Friday, April 30, 2021

Ethiopia: The Issue of The Nile River’s Ownership

April 26, 2021

Tis Isat fall ( Fall on the Nile river . Photo : MFAE)

By Kidane Alemayehu


Although it is a well known fact that Ethiopia is the source of 86% of the Nile River water that cascades through the Sudan to Egypt, its ownership of the important natural resource including the soil that is carried from Ethiopia to the two countries is not accorded the necessary recognition. On the contrary, mainly due to colonial malfeasance, Ethiopia has not benefitted from the Nile River as adequately as it should.

According to works by Dr. Richard Pankhurst, Dr. Said and Dr. Minga, Ethiopia used to be paid 50,000 gold coins per annum by the Ottoman Turks for the use of the Nile River when they were ruling Egypt. However, when the British colonized Egypt and the Sudan, they applied practices that inappropriately reflected their ownership of the Blue Nile River. Later, Egypt and the Sudan followed the same policy and entered into agreements apportioning the water to themselves.

The main reason for the above predicament was mainly due to the fact that the Ethiopian Government had not acted on the preservation of its nation’s rights regarding the Blue Nile River. However, due to the important initiative undertaken for the construction of the important GERD Dam, Ethiopia is currently in the process of taking effective steps for exercising its rights to benefit from its major natural water resource.

A useful example to refer to here is my experience in Lesotho, a nation that is situated in the middle of South Africa and possesses immense water resources. I was involved, as a leader of a Lesotho delegation in 1977, in my capacity as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works, at a negotiation meeting in Cape Town regarding the utilization of Lesotho’s river by South Africa which resulted in an investment of over US$1 Billion and the payment of an average $50 million annually to Lesotho by South Africa. For more details, it would be useful to refer to my book: “My Journey with the United Nations, the Quest for the Horn of Africa’s Unity and Justice for Ethiopia”.

It is obviously important for the Ethiopian Government to ensure that the nation’s rights to benefit from its very important resource, the Blue Nile River, is fully protected and utilized for the benefit of the Ethiopian people with due regard to the needs of the Sudan and Egypt in compliance with international laws.

UK Embassy in Addis Ababa Blames Ethiopian State Media over “Misrepresenting Report”

April 29, 2021


The UK Embassy in Addis Ababa on Thursday accuses Ethiopian media reporting over what it called misrepresenting the UK Ambassador’s meeting with the Ethiopian Defense Force Chief of Staff, General Berhanu Jula.

The allegation, which the embassy expressed in a Twitter message, did not specifically target a particular Ethiopian media. 

“Current Ethiopian media reporting does not accurately represent our Ambassador’s meeting this week with General Berhanu Jula, ” it was said. 

Also, the embassy did not clarify as to what exactly was misrepresented in the Ethiopian media reporting. 

However, the embassy spelled out what the British Ambassador to Ethiopia raised during the meeting with General Berhanu. 

It said “Our Ambassador raised the UK’s continued concerns about the Tigray conflict, stressing the need for a political solution, cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of Eritrean troops and humanitarian access.” 

Ethiopian State Media, EBC among others, had news coverage about the meeting. ECC said that the meeting focused on peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the current affairs in Ethiopia. 

Alastair McPhail, “Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Ethiopia” as described in the UK government site, is cited in the EBC report as saying that the meeting was on elevating UK-Ethiopia strategic partnership in peace, military and related areas. 

Furthermore, EBC reported that the Ambassador remarked on Ethiopia’s law enforcement operation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in a positive light. He was cited as saying that the operation contributed to peace and security in the region. 

This is for a second that for the Ethiopian Defense Chief of Staff to meet with members of the diplomatic community. Last week, he met with Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia. 

Unclear why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia is not handling the matter instead of the Defense Force Chief of Staff. Also it is unclear as to who initiated the meeting between the British Embassy in Ethiopia and General Berhanu Jula.

Public opinion, based on social media conversation among Ethiopians, sees the UK as leading diplomatic and political efforts to resuscitate the defeated Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)

The U.S. Blames “Eritrean Forces and Amhara Regional Forces” for Situation in Tigray

April 27, 2021


In a latest round of statements , seemingly aimed at throwing a continued tacit support in the direction rescuing Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) from the ashes, the U.S. department of state on Tuesday called for “all parties to the conflict to end hostilities immediately.”

The statement came after a phone conversation between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and U.S. Secretary of State,  Antony J. Blinken, on April 27. 

It was said that Mr. Blinken reiterated “concern” about what the statement called “deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country, including the growing risk of famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray region as well as ongoing insecurity in other parts of the country.” 

Furthermore, the U.S. wants the implementation of withdrawal of Eritrean forces from the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Not just that, the U.S. state department also accused Amhara regional forces and Eritrean forces of “contributing to the growing humanitarian disaster and committing human rights abuses. ” 

Earlier this week, Mr. Joe Biden’s administration appointed Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman as a special envoy for the Horn of Africa. According to a report by Foreign Policy magazine, the new special envoy sees doomsday for Ethiopia – something that excels the level of destruction seen in Syria. 

The United Nations Security Council had discussed the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. While expressing concerns about the humanitarian situation in the region, it has recognized Ethiopian Government Humanitarian Assistance efforts in the region, according to an update from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.  

Hundreds Arrested After Anti-government Protests in Chad


Muslims perform Friday prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at a Grand mosque in N'Djamena, Chad, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

N’DJAMENA, Chad (AP) — More than 700 people have been arrested in Chad following this week’s demonstrations against the new military government led by the son of slain President Idriss Deby Itno, the United Nations said Friday.

Civil society groups are renewing calls for more protests over the weekend in the Central African country, where tensions have mounted in the aftermath of Deby’s killing that was blamed on a rebel group now threatening to overthrow the interim government.

U.N. human rights office spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said it was not known how many of the people arrested after Tuesday’s demonstrations are still being detained.

“As further protests and general strikes have been called to take place in the coming days, we stress that Chad remains bound by its obligations under international human rights law to protect and respect human rights, including the right to life, and to facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” she said in Geneva.

Witnesses say that security forces fired live ammunition at Tuesday’s demonstrations, which took place in Chad’s two largest cities, N’Djamena and Moundou. A military spokesman has disputed that the anti-government protests were peaceful, saying one crowd killed a retired police officer amid the unrest.

Streets remained calm but heavily patrolled by military on Friday, as many of N’Djamena’s residents flocked to mosques for prayers during the third week of Ramadan.

In the country’s north, there were conflicting reports over whether the military or rebel forces controlled the town of Nokou. Rebels from the armed group known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad said they held the town, but the military issued a communique saying that armed rebels had been repelled on Thursday.

The rebels — who are known by their French acronym, FACT — also claimed to have shot down a Chadian military helicopter on Thursday but the government later said the aircraft had crashed due to a mechanical issue.

Chad, a key player in the international fight against Islamic extremism in Africa, was rocked by the April 20 death of Deby, who had been in power for more than three decades. The military formed a transitional government with his son Mahamat at the helm before announcing the longtime leader’s death on national television.

The military has blamed his death on the Chadian rebels from FACT, who were based in neighboring Libya and crossed back into Chad on election day earlier this month as Deby sought a sixth term in office. The rebels have repeatedly threatened to march on the capital and depose the interim leader, though are still believed to be some 300 kilometers (186 miles) from N’Djamena.

