Twenty-Three Militiamen Killed In Fresh Central Africa Clash

 

At least 23 militiamen were killed Saturday in fighting in Central African Republic between rival groups who signed a peace deal in February, said the UN mission in the country MINUSCA.

Fierce clashes between militias in recent months has raised concerns about whether the peace accord aimed at ending years of violence in CAR will hold.

The country’s president, Faustin-Archange Touadera, this month told AFP that the agreement was “quite strong” — but MINUSCA on Saturday said fighting had broken out in Birao, a city close to the Sudanese border.

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The clashes were between the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Movement of Central African Freedom Fighters for Justice (MLCJ).

The rival militias also fought in the city earlier this month.

“The situation remains tense but there is no more fighting,” MINUSCA spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said.

“A MINUSCA Blue Helmet was also slightly wounded,” he added, without specifying the nationality.

A Zambian contingent of the multinational force is stationed in the area.

The peace accord with 14 militias vying for control of the country’s gold, diamond and other resources came after years of conflict following the ousting of Touadera’s predecessor Francois Bozize in 2013.

Thousands of people have been killed and about a fifth of the 4.5 million population has been displaced in the last six years.

Touadera has been struggling to prove he can convince the militias, which collectively control more than three-quarters of the territory, to lay down their arms.

Abia Election: Appeal Court Declares Alex Otti Of APGA Winner

Alex OttiAn Appeal Court has declared the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr Alex Otti, as winner of the Abia State Governorship election.

The court, sitting in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, in its ruling on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately return Dr Otti, as the rightful winner of the April election, having won majority of the votes cast during the polls.

In its unanimous ruling, the five-man panel of judges, presided over by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, faulted the ruling of the Abia State Governorship Election Tribunal which upheld the election of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Okezie Ikpeazu, as the winner of the April governorship election.

‘Landmark Judgment’

The panel said there were established proofs of over voting and substantial non-compliance to electoral laws during the election in Osisioma, Isialangwa North and Obingwa Local Government Areas of the state and as such, unlawful votes were allotted to Dr Okezie Ikpeazu.

According to the panel, after subtracting the votes from the Isi-Alangwa, Osisioma and Obingwa, the PDP candidate was left with a total vote of 114,444, while the APGA candidate had 164,332 votes and should be returned as the rightful winner of the election.

The Appeal Court was filled to capacity by members and lawyers of the APGA and that of the Peoples Democratic Party to witness the final ruling of the Appellate court.

Reacting to the judgement, counsels to Dr. Otti lauded the judgement which they described as a ‘landmark and thoroughly analysed judgement’ but to the PDP legal team, the legal fireworks is not over. They expressed readiness to approach the Supreme Court.

 

Rwanda President Puts Third Term Bid On Referendum’s Outcome

Paul-KagameRwanda’s president says he will decide whether to seek a third term in office after a referendum on a constitutional change that would allow him to run again.

The referendum may hold before the end of 2015.

A major donor that has long praised President Paul Kagame for rebuilding the nation after the 1994 genocide, the United States, has urged him to set an example to the region by stepping down at the end of his second term in 2017.

The debate about term limits has flared across Africa. In next door Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election for a third term that faced opposition has plunged the nation into crisis. Other African leaders are also approaching term limits.

“Still Listening”

Kagame, who was first elected president in 2003 but was seen as Rwanda’s main power broker long before that, has not announced his intentions but has said those who want him to stay must convince him.

Reuters quoted Kagame as saying that he is “still listening”.

Addressing senior officials in the Rwanda Patriotic Front on Sunday, he said: “Whatever you want from me will be based on the decision of the referendum and thus my answer will come after the referendum”.

He did not give a date for the ballot in his comments that were aired by the state broadcaster.

Senator Tito Rutaremara, a member of the ruling party, told Reuters the cabinet was expected to give a timeline this week.

“We would wish it to take place on Dec. 18 but, you know, demanding is different from getting,” he said.

The pro-government New Times daily cited officials saying that the vote should not be held later than Dec. 18.

Under proposed constitutional changes approved by parliament and being put to public vote, Kagame would be allowed to run in 2017 for another seven-year term plus two more five-year terms after that, potentially allowing him to stay in power till 2034.

Rwanda’s main but tiny opposition, the Democratic Green Party, tried to block the amendment to extend Kagame’s term, but a court rejected the bid.