“Investigations continue into what appears to have been planning for an imminent attack…
At this point we are not aware of specific targets.”
Ugandan authorities are conducting operations against a suspected terrorist cell in Kampala.
“Investigations continue into what appears to have been planning for an imminent attack…
At this point we are not aware of specific targets.”
Ugandan authorities are conducting operations against a suspected terrorist cell in Kampala.
#AceWorldNews – KAMPALA – May 07 – The US has intelligence of a “specific terrorist threat” against churches in the Ugandan capital, Reuters reported.
“The threat information indicates a group of attackers may be preparing to strike places of worship in Kampala, particularly churches, including some that may be frequented by expatriates, in May or June,” a security message on the embassy’s website said.
The notice did not say who was planning the attack. Somali Islamist militants have previously struck Uganda and other east African countries that have sent troops into Somalia.
Ace Related News:
1. Reuters – May 07 – http://tinyurl.com/osrufsa
#AceNewsServices – NIGERIA – May 06 – (Reuters) – Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped eight girls aged 12 to 15 from a village near one of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria overnight, police and residents said on Tuesday.
“They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army colour. They started shooting in our village,” said Lazarus Musa, a resident of Warabe, where the attack happened.
A police source, who could not be named, said the girls were taken away on trucks, along with looted livestock and food.
The Islamist rebels are still holding more than 200 girls they abducted from a secondary school on April 14.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau sent a video – obtained by the AFP news agency – in which he said for the first time that his group had taken the girls.
In the video, Abubakar Shekau said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.
Reports last week said that some of the girls had been forced to marry their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price of $12 (£7).
Others are reported to have been taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said everything was being done to find the girls.
Boko Haram analyst Jacob Zenn says the girls, aged 16 to 18, have probably been split into smaller groups and it will be hard to track them.
“Any effort to rescue them will have to be done in a very piecemeal fashion and might take over a decade,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.
Boko Haram Analyst Jacob Zenn
For the past one and half years Boko Haram has been carrying out kidnappings of girls but this one was on a much larger scale than anything else. It should also be noted that Boko Haram began this tactic when the Nigerian security forces also began kidnapping, or rather taking as prisoners, the wives and children of Boko Haram members.
On an operational level Boko Haram is likely using these girls as human shields and keeping them in their camps which will prevent the Nigerian air force from bombing those camps.
Furthermore there is also the potential monetary reward if Boko Haram can sell some of them back to their parents.
It’s very likely that the girls have been split up into dozens of groups – maybe into twos or threes or fours. Any effort to rescue them will have to be done in a very piecemeal fashion and might take over a decade.
When you look at Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they took some girls captive more than a decade ago and some of them still remain captive even though most of them have been freed or escaped.
Contributions from Jacob Zenn is the African Affairs analyst at The Jamestown Foundation
REUTERS – BBC – AFP – JAMES TOWN FOUNDATION
#AceNewsServices – UGANDA – April 20 – (DS) – Michael Kawuba is sitting in his church office reflecting on tumescence. “We Ugandans get an erection when we see a beautiful woman,” he says. “Anything else is unnatural.”
During the day, Kawuba works as a financial advisor, but once he is finished, he rejoins the battle against homosexuality. A friendly man of 31, Kawuba is married and has three children — and he is not one to rant. But every second Sunday, he preaches to the Kakumba congregation. “The Bible forbade homosexuality. God rained down fire onto Sodom and Gomorrah” — he continues in this vein for hours at a time, standing behind a wooden pulpit.
The sanctuary is spacious with a roof made of palm fronds. A band including guitar, bass and drums players pumps out gospel music while worshippers sing along, sway to the rhythm and stretch their arms heavenward as they call out “praise the Lord!”
On Feb. 24, God would seem to have finally heard their entreaties. That was the day that President Yoweri Museveni signed a law making “aggravated homosexuality” punishable with sentences of up to life in prison. A first draft of the law had even called for the death penalty. Michael Kawuba invited friends over for the event and they watched their head of state sign the new statute. “We cheered like we were watching football,” Kawuba says.
