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Authorities warn Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia over worst drought in decades

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Authorities in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia have warned that higher temperatures and less than normal rainfall were recorded by weather agencies in March and April this year which could result in severe drought.

According to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, rains will likely fail for a fourth consecutive year, triggering fears of increased cases of malnutrition, threats to livelihoods, and severe risks for 29 million people in the region.
The recurring and severe droughts and other natural disasters between 1974 and 1984 caused widespread famine, ecological degradation, and economic hardship in the Eastern Africa region.
Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received generous support from the international community, the magnitude and extent of the problem argued strongly for a regional approach to supplement national efforts.
“Approximately, we have 29 million people who are facing high levels of food insecurity according to the latest experts’ estimates. Already, 15.5 – 16 million of our sisters and brothers are in need of immediate food assistance due to this drought,” said IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu.
For Dr Mahamed Shafi, Director at Gode Hospital in Ethiopia, this is the worst drought they have witnessed in 20 years.
“This drought is the worst drought that we have seen for the last 20 years. It affected the whole community, especially children, especially the under-five children. So we are getting here a lot of malnourished children, more than the children that we have seen six months ago, you know the number of admissions have increased from five patients per day to 15 patients per day,” he said.
In November 2021, scientists at the Famine Early Warning System Network sent out a warning that an unprecedented drought in the Horn of Africa was imminent if poor seasonal rainfall continued into 2022. Tragically, their prediction is turning out to be prescient.
East Africa is experiencing the driest conditions and hottest temperatures since satellite record-keeping began. As a result, as many as 13 million people are currently experiencing acute food and water shortages and a projected 25 million will face a similar fate by mid-2022.

Metro

South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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