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Posts tagged ‘Angola’

Nigeria’s foreign policy in 100 years.


Diplomatic and bilateral ties which Nigeria had as a colony were mostly dominated by Britain.

Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, agricultural commodities were exported to Europe and totally controlled by the British Empire. This showed the level of foreign bilateral trade between the colony and the outside world, where cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and palm kernels were exported and chemicals, machines, transportation equipment and other manufactured products were imported. This level of bilateral trade extended until the 1950s.

The dual mandate adopted by the Europeans, whereby African countries will receive Europe’s civilization in exchange for unrestricted access to the continent resources prevailed during that era.

British stood as Nigeria’s major trading partner, even as 70 percent of her exports, as late as 1955 went to Britain and another 47 percent of import came from that country to Nigeria.

However, this bilateral trade changed from 1976, when British dominance of Nigeria’s economy began to wane. The United States then took over as Nigeria leading trade partner. By this time, exports to Britain dropped to 38 percent while import from the country to Nigeria dropped to 32 percent.

At post independence and for decades, Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust remained consistent with catering for the interests of African countries. However, the change in policy focus was brought about as government sort to arrest the declining economic setbacks. The end of apartheid in South Africa brought to a climax the Afrocentric position Nigeria’s foreign policy. Hence, in the country’s 1999 Constitution the policy shift revolved around economic diplomacy. This became a useful tool for promoting and protecting the country’s national interest in its bilateral ties with other countries.

Each regime during and after the country’s independence in 1960, took to formulating its own course of action to manipulate and propel national interest within the international community; with the purpose of forging a unique identity for their governments. There was a welter of dynamic and conservative foreign policies that went a long way towards how governments of the country actively or passively influenced the country’s interests on the international scene.

While the governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari were seen as conservative by foreign policy analysts, those of late Muritala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo (during the military era of 1976-79) operated dynamic foreign policies. However, observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially in her interaction with the international community may have confused radicalism for dynamism, hence, faulting this conceptualisation as a virile tool for measuring an effective policy. The erstwhileAction Group shadow Foreign Minister, late Anthony Enahoro was attributed as being a proponent of dynamic foreign policy.

He is reported to having moved a motion and prompted the country’s first post independence legislative house, arguing that the August 20, 1960 foreign policy adopted by the House of Representatives lacked dynamism and regretted that the Tafawa Balewa government’s interpretation and conduct of foreign policy lacked all ingredients of activism.

The August 20, 1960 official statement of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa at the Federal House of Representatives, stated that Nigeria is “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem”. Nevertheless, observers and analysts are of the view that the country’s foreign policy then lacked any definite direction.

Nigeria’s Afrocentric policy

By adopting an Afrocentric policy, in the wake of the country’s independence Nigeria aimed to engage the international community through Africa’s interests and issues that tended to be of benefits to the continent. Nigerian’s first Foreign Minister, Jaja Wachukwu threw more perspectives to this Afrocentricism posture, when he said; “Charity begins at home and therefore any Nigerian foreign policy that does not take into consideration the peculiar position of Africa is unrealistic”. Nigeria under this policy framework contributed immensely in the struggles that led to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and participated in the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa. Nigeria also played a crucial role in the establishment of continental and regional organisations. For example, Nigeria was pivotal to the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria was also instrumental in ensuring that it attained the two major objectives that included the quick decolonization of colonies in Africa and the rapid socio-economic growth and development of African countries.

Similarly, the creation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on May 28, 1975 saw Nigeria taking a fundamental role in spearheading the integration of neighbouring countries’ resources to enhance regional prosperity. Under the leadership of ex-General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria led the formation of the 16-member regional body that signed the treaty establishing ECOWAS.

Nigeria further played a significant role in military peacekeeping operations on the continent. It contributed both financial and human resources in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra LeChad and several others.

New policy thrust in citizen diplomacy

The interventions to restore peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola among other missions of mediating in conflict prone countries like Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso especially after coup d’états, signified the apogee in foreign interventions in the past decades. Of recent, the country’s foreign relations has become tamed, mainly due to internal problems and politics associated with getting a proper footing for our nascent democracy amid pressing economic problems.