Ace Related News:
1.Mistrust and Hate – By Jan Puhl in Kampala, Uganda – On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law allowing for life sentences for homosexuals. Since then, members of the country’s gay and lesbian community have been going into hiding or leaving the country. Western pressure has been ineffective. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/gays-and-lesbians-in-uganda-under-pressure-after-new-law-a-964632.html
#AceWorldNews – UGANDA – March 24 – In an expanded attempt to continue the hunt for warlord Joseph Kony, President Obama has authorized the deployment of military aircraft and about 150 Special Operations forces to Uganda.
According to the Washington Post, the administration notified Congress of the deployments as they began on Sunday, and the troop movement was later confirmed to Reuters by the Defence Department.
The move marks the first time that US military aircraft have been assigned to Uganda in order to help search for Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
Under Obama’s orders, at least four CV-22 Osprey aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the country by the middle of the week, alongside a contingent of 150 Air Force Special Operations troops, pilots, and maintenance forces.
The Post reports that the new influx of troops will “provide information, advice and assistance” to the African Union forces searching for Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.
The troops are “combat-equipped,” but are barred from fighting the LRA themselves except in self-defence situations.
The aircraft, meanwhile, will be used to move troops from one location to another.
Reuters – Washington Post – RT – News Sources
Ace Related News
1. $5 million US price tag for info on Ugandan warlord Kony, manhunt suspended http://on.rt.com/qb2yzu
2. Joseph Kony forces children into sex slavery and violence – UN report http://on.rt.com/tuojb8
3. WikiLeaks: Kony 2012 creators spied for Uganda http://on.rt.com/yhonjh
#AceWorldNews – UGANDA – 24 March – At least 98 people died when a boat capsized on Lake Albert, which lies between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Monday.
“Based on information UNHCR has received so far from the authorities and refugees, 41 people were rescued and 98 bodies recovered” after Saturday’s disaster, AFP said, citing the refugee agency’s statement.
As many as 250 people may have been on board the boat,” the UNHCR said.
The vessel had been transporting Congolese refugees returning to their homeland from Uganda.
#AceWorldNews says the World Bank announced on Thursday that it had postponed a $90 million loan payment intended for Uganda’s health system because of the African country’s new law that declares anyone convicted of homosexuality could be imprisoned for life.
It is rare for the poverty-fighting agency to make a political stand, yet President Jim Yong Kim told employees that the World Bank is against all forms of discrimination.
The law has angered western countries to the point that Uganda, already among the world’s poorest countries, has seen donations from Norway and Denmark suspended.
The World Bank still has a portfolio of projects in the African country worth $1.56 billion.
Germany will send troops to an EU training mission in Mogadishu, Reuters reported. The move comes less than a year after security concerns led Berlin to abandon a similar training operation, when it relocated from Uganda to the Somali capital.
The new German government, which took office last December, has promised a more robust foreign and security policy.
#AceWorldNews says that the worsening refugee crises in strife-torn Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, the United Nations today appealed for $99 million in additional funding to aid 1.3 million people for the next 100 days, less than three weeks after launching an initial $360-million appeal.
“In the situations of both South Sudan and CAR, we are extremely concerned about the safety of refugees and displaced people, particularly with access being affected by the fighting and insecurity,” UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva.
“Today’s appeals reflect the worsening situations in both cases, with hundreds of thousands of people now affected.”
Of the new funding, $59 million are targeted for South Sudan, where well over 1,000 people have been killed and some 300,000 others driven from their home since fighting erupted between Government and opposition forces less than a month ago.
The remaining $40.2 million is destined for CAR, where thousands of people are estimated to have been killed, nearly 1 million driven from their homes, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid in a conflict which erupted when mainly Muslim rebels launched attacks a year ago and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias take up arms.
Both requests by UNHCR, which are for the period to the end of March, follow appeals launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 31 and 24 December respectively on behalf of all UN agencies for $209 million for South Sudan $152.2 million in immediate support needs for a 100-day plan for CAR.
Mr. Edwards said the situation has continued to deteriorate in South Sudan, where the number of people fleeing to neighbouring countries has quickly increased to some 43,000 people, and Uganda now seeing between 4,000 and 5,000 arriving every day. Inside the country some 232,000 people have been driven from their homes, including 60,500 sheltering at 10 UN bases.
He said the appeal included projections of additional displacement between now and April. “It anticipates that refugee numbers could rise to 125,000 and that the number of people displaced within South Sudan could reach 400,000″, he noted. UNHCR emergency operations include
Today’s supplementary appeal for CAR aims to support more than 1 million people, including 86,400 refugees in neighbouring countries and 958,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs)..
