Ben's Feed
May 18, 2015

Fearful and desperate, refugees flee Burundi unrest

KAGUNGA, Tanzania (Reuters) – They are coming in their thousands, a steady stream of men, women and children bearing what few possessions they can carry as they flee their native Burundi and the pro-government militias they fear are bent on death and destruction.

At Kagunga, a tiny fishing village on the shores of Lake Tanganyika just two km (1.5 miles) inside Tanzania, an estimated 50,000 refugees are sleeping rough, waiting for a 100-year-old ferry, the MV Liemba, to carry them south to safety.

Jan 19, 2015

Kenyan police fire tear gas at children’s playground protest

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan police fired tear gas into a crowd of Nairobi schoolchildren on Monday as the youngsters and adults protested against what they call an illegal confiscation of a playground.

A police spokesman said authorities were investigating the incident and planned to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the officers involved.

Jun 17, 2014

Islamist militants kill eight more in new attack on Kenyan coast

MPEKETONI Kenya (Reuters) – Somali-linked Islamist militants killed at least eight people in a second night of attacks on Kenya’s coast, a day after an assault on nearby Mpeketoni town left almost 50 dead, officials and the fighters said on Tuesday.

Armed men set fire to houses as they raided the village of Poromoko close to Mpeketoni at about 1 a.m. (2200 GMT) on Tuesday, Deputy County Commissioner Benson Maisori told Reuters.

Dec 23, 2013

Fears grow of civil war in South Sudan as rebels seize town

JUBA (Reuters) – South Sudan’s government said on Sunday rebels had seized the capital of a key oil-producing region and fears grew of all-out ethnic civil war in the world’s newest country.

The U.N. announced it was trying to rush more peacekeeping forces to landlocked, impoverished South Sudan as foreign powers urged both sides to stop fighting, fearing for the stability of an already fragile region of Africa.

Dec 22, 2013

Fighting spreads in S.Sudan as fears grow of civil war

JUBA, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Fighting spread in South Sudan and
the U.N. said it was trying to move more peacekeeping forces
there in the hope of averting full-blown ethnic civil war in the
world’s newest state.

The government said it had sent more soldiers to retake the
flashpoint town of Bor from rebels and had kept control of the
oilfields crucial to the economy of the impoverished country.

Dec 22, 2013

South Sudan sends more troops to retake town, says spots rebel ex-VP

JUBA (Reuters) – South Sudan said it had sent more soldiers to retake the flashpoint town of Bor from rebels and kept control of oilfields as fighting spread to a neighboring state in a conflict that has raised fears of a collapse into ethnic civil war.

Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the army in Bor had spotted former Vice President Riek Machar – the man the government accuses of starting the fighting in Africa’s newest country – on the battlefield, but he had escaped by boat.

Nov 18, 2012

Grenade hurled at Nairobi minibus kills at least five

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A grenade tore through a minibus in Nairobi’s Somali-dominated Eastleigh neighborhood on Sunday, killing at least five people in an attack highlighting the security risks Kenya faces because of its intervention in Somalia to fight Islamist militants.

Kenya has suffered a string of deadly attacks in its capital Nairobi, the southern port city of Mombasa as well as the eastern garrison town of Garissa over the past year.

Nov 7, 2012

Obama triumph raises hope of fresh start with Africa

KOGELO, Kenya (Reuters) – Kenyans in Barack Obama’s ancestral homeland stayed up all night and danced with joy on Wednesday as America’s first black president won a second term in the White House, raising the prospects of a fresh start for his ties with Africa.

Many Africans feel Obama has not responded to their huge enthusiasm when he won the presidency four years ago with an increased U.S. commitment to the world’s poorest continent during his first term.

Nov 26, 2009

Canadian, Australian journalists held in Somalia arrive in Kenya

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Two freelance journalists held hostage in Somalia for 15 months arrived safely in neighboring Kenya on Thursday.

Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian reporter, and Nigel Brennan, an Australian photojournalist, were freed in Mogadishu on Wednesday after being kidnapped by gunmen in August 2008 as they visited a camp for displaced families near the capital.

Oct 7, 2009
via Africa News blog

Is Kenya’s drought a climate changing warning?


Successive failed rain seasons in Kenya have led to a drought that experts say is the worst in the country since 1996.And it is not just a problem for Kenya. Aid agencies estimate more than 23 million people will need food aid in the Horn of Africa region.Kenyan Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai says it shows how ill-prepared much of Africa is to deal with the effects of climate change.Herders who depend on cattle for their food and income are having to drive their livestock hundreds of kilometres to seek pasture and water – but find little relief.”The grass was green when I got here, but it is finished now and a lot of our animals are dying,” Grewan Lesakut, from the pastoralist Samburu community in the Rift Valley, told Reuters Africa Journal.”The way I see it, all our cows are going to die,” fellow herder John Lenyarui said. “I know some people who had 50 cows but have nothing now, some with 200 and now have only 40 and myself I had 500 and now I have 100.”Kenya’s Meat Commission is doing what it can. It has offered to buy thousands of cattle from their owners to be slaughtered for meat. But the government facility has been stretched to the limit and thousands of have died outside the slaughterhouse.”This is a very ugly scene, a very disturbing scene that the country is facing,” Livestock Minister Mohamed Kuti said.Most nomadic groups hold on to their animals even in times of severe drought, seeing them as their most valuable investment.  In desperation, Turkana villagers, from northwest Kenya, are selling their goats well below market prices to the European Union’s humanitarian wing which then distributes the meat to the hungry.Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, says the drought is evidence of the long term effect of climate change.”This is an excellent time for Kenya maybe to realise, and for the rest of Africa to learn, what we are talking about when we say that climate change is going to hit Africa very seriously, and it’s partly because Africa is completely unprepared for what is coming with climate change,” she told Africa Journal.”For more than three decades we have been saying it is important to protect our forests, to protect our rivers, to protect our lands so that we stop soil erosion and to protect our wetlands.”Somehow, all of them have come and have converged during this last two, now going to three, years and everybody and everything that is living in this country is feeling it.”(Pictures: Turkana men slaughter goats at a livestock de-stocking centre in the Loyoro village of Turkana district in northwestern Kenya. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya. Kenya’sNobel Peace Prize laureate Maathai delivers a speech in Japan. Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon.)