MonitorsPublished on Nov 28, 2016
Africa Monitor | Volume V; Issue XXIV | India health-care providers look to tap Africa ‘growth wave’


India health-care providers look to tap Africa ‘growth wave’

Cash-rich Indian hospital groups such as recently listed Narayana Hrudayalaya Ltd. are setting up operations in Africa to tap a growing stream of middle-class patients from the continent seeking quality health-care. With financing from Abraaj Group’s Africa Health Fund and the International Finance Corp., the Mumbai-listed group is partnering with Kenyan investors and will break ground on a 130-bed specialist cardiac hospital in the capital, Nairobi, in January. Another group of investors is joining forces with Gurgaon, India-based Medanta Hospital to set up a 200-bed facility in the East African nation. “A lot of these companies have figured out that they are getting a significant number of patients from Africa,” said Biju Mohandas, who heads the IFC’s health-investment team in Nairobi. “They want to be among the first to get a toehold in Africa and ride the growth wave even as they continue to expand back in India.” Sub-Saharan Africa’s private health-care industry is estimated to be worth about $21 billion, according to the IFC, and may double in value over the next decade. Last year, East Africans spent about $1 billion seeking medical attention in India, according to Khama Rogo, head of the World Bank’s Health in Africa Initiative. About 30,000 Nigerians went there for treatment, he said, citing a government study in Africa’s most-populous nation. The IFC, which has invested $20 million in the $105 million Africa Health Fund, estimates the continent requires $30 billion of investment to scale up operations and meet growing demand.Demand for private health-care in Africa is growing as wealth on the continent expands. About 34 percent of the population can be defined as middle class -- those spending between $2 and $20 daily -- compared with 27 percent in 2000, according to the African Development Bank. The Indian companies putting down roots in East Africa will provide cheaper health-care than private African hospitals such as the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, according to Anil Maini, Medanta Africare’s chief executive officer. They’ll also look to provide specialist care for increasingly frequent non-communicable illnesses, including cancer, he said.While many Africans seek treatment at ill-equipped government hospitals, most are often willing to sell family land or hold fundraisers to collect the money demanded by private hospitals for better care. “There’s a gap in tertiary care providers such as oncology and these are the services that most Kenyans are going to India for,” Maini said at the Medanta-affiliated Nairobi clinic he helped to set up four years ago after moving to Kenya from The Medicity in Gurgaon. An open-heart procedure at leading private hospitals in Nairobi could cost as much as $15,000, according to Mohandas. At Narayana, it would be $2,000. “The difference in costs is stark,” he said. “Even if the same cannot be replicated by them here, I would guess it would be at least 30 percent cheaper.” Medanta Africare, a joint venture between Kenyan investors and Delhi-based RJ Group of India, plans to begin constructing a 200-bed tertiary-care facility for $18 million in Nairobi in 2017, according to Maini. The company will deploy managerial and technical experts from its operations in India, where about 4,000 medical tourists seek attention annually, 40 percent of them African. The business invested $30 million in 25 clinics across East Africa’s biggest economy since 2012. Over the past decade, Indian brands including Apollo Healthcare and Moolchand Healthcare, have set up shop in nations including Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, according to Aditi Bhalla, a health industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Owing to the increasing purchasing power, the thriving middle class in African nations is willing to, and capable of, paying for health-care services offered by private market participants,” Chennai, India-based Bhalla said in an e-mailed response to questions. Fortis Healthcare, India’s second-biggest hospital group by market value, is partnering with Ciel Healthcare Africa of Mauritius to run hospitals in Uganda and Nigeria. Chennai-based Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospitals has 10 facilities in African nations including Ghana and Mozambique. While African nations have failed to overhaul a health system bequeathed by former colonial rulers that were designed to cater for the wealthy, India’s model relies on large numbers of patients to drive profit, which has helped to reduce treatment costs. “That’s the business model that Africa needs, because Africa has numbers of poor people just like India has numbers of poor people,” Rogo said in an interview in Nairobi. “The African came to discover that he can go and be part of the numbers. That’s why we are boarding the planes and going there and that only reinforces their business model.” Many of Africa’s medical tourists pay out of pocket as insurance penetration is lower than 1 percent in more than half of the continent, according to the Douala, Cameroon-based the Africa Insurance Organisation. The global emerging-market level was 2.7 percent in 2014. While they can improve operational efficiency, a combination of relatively cheap and well-trained labor, affordable medicine and medical equipment mean that Indian companies in Africa will struggle to replicate the affordable care they offer in India. Kenyan nurses earn a minimum of 40,000 shillings ($400) month, including allowances for housing, commuting and uniforms, according to Kenya Nurses Union statistics. Their counterparts in India take home about 2,500 to 6,000 rupees ($36-$88) a month, the Times of India reported in September, citing Arun Kadam, executive president of the Maharashtra State Nurses Association. “It’s unlikely that they can replicate India prices in Africa and will need to adapt to the local market context,” Mohandas said. Source:  Bloomberg

UN Women's 'Orange the World' kicks off 16 days of activism to fight gender-based violence