The political opposition also has called for interim military government to step down, saying that power should have been ceded to the National Assembly president in the aftermath of Deby’s killing.

A coalition of civil society groups has called for people to take to the streets on Saturday to demand “a return to constitutional order.”


Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed.

UN: 125 Europe-bound Children Intercepted off Libyan Coast

CAIRO (AP) — A total of 125 Europe-bound children were among those intercepted at sea this week by Libyan authorities off the Mediterranean coast, the United Nations child welfare agency said Friday, adding that most were brought to detention centers.

The children, fleeing war and poverty across the perilous maritime route to Europe, included 114 unaccompanied minors, UNICEF added in a statement.

“The majority of those rescued are sent to overcrowded detention centers in Libya under extremely difficult conditions and with no or limited access to water and health services. Nearly 1,100 children are in these centers,” read the statement.

UNICEF urged the Libyan authorities to release all children and to put an end to immigration detention.

In the years since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing Africa and the Middle East.

“The Central Mediterranean continues to be one of the deadliest and most dangerous migration routes in the world,” UNICEF said, adding that at least 350 people, including children and women, have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean since January.

Last week, 130 Europe-bound migrants went missing in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast, in the deadliest shipwreck since the beginning of the year.

Growth in Burkina Faso Gold Mining Fuels Human Trafficking


A woman who said she was trafficked from Nigeria under false pretenses to work as a sex slave in Burkina Faso's mining sites, walks through a row of tent in the Secaco mining town June 12, 2020. As part of a months-long investigation into sex trafficking and the gold mining industry, The Associated Press met with nearly 20 Nigerian women who said they had been brought to Burkina Faso under false pretenses, then forced into prostitution. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)

SECACO, Burkina Faso (AP) — For months, human traffickers beat and drugged Blessing, hauling the 27-year-old from one gold mine encampment to the next, where each night she was forced to sleep with dozens of men for less than $2 a person.

The madam who lured Blessing to the landlocked West African nation of Burkina Faso with promises of a hair salon job, threatened to kill her if she tried to run away.

“Nobody comes to your rescue,” said Blessing, wiping tears from her cheeks during a recent interview.

In December 2019, while the madam was away, Blessing finally got the courage to escape. With the help of local residents, she and six other women left the encampment and walked to safety, ultimately ending up in a United Nations transit center for migrants in the capital city of Ouagadougou.

Blessing’s experience in the gold mining encampments is not unique.

As part of a months-long investigation into sex trafficking and the gold mining industry, The Associated Press met with nearly 20 Nigerian women who said they had been brought to Burkina Faso under false pretenses, then forced into prostitution. Some of the women, who like Blessing spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their safety, said they knew hundreds of others with similar stories. To protect their safety, AP is identifying the women by the names they used for sex work.

The AP verified the women’s stories through interviews with aid workers, lawyers, police, local anti-trafficking activists, health workers, a trafficker, and members of the Nigerian community in several towns throughout Burkina Faso.

People with knowledge of the trafficking say most of the women come from Nigeria’s Edo state, where promises of jobs in shops or salons in Burkina Faso sounded like a good way to support their families. Once here, they were sent to work off debts in squalid conditions at or near small-scale gold mines.

While both Burkina Faso and Nigeria have signed the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, neither has finalized a joint plan on how to combat trafficking.

Burkina Faso’s security sector, already struggling to stem a violent jihadist insurgency, is undertrained and ill-equipped to disrupt the expansive network of recruiters, traffickers, and pimps.

As a result, the country not only struggles with trafficking within its borders but has also been identified as a transfer point for trafficking women into other countries, according to reports from the US State Department.

One man arrested and detained by local authorities for trying to traffic three women across the Burkina Faso border into neighboring Mali told the AP he didn’t consider it human trafficking because he said the women knew they’d be working as prostitutes.

“I feel somehow bad because it’s not a good job for them to do. They say it’s just a voluntary decision,” said the 48-year-old car parts salesman from Nigeria, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation.

He told the AP that he had bought the women for $270 each in Benin and was planning to sell them for more than twice that to a Nigerian madam in Mali. He’d done the same with two other women back in 2019.

Burkina Faso is likely to be downgraded in this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report, an annual report issued by the U.S. State Department, according to two people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to speak on the record. Generally, countries are downgraded if they haven’t made significant steps to curb trafficking. Downgraded countries could also risk US economic and diplomatic penalties.

Burkina Faso’s gold mining industry is relatively new. The first of its 15 industrial mines, all but one of which is for gold, started production in 2007, a few years after the government changed the mining law to attract commercial investors.

Today, Burkina Faso is the fastest-growing gold producer in Africa, and currently the fifth largest on the continent after South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mali. Gold is the nation’s most important export, according to a February report by the German-based research group GLOCON. The industry employs about 1.5 million people and was worth about $2 billion in 2019.

More than 70% of the industrial gold mined is sent to Switzerland, according to 2019 data from the United Nations Comtrade Database, and the vast majority of it is processed by Metalor Technologies, a Swiss-based refinery of precious metal and one of the largest in the world.

Metalor Technologies said its suppliers are owned and managed by listed companies with a high sense and respect of corporate social responsibility standards.

“In Burkina, as in all other countries we do work with, our suppliers have followed a thorough due diligence and compliance process to make sure that the way they operate do respect human rights and environmental standards,” the company said in a statement, adding that it follows guidelines set by groups such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international organization composed of 37 member countries established to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Gold from Burkina Faso is also likely used to make products sold by companies in a number of industries, including the technology sector, according to conflict mineral reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In the filings, companies say they perform due diligence to make sure that the gold used in their products is not being mined or processed by forced labor or exploited workers. But many companies admit that they are unable to verify with absolute certainty the source and chain of custody of gold used in their products.

The SEC reports are designed to cover human rights abuses and trafficking that are directly tied to the supply chains, not the trafficking of women for sex work that occurs near operations that mine the gold.

“These kinds of exploitation (can) take place outside of the mining areas, so stakeholders don’t see it as their responsibility. However, the product is being produced in an ecosystem of human rights violations/sex trafficking,” said Livia Wagner, senior expert at the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, in a message via WhatsApp.

Experts and local officials say most documented human trafficking cases of women appear at small-scale gold mines, not the larger industrial mines.

The gold from the country’s approximately 800 small-scale mines is hard to track. Much of it, particularly from the east, is smuggled across Burkina Faso’s borders with Togo, Benin, Niger, and Ghana, according to the Institute for Security Studies, based in South Africa. Industry experts said this gold likely ends up in Dubai. The government of Burkina Faso estimates the illicit market produces more than $400 million worth of gold a year.

Salofou Trahore, general director for Burkina Faso’s regulatory body for small-scale mines, said he was unaware that women were being exploited at the sites. The government is in the process of regulating small-scale mines more strictly, he said. Trahore added that this would provide better oversight of the mines, as well as tracking environmental and human rights abuses.

In one now-vibrant mining community, the southwestern town of Hounde, the opening of an industrial gold mine four years ago led to an increase in brothels from one to six, according to Jean-Paul Ramde, whose organization, Responsibility Hope Life Solidarity Plus, gives women HIV/AIDS tests and condoms.

“Where there are gold mines, there are many evils that develop around it, including prostitution,” said Oumarou Dicko, the head of the government’s Department for Family and Children in the region that serves Hounde.

