Ethiopia’s government will look into the deaths of 27 of its citizens, whose bodies were found dumped near Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. This discovery has “alarmed” the UN’s migration agency.
Zambian police found the bodies of the 27 men on Sunday in Chongwe Ngwerere, a farming area on the outskirts of the capital. They died from suspected hunger and exhaustion, the authorities said, and were believed to be migrants from Ethiopia.
The state Ethiopia News Agency on Monday said its country will send experts to the area to confirm the identities of the citizens who reportedly died while attempting to cross into South Africa illegally.
Zambian police said preliminary investigations showed the victims were all aged between 20 and 38, and their bodies had been dumped along a road by unknown people. Officers found another man “gasping for breath” and took him to the hospital.
On Monday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was “profoundly shocked and alarmed” by the discovery.
In a statement, it said that this tragedy happened less than two months after the bodies of 30 Ethiopian migrants were found in a mass grave in neighboring Malawi.
Meta accused of allowing posts that inflamed Ethiopian conflict
In a lawsuit filed in Kenya on Wednesday, Meta was accused of letting violent and hateful posts from Ethiopia spread on its Facebook platform. This was said to have made the Ethiopian civil war worse.
The lawsuit, filed by two Ethiopian researchers and Kenya’s Katiba Institute rights group, alleges that Facebook’s recommendation systems amplified violent posts in Ethiopia, including several that preceded the murder of the father of one of the researchers.
“Not only does Facebook allow such content to be on the platform; they prioritize it, and they make money from such content. Why are they allowed to do that?” Mercy Mutemi, the attorney for the two Ethiopian researchers, stated at a press conference in Nairobi.
The lawsuit also said Meta failed to exercise reasonable care in training its algorithms to identify dangerous posts and in hiring staff to police content in the languages covered by its regional moderation hub in Nairobi.
“We invest heavily in teams and technology to help us find and remove this content,” Meta spokesperson, Erin McPike, said. “We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages in Ethiopia.”
Kenya, Eritrea agree to abolish visa requirement
Kenya and Eritrea have agreed to abolish Visa requirements for their respective citizens in a move made to advance regional integration. President William Ruto and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki made the announcement on Friday after holding bilateral talks in Asmara.
The two leaders believe the move will bolster bilateral relations, and improve people-to-people ties besides entrenching regional integration. “We will keep working together to promote regional trade and investment,” explained President Ruto.
The two leaders further decided to cooperate in the African Union in the “spirit of Pan-Africanism” where they agreed to consult on regional integration for the development of the two nations.
The two Heads of State further resolved to work together and consult on regional integration in efforts to safeguard regional peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa. Likewise, they underscored the importance of promoting regional trade and investment through developing regional land, sea and air transport.
Ethio tele already coming to blows with newcomer Safaricom
The Ethiopian incumbent operator, ethio telecom is threatening legal action against Safaricom Ethiopia after the latter reportedly damaged their infrastructure.
At the start of October, Safaricom Ethiopia officially launched commercial mobile services in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, marking the end of one of the world’s last remaining telecom monopolies.
Since then, the company has been rapidly rolling out its own network across the country as well as extending services to additional customers via an infrastructure sharing agreement with Ethio Telecom.
However, the relationship between the incumbent and the newcomer is already beginning to fray, with ethio telecom suggesting it could sue Safaricom over network disruptions suffered earlier this week.
In a Twitter thread, the operator said its customers in the Afar region had experienced a service blackout on December 11 as a result of damage to their infrastructure caused by Safaricom Ethiopia. The latter was in the process of deploying its infrastructure in the region.
This clash is the first sign of real tension between the two companies, which until now have appeared relatively amicable.
Ethiopia’s telecom market could soon get even more complicated, with the government announcing last month that it would reinitiate the sector’s long-delayed liberalization process.
Nigeria, Rwanda sign space treaty with US
Nigeria and Rwanda became the first African countries to sign the Artemis Accords on space cooperation with the US during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit at the US-Africa Space Forum in Washington, DC.
Nigeria’s Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Isa Ali Ibrahim, represented Nigeria on Tuesday, while Rwanda Space Agency CEO, Francis Ngabo, represented Rwanda.
The Artemis Accords, signed by Rwanda and Nigeria, are “a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.”
The US-Africa Space Forum reaffirmed the US’s commitment to collaborate with African partners on the peaceful use and exploration of outer space to meet shared priorities on Earth.
It also seeks US-Africa space partnerships and cooperation for the possibilities and challenges of the 21st century. These include the global food, biodiversity, and climate crises; responsible space travel; and enhancing US-Africa scientific and commercial space cooperation.
The other signatories are Australia, the UK, the UAE, France, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Saudi Arabia, among others.
Savannah Energy announces USD 1.2 bln purchase of oil fields in South Sudan
Africa-focused British independent energy company, Savannah Energy, has announced the acquisition of producing oil fields in South Sudan from Malaysian state oil and gas company, Petronas, a move highly supported by the African Energy Chamber (AEC). The announcement came on December 12, with the acquisition having been made for USD 1.25 billion.
“With Savannah Energy, South Sudan will benefit with more jobs, local content, sustainable energy development, opportunities for women, and an aggressive turnaround of declining fields,” NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, said.
Ayuk added, “The opportunities for independent energy companies to participate in the continent’s energy future and allow Africa to bring energy to its people by making full use of its natural resources, which were highlighted during African Energy Week this year, where discussions were made supporting the presence of independents that can sustainably operate assets acquired from international supermajors.”
Entering a Share Purchase Agreement with Petronas to procure the company’s entire oil and gas asset portfolio in South Sudan through the acquisition of its subsidiary, Petronas Carigali Nile Limited, the completed transaction will result in Savannah Energy’s attainment of interests in three Joint Operating Companies (JOCs).
Somalia inches towards famine amid extreme drought
The record-breaking drought in the Horn of Africa has affected half the population of Somalia, including Somaliland. The United Nations says if more aid does not arrive soon, Somalia will suffer its worst famine in half a century.
Many Somalis are nomadic pastoralists. With livestock diminished by the drought that has affected 7.8 million people across Somalia, large populations have moved to IDP camps to seek aid.
Hibak Hussein, a 26-year-old mother of four, moved to the Ainabo camp for the internally displaced in Somaliland’s Burco district to get help after drought killed her animals. She said the livestock were her only source of income, so she and her children walked more than 100 kilometers to the camp in search of relief. But even in the camp, she said, sometimes she doesn’t have any food, and her family is forced to go to bed hungry.
Hussein is among the 1.6 million people who, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, have been displaced by drought in the country since 2022. More than 300,000 more people are facing famine, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Kenya Power on course to clear Sh110 billion debt
The improving financial position as a result of ongoing reforms could see Kenya Power clear at least a third of its debt every year.
In an exclusive interview with the Star, the firm’s acting managing director, Geoffrey Muli, said it cleared at least Sh40 billion last year after doubling profits to Sh3.5 billion.
“Debt was and is not the biggest problem Kenya Power has. That can be managed. We have prioritized increasing sales, reducing system losses, and limiting power outages,” Muli said.
In the last financial year, the company recorded liabilities worth Sh110.4 billion, exceeding current assets worth Sh54.7 billion, thereby becoming technically insolvent.
Muli, who took over from Rosemary Oduor in mid-May, is confident that the firm is getting back on track after years of high losses and power theft. He said the power retailer has managed to cut outages from 30,000 to 6,000 per month while restoration times have been cut by almost half to 2 hours and 30 minutes from four hours.
He revealed that improved operational efficiencies have seen the listed power distributor cut system losses by about Sh2.2 billion.