The military regime of ex- Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda conceptualised a new face to Nigeria’s foreign policy, where economic diplomacy would enhance the promotion of export trade, investment and financial assistance from friendly countries. The then Foreign Affairs Minister, ex-Gen Ike Nwachukwu in June 1988, said that “it is the responsibility of our foreign policy apparatus to advance the course of our national economic recovery.”

It was during the democratically elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country’s foreign policy was refocused to de-emphasise an explicitly African bias. While appointing ambassadors in 1999, his administration admonished that “Nigeria’s foreign policy today extends, however, far beyond our concern for the well being of our continent, Africa”. In addition, Obasanjo, pointed out that “The debt burden, for instance, is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America were facing similar problems.

It is imperative; therefore, that these regions harmonise their efforts in the search for a fairer deal from the industrialised nations of the west; and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case.

Last year, the President Jonathan administration paved a new path for the country’s foreign policy thrust, by embracing an agenda that promotes growth and national development. In this new policy, both private partnership and foreign missions will be utilised as new vanguards in economic diplomacy. Hence, the collapsing of both economic and citizen diplomacy by the current administration, that is geared towards attaining national economic development and growth where the citizens at home and abroad are used as agents towards achieving policy goals.

Bilateral relations with members of the developing eight countries for economic cooperation (D8) have been a centre piece for the country’s economic diplomacy. In this regard, the foreign ministry has engaged in various economic activities of the D8, especially since it assumed leadership of the group in 2010.

Using the economic diplomacy policy to source and promote trade between Nigeria and D8 members, the foreign ministry has rectified three of its important legal documents: The D-8 preferential Trade Agreement, Multilateral Agreement on administrative assistance in Customs Matters and the Simplification of VISA procedures for businessmen of D8 member countries.

Former Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, while expatiating on the new paradigm shift, said that: “We will redress existing imbalances and forge a strong partnership with OPS to assist economic growth. Consequently, members of OPS will frequently constitute part of any bilateral discussions between our governments and other foreign delegations, so that Nigeria can benefit from visits to and from other countries.”

“Our envoys will be directed to drive this new focus of our foreign policy by spending more time and effort on attracting foreign investments to Nigeria. Simply put, our ambassadors will be the foot-soldiers in this new approach for the purpose of achieving our Vision 20:2020 while bringing economic benefits to Nigeria.”

When contacted, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told National Mirror, that any country’s foreign policy should be for the benefits of the people.

“I will say Nigeria’s foreign policy is not really doing badly and not getting worse. Though, sometimes we may not be getting it right and in other times we do get it right. The people must come first, so Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora should be the centre of our policy thrust.

Nigeria was faced with huge challenge during the military era where her public image was relegated. The country’s foreign policy could not stand as imperative tool for image building, especially, where dictatorial rule and clampdowns on human rights were strongly opposed by the western world.”

Nigeria played a prominent role in the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. It sent military peacekeeping troops.

In addition, during the Cold War era, Nigeria adopted a non-aligned stance; where it refused to align with any of the power blocs.

Another significant development in Nigeria foreign relations after the country’s independence was the protest of Nigerian students against the signing of agreement by the then new Tafawa Balewa’s government with the British government. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact entered by the government then meant that British military could maintain bases and presence in Kano. The Nigerian student’s protest made Tafawa Balewa’s government to back down from the intended deal. The message of the student then was that Britain was to be kept at arm’s length.

The foreign relations between Nigeria and Britain experienced some challenging moment, especially during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo where the Nigerian government nationalized the British Petroleum’s (BP( interest in the country, as a measure to arm-twist the UK government into withdrawing its sanctions and to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This was after the white supremacist in that country hijacked power. This created a scene at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Lusaka in 1978. When the British Prime Minister challenged the Nigerian Foreign Minister, General Adefowope, he told Margret Thatcher, “Madam Prime Minister that is Act 1, Scene 1, many more will follow if you don’t play ball on Zimbabwe”. Thatcher had no choice than to relent and began process that enabled Zimbabwe have a free and fair elections.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Nigeria’s Retrogressive Anti-Gay Law By Abiodun Ladepo.


By Abiodun Ladepo

This past Wednesday, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan elevated crassness and primitiveness to the highest level imaginable by signing into law a bill banning homosexuality in Nigeria.  I deliberately crafted the previous sentence so unambiguously.  He did not just ban homosexual marriage; he banned homosexuality as a whole!  Perhaps if the law had only stopped at “persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison,” one might not feel so much outrage.  But it went on to state that “any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison”!  In essence, only heterosexuals are allowed to hold hands in public, sit on each other’s lap, hump each other while dancing in clubs or kiss publicly.  What, in the name of God, just happened to Nigeria?