Prostitution exists in a legal gray area in Burkina Faso — it’s not illegal, but soliciting it is. Police say it’s hard to prove if someone has been trafficked into sex work because women fear retaliation from criminal networks.

The limited available figures show an increase in reported trafficking cases in recent years. The U.N. International Organization for Migration helped over 35 people trafficked last year in Burkina Faso, compared with 12 for all of 2018, said Claire Laroche, the organization’s protection officer.

AP’s investigation showed the problem is far larger.

In Secaco, a makeshift mining town tucked behind uneven dirt roads deep in the brush, trafficked women live and work in tiny, ragged tents with plastic sheeting. Here they have sex on thin mattresses on the dirt floor with 30 men a night, trying to earn their freedom.

A 27-year-old called Mimi said recruiters told her she’d have a job to support her three children when she arrived in Burkina Faso. Two months later, she still owed her madam $1,200.

“It’s a jungle and I want to survive,” she said.

Like many others, Love thought a steady income awaited her in Burkina — in the 35-year-old’s case, to support her 13-year-old daughter.

“In Nigeria, there are a lot of graduates but no jobs,” Love said. She was told she’d be working in a boutique but was instead forced into sex work with miners.

Joy, a divorced mother of four, said she arrived early in 2020 because she couldn’t make enough money in Nigeria to support her children. The 31-year-old was told she’d work in a shop. Upon arrival, she was given a condom and taken to a mining site for prostitution, she said.

The clients, mostly local miners or men from neighboring Mali or Ivory Coast, often refuse to pay and become physically abusive, the women said.

Nigerian women are usually taken to the western city of Bobo-Dioulasso and sold for upward of $700 to different Nigerian madams, according to interviews with several women, a trafficker, and local authorities.

The madams confiscate the women’s passports, phones, and money, then force them into sex work in brothels in makeshift mining towns adjacent to the small-scale mines or in larger towns near the mines. Few of the women speak the local language or know the area.

Boukary Ouedraogo, the police commissioner in Bobo-Dioulasso, said that on many occasions when a trafficker or madam was arrested, community leaders have tried to negotiate for their release, which points to complicity within the Nigerian community, he said.

“When the (Nigerian) representatives in Bobo-Dioulasso come, what they want is that we release the person,” he said. “If someone’s in breach of the law and you ask us to release him, it means that you defend him,” he said.

Women are bound to the madams until they pay off their debts — which often approach $2,700. Madams often threaten to kill them with juju, a form of witchcraft, if they try to escape.

Some of the women were recruited by the madams themselves, approached randomly on a bus or in the market in Nigeria, and asked if they wanted to earn a better living. Others were referred by friends or acquaintances, usually young boys paid to recruit women.

Once recruited, the women travel for approximately three days with the traffickers. The typical route is through Cotonou, a large port city in Benin, and then north, sometimes passing through Togo, into Burkina Faso.

They travel on public buses with the traffickers or in private cars. They may tell border police they are the traffickers’ wives. Underage girls are given fake identification cards made in Benin, according to the women, one who showed an AP reporter the forgery.

In some cases, a family sells a girl. Natasha, 17, said she was told nearly two years ago she’d be going to school but was sold to traffickers by her aunt for approximately $700.

“I was like. ‘Oh God, is this how my life’s going to be?’ This isn’t my dream. I didn’t dream of coming to this place for prostitution. I was thinking of better things, like school,” she said.

The traumas these women have suffered are clear, according to local activists who help them.

“When you try to dig deeper, they change the subject and don’t want to talk about it,” said Stephanie Benao-Ouedraogo, a social worker for Association Tie, a local organization focused on child protection.

Human trafficking experts said abuses will continue until the mining industry — including buyers atop the supply chain, such as jewelers and electronics makers — take responsibility for where the gold originates.

“There’s a lot of focus on conflict minerals, but people have to be aware that gold is also being produced in a context of exploitation,” said Wagner. “People are being bought and sold, that’s basically putting a price tag on a person.”

In January, a new European Union law came into effect aimed at stemming the import of conflict minerals and metals. The law, the Union’s first, requires that gold imports be sourced responsibly, including due diligence on human rights abuses and forced labor.

Burkina Faso is one of several countries mentioned in the legislation as being high-risk, and therefore requiring extra oversight. The new law says gold mining has been a source of conflict in the region since the late 2000s, usually between local communities, artisanal miners, the state and private security forces.

Meanwhile, the women whose lives have been upended are pleading with the traffickers to stop.

Blessing wants to start a business selling sugar and flour with her mother in Nigeria, where she has returned. She knows others have lost hope.

“Many girls that had good dreams of becoming something meaningful in life. (The traffickers) use this stuff to damage their thinking, to damage their hopes,” she said.


Follow Associated Press Burkina Faso correspondent Sam Mednick at


Contact AP’s global investigative team at

Germany to Return Benin Bronzes Looted During Colonial Era


Three pieces of Benin Bronzes are displayed at Museum for Art and Crafts in Hamburg, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Germany is returning hundreds of artifacts known as Benin Bronzes that were mostly looted from western Africa by a British colonial expedition and subsequently sold to collections around the world, including German museums. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is returning hundreds of artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes that were mostly looted from West Africa by a British colonial expedition and subsequently sold to collections around the world, including German museums, authorities said Friday.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed a deal reached with museums and authorities in Nigeria to work on a restitution plan for a substantial number of artifacts, calling it a “turning point in dealing with our colonial history.”

Germany’s minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, said the Benin Bronzes were a key test for the way the country deals with its colonial past.

“We are confronting our historic and moral responsibility,” she said.

Gruetters said the goal is to contribute to “understanding and reconciliation” with the descendants of those whose cultural treasures were stolen in colonial times. The first returns are planned for next year, she said.

A historian welcomed the plans, but said they don’t go far enough.

“Sadly, there is neither a precise time plan nor an unconditional commitment to restitute all looted artifacts,” said Juergen Zimmerer, professor of global history at the University of Hamburg.

He also noted it’s not yet clear how many objects will be returned, or whether there will be any recognition of the efforts by civil society groups that had called for the restitution.

A British colonial expedition looted vast numbers of treasures from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, including numerous bas-reliefs and sculptures.

While hundreds of artifacts ended up in the British Museum, hundreds were also sold to other collections such as the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which has one of the world’s largest collection of historical objects from the Kingdom of Benin, estimated to include about 530 items, including 440 bronzes.

The British Museum doesn’t currently have plans to return parts of its collection.

“The devastation and plunder wreaked upon Benin City during the British military expedition in 1897 is fully acknowledged,” the British Museum said in a statement, adding that the circumstances around the acquisition of Benin objects is explained in gallery panels and on its website.

“We believe the strength of the British Museum collection resides in its breadth and depth, allowing millions of visitors an understanding of the cultures of the world and how they interconnect over time – whether through trade, migration, conquest or peaceful exchange,” it said.

But Zimmerer, who has done extensive historical research on the Benin Bronzes, said the decision by Germany would likely affect the wider debate about how institutions in former colonial countries should handle such artifacts.

“The pressure will grow, because the British position of simply not addressing the issue of restitution is no longer sustainable,” he said.


Jill Lawless in London contributed to the report.

