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Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

 

La formation des militaires saoudiens aux Etats-Unis suspendue

Publié le 11.12.2019 à 01h50 par AFP

Le Pentagone a suspendu temporairement mardi le programme d’entraînement des militaires saoudiens sur le sol américain après la fusillade de Pensacola, dans laquelle trois jeunes militaires américains ont été tués par un pilote saoudien.

L’entraînement opérationnel des militaires saoudiens reprendra à l’issue d’une révision des procédures de sécurité et de vérification des antécédents de tous les militaires étrangers actuellement formés aux Etats-Unis, a indiqué à la presse un haut responsable du ministère américain de la Défense ayant requis l’anonymat.

Cette revue des procédures, ordonnée par le vice-ministre de la Défense David Norquist, devrait prendre de 5 à 10 jours, a précisé un autre responsable du Pentagone.

Cette suspension avait été réclamée par des élus républicains comme démocrates après qu’un membre de l’armée de l’air saoudienne a ouvert le feu vendredi avec une arme de poing dans une salle de cours de la base de Pensacola, en Floride, faisant trois morts et huit blessés avant d’être abattu par la police.

Il avait publié sur Twitter avant son attaque des messages hostiles envers les Etats-Unis, selon le groupe de surveillance des mouvements jihadistes SITE.

« Le ministère coopère étroitement avec le gouvernement saoudien pour répondre à cet incident », a souligné David Norquist dans une lettre aux chefs des services de l’armée américaine concernés par cette mesure, qui a été « approuvée » par Ryad.

L’US Navy avait annoncé un peu plus tôt avoir suspendu l’entraînement des 303 militaires saoudiens en formation sur les bases navales de Pensacola, Whiting Field et Mayport, en Floride.

– Pressions des élus –

Les responsables du Pentagone n’ont pas été en mesure de préciser combien de militaires saoudiens au total sont entraînés sur le sol américain, mais ils ont indiqué que les Etats-Unis formaient actuellement quelque 5.000 militaires étrangers sur des bases américaines.

Ils seront tous concernés par les changements de procédures de sécurité pour leur accès à l’entraînement et aux bases elles-mêmes.

Des centaines de militaires saoudiens suivent chaque année des formations au sein des forces armées américaines, illustration des liens forts qui unissent les deux pays alliés.

Dimanche, le sénateur républicain Lindsey Graham, un proche du président Donald Trump, avait estimé que ce programme devait « être suspendu » tant que la lumière n’aura pas complètement été faite sur les événements en Floride.

Les enquêteurs américains cherchent notamment à savoir si le tireur saoudien a agi seul.

« L’Arabie saoudite est un allié, mais il y a ici quelque chose de fondamentalement mauvais. Nous devons ralentir ce programme et le réévaluer », avait insisté M. Graham.

Un autre républicain, Matt Gaetz, qui représente au Congrès la Floride où a eu lieu l’attaque, avait lui aussi appelé à « mettre le programme en pause ».

« Nous ne devrions pas accueillir de nouveaux étudiants saoudiens tant que n’avons pas absolument confiance en notre processus de contrôle », avait-il expliqué.

Le ministre américain de la Défense Mark Esper a cependant défendu l’utilité de ce type de programmes.

« Nous disposons de quelque chose que n’ont pas nos adversaires potentiels, comme la Russie et la Chine », a-t-il souligné dimanche. « La possibilité de faire venir ici des étudiants étrangers pour s’entraîner avec nous, pour comprendre la culture américaine, nous est très importante afin de construire ces relations au long cours qui contribuent à notre sécurité ».


Somalie: les forces de sécurité confrontées à deux shebab dans un hôtel

Publié le 10.12.2019 à 23h51 par AFP

Les forces de sécurité somaliennes tentaient mardi soir de venir à bout de deux membres du groupe islamiste radical shebab retranchés dans un hôtel du centre de Mogadiscio souvent fréquenté par des députés ou responsables militaires.

L’attaque a débuté aux alentours de 19H00 (16H00 GMT) et très rapidement, le commando composé de quatre assaillants selon la police a été confronté aux tirs de membres des forces de sécurité affectés aux check-points voisins menant à la présidence somalienne.

