Muslims Shield Christians In Kenya Bus Attack

Muslims Shield Christians In Kenya Bus AttackThere has been a great show of unity and love in Kenya where a group of Muslims travelling on a bus protected Christian passengers after they were ambushed by Islamist gunmen.

Eyewitnesses said that the Muslims refused to be split into groups as they told the militants “to kill them together or leave them alone”.

BBC said that at least two people were killed in the attack, near the north-eastern village of El Wak on the Somali border.

The Somali based al-Shabab group has claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack.

The bus was travelling from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi to the town of Mandera.

Pope Francis Celebrates Mass For Martyrs In Uganda

Pope francisPope Francis has celebrated mass in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands of Ugandan faithful.

He spoke at a catholic shrine dedicated to Christians martyred for their faith in the 19th century, on the second stage of his three-country trip to Africa.

The mass marks the 50th anniversary of the martyrs’ canonisation.

Burned Alive

There were huge cheers as the pope began the open-air ceremony at Namugongo, near Kampala.

It was there where many of the 45 Anglican and Catholic martyrs were burned alive.

Their execution was ordered by a king worried about the spread of Christianity.

Pope Francis is the third Pope to visit Uganda, and he is likely to continue to preach his message of mercy and care for the poor and to speak out against corruption.

He may also talk of the need for reconciliation among different tribes and, perhaps, pray for a peaceful vote in Uganda’s next election in February.

On Friday, the Pope addressed an audience of young people in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, urging them to unite and take a stand against the destructive effects of tribalism.

Pope Francis Celebrates Rain-Soaked Mass In Kenya

popePope Francis has celebrated a huge mass at a university campus in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

Crowds waited in the rain at the University of Nairobi sports ground, since the early hours of Thursday. More than one million people were expected to attend the mass.

Pope Francis made a plea for traditional values, saying “the health of any society depends on the health of its families”.

Earlier, the Pope urged Kenyans to work for peace and reconciliation on his first trip as pontiff to Africa, amid a rise in militant violence.

He arrived in Kenya on Wednesday, the first stop on a three-nation tour.

Kenya At Crossroads, With Challenges And Promise – Obama

obama in kenyaUS President, Barack Obama, during his visit to Kenya praised its economic and political advances, but also warned of the challenges ahead.

While in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, President Obama said corruption, terrorism and tribal or ethnic division are threats to its future.

According to Obama, Kenya is at crossroads, a moment filled with insecurity but enormous promise.

The American President also added that the young Kenyans nowadays do not need to serve a colonial master or leave the country – like his grandfather and father did.

He said: “Because of Kenya’s progress, because of your potential, you can build your future right here, right now”.

Obama Praises Africa’s Economic, Business Potential

Barack-Obama-on-Buhari-VisitU.S President, Barack Obama, has praised Africa’s economic and business potential.

President Obama made the statement while giving his speech at a business summit in Nairobi on Saturday.

The U.S President said that “Africa is on the move, people are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up and the middle class is growing.

“People are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up, the middle class is growing and young people like you are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing business.”

President Obama told young entrepreneurs and businesspeople that Africa needed to be a “future hub of global growth”, adding that governments had to ensure that corruption was not allowed to flourish.

He later visited a memorial for those killed in the 1998 U.S Embassy bombing.

President Obama arrived in Kenya late Friday when President Kenyatta greeted him as he stepped off Air Force One.

“It is wonderful to be back in Kenya,” President Obama said.

“I’m proud to be the first U.S President to visit Kenya, and obviously this is personal for me. My father came from these parts.”

His schedule includes security talks with Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

Obama Embarks On Trip To Kenya

obamaPresident Barack Obama has embarked on a trip to Kenya, his first trip to his father’s homeland as President.

The U.S President is expected in Nairobi later on Friday.

The tour kicked off a swing through Africa which would also include a stop in Ethiopia.

President Obama is expected to meet with family members while in Nairobi, but he would not be traveling to the village most closely associated with his family name.

