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Kenya’s presidential election re-run in jeopardy

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Western diplomats have signaled a growing insecurity in Kenya prior to the presidential election re-run, which has been boycotted by the main opposition.

The 20 envoys from western countries emphasized that inflammatory rhetoric and attacks on the election commission made it harder to hold a legitimate and peaceful election.

Raila Odinga, an opposition leader, has vowed to disrupt Thursday’s voting with a mass protest held in the capital city of Kenya.

He urged key reforms to happen within the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before the election re-run taking place.

Thus far, about 70 people have been killed in violence since the IEBC declared President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of elections on 8 August.

However, the Supreme Court of Appeal annulled his victory, saying the poll was marred by irregularities and illegalities.

The foreign envoys were very concerned about the harsh political climate in East Africa’s biggest economy.

“It is easier to tear down than to build up. But it is dangerous, and it must stop,” United States ambassador Bob Godec said in a statement on behalf of the 20 diplomats.

Last week, a senior member of the IEBC fled to the US after receiving a death threat from unknown.

Roselyn Akombe stressed the commission has been under political siege and cannot reach consensus or take any decisions.


More details to follow. Image 1 of crowd gathering in Kenya from Aljazeera ■

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Africa

Fighting causes thousands to flee Congo

Over 70,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s have fled from conflict in the eastern province of Ituri since January, the United Nations reported this week, a small part of the estimated 4.5 million Congolese displaced across the country.

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

Over 70,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s have fled from conflict in the eastern province of Ituri since January, the United Nations reported this week, a small part of the estimated 4.5 million Congolese displaced across the country.

Lendu aggressors started a wave of attacks against the Hema community in December 2017 without their specific motive known, reported Al Jazeera.

Tensions between the two tribes have existed for the many years since Belgium held the colonial power over Congo, with the Lendu tribe suffering due to a “disproportionate access to education and wealth” that resulted in a socioeconomic gap remaining in place to current day, Alex Mcbride Wilson wrote.

The 70,000 displaced make up the number of those that fled to nearby Uganda, but thousands more have fled to other parts of the Congo as well.


More details to follow. Image of a U.N. peacekeeper and Hema villagers standing amid the wreckage of a village within the Djugu area of Ituri province. Alex Mcbride Wilson/Al Jazeera.  ■

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Africa

Hundreds killed in Algeria military aircraft crash

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

At least 257 died after a military aircraft crashed in northern Algeria shortly after it took off from the Boufarik airbase by the capital Algiers on Wednesday morning, according to the defence ministry.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, but the army chief has launched an investigation into the crash.

Many of the dead are army personnel, their families and crew members in what has been identified as the deadliest place crash since July 2014, and the second worst since 2003.

The Ilyushin II-76 was travelling to Bechar in the African country’s southwest, before falling out of the sky.

Previously, a military aircraft crashed in 2014 over Algeria killing 77.


More details to follow. Image of crash scene from ABC News 7.  ■

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Africa

Rwanda begins crackdown on religious buildings

Rwanda has prohibited mosques in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, from using loudspeakers during the call to prayer.

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Lucky Landono | The Avro Post

Rwanda has prohibited mosques in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, from using loudspeakers during the call to prayer.

The government says the calls, made five times a day, have been disturbing residents of the Nyarugenge district, home to the capital’s biggest mosques.

However, an official from a Muslim association criticized the measure, arguing they could keep the volume down instead of banning it.

In February, the government also closed down around 700 churches for not complying with building regulations and noise pollution.

The government says the Muslim community has complied with the recent ban.

“I have found that they have begun to respect it and it has not stopped their followers from going to pray according to their praying time,” Havuguziga Charles, a local official from Nyarugenge, said.

The government continues to curb substandard churches across the East African country.

Dozens of small Pentecostal churches and one mosque were closed during the crackdown on substandard religious buildings in Rwanda.

The government argues the measure has been taken due to some preachers deceive their congregation with misleading sermons.

But some preachers have accused the government of trying to control their message to congregants in a country accused by human rights groups of suppressing free speech.

The majority of Rwandans are Christian and Muslims make up around 5% of the population.


More details to follow. Image of Rwandan parliament from Ventures Africa. ■

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