Ethiopia’s Supreme Court has upheld the order to release on bail journalist, Amir Aman Kiyaro, who has been imprisoned for four months without charges, rejecting a police effort to block his bail.
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the appeal by police against bail that had been granted by a lower court earlier this week for Amir, an Ethiopian video journalist accredited to The Associated Press.
The ruling said he should be freed on bail while prosecutors determine whether or not to press charges against him. A bail of 60,000 birr, about USD 1,170, has been paid, but Amir remained in custody on Thursday, while police processed the paperwork.
Amir, 30, was detained on November 28 in Addis Ababa under the country’s war-related state of emergency powers. He is accused of “serving the purposes” of what the government has classified as a “terrorist” group by interviewing its officials, according to reports by Ethiopian state media, which cited federal police.
Local journalist, Thomas Engida was arrested at the same time and faces a similar charge. Ethiopia’s Supreme Court also ruled that Thomas should be released on bail.
Kenya, Ethiopia agree on joint military drills
Ethiopia and Kenya on Wednesday reached a new agreement on peace and security as the two neighboring countries seek to strengthen bilateral ties.
The agreement was reached after the Ethiopian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Field Marshal, Birhanu Jula, met and held talks with Robert Kibochi (Gen.), the Chief of Defense Forces of the Kenya Defense Forces, in Nairobi.
According to a statement issued by the Ethiopian Foreign Affairs ministry, the top military officials agreed to strengthen cooperation on “bilateral and regional security issues, including hosting capacity-building training sessions and sharing experiences in peacekeeping.”
They further agreed to take the lead role in strengthening the East Africa Standby Force (EASF), which concluded its Command Post Exercise, Code named ‘MASHARIKI SALAAM III’ on March 31, 2022, at Kenya Commercial Bank Leadership Training Center, in Nairobi, Kenya, as member states of the African Union-backed bloc.
(The East African)
Djibouti President pays state visit to Ethiopia to further deepen ties
Djibouti’s leader, President Ismail Omar Guelleh held a bilateral meeting on regional issues of mutual concern with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) in Addis Ababa.
Guelleh and Abiy on Monday explored ways of strengthening multifaceted cooperation between the two countries.
“We discussed about the energy, and water and how to promote trade through upgrading the performance of the logistics, the port, the road, you know Djibouti and Ethiopians have very integrated economies and sometimes we are also quoted as a role model,” Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti said at the press briefing in Addis Ababa.
Both leaders were reported to have discussed the strengthening of economic ties in trade and agricultural investments, and the scale-up of joint infrastructure development.
“The ties between our two nations are historical and broad-based. It is not only neighborly ties but familial. Guelleh and I are committed to capitalizing on existing foundations for mutual prosperity”, Abiy said.
“The security and the stability of Djibouti as well as the unity and the stability of Ethiopia is fundamental to both countries’ joint interests and the two leaders also exchanged on mutual cooperation on this field,” Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance of Ethiopia added.
New consultations over Nile dam inspire optimism in Sudan
Sudan has recently expressed optimism about resolving the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as Ethiopia prepares for the third filling of the dam this summer.
The head of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (Lt. Gen.), recently said that consultations were resumed after nearly a year-long hiatus.
“We hope the consultations will be crowned with success and we will reach a consensus that satisfies all concerned parties,” Burhan said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat during his visit to Riyadh on March 23.
Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia have been locked in a bitter decade-old dispute over the GERD on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the Nile River. However, negotiations have reached a deadlock amid mounting fears of a military conflict in the already volatile region.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has stressed the need to reach a legal and binding agreement on filling and operating the GERD based on international law. Egypt and Sudan are hoping to resume negotiations before Addis Ababa begins filling the dam’s reservoir for the third time in the upcoming rainy season, between June and September.
HORN IN BRIEF
DRC joins EAC Regional Bloc to facilitate trade
The Democratic Republic of Congo this week became the seventh country to join the East African Community. The regional trade bloc includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, now reaching a quarter of Africa’s population, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic.
The 90 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be able to move freely and do business in six other African countries.
The leaders of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda welcomed Congo to the East African Community in a ceremony held on Monday. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke, stressing cooperation as the group’s cornerstone.
“I proudly and warmly welcome our brothers and sisters from the DRC to the East African Community. We look forward to joining hands in strengthening our community together. Working together, we have more to gain than when we are separate,” Kenyatta said.
Ezra Munyambonera, an economic researcher at the Economic Policy Research Center, said Congo’s addition to the EAC will benefit all the countries in the bloc. As part of the East African Community, the DRC will enjoy lower tariffs and administrative barriers.
Egypt, Djibouti launch first direct flight route
Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Sheriff Issa (Amb.) marked the inauguration by landing at Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport in the first direct air flight from Cairo.
Djibouti’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Awqaf Moamen Hassan Berri and Minister of Trade and Tourism, Mohamed Warsama Dirieh received the Egyptian diplomat upon his arrival.
Berri stated the launch of the new direct flight route between the two countries is evidence of the ongoing momentum in bilateral relations following President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to Djibouti in May 2021, and the Djiboutian President’s visit to Cairo in February.
From his side, Issa said that the launch of the new direct flight route will help advance bilateral cooperation. He also pointed to recent cooperation projects between Egypt and Djibouti, including a project to establish a logistics zone at the Free Zone of Djibouti (DFZ), opening a new branch of Egypt’s Banque Misr and building an Egyptian pediatric and gynecologic hospital.
ICIPE and Sida to support East African bioscience research
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have signed a new five-year cooperation agreement to implement phase III of the Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development Program (Bio Innovate Africa).
With up to 160 million SEK (approximately USD 17 million) committed for Bio Innovate Africa phase III, coupled with previous Sida support to Bio Innovate Africa phase I (2010 – 2015) and phase II (2016 –2021), this becomes the biggest single investment in a regional bioscience research and innovation-driven initiative to date in Eastern Africa, thereby fostering the development of a sustainable bio economy.
The support further strengthens capacity of scientists in Eastern African universities, research institutes, and the private sector to translate their biologically based research outputs, inventions, or technologies into practical solutions that contribute towards increasing household incomes, creating jobs, and reducing poverty in the region.
Scientists will receive support through competitive grants for regional research and innovation collaboration projects administered by icipe/Bio Innovate Africa.
The targeted beneficiary countries include Burundi, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Kenya jail goes green to fix sewage woes, protect sea
Heading north from Mombasa, the unmistakable whiff of a foul stench in the air was as reliable as any mile marker for motorists taking the highway along the Kenyan coast.
“You would always know you were near Shimo la Tewa Prison,” said Stephen Mwangi, a government scientist who has lived for decades in the coastal region where thousands of inmates are incarcerated in a maximum-security jail.
The smell wasn’t coming from the prison itself but its septic system, which had collapsed from overuse. Every day, a small river of sewage flowed downhill into Mtwapa Creek, which empties into the Indian Ocean.
The contamination threatened fishing grounds, waterside hotels and restaurants, and the tropical reefs of Mombasa’s protected marine park, a jewel of the tourism industry just offshore.
Motorists pinch their noses as they passed over the creek but on the prison grounds, the stench was inescapable. Government lodgings used by prison wardens and hospital staff were deemed uninhabitable, and abandoned over public health concerns.
Expected to be operational by end of April, sewage will first pass through an improved septic tank where solids are separated. The UN Environment Program (UNEP), which sponsors the project, said artificial wetlands offered an affordable and versatile solution for sanitation, while storing carbon and helping cool the planet.