The extent to which violence is embedded in society means that uprooting it is everyone's job, senior United Nations official said on November 21, lamenting that violence against women and girls continue to be a low priority on the international development agenda and urging more action - and more funding - to end the pandemic of such violence now, once and for all. "The statistics almost defy belief. What is even harder to understand is why: why men prey on women and girls; why societies shame the victims, why governments fail to punish deadly crimes, why the world denies itself the fruits of women's full participation," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a UN Women-hosted Orange the World event at UN Headquarters in New York to raise money to end violence against women and girls, and kick off 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. The campaign begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. The event began with remarks from Mr. Ban, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Karel van Oosterom of the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN, and UN Trust Fund programme participant Aiturgan Djoldoshbekova. It also included a musical performance from The Color Purple, Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival, and a panel discussion on sustainable financing to end violence against women and girls. "The extent to which violence is embedded in society means that uprooting it is also a job for all of society. That includes men and women, the media and the religious community. We can work together to address the inequality and prejudice that enable and enflame violence against women and girls," Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka told an audience that wore orange in support of ending violence against women. Mr. Ban, observing the Day for the last time as Secretary-General, thanked the audience for being a part of a decade of global activism to end violence against women and girls. "You have defended the vulnerable and fought impunity," he said. "The United Nations and I, personally, have stood with you." "This is truly a matter of life and death," he added. "In some countries, as many as 70 per cent of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. In some countries, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims." Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka thanked the Secretary-General for his advocacy and leadership, emphasizing that violence against women was not always discussed in the public domain. She called for improvements to laws and implementation, and said that while there are costs to such changes, "the price of no change is much higher, and unacceptable." She highlighted examples of recent improvements from Timor-Leste and Uganda and encouraged society to work together to address inequality and prejudice by scaling up prevention and services as well as working with allies throughout different sectors and civil society. "Together, we can begin to bend the curve down and bring the scourge of violence against women and girls to an end," the Executive Director said. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Ban reminisced about his conversations with girls and women at the HEAL Africa hospital in Goma and meeting with "one of the world's great advocates," Malala Yusafzai. "Some of the most impactful and inspiring moments of my entire term as Secretary-General occurred in the context of our struggle for women's empowerment," he declared. Source: UN News Service

Group picks Ethiopia to lead climate change negotiations

Ethiopia was tapped for the Chairmanship of the Least Developed Countries Group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Over 190 countries gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, from November 7-18 to participate in the United Nations international climate change negotiations. The climate talks aimed to concretize the Paris Agreement - an international accord to reduce global warming - and solidify the mechanisms to ensure national climate commitments could be tracked and scaled up. During the fortnight of climate negotiations, Ethiopia was tapped for the Chairmanship of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Gebru Jembar Endalew, of the Green Growth Initiative at Ethiopia's Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and Head of the Ethiopian Delegation, will serve as the incoming Chair of the LDC Group for the next two year. The LDC Group is comprised of 48 countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change but are least responsible for its cause. The primary goals of the LDC Group are twofold: to demand rich nations put forth ambitious emissions reductions, given their historic responsibility and capacity to address current climate challenges; and to take on a leadership role in the international movement to limit and overcome climate change. At a press conference at the climate negotiations in Marrakech, the LDC Group announced the launch of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (REEEI) for Sustainable Development. "The initiative will have a two-pronged approach," said Tosi Mpana-Mpana, outgoing Chair of the LDC Group from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "We will strengthen the capacity of LDCs to take advantage of existing initiatives such as the African Renewable Energy Initiative, and we will provide support to those that fall between the cracks of existing frameworks." Across the world, 1.3 billion people currently lack access to adequate energy, most of which are located in the poorest nations. As an important outcome of the Marrakech climate negotiations, REEEI will aim to support LDCs leapfrog past fossil fuel based energy systems to renewable energy. Important challenges to overcome in this process include increasing climate resilience, and accessing both technology infrastructure and financial resources. Energy finance has been largely directed to large scale projects and decentralised renewable energy systems are severely lacking funding. Of the 24 billion dollars needed for decentralised energy projects, only 51 million dollar has been allocated. A phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies will also be necessary in the transition to renewable energy. "We cannot 1.5C or 2C without massive action in all countries. Moving towards renewable energy globally is an essential priority and must happen in a very short timeframe," said Endalew. "Ethiopia stands ready to continue driving this initiative forward." In addition to the LDC Group, Ethiopia presides over the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), an international South-South partnership of countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate change. The CVF serves as an advocacy and cooperation platform to raise awareness and build alliances to tackle global warming. "We advocate that average rising temperature should remain below 1.5C, because if it exceeds 1.5C it will greatly endanger many of the countries which are members of CVF," said Mulugeta Mengist Ayalew, Director of Climate Change Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister. Ethiopia currently aims to limit national emissions by 64pc by 2030 compared to business-as-usual scenarios. The Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy has called for 7.5 billion dollars in climate finance, both domestic and international, in order to adequately respond to climate change. At present, Ethiopia's national climate budget is estimated at roughly 440 million dollars per year, with tens of millions in investments from international sources per year, leaving a substantial gap in climate finance. Challenges have arisen in terms of finance accessibility given the stringent investment criteria that requires data such as technical and financial feasibility studies, specific baselines and projections of outcomes, as well as co-benefit assessments, that are very challenging to acquire in the context of LDCs."In terms of foreign direct investment, much of it flows to middle income countries, not to least developed countries," said Ayalew. "So if you closely attach climate finance with foreign direct investment or private investment, you would systematically disadvantage LDCs." The REEEI is therefore emerging as an additional opportunity to create synergies and ensure the transfer of funds to communities that are most vulnerable to climate change and lack the resources to secure adequate resilience. As climate effects become more severe, with impacts ravaging developing regions disproportionately, Biniam Yakob Gebreyes, Environmental Expert at the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and National Climate Change Negotiator stresses the urgency of the matter: "rather than a luxury, this is an issue of survival." Source: Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