3 Slain While Filming Poaching in Burkina Faso Flown Home


Coffins carrying the bodies of Spanish reporters David Beriain, Roberto Fraile and the director of the Chengeta Wildlife Foundation Rory Young, arrive from Burkina Faso at the Madrid military airport on Friday, April 30, 2021. Two Spanish journalists and the Irish director of a wildlife foundation were killed Monday in an ambush in eastern Burkina Faso. The two journalists were working with the wildlife campaigner on a documentary about poachers in a national park bordering Benin when they were attacked by gunmen. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

MADRID (AP) — The bodies of two Spanish journalists and an Irish wildlife activist killed by jihadists in Burkina Faso this week while they were filming a documentary on poaching were flown home Friday as several European countries vowed to keep fighting extremism in Africa’s Sahel region.

David Beriáin, 44, and Roberto Fraile, 47, journalists with long experience in conflict zones, had joined Irish conservationist Rory Young on an anti-poaching patrol led by a special military wildlife force in eastern Burkina Faso when their convoy was ambushed Monday by jihadists.

The three Europeans and one Burkinabe soldier were killed, according to Spanish authorities. The government of Burkina Faso said six other people were wounded in the attack and one is still missing.

The bodies of the Europeans were flown overnight from the capital of the African nation, Ouagadougou, on an Airbus provided by the Spanish military. A guard of honor carried their coffins out of the aircraft at a military airport near Madrid, where relatives of the Spanish journalists awaited with Spanish officials and the Irish ambassador to Spain.

“It’s a sad day,” Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said following a brief ceremony on the tarmac. “David and Roberto went to lengths to give voice to those who don’t have them, to make visible hard realities surrounding us and to strengthen democracy.”

The minister announced the two journalists would be awarded Spain’s Order of Civil Merit, which recognizes extraordinary contributions by individuals.

The two-person crew was making a documentary on how Burkina Faso’s authorities are tackling poaching, also focusing on the people living in the park. Young, the director of the Chengeta Wildlife Foundation, was leading the patrol in Arly National Park, the group said on Facebook.

Two soldiers wounded in the attack said they tried to protect the foreigners during fighting that lasted three hours, but were outnumbered by the jihadists. One foreign worker of the wildlife foundation did survive, the soldiers told The Associated Press, insisting on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Burkina Faso has been overrun by attacks linked to Islamic extremists that have killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people.

Violence has surged this week in hard-hit eastern and northern parts of the country. The same day the anti-poaching patrol was ambushed, 18 people were killed by gunmen in the Sahel region. In a statement this week, the government said “terrorists have carried out acts of intimidation, looting and assassinations” on civilians.

The governments of Spain, France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that they were committed to supporting the violence-struck region with military training and supplies, but also with humanitarian aid to provide much-needed stability there.

“The area is one of enormous turbulence, with great geostrategic risks for our country,” said González Laya of Spain.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said “the fight against terrorism is not going to stop, we want to be relentless.” She also said Spanish intelligence officials were on the ground supporting the Burkinabe government’s investigation into the killings.

Her ministry later said in a statement that the journalists had taken “all precautions” but that Burkinabe forces who succeeded at first in repelling the attack were later “overwhelmed by the firepower of the attackers.” In an initial assessment of the attack, the ministry concluded that the weapons and means used were not of traffickers or furtive hunters, but “of one of the jihadist groups operating in the region.”

Rights groups say there must be a thorough and impartial investigation of the killings.

″(We need to know) the circumstances surrounding their deaths, (which) can help prevent such tragic killings in the future,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director for Human Rights Watch.


Mednick reported from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 

Kenya Camps with 400,000 Refugees to be Closed Next Year


April 29, 2021

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya wants two refugee camps which hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries closed by June 30 next year, the government said Thursday.

The announcement followed a meeting between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi about the status of the two refugee camps where 433,765 refugees and asylum-seekers live. Most of the people at the two camps are from Somalia and South Sudan.

“A joint team comprising officials from the Kenyan government and the (U.N. Refugee) agency will therefore be formed to finalize and implement a road map on the next steps towards a humane management of refugees in both camps,” a joint statement said.

Earlier this month, UNHCR presented Kenya with what it said were “sustainable rights-based measures” for finding solutions for the refugees’ long-standing displacement.

This followed a two-week ultimatum given by Kenya’s interior minister for the agency to come up with a road map to close the decades-old camps.

The push by Kenya’s government to shut down the camps sooner has been blocked after the High Court issued the temporary order, which will run for 30 days, after former presidential aspirant Peter Gichira filed a legal challenge seeking to block closure of the two camps.

UNHCR’s “sustainable and rights-based measures” to find solution for displacement of the refugees include voluntary return for refugees in safety and dignity, departures to third countries under various arrangements, and alternative stay options in Kenya for certain refugees from East African Community, or EAC, countries.

“We are serious about completing the repatriation program which we started in 2016, in full view of our international obligations and our domestic responsibility. We therefore reiterate our earlier position to close both Dadaab and Kakuma camps by 30th of June, 2022,” Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i said, according to the statement.

“I believe that the government and people of Kenya will continue to show their generous hospitality towards refugees as they have done for nearly three decades, while we carry on discussions on a strategy to find the most durable, appropriate and rights-based solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers residing in the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma,” Grandi said.

Refugees from East African countries will be given the option of being issued a work permit for free so that they can integrate into Kenyan communities or return to their country of origin, Matiang’i said.

Kenya has said the Dadaab refugee camp near the Somalia border is a source of insecurity. Some officials have argued that it has been used as a recruiting ground for the jihadi rebels of al-Shabab and a base for launching violent attacks inside Kenya, but officials haven’t provided conclusive proof.

A Kenyan court in 2017 blocked the closure of Dadaab camp, saying it wasn’t safe for refugees to return to Somalia.

Kenya has been saying for years that it would like to close Daadab, near Kenya’s eastern border with Somalia and which hosts nearly 200,000 mostly Somali refugees.

The Kenyan government’s latest demand is seen as retaliation against Somalia for insisting on pursuing a case at the International Court of Justice over a disputed maritime border between the two countries. Kenya wants the case settled out of court.

Kakuma camp in Kenya’s northeast has nearly 200,000 refugees, mostly South Sudanese nationals escaping civil war.


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In Uganda, Remote Islands Test Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccines

A nurse administers the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at the Butanda Health Centre III in Western Uganda, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. The Uganda government has embarked on vaccinating people in hard to reach areas. Remote islands in Uganda have tested the efforts of health officials delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses as global efforts to access hard-to-reach areas continue. (AP Photo/Patrick Onen)

KABALE, Uganda (AP) — Remote islands in Uganda have tested the efforts of health officials delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses as global efforts to access hard-to-reach areas continue.

On a recent day Edward Arineitwe, assistant district health officer for Kabale district, sat in a motor boat with his hands folded on top of a cooler carrying doses of the vaccine. The boat puttered across Lake Bunyonyi, Africa’s second deepest lake, in western Uganda into an area dotted with islands that are home to some 2,500 people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated life for island residents who rely on tourism as a major source of income.

Due to the area’s remoteness, many residents had not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19. And a UNICEF spokeswoman, Catherine Ntabade, said funds had not been available for vaccination workers to travel to and from the islands until now.

Some 300 people received vaccine doses on the first day of the drive. The goal is to reach 1,000 of the islands’ most vulnerable residents.

