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page 30 UGANDA Uganda’s Besigye bundled into police van as march planned Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been bundled into a van outside his…

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UGANDA

Uganda’s Besigye bundled into police van as march planned

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been bundled into a van outside his home by police as his supporters planned a march to protest against the results of a presidential election.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party leader had been under heavy police guard since he was placed under house arrest on Saturday, shortly before the election results were announced.

Besigye had been expected to be released from house arrest on Monday, and had planned what his party said would be a peaceful march to the electoral commission to demand a transcript of last week’s results, which he has dismissed as fraudulent.

“Preventative measures have been taken against Dr Besigye and he is in safe hands,” Siraje Bakaleke, a police commander, told journalists outside the police station.

“We got intelligence that Besigye and some people were mobilising others to come and cause havoc in Kampala and that is unacceptable. We cannot have business at a standstill and we are trying to prevent that,” Bakaleke said.

President Yoweri Museveni was returned to power with 60.8 percent of the vote. Besigye secured 35.4 percent, according to the electoral commission.

NIGER

Niger voting extended for second day

Voting in Niger’s presidential and legislative elections stretched into a second day on Monday in areas where logistical problems prevented polling the previous day, delaying the preliminary election results.

Polls opened in four of the eight regions in the landlocked Saharan country: the northeastern Tahoua region, and Zinder, Diffa and Tillaberi, in the east, southeast and west respectively, observers said.

“The vote restarted on Monday in areas where the polling stations didn’t work yesterday,” said Kadi Moustapha, a spokesman for the West African Network for Edification and Peace observer group.

President Mahamadou Issoufou, who has vowed to crush Islamist militants and reduce the country’s deep poverty, is running against 14 other candidates, including Seyni Oumaru, leader of an opposition coalition.

SOMALIA

Somalia protests Kenya’s detention of govt. delegation at airport

Somalia on Monday demanded that Kenya explain why it detained Somali lawmakers at an airport when they were traveling as part of a government delegation, in the latest diplomatic row between the East African neighbors.

Kenya, along with several other African states, has sent troops to Somalia to help the Mogadishu-based government fight al Shabab, Islamist rebels with ties to al Qaeda. But relations between the two countries have been testy in recent years.

The latest row comes after Somali lawmakers traveling to Turkey with Somali Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke arrived in Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in the capital of Nairobi on Saturday.

The lawmakers were not given visas on arrival and were detained several hours, said Somali government spokesman Abdisalam Aato.

“The Federal Government of Somalia protests this unwarranted incident at JKIA and expects full justification and explanation from Kenya,” Somalia’s government said in a statement.

S/ARABIA

S/Arabia says war games will boost military ties with Muslim allies

The Middle East’s largest ever war games are now underway and will boost military cooperation between the 20 Muslim nations taking part, host country Saudi Arabia said on Monday, as it seeks to check the growing influence of arch rival Iran.

The Northern Thunder exercises, which began on Feb. 14 and will run until March 10, involve more than 150,000 troops from the Gulf Arab nations, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal.

“The council of ministers … expressed the hope that these exercises achieve what was defined as their goals in exchanging expertise and raising the level of military coordination,” Saudi Arabia’s cabinet said in a statement.

The statement also praised “the levels of preparedness and administrative and supply capabilities” shown by the nations participating in Northern Thunder exercises.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Muslim countries, backed by the United States, Britain and France, in a war in neighbouring Yemen and says it will contribute troops if Washington leads land operations against Islamic State in Syria.

Syria

Syria conflict: US-Russia brokered truce to start at weekend

The US and Russia have announced that a planned ceasefire in Syria will come into effect at midnight on 27 February. Their statement said the truce did not include so-called Islamic State (IS) and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

World powers had on 12 February agreed a truce to come into effect within a week, but that deadline passed and scepticism remains over the new plan.

The joint Russian-US statement said the truce applied to “those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of its terms”.