African countries should remain in the Rome Statute, says EU official

The European Union (EU) has urged African countries not to leave the International Criminal Court. Head of EU delegation to the African Union Ranieri Sabatucci said the countries should remain in the Rome Statute. Addressing the annual "High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa" at Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, Mr Sabatucci said his team will hold talks with the AU on human rights in January. "Although we both want justice for our citizens- our views differ on the role the Rome Statute can play in achieving that. EU is a staunch supporter of the Rome Statute," he said on November 23. A member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Ms Maya Fadel said the withdrawal of Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia from Rome Statute was as a result of a grudge they had with ICC. Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia have announced their intention to leave ICC. "I was among the three experts who compiled a report on situation in Burundi and when it was presented, Burundi got offended and banned us from the country," Ms Maya said. Mr Sabatucci also backed the formation of a Hybrid Court for South Sudan. "A very concrete recent benchmark is the first ever AU Commission of Inquiry into the grave human rights violations in South Sudan. In this regard, the EU commends the AU decision to create a Hybrid Court for South Sudan and underlines the importance of the implementation of the decision. We are ready to support the efforts," Mr Sabatucci said. The EU also signed a euro 2.5 million contract with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and a euro 2 million contract with the African Court on Human and Peoples; Rights. The three year contracts are part of the euro 10 million EU support aimed at strengthening the African Human Rights under the EU Pan-African Programme. The contract aims at improving human rights. Tanzania Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan praised the AU's achievements on human rights and called for more efforts "towards full realisation of human rights of our citizens." "Equally, important we should not be blinded by these successes and headways, rather we should be able to assess whether they have made significant impact to the majority of our people in the continent," she said. Ms Hassan, who officially opened the forum that also marked 10 years of the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPRs) added: "The bitter truth is that human rights violation is still notable in various parts of our continent, especially among women and children who are mostly affected." Ms Hassan who was accompanied AfCHPRs President Sylvain Ore and Vice President Ben Kioko named female genital mutilation, early marriages, few education opportunities, low wages, human trafficking, domestic abuse and gender based violence as problems facing women. She outlined President John Pombe Magufuli's government commitment to ensure human rights and fight graft. The AU declared 2016 year of human rights in Africa. It also marks the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter; the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the African Charter and the 29th anniversary of the operationalisation of the African Union Commission on Human and people's Rights. Judge Ore regretted that some African countries had not allowed their citizens and NGOs access to AfCHPRs. Ms Hassan also called on African countries to ratify the protocol establishing the Arusha based Court and allow their citizens access to it, to strengthen it. Source: Daily Nation


Opposition leader Samy Badibanga named PM in the DRC

Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has appointed opposition politician Samy Badibanga as prime minister, under a controversial power-sharing deal that effectively extends his term in office. The move on November 17 was part of an October agreement between the government and fringe opposition groups that was criticised by the main opposition coalition as a Kabila ploy to stay in power. Badibanga had taken part in last month's talks even though his party - led by longtime opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi - had boycotted them. The main opposition bloc, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), denounced Badibanga's choice as a "provocation", dashing hopes the decision might ease the risk of violence over Kabila's plan to stay on until at least April 2018. A source close to the leadership of the UDPS, of which Badibanga used to be a leading member until he defied orders not to form a group in parliament, told AFP news agency that his nomination was a "non-event". Tshisekedi has called himself the country's "president elect" since the last presidential poll in 2011. Paving the way for Badibanga's nomination, former premier Augustin Matata resigned on November 14. The October deal, which emerged following a so-called "national dialogue", aimed to calm soaring political tensions but will extend Kabila's term to at least late 2017. He was due to leave office next month. "The deal currently represents the only roadmap put in place by the Congolese themselves," said Kabila during a defiant speech to parliamentarians in the capital Kinshasa on November 15. He added that he was ready to defend against any attempt to take over the country by force, pledging that elections would be organised in the coming months. Badibanga's appointment came as a surprise as Vital Kamerhe, who led the fringe opposition that participated in the national dialogue, had been cited as the favourite to succeed Matata as premier. The 54-year-old represents a constituency in the capital Kinshasa and was among opposition figures who in early 2015 put their name to a statement branding Congo an "open air prison" after access to text messaging, mobile internet and radio stations were blocked. Among his first tasks on taking office will be to organise elections in the vast country, which has one of Africa's richest mineral reserves. Kabila took power in 2001, 10 days after the assassination of his father, the then-president, Laurent Kabila. A 2006 constitutional provision limits the presidency to two terms. Violent anti-Kabila protests in September triggered by the political instability claimed 53 lives, according to the UN. Source: Al Jazeera (Doha)

Catholic Church apologises for role in 1994 Rwandan genocide

The Catholic Church has apologised for the role played by some of its members in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi that claimed over a million lives. This is contained in a joint resolution signed by nine bishops representing all dioceses, which was to be read in all the churches countrywide on November 20 as the end of year message of the jubilee of God's mercy. It also cites other sins committed by Christians that have caused harm in the Rwandan society. The communiqué says that even though the Catholic Church as an institution played no direct role in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, some members killed innocent people in the tragedy. "Even though the church sent no body to do harm, we, the Catholic clerics in particular, apologise, again, for some of the church members, clerics, people who dedicated themselves to serve God and Christians in general who played a role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi," reads the communiqué in part. It states that Christians committed a great harm to humanity and calls for prayers so that God changes their hearts, help them repent and reconcile with the survivors and open up to tell the truth to be forgiven. "We (clerics) apologise and apologise for all Christians due to various crimes we committed, we are saddened by the fact that some of our followers ignored the vow with God through baptism and ignored God's commandments," it adds. "We apologise for all hate sins and divisions that were created in our country to the level that we hated our compatriots based on ethnicity. We ask for forgiveness that very often we did not show that we are just one family and people turned to their colleagues to kill, looted their properties and dehumanised them," it adds. The clerics also sought forgiveness for all the bad times that characterised the nation and for the sins committed by clerics and other God's servants. "We apologise for all shepherds of Christians who caused conflict and sowed seeds of hatred among them and those who mistreated others, abused their rights in their services," it says. Bishop Philippe Rukamba, the Bishop of Butare Diocese who doubles as the chairperson of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Rwanda, on November 20, acknowledged that the release was jointly signed to show that the church's position is that the genocide was planned by the then government not the church and committed by some Rwandans, among them church members. "We know that there are church members who played a role in the genocide, killed people and looted their properties. What we don't agree with is that the church itself played a role in the genocide. Our pope has since asked us not to keep silent but show our position, we have done it but this year of mercy coincided with the event," said Rukamba. He said that the church is opposed to media that cultivates genocide ideology around the world. "Our position is clear; we are against any hatred, we are against genocide and the announcement serves to show the public our position on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and its effects. We shall keep our campaigns to ensure that this is understood and the announcement will be translated into French, English and other languages for the entire world to know," he added. Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the executive secretary for National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), said the church's apology is a positive move. "That the whole clergy sat down and apologised together for the role played in the genocide is a positive move; it shows their position and makes it clear for some who questioned the church's position on genocide," he said. "We also ask that all church members who committed genocide come up and apologise, there are priests and nuns who were accused of genocide and we ask that they apologise too," he added. Another positive thing, he said is that the church also asks its members to shun genocide ideology, adding that it gives hope that those who are using media and social media will understand and stop it. IBUKA president Prof Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu welcomed the development, saying the apology was long overdue and will lead to justice, fight genocide ideology, negation and help in nation building. "Some priests and other church members used to think that they are protected as the church had remained silent but things are going to change as the church now admits that there are people who committed genocide and it is against them," he told The New Times on November 20. The church will also come up and help the government deal with the effects of genocide and contribute to nation building, as its role in supporting survivors was not enough, he added. He said the apology should reach the whole world, and not only the congregation. "The next step for the church is to ensure that what they included in the communiqué are respected and implemented as it can help in fostering justice and unity," Dusingizemungu said. Source: The New Times

