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Kenya police ordered to investigate election officials
24 September 2017, 11:40 AM

Kenya’s chief prosecutor has ordered the police and anti-corruption agency to investigate the country’s election commission for alleged “irregularities and illegalities” in the conduct of August’s annulled presidential poll.

Director of public prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said the wide-ranging investigations into the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must be completed within 21 days.

A fresh presidential election between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is due on October 26.

In a letter sent Saturday to the heads of Kenya’s criminal investigations department and anti-corruption commission, Tobiko ordered, “thorough, comprehensive and expeditious investigations into the irregularities and illegalities found by the SCOK (Supreme Court of Kenya) to have been committed by the IEBC in relation to the Presidential Election with a view to establishing whether electoral and/or other criminal offences (including corruption and economic crimes) may have been committed by the IEBC officials or any of them and those who may have aided, abetted, counselled or procured commission of any such offence(s).”

Kobiko also said police and the anti-corruption agency should investigate allegations made by Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) against 11 specific, senior IEBC commissioners accused of offences, and allegations from Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party that two senior NASA leaders, Musalia Mudavadi and James Orengo, illegally accessed IEBC records.

Kenya’s Supreme Court annulled the August 8 presidential election, in which Kenyatta was declared winner, following a legal challenge from Odinga.

The annulment has heightened political tensions in Kenya, with Kenyatta describing the court decision as “a judicial coup” while Odinga has threatened to boycott the new election unless the IEBC is overhauled.

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– By AFP

Nigerian journalist detained over report on flood camp protest
23 September 2017, 4:01 PM

A Nigerian journalist was detained for reporting that relief materials were allegedly being diverted from a camp for flood victims, his employers and police said Saturday.

More than 100 000 people were forced to flee their homes in early September following floods in central Benue state, prompting authorities to set up makeshift camps to distribute relief materials to the victims.

Emmanuel Atswen, a reporter with the state-run News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was arrested on Friday over his September 12 story on a protest at a camp in central Nigeria which accused officials of diverting relief materials.

“The reporter was arrested over an alleged defamation of character and falsehood by a commissioner involved in the relief efforts,” State Police Spokesman Moses Yamu said.

He said the commissioner for water resources had complained he was wrongly quoted as confirming that materials were being stolen.

“The commissioner insisted he did not say what was attributed to him and asked that the story be retracted,” he said.

He said it was true materials were being moved to another camp, but the reporter said they were being diverted without verifying his story.

Yamu said the journalist had been released.

“He was released on bail this morning and has been asked to report back to the police on Wednesday,” he said.

NAN on Saturday said it stood by the story because it did not violate “the tenets of the journalism profession”.

Nigerian officials are often accused of diverting relief materials for their personal use, sparking regular protests at camps for internally displaced persons, especially in the northeast where Boko Haram Islamists have waged an eight-year rebellion.

Saturday 23 September 2017 16:01

AFP

Nigerian journalist detained over report on flood camp protest
23 September 2017, 4:01 PM

A Nigerian journalist was detained for reporting that relief materials were allegedly being diverted from a camp for flood victims, his employers and police said Saturday.

More than 100 000 people were forced to flee their homes in early September following floods in central Benue state, prompting authorities to set up makeshift camps to distribute relief materials to the victims.

Emmanuel Atswen, a reporter with the state-run News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was arrested on Friday over his September 12 story on a protest at a camp in central Nigeria which accused officials of diverting relief materials.

“The reporter was arrested over an alleged defamation of character and falsehood by a commissioner involved in the relief efforts,” State Police Spokesman Moses Yamu said.

He said the commissioner for water resources had complained he was wrongly quoted as confirming that materials were being stolen.

“The commissioner insisted he did not say what was attributed to him and asked that the story be retracted,” he said.

He said it was true materials were being moved to another camp, but the reporter said they were being diverted without verifying his story.

Yamu said the journalist had been released.

“He was released on bail this morning and has been asked to report back to the police on Wednesday,” he said.

NAN on Saturday said it stood by the story because it did not violate “the tenets of the journalism profession”.

Nigerian officials are often accused of diverting relief materials for their personal use, sparking regular protests at camps for internally displaced persons, especially in the northeast where Boko Haram Islamists have waged an eight-year rebellion.

– By AFP

DR Congo opens inquiry into killing of dozens of Burundian refugees
17 September 2017, 8:37 PM

The Democratic Republic of Congo said Sunday that it had opened an inquiry after soldiers fired on Burundian refugees in the eastern South Kivu province, killing dozens.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende also claimed that many of those killed during the clashes were members of an “armed group”, without providing details.

The UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the country had said Saturday that at least 36 refugees were killed in the violence in Kamanyola on Friday, in which a Congolese soldier also died.

But Mende appeared to dispute this, saying: “It has even been claimed they had bibles: Was the Congolese army lieutenant killed after being hit by bibles?”

Witnesses told AFP that many of the Burundians in Kamanyola were victims of religious persecution because they are followers of a female prophet called Zebiya, who has attested to seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in northern Burundi.

Interior ministry official Josue Boji said Saturday that the clashes began after a group of refugees overran a jail run by the country’s domestic intelligence agency to demand the release of four Burundians who had been arrested for expulsion on Wednesday night.

Boji said troops tried to disperse the refugees by “firing in the air but were overwhelmed” when the group responded by throwing stones.

At least 124 refugees were also wounded.

Tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to the eastern DR Congo to escape a wave of violence that unfurled in 2015 after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a fiercely contested third term in office.

Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed 500 to 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs, and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.

Around 36,000 are in DR Congo, mainly in the overcrowded camp of Lusenda in the east, or several transit camps.

– By AFP

DR Congo opens inquiry into killing of dozens of Burundian refugees
17 September 2017, 8:37 PM

The Democratic Republic of Congo said Sunday that it had opened an inquiry after soldiers fired on Burundian refugees in the eastern South Kivu province, killing dozens.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende also claimed that many of those killed during the clashes were members of an “armed group”, without providing details.

The UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the country had said Saturday that at least 36 refugees were killed in the violence in Kamanyola on Friday, in which a Congolese soldier also died.

But Mende appeared to dispute this, saying: “It has even been claimed they had bibles: Was the Congolese army lieutenant killed after being hit by bibles?”

Witnesses told AFP that many of the Burundians in Kamanyola were victims of religious persecution because they are followers of a female prophet called Zebiya, who has attested to seeing visions of the Virgin Mary in northern Burundi.

Interior ministry official Josue Boji said Saturday that the clashes began after a group of refugees overran a jail run by the country’s domestic intelligence agency to demand the release of four Burundians who had been arrested for expulsion on Wednesday night.

Boji said troops tried to disperse the refugees by “firing in the air but were overwhelmed” when the group responded by throwing stones.

At least 124 refugees were also wounded.

Tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to the eastern DR Congo to escape a wave of violence that unfurled in 2015 after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza sought a fiercely contested third term in office.

Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed 500 to 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs, and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.

Around 36,000 are in DR Congo, mainly in the overcrowded camp of Lusenda in the east, or several transit camps.

Sunday 17 September 2017 20:37

AFP

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