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The South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF) has dared the Bari Community leadership of Central Equatoria State to dispel the army’s stand that the rebel National Salvation Front (NAS) has a presence in Mangala Payam.

This follows several counter exchanges, through the press and public statements, made by the army, the Bor Community, and the Bari Community leaders because of clashes between pastoralists from Bor and Bari tribesmen.

SSPDF Spokesperson Major General Lul Ruai, during a press conference convened on Tuesday at the military headquarters in Juba, tasked the chairperson of the Bari Community, Stephen Pitia Lako, to prove that there were no NAS rebels in Mangala because the SSPDF knows otherwise.

Genesis

In mid-December and through the Christmas festive season, youth from Mangala Payam of Juba County clashed with Dinka Bor pastoralists, forcing many Bari households to flee to islands in River Nile.

On Christmas Day, the SSPDF said its troops on a reconnaissance clashed with NAS rebels in Mangala Payam and killed five rebel soldiers. NAS later released a statement saying they have no presence in the area.

Mangala Payam also hosts flood-displaced people from Bor County in Jonglei State who were settled there by mutual agreement between the Central Equatoria and the national ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management.

On 30 December 2022, Stephen Pitia Lako, the chairperson of the Bari Community, during a press conference in Juba, issued a strongly worded statement and called for the withdrawal of the SSPDF from the eastern and western banks of the River Nile.

He said the army, which was deployed to Mangala Payam to protect conflict-affected people, was now posing insecurity and preventing the movement of civilians and goods and shelling displaced civilians in the islands.

Bior. K. Bior, the chairman of the Bor Community Youth Association (BCYA), weighed in through a letter dated 26 December 2022 and faulted NAS rebels and Bari youths for attacking pastoralists from Bor who are IDPs in Mangala.

SSPDF response

However, on Tuesday, Gen Ruai called out the Bari Community leadership and tasked them to prove that there are no NAS rebel bases and or presence in Mangala and nearby islands and that the army killed innocent civilians.

He called for a joint fact-finding committee comprised of the SSPDF and the Bari Community.

Ruai said that before the bombardment of the island, SSPDF troops reconnoitring had been attacked after discovering NAS trenches in defensive positions.

“We in the SSPDF General Headquarters are calling and demanding for a joint fact-finding mission and verification team to be sent to some of the islands where we found foxholes and defensive trenches as well as show them the mortar shells we recovered after we engaged with NAS rebels,” Gen Ruai said.

He warned of legal action against the Bari community leader.

“For them to prove us wrong or for us to prove them wrong, it is only the fact-finding mission that will clear the air and will determine who is wrong in terms of saying this or that. What will happen to the chairperson of the Bari Community if he does not provide satisfactory answers to the fundamental questions?” Gen. Ruai asked. “There are three courses of action that can be taken; he could be forgiven for saying what he does not know; the second is that the SSPDF is an institution, and before the law, as an institution, has the right to be sued or sue if defamed.”

The SSPDF mouthpiece said his December 2022 statement on the Mangala clashes was taken out of context and that he did not refer to the Bari Community as NAS rebel fighters.

“In the first place, the first statement of SSDPF was taken out of context. There is not anywhere in my text where I said the Bari are NAS rebels. Even if we go for interpretation, there is nothing as such in that statement,” he said. - Radio Tamazuj

Amazon has revealed plans to shut three UK warehouses in a move which will affect 1,200 jobs. 

The company has launched consultations over the closure of sites in Hemel Hempstead, Doncaster, and Gourock in the west of Scotland. All workers at the sites will be offered roles at other Amazon locations.

The online retail giant has also revealed plans for two new major fulfilment centres in Peddimore, West Midlands, and Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, which will create 2,500 jobs over the next three years.

Around 500 employees currently work at Amazon’s Hemel Hempstead site and will all be offered roles at its Dunstable warehouse or other nearby locations.

The consultations will involve around 400 staff at its Doncaster site in Balby Carr Bank, who the company plans to transfer to its two other fulfilment centres at Doncaster’s iPort. The proposals will also affect around 300 workers currently based at the Gourock site.