Angola and China want to strengthen cultural cooperation

The strengthening of cooperation and cultural exchange between Angola and China was analysed on November 22 in Luanda during an audience granted by the Angolan Culture minister, Carolina Cerqueira, to the Chinese ambassador to Angola, Cui Aimin. The Chinese diplomat, who was impressed by the Angolan culture, said that the cooperation between the two countries must be intensified and boosted in cultural domain and interchange as way of getting the two peoples acquainted with the wealth of this cultural segment. According to him, it is essential that the bilateral relations do not only focus simply on construction of infrastructures but also integrating the cultural area as a clear bet of divulgence, preservation and valorisation of the cultural assets of the two countries. The Chinese ambassador added that he will make contacts so that Chinese writers may come to Angola with view to knowing better the Angolan cultural reality and thus contribute to its divulgence in China. On her turn, Minister Carolina Cerqueira expressed her satisfaction at Chinese contribution to the national reconstruction, but she highlighted the need of cultural cooperation between Angola and China, so that the two peoples may strengthen friendship and mutual ties and knowledge, taking into account the volume of trade between both countries. She said that Angola and China must boost the exchange of knowledge and cultural assets as they are two nations with a rich cultural heritage patrimony a legacy that must be transmitted to the new generations especially in the domain of art, choreography, cooking and museum. Source: Angola Press Agency (Luanda)


UN voices extreme concern at worsening humanitarian situation in Benghazi

The United Nations is extremely concerned by the continued worsening humanitarian situation in Ganfouda area in the Libyan city of Benghazi due to increased hostilities over the past week, a senior UN aid official in the North African country said on November 22. "I am extremely worried by the impact on civilians of intense fighting in and around the Ganfouda area," the Libya Humanitarian Coordinator a.i.,Ghassan Khalil, said in a statement. He also noted that many people remaining in the area have limited or no access to drinking water or food, while other essential goods and medical supplies are running critically low. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Ganfouda district has been inaccessible for many months for aid organizations, leaving civilians in dire and urgent need of protection and humanitarian assistance. The Humanitarian Country Team stands ready to assist as soon as access is granted by all parties. He called on all parties to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure in the conduct of hostilities. "The sick and injured must be allowed to seek and receive medical assistance and civilians and captured fighters alike must be treated humanely, regardless of their origin or political affiliations," Dr. Khalil said. "Women and children should receive special assistance and protection. Those civilians wishing to leave should be allowed to do so in safety and dignity without delay," he added. Following six months of armed conflict in 2011, Libya has been plagued with fresh violence and political divisions. Source: UN News Service

Archaeologists find previously undiscovered ancient Egyptian city

The discovery was made near Abydos, thought to be one of the earliest capitals of Egypt. Officials hope the find can help Egypt's suffering tourism industry. Archaeologists working in Egypt announced on November 23 that they had discovered a city dating back more than 7,000 years about 250 miles (390 kilometers) south of Cairo. The site includes 15 large tombs, indicating a high social standing for those buried there, as well as domiciles and pottery. The find was located near the well-known ancient Egyptian city of Abydos, most famous for its temple dedicated to Seti I, the father of the most famous pharaoh in history - Ramesses the Great. "This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos," said Antiquities Minister Mahmoud Afifi in a statement. "The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the First Dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history," he added. Experts hope evidence may help prove their theory that Abydos was Egypt's capital in the pre-dynastic and early dynastic periods. The discovery could prove a much-needed boon to Egypt's key tourism industry, which has suffered in the unrest that has followed the 2011 uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak. A 2015 terrorist attack that killed 224 tourists aboard a Russian plane that took off from a Red Sea resort further dented tourist numbers. In 2010, 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt. In the first three months of 2016, that number had dropped to a measly 1.2 million. Source: Deutsche Welle

Anticipating famine,  Libya, Algeria, Niger, Chad rush Nigerian grains

A member of the House of Representatives Danburan Abubakar Nuhu, on November 23, lamented that neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad, Libya and Algeria have invaded markets in the country buying up grains in anticipation of famine next year. His lamentation was sequel to over 500 trucks loaded with grains that leave every week from the markets to the neighbouring countries. This is as the House of Representatives has mandated its committee on Agricultural production and services to urgently investigate the looming food scarcity, with the view to ensuring that the Ministry of Agriculture synergised efforts with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs to develop an action plan to avert the unhealthy competition of export at the expense of local demand and a possible famine in 2017. Nuhu, who represents Kano Municipal Federal Constituency of Kano State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was of the view that both the federal and state governments could buy the grains now at the local markets and store them in case of the impending food scarcity next year. He said that because of the forecast that there would be famine next year, it was critical for the government to make adequate preparations to cushionits effects so that the masses will not suffer unduly. Source: Vanguard


