholic News Service that the archbishop and the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland will join Pope Francis in Juba.

    The pope, the archbishop and the moderator have been supporting the work their counterparts in South Sudan have been doing for years to encourage peace, dialogue and reconciliation among competing political factions.

    Most famously, in April 2019 at the suggestion of Archbishop Welby, Pope Francis hosted a spiritual retreat at the Vatican with the leaders of all the warring political factions and clans.

    At the end of the retreat, Pope Francis knelt at the feet of the leaders of South Sudan, begging them to give peace a chance and to be worthy “fathers of the nation.”

    (UCA news)

    Kenyan smugglers caught with Heroin at Ahmedabad airport

    A team of the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) apprehended two Kenyan nationals at the city airport with 8.5 kg of heroin early on Thursday morning. This was the third major heroin seizure by the Agency at the city’s international airport in the past 10 days, as over 10 kg of drugs, worth Rs 70 crore, has been seized.

    “Based on specific intelligence, a team was deployed at the airport. The two passengers – a man and a woman matching the intelligence were detained for further investigation. On examining their baggage, an empty bag was found to be heavy. There were cavities made in its seams, where eight plastic packages containing granules and powder were concealed,” said an official.

    An FSL team was brought to the spot with a field drug identification kit, and the contraband was confirmed to be heroin. Officials said both passengers have been arrested under the NDPS Act, 1985. This is one of the largest drug seizures at the airport, said DRI officials.

    (The times of India)

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