Six street children who were sleeping in a storm drain next to an elite school in the Ugandan capital have been killed after a wall fell on them, police said Monday.
“Due to a heavy downpour part of the perimeter wall of the school gave way, collapsed on the kids, killing six of them on the spot and two were injured,” Kampala’s deputy police spokesman Luke Owoyesigire said.
“The police rescue team is on the scene to check if any person is buried under the debris.”
The spokesman said police were trying to establish the identities of the children and track down their families, adding that they had been sleeping in the storm drain for a while.
According to Owoyesigire, it was the second such incident recently, after five family members were killed last month as they slept in a mud and wattle house when a wall collapsed on them.
The battle for women’s rights in ‘new’ Sudan is not yet over
We will no longer wait for our rights, we will fight to obtain them,” – Amani Osmane
She may have spent 40 days in jail for demonstrating against President Omar al-Bashir who has since been toppled but activist Amani Osmane says the battle for women’s rights in Sudan is far from over.
Women have been at the forefront of the revolt which led to Bashir’s overthrow by the military on April 11 after three decades of iron-fisted rule.
Osmane, who is also a lawyer, was detained on the evening of January 12 and escorted to “the fridge”, a grim room where interrogations are paired with extreme cold.
“There are no windows, nothing, just air conditioning at full blast and the lights on 24/7,” she told AFP.
The fridge is part of a detention centre run by the all-powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in a building on the Blue Nile that runs through Khartoum.
Dozens of activists and political opponents of Bashir’s regime have passed through what NISS agents cynically refer to as “the hotel”.
Osmane, who spent 40 days behind bars after a frigid seven hours of questioning, said she was arrested “contrary to all laws… because I stand up for women in a country where they have no rights”.
Another activist, Salwa Mohamed, 21, took part each day in protests at a camp outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum that became the epicentre of the anti-Bashir revolt.
Her aim was “to have the voice of women heard” in a Muslim country where she “cannot go out alone, study abroad or dress the way I want”.
Student Alaa Salah emerged as a singing symbol of the protest movement after a picture of her in a white robe leading chanting crowds from atop a car went viral on social media.
Portraits of Salah — dubbed “Kandaka”, or Nubian queen, online — have sprouted on murals across Khartoum, paying tribute to the prominent role played by women in the revolt.
‘We will no longer wait’
The unrest which has gripped Sudan since bread riots in December that led to the anti-Bashir uprising left scores dead.
Doctors linked to the protest movement say that 246 people have been killed since the nationwide uprising erupted, including 127 people on June 3 when armed men raided the protest camp in Khartoum.
On Wednesday, protesters and the generals who took over from Bashir finally inked a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since his fall three months ago.
The accord stipulates that a new transitional ruling body be established, comprised of six civilians and five military representatives.
A general will head the ruling body during the first 21 months of a transition, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months, according to the framework agreement.
“We will no longer wait for our rights, we will fight to obtain them,” said Osmane, stressing that women wanted 40 percent of seats in parliament.
Amira Altijani, a professor of English at the all-female Ahfad University in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, said: “This movement is an opportunity for women to have their voice heard.”
For Osmane, Bashir “hijacked” sharia laws for three decades to oppress women.
“But a new Sudan is rising, with a civilian government that will allow equality,” she said.
Political party delays creation of new state in Ethiopia
The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity
An Ethiopian political party pushing for the creation of a breakaway region said Thursday it was prepared to go along with new plans for a referendum announced by electoral officials. Leaders of the Sidama ethnic group in southern Ethiopia had planned to unilaterally declare their own federal state on Thursday – a move analysts warned could inflame Ethiopia’s political crisis and lead to bloodshed.
At present, Ethiopia is partitioned into nine semi-autonomous regions. The constitution requires the government to organise a referendum for any ethnic group that wants to form a new entity within a year of them requesting it. The Sidama have agitated for years to leave the diverse Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region of which they are a part, and create their own state.
The group – the largest in the state – said the deadline for the referendum was Thursday. However, Ethiopia’s election board said this week it would hold a referendum before the end of the year. It said it had not received the referendum request until November 2018, meaning it still had several months to hold the vote.
Though the Sidama Liberation Movement political party earlier said a referendum held after July would be unacceptable, spokesman Desalegne Mesa said Thursday that the party would accept the new timeline in the interest of peace.
“We agree to that point because even if the electoral board and the (ruling coalition) are ignoring the people and the constitution we are working to minimise the loss of life,” he said. “Our young people are calming themselves and staying at home. They have to get ready to prepare our referendum programme.”
It was not clear whether the party’s new stance would be endorsed by everyone in Hawassa, where residents said the streets were quiet Thursday morning and the security forces had ramped up their presence.
Many young people who had agitated for the creation of a new state are “not happy” with plans for a November referendum and people are wary of how they might react, one Hawassa resident told reporters. “If nothing is happening people may come out later,” the resident said. “I think most people are just staying at home for the time being.”
The Sidama issue is the latest headache for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is determined to reform the nation after decades of an iron-fisted rule but is facing ethnic violence in the diverse country that has displaced more than two million people.
Rwanda raises travel alarm to neighbouring DR Congo over Ebola case
The case was detected in Goma, a city of around one million that is separated by a border crossing in western Rwanda.
Rwanda’s health ministry on Monday urged citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after a case of Ebola was discovered in a city straddling its border.
The case was detected in Goma, a city of around one million that is separated by a border crossing from the town of Gisenyi, in western Rwanda.
Goma is the biggest urban hub to have been affected by Ebola since an outbreak that has killed more than 1,600 people began in DR Congo’s North Kivu province last August.
The crossing between Goma and Gisenyi is one of the most traversed in the region, with thousands making the journey back and forth each day.
The health ministry said while no cases of Ebola had been detected in Rwanda, it was vital that citizens played their part in helping prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
“The ministry of health reminds citizens and residents not to make unnecessary border crossings and travels to areas in neighbouring countries where Ebola has been reported,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We also advise that citizens and residents should not provide unnecessary accommodation to travellers who are coming from areas of neighbouring countries where Ebola has been reported.”
Health Minister, Diane Gashumba, who visited towns along Rwanda’s western frontier on Monday, said the government “would not close the border” but would bolster monitoring of those coming in and out of DR Congo.
Almost all the victims in this outbreak — the second-worst in Ebola’s history — were from DR Congo.
Two people who crossed from DR Congo into Uganda also died in June, but that country has now declared itself Ebola-free.
Experts fret when a contagious disease occurs in a city, where contact, mobility, and anonymity make it far harder to contain an outbreak than in the countryside.
The Goma patient was described as a pastor who had been on a trip to Butembo, one of the towns hardest hit by the outbreak in North Kivu.
There, he preached at seven churches and regularly touched worshippers, “including the sick,” the country’s health ministry said.
His symptoms first surfaced last Tuesday, it said.
Ebola spreads when humans touch the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids.
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