In both countries, the crises have displaced tens of thousands more people over the past three weeks and “insecurity makes assisting them more expensive, having to resort to airlifts for example when roads are not safe,” Mr. Edwards stressed.
UNHCR emergency operations include registering, sheltering and protecting refugees, providing supplies to displaced people, designing and managing camps for them, and protecting the most vulnerable among them.
#AceHumanRightsNews says reiterating its strong condemnation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its use of children in armed conflict, the Security Council today demanded that the group immediately cease all hostilities, release all abductees’, and disarm and demobilize.
Issuing presidential statement the Council urged the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the UN political and peacekeeping missions in the region, and the Organization’s other relevant presences, to enhance their support for the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA. It called on the international community to support the implementation of the Strategy where possible.
The LRA, notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers and forcing girls into sexual slavery, was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged it. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbours, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.
The 15-member body reiterated its strong support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA, commending the “significant” progress by the African Union Regional Task Force. It urged all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the Initiative and provide basic provisions for their security forces.
Welcoming steps taken to deliver an enhanced, comprehensive and “more regional” approach to the humanitarian situation, the Council underlined the primary responsibility of States in the LRA-affected region to protect civilians. In that context, it welcomed efforts by the DRC, South Sudan, Uganda and the CAR, in coordination with the African Union, to end the LRA threat, urging additional efforts from those countries, as well as others in the region.
Further, the Council expressed serious concern that the increased security vacuum in the CAR continued to negatively affect counter-LRA operations. As LRA attacks have reportedly taken place outside the Task Force’s principal area of operations, it emphasized the need for strong coordination among the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), the Task Force, and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) in the context of protecting civilian activities and counter-LRA operations.
Regionally, the Council encouraged the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to reinforce efforts to address the LRA through improved responsiveness to imminent civilian threats, training and capacity-building of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement programme to encourage further LRA defections.
In addition, the Council urged MONUSCO and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to enhance their cooperation with the Regional Task Force to coordinate operations, patrols and protection of civilians strategies, and to provide logistical support within their existing mandates and resources. It took note of reports of a LRA base in the disputed enclave of Kafia Kinga, on the border of the Central African Republic, and between South Sudan and Sudan.
New York, Nov 25 2013 7:00PM
A new £6.3 million grant to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) follows a sharp increase in the number of refugees who have fled fighting and unrest in the North Kivu and Orientale provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year.
Existing aid supplies in the region have been severely depleted following a sharp rise in refugees in the region.
In total, since the beginning of 2012, over 115,000 new Congolese refugees have been assisted in Uganda, with more arriving on a daily basis.
International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
Thousands of families who have fled into Uganda could face hunger and destitution unless aid agencies get the supplies they need. Our support will help families to survive and begin to rebuild their lives.
The UK’s funding will allow UNHCR and WFP to continue their support to refugees in in Bundibugyo, Kisoro and Koboko districts in western Uganda along the border with DRC, including transit centres and settlements.
UNHCR and its partners have provided shelter, household items, healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation services, and various protection activities for children and adults while the WFP has provided food rations.
Britain’s support will enable the UNHCR and WFP to continue their support into the first quarter of next year. This will include:
WFP provides food that is cooked for refugees while they are at the transit centres, and then provides monthly family rations when they are relocated to settlements.
UNHCR supports refugees countrywide through five transit centres and eight settlements in north and southwest Uganda and in Kampala. Over 65 per cent of the more than 234,000 refugees in Uganda are from the DRC with most of the remainder originating from South Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi. About 70 per cent of refugees have arrived in the last five years.
Distinguished Guests, Honourable Minister, panel members, Government of Uganda officials, NGO and civil society and development partners, ladies and gentlemen – thank you all so much for being here today.
I’m absolutely delighted the UK and Uganda are co-hosting this important event – and it’s a real pleasure to be sharing this platform with the Honourable State Minister for Elderly and Disabled people.
For far too long the world has been guilty of turning a blind eye to the challenges, discrimination and prejudice that people with disabilities can face every single day of their lives. They have been the people who have been too often left behind when it comes to development. And as a consequence are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world.
