Africa Theater

Miriam Makeba, "Mama Africa," dies at anti-Mafia concert in Italy

Miriam Makeba, the South African singer who became a world symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle, died Nov. 10 after performing at an anti-Mafia concert in southern Italy. The 76-year-old singer died after being brought to the hospital at Castelvolturno at the end of a concert in support of Roberto Saviano, an Italian journalist threatened with death by the Naples crime machine following of his exposure of the mob in his bestselling book.

Rwanda expels German ambassador after presidential aide arrested

Berlin's ambassador to Rwanda was given 24 hours to leave the country Nov. 11 in response to the Nov. 9 arrest of a Rwandan presidential aide in Germany in connection with the 1994 assassination of then-president Juvenal Habyarima that touched off the Rwanda genocide. Rose Kabuye, an aide to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and an official in the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was arrested in Frankfurt under a 2006 European warrant issued by French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière.

Obama wins: Kenya believe it?

Anwar Tambe writes from Kenya for SkyNews, Nov. 5:

It is scarcely believable, but it is true. A Luo can become President—of the United States of America, if not Kenya.

Hidden hand of US behind Congo crisis?

For all the grim announcements of a "humanitarian disaster" sparked by the current re-eruption of the Congo war, there is an alarming paucity of clear reportage on who exactly is responsible for what violence. Most western media accounts are heavy on despair-inducing atrocity pornography and very light on actual facts. Within Central Africa, the Congolese media portray Rwandan aggression, while the Rwandan media accuse the Democratic Republic of Congo of sheltering Hutu militias bent on Rwanda's destabilization. And while western accounts emphasize endemic "festering hatreds" left by the 1994 Rwanda genocide (AP, Oct. 30), DRC diplomats accuse Western powers of backing Rwanda in a destabilization ploy against Kinshasa. Some examples...

Chuckie Taylor, ex-Liberian terror chief, convicted in landmark torture case

A jury for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Oct. 31 found Charles McArthur Emmanuel AKA Chuckie Taylor Jr., son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, guilty on charges of involvement in torture and other crimes in Liberia and Sierra Leone between 1999 and 2002. Emmanuel, a US citizen raised in Boston, had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was the first person indicted under a 1994 federal anti-torture law known as the "extraterritorial statute," which allows people living within the US to be charged for acts of torture abroad.

Ex-slave wins landmark case against Niger government

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) found the government of Niger liable Oct. 27 for failing to aid a young woman who was held in slavery for ten years. The West African court ruled under a 2003 Niger law that made the ownership of slaves a criminal offense, and a provision of Niger's 1999 constitution which bans slavery. Niger's government will be required to pay $19,750 in restitution to Hadijatou Mani. Observers say the ECOWAS court's binding ruling will affect every ECOWAS member state may force a number of nations to consider the legality of slavery within their borders, as well as act to protect whose who may be illegally enslaved.

Somalia: rape victim stoned to death

A woman was stoned to death for adultery Oct. 27 in an Islamist-controlled region of Somalia. Witnesses said the woman, identified as Aisho Ibrahim Dhuhulow, 23, had been raped, but sharia courts ruled she was guilty of adultery. She was buried up to her neck and stoned after a crowd of thousands gathered at a soccer field in the town of Kismayo. "Our sister Aisha asked the Islamic Sharia court in Kismayo to be charged and punished for the crime she committed," local leader Sheikh Hayakallah told the crowd. The port of Kismayo was seized in August by Shabab rebel leader Hassan Turki. (AFP, BBC, NYT, Oct. 28)

Terror attacks hit Somalia's autonomous enclaves

Five suicide car bombs hit targets in the autonomous Somali regions of Somaliland and Puntland Oct. 29, killing some 20 as well as the bombers. Three simultaneous blasts in Somaliland's capital Hargeysa targeted the presidential palace, an Ethiopian diplomatic compound and the offices of the UN Development Program. In Puntland's capital Bosasso, two offices of an Interior Ministry body tasked with combating terrorism were hit, although only the two bombers were killed. (AFP, Oct. 30)

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