Let me state upfront that I am a Straight (heterosexual) guy who is happily married to a beautiful woman.  So, this write-up is not about me or my sexual preference.  It is about Nigeria’s lack of originality and lack of creative instincts.  We the people, along with our leaders, fail to do the deep thinking, the due diligence, in many respects that will take our country farther and more quickly than we have hitherto done.  Lethargy is irredeemably ingrained in our psyche.  Otherwise, how does being openly gay draw our country back?  We already have thousands of gay people in our midst!  How does their gayness prevent those of us who are not gay from going about our businesses?

This law assumes that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community just arrived in Nigeria yesterday.  No, the LGBT has been with us since, at least, when I was a young boy over 50 years ago.  I recall growing up in (yes) Zaria, Kaduna State, of all places, and going to watch evening dances of members of the LGBT.  We used to call them “Dandaudu.”  We, the kids, used to marvel at their public display of amorous acts.  This was in the early 60s.  They were not hidden behind the walls of any clubs in the middle of the night; they danced in open spaces and in early evenings.  I have also personally witnessed “Dandaudus” doing their dances in Bukuru, Jos, Bauchi and Maiduguri in the 70s.  And if you lived in the hostel during your secondary school years, don’t tell me that you did not catch a few of your guy friends “doing it.”  I have heard from some of my secondary school female friends of the sexual trysts that went on in their hostel.  Let’s not even talk about what happens in the dorms of our universities.  So, why are we just now finding out that their presence in our midst is anathema and antithetical to our moral fiber?

Reuben Abati, that formerly celebrated anti-bad government champion, who is now a turncoat and who I now detest with so much passion, defended the law with the pedestrian argument that since 90 percent of Nigerians were opposed to same-sex marriage, “…the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs.”   Ninety percent?  First, how did we come up with that percentage?  When did we poll the country to ascertain that 90 percent of our people oppose same-sex marriage?  And even if they do, what right does the majority have to trample on the basic right of the minority – the fundamental human right to freedom of association?  What right does the majority have to deprive the minority of having sex with whomever it wants as long as it is consensual?  The worst that the Nigerian government should have been able to do should have been the denial of official recognition of such a union. But to criminalize it is akin to despotism, especially in a democratic dispensation.

And by the way, since when has this government or any past Nigerian government taken a decision in favor of an issue perceived to have received the support of the majority of Nigerians?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the removal or Stella Oduah as Aviation minister, Diezani Madueke as Petroleum minister and Reuben Abati as adviser?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the banning of government officials, especially the President, from seeking medical attention abroad until our medical facilities and personnel are of the same standard as those they use when they go abroad?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the supply of 24/7 uninterrupted electricity to all corners of Nigeria?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support the revamping, rejuvenating and reinvigorating of the EFCC so it can better fight corruption?  Don’t 90 percent of our people support a massive overhaul of our educational infrastructures from elementary all the way to university systems?  Don’t 90 percent of our people oppose the blocking of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by mega-churches and mega-mosques?  Have our lawmakers crafted any laws that criminalize the failure by government to do the things mentioned above?  No.  But these nosey people are eager to get into the bedrooms of Nigerians.

I find this homophobic inclination that is so rampant in our country as yet another example of religious zealotry and self-righteousness that have been the bane of our society.  Everybody is stampeding and trampling each other today in their quest to out-do one another as they condemn homosexuality.  But we will find out one day – tomorrow maybe –  just as we have found out in Europe and America that even family members of influential government officials can be (and are indeed) gay!  In fact, we will soon find out that membership in the LGBT community cuts across all spectra of our society – from the ranks of elected politicians, to traditional rulers, military officers, police officers, teachers, technocrats, pastors, imams, babalawos, traders and what not.  And what are we going to do when we find out that one of these influential people whom we had thought was heterosexual was indeed bisexual?  Would we throw OBJ or IBB or GEJ or Mama Iyabo or Dame Patience or any of their children into 14 years of prison terms if any of them turns out to be gay? What would we do when we discover that Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye or his wife, Folu do engage in homosexual acts (with other partners, of course)?  What about Sheik Muhammad Yahaya Sanni and his many wives?  Are we going to give them immunity against prosecution?

