- - Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Unions to strike July 20-22 over minimum wage

ABUJA | Nigeria’s main labor unions said they will begin a three-day strike July 20 after the government and private sector failed to implement a minimum-wage law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this year.

Mr. Jonathan signed the bill passed by parliament more than three months ago more than doubling the monthly minimum wage to $120 from $50, but the unions say government departments and private employers have failed to raise pay.

“We are compelled to take this decision because we have come to the simple conclusion that governments at all levels in this country are not willing and are not ready to pay the new national minimum wage,” Omar Abdulwahee, president of the National Labor Congress (NLC), said in a statement.

The union said this warning strike would be followed by indefinite action unless there was a full implementation of the minimum wage. They rejected an offer by the government to raise the pay of some employees within set pay bands.

Union members work across most sectors of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy, including parts of the oil industry.

But widespread strike action has been rare in the past few years in Nigeria and previous walkouts tended to last only a day or two.


Grenade attack wounds 21

KIGALI | A grenade attack in a public market has wounded 21 people in western Rwanda, police said Wednesday.

Police spokesman Theos Badege said four of those wounded Tuesday evening in Rusizi district were in serious condition.

“Right now, we can’t say the motive of the attack. We haven’t arrested anyone as yet but security organs have intensified investigations,” Mr. Badege said.

Rwanda’s capital was hit by a string of grenade attacks last year, which the government blamed on two high-ranking army officers now in exile.

One of those, Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a former military chief of staff and ambassador to India, denied the allegations last year, saying the authorities had staged the attacks and then accused him of being behind them.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said last month the central African country is not under any security threat.

Six individuals suspected of being used by Lt. Gen. Nyamwasa as a conduit to finance activities intended to destabilize the country were arrested last month and are still being held.

Many grenades are left in Rwanda from lengthy conflicts in the Great Lakes region and are sometimes used to settle disputes. Some 800,000 people were killed during 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.


Clashes with criminal gang leaves 5 dead, 60 injured

YAOUNDE | Clashes between local residents and a criminal gang in Cameroon’s largest city left five dead and about 60 injured, police said Wednesday.

Violence broke out in Douala’s Bilongue district Friday when residents lynched a car thief whose armed associates returned days later for reprisal attacks.

Local official Emmanuel Talla said five were killed and about 60 hurt in the clashes which ended Tuesday. A police source confirmed the toll.


Prosecutor drops incitement charge against walk-to-work leader

KAMPALA | Uganda’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday withdrew a charge of incitement to violence against opposition leader Kizza Besigye for leading anti-government protests in April.

Richard Buteera, director of public prosecution, declined to explain why the charge was dropped, according to a letter read out at a court outside Kampala where Mr. Besigye had turned up for the hearing.

But the prosecutor upheld another charge of unlawful assembly.

In April, Mr. Besigye launched a series of peaceful “walk-to-work” protests against rising fuel and food prices, accusing the government of poor management, but security forces violently broke up the demonstrations.

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