Victory for medicinal cannabis use in South Africa

This is seen as a giant step forward in the fight for regulated medicinal cannabis use in South Africa. Following a two year process of deliberations, investigation and research, prompted by the Medical Innovation Bill, an announcement was made on November 23 in Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Health that the Department of Health will soon regulate access to medicinal cannabis for prescribed health conditions. This is a victory for every South African unnecessarily suffering because of HIV/AIDS, severe chronic pain, severe muscle spasms, vomiting or wasting arising from Cancer, or severe seizures resulting from epileptic conditions where other treatment options have failed or have intolerable side effects. IFP Chief Whip in Parliament, Mr Narend Singh MP, lauded this announcement as a victory for his late colleague, Dr Mario Oriani-Ambrosini MP, who introduced the Medical Innovation Bill (MIB) in the midst of his own fight with terminal Cancer. Following his death in 2014, Mr Singh reintroduced the MIB to ensure that this vital issue would stay on the table. Speaking after the announcement by the Medicines Control Council and the Department of Health in Committee on November 23, Mr Singh said, "This heralds a great step forward for public access and research into the use of medicinal cannabis. I feel a great sense of relief. I must thank the Department for taking up this issue with such passionate concern for our people. What matters now is that the Department ensures that access to medicinal cannabis will not be restricted to the rich, but that anyone who needs it will be able to afford it, and get it." The Department has indicated that the new regulatory framework could be available as early as the end of January 2017 for stakeholder comment, and could be implemented as soon as April 2017. Clearly inspired by the sense of unity within the Committee, Singh said, "Today I saw MPs across the political spectrum join together for the common good of all South Africans. The introduction of Dr Oriani-Ambrosini's Bill in 2014 galvanised a concerted effort by all stakeholders, the result being that we will shortly have a working blueprint and regulatory framework for access to medicinal cannabis in South Africa. We look forward to seeing that happen." Source: Inkatha Freedom Party (Durban)

Thuli Madonsela accepts German Africa prize in Berlin

Known in her native South Africa as "the Steel Lady," former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was awarded the German Africa Prize on November 24 for her fight against corruption in her home country. Awards ceremonies are becoming an almost daily occurrence for Thuli Madonsela. Just a few weeks ago South Africa's former public protector was recognized by Forbes Africa as the "Person of the Year." She was also considered a favorite for the German-Africa prize two years ago when she was still in office. Outside of South Africa, Madonsela is best known for taking on President Jacob Zuma in relation to charges that he used public funds to update his Nkandla private residence. She held the position of public protector from October 2009 to October 2016. Since 1993, the German Africa Foundation has awarded the German Africa Award to honor "outstanding individuals for their long-standing endeavors to foster democracy, peace, human rights, art, culture, the social market economy and social concerns." "She is a person of paramount importance, a courageous guardian of the common heritage of a free and just South Africa," said jury president Volker Faigle. Madonsela was handed the award at a ceremony in Berlin on November 23, 2016. The event was attended by numerous German politicians and members of the African community in Germany. German Foreign Minister Franz-Walter Steinmeier praised Madonsela for her service to her country and held her up as a role model for women and for those who stand up for civil societies and campaign against corruption. "As the first woman in this position , she revealed what many people had suspected, gave a voice to the individual and was an advocate for the poor," he said. "This was not without conflict, but even death threats could not stop Ms Madonsela from fighting for what she believes in." Accepting the award, Madonsela praised the role her team played in her success. She also thanked the organizers and the German people for the prize. "The award shows that the people in Germany are interested in what is happening in Africa. They understand that humanity is intertwined: problems in Africa can also affect the people of Germany," said Madonsela. Perhaps the most heartfelt comment of the night came from a fellow South African, the singer Lebo, who performed at the ceremony. "Thank you Mama Madonsela. We love you. We respect you and we always felt protected by you," she yelled from the stage. This made the "Steel Lady" laugh. Source: Deutsche Welle

ATMs to dispense U.S dollar, bond notes in Zimbabwe

Local banks are configuring their automated teller machines to dispense both the US dollar and the bond notes, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya said on November 23. Alternatively, the banks may have separate ATM machines, dispensing the US dollar and the bond notes expected to be introduced in the next few days. Dr Mangudya is on record that no one will be forced to accept the bond notes and such an arrangement would give the banking public an option either to withdraw their money in US dollars or bond notes. "When I met ambassadors they said the best way -- as done elsewhere -- is to have two ATMs, one for bond notes and another one for US dollars," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the CZI 2016 manufacturing sector survey report launch. "It is a very good idea. People are rational, if there is no queue on one ATM, then they can go to the other and get their money. "We have asked banks to look at it. We want to maintain the multi-currency system," said Dr Mangudya. He said banks were forthcoming in implementing the plan, which is also expected to bring convenience to the banking public. "The banks are happy, some are already doing that, for instance at Barclays they can give you rands or US dollar but people do not want rands, yet they are in the system," said Dr Mangudya. Meanwhile, the RBZ will unveil specimen for the bond notes just before their release to minimise the risk of counterfeits notes. "You do not put in the paper today then release them at the end of the month. If you do that then you give room for counterfeits. "We do not want people to be duped. This is the standard for any note which is given out throughout the world so that you minimise counterfeits," said Dr Mangudya. The bond notes are being introduced into the economy as an incentive for exporters. It is also envisaged they will help ease the biting cash shortages that have been prevailing in the country since early this year. Source: The Herald


Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown

Ethiopia should immediately release all journalists detained amid an intensifying crackdown on the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on November 17. In recent weeks, Ethiopian authorities have jailed a newspaper editor, as well as two members of the award-winning Zone 9 bloggers' collective, which has faced continuous legal harassment on terrorism and incitement charges. A fourth journalist has been missing for a week; his family fears he is in state custody. The crackdown on the media comes amid mass arrests following large protests that led the government to declare a state of emergency on October 9. Security forces have detained more than 11,000 people since the state of emergency was declared, Taddesse Hordofa, of the Ethiopian government's State of Emergency Inquiry Board, said in a televised statement on November 12. "Silencing those who criticize the government's handling of protests will not bring stability," CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said from New York. "The constant pressure on Zone 9 bloggers with repeated arrests and court appearances is clearly designed to intimidate the remaining independent journalists in Ethiopia." Ethiopia's Supreme Court on November 15 continued hearing prosecutors' appeal of a lower court's October 2015 acquittal of four bloggers from the Zone 9 collective--Befekadu Hailu, Natnail Feleke, Abel Wabella, and Atnaf Berhane--on terrorism charges, campaigners reported on social media. Security forces again detained Befekadu--a co-founder of the collective, which CPJ honored with its 2015 International Press Freedom Award--from his home on November 11, according to news reports. Authorities have not yet announced any new charge against the blogger. The Africa News Agency quoted Befekadu's friends saying that they believed he may have been arrested following an interview he gave to the U.S.-government-funded broadcaster Voice of America's Amharic service, in which he criticized the government's handling of the protests. An Ethiopian journalist in exile in Kenya, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ that Befekadu's criticism of the government's handling of protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia on his blog may have also led to his detention. When the terrorism charge against the bloggers was dismissed by the judge in October last year, Befekadu was informed that he would still face incitement charges, according to media reports. That case is still before the courts. Ethiopian Information Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ's calls and text messages seeking more information. Security forces also detained another Zone 9 blogger, Natnail Feleke, on October 4 on charges he had made "seditious remarks" in a restaurant while criticizing security forces' lethal dispersal of a protest, according to diaspora news websites. Separately, a court in the capital Addis Ababa on November 15 sentenced Getachew Worku, the editor of the independent weekly newspaper Ethio-Mihidar, to one year in prison on charges of "defamation and spreading false information" in connection with an article published in the newspaper alleging corruption in a monastery, the Addis Standard news website reported. Abdi Gada, an unemployed television journalist, has not been seen since November 9, family and friends told diaspora media. The journalist's family and friends told the Ethiopian diaspora opposition website Voices for Voiceless that they fear he is in state custody. Ethiopia ranked fourth on CPJ's 2015 list of the 10 Most Censored Countries and is the third-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to CPJ's 2015 prison census. Source: CPJ

US to press for arms embargo on Juba

The United States said on November 17 that it would press for a U.N. arms embargo against those responsible for the violence in South Sudan, which has dramatically escalated along ethnic lines. "In the coming days, the United States will put forward a proposal to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, and targeted sanctions on the individuals who have been the biggest spoilers to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told Security Council members. She said such a move would be an important step to help halt the violence by government and opposition forces against civilians that has devastated the country for three years. Although an embargo would not completely stop weapons flowing into the country or remove those already on the ground, Power said it could still make a difference, especially in preventing the acquisition of more heavy weapons, aircraft and military vehicles. South Sudan has been mired in a political conflict since December 2013 that has ignited violence among ethnic groups, caused the economy to tank, killed and displaced thousands, and created a dire humanitarian situation, with nearly 5 million people believed to be severely food insecure. But getting the council to agree to an arms embargo and targeted sanctions may be difficult. When the idea of an embargo was first raised many months ago, some council members expressed reluctance, fearing that such a measure would be difficult to enforce, and that it would hurt the Juba government and favor the opposition. Russia, for one, does not appear to have softened its opposition. "Our position hasn't changed," Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev told the council. "We think implementing such a recommendation would hardly be helpful in settling the conflict." South Sudan envoy Joseph Malok told council members that denying his government the means to protect and defend its citizens and its borders would unacceptably undermine its sovereignty. The call for the embargo came amid intensifying warnings that the violence is getting more dangerous in nature. "I was dismayed that what I saw and heard in South Sudan confirmed my concerns, that there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide," Adama Dieng told council members. He is the U.N. special adviser for the prevention of genocide. In a trip to South Sudan last week, Dieng said he saw a number of risk factors, enough to lead him to warn that conditions are "ripe for the commission of mass atrocities." "Inflammatory rhetoric, stereotyping and name-calling have been accompanied by threats, targeted killings and rape of members of particular ethnic groups, and by violent attacks against individuals or communities on the basis of their perceived political affiliation," Dieng said. He went on to warn that what began as a political conflict has transformed into "what could become an outright ethnic war." He said that with the stalled implementation of the peace agreement, the worsening economic and humanitarian situations and the proliferation of arms, "all of the ingredients exist for a dangerous escalation of violence; there is both motivation and means." Dieng said there is an urgent need for the Security Council to impose an arms embargo. "It is a serious and grave time in South Sudan, and it is time to act," he said. Source: Voice of America

