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RED EYE ON THE NEWS . . . 17 July, 2024

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05 July 2024 55 hits

Fight for East Africa heating up

Al Jazeera, 6/30–Paramilitary forces battling Sudan’s army for more than a year say they have captured a key state capital in the war-torn country’s southeast. “We have liberated the 17th Infantry Division from Singa [the capital of Sennar state],” the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) announced on X on Saturday. Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan…said the RSF is gaining control of an increasing number of territories across Sudan, especially in eastern and western parts of the country’s south. “They already control a large portion of the Darfur region, with the exception of el-Fasher, which is the only remaining city under the army’s and allied groups’ control,” she said.

Sudan has been gripped by war since April 2023, when fighting erupted between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict in the country of 48 million has killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The latest RSF breakthrough means they are closing in on Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where the army, government and the United Nations agencies are now based. 

U.S. ally Ruto cracks down on Kenyan workers

Foreign Affairs, 6/28– Tuesday was one of the deadliest days in Kenya’s recent history. An estimated two dozen people were slain—some in front of the Kenyan parliament and others in Nairobi’s slums. They were killed by the country’s security forces for exercising their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It was the culmination of a week’s violence, during which young protesters opposing new taxes and the government’s excesses were abducted, arrested, beaten, shot, and tear-gassed.    

Kenyan President William Ruto threatened to intensify the repression. He denounced the protests as “treasonous,” smeared its participants as “criminals,” and ominously directed the security forces to “deploy all measures.” Police moved from using tear gas to live ammunition.
The spark for the latest protests was the introduction of a new finance bill that would levy punishing taxes on everyday essentials, including sugar, bread, and cooking oil—a policy that would hit poor Kenyans particularly hard. The same bill set aside vast sums for the renovation of the president’s residence and other extravagant expendituresBBC, 6/26–Haiti's interim Prime Minister Garry Conille has vowed to end lawlessness with the help of a Kenyan-led international force deployed to the Caribbean nation…400 Kenyan police officers, in the first tranche of an international force, was a "unique opportunity" to restore order, Mr Conille said…

But there is fierce opposition in Kenya to the deployment - not least because police are accused of brutality in their own country, the latest example being the fatal shooting of protesters in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday…

Working with Haitian police, and headquartered at a US-built base, the Kenyan officers will aim to take back key sites that have fallen under the control of gangs, including the nearby airport and sea ports. Although Kenya has a history of taking part in peacekeeping missions, its police force has never set foot outside Africa.

Bosses continue fight for resource-rich DR Congo

The Guardian, 6/29–Rwandan-backed M23 rebels have seized a strategic town in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile east, a local official said. “Kanyabayonga has been in the hands of the M23 since Friday evening,” the administrative official said, under condition of anonymity. Kanyabayonga lies on the northern front of the conflict in North Kivu province, which has been rocked by violence since 2021 when the M23 (March 23 Movement) resumed its armed campaign in the region. The town is considered a pathway to the major commercial centres of Butembo and Beni in the north.

Clashes “are causing displacement of civilians,” the UN Joint Human Rights Office said in its monthly report on Friday. “Humanitarian organizations providing support to the displaced have suspended their operations for security reasons,” it said.