This excluded IS, Nusra and “other terrorist organisations designated by the UN”. Air strikes by Syria, Russia and the US-led coalition against these groups would continue, the statement read.

It said that armed opposition groups taking part would have to confirm their participation by midday on 26 February. Russian and Syrian planes would halt any attacks on the armed opposition groups.

Russia and the US will work together to “delineate territory where groups that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of the cessation of hostilities are active”.

The deal also sets up a communications hotline and calls for a working group to monitor ceasefire violations.

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia says Oromia protests crackdown claims are ‘lies’

Ethiopia has dismissed allegations it is violently suppressing protests in its restive Oromia region as an “absolute lie”.

About 200 people have been killed in the protests since November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. The unrest began over government plans to expand the capital’s administrative control into the region.

The government later dropped the plan, but protesters dismissed the decision as “too little too late”.

Oromia is Ethiopia’s largest region, surrounding the capital, Addis Ababa.

Many people in the region complain of being politically and economically marginalised in a country where the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition has ruled since 1991.

But Ethiopia’s Communications Minister, Getachew Reda, said it was a “stroke of magic” for HRW to release a report “from half way across the world”.

He acknowledged that there had been trouble, but said attacks on public buildings were carried out by armed gangs “who are trying to stir up emotions in the public”.

Mr Getachew said that HRW has been “churning out report after report” on Ethiopia without a presence in the country, and its allegations against the security forces were an “absolute lie”.

LIBYA

Libya’s NOC warns of more Islamic State attacks on oil facilities

Libya’s oil facilities are likely to suffer further attacks unless a United Nations-backed unity government is approved, the head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Mustafa Sanalla also said suspected Islamic State militants had staged their latest attack against Libya’s oil infrastructure last Thursday or Friday, setting fire to one production tank and damaging another at the Fida oil field.

Fida lies south-west of the oil terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, where militants launched repeated assaults and inflicted major damage last month.

“If there is no new government I think the situation will get worse. I believe there will be more attacks on the oil facilities,” Sanalla said.

Islamic State militants have taken advantage of the security vacuum to establish a foothold in Libya, seizing Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte and launching attacks in several other cities.

“We are urging the HOR to approve this government to put an end to these troubles we have regarding security in the oil industry,” Sanalla said.

EGYPT

Egyptian boy, 4, convicted by mistake

An Egyptian military court made a mistake by sentencing a four-year-old boy to life in prison for murder last week, the military has acknowledged.

Spokesman Col Mohammed Samir said the court should have sentenced a 16-year-old with a similar name instead.

Ahmed Mansour Qurani Ali was convicted along with 115 others in connection with riots by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Fayoum province in 2014.

His lawyer had submitted documents proving that he was one at the time.

In a post on Facebook (in Arabic), Col Samir said Ahmed Mansour Qurani Sharara, 16, should have been sentenced and not Ahmed Mansour Qurani Ali.

BOLIVIA

Bolivia President, Morales loses fourth term bid

Partial results indicate that Bolivia’s President Evo Morales of Bolivia has lost a referendum to allow him to stand for a fourth term in office.

With more than 70% of the votes counted, those opposed to the proposed constitutional amendment are leading by more than 10 percentage points.

He said he would respect the result but accused right-wing sectors of waging a “dirty war”.

An indigenous Aymara and former coca leaf producer, Mr Morales took office in January 2006. His current term ends in 2020.

The constitutional change would have let Mr Morales run for re-election in 2019 and potentially remain in power until 2025.

INDIA

India caste unrest: Ten million without water in Delhi

More than 10 million people in India’s capital are without water despite the army regaining control of its key water source after protests, officials say.

Keshav Chandra, head of Delhi’s water board, told the BBC it would take “three to four days” before normal supplies resumed to affected areas.

Jat community protesters demanding more government jobs seized the Munak canal, the city’s main water source on Friday.

Sixteen people have been killed and hundreds hurt in three days of riots. The Munak canal supplies around three-fifths of water to Delhi’s 16 million residents.

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