Uganda started its coronavirus vaccination campaign in mid-March, targeting more than 20 million people at the highest risk of infection including health workers, teachers, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

More than 300,000 Ugandans have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. But vaccine hesitancy among some people remains a hurdle on top of the logistical ones.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Ramaphosa Denies Wrong in Raising Election Campaign Funds


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appears on behalf of the ruling African National Congress party at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state corruption in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, April 29, 2021. Ramaphosa says rampant corruption has seriously damaged South Africa’s economy and people’s trust in the government. (Kim Ludbrook/Pool via AP)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) —South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has claimed there was “nothing sinister” about the funding for his 2017 political campaign to become president of the ruling party, the African National Congress.

Ramaphosa was testifying Thursday, his second day before the judicial inquiry investigating allegations of corruption in government and state-owned companies during the tenure of his predecessor, former president Jacob Zuma. Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is chairman of the commission.

Ramaphosa was Zuma’s deputy president from 2014 to 2018, when Zuma was forced to step down as a result of wide-ranging allegations of graft.

It is charged that while president, Zuma allowed his associates in the Gupta family to influence his appointments of Cabinet ministers and the directors of state-owned corporations in order to win lucrative state contracts.

Describing how his campaign funds were raised, Ramaphosa said his managers did not tell him who donated money to reduce the possibility they would influence his decisions.

“The campaign managers had taken a conscious decision that they would not involve me at all in the fundraising process,” said Ramaphosa. “They would also not want me to even know who would give money to the campaign because they wanted to create a wall, that those people who gave the money to not really think there would be anything they will get in return.”

It is the first time Ramaphosa has been publicly questioned about the funding for his campaign, which was reported to have raised close to 1 billion rand (approximately $69 million) from wealthy individuals and businesses.

Ramaphosa disputed allegations that the money was used to buy votes.

“There is a legend that goes that the money was used to buy votes … I told my comrades that I would never want to be a part of a campaign that will descend into all these kinds of deviant behaviors that we talk about in the ANC, about vote-buying,” said Ramaphosa.

“I even said I would rather lose the race rather than have votes bought,” said Ramaphosa.

The funding for his campaign is currently the subject of a court case in which some opposition parties and the country’s public watchdog are seeking to have the bank statement related to the campaign made public.

Ramaphosa was questioned about why the ANC received funding from African Global Operations, a company formerly known as Bosasa which has been implicated in wide-ranging allegations of corruption at the inquiry.

“We should have been more alert, especially to reports which had come out much earlier. We would not knowingly and intentionally accept donations from companies or donors who had been involved in criminal activity, so that should be regarded as a major lapse,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa will appear again before the inquiry in May, where he is expected to testify about what he knew about specific allegations of corruption in government departments and state-owned companies.

Chadian Rebels Claim They Have Shot Down Military Helicopter


Police officers patrol the street following a protest in N'Djamena, Chad, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Thousands of people protested and two people were killed in Chad Tuesday in demonstrations against the rule of a transitional military council headed by the son of the late President Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed last week. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

N’DJAMENA, Chad (AP) — Rebels seeking to overthrow Chad’s new transitional government claimed Thursday to have shot down a military helicopter, while the junta in power warned political opponents not to renew protests after violent demonstrations earlier in the week left at least six people dead.

The Chadian government has said that the rebels blamed for killing President Idriss Deby Itno last week have retreated across the border to neighboring Niger. However, in a statement released Thursday, the rebel group claimed it controls the Chadian town of Nokou, located more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the capital.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claims made by the armed group known as the National Front for Change and Concord in Chad. Its fighters have threatened to attack the capital, N’Djamena, in a bid to overthrow the new government now led by Mahamat Idriss Deby, son of the slain president.

Chad’s political opposition also has decried the formation of a transitional military government led by the 37-year-old Deby, saying that a civilian interim government should have been headed by the president of the National Assembly instead.

Protesters took to the streets in several neighborhoods of the capital on Tuesday, a week after the president’s shocking killing was announced. Demonstrators blocked roads and set tires ablaze, prompting a swift crackdown from security forces. The government said Wednesday that six people had been killed in the unrest including a retired police officer, while opposition activists placed the toll at nine dead.

Despite the threats made by rebels to take N’Djamena, the militants appeared to be still far from the capital on Thursday. The statement released by the rebels’ spokesman, Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol, criticized the Chadian military for launching a series of aerial bombardments, saying it “lacks the courage to fight on the ground.”

“Any aircraft flying over our positions will be treated as hostile to the Chadian people and will be shot down without warning,” said the rebel statement in which it claimed it shot down the helicopter. The statement also accused the military of employing Sudanese mercenaries.

There was no immediate reaction from the military, which has deployed heavily armed and turbaned soldiers on the streets of the capital in recent days in a display of force alongside police.

Military spokesman Gen. Azem Bermandoa Agouna has said that the rebel’s leader is wanted for war crimes in neighboring Libya, and he has accused the rebels of making dangerous alliances with Islamic extremist armed groups active in eastern Niger.

Late Wednesday the general called on political opposition leaders to redirect their supporters in the aftermath of Tuesday’s violent clashes.

“This so-called peaceful demonstration paradoxically resulted in the deliberate destruction of 15 national police vehicles and two (gas) stations belonging to the Total company,” the statement said. “In addition, there were intentional assaults on law enforcement officers while on duty.”

Calm prevailed Thursday in the city of 1 million people, where billboards bearing the slain president’s image still line many boulevards. However, an opposition coalition group known as FONAC said it would keep up its resistance to the new government led by Deby’s son.

“FONAC calls on all Chadians throughout the country to mobilize to say no to the coup d’état, to injustice, and to making Chad a monarchy,” it said.

18 People Killed in North Burkina Faso Attack


OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — An attack by gunmen in Burkina Faso’s north this week has killed at least 18 people and severely injured one, the government said.

The attack Monday evening in Yattakou village in the Sahel region’s Seno area has also caused many residents to flee, said Salfo Kabore, the Sahel region’s governor in a statement.

The attack happened the same day that two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were killed and a Burkinabe soldier went missing when their anti-poaching patrol was ambushed by jihadists in the country’s east.

While it’s unclear who committed the attack in the Sahel region, a high-ranking security official told The Associated Press that it was likely carried out by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group who are known to operate in the area along the border with Niger. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Burkina Faso has been overrun by violence linked to Islamic extremists that has killed thousands and displaced more than 1 million people. This week’s attack is the latest in the West African country’s hard-hit Sahel region where extremist rebels have ramped up attacks against civilians and security forces, according to a statement by the government, which said the “terrorists have carried out acts of intimidation, looting, and assassination on civilian populations.”

Earlier this month in Seno province’s Gorgadji town, jihadists killed at least 10 local defense fighters, volunteers recruited by the government to help the army, Hamidou Damboro Zango, the village chief told The Associated Press. Zango, whose son and nephew were killed in the violence, said that even though Gorgadji is controlled by the army, jihadists managed to enter at night and steal people’s animals. When the volunteer fighters tried to retrieve them the next day they were ambushed and killed, he said.

“I’m sad. As a chief, I can’t watch my people die,” said Zango. “We need help.”

UN Focuses on Demand to Repatriate Foreign Fighters in Libya


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council held an informal meeting Thursday focusing on the repatriation of more than 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries from Libya, a demand of the country’s transitional government as it heads toward December elections after a decade of fighting and upheaval.