La cheffe adjointe de la police somalienne, Zakia Hussen, a indiqué sur son compte twitter que « les forces de sécurité avaient secouru 82 personnes, incluant des civils et des officiels ».

Elle a précisé que deux des assaillants avaient été abattus et que deux autres étaient retranchés dans l’hôtel SYL.

Aucune information officielle n’avait filtré sur d’éventuelles victimes de l’attaque.

« Les forces de sécurité affrontent un certain nombre d’assaillants armés retranchés dans l’enceinte de l’hôtel mais très rapidement, nous finirons le siège », avait auparavant déclaré à l’AFP Ibrahim Mohamed, un membre des forces de sécurité déployées sur place.

« Nous ne connaissons pas le nombre exact des assaillants mais j’ai vu les cadavres de deux d’entre eux », avait-il assuré.

Dans un communiqué publié sur un site acquis à leur cause, les shebab ont revendiqué « avoir mené une opération qui s’est déroulée comme planifiée », sans toutefois donner de précisions.

Plusieurs témoins ont décrit à l’AFP les scènes de panique au début de l’attaque.

« Trois de mes amis se trouvaient à l’intérieur de l’hôtel quand l’attaque a débuté mais rapidement, ils se sont échappés. L’un d’eux souffre d’une fracture après avoir sauté par dessus le mur d’enceinte », a témoigné à l’AFP Ali Moalim Nur.

« Je me trouvais près de l’hôtel quand les coups de feu ont éclaté, nous avons réussi à faire rapidement demi-tour avec notre véhicule », a pour sa part décrit un autre témoin, Abdukadir Ahmed.

« Les forces de sécurité postées sur les check-points autour du palais présidentiel tiraient à l’arme lourde mais nous ne savons pas exactement qui se battait contre qui », a-t-il ajouté.

Les témoins contactés par l’AFP ont également rapporté que les membres du commando étaient vêtus d’uniformes de l’armée ou de la police selon les versions, ce qui leur a vraisemblablement permis de s’approcher de l’hôtel sans éveiller les soupçons des forces de sécurité.

– Cible récurrente –

L’hôtel SYL est situé à proximité de l’enceinte ultra-sécurisée de la Villa Somalia, un complexe fortifié abritant la présidence somalienne et les bureaux du Premier ministre.

C’est la quatrième fois depuis 2015 qu’il est visé par une attaque revendiquée par les shebab.

En janvier 2015, une première attaque avait fait cinq victimes somaliennes alors que l’hôtel abritait les membres de la délégation turque préparant une visite à Mogadiscio du président Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

L’établissement avait une nouvelle fois été visé le 26 février 2016 par un attentat qui avait fait 14 victimes. Un camion et un autre véhicule piégés avaient alors explosé à quelques minutes d’intervalle à proximité de l’hôtel et d’un jardin public attenant très prisé des habitants de la ville, le Peace Garden.

Fin août 2016, un attentat à la voiture piégée avait partiellement détruit l’établissement et fait 15 morts.

Les shebab, qui ont prêté allégeance à Al-Qaïda, ont juré la perte du gouvernement somalien. Confrontés à la puissance de feu supérieure de la force de l’Union africaine en Somalie (Amisom), déployée en 2007 en Somalie, ils ont été chassés de Mogadiscio en août 2011.

Ils ont ensuite perdu l’essentiel de leurs bastions mais ils contrôlent toujours de vastes zones rurales d’où ils mènent des opérations de guérilla et des attentats-suicides, prenant régulièrement pour cible les hôtels et les restaurants les plus en vue de Mogadiscio.


Curb highway mess

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Two highway traffic jams in which motorists and their passengers spent many hours last week are an indictment of the national roads agencies. Road transport between Mombasa and Nairobi was paralysed for eight hours, inconveniencing travellers and delaying delivery of goods. The cause of the mayhem was an accident involving two trucks. It was worse on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, where travellers spent 15 hours on the road. Traffic congestion is a huge burden on the economy as passengers and goods do not reach their destinations in time.