This is why I stated earlier that our leaders did not subject this law to a rigorous and intellectual discuss before allowing their emotion, religion and communal bandwagon mentality to overtake their sense of reason.  Before the bill was adopted by the Senate in 2011, a few Nigerian members of the LGBT community, supported by some civil rights activists, appeared before the Senate to argue against enacting such a law.  The lawmakers and religious zealots in the chambers of the Senate booed and heckled these gay folks till they cried and left in disgrace.  Among the booing and heckling crowd were men who maintain two, three, four or more wives – wives who are subjugated, mentally and are physically abused.  Among this crowd were women who cheat on their husbands with their pastors and imams to the extent of making babies out-of-wedlock while their husbands thought the babies were theirs.  These people, in my opinion, lack the moral right to tell a gay man or woman whom to love and whom to cavort with in public.

Believe me, gays are the least of Nigeria’s problems.  Graft in high places, greed in high places, hired assassination, kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, neglect of rural areas, neglect of urban areas, lack of functioning basic amenities like electricity, water, hospitals, education, transportation, youth unemployment – all take precedence over what my neighbor is doing in his/her bedroom.  I am ashamed that my leaders do not see this.

And I get it. I get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  Even if I wonder how truly religious we are when we watch our religious leaders steal from the religious houses and sexually abuse the laity; even if I sometimes wonder why our religious leaders live in obscene opulence while they watch their followers wallow in abject poverty, I still get the fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country.  It is the reason why an issue such as gay rights should have been thoroughly debated intellectually.  I hope the passing of this primitive and retrogressive law begins the rigorous discussion of how we allow members of the LGBT to bask in their rightful sense of belonging.  We should lead Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia out of the comity of nations still wedded to the archaic tradition of segregating their own people on the basis of sexual preferences.

We should join South Africa, Zaire, Congo, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali (yes, Chad, Niger and Mali), Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau in the comity of nations that embrace the diversity of their people’s sexual preferences and have legislated to protect the rights of their LGBT people.

By Abiodun Ladepo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Oluyole2@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

World AIDS Day; Pix Appear Of Zuma’s Swanky Estate; Ghana Former First Lady Warns Of Western Education.


 

By Global Information Network (GIN)

Nov. 26 (GIN) – South Africa will mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with a full palette of music – from the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra to the New Apostolic Church Cape Choir – at the Artscape Opera House in Western Cape. Hope Maimane of the Waterfront Theatre College will offer a dance recital.

While some statistics are improving, AIDS activists warn that belt-tightening in western countries may erase these hard-won gains.

“More HIV-positive people are living longer [in Kenya as a result of HIV treatment], so we are clearly moving in the right direction,” said Peter Cherutich, head of prevention at the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Program.

But with over 80 percent of Kenya’s HIV programs depending on foreign funds, progress is unsustainable.

“In the event they stop funding these programs,” said Cherutich, “they would draw back the gains that have so far been realized.”

According to the advocacy group ONE, 16 sub-Saharan countries have reached the “beginning of the end of AIDS” – a point when the number of new HIV infections is lower than the number of new patients receiving AIDS treatment in the same year.

Sadly, African governments have been shortchanging vital health programs even after pledging to set aside at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to healthcare by 2015. Only 6 countries – Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo and Zambia – have met the target. Five other countries are spending at least 13 percent of their annual budgets on health, according to data compiled by the UN World Health Organization

A quarter of African Union member-states are now spending less on health than they were in 2001.

Paradoxically, one of Africa’s richest nations had one of the worst records for new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths. In Angola, new HIV cases were up 47% – from 19,000 in 2011 to 28,000 in 2012. AIDS-related deaths rose from 8,400 in 2001 to 13,000 in 2012. Drug treatment for adults and children was also very low. Less than one quarter of eligible children and less than half of adults had access to treatment in 2012 under 2010 guidelines from the World Health Organization.

After a meeting with UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe, Angolan President Jose dos Santos pledged that no baby would be born with HIV by 2015 and that every Angolan living with HIV would have access to treatment. “Angola still has a long road ahead to overcome the HIV epidemic,” he admitted, “but we will do it together.”

