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Ethiopia, Tigray rebels agree to permanent truce after AU peace talks

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The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region have agreed to a permanent truce to cease hostilities following the conclusion of a peace deal brokered by the African Union in South Africa.

The agreement was reached on Wednesday at the end of the meeting with a dramatic diplomatic breakthrough after a two-year war that has killed hundreds of thousands, displaced millions and left more thousands facing famine.

The announcement of the truce was made by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who is the African Union chief mediator for the Horn of Africa who initiated the peace talks between the two sides.

Apart from Obasanjo, former Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta and a former South African vice president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, were part of the mediation team.

“The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament,” said Obasanjo.

“This moment is not the end of the peace process. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success,” Obasanjo added.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who expressed gratitude to Obasanjo and other mediators on the conclusion of the peace talks, said in a statement that his government’s commitment to the implementation of the agreement was strong.

“Our commitment to peace remains steadfast. And our commitment to collaborating for the implementation of the agreement is equally strong,” the statement on Twitter said.

The TPLF spokesman, Getachew Reda, said it was his hope and expectation that both parties would honour their commitments so that the wide scale death and destruction in the region will come to an end.

According to available statistics, the Ethiopia/Tigray war has documented several abuses on either side.

A research team sponsored by the Belgian government claims that between “385,000 and 600,000 civilians are estimated to have died in Tigray because of fighting, famine, and lack of health care.”

Metro

66-yr-old South African man sentenced to 18 years for forcefully marrying, raping 13-yr-old girl

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A 66-year-old South African man, Bheki Nxasana, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Gqeberha High Court in the KwaZulu-Natal province, after he was found guilty of forcefully marrying and raping a 13-year-old disabled girl.

The court also sentenced Nxasana’s accomplices, Mxosheni Sibiya and Nomvo Nxasana, who is Nxasana’s sister, on charges relating to “child trafficking and forced marriage of a 13-year-old mildly mentally challenged girl.”

Court documents made available to journalists on Friday, reveals that Nxasana had forcefully married and raped the mentally disabled girl in connivance with Sibiya and Nomvo.

According to the the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Luxolo Tyali, the victim who is an orphan, was married off to Nxasana, in 2016, by one of her relatives.

“Evidence is that the victim was orphaned and lived with a relative in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal,” Tyali said.

“The relative gave her up to her Sunday school teacher who was friends with Nomvo, the sister of the would-be husband.

“Nomvo took her to her daughter who lived in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, where Bheki, who worked in Gqeberha, comes from.”

The NPA spokesman said investigations showed that Bheki, with the assistance of Nomvo, initiated “lobola” (customary marriage) negotiations and dowry payments were made in 2016.

“Bheki took the teenager to his house where he allegedly strangled and raped her repeatedly in the name of marriage.”

“The teenager was made to dress in newly married woman’s (makoti) traditional attire and lived at Bheki’s homestead where she worked as a new bride.”

“She managed to escape after the matter was reported to the police in April 2017 and the suspect was arrested.

“During the trial, all the accused claimed that they were not aware of the girl’s age when they entered her into a customary marriage and were not aware that they were acting unlawfully,” Tyali added.

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Former Kenyan policeman, three others sentenced to death for murder of human rights lawyer

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A former Kenyan police officer, Frederick Leliman, alongside three accomplices, were on Friday, sentenced to death by a Nairobi High Court for the murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver.

Leliman and the three others were convicted of carrying out the murders in one of the most popular cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the eastern African country.

The lawyer and activist, Willie Kimani, was representing a motorcycle taxi operator who had sued Leliman for shooting him at a traffic roadblock in 2016 at the time he was murdered.

The bodies of Kimani, the client Josephat Mwendwa and a taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri, were discovered in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River, in the east of the country, days after they were reported missing.

Evidence produced in court showed that the three victims were abducted by a team led by Leliman after a court session on June 22, 2016, and were briefly locked up and later taken out and murdered in an open field.

While Leliman was given a death sentence, former police officers, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku, received sentences of 30 and 24 years, respectively, while a police informant, Peter Ngugi, was jailed for 20 years.

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