The trip would focus otherwise on security and economic initiatives as the President shores up his legacy on the African continent.

President Obama has been to his home town as a U.S Senator.

The President’s trip to Kenya in the summer of 2006 was part of a 17-day, six-nation tour of Africa that included a visit to his father’s village of Kogelo in the fertile hills of East Africa.

During his visit in 2006, he lingered in Kenya, venturing deep into Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, delivering an impromptu speech with a bullhorn as throngs of people gathered to see him.

Khalid Al-Fawwaz Guilty Of US Embassy Bombings

khalia al-fawwaA former aide to Osama Bin Laden, Khalid Al-Fawwaz, has been found guilty of plotting the Al-Qaeda bombing of US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, East Africa, 1998 that killed 224 people.

Khalid Al-Fawwaz was convicted by a court in New York on Thursday, after three days of jury deliberations.

Extradited from the UK to the US in 2012, he was found guilty on four conspiracy counts.

KhalidAl-Fawwaz has been described as Osama Bin Laden’s spokesman in London.

U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, said the verdict marked the 10th conviction through a trial or guilty plea of a defendant tied to the bombings.

“We hope this verdict gives some comfort to Al Qaeda’s victims around the world,” Bharara said in a statement.

Al-Fawwaz was also accused of operating an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in the early 1990s and helping to lead an Al-Qaeda cell in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi that later conducted surveillance ahead of the embassy bombing there.

Khalid Al-Fawwaz was arrested in London in 1998 where he was extradited to the United States in 2012 following a lengthy legal battle.

He was originally set to be tried alongside two co-defendants, Abu Anas Al-Liby of Libya and Egyptian Adel Abdul Bary.

Al-Liby, also known as Nazih Al-Ragye, died in U.S. custody last month after longstanding health problems.

Bary on the other hand, pleaded guilty in September as part of a deal that limited his prison sentence to 25 years.

 

Egypt Court Frees Al Jazeera Journalists

Al jazeera JournalistsAn Egyptian court on Thursday, released two detained Al Jazeera journalists, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed on bail.

The judge ordered the release of all defendants at the retrial’s opening Thursday.

Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed who appeared in a court in Cairo for a retrial due to lack of evidence over alleged links to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, according to a source, had been unjustly jailed since December 29, 2013.

Their retrial was ordered by the Court of Cessation January 2015, overturning a lower court’s verdict which found them guilty of aiding the outlawed group.

A third Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, who was also to be retried, was deported on February 1 under a presidential decree after spending 400 days in jail. He had since returned to his home in Australia.

“Fahmy and Mohamed have now spent 411 days in prison,” a source said.

Obasanjo Endorses Buhari For President

Obasanjo-and-Buhari
Obasanjo Endorses Buhari

A former President of Nigeria,  Olusegun Obasanjo, appears to have finally taken a stand on his choice of a presidential candidate by endorsing the flag-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.).

Chief Obasanjo, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made the declaration during an interview with the Financial Times at the launch of his autobiography titled, ‘My Watch’, in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The circumstances he (Buhari) would be working under if he wins the election is different from the ones he worked under before, where he was both the Executive and the Legislature, He knows that.

“He is smart enough, he is educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?” the former President said.

Chief Obasanjo believed that Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between December 1983 and August 1985 as a military Head of State, is aware of Nigeria’s challenges today, and has the qualification to guide the nation out of them.

It was the first time the former president would publicly speak of his support for Muhammadu Buhari. He recently said that he would only speak out after the election had been conducted.

Obasanjo, also condemned the postponement of the election while criticising the continuous decline of the country’s resources.

 

Kenya Launches Air Ambulance Service For Battlefield Operations

Kenyatta Air ambulancePresident Uhuru Kenyatta has launched Kenya’s first national air ambulance service to evacuate security forces wounded in battle, a service vital to the speedy treatment of the agents.

“This is a crucial service, especially for our security officers, who put themselves on the front line against our enemies, to ensure that Kenyans are safe wherever they are,” Mr Kenyatta said at the launch in Nairobi.