Salaried workers to enjoy tax relief in Kenya

Thousands of school teachers, principals, civil servants and private sector employees will enjoy lower taxes from January as the government effects changes to the income tax law. Employees will also get higher personal relief -- the amount returned to workers after tax every month. There are also proposals for eliminating taxes on bonuses, overtime and retirement benefits paid to workers who fall under the lowest income tax band though there is no mention of how this will be effected in the circular sent to companies. From January 1, next year, personal relief will be raised from the current Sh13,944 per year (Sh1,162 per month) to Sh15,360 per year (Sh1,280 per month). Treasury has notified human resource departments across the country to effect the changes from January. The bottom of the scale workers who currently earn Sh10,164 per month, mainly cleaners, subordinate staff, messengers and other low cadre staff, and pay a total income tax of Sh1,016, will now be fully exempted from the deduction as the lowest taxable bracket now climbs to Sh11,180 per month. Those earning Sh38,893 -- mainly entry level graduate employees in the public sector and which is the current starting point of the highest band where a 30 per cent income tax is applicable, will also enjoy a reduction as the highest rate now will now touch those earning Sh42,782 and above. "Effective 1st January 2017, annual tax bands should be expanded by 10 per cent and a personal relief increased from the current Sh13,944 per annum (Sh1,162 per month) to Sh15,360 per annum (Sh1,280 per month)," reads the circular sent to companies and organisations. The reliefs, which were first announced by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich in the 2016/2017 budget, were designed to create comfort for those whose taxable employment income before bonus and overtime allowances does not exceed the lowest band, which is Sh10,164 per month or Sh121,960 per year. The first band will be deducted at 10 per cent, rising in the series of taxable income that terminates at 30 per cent at the highest band, which is now put at a minimum of Sh513,373 per year or Sh42,781 per month. Tax expert Nikhil Hira said the move was a "step in the right direction" but called for frequent revisions of the bands to keep pace with the changing cost of living in the country. "This is definitely meant to create the biggest impact on those in the lowest income bracket whose monthly personal relief will also go up. Those in upper income level will, however, not feel it much because relative to their income in the graduated scale, they will only be claiming more relief. In some countries, the band is revised almost every year and in our case, someone earning Sh11,000 where the new minimum is, still struggles anyway," Mr Hira said. Kenya did the last such revision in 2005 although there have been various inflationary fluctuations since then, including the economic decline after the disputed post election violence in 2008 and the fall in the value of the local currency in 2011. Although proposed in June and expected to have come in July, income tax laws are usually hard to apply in the middle of a calendar year and therefore the push to January. The benefits are part of the larger beneficial tax measures that include the elimination of tax on bonuses, retirement benefits and overtime as outlined in the Finance Act 2016. Those in the lowest income tax band (earning below Sh10,165 per month) are already relieved from tax on their bonuses, overtime and retirement benefits in the June proposals. "These measures are meant to cushion the workers from the high cost of living and demonstrates our commitments to sharing the growth of our economy," Mr Rotich said as he read the budget. The relief comes amidst a high cost of living with consumers already grappling with rising inflation that hit an eight-month high of 6.47 per cent last month from the 6.34 per cent a month earlier. This, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, was pushed by rising food inflation including an increase in the price of sugar and maize flour. For those whose salaries now fall below the taxable income of Sh11,120 and who were bearing the 10 per cent tax burden, the Sh1,000 will now be able to afford them some more food in the shopping basket, including a two kilogramme packet of sugar, five packets of 2Kg maize flour and some change. Food takes the largest share -- 36 per cent -- of inflation making it the main driver of the cost of living. Food prices which increased last month include those of sugar which went up by Sh5 on average to Sh125 a kilo, Irish potatoes by Sh3 to Sh80 a kilo and 2kg packet of sifted maize flour by Sh2 to Sh115. The relief may also be useful in securing personal loans in the revised credit regime besides being used as savings which would accumulate to Sh12,000 at the end of the year. The Jubilee administration's second last budget before the General Election and which was dubbed the pro -poor, pro -production budget, was sharply criticised for hitting the low income earners after it proposed more tax on kerosene and increased the road maintenance levy on petrol and diesel. The government had also proposed to reduce the prices of stoves, lowering import duty on the products from 25 to 10 per cent. Source: Daily Nation


US drone war expands to Niger

An American drone base has taken up operations near the city of Agadez in Niger. It is considered strategically important in the fight against Islamists in western and northern Africa. Fatima now needs three times longer to reach the market in Agadez. She lives with her family outside this city of 180,000 in sub-Saharan Niger, traveling there every day to sell camel milk. A nearby US drone base has added 90 minutes to her trek. "We often have to stay in Agadez overnight, whether we want to or not. The children then have to stay home alone," she told DW. Her family could not survive without the market, she said. "I come from Agadez and every morning at 7 see the large aircraft," said Ibrahim Manzo. "They land here, then fly onwards. No one knows what they're transporting." It remains unclear how far along base construction is, said Adam Moore, a researcher from the University of California, Los Angeles, who specializes in US military engagement in Africa. "Satellite imagery of Agadez reveals a complex south of the runways that covers roughly 62 acres. That is fairly large," he notes. An investigation by the online magazine, The Intercept, puts the cost of the base at $100 million. That is twice as much as the US Defense Department's official estimate. For the US and its allies, Niger has strategic importance in their fight against international terrorism. Mali, Nigeria and Libya are, in particular, places of refuge for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram or the so-called "Islamic State." Moore suspects that the US is using the Agadez drone base to conduct reconnaissance missions over northern Niger and southern Libya. "These regions can be monitored better from Agadez. That is the biggest advantage over the capital, Niamey," Moore said, referring to the long-time US spying presence there. An additional drone base is planned for Tunisia, according to the Washington Post. The two bases combined would provide the US a near-complete picture of the entire Sahara region, Moore said. Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou gave approval for the Agadez base in 2014 for surveillance purposes. An additional US base in Arlit, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Agadez, has been operating for about a year, but little is known about it, Moore said, except that special forces are presumably stationed there. The US carries out a number of operations by way of special forces or defense subcontractors, Moore said. Washington has been hesitant to be directly involved on the African continent for at least a decade. "Yet they are building this large base in Agadez, which is hardly out of sight," Moore added. "This is an indication of the good relations with the Niger government, and that Niger is on board to become the center of the fight against terrorism in North and West Africa." After Djibouti, home to Camp Lemonnier, the largest US base on the continent, Niger could well become America's next most important military partner in Africa, Moore said. The French are also present in Niger with anti-terror operations, sharing the US base in Niamey as well as operating two others of its own in the country. The German military has had a presence in Niger since April. It runs an airbase from the capital's international airport to transport troops supporting the UN Minusma mission in neighboring Mali. There are about 40 German soldiers stationed in Niamey, according to Germany's Defense Ministry. Source: Deutsche Welle

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau arrives in Liberia for two-day official visit

