Kisumu, Kenya, Oct. 4 (Xinhua/UNB) -- At least 12 adults and one child were killed and several more injured in a bus-truck collision in the city of Kisumu, western Kenya late Thursday, police confirmed on Friday.
Benson Maweu, Kisumu police commander, said the bus started the journey in Siaya County in western Kenya and picked up more passengers in Kisumu before heading for Nairobi.
On the busy Kisumu-Kericho highway, the bus driver attempted to overtake a vehicle but lost control and crashed head-on with an oncoming truck carrying sugarcane around 11 p.m. (2000 GMT), he said.
The bus was carrying 51 passengers at the time of the collision and both drivers of the two vehicles were killed on the spot, according to the police commander.
The Kenya Red Cross Society said the injuried had been evacuated to local hospitals while appealing for blood donations.
An estimated 3,000 Kenyans die in road accidents annually despite concerted efforts by the state and the private sector to promote highway safety, according to the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA).
Addis Ababa, Oct. 4 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The Ethiopia Federal Police Commission (FPC) announced on Friday it has arrested nine suspects accused of a terror plot in the capital city Addis Ababa.
In a press statement, FPC said the nine individuals are accused of trying to smuggle weapons into Addis Ababa to disrupt Irreechaa, an ethnic Oromo thanksgiving festival celebrated in early October.
The statement further called on the public to remain vigilant against any destructive acts during the Irreechaa celebrations planned to be held in Addis Ababa this weekend.
The statement did not mention the identity of the suspects, as well as when the suspects and the weapons were caught by police.
The festival, celebrated every year at Bishoftu city, about 45 km south of Addis Ababa, is part of an ancient indigenous festival cherished by Oromos who make up about a third of Ethiopia's estimated 105 million population.
The Ethiopian government has planned this year to hold Irreechaa festival both in Bishoftu and Addis Ababa which are expected to be attended by millions of people.
Kinshasa, Sep 12 (AP/UNB) — The Ministry of Humanitarian Action and National Solidarity says that at least 50 people have been killed after a train derailed overnight in Congo's southeast Tanganyika province.
Steve Mbikayi told The Associated Press Thursday that the derailment also injured 23 others near the Mayibaridi locality and the toll may climb as people are still under the train and must be rescued. He said the government is sending rescue workers to the scene.
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but there are often derailments due to the cost of maintaining railways and trains. Workers from the national railway company say they have several years of unpaid wages.
Harare, Sep 7 (AP/UNB) — Robert Mugabe will be buried at a hilltop shrine reserved exclusively for Zimbabwe's ruling elite, an official said Saturday, as the southern African nation began several days of official mourning.
No date for the funeral has been set, and it's not clear when Mugabe's body will arrive from Singapore, where he died Friday.
Mugabe, who was 95, will be buried at the National Heroes Acre, which has been set aside for Zimbabweans who have made huge sacrifices during the war against white-minority rule and who dedicated themselves to the nation, which emerged from the ashes of colonial Rhodesia.
"We don't have the date yet," deputy information minister Energy Mutodi said. "That is still in the hands of the family and the president, but comrade Mugabe will be buried at the Heroes Acre. That is where he deserves to rest."
Located on a hilltop, and built with the help of North Korean architects, the plot has a commanding view of Harare, features a huge bronze statue of three guerrilla fighters and boasts black marble and granite flourishes.
Mugabe is viewed by many as a national hero despite decades of rule that left the country struggling. He was an ex-guerrilla chief who took power in 1980 when Zimbabwe shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise.
Mugabe had been forced to relinquish power by a previously loyal military in November 2017.
Flags flew at half-staff Saturday, but there were no public activities to mark the death of a man who singularly shaped the once-prosperous country in his own image and created a repressive system that some say remains even today.
Reaction to his death was mixed, although praise ironically came mostly from ruling party officials and military leaders.
The state-run Herald newspaper, which vilified Mugabe when he was forced to resign and when he subsequently voiced support for the opposition, carried glowing tributes.
In a "commemorative edition," the newspaper, which often acts as a mouthpiece of the government, carried a montage of his pictures with the headline: "Robert Mugabe-1924-2019" on its front page and glowing reports throughout.
In an editorial page, the newspaper praised Mugabe for "his uncompromising stance when it came to the rights of Africans."
"Whatever happened towards the end of his leadership should not be used to rubbish the good things that he did during his life," the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and one of the commanders who led the military campaign to oust Mugabe after years of propping his rule, was quoted as saying in a separate story in the newspaper.
Others were less charitable. "95 and out," read the privately-owned Newsday newspaper.
"Despite his intellectual prowess, Mugabe's failure to let go of power when it was time was his major undoing . In short, he was a liberator who turned villain. Leaders need to know when to draw the line," said the newspaper in an editorial.
"End of an era as Mugabe dies, leaves Zim poor, divided," read the front page headline of another privately-owned newspaper, the Daily News.
"Notwithstanding the many mistakes that he made, many Zimbabweans will probably agree that had he not held on to power beyond the 1990s, he would today be largely remembered as one of Africa's best leaders in history," the paper said in an editorial.
Both newspapers were major targets of Mugabe's vitriol, with editors and reporters routinely arrested during Mugabe's rule.
