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Droughts in Eastern Africa worst in 40 years, agency predicts

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The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday, has predicted that Eastern African countries will face the worst droughts to hit the region in 40 years.

The IGAD which has eight East African countries as part of its trade bloc in the continent, said at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, that the region as a whole, has recorded higher temperatures and less than normal rainfall which could result in the worst droughts witnessed in four decades.

While addressing the conference, Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD’s executive secretary, predicted that millions of people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, including countries in the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes, as well as other countries in the Eastern region “would experience the kind of drought not experienced in the last 40 years.”

Gebeyehu who based his prediction on a recent report by the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), added that if nothing is done by governments in the region, the after effect of the droughts will be unimaginable.

According to the agency, more than 29 million people in East Africa are currently facing high levels of food insecurity across the IGAD region, noting that already, 15.5 million to 16 million people are in dire need of immediate food assistance.

“The MAM (March, April, May) rains are crucial for the region, and sadly, we are looking at not just three, but potentially four consecutive failed seasons.

“The severe shortages of water and pasture are leading to smaller food production, significant losses in livestock and wildlife, and a rise in resource-based conflicts in the East African region.

“This coupled with other stress factors such as conflicts in both our region and Europe, the impact of COVID-19 and macro-economic challenges has led to acute levels of food insecurity across the Greater Horn of Africa.

“IGAD’s early warning systems and indicators show the situation will worsen in the East Africa region in the coming months,” Gebeyehu added.

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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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