PROHIBITED PICTURES OF ZUMA’S SWANKY HOME LAND ON PAGE ONE

Nov. 26 (GIN) – A defiant national press corps braved threats from South Africa’s security ministry to photograph the President’s rural homestead where recent upgrades of $205 million rand ($20 million U.S.) were raising eyebrows in the region.

Nkandla, the country estate of President Jacob Zuma, was reportedly refurbished with public monies in the name of security. Upgrades included a bunker, twin helicopter landing pads, an athletics track, basketball court, and artificial turf soccer field. The property is approximately a mile wide.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele warned the press against taking pictures: “It’s against the law. We are asking nicely that people no longer do it.”

But the warning failed to scare off the legions of reporting staff. Speaking for the South African National Editors’ Forum, Adriaan Basson disputed claims that Zuma’s house was now a “national key point” similar to the Parliament and the Union Buildings.

“These upgrades were done to President Zuma’s private residence and not state property,” countered Basson in an open letter. “We will continue to publish images of the Nkandla upgrades because to stop doing so will be a betrayal of our duty as watchdogs of democracy.”

The media dust-up could have consequences in the upcoming by-elections this week taking place in 22 wards in eight provinces. The ANC hopes to hold on to key districts that could be leaning toward the opposition Democratic Alliance or the Pan Africanist Congress, among others.

Issues of income inequality, now symbolized by Zuma’s lavish estate, are looming large for ordinary South Africans whose income is stuck at low numbers.

Meanwhile, local area newspapers placed the exploding brouhaha on page one. “Look Away – What ministers don’t want you to see” was The Star’s headline, while The Times defiantly stated: “So, arrest us”. The Cape Times displayed “The picture the state does not want you to see” and The Cape Argus ran a similar headline over a picture of Zuma’s homestead.

On social media, Facebook users updated their cover photos with an image of the Nkandla residence. Activist Zackie Achmat on Twitter wrote: “Break unjust laws. Share #Nkandla photo.” Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos tweeted “Is there a single person who still believes Nkandla upgrade is about security? Father Christmas is waiting for your letter.”

An investigation by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog on possible inflated costs is due to be released shortly.

FORMER FIRST LADY WARNS OF ‘SEEDS OF DEPENDENCY’ IN WESTERN EDUCATION 

Nov. 26 (GIN) – In a speech that examined the growing role for women in a rising Africa, Ghana’s former first lady also called for a critical look at formal western education.

Mme. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of former president Jerry Rawlings, and head of the 31st December Women’s Movement, delivered her remarks last week at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, in Glendale, Arizona.

On the topic “Development, Politics and National Government – Impact on African Women,” she recalled her work “as an African woman who has spent her last 30 years working on behalf of our nation’s women and children at the grassroots.”

“Women are 51% of Africa’s 1 billion people and they make up the majority of its poor,” she noted. “Those living in isolated rural communities are not yet part of the good news story.

“Together with children, these women often suffer the most, especially in times of crisis and unrest. For the masses of women, Africa is Rising – but slowly and unevenly – and unfortunately many women are not rising with it.

Mme. Nana Konadu then highlighted efforts being made to ensure that education is inclusive, that teachers are gender sensitive and curricula relevant to girls’ aspirations because: “From our experience in Africa, we have been more aware than ever that education can be a tool for subjugation.

“Indeed our dilemma has been that formal western education, while containing crucial elements for keeping us in touch with rapid technological and economic developments, which control the shape of international relationships, also bears the seeds of disempowerment and dependency.

“As the continent becomes more prosperous and more attractive to the outside world, our challenge – and the challenge of our national governments – is to address continuing inequality so that all Africans, including those living in isolated rural communities, fragile states and poor urban areas, are able to benefit from economic prosperity.”

“It is up to us, the women of Africa, to share the responsibility for actions needed to end poverty—first in our homes, then in our communities and, ultimately, throughout our nations, one woman at a time.”  w/pix of Mms. Nana Konadu

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Prince Harry ‘irritated’ over landmine clearance efforts.


Prince Harry in Angola in August 2013Prince Harry concentrated his visit around the most densely mined town in Africa

Prince Harry is “irritated” that some nations which provided landmines are not helping with the clearance effort, one of his charities has revealed.

The head of the Halo Trust was speaking after the prince travelled to Angola to see the charity’s mine clearance work.

Prince Harry visited Cuito Cuanavale and met those benefiting from the work.

