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Ethiopian Airlines resumes post-war commercial flights in Tigray region

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After almost two years of war, Ethiopian Airlines resumed commercial flights to and from Mekele, the capital of the war-torn Tigray Region on Wednesday.

Ethiopian airlines made the announcement of resuming multiple frequent flights to and from the region depending on the needs and availability of passengers.

The reintroduction of flights to and from Mekele is one of the many first steps towards peace in the region following the signing of a peace deal brokered by the Eastern African union .

The peace deal which was signed on November 2 between the government and Tigrayan rebels, was taken a notch up when a high powered Ethiopian delegation visited Tigray on Monday as part of the reconciliation moves which has also seen Mekele reconnected to the national electricity grid on December 6th.

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the country’s main bank, also announced on December 19th that it was resuming operations in some towns in Tigray while telephone communications in the region have also being restored

The peace agreement also provided for the disarmament of rebel forces, the re-establishment of federal authority in Tigray and the reopening of access and communications to the region, which has been cut off from the world since mid-2021.

Fighting began in November 2020, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, sent in the federal army to arrest Tigrayan leaders who had been challenging his authority for months and whom he accused of attacking federal military bases.

But with the current position, things are looking up for the country’s constitutional order though the region of six million is still largely without electricity and phone line for the most part.

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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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