Vietnam’s U.N. Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, the current council president, told several reporters that members stressed the importance of implementing last October’s cease-fire agreement which included the withdrawal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries within three months. That didn’t happen.

Dang said when a pullout will take place is “a very difficult question” because it depends on many, many factors, first and foremost “the political determination” of U.N. member nations involved in the Libyan conflict.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and split the oil-rich North African country between a U.N.-supported government in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the country’s east, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

In April 2019, east-based commander Khalifa Hifter and his forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive to try and capture Tripoli. His 14-month-long campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its military support of the U.N.-backed government with hundreds of troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

The U.N. estimated in December that there were at least 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, including Syrians, Russians, Sudanese and Chadians. But council diplomats said speakers Thursday said there were more than 20,000, including 13,000 Syrians and 11,000 Sudanese.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the informal meeting was closed, said all 15 council nations agreed that getting the foreign fighters and mercenaries to go home was the only way forward. But some council members pointed out that other council members in the room were behind some of those foreign fighters or mercenaries, they said.

The United States and United Kingdom singled out mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Kremlin-backed private security company that has been implicated by U.N. experts monitoring sanctions against Libya for fighting on the side of Hifter’s eastern-backed forces, the diplomats said. Russia has repeatedly denied playing any role on Libya’s battlefields.

Diplomats said Russia responded on Thursday saying it had voted for the Security Council resolution adopted unanimously on April 16 that authorized up to 60 U.N. monitors to help implement the cease-fire agreement. It called for full implementation of last October’s cease-fire agreement, “including through the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya without delay.”

Thursday’s informal council meeting was called by its three African members -- Niger, Tunisia and Kenya -- and heard from the new U.N. special envoy, Jan Kubis, on the way to get the foreign fighters and mercenaries out of Libya and enforce the decade-long arms embargo against the country, the diplomats said. A recently released report by U.N. experts said the embargo has been “totally ineffective.”

The meeting took place following last week’s killing of Chad’s President Idriss Deby by rebels, believed to have been armed and trained in Libya, a neighbor.

Diplomats said council members on Thursday linked the mercenaries and foreign fighters in Libya with what happened in Chad, and stressed the importance of getting the foreigners out.

One diplomat also warned that what happened in Chad could be repeated in the Sahel and extend to the Horn of Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Niger, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Mozambique if effective action isn’t taken.

The council was also briefed by the U.N. political mission in Libya’s coordinator, Assistant Secretary-General Raisedon Zenenga, who talked about the process of getting Libya’s disparate security and military forces across the country in one place and starting a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process, another diplomat said, stressing that this is just as important as getting foreign fighters and mercenaries out of the country.

At Least 7 Killed in Suicide Bombing in Somalia’s Capital


April 28, 2021

A Somali soldier guards the site of the bomb blast in Mogadishu Somalia, Wednesday April 28, 2021. At least seven people were killed and more than 11 others wounded when a vehicle exploded outside a police headquarters in Somalia's capital, police and health officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — At least seven people were killed and more than 11 others wounded when a vehicle exploded outside a police headquarters in Somalia’s capital, police and health officials said Wednesday.

The al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility.

A police spokesman, Col. Abdiqani Mohamed Qalaf, said the suicide bomber tried to drive into the headquarters near the ex-control Afgoye road but was thwarted.

“He could have killed more people if not stopped,” Qalaf said. He said two soldiers and three passers-by were among the dead.

Dr. Hashim Suldan at Medina hospital told The Associated Press they had received 13 wounded people and two of them died on arrival. Others had serious wounds from shrapnel.

Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, and observers had warned that the al-Qaida-linked group might take advantage of Somalia’s current political tensions to strike again.

The United Nations says tens of thousands of Mogadishu residents fled their homes this week after rival groups of soldiers clashed in the streets on Sunday amid a standoff over President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s extended stay in power.

The president bowed to growing pressure overnight and announced in a national address that he would prepare the country for elections that have been delayed since early February. He also said he would speak on Saturday to parliament, whose lower house this month approved a two-year extension of his mandate that he signed into law to the anger of Senate leaders, the opposition and some in the international community.

The president in his address vowed that this week’s scenes of clashes between rival soldiers would not be repeated, while many Mogadishu residents who had feared a return to open warfare in Somalia sighed with relief.

Now the federal government and regional states are expected to return to talks soon on how to proceed with the election. Somalia has not held a direct one-person-one-vote election in decades as it rebuilds from some 30 years of conflict.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed on Press TV on the Global Vaccination Crisis Related to COVID-19 and Childhood Immunizations

Watch this worldwide television interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, discussing the World Health Organization's (WHO) warning in regard to the delays in distribution and administering of preventive vaccines due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 15 months. 

To watch the Press TV Worldwide news station interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, just click on the following link: WHO and UNICEF warn of a decline in vaccinations during COVID-192 | Urmedium

The interview was broadcast live on Mon. April 26, 2021.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed by Sputnik Radio on the Rwandan Genocide Report

In this segment of By Any Means Necessary, hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman are joined by Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, to discuss the recent report which found France played a “significant” role in “enabling a foreseeable genocide” in Rwanda.

Listen to the podcast of this segment at the following link: Rwandan Government Report Confirms "Significant" French Role In Genocide ( 

How does the report by the Rwandan government commission diverge from the findings of a French government.  

France says that it was viewing the Rwanda situation from the lens of former colonizers. Yet it has not pledged any reparations for the damage down inside this East-Central African state.

Guilty on All Charges: Chauvin, Cops and the Racist System

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Editor, Pan-African News Wire

April 21, 2021

After the verdict in Minneapolis more African Americans are gunned down by law-enforcement agents

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three counts of murder in the brutal death of 47-year-old African American George Floyd.

The jury impaneled in the historic case only deliberated 11 hours prior to reaching a unanimous conclusion that it was the action of Chauvin and other police officers which caused the untimely demise of Floyd, who had been shopping earlier in a neighborhood store.

Police initially reported that Floyd died due to a medical emergency. This same line of argument was articulated by the defense lawyer in a failed effort to absolve his client of murder.

Despite the videotaped murder of Floyd which was viewed by billions of people throughout the world, Chauvin plead not guilty requiring a trial. Many governments, media agencies, popular organizations and interested individuals followed the hearings with intense anticipation.

These proceedings are rare within the context of the United States legal system. More often than not, law-enforcement personnel are routinely absolved of culpability when their interactions with civilians result in serious injury and death.

After the widely publicized police killing of Floyd, people rose up in anger and rebellion in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as well as throughout the U.S. The response was in fact global when outrage over the blatant violation of Floyd’s civil and human rights spread to continents across the world. The plight of George Floyd became a rallying cry for those committed to ending racism, national oppression and all forms of injustice.

Within the U.S. last summer, people took to the streets both nonviolently and violently. Cities many miles away from Minneapolis such as Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Atlanta, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, among others, saw mass demonstrations which attracted hundreds of thousands of participants.

Floyd’s murder prompted a fierce debate surrounding the origins and character of policing in the U.S. Once again there was the recognition that policing in the U.S. directed towards African Americans is a continuing remnant of the period of enslavement. The character of law-enforcement practices is often the first entry by the oppressed and the working class to the prison-industrial complex.