The charity was championed by his late mother Princess Diana and is the oldest organisation of its kind. The prince is patron of its 25th Anniversary Appeal.

In 2010 he met some of Halo’s teams working in Mozambique.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

As a soldier [Prince Harry] is seeing so many people of his generation, of his age losing limbs – and that has really brought a focus on it”

Guy WilloughbyHalo Trust

Shortly before her death in 1997, Princess Diana was filmed visiting minefields that were being cleared by the trust in Angola, drawing the world’s attention to the situation.

The town of Cuito Cuanavale in south-eastern Angola is believed to be the most densely mined town in Africa, following the country’s bloody and protracted civil war.

In a statement issued by Kensington Palace, Prince Harry said he was keen to support the charity in any way he could.

The trip took place earlier this month and Prince Harry’s spokesman announced at the time that he was in Angola.

But the Dumfriesshire-based Halo Trust said it had decided to delay providing further details until now because of the fact that it was taking place in a private capacity and the “complicated field logistics” involved.

Prince Harry in Angola with HALO Trust officials in August 2013The Halo Trust says its teams have destroyed more than 21,000 mines in Angola since the end of the civil war

Its chief executive Guy Willoughby said: “He [the prince] is irritated about the countries that supplied these landmines are not actually putting in any funds to clear them 25 years later.

“He has got quite a bee in his bonnet about that, and that is good.

“The commitment shown by Prince Harry plays an invaluable role in helping us to raise awareness of Halo’s work and mission.

“He is technically very competent but he’s also very good with dealing with the people, the villagers, the de-miners and he understands the big issue, even the political issue.

“Wars may be over but many people are still unable to resume their normal lives, facing the threat of death or injury by landmines every day.”

He told BBC News that being able to support the charity was “hugely important” to Prince Harry, not just because of the family connection.

“As a soldier he is seeing so many people of his generation, of his age losing limbs. And that has really brought a focus on it.

“I think it has brought a focus on it for a lot of the British population of seeing so many people in their 20s who are losing limbs.”

Angola’s civil war left an estimated 500,000 dead, displaced four million and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure.

Despite huge efforts since the war ended in 2002 to clear the explosives, the country remains one of the most heavily mined in the world.

The Halo Trust said it has destroyed more than 21,300 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Angola but thousands of residents have been killed or maimed.

Mr Willoughby said Halo was making “excellent progress” in Angola and the province of Huambo was now close to becoming mine-free, but there was still 19 years of clearance work to be done across the country as a whole.

Source: NEWS UK.

Angolan King to Build God’s Kingdom With Overland Missions.


Angolan woman and child
(Overland Missions)

God has sent Overland Missions kings, presidents and other international leaders of many nations over the years, allowing them to break into new areas and have greater influence in the Spirit among rural people groups for His kingdom’s advance.

A Christian man of kingdom principles, His Excellency the King Mbandu of the Mbunda tribe of Angola, Congo and Zambia is one such king who has sought out Overland Missions to bring Christ to His people. Overland missionaries have not yet been able to visit him at his home in Angola due to his remote location and timing of travel. However, when Philip Smethurst, founder and president of Overland Missions, took a recent trip to Livingstone, Zambia, the king was there and the relationship took off. The king is currently staying at Overland Missions’ Rapid 14 base in Livingstone as he prepares for his trip back to Angola.

This divine setup is a huge open door for Overland Missions to reach thousands of remote people within King Mbandu’s jurisdiction in central Africa. Not only will their relationship with him allow them favorable access into a historically difficult country to enter, Angola, but he has also chosen Overland’s base in Zambia as his main base of operations any time he is in the country.

During visits, King Mbandu will host meetings with numerous indigenous leaders from all his chiefdoms and Overland will continue to strategize with him on reaching more and more people with the gospel.

Phil and Sharon Smethurst say Angola has been on their hearts since the beginning of Overland Missions. Phil Smethurst fought in its civil war about 25 years ago, and he observed that while poverty, disease, destruction and abuse had reached Angola’s remote tribal people, the gospel had not. Upon leaving the South African army where he had been serving as a conscript, he set about locating and reaching Africa’s most remote tribal groups to preach the gospel and make disciples.

Today, there remain tens of thousands of remote peoples living in inaccessible locations who lack an accurate representation of the gospel.

