Special Reports

Gunfire as Prisoners Stage Revolt in Goma

Munzenze Central Prison living conditions remain horrible, leading to violent strikes

The misuse of religion is a threat to young democracies in Africa, viagra 100mg http://cycling.today/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/plugins/domain-mapping.php President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned.

He said the intensity of conflicts witnessed globally is being prosecuted against the backdrop of growing politicisation of religion.

The President pointed out that Africa, unhealthy a continent that accommodates different religions, salve has reached an age that threatens the choice of faith.

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President Kenyatta was Saturday speaking in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, during the opening of this year’s Tana High Level Security Forum in Africa whose theme is “Secularism and politicised Faith.”

Tana Forum is an independent initiative of eminent African personalities with an advisory Board whose function is to provide strategic insight and oversight on various issues and challenges facing the continent.

The current chairman of the forum is former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.  Other leaders present were host Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and President Ibrahim Keita (Mali)

President Kenyatta said the aspiration of the Global Jihadist Movement to create an Islamic Caliphate is feeding into an ‘unprecedented and ideology driven by extremist violence’.

“From ISIL in Iraq and Syria, Al-Qaeda and its global franchises, the extremist groups in the Sahel, Boko Haram in West Africa to Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa, we have seen a brazen attempt to deny diversity of faiths,” the President said.

By pursuing the creation of Islamic Caliphates in their regions, President Kenyatta said, these groups threaten the stability of most secular countries within the hotspots.

“Most of the extremist groups, with their radical brand of political Islam, are also trying to take advantage of the void left by the Arab Spring that wasn’t definitive in most countries in the Middle East,” he added.

He cited the Horn of Africa region, saying the prolonged crisis and conflict in Somalia has progressively led to many threats. He said the extreme violence had first been meted on the Somali population and thereafter neighbouring states, the region and the world.

The President pointed out that international efforts to stabilise Somalia have achieved ‘marked success’ in dismantling Al-Shabaab’s financial and military networks. However, the threat remains and it has taken the form of youth radicalisation.

“On the eve of Easter, Kenya experienced the full impact of this extreme violence when our children were attacked at Garissa University College. By the time the security forces ended the siege, 147 of our people, mainly students, had been murdered,” the President said.

He said the terrorists’ objective is to trigger inter-religious conflict as seen at Garissa University College where they separated students on the basis of religion.

The President called on African leaders to find ways of securing young democracies against  terrorism, adding that the process must supplement efforts of restoring stability to Somalia to guarantee its security and that of its neighbours.

The President gave an assurance of Kenya’s continued active participation in the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and in the other initiatives to stabilise Somalia.

He said countries facing terror threats need support and cooperation from the international community. As a region, the President said, “we must formulate effective counter-measures and counter-narratives by appreciating the root cause of threats to democratic States.”

Prime Minister Desalegn said: “At a time when Africa has begun to solely cast off its image as a dark continent through policies that have achieved rapid economic growth; at a time when questions of good governance are being addressed in earnest, many parts of Africa are going through a series of crisis that is the result of the blurred boundary line between legitimate exercise of religious freedom and the propensity to politiciced faith.”

The other leaders were also to speak later in the day. President Kenyatta left the conference to fly to Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II. The plane carrying the President touched down at King Hussein International Airport shortly after 8 pm.
Heavy gunfire rocked the Congolese border town of Goma after prisoners at Munzenze Central Prison staged an uprising, viagra buy http://cotro.com/wp-includes/class.wp-styles.php protesting the living conditions at the notorious detention centre.

Police and heavily armed soldiers quickly rushed to the prison before opening fire at prisoners who were scaling the walls to escape.

The incident occurred at around 11:00am.

Prisoners said they had spent four days without being provided with food and drinking water.

“We want food, we want food,” the prisoners shouted.

ChimpReports was unable to establish the accurate number of casualties in today’s clashes.

However, reliable sources said several prisoners sustained injuries in the fracas.

Martin Kobler, the special representative of the UN Secretary General in DRC recently expressed shock about the horrible conditions at the central prison in Goma.

“What I saw in Munzenze constitutes not only a total lack for the rights of prisoners, whatever the crimes they are accused of, but a scandal in its own right,” he noted.

Research by DECLIK project showed that Munzenze prison’s capacity is for 150 prisoners but during the human rights group’s visit, there were 1,016 civil and military individuals detained of whom 912 were awaiting trial.

“Given these statistics the conditions are bound to be disgraceful. Mattresses have to be shared by two or three prisoners and many either have to sleep on the floor or outside in the yard,” DECLIK project said in a recent report.

“The men’s quarters in which there are 978 people in custody often has no water supply, and when there is water there are six showers and six toilets (of which two were out of use at the time of our visit).”

In addition the authorities simply do not have the means to maintain adequate security for those detained and, as a result, the prisoners have set up a sort of parallel administration where discipline is administered according to the rule of the group of the “strongest” managed by one of them.

The weaker prisoners, unable to pay the “tax” imposed by the group, are forced to empty the latrines and the septic tank with their bare hands.

On June 21, 2009, 20 female inmates were raped during an attempted jailbreak by male prisoners serving long sentences for serious crimes.

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