On the streets of the capital, Harare, few seemed bothered as people struggled to cope with biting economic problems largely blamed by critics on Mugabe's rule and perpetuated by his successor and an ally who later turned foe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa took power in 2017 with the help of the military.
"Who cares?" said Percy Maute, a street vendor pushing a cart full of tomatoes along a busy street named after the former president. "I don't care. I am too busy looking for money to mourn a man who put me in this position."
A small group of people drank beer and sang pro-Mugabe songs outside a liquor outlet and wore T-shirts with Mugabe's face. Although only a few people cared to join or commiserate with them, they danced vigorously and spoke glowingly of a man they said fought for the liberation of not just Zimbabwe, but "the rest of Africa."
"Bob was our hero, he taught us that the white man is not a master," they sang. Mugabe was popularly known by the nickname Bob.
Harare, Sept 6 (AP/UNB) — Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died. He was 95.
His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe's death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an "icon of liberation." He did not provide details.
"Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace," Mnangagwa said.
Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe's economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life. But growing discontent about the southern African country's fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal.
The announcement of Mugabe's Nov. 21, 2017 resignation after he initially ignored escalating calls to quit triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power and reflected hopes for a better future.
On the streets in the capital, Harare, on Friday people gathered in small groups sharing the news.
"I will not shed a tear, not for that cruel man," said Tariro Makena, a street vendor. "All these problems, he started them and people now want us to pretend it never happened."
Others said they missed him.
"Things are worse now. Life was not that good but it was never this bad. These people who removed him from power have no clue whatsoever," said Silas Marongo, holding an axe and joining men and women cutting a tree for firewood in suburban Harare to beat severe electricity shortages that signify the worsening economic situation in the southern African country.
On Feb. 21, 2018, Mugabe marked his first birthday since his resignation in near solitude, far from the lavish affair of past years. While the government that removed him with military assistance had declared his birthday as a national holiday, his successor and former deputy Mnangagwa did not mention him in a televised speech on the day.
Mugabe's decline in his last years as president was partly linked to the political ambitions of his wife, Grace, a brash, divisive figure whose ruling party faction eventually lost out in a power struggle with supporters of Mnangagwa, who was close to the military.
Despite Zimbabwe's decline during his rule, Mugabe remained defiant, railing against the West for what he called its neo-colonialist attitude and urging Africans to take control of their resources, a populist message that was often a hit even as many nations on the continent shed the strongman model and moved toward democracy.
Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa who chose not to judge him in the same way as Britain, the United States and other Western detractors. Toward the end of his rule, he served as rotating chairman of the 54-nation African Union and the 15-nation Southern African Development Community; his criticism of the International Criminal Court was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target Africans.
"They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa," Mugabe said of the West during a visit to South Africa. "We say: 'We came, we saw and we were conquered.'"
Many in South Africa remembered Mugabe for having stood up to the British.
Floyd Shivambu, deputy president of South Africa's far left Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party, wrote this tribute to Mugabe on Twitter: "You fought your battles, refused to bow down to imperialist bullies!"
Spry in his impeccably tailored suits, Mugabe as leader maintained a schedule of events and international travel that defied his advancing age, though signs of weariness mounted toward the end. He fell after stepping off a plane in Zimbabwe, read the wrong speech at the opening of parliament and appeared to be dozing during a news conference in Japan. However, his longevity and frequently dashed rumors of ill health delighted supporters and infuriated opponents who had sardonically predicted he would live forever.
"Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?" Mugabe told an interviewer from state television who asked him in early 2016 about retirement plans.
After independence, Mugabe reached out to whites after a long war between black guerrillas and the white rulers of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known. He stressed education and built new schools. Tourism and mining flourished and Zimbabwe was a regional breadbasket.
However, a brutal military campaign waged against an uprising in western Matabeleland province that ended in 1987 augured a bitter turn in Zimbabwe's fortunes. As the years went by, Mugabe was widely accused of hanging onto power through violence and vote fraud, notably in a 2008 election that led to a troubled coalition government after regional mediators intervened.
"I have many degrees in violence," Mugabe once boasted on a campaign trail, raising his fist. "You see this fist, it can smash your face."
Mugabe was re-elected in 2013 in another election marred by alleged irregularities, though he dismissed his critics as sore losers.
Amid the political turmoil, the economy of Zimbabwe, traditionally rich in agriculture and minerals, was deteriorating. Factories were closing, unemployment was rising and the country abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation.
The economic problems are often traced to the violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that began around 2000. Land reform was supposed to take much of the country's most fertile land — owned by about 4,500 white descendants of mainly British and South African colonial-era settlers — and redistribute it to poor blacks. Instead, Mugabe gave prime farms to ruling party leaders, party loyalists, security chiefs, relatives and cronies.
Mugabe was born in Zvimba, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital of Harare. As a child, he tended his grandfather's cattle and goats, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played football and "boxed a lot," as he recalled later.
Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. But he drew admirers in some quarters for taking a hard line with the West, and he could be disarming despite his sometimes harsh demeanor.
"The gift of politicians is never to stop speaking until the people say, 'Ah, we are tired,'" he said at a 2015 news conference. "You are now tired. I say thank you."