The Right Honorable, Justin Trudeau - Prime Minister, of Canada has arrived in Liberia at a start of a two-day official visit. According to an Executive Mansion release, the special aircraft conveying the Canadian Prime Minister and delegation touched down at the Robert International Airport on November 24, November 24, 2016 at 6:18 Ante Meridian and was met on arrival by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a host senior government officials.Following official formalities at the Robert International Airport, the Prime Minister and entourage departed the airport for Monrovia along with President Sirleaf and officials of the welcoming party. The Right Honorable, Justin Trudeau while in the country will sign the guest book, hold discussions with President Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry office and which will be followed by a Joint Press Conference in the Foyer of the Foreign Ministry. Thereafter, the Prime Minister will attend an interactive forum with students at an Slipway Elementary School in Monrovia and later participate in a High-Level Panel on Women Leadership. Later, President Sirleaf will tender a State Dinner in honor of the Prime Minister Trudeau and official delegation in the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departs the country on November 25, 2016 for Madagascar. Source: Liberia Government (Monrovia)

Army, Amnesty International trade words over alleged killing of 150 pro-Biafra activists

Amnesty International, on November 23, came out with a report stating that the Nigerian security forces led by the military, embarked on a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence resulting in the deaths of at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters in the South Eastern part of the country. Attributing their findings to an indepth investigation it carried out, the international body stated that analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eyewitness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016, consistently showed that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds. It also finds evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day. "This deadly repression of pro-Biafra activists is further stoking tensions in the South East of Nigeria. This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has caused at least 150 deaths and we fear the actual total might be far higher. The Nigerian government's decision to send in the military to respond to pro-Biafra events seems to be in large part to blame for this excessive bloodshed. The authorities must immediately launch an impartial investigation and bring the perpetrators to book," said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. Amnesty International further stated in their report that: "By far, the largest number of pro-Biafra activists were killed on Biafra Remembrance Day on 30 May 2016 when an estimated 1,000 IPOB members and supporters gathered for a rally in Onitsha, Anambra State. The night before the rally, the security forces raided homes and a church where IPOB members were sleeping. On Remembrance Day itself, the security forces shot people in several locations. Amnesty International has not been able to verify the exact number of extrajudicial executions, but estimates that at least 60 people were killed and 70 injured in these two days. The real number is likely to be higher." Stating that they have reviewed videos of a peaceful gathering of IPOB members and supporters at Aba National High School on 9 February 2016, the body also said that the Nigerian military surrounded the group and then fired live ammunition at them without any prior warning. Eyewitnesses and local human rights activists said that many of the protesters at Aba were rounded up and taken away by the military. On 13 February, 13 corpses, including those of men known to have been taken by the military were discovered in a pit near the Aba highway. It is chilling to see how these soldiers gunned down peaceful IPOB members. The video evidence shows that this was a military operation with intent to kill and injure," Makmid Kamara alleged. The organisation regretted that despite overwhelming evidence that the Nigerian security forces committed gross human rights violations including extrajudicial executions and torture, no investigations have been carried out by the authorities. "Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the government of Nigeria to initiate independent investigations into evidence of crimes under international law, and President Buhari has repeatedly promised that Amnesty International's reports would be looked into. However, no concrete steps have been taken," said Makmid Kamara. But the Nigerian Army, on November 23, debunked the allegation made by Amnesty International, describing the claims of mass killing of MASSOB/IPOB protesters by the military between August 2015 and August 2016 as unfounded. A statement signed by Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, a copy of which was emailed to Vanguard said the insinuation that troops perpetrated the killing of defenceless agitators is untrue. The statement read: "This is an outright attempt to tarnish the reputation of the security forces in general and the Nigerian Army in particular, for whatever inexplicable parochial reasons. For umpteenth times, the Nigerian Army has informed the public about the heinous intent of this Non-Governmental Organisation which is never relenting in dabbling into our national security in manners that obliterate objectivity, fairness and simple logic. "The evidence of MASSOB/IPOB violent secessionist agitations is widely known across the national and international domains. Their modus operandi has continued to relish violence that threatens national security. Indeed, between August 2015 and August 2016, the groups' violent protests have manifested unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of the South East Nigeria. "A number of persons from the settler communities that hailed from other parts of the country were selected for attack, killed and burnt. Such reign of hate, terror and ethno-religious controversies that portend grave consequences for national security have been averted severally through the responsiveness of the Nigerian Army and members of the security agencies. "These security agencies are always targeted for attack by the MASSOB/IPOB instruments of barbarism and cruelty. For instance, in the protests of 30 - 31 May 2016, more than 5 personnel of the Nigeria Police were killed, while several soldiers were wounded, Nigeria Police vehicles were burnt down same as several others of the Nigerian Army that were vandalized." The release from the military also claimed the strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha came under threat which led to disruption of socio-economic activities. "In the aftermath of the encounter that ensued between security agencies and MASSOB/IPOB militants, many of our troops sustained varying degrees of injury. In addition, the MASSOB/IPOB recurrent use of firearms, crude weapons as well as other cocktails such as acid and dynamites to cause mayhem remain a huge security threat across the Region. "In these circumstances, the Nigerian Army under its constitutional mandates for Military Aid to Civil Authority (MACA) and Military Aid to Civil Powers (MACP) has continued to act responsively in synergy with other security agencies to de-escalate the series of MASSOB/IPOB violent protests. "Instructively, the military and other security agencies exercised maximum restraints despite the flurry of provocative and unjustifiable violence, which MASSOB/IPOB perpetrated. The adherence to Rules of Engagement by the military has been sacrosanct in all of these incidents. "Therefore, it is rather unfortunate for the Amnesty International to allow itself to be lured into this cheap and unpopular venture that aims to discredit the undeniable professionalism as well as responsiveness of the Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles." Source: Vanguard This monitor is prepared by Harish Venugopalan, Research Assistant, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi
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