At last, the international community is starting to wake up to the way we have actually neglected disability rights, and is, belatedly, recognising that we can’t tackle poverty without addressing the needs of people with disabilities.
In the UK, I am the Minister responsible for disability within the Government’s Department for International Development, and quite frankly I have made it my mission to ensure that challenges faced by people with disabilities are addressed and are a key development priority.
And I’ve come to Uganda because it is at the forefront of the disability movement in Africa and I particularly wanted to come here to get a picture of what works, and what the real challenges and the real opportunities are for making a difference in people’s lives.
I wanted to get a better idea of what more the UK could be doing on disability – both in terms of our development policies and programmes and also in terms of influencing others on the global stage to do more.
And today I want to set out some of my conclusions; the key challenges that I think we are facing and how we can start to overcome them, both through local action and global campaigning.
But first I want to answer the people who, I know, will question this focus on disability and make an argument that the world has a big enough challenge as it is, to provide basic services and opportunities for people. For them disability appears to be a luxurious add-on, something that we could perhaps turn our minds to when we have achieved everything else.
I have to say to those people: We know that such thinking is completely short-sighted. Disability is a cause and a consequence of poverty.
And nor are we talking about a small minority of people – WHO estimates that one billion people globally live with some sort of disability – that’s one in seven people.
Everywhere they live people with disabilities are statistically more likely to be unemployed, illiterate, to have less formal education and less access to support networks. They are further isolated by discrimination, by ignorance and by prejudices.
Does it have to be like this? No. Given the right opportunities to support and access, most people with disabilities are able to look after themselves and get on their lives just like anybody else.
And I believe it is possible to tackle the stigma around disability by putting people with disabilities centre stage and giving them a voice. And we saw that in the UK last year when London hosted a hugely successful Paralympics Games. It was, I can tell you, one of the most amazing experiences of my life and most people in London’s.
Suddenly people with disabilities were in the spotlight like never before and it really opened eyes to the challenges they face, and also the huge heights they are capable of reaching. Most importantly they were no longer a group on the outside on the margins or hidden away.
Changing perceptions like this is vital. And I am particularly delighted that I have been joined on this visit by Ade Adepitan who many of you may know as a British Paralympian champion and broadcaster. He is incredibly famous, much more than myself. Ade is here to help to get more people talking and thinking about disability – both in Uganda and other parts of Africa as well as back at home in the UK.
Ade and I chose to come to Uganda because, as I said, you have played a key role and I pay tribute to the honourable Minister for the promotion of disability rights here and throughout Africa.
Uganda was one of the first countries anywhere to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You have enshrined the rights of people with disabilities in your constitution, which also recognises sign language as a national language.
People with disabilities are well-represented from parliamentary to village levels. And I know there is a strong disability movement in Uganda which has been fundamental in driving some of this change, particularly the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda.
Despite this progress, Uganda still faces a number of challenges when it comes to giving people with disabilities a chance to earn a living and build their own lives.
Over five million people in Uganda have a disability, which is 16% of the population. And poverty and disability in Uganda are impossible to disentangle. According to recent surveys, 72% of people with disabilities in the Northern region of Uganda are living in a state of chronic poverty.
You can often trace the issues back to school where the majority of people with disabilities, especially girls and women, simply find there are too many obstacles in their way to completing their education – indeed even starting their education.
Without the necessary skills they then struggle to get a job that would give them an income. And throughout their lives many of them will encounter prejudice, ignorance, hostility even sometimes from their communities, and families.
And these problems aren’t exclusive to Uganda, or Africa – this is a global issue. For example there are still too many schools and hospitals in the UK which are not 100% accessible for people with disabilities and discrimination still exists in far too many workplaces.
So what action do we need to take to turn this around?
The first step is to acknowledge the day-to-day challenges faced by people with disabilities and recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.
I’ve seen some brilliant examples here in Uganda of how services can be tailored to fit the particular needs of people with disabilities.
Take the work of Uganda Water Aid. This organisation, which is funded by UK Aid and works with local partners in Uganda, is exploring the barriers that people with disabilities face when it comes to water and sanitation, which quite frankly are the basic tenants of decent living.
For example they spoke to people who have physical disabilities and have been denied access to wells because they are considered to be unclean and so struggle to access clean water.
Water Aid is using these findings to help overcome local prejudices, adapt their water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and build more inclusive toilets and better designed water sources.