In late July, Overland Missions will be running an expedition to the tribe in Angola. Follow the expedition on Timbuctu.me, celebrate with Overland and keep them in prayer as they continue to pioneer the gospel in the remote parts of this nation.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Angola to export 1.73 mln bpd of oil in April.


LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC member Angola is due to export around 1.73 million barrels per day(bpd) of crude oil in April, a provisional loading programme showed on Monday, down slightly from March.

The programme showed that a total of around 52 million barrels would load in April aboard 54 cargoes.

Volumes are down from a projected 1.75 million bpd in April despite the start of production from BP’s PSVM development area in Block 31 offshore Angola.

This project sources oil from four fields: Plutao, Saturno, Venus and Marte.

Angola, Africa‘s second-biggest producer of oil, mostly produces heavy to medium crude and ships the lion’s share of its exports to Asian buyers.

The programme showed that shipments of Girassol grade fell slightly to six from seven in March.

Supplies of Plutonio were unchanged at six cargoes in April and Gimboa will load one cargo compared with none in March.

Source. YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Henry Okah: South African Court Convicts Nigeria Rebel -BBC.


 

By BBC

A South African court has found Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah guilty of masterminding the 2010 car bombing which killed 12 people.

Okah was convicted of 13 counts related to acts of terrorism.

He was arrested in Johannesburg a day after two car bombs exploded during the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.

He had denied the charges, even though his militant group, Mend, said it had carried out the attack.

Johannesburg High Court Judge Neels Claassen convicted Okah on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit terrorism to detonating explosives.

“I have come to the conclusion that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused,” Judge Claassen said, AFP news agency reports.

Okah was arrested on gun-running charges in Angola in 2007 and then transferred to Nigeria but never convicted.

He was released after two years under an amnesty for oil militants and he returned to South Africa, where he had lived since 2003.

Mend says it is fighting so that more of Nigeria’s massive oil wealth is used to benefit the Niger Delta area which produces the oil.

But criminal gangs have taken advantage of the region’s instability to make money from ransoms paid by oil companies, and by stealing oil.

The violence subsided significantly after the government offered militants an amnesty in 2009.

At its peak, the instability in the Niger Delta cost Nigeria about $1bn (£630m) in loss revenue, Reuters news agency quotes the central bank as saying.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, but most of its people live in poverty.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Death Toll From Stampede at Pentecostal Church Event Rises to 16.


 

Cidadela Desportiva stadium
The Cidadela Desportiva stadium in Luanda, Angola, where 16 people were crushed to death and 120 injured as they tried to enter an overcrowded stadium for a vigil organized by a Pentecostal church

The death toll from a New Year’s Eve stampede during a religious vigil at an overcrowded stadium in the Angolan capital Luanda has risen to 16, state-owned daily newspaper Jornal de Angola said on Wednesday.

State news agency Angop said on Tuesday that 10 people had been crushed to death and 120 injured at the gates of the Cidadela Desportiva stadium, where the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) organized a Pentecostal Christian vigil.

The death toll has now risen to 16, including three small children, an emergency services spokeswoman told the newspaper.

Angop cited Paulo de Almeida, the deputy leader of the Angolan police, as saying appropriate security measures for the vigil had been put in place but attendance exceeded estimates.

He said that around 150,000 people tried to attend the event at a stadium that has capacity for 50,000.

A IURD official earlier told Angop the church had expected an attendance of around 70,000.

IURD was created in 1977 in Brazil, where it has over 8 million followers, according to its website. IURD says it is present in most countries of the world.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.


Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas, edited by Richard Meares.

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

UK police unable to identify man who fell from sky.


 

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LONDON (AP) — Police believe he was from Africa, probably fromAngola, but they don’t know his identity, or how to notify his next of kin.

The mystery began in September when residents of a suburban street in the Mortlake neighborhood of West London woke up on a quiet Sunday morning to find the crumpled body of a black man on the sidewalk of Portman Avenue, near a convenience store, an upscale lingerie shop and a storefront offering Chinese medical cures.

Detectives believed at first the man was a murder victim and cordoned off the area. Within a day, however, police concluded the man — probably already dead — had fallen to the ground when a jet passing overhead lowered its landing gear as it neared the runway at nearby Heathrow Airport.

