Mobile Version

Friday, May 18, 2012

NAIROBI STAR:Amref Launches a 5-year Health Project in GSA

By Stephen Astariko

Amref has launched a five-year health project in Iftin sub district hospital in Garissa district. Officially launching the programme yesterday, country director Lennie Kyomuhangi said, "People living in semi-arid lands are bedevilled by a life characterised by social and gender inequalities within a hierarchical clan system. "There is an unequal labor force, early marriages, polygamy, female genital cutting and stigmatization of people living with HIV,97 of the inhabitants of the northern Arid lands like Turkana, Samburu,Gabbra, Rendile, Somali, Orma and Pokomo live beyond the poverty line. "As an organisation this are some of the things we want to tackle," she added.
The director said her organization was prompted to act in response to the health and economic needs of the vulnerable groups and through the support of the American people, the APHIAplus IMARISHA project she said will be initiated in the counties of Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Tana River in partnership with the government.
The programme, is working closely with the GOK line ministries to provide HIV, TB, Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Maternal Newborn and Child Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene as well as household economic strengthening services for these vulnerable and underserved populations. Present during the launch were representatives from GOK, USAID and consortium partners. AMREF, in partnership with the Ministry of Health also offered free medical treatment for area residents.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maryan Hussein Declares interest in County Seat

Maryan Hussein, an employee of Garissa Municipal Council has thrown her hat into Garissa County politics. Her campaign launch was attended by various representatives of women's groups. She called for a permanent change in the status quo, the recognition of women's contribution to society and their ability to succeed in leadership roles.

Maryan said many women who lost their livestock due to the sporadic drought have lost their livelihood and were in dire need for micro financing projects that will help reduce the impact of the poverty. she added: "I bilieve i understand the county's problem having bred here and thrust into the thick of problems but after suffering the problem i come with a solution and not bickering," "i was shocked since it was taking me long to make some voter understand the position i will vie for " she said She urged men to shun their preconception that women can never be leaders . The ODM nominated mp Sofia Abdi was the first women who ever tried a parliamentary seat in Ijara constituency of Garissa county 1997 elections but lost .same to others who have been trying civic seats .  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Police Abused Somalis in Border Regions

Human Rights Watch reports of atrocities committed by the Kenyan Police and Military units in border regions where military operations are currently ongoing. Kenya's Defense forces have a reputation for committing war crimes against civilian populations.

In its report, “Criminal Reprisals: Kenya Police and Military against Ethnic Somalis,” Human Rights Watch says that the Police and the army had committed the widespread human rights violations against members of the country's Somali ethnic minority while responding to the attacks. Many people were seriously beaten and left with broken bones. Others were raped by the police, according to HRW officials.
“Our primary concern is despite the series of attacks, so far there has been no accountability. The police and military have not identified the officers who are responsible. They have not been held accountable,” said Neela Ghosal, the Nairobi-based Human Rights Watch researcher at the launch of the report in Nairobi on May 4.
The 65 page reports is based on interviews of 55 victims of abuses, including Somali refugees in the Dadaab Refugee Camp, and 35 citizens in the northern Kenyan towns of Garissa, Wajir, and Madera. The abuses were committed in between November 2011 and March 2012, according to HRW.
The organization said the most serious abuses were carried out by the police in Dadaab Camp, the home of nearly 600,000 Somali refugees who are fleeing drought and war. Police went house to house, beating and looting, and raping at least one woman, the report said.
“What has happened is an arbitrary round-up of the residents who have been mistreated in the aftermath of these attacks… These are activities that have nothing to do with policing, but seemed sort of designed as form of collective punishment,” Ms. Ghosal said.
Some of the police tactics seem to be aimed at humiliating the local population, by rounding up civilians and forcing them to roll in the mud or to sit in the water.
Derow Abdi Salat, a survivor of the abuses, recounted how he and other Kenyan Somalis were rounded up from their homes and made to lie on their stomachs on a road. The soldiers later forced them to stare at the blazing midday sun.
Mr. Salat claims that beatings by Kenyan soldiers caused permanent damage to his genitals. "My marriage is now strained,” he said at the press conference. “I appeal to the government to consider compensating those who were affected,”
Early this year, HRW documented abuses by Ethiopian forces and militias affiliated to theTransitional Federal Government inside Somalia. The organization said the two had executed and detained suspected al-Shabab sympathizers.
“We are concerned there could be similar atrocities committed by the Kenyan soldiers and Ethiopian forces,” said Ben Rawlence, senior researcher, Human Rights Watch.
Part of the problem in understanding what is happening in Somalia by Kenyan forces is the restriction the forces are placing on the press, said Mr. Rawlance.

Bomb Scare Closes off Tana River Bridge

Report comes to us via Stephen Astariko

Transport to and from North Eastern region was paralysed for more than 10 hours after a suspected explosive device was found under Garissa/Tana Bridge.
Hundreds of vehicles and commuters remained stranded on the both sides of the five-metre bridge which is the only entry into and exit from the remote region bordering the war-torn Somalia.
Security personnel including ballistic experts who were called in from Nairobi condoned off the bridge as they searched for the suspected explosive that was first noticed by a member of the public who was crossing the bridge on foot. The security scare led to more than 10 seminars being cancelled in Garissa town leading to massive loss of income by the local traders. Some hoteliers estimated losses of millions of shillings in the cancellations.
According to witnesses, the suspected Improvised Explosive Device was found attached neatly beneath the bridge by a commuter who raised the attention of the police manning the area. A witness who declined to be named said the officers led ballistic experts who come by military helicopter from Nairobi, removed the device and directed the security officers manning the bridge to stop vehicles and people from using it until they ensure its safety .
The Islamists militia group al Shabaab who were blamed for spates of kidnappings of foreign aid workers working in North-Eastern region and incursion into the border districts led to the invasion of the Kenya Defence Force has repeatedly threatened to explode the bridge to cut off the Military supplies to KDF fighting inside Somalia flush out the terror linked group.
The bridge security scare come barely five hours after a similar incident disrupted humanitarian activities at the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp for the better part of Thursday. In the Dadaab incident a suspected IED was found at the Dadaab main offices for humanitarian aid organizations operating in the area which led to a circulation of security threat that resulted to the suspension of all activities within the refugee camps.
Speaking to the press over the two incidents North eastern PC James Ole Serian said that "a device like bomb was seen at the middle of the road last night, one man who seen seated next to the place where the device was found was arrested and interrogated by the police,". He added: "When the police interrogated the man, he claimed to be resting and was ordered by the police to leave the area immediately, when the security personnel went to the check the place where he was seated they saw some bottle they suspected to be an IED,".
The PC further said that bomb experts were called in to check and found that what caused the security scare "was an empty bottle tired beneath the bridge". However, they took the precaution and closed the bridge from public use for safety and he urged the public to be extra alert so as not to be caught off guard by terrorist attacks.