Thursday, February 5, 2009

SOMALIA

Gunmen kill another journalist

MOGADISHU | Gunmen fatally shot the head of private media house HornAfrik in Mogadishu on Wednesday in the latest assassination of a journalist in Somalia.

Said Tahlil Ahmed was killed in Mogadishu’s Bakara market, witnesses and colleagues said. The market is often a battleground for government soldiers and Islamist insurgents.

Mr. Ahmed is the ninth local journalist killed since the start of 2007, said Ali Yasin Gedi, vice chairman of local rights group, Elman Peace and Human Rights.



SIERRA LEONE

War crimes court seeks prison space

FREETOWN | Sierra Leone‘s war crimes court said Wednesday it had asked several African countries including Senegal, Benin and Rwanda to allow people convicted by the U.N.-backed court to serve their sentences there.

“We are talking to a few countries in West Africa such as Senegal and Benin and also Rwanda about the possibility of those convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone to serve their sentences in their prisons,” court registrar Herman von Hebel told journalists.

The men are being held in the court’s special detention center, but Sierra Leone’s prison facilities are not up to the international standard the court demands.

The court has completed two cases to date stemming from Sierra Leone’s brutal 1991-2001 civil war, in which 120,000 people were killed and countless more mutilated. Five men have been convicted of human rights violations and war crimes.

MADAGASCAR

Supporters protest mayor’s ouster

ANTANANARIVO | Hundreds of supporters of Madagascar’s fired mayor, Andry Rajoelina, gathered Wednesday in front of his office to protest against his dismissal in the wake of rioting that killed 68 people.

Mr. Rajoelina, the new leader of the Indian Ocean island’s opposition, was fired Tuesday by the Interior Ministry and replaced as Antananarivo mayor by a provisional administration.

His dismissal came hours after he announced plans to unveil a transitional government on Saturday, having proclaimed himself in charge of the country’s affairs and accusing President Marc Ravalomanana of being a dictator.

Mr. Rajoelina also suffered another blow when the Constitutional Court declared itself incapable of ruling on his demand to have Mr. Ravalomanana removed.

KENYA

Millions face year of hunger

KINANGO | Millions of Kenyans risk hunger this year, according to the government and the U.N. World Food Program, unless international donors grappling with their own financial crises step in to provide massive aid.

The World Food Program sent out teams this week to assess the extent of the crisis after yet another rash of crop failures caused by prolonged drought; the agency says historical data suggests 3.2 million people will need aid.

In many of the worst affected areas, this is the third consecutive failed harvest. WFP estimates that $135 million will be needed to tackle the crisis through the expansion of emergency projects.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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