African Americans and people of Latin American descent are disproportionately represented in instances of racial profiling, arrests, convictions and imprisonment. Black and Brown populations constitute over 50% of all those incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Clearly, in viewing these statistics, it becomes quite obvious that the criminal justice system is designed to contain these oppressed peoples in an effort to maintain white supremacy and capitalist class rule.

In response to the guilty verdicts, the family of George Floyd along with millions of others felt a sense of jubilation that justice had been done. The sister of Floyd, LaTonya, said of the situation: “I feel like heaven is standing on my shoulders. My brother got justice, and that’s very rare. He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t deserve none of that. I just miss him so much. I am so hurt right now, but I am so happy. When I watch this man get handcuffed in court behind his back, just like he did my brother, he is not in control anymore. He has no power. But my brother does. My brother does.” (

Hundreds were gathered outside the courthouse and the Cup Foods store where Floyd was murdered eagerly awaiting the announcement of the jury’s decision. People around the U.S. and internationally breathed a sigh of relief feeling that some semblance of justice was served to Floyd and his family.

Police Killings Continue Around the U.S.

While the verdict against Chauvin was being read, police in Columbus, Ohio shot and killed a 16-year-old African American woman named Ma’Khia Bryant. Police claim that Bryant was holding a knife and threatening another woman. A video of the incident was released the following day on April 21 by the Columbus police and city administration.

As usual, the police and city rulers are attempting to justify the shooting death of this young person. Demonstrations erupted in the aftermath of the death of Bryant while people all over the U.S. were compelled to think that the conviction of Chauvin will not prevent future incidents of this nature.

Other police killings have been reported in recent days leading up to and after the Chauvin verdicts. Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old youth in Chicago was gunned down while his hands were up facing the officer who took his life. Police in this instance said that Toledo had been carrying a gun. Yet the video released by the police and the city administration of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, illustrates that the teenager was not holding a weapon at the time of the discharge of the police officer’s firearm.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, at Austin-East Magnet High School, 17-year-old Anthony J. Thompson, Jr. was killed by police in what was described as a confrontation with law-enforcement officers on April 16. The Knoxville police claimed that Thompson fired one shot and that they responded with two rounds killing the teenager. Protesters gathered outside the Knoxville police station on the following day demanding that the video cam of the police officers involved be released to the public.

Detroit police reported on April 18 and April 20 that they had killed two people in separate incidents. Police Chief James Craig as normal immediately declared the killings as being justifiable homicide. The names of the individuals gunned down were not released by the authorities or the corporate media which typically defends the police in such incidents.

The Detroit police are being sued by local anti-racist activists for brutality and false arrests during mass demonstrations during the summer of 2020 in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and later Hakim Littleton, a 20-year-old was killed by law-enforcement in July. The Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy has refused to file charges against police in the Littleton killing, saying the cops were justified in shooting the youth in the head while he was already subdued.

On April 21, police while serving a search warrant in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, shot dead Andrew Brown, Jr., who was unarmed. The local authorities in the North Carolina city of 18,000 have not released much information on the death of Brown saying the case is under investigation while the officer involved has been placed on paid leave.

The U.S. System of Law-enforcement and Criminal Justice Must be Dismantled

Not only are people around the U.S. demanding the defunding of the police, calls for their abolition are growing among significant segments of the African American, Latin American and other sectors of the population. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of the 13th District in metropolitan Detroit drew the ire of the police by issuing a statement demanding the end of policing as we know it in the U.S. Chief Craig soon called a press conference where he said the Congresswoman, who is a Palestinian American, should leave her office from which she was duly elected.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition and its allies later issued a statement calling for Craig’s resignation saying he was a holdover from emergency management illegally imposed by the-then Republican Governor Rick Snyder and the right-wing legislature in Lansing at the aegis of the banks on the majority African American city during 2013-2014. Craig is now an appointee of the corporate-oriented Mayor Mike Duggan who has designated 30% of the municipal budget to the police. Moratorium NOW! Coalition wants the police budget slashed to fund education, city services and mental health centers.

An announcement on April 21 by the U.S. Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland said the division is conducting a review of the Minneapolis Police Department in the aftermath of the guilty verdict against Derrick Chauvin, saying the administration of President Joe Biden wants to determine whether the policies of law-enforcement are guided by racial bias. It is quite obvious from looking at arrest records in Minneapolis, noting that African Americans are detained at a rate of 300% percent above their numbers within the population which is just 19%, suggest strongly that racism is an important factor.

Until the issue of racist policing and the prison-industrial-complex is resolved there will be no peace in the U.S. A total political, economic and social overall of the capitalist system is required to end the national oppression and class exploitation of the majority of people inside the country and indeed around the world.

Vaccinations and the COVID-19 Surges from Africa to the United States

By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Apr 21, 2021

An African Union conference on pharmaceutical manufacturing comes amid more waves of the pandemic internationally

As the world experiences another spike in COVID-19 infections, the African continental 55-member states regional organization has held a conference on the necessity of establishing vaccination manufacturing centers.

The African Union (AU) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has spoken out forcefully on what they describe as “vaccine nationalism” where western industrialized states are hording supplies while the number of cases continue to rise.

This gathering was hosted by the Republic of Kenya and enjoyed the active participation of many governments in Africa and experts from throughout the scientific community worldwide. The current chairperson of the AU, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi, addressed the event urging all AU governments to pursue a strategy of becoming self-sufficient in regard to vaccine development specifically aimed at curtailing the threats of future pandemics to their 1.3 billion people.

Since the majority of vaccines aimed at curbing the pandemic are being produced in the U.S. and Britain, the primary concerns of the governments of these countries are to take care of their own populations. Within the European continent however, there has been major problems related to the distribution of the vaccines for various reasons.

In Africa overall, less than one percent of the vaccines produced internationally have been distributed on the continent over the last several months. The African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) has sounded the alarm noting that unless the western governments take seriously the issue of vaccine equity, the pandemic cannot be brought under control.

The AU conference was held virtually on April 12-13 and enjoyed the participation of not only governments, regional organizations and scientific experts, there were reportedly more than 40,000 people who viewed the proceedings over zoom and other platforms. All of the presentations from governmental officials and others were broadcast from their homes and offices in line with the protocols related to social distancing.

A document issued by the ACDC said of the mission of the gathering: “Acknowledging that any further spread of COVID-19, as well as potential future pandemics, on the continent is a social, economic, and security threat for the continent. Further, taking into consideration that the African Union Agenda 2063, which is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years, as well as the successes of the implementations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be severely disrupted by continued disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 and other potential pathogens. Recognizing that Africa has faced delays compared to other global regions in accessing life-saving vaccines for COVID-19 and may experience similar delays in accessing vaccines in future pandemic or outbreak situations. Cognizant that the African Union has called for a New Public Health Order, with four pillars and the third emphasizing the need for local production of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Recognizing that Africa currently has limited vaccine manufacturing capacity and capabilities.” (

Moreover, the suspension of the usage of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose COVID-19 vaccines by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) due to reports of a rare occurrence of blood clots in women between the ages of 18 and 48, has decreased the level of distribution as well as “vaccine hesitancy” prevalent among certain population groups globally. The European regulatory agency has recommended the resumption of usage of the J&J vaccines, yet in the U.S. the production of the product has been halted pending further evaluation of possible side effects. (

Nonetheless, the obstacles in Africa which will hamper the development of COVID-19 vaccination production and other challenges are derived from the legacies of enslavement, colonialism and neo-colonialism on the continent. Although there are countries within the AU which have been identified as potential candidates for vaccine manufacturing, the unequal distribution of economic power and political influence remains a major impediment to scientific advancements.