I visited Wera Primary School where Water Aid have built a separate latrine for pupils with disabilities. It makes a big difference to pupils like ten-year-old I met who cannot walk by herself and was carried everyday by her father for two and a half kilometers, and was subject to inconveniences and even bullying when she had to use the general latrine. She is now happier at school and socialising better.
And it is things like this can make a real difference to a child staying in school and not just giving up because it’s all too difficult. Of the 57 million children currently out of school in the world today, it’s telling that over a third have a disability. It’s not sufficient to just place these children in a school without considering their specific needs.
That’s why last month I announced at the UN General Assembly that the Department for International Development will ensure that all of the school construction we directly support is designed to allow disability access.
During my time here I have also visited the St Francis School for the Blind in Soroti, where their motto ‘disability is not inability’. That it palpably true. This is an incredible school and I’m pleased that St Francis was a direct beneficiary of International Inspiration, a legacy programme for the London 2012 Games that aims to widen access to PE and sports for all children.
One of St Francis’ students won the most determined young leader at the recent UK School Games run by Sainsbury’s.
They have been given computers by the Government of Uganda but they can’t use them because they don’t have talking technology. I have talked to the honourable Minister about what we can do.
Lastly I have seen for myself the benefits of the new grant for vulnerable families in the Kaberamaido district, which is being piloted under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and supported by UK Aid.
This programme has allowed people like Margaret Alota, who was disabled by polio at the age of two, to help run a fuel vending business, harvest her crops and support four children through school. A tiny bit of money makes a the difference. I met a young man who used that support to buy a leg.
The people I met are all being given a chance to build a better life despite their disability – but how many others don’t get this opportunity and have their potential wasted as a result?
DFID is determined to keep supporting disability rights through our programmes, and by supporting civil society organisations working on disability, many of whom are represented here today such as Sightsavers and ADD. We recently committed more funding to the Disability Rights fund – the only grant-making organisation to solely and directly support disabled people’s organisations in developing countries.
But these are only the first steps and I know we need to do more. This is a global challenge and it needs a global effort to tackle it. This really has been the great neglect.
Many of you will have heard of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals for tackling global poverty. Some of these goals have been realised over the last 13 years, but others haven’t and I believe success has been hindered because of the gap where improving the lives of people with disabilities should have been. disability was completely omitted when the MDGs were set up. You cannot address poverty if people with disability are excluded.
The 2015 deadline for the MDGs is fast approaching and the international community is starting to shape a post-2015 development framework.
This is a once-in-a-generation chance to finally put disability on the global agenda and on an equal footing with other challenges.
Our UK Prime Minister was co-chair of the UN’s High Level Panel, which earlier this year presented the UN Secretary-General with a vision of what the development framework should look like after the MDGs expire.
The Panel’s overarching message was that we could eradicate poverty for good but only by ‘leaving no one behind’, regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, race, or disability. If agreed this is a really powerful commitment, which could have a transformational effect on disability rights across the world which have struggled so hard among other issues.
To achieve this goal, the report calls for a data revolution, in other words a global effort to collect more quality data about where poverty exists and why. And this will be vital for helping us truly understand the links between disability and poverty and how we can overcome the biggest barriers.
Over the next 18 months the world’s leaders will consider and negotiate the final post-2015 framework and the UK will be doing everything possible to push the UN to take up the core commitment to leave no one behind – I hope you will do the same.
I know a lot of you here have already been involved in this process and it is important you remain engaged and really push to ensure that disability is properly included in the next set of global development goals.
I believe we have reached a watershed moment on disability – we have an opportunity to do something ground-breaking, but we cannot afford to let this chance go.
This is my second visit to Uganda as a UK Minister. The last time I was here was as the Home Office Minister, I saw some of the work that Uganda is doing to address sexual and gender based violence.
And, as I stand here, I really feel a great sense of deja-vu because we are having some of the same discussions now about including disability that we began having twenty or thirty years ago about gender.
Quite frankly we’re not there on gender yet.
Clearly we’ve still got a long way to go on that front, but I am proud of how far we’ve come, and I want to see disability moving along the same lines.
So let’s keep the momentum building and keep working to fight discrimination. We all have a role to play – families, communities and leaders – in ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone has a chance to reach their potential.