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NAIROBI, KENYA — Catholic bishops in Uganda are mourning Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala, who was found dead in his room April 3.

His death shocked the East African nation, where the archbishop had come to be known as a defender of the rights of the poor and the downtrodden. The cause of death was not released immediately.

The 68-year-old archbishop will be buried April 8 at St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart Cathedral Rubaga in Kampala.

Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa, chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, expressed the bishops' deep regret at the death of the archbishop.

On April 2, the country had watched the archbishop join other Christian leaders in a Way of the Cross procession in St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral. The activity had been organized by the Uganda Joint Christian Council, an ecumenical grouping of Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Churches.

From time to time, Lwanga attracted the ire of government officials after he castigated injustices and government excesses. In 2018, he charged that the government had recruited priests and nuns to spy on him. The archbishop said a caller had told him that the government thought he wanted to overthrow it.

Recently, he had been condemning corruption, abductions, disappearances and killings related to January elections.

In his last message at the Good Friday gathering, Lwanga said the disappearance of people — especially young people — was brewing anger, divisions and anxiety among the citizens and contravened human rights frameworks.

"We are troubled that the disregard of God-given rights and freedoms will weaken our social fiber of harmony, social cohesion and responsive leadership," the archbishop said.

Religious, political and social leaders have continued to eulogize Lwanga. Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu said Lwanga's death left a huge gap in the Ugandan Catholic Church.

On April 3, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a Twitter message: "With profound grief, I have learnt of the death of Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. I join the Catholic Church, all religious faithful and the country in mourning Archbishop Lwanga. He died in faith."

Lwanga was born in Kyabakadde in the Buganda region of Uganda. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Kampala in 1978. He was named bishop of the new Diocese of Kasana-Luweero in 1996. In 2006, he became the archbishop of Kampala after the retirement of Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala. - Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service/National Catholic Reporter


The Malian army said Sunday it has killed at least six terrorists during an offensive in the central part of the country.

The incident occurred on Sunday when a unit of the armed forces was engaged in an offensive in the Mafune sector, according to a statement.

Also, three Malian soldiers were injured, one of them critically in the offensive.

Terrorist attacks have increased in central Mali in recent months.

Four UN peacekeepers and three Malian soldiers were killed and several others wounded in two terrorist attacks in Mali’s Mopti and Kidal regions last Friday.

Despite the presence of French and UN peacekeeping forces in Mali, armed groups are still very active in the West African country.

Since 2012, militants have carried out violent attacks in northern and central Mali, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians.

In 2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some insurgent groups.

Political and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in northern Mali, thus undermining the implementation of the peace agreement. Anadolu Agency

 Kenya has warned of a “vaccine apartheid” following the UK’s decision to ban travel to the country over a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Government announced on Friday that Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh would all be added to the red list – effectively banning entry to the UK for nationals of those countries.

Kenya’s ministry of foreign affairs branded the decision “discriminatory” in a response posted to Twitter, warning there was a risk of a “vaccine apartheid” between nations who are “hoarding” jabs and the rest of the world.

The ministry also said there had been no communication from UK counterparts ahead of the change of rules for travellers made on Friday.

The statement said: “Kenya continues to see, with deep regret, that vaccine producing countries around the world have begun practicing a form of vaccine nationalism, possessiveness and discrimination – coupled with a vaccine hoarding attitude that can only be described as a form of ‘vaccine apartheid’.

“During a global pandemic such as the world is witnessing, it is difficult to imagine what could inform such behaviour by nations.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said on Friday that the decision to add Kenya to the red list came in response to concerns over a number of new variants of Covid-19. 

The restrictions mean travellers who have been in Kenya and other red list countries in the previous ten days will be barred from entering the UK, though British and Irish citizens, as well as those with residence rights in Britain, will be allowed to enter subject to a strict isolation period.

In response to the Government’s move, Kenya introduced its own restrictions on travel from the UK, imposing similar measures to those faced by travellers going the other way.

Kenya recently introduced new lockdown restrictions in five counties due to a third wave of coronavirus.

The country, which is heavily reliant on tourism, began Covid-19 vaccinations on 5 March, with the Government saying it hoped the campaign would mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

But three weeks later its president Uhuru Kenyatta described soaring infections and the highest daily death rate since the pandemic began.

Kenya as of Thursday this week had reported 126,170 cases and 2,092 deaths in total. By George Martin, i News


If you’ve had your shots, you can pack your bags. Americans who are fully vaccinated can travel domestically and internationally at “a low risk” to themselves as long as they mask up and avoid crowds, federal health officials said Friday.

US residents who have had their shots don’t need to quarantine or be tested for the coronavirus before or after traveling within the US, according to updated guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccinated Americans don’t need to get a COVID-19 test before boarding an international flight — unless the country requires it — but should get one before returning to the US, according to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“The new guidance today speaks to travel. We state that fully vaccinated people can resume travel at low risk to themselves,” Walensky said at a White House press briefing Friday.


“For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can fly [domestically] to visit their healthy grandchildren without getting a  COVID-19 test or self-quarantining.”

“However, fully vaccinated people should get tested and have a negative test result before they board an international flight back into the United States,” she said.