With three well-staffed and funded agencies, the traffic section of the National Police Service, the National Transport and Safety Authority, and the Kenya National Highways Authority, and the roads department of the various counties, it is unforgivable that traffic on highways can be brought to a standstill for so long. There is enough expertise and experience in these agencies to easily disentangle such gridlocks. Failure by motorists to obey basic traffic rules is also a key factor. This is why police must act firmly. The recent 17-kilometre Gilgil weighbridge snarl-up is the second major one this year. Almost every weekend, motorists complain about gridlock at this spot.

The government has pledged to address the perennial traffic jams at this weighbridge by expanding the highway. This is welcome.

But why are the existing murram or even old tarmac roads not routinely maintained for use as alternative passages should a highway get blocked for whatever reason? There can be no justification for this inept management of the highways. Urgently needed is a well-equipped emergency standby team that can quickly rush to the scene to clear congestion.


Debate on Sonko lawyers is justified

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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The role of two senators in the trial of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has sparked fierce public debate over possible conflict of interest. Yet this is not the first time this is happening. The practice of senators representing governors is increasingly becoming common. It is not illegal. However, it is fraught with moral perils, which is the reason it should consume our minds.

Precisely, Senators Kipchumba Murkomen, who is the Majority Leader, and Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) together with Dan Maanzo (Makueni MP) have taken brief for the disgraced governor, doing so as distinguished lawyers and officers of the court. Siaya Senator James Orengo has acted for Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong in a corruption case. Mr Orengo and Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni have represented Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu in another corruption case.

These cases test legal and ethical principles. In law, nothing precludes a senator, an MP or any other political leader, who is lawyer, from representing a client. Lawyers are free to represent anyone so long as they uphold the principle of confidentiality.

A cardinal principle, also, is that of neutral partisan, which stipulates that lawyers can represent any client without making judgment or caring about the outcome of the case.

However, there are legal and non-legal issues that frame the way we look at things or make decisions. Not everything has to be grounded or explained in legal terms. There are moral and ethical issues that define leadership and relationships in society.

The matter at hand is this. The role of the Senate is to oversee operations of counties. Senators play oversight role over governors. They investigate and interrogate operations and financial expenditures of counties. Conversely, when they represent governors in court, they obtain information not available elsewhere.

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For this reason, it becomes difficult for a senator who represents a governor charged in court over theft of county resources to turn around and make dispassionate decision on the same fellow when summoned to the Senate to answer to corruption cases. It is a straight case of conflict of interest.

Yet, the framers of the Constitution never anticipated that. Since this has become a practical reality, it must be addressed.

National Assembly and Senate Speakers should cause amendments to the Standing Orders to guide on this. Ideally, a senator who has represented a governor on corruption charges should recuse himself or herself when a matter about the fellow is brought to the House. Parliament needs to amend Standing Orders to guide MPs who are lawyers on their participation in court matters.


Abiy’s reforms have burnished him in history as peacemaker

MELES ALEMBy MELES ALEM
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On April 2, 2018, Abiy Ahmed became the 15th Prime Minister of Ethiopia and chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP).

During his acceptance speech, the prime minister made a number of promises to his people.

He promised to promote the unity of Ethiopians; reach out to the Eritrean government to resolve the long-standing boundary dispute between the two countries; reach out to the political opposition in and out of the country and to ensure political reforms in Ethiopia.

In his first 100 days in office, Prime Minister Abiy had lifted the country’s state of emergency, granted amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinued media censorship, legalised outlawed opposition groups, dismissed military and civilian leaders suspected of corruption and increased the influence of women in political and community life.

These were facts that were well considered by the Nobel Peace committee.

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A year later, Prime Minister Abiy had actualised most of his promises and burnished his name in history books as a peacemaker.

DECONSTRUCTING

This is no mean feat, especially in a country and region characterised by prolonged episodes of conflict, intolerance and political strife of varying magnitudes.

The pursuit of peace in a region where stability is a scarce commodity is seldom a hole-in-one!

Long-living examples have repeatedly cemented this hypothetical belief so much so that politically, any attempt at deconstructing it is met with scientific doubt.

