Catholic bishops in Ethiopia warned that insecurity is shutting down churches and forcing more priests and nuns to flee, as consequences of the war in the northern province of Tigray are felt across the entire country.
The bishops reiterated that the insecurity had made it difficult for the church to effectively carry out its pastoral work in many parishes including those in the Diocese of Adigrat in Tigray.
For more than 20 months in Tigray, Bishop Tesfaselassie Medhin of Adigrat, his priests, and the people of the region have remained cut off from the rest of the country as the government keeps the blockade in place.
While urging the parties in the conflict to focus on peace, dialogue and reconciliation to end the suffering of the people, Cardinal Surafel Berhaneyesus said the citizens are still being killed and exiled because of their identity in many places.
Due to the government and occupation forces’ blockade, the two actions have isolated the church from its pastors and communities, international Catholic networks, and the rest of the world, according to the bishop.
Dubai and Ethiopia to strengthen digital, economic partnerships
Dubai Chambers organized a visit for a delegation from Ethiopia recently, welcoming 10 notable decision makers from the public and private sectors.
The delegation was headed by Ewnetu Abera, CEO of Perago Information Systems, the company mandated with implementing the .gov initiative for the Federal Government of Ethiopia.
The delegates sought to explore Dubai’s success in digital services, discuss the prospects of establishing potential business partnerships, and sign agreements that would support the Digital Ethiopia 2025 Strategy, in addition to exchanging knowledge and expertise.
The Dubai Chambers’ representative office in Ethiopia made significant efforts that paved the way for the visit. The office is tasked with attracting foreign investments and supporting Dubai-based companies to expand in global markets.
The visiting delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology in Ethiopia and executives from Perago Information Systems.
The delegation held eight meetings with representatives from Dubai Chambers, Digital Dubai, and a number of companies, including On-Time, Value Grid, Digital Falcon, and World1Media, to discuss opportunities for establishing partnerships and collaborations.
UN delegation returns from Human Rights fact-finding mission in Ethiopia
Three UN-appointed independent human rights experts returned from Ethiopia on Tuesday after working to negotiate access to areas important for investigations.
The UN International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is mandated to conduct a thorough and impartial probe into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law.
Specifically, it will investigate violations of international humanitarian law and refugee law in Ethiopia committed on November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict in the Tigray region.
The experts met with members of the National Dialogue Commission and Inter-Ministerial Task Force, the Ethiopia National Human Rights Commission, civil society, diplomats, and UN agencies and staff in Ethiopia to discuss the current human rights situation in the country.
The Commission is scheduled to submit a written report to the human rights body on this trip during its next session in September 2022.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.
Akobo Minerals reaches agreement with experienced underground mining contractor
The Scandinavian-based Ethiopian gold exploration and boutique mining company announced it has reached an agreement with the South African company, IW Mining (Pty) Ltd to operate the underground mine at Segele.
IW Mining is a highly experienced mining contractor with years of hard-won underground mining experience in the tough South African mining arena.
This fundamental agreement secures Akobo Minerals access to personnel and competence for mining of the Segele gold ore, according to the timeline. Mining must be underway in October 2022; first gold extraction to begin in Q1 2023, Full production is expected to begin by end of Q2 2023
In line with the company’s ESG guidelines, IW Mining will recruit and train a significant number of Ethiopian personnel who will work with the Segele mine.
The sourcing of mining equipment has already begun and first shipments are to be dispatched imminently. IW Mining will mobilize an experienced mining team from South Africa that will travel to Segele within weeks.
HORN IN BRIEF
SAA and KQ expand pan-African airline alliance with new codeshare partnership
Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA) have signed a codeshare agreement to expand their destination networks, building on their September 2021 venture to form a Pan-African airline by 2023.
The codeshare agreement will see each airline sell, under its own code, flights operated by both carriers, according to a press statement released by Kenya Airways.
“Passengers travelling out of South Africa will have more options to travel to African destinations including Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Mombasa, and Kisumu while KQ passengers will have more choices for travel into Southern Africa including Cape Town, Durban, and Harare immediately,” said KQ in the statement.
The growth of the partnership will see the addition of Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Juba, Douala, Lusaka Ghana and Nigeria subject to government approval as the airlines seek to offer more options for travelers within Africa, the statement reads.
Back in September 2021, KQ and SAA signed a Memorandum of Cooperation that included a long-term plan to start a Pan-African airline group. The new airline is expected to begin operations in 2023.
Severe drought displaces 918,000 people in Somalia: UN
Severe drought in Somalia, with malnutrition and disease outbreaks surging, has displaced 918,000 people from their homes, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said. Currently, more than 90 percent of Somalia is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions.
The forecast of a historic fifth poor rainy season will keep needs high well into 2023, the OCHA said.
Humanitarians reached more than four million people with life-saving assistance since January, out of the seven million affected. They gave priority to the most vulnerable people in areas of highest need as catastrophic hunger looms, the office said in its latest situation report released on Wednesday.
The UN Humanitarian Air Service reached about 900,000 vulnerable people in hard-to-reach areas, it said.
“Malnutrition and disease outbreaks have surged, and more people are facing difficulties accessing safe water, proper sanitation, and adequate food,” said OCHA. It said donations had significantly boosted the funding needed to scale up the humanitarian response.
South Sudan president fires Finance Minister and central bank governor
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, fired Finance Minister, Agak Achuil Lual and the Central Bank Governor, Moses Makur Deng, the state’s television announced Thursday.
Outgoing minister Lual has been in office since November last year after replacing Athian Diing Athian.
In a presidential decree read on SSBC on Thursday evening, Kiir appointed Dier Tong Ngor, as Finance Minister of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. In the same breath, the bank’s first deputy, Johnny Ohisa, was appointed acting governor. The incoming minister, Tong, served as the Central Bank Governor for two years before he was relieved in January.
No reasons have been put forward explaining the changes, but the country is battling an economic crisis through runaway inflation and rapid depreciation of the South Sudanese pound leading to skyrocketing market prices.
Last month, the country’s Central Bank auctioned USD 47 million to forex bureaus and commercial banks as a measure to stabilize the exchange rates. However, the situation has continued to deteriorate as market prices soar.
Rwanda attacks Congo troops, backed rebels
Rwandan troops have attacked soldiers inside DR Congo and aided the M23 rebel group, according to a report by independent experts for the UN seen by AFP on Thursday. The findings follow months of deepening tensions between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda over the notorious M23.
The DRC has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing the militia, which has captured swathes of territory in recent months. Kigali has repeatedly denied any involvement.
But according to a 131-page report by experts for the UNSC, Rwanda has launched military interventions inside Congolese territory since at least November 2021. Rwanda also “provided troop reinforcements” for specific M23 operations, the report said, “In particular when these aimed at seizing strategic towns and areas.”
A Rwandan government spokesperson in a statement described the allegations as “invalidated” and stressed that Rwanda had the right to defend itself.
“Rwanda has a legitimate and sovereign right to defend our territory and citizens, and not just wait for disaster to unfold,” Yolande Makolo said.
The investigation for the UN also found that Congolese forces had been providing support for armed groups in the deeply troubled east.