The initiative, which is expected to boost the morale of security personnel facing multiple threats in remote areas, as several soldiers and policemen have bled to death or have died of dehydration following delays in receiving appropriate medical care.

President Kenyatta notes that the government will be working with other bodies to ensure the service would be successful.

The Red Cross and private firm AMREF Flying Doctors have signed an agreement to dispatch helicopters and vehicles as soon as distress calls are received.

Also, civil servants, especially those who work in the security field in rural areas with few medical facilities, will also benefit from the new scheme BBC reports.

Kenya Marks Anniversary Of Westgate Mall Attack

Westgate MallKenya is marking a year since a handful of Islamic extremists laid a 4-day siege on the Westgate Mall, in Nairobi, killing about 67 people.

The Somali Islamist group, al Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was a rebuttal to Kenya’s military operations in Somalia.

The militants had hired a shop at the mall in the weeks leading up to the siege, which gave them access to service lifts, enabling them to stockpile weapons and ammunition.

Having pre-positioned weapons they were able to re-arm quickly and repel the security forces.
A memorial plaque will be unveiled and a candle-lit vigil held.

On Sunday, relatives of the victims will lay wreaths at a garden in the forest where 67 trees were planted after the attack.

Interfaith prayers will also be held at the site.

“We expect the victims’ families and friends to come out and be part of the healing process,” event organiser, Rajesh Shah, was quoted as saying by AFP.

However, the country is on security high alert ahead of the commemorations.

“We are prepared in case of anything. Specialised units are on the ground and we have intensified patrols during this period of the anniversary,” Kenyan police chief, David Kimaiyo, said.

South Sudan Agrees Truce After Meeting In Nairobi

East African leaders who are meeting in Nairobi have said that the government of South Sudan has agreed to an immediate end to fighting with rebels.

Welcoming the commitment from President Salva ‘s government, they urged rebel leader Riek Machar to do likewise, as fighting continued.

Mr Machar however told BBC News that conditions for a truce were not yet in place.  Although, he confirmed that two of his allies had been freed from custody, he called for the other nine to be released too.

The release of the 11 politicians, accused of plotting a coup, has been a key rebel condition for any negotiations.

Recent fighting left at least 1,000 people dead, with fierce new battles reported in the town of Malakal, in oil-rich Upper Nile State.

More than 121,600 people have fled their homes in the world’s newest state, with about 63,000 seeking refuge at UN compounds across the country, according to a statement by the United Nations.

There has been no confirmation from President Kiir’s office that he has agreed to end the hostilities in his power struggle with Mr Machar, his former vice-president, where members of Mr Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group and Mr Machar’s Nuer community have both been targeted in the violence.

East African regional leaders, who make up an eight-member bloc known as IGAD, held talks in the Kenyan capital Nairobi a day after the leaders of Kenya and Ethiopia met Mr Kiir in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

They said they would not accept a violent overthrow of the government in South Sudan and called on the government and rebels to meet for talks within four days.

President Kiir did not attend the talks in Nairobi nor did any representative of Mr Machar.

After meeting Mr Kiir on Friday morning, US envoy Donald Booth said: “He confirmed he is moving forward to arrange a cessation of hostilities throughout the country.”

The US diplomat was also quoted by Reuters News Agency as saying Mr Kiir had agreed to release eight out of 11 politicians detained over the alleged coup plot.

“We were very encouraged to hear the president reiterate that with the exception of three… officials who have been detained… the others will be released very shortly,” Mr Booth said, according to Reuters.

Speaking to BBC World Service by satellite phone “from the bush”, Mr Machar said he was ready for talks but any ceasefire had to be negotiated by delegations from the two sides, with a mechanism agreed to monitor it.

Saying that he had the allegiance of all rebel forces in South Sudan, he called for the release of all 11 detainees.

Violence has continued through the week with conflicting reports on Friday about the situation in Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State, where some 12,000 people have been sheltering at a UN base.