Travelers flying to other countries should still be tested three to five days after arrival in the US, she said.

But she warned that now is not a good time to travel due to a recent surge in infections.

“While we believe fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases,” she said.

The agency previously warned against unnecessary travel even for vaccinated people, but said it would update its guidelines as more people got the jabs.

“Every day you get more data, and you change your guidance based on the existing data,” said Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health.

New York Post/With Post wires

The Saudi connections of two detained male associates of Prince Hamzah have sparked speculation about Riyadh’s relationship with Amman
Former head of the royal court Bassem Awadallah was arrested by Jordanian forces on 3 April for "security reasons". (Pictured June 2006, AFP)sharethis sharing button

On Saturday evening, Jordanian forces carried out a large-scale arrest campaign reportedly targeting at least 14 people accused of "undermining the security" of Jordan, including Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of King Abdullah II and former crown prince of Jordan.

While Jordanian authorities have stressed that Prince Hamzah is not under arrest, the Jordanian royal released a video on Saturday evening in which he said he had been instructed by the army chief of staff to limit his movements and communications while an investigation was ongoing.

Those arrested are reported to include people close to the former crown prince - including his office manager, bodyguards, and palace manager - in addition to  a number of former state officials.

So far, Jordanian authorities have revealed only the identities of two detainees: Sharif Hassan bin Zaid and Bassem Awadallah, as Jordan's state news agency Petra reported that both had been "arrested, among others, for security reasons".

Prince Hamzah, the son of late King Hussein and his last wife, Queen Noor, is a well-known figure who has reportedly been critical of the Hashemite monarchy under his half-brother's reign.

There has been much speculation about the others accused of involvement in what some have described as an alleged coup attempt. 

Both bin Zaid and Awadallah's strong ties with the Saudi leadership have led to speculation inside Jordan about what role, if any, Riyadh may have played in the recent events.

Who is Bassem Awadallah?

Awadallah served as economic secretary to the Jordanian premier from 1992 to 1996. He was appointed head of Jordan's royal court in 2007, before being sacked from the position less than a year later. 

Following his dismissal, Awadallah moved to Dubai and established a company, Tomouh, reportedly living between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

According to the records of Companies House in the UK, Awadallah has extensive partnerships with Saudi businessmen in the Arab National Bank (ANB) and heads the bank's London branch, along with a number of Saudi partners.

He is also known for maintaining a network of prominent business connections, including through his presence on the board of directors of Al Baraka Banking Group in Bahrain.

Awadallah is reported to have spent the last few years working as a consultant for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with some news outlets calling him one of the masterminds of the privatisation of Saudi Arabia's energy giant Aramco

Awadallah, 56, appeared alongside bin Salman at the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) held in Riyadh in January.

Who is Sharif Hassan bin Zaid?

Sharif Hassan bin Zaid al-Nasser is a somewhat obscure member of the Jordanian Hashemite royal family, who is known to be close with Prince Hamzah.

Unconfirmed reports have states that bin Zaid formerly served as King Abdullah's special envoy to Saudi Arabia.

He is also said to have significant business ties to Riyadh. Jordanian news website al-Ghawas reported that bin Zaid "lives and owns investments in Saudi Arabia".

Some Jordanian news outlets have reported that bin Zaid holds dual Jordanian-Saudi citizenship.

Speculation on Saudi connection

Shortly after news broke of Saturday’s arrests, Saudi Arabia issued an official statement to express solidarity with the Jordanian king, making it the first country to comment on the recent turbulence. 

"We stand with Jordan and support the decisions of King Abdullah to preserve the security of his country," the Saudi royal court said.

Netanyahu vs King Abdullah: Israel and Jordan relationship hits low point
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The connections between Awadallah, bin Zaid and Riyadh have raised some eyebrows, but Jordanian MP Omar Al-Ayasra ruled out the possibility of Saudi Arabia's involvement in internal Jordanian tensions.

"I do not think that what happened has any external ties or has anything to do with neighbouring countries," he told Middle East Eye. "The theories about [Prince Hamzah’s] ability to replace the king are internal files par excellence. I do not think that any foreign party can bet on him because he lacks the necessary qualities that could allow him to dethrone the king and take his place."

The deputy attributed the crackdown to claims that "Prince Hamzah has become a source of inconvenience for the political system, with the presence of social forces and some protesters who sympathize with him, which prompted the authorities to take firm measures to contain the issue once and for all".

King Abdullah II himself is no stranger to Riyadh. As recently as 8 March, the monarch flew to Saudi Arabia, accompanied by his son, Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah. Little information came out about the purpose of the meeting, with Jordan's royal court only stating that King Abdullah had met with the influential Saudi crown prince, for whom Awadallah has done consulting work.

Saudi Arabia's quick response to Saturday's events may have two explanations, Ayasra hypothesised.

"First, the nature of relations between the two countries has always been characterised by mutual and unconditional solidarity on any given file," he said. "The second reason is explained by the implication of Awadallah in the case, which made Saudi Arabia rush to dismiss any doubts about its role in what is happening in Jordan."

As the story of the alleged coup unfurls, more light may well be shed on the allegations currently levelled against Awadallah and bin Zaid - as well as on Prince Hamzah. By MEE Correspondent, MEE

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