Yet, barely a year into his leadership, the Norwegian Nobel committee announced Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as nominee and eventual winner.

While announcing the reasons for awarding Abiy this year’s prize, the Nobel committee — whose decision is final — justified the award based on solid gains achieved by the Prime Minister.

In fact, it seemed as if members of the committee had a marking scheme against which they graded Abiy’s vision as laid out in his acceptance speech.

FEMALE CABINET

The Nobel Peace committee cited a litany of initiatives and achievements, chief among these being Abiy’s work to bring to an end the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea; restoring freedom, and releasing thousands of political prisoners.

Tellingly, Abiy’s government boasts a 50 per cent female cabinet.

Ethiopia is currently the only African country with a woman president.

The head of Ethiopia’s National Electoral Board is female too.

For this, Prime Minister Abiy noted that having women in leadership would continue to help Ethiopia achieve peace and stability.

The build-up towards his nomination and subsequent win was grounded on a number of feats, strategies, sacrifices and vision.

INADEQUACIES

Abiy’s mantra is grounded on the belief that opinions — whether anti or pro government — should never be causes of division in Ethiopia.

This vision is well documented and expressed clearly in the Prime Minister’s recently launched book, Medemer.

The honesty, humility, passion, strength, vision and courage which Abiy possesses, are a seal of approval and reminder of what leadership is about.

No amount of diplomatic make-up will convince and cover up for any inadequacies. It is no wonder then that in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa at large, a problem that was quite literally begging for a solution seems to have got one.

While at it, we acknowledge that there is no single solution that would slay the problems in Ethiopia all at once.

There are outstanding political and economic challenges, which have been in existence for a long time and taken root in our society.

Like elsewhere, they are not unique to Ethiopia.

They may take some time to overcome, but Ethiopians are committed to succeed.

We believe that neighbouring countries, and our sister state Kenya can help us surefootedly engrave wholesale adoption of peace in the region. Together, we can overcome the common economic challenges.

This win is not only for Ethiopia, but for the African continent as a whole.

BIG DREAMS

While receiving her Nobel Peace prize in 2011, the then Liberian head of state Ellen Sirleaf Johnson said: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.””

It is apparent that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy was listening.

Mr Meles Alem is the Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya.


Libye: de multiples groupes armés étrangers dans la guerre, selon l’ONU


Suspects in Eric Oloo murder case to undergo mental test

DICKENS WASONGABy DICKENS WASONGA
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The two brothers facing charges over the death of a journalist, will remain in police custody for the next eight days and undergo a mental assessment, the High Court in Siaya ruled Tuesday.

Mr Franklin Joel Luta and Victor Ogola Luta are accused of beating up and killing Eric Oloo in November.

The two appeared before Judge Roseline Aburili Tuesday but did not take plea.

The prosecutor, David Okach, requested the court to order a mental examination for the duo before trial.

Judge Aburili directed police to produce the suspects in court for plea on December 18.

The judge also directed the State to provide a lawyer to the suspects after they said they couldn’t raise lawyer’s fees.

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The body of 40-year-old correspondent with the The Star newspaper was found on a blood-soaked bed in the house of Chief Inspector Sabina Kerubo last month.

A post-mortem report showed that the slain journalist died after being hit with a blunt object on the head and abdomen.


No pain, no fame: Thai massage could get Unesco status

AFPBy AFP
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At Bangkok’s Reclining Buddha temple Krairath Chantrasri says he is a proud custodian of a 2,000-year-old skill – the body-folding, sharp-elbowed techniques of Thai massage, which this week could be added to Unesco’s prestigious heritage list.

From upscale Bangkok spas and Phuket beach fronts to modest street-side shophouses, “nuad Thai” — or Thai massage — is ubiquitous across the kingdom, where an hour of the back-straightening discipline can cost as little as $5.

This week it may be added to Unesco’s list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage” when the body meets in the Colombian capital of Bogota (December 9-14).

Krairath, who teaches at the Reclining Buddha School inside the famed Wat Pho temple, helps thousands of Thai and foreign students who flock to the centre each year.