The apparent stowaway had no identification papers — just some currency from Angola, leading police to surmise that he was from that African nation, especially as inquiries showed that a plane from Angola was beginning its descent into Heathrow at about that time.

The macabre explanation made perfect sense to residents, who are familiar not only with the roar of the jets descending, but are also able to see the planes lower their landing gears as they pass overhead, said Catherine Lambert, who lives a few doors down from the spot where the man landed.

“You could see him, his body was contorted,” she said. “It was a beautiful blue day, really sunny, but we had to keep the children inside. I didn’t want the children to see, and to have to explain to them and put fear into them every time a plane goes over.”

A post mortem conducted two days after the body landed listed the cause of death as “multiple injuries.”

In the days afterward, some neighbors put flowers on the spot where the stowaway was found, and a small group of Angolans who live in the London area came to place more flowers and to pray. Lambert, 41, said there is lingering sadness, since the man has not been identified and there has been no way to tell his family he is gone.

“I felt, what was he running away from? What made him think he could he could? And how will his family ever know? He’s a lost soul now; his father and mother are probably waiting for him to make contact,” she said.

A London police spokesman, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record because of force policy, said Sunday that police are appealing to the public for help identifying the man based on an “e-fit” image of his face and a photo of a tattoo on his left arm. The unusual tattoo showed the letters “Z” and “G”.

Police also said attempts to identify the man with the help of Angolan authorities had been unsuccessful. They stressed there is only “circumstantial” evidence linking the stowaway to that country.

In a statement, police said the man is believed to be an African of slight build between the ages of 20 and 30. He was wearing jeans, white sneakers and a gray sweatshirt when he was found on Sept. 9, police said.

Although firm figures are not available, in recent years there has been a rise in the number of stowaways trying to get to Western Europe by hiding in the undercarriages of passenger planes.

Aviation safety specialist Chris Yates of Yates Consulting said Sunday that poor airport perimeter security at a number of airports in Africa — including the main Angola airport at Luanda — and in other parts of the world has made it easier for people to stow away on planes, but that most attempts fail.

“They so often end in fatality because more often than not stowaways climb into the wheel base or cargo hold, and those areas are not necessarily pressurized,” he said. “When you start moving beyond 10,000 feet, oxygen starvation becomes a reality. As you climb up to altitude, the issue becomes cold as well, the temperature drops to minus 40 or minus 50 degrees centigrade, so survival rates drop.”

He said the man who crashed to the pavement in Mortlake had probably lost consciousness and died within the first hour of his flight.

Police said the body is being held for possible repatriation in case the man’s identity is established.

Mortlake residents and business people speak of a similar death in recent years, but disagree about the timing and the details.

“People say the same thing happened a few years ago a few blocks away” said Jay Sivapalan, 29, who works at the Variety Box convenience store half a block from where the body landed. “We are near Heathrow and when they lower the landing gear, the body falls out.”

Others believe the incident may have happened 10 years ago. Police said they had no information about other stowaway deaths.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By GREGORY KATZ | Associated Press

Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso troops head to G.Bissau.


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A military force being deployed to stabilise Guinea-Bissau after an April 12 coup will be drawn from Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Senegal, the west African bloc ECOWAS said on Friday.

“The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) standby force will be composed of 629 men and women,” said ECOWAS representative Ansumana Cisse.

“Nigeria is sending the largest contingent of 300 men,” of whom 140 are police and 160 soldiers,” he said. “Then, Burkina Faso will provide 140 paramilitary police, 73 of which arrived Thursday.”

The rest of the Burkinabe contingent will arrive Saturday night, he added.

“Senegal hasn’t given us an exact figure yet but, according to projections, they will send a military engineering company which will repair certain barracks, and a team of doctors,” Cisse said.

The ECOWAS force will replace a 600-strong Angolan mission, whose presence prompted soldiers to carry out the coup in the middle of an election process, with the rebel forces claiming the foreign soldiers were conspiring with the government against them.

Guinea-Bissau’s army and state have been in constant conflict since independence in 1974, resulting in coups, counter coups, political assassinations and a chronic stability which has seen cocaine trafficking flourish.

Cisse said the new troops, would provide protection for the Angolans as they prepare to withdraw on May 29, and then the force would protect all politicians in the country.

“No one will have to fear for their security, it will be normal for all — even those who are hiding in embassies or other places afraid for their lives,” said Cisse.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

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