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Stray Dogs in Egypt are Becoming a Rampant Urban Inconvenience

The street dogs are more prominent in poorly lit and rubbish strewn areas, they avoid areas crowded with humans.

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Ahmed el-Shorbagi, owner of the HOPE shelter for stray dogs, feeds dogs in the shelter's courtyard, in the village of Abusir - AFP

Calls are being made for stray dogs to be brought under control in Cairo following rampant complaints about dog attacks, exposure to rabies and in some cases even deaths. There were around 400,000 cases of dog bites in 2017. These strays commonly referred to as “Baladi dogs” are usually seen scouring garbage on the streets for food.

There were around 400,000 cases of dog bites in 2017 according to the agriculture ministry. And in the last 4 years, rabies has been the cause of 231 deaths in Egypt’s society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) estimate that the stray dogs in Cairo may be more than 15 million.

The street dogs are more prominent in poorly lit and rubbish strewn areas, they avoid areas crowded with humans. The dog problem was exacerbated by a larger garbage problem in Egypt as garbage disposal workers haven’t fully returned to work since the uprising.

But animal rights groups have criticized the the governments methods of handling the situation, accusing them of mass dog killings. According to an August report by the governorate’s veterinary directorate, over 17,000 stray dogs were killed in Beni Sueif, in 2017 following disturbance and biting complaints.

The government has gone as far as offering ransoms of up to a 100 Egyptian pounds to people who capture and hand over at least five strays. Animal rights defenders also accuse the government of killing dogs using a banned substance, known as “strychnine”.

The agriculture ministry spokesman Hamed Abdel-Dayem denied that the government imported banned substances. “Is it logical that we allow internationally prohibited substances to enter the country?”

Animal rights groups’ capacity to fight back is limited, for example the SPCA has not had a headquarters since the it was looted during the uprising.

Animal rights advocates have sought to offer solutions, Ahmed al-Shorbagi, opened two dog shelters near the Giza pyramids. The shelter is funded 60 percent by donations while Shorbagi takes care of the rest.

Shorbagi believes that if the government can employ effort to clear the garbage, provide rabies sterilisation and dog sterilisation programmes, they won’t be too far from a lasting solution.

“Instead of the government paying millions of dollars to import poison, it should consider sterilisation,” he said. “We, as associations, proposed to the ministry of agriculture to solve the problem but it refused.”

Abdel-Dayem denied refusing to cooperate with private groups and praised their effort in seeking a solution for this problem.

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East Africa News & Stories

Collapsed wall kills street children in Uganda

Due to a heavy downpour part of the perimeter wall of the school gave way

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Photo - Shutterstock

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.

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Lifestyle News & Gists

Thousands rally in Bamako to demand end to massacres

Ethnic tensions in the centre of the country have surged since a jihadist group led by preacher Amadou Koufa emerged in 2015.

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Thousands of Malians demonstrated in Bamako Friday to demand an end to a series of massacres in the centre of the country.

Police said 3,000 attended the rally in the capital while organisers said 5,000 turned out to urge an end to a spike in violence which has led UN peacekeepers to declare a state of alert.

Ethnic tensions in the centre of the country have surged since a jihadist group led by preacher Amadou Koufa emerged in 2015. 

The group recruit mainly from among the Fulani – primarily cattle breeders and traders – and they have clashed with the Dogon and Bambara — traditionally sedentary farmers who have formed their own self-defence militias.

There has been a swathe of mass killings this year. New Year’s Day saw 39 Fulani butchered in Koulogon, a village in the central Mopti region while 160 more were slaughtered on March 23 in Ogossagou then 35 more on June 9 in Sobane Da.

Fresh ethnic violence erupted this week leading to 41 further deaths in the ethnic Dogo villages of Gangafani and Yoro — the latest in a cycle of tit-for-tat attacks between the warring communities despite the army sending in troops.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who rejects the idea of an “inter-ethnic conflict,” on Thursday named former interim president Dioncounda Traore as high representative for the region to report back to him.

‘Too much blood’

The Red Cross, meanwhile, said Friday that some 2,800 people fleeing the violence had taken refuge in the town of Bandiagara in the east of Mopti region where aid including utensils and bedding had been distributed.

At Ouenkoro market on the border with Burkina Faso, local politician Moussa Dembele was abducted by armed men, said mayor Harouna Sankare.

He said five men blindfolded Dembele and took him across the border.

Friday’s demonstration was organised by a youth association demanding that militia be disarmed and for people to “say no to hate” whatever their ethnicity.

“Too much blood has been spilled. It has to stop or there will be no life left in the centre of Mali,” said one demonstrator, Habitatou Diallo.

UN peacekeeping chief in Mali Jean-Pierre Lacroix, visiting Mali on Friday, said in a statement “the situation has reached what one could call an alert level with the dreadful massacres of the past few weeks and days.

“We are ready to increase our efforts to support Malian efforts” to stem the unrest, he added, while stressing that “there has to be a Malian solution.”

The UN Security Council is due to examine next Thursday whether to extend the UN mission (MINUSMA) in Mali.

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Lifestyle News & Gists

Over 500 vultures die in Botswana after eating elephant carcasses

Most of the birds, 468 of them, were white-backed vultures, which are classified as critically endangered species.

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Photo - Shutterstock

More than 500 endangered vultures died of poisoning after eating the carcasses of three elephants killed by poachers in Botswana, the government said in a statement.

A total of 537 vultures, along with two tawny eagles, were found dead at the site in the north of the African country.

The Botswanan wildlife and national parks department did not say when the dead vultures had been found or why the three elephants were laced with poison after being killed.

But poachers are known to poison carcasses to target vultures as the birds circle in the sky and help rangers to track poaching activity.

Most of the birds, 468 of them, were white-backed vultures, which are classified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species.

Also among the dead were 17 white-headed vultures and 28 hooded vultures — also critically endangered.

“The poisoning was believed to have been caused by lacing of three poached elephant carcasses with a poisonous chemical,” the wildlife department said.

Teams decontaminated the area and samples were taken for laboratory analysis.

Conservationists last week warned of surging elephant poaching in parts of Botswana and estimated nearly 400 were killed for their ivory tusks in 2017 and 2018.

The country recently sparked controversy by lifting its ban on hunting, saying it would help control a booming elephant population that was damaging farmers’ livelihoods.

In 2016, two lions and over 100 vultures in South Africa’s Kruger National Park died after eating a poisoned elephant carcass.

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