The son of a masseuse, he takes great pride in his role sharing the ancient discipline at a temple whose certification is a proud banner for any massage shop.

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“I’m a continuation of our collective knowledge,” the 40-year-old said.

At Wat Pho’s complex, trainees run through a catalogue of moves targeting the body’s acupuncture points with thumbs, elbows, knees and feet also incorporating deep stretches and contortions.

Originating in India, doctors and monks were said to have brought these methods 2,500 years ago to Thailand, passing its secrets from master to disciple in temples and later within families.

Under Thailand’s King Rama III in the nineteenth century, scholars engraved their knowledge of the field onto the stones of Wat Pho.

But the practice really took off in 1962 thanks to the formation of the school, which has since trained more than 200,000 massage therapists who practice in 145 countries.

Massage employs tens of thousands of Thais.

The school’s director Preeda Tangtrongchitr says they usually see an uptick of interest from Thais when the economy is bad.

“For many people who are disabled or in debt, this job is an opportunity because it requires no material — only their hands and knowledge,” he says.

Today a therapist at a top-end spa can charge around $100 an hour inside Thailand, two or three times more in London, New York or Hong Kong where the Thai massage brand is booming.

But the training is “demanding”, says Chilean Sari, a professional masseuse who travelled to Bangkok to learn the discipline.

“The technique is very precise, there are so many things to be aware of,” the 34-year-old said, as she made rotations with her palm on a fellow student’s skull.

The teachings focus on directing blood circulation around problem areas to solve muscle aches — sometimes drawing winces from clients unaccustomed to the force applied.

Studies have shown it can help relieve back pain, headaches, insomnia and even anxiety.

For Matthieu Rochefolle, a nurse from Lyon, France, adding Thai massage techniques to his repertoire of skills could help his elderly patients aching for relief.

“It could also allow me to earn a little more,” he says.


12-year-old girl arrested in Florida after threatening post

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A 12-year-old girl has been arrested in the US state of Florida for allegedly threatening over Snapchat to kill other students at her school on Monday, police said.

The girl, who was not identified, posted the message on Friday and she was taken into custody on Saturday night and taken to a child evaluation centre, the Broward County sheriff’s office said.

“The threat included a death list with student names from Falcon Cove Middle School,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“Another threat was posted to the social media site later Friday afternoon that indicated the students were not safe and that they would be killed on Monday, Dec. 9.”

The girl was from Weston, a suburban community north of Miami that is near Parkland, Florida, scene of a mass shooting last year at a local high school that killed 17 people.

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The sheriff’s office said it was notified of the posting by another student at the Falcon Cove Middle School and her parent.

Police tracked the post to the girl, who confirmed she wrote it, according to the sheriff’s office.

“She faces two counts of a written threat to kill and false reporting concerning a firearm,” the statement said.


Girl who stabbed man to death 'rejected his advances'

The girl, 18, stabbed the 29-year-old shoe-shiner at Boito Trading Centre

By VITALIS KIMUTAI

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By DICKENS WASONGA

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A Form Two student stabbed a man to death following a quarrel, Bomet officials said. 

The girl, 18, stabbed the 29-year-old shoe-shiner at Boito Trading Centre on Monday night. 

The man died instantly.

Boito chief John Cheruiyot said a scuffle ensured after the girl rejected advances from the man.

“The man is said to have attempted to seduce the girl and his advances were spurned leading to the scuffle,” Mr Cheruiyot said.

Konoin police boss Alex Shikondi said the suspect was arrested and is being detained at Mogogosiek Police Station.

The body of the victim was moved to Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital mortuary.

Meanwhile in Gem, Siaya, a 15-year-old girl was on Monday evening stabbed to death by her boyfriend.

Gem police boss Harriet Kinya said the suspect, Fredrick Akula Onyango, 23, has a pending defilement case in court.

The suspect is in police custody and will be arraigned once investigation is complete, the police boss said.

In another incident a 35-year-old man committed suicide by jumping into a well after a domestic disagreement with his wife.

Ms Kinya, who confirmed the incident, said the body of the victim was moved to Bondo Sub-County Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.