Pandemic Continues in the U.S. and other Geo-political Regions

The U.S. remains the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic where in some states such as Michigan, the B117 variant has become dominant. This variant thought to have originated in Britain, is said to be more transmissible than the initial wave which struck the U.S. during the winter and spring of 2020.

Overall, in the U.S., the number of cases has continued to rise despite the rollout of vaccination programs throughout the country. Hospital capacity in numerous states is being stretched to the limits. The disease is now impacting younger sectors of the population between the ages of 30-50. People as young as their 20s and even adolescents are being sickened and hospitalized. Public health agencies including the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have lowered the eligibility for receiving the vaccine to those 16 and over. There are efforts underway to develop vaccines for children since there are cases which are surfacing among this segment of the population.

According to a website which tracks the numbers of infections and deaths, it says that: “As of April 18, 2021, around 31 million confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) had been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the United States. The pandemic has impacted all 50 states, with vast numbers of cases recorded in California, Texas, and Florida. The coronavirus hit the United States in mid-March 2020, and cases started to soar at an alarming rate. The country has performed a high number of COVID-19 tests, which is a necessary step to manage the outbreak, but new coronavirus cases in the U.S. spiked again over the Christmas and New Year holiday season. Authorities must keep a vigilant eye on the virus, and people should continue to follow important public health measures, such as keeping hands clean and avoiding close contact.” (

India and Brazil are two other countries where there has been a consistent rise in the number of infections and deaths during 2021. The right-wing Brazilian government of President Jair Bolsonaro downplayed the severity of the pandemic following the lead of the former U.S. President Donald Trump. In India, the number of infections is also rising rapidly overwhelming the ability of the health system to address the crisis.

Vaccines and the Need for Equitable Distribution

There can be no solution to the pandemic without a coordinated international effort involving all countries and geo-political regions. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the ACDC have warned against the failure of western states to work in close collaboration with the developing countries to bring the pandemic under control.

Internationally there have been more than 3 million people who have succumbed to the virus, one million of which were on the European continent. Globally the number of reported cases stands at 141 million as of April 20.

If the western imperialist nations are not willing to facilitate the sharing of vaccines and pharmaceutical products which have proved effective in treating the COVID-19 infections, the pandemic cannot be brought under control. As long as the public health crisis continues, the economic and political impact will inevitably escalate around the world. Inside the U.S., tensions over police misconduct and racist violence against the nationally oppressed communities has prompted widespread mass demonstrations and rebellions. Mass shooting are increasing at a phenomenal rate while the psychological toll on people of all ages due to social isolation and socioeconomic uncertainty will continue.

A report in Medical News Today on April 9 warns the western nations of the dangerous course they have taken in relationship to the lack of cooperation with underdeveloped regions. The article notes: “[H]igh-income nations representing 14% of the world’s population now possess up to 53% of the global supply of promising vaccines. That equates to 100% of the Moderna vaccine supply and 96% of the doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. And many high-to-middle income countries have worked to secure a supply of vaccines large enough to vaccinate their entire population several times over. Canada, for example, has bought enough to vaccinate its entire population five times…. At current global vaccination rates, it will take 4.6 years to achieve worldwide herd immunity against COVID-19. This lengthy time gap will likely allow variants of the virus to develop and spread, potentially rendering current vaccines ineffective.” (

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed on Press TV: Dual Accounts of Rwanda Genocide Raise Tensions Between France and Kigali

Watch this television interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, discussing the recent contradictory reports released by the Rwandan and French governments related to the genocide of 1994.

To view this interview just log to the following website: France ‘bears significant responsibility’ for enabling 1994 Rwanda genocide: Report - YouTube

The Rwandan genocide of 1994 was one of the most deadly and traumatic events to occur during the post-colonial African situation. It has been reported that more than 800,000 people were killed between April and July of that year.

France had troops inside the country both prior to and during the mass killings. Since the genocide, Paris has had a turbulent relationship with Kigali and the Rwandan President Paul Kagame over the last 27 years.  

The segment aired live on Tues. April 20, 2021.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Interviewed by Press TV on the Killing of African Americans and Latin Americans in the United States

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, was highlighted in a Press ATV interview on the police shooting death of 13 year old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

To view the interview just click on the following link: Chicago releases graphic video of police shooting 13-year-old boy | Urmedium

This youth was shot to death by the police after he raised both hands. There was no image of a weapon in his hand at the time the shots were fired.

People have been demonstrating and rebelling across the United States since May 2020 in the aftermath of a series of killings such as Ahmaud Arbery in south Georgie, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Since the beginning of a nationwide uprising the police and racist mob killings have not subsided. 

The program aired live on Thurs. April 15, 2021.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured in Africa Today Program: "Somalia Political Stalemate"

Monday, 29 March 2021 1:44 AM 

Watch the program at this link: Somalia political stalemate (

Somalia's Political Stalemate Somalia is in a protracted constitutional crisis, with opposition leaders claiming that President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed commonly known by his nickname "Farmajo" has overstayed his mandate after elections failed to take place as scheduled.

However, the country's foreign minister says Somalia is committed to holding free and fair elections This week's edition will be focusing on Somalia's political stalemate amid frequent attacks by Al Shabab terrorists. We will be asking, what's behind the delay in holding elections and are foreign actors involved in fomenting the current crisis? In the second part of our show we are looking into the rapid growth of African startups over the last one year. What are the reasons for the success of these startups during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Abayomi Azikiwe Quoted in Press TV Interview: "Biden: Gun Violence Becomes ‘Epidemic’ in America"

Friday, 16 April 2021 6:51 PM 

Press TV

Following yet another mass shooting in the United States, President Joe Biden says gun violence has become an "epidemic" in the country.

“Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones. What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation,” Biden said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon.

Biden called for action on gun violence prevention in the wake of the mass shooting that killed eight people and injured several more at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation,” the president said.

“We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives,” he added.

The latest incident is the fourth mass shooting in Indianapolis this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive data. The other shootings were on March 15 on North Harding Street, February 13 on North Sherman Drive, and January 24 on Adams Street.

The incident has again brought into focus the issue of gun control in the US, which continues to be one of the most divisive issues in American politics.

With about 121 firearms in circulation for every 100 residents, the US is by far the most heavily armed society in the world, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, a research group.

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution enshrines the "right to bear arms," which the country’s apex court says allows individuals to keep handguns at home for self-defense.

The free access to guns and little control over them has paved the way for a spree of mass shootings in the US in recent years, promoting global concerns.

In past month, the US has been hit with mass shootings that occurred in Atlanta, Boulder, Colo., and Rock Hill, S.C.

According an African American journalist in Detroit, gun violence is perpetuated by the US government’s permissive gun laws, as well as America’s historically violent culture and widespread mental health disorders.

“I believe that these mass shootings inside the United States are a manifestation of the failed policy of the US government through successive administrations, which have failed to develop adequate gun control laws,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.

“The United States historically is a violent country; it was born in violence” against Native and African Americans, Azikiwe said in an interview with Press TV.