Saudi To Probe Deadly Air Strikes On Yemen Funeral House

Yemen Blast, Saudi Arabia, US, Houthi Rebels
Since 2014, thousands have been killed in the conflict between the Houthi Rebels and the Saudi led coalition

The coalition fighting Yemeni rebels led by Saudi Arabia says it will investigate how more than 140 people died in air strikes at a funeral in Sanaa, the country’s capital.

The investigation as announced by Saudi authorities will start immediately and would involve American forensic experts.

Earlier, the Saudi Arabian government debunked the allegations made by the rebel Houthi-run government that the coalition was responsible for the deaths following its air strikes.

The air strikes targeted the funeral of the father of country’s Minister for Interior, Galal al-Rawishan.

In a statement released by the Saudi-led coalition, the Joint Incidents Assessment Team in Yemen and experts from the United States will lead the investigations.

It added that though the situation is regrettable, its troops have been instructed not to target civilian populations.

Meanwhile, the United States is set to carry out its own independent investigation into the air strikes.

The spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, Ned Price said the collaboration of the US with Saudi Arabia over investigations is “not a blank cheque”.

Allegations of Genocide

The spokesman of the Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdul-Salam said an attack of such magnitude amounts to “genocide”.yemen bomb expolsionjpg

Mr Abdul-Salam also revealed the aid workers who were first responders at the scene of the air strikes were “shocked and outraged”.

UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, condemned Saturday’s strikes on the funeral as a “horrific attack”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that it had prepared 300 body bags, adding that there were a lot of people in the building before the strikes.

Thousands of people, especially civilians, have been killed in clashes since 2014 when the Saudi-led coalition gave its backing to the internationally-recognized government of Yemen.

Kenya’s Anti-graft Chief, Accused Of Conflict Of Interest, Quits

kenya leaderThe chairman of Kenya’s anti-graft body said on Wednesday he had quit after lawmakers recommended removing him from office over an alleged conflict of interest between his family business and another state-run agency.

Kenyan media reported parliament’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee wanted lawmakers to ask President Uhuru Kenyatta to set up a tribunal to force out Philip Kinisu.

The committee had accused Kinisu of a conflict of interest in his family company’s dealings with state-run National Youth Service, which the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that he leads was investigating over lost money.

Kinisu denied any wrongdoing by him or the company.

“At the same time, I am mindful that significant resources and attention are being expended by the state and public on deliberating these matters rather than to the fight against corruption,” he said in a statement announcing his resignation.

Kenya has a history of corruption scandals that have failed to result in high-profile convictions, angering the public who say it demonstrates top officials can act with impunity and encourages graft by ordinary employees.

Faced with a growing public outcry last year, Kenyatta promised to root corruption out of the government. Five ministers stepped aside in 2015 after they faced investigations and then lost their jobs in a reshuffle. Two former ministers face trial proceedings

Burundi Death Toll Jumps To 31 In April- U.N. Rights Chief

burundi fightThe United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday 31 people have been killed in attacks in Burundi this month, decrying an increase in violence in the east African nation.

Tit-for-tat attacks between President Pierre Nkurunziza’s security forces and his opponents escalated a year ago when he announced a disputed bid for a third term as president. He won re-election in July.

The United Nations says more than 400 people have been killed since then and more than 250,000 have fled the country.

“Some 31 people have been killed in attacks so far in April, compared to a total of nine people in the last month,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in a statement.

“I fear that the increasing number of targeted assassinations will inevitably exacerbate the already extremely dangerous spiral of violence and unrest in Burundi.”

In the latest incident, gunmen on Monday killed a brigadier general who was a senior adviser to the first vice president, along with his wife and bodyguard.

The international war crimes court said this week it would investigate the violence in Burundi.

Burundi and neighboring Rwanda, which both have an ethnic Hutu majority and Tutsi minority, have been torn apart by ethnic conflict in the past. Experts fear the recent violence during the political crisis in Burundi may reopen old ethnic wounds and risk causing civil war.

Syria Air Raid Kills 6 Children From Same Family

SYRIA 1Six children from the same family were killed in an air strike by government forces in a village of the northern province in Aleppo on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing local residents, said three boys and three girls from the  family died in raid on Wahshiyeh.

The village is located in a rebel-held area of Aleppo province that has come under constant aerial bombardment since late last year.

The Human Rights groups has slammed the regime for its air strikes saying, they fail to discriminate between Military targets and Civilian areas.

According to the observatory group on Tuesday evening, a 15-year-old child was killed in an air raid on Latamneh in the central province of Hama and seven-year-old girl died in army shelling near Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province, northwest Syria. In the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, which is controlled by the Jihadist Islamic State, a regime air raid also killed a six-year-old girl.

UN report has put the number of person that have died as a result of the Syrian conflict at 170,000, including more than 9,000 children. it has also forced nearly half  of the country’s population to flee their homes.


Nweze Attributes NEMA Vs LASEMA Feud To Misplaced Ego

A Professor of Communications with Pan Atlantic University, Austin Nweze, has attributed the feud between National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) to egos and not conflict of protocol.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily after an heated exchange between directors of the two agencies, Prof Nweze described the fracas as a ‘microcosm’ of what is obtainable in the larger society and amongst government agencies in the country.

“They are not synchronized,” he said, adding that “it’s all about ego, self-interest and who gets what.”

LASEMA had recently ordered the removal of NEMA officials from the scene of a collapsed building in Lagos to the chagrin of the national emergency agency. The two agencies are also disagreeing on who is suppose to address the media during an emeergency situation in the state where they are both rescuing victims of disasters.

According to the Professor, the clash is largely egocentric as LASEMA is reported to have complained of being relegated by the federal agency, on its own turf.

This is a problem of communication, Prof Nweze explained.

He noted that the two agencies barely communicate with each other, which is why there is problem between them.

In the case of any emergency, “there has to be one person that would be appointed to disseminate information” and the state agency should “decide who should speak to the press at each point in time. This is to avoid conflict and dissemination of wrong information.

“It’s not everybody that should come and begin to talk to the press. It is not right” he said.

Prof Nweze also noted that, although NEMA is allowed to respond to emergency situations in the whole country, the agency should restrict itself to a supportive role since there is a state based agency as well. “The federal is to assist and support the Lagos counterpart.”

He however cautioned both agencies to set their priorities correctly as “in any emergency, the primary concern should be the lives of the people” and not “who got there first to save the lives.”