It is understood that these proposals are separate from Amazon’s recently announced plans to cut around 18,000 jobs worldwide as part of a drive to cut costs. That figure has already swelled from the 10,000 jobs initially placed on the chopping block in November 2022.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We’re always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees and customers. 

“As part of that effort, we may close older sites, enhance existing facilities, or open new sites, and we’ve launched a consultation on the proposed closure of three fulfilment centres in 2023. We also plan to open two new fulfilment centres, creating 2,500 new jobs, over the next three years.

“All employees affected by site closure consultations will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other facilities, and we remain committed to our customers, employees and communities across the UK.”

Steve Garelick, GMB union organiser, said: “This is a real kick in the teeth for Amazon staff who worked themselves into the ground during the festive rush. Hard-up Amazon workers can’t suddenly be expected to up sticks and move to a different fulfilment centre, which may be many miles away.

“Local workers may not be in a position to take roles so far away from where they live.”

He also claimed that Amazon has “failed to bring a stable employment model due to their long-standing health and safety issues and poor workplace practices”.

“To move forward with stability, Amazon needs to engage with the workforce through their union GMB,” he added.  By E&T editorial staff

What you need to know:

Bishop Twinomujuni said that many fraudsters are imposing themselves on God's people and many have ended up making mistakes

The bishop of West Ankole Diocese Johnson Twinomujuni on Sunday warned Christians against impostors in the names of pastors and bishops. 

Bishop Twinomujuni said that many fraudsters are imposing themselves on God's people and many have ended up making mistakes. 

The cleric was speaking at the closing of the 14th annual youth convention at Bweranyangi cathedral in Bushenyi District under the theme 'Be Wise' noting that a lot of people have been tempted by fake bishops and pastors.

“I have seen miracles in my life from the church and the ministry however each day there is a new church, pastor, and bishop coming up, so we have many fake bishops and pastors. Be firm, don't just accept anyone because they are speaking about God,” he said.

 He went ahead and asked the government to intervene and distinguish between good and bad.

 Rev. Geoffrey Byarugaba from Bugolobi Church of Uganda, who was the main preacher, said the young people have a big assignment in changing the present and the future of their families and communities.

"We must guard our church and our religion because God gave us wisdom and as Christians, we have obligations to fulfil.

Ms Margaret Rwebyambu the Member of Parliament (MP) Mbarara District said the government is facing several challenges in handling youth matters because of poor upbringing saying such conventions will prepare them into good and responsible citizens.

"Bad elements are targeting youth and recruiting them into acts like homosexuality, joining rebel groups because they know their weakness, but young people who have grown in the church can't be deceived easily," she said.  By Milton Bandiho, Daily Monitor

 

NAIROBI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua ) -- Kenya has rolled out a study to interrogate people at risk of developing psychosis and unveiled an advanced technology to pick out brain activity indicative of the condition, a scientist said Monday.

"We have seen a lot of people on our streets who have Schizophrenia and our leading mental health institution -Mathari Hospital in Nairobi is recording high numbers of people with psychosis," said David Ndetei, the founding director of Nairobi-based Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation (AMHRTF), during the launch in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

He stated that the study is important because Schizophrenia is a debilitating condition that becomes hard to treat once it takes a chronic form. The study will screen at least 12,000 people aged 17-30 in urban and peri-urban areas to spotlight risk factors associated with psychosis and subsequently inform preventive interventions.

The project has received funding to the tune of 370.87 million shillings (about 3 million U.S. dollars) with the results expected to be released in a time frame of two years.

Psychosis is a state of mind where a person has lost perception of reality and begins to hear voices that are not in existence and believe in things that are not true, according to Daniel Mamah, the principal researcher for the study.

"Schizophrenia is a form of psychosis. Some of the known causes of psychosis include genetics and drug-induced psychosis such as the use of marijuana. The study will help us learn more associated risk factors," Mamah said. - Xinhua

Dr Uzziel NDAGIJIMANA, Rwanda's Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, and Arthur Germond, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Director in Rwanda signed a 37-million-euro loan and a 1.2 million euro grant for a project that aims to improve Rwanda's public services through digitization and support innovations with high development potential.

Under Priority Area three of Economic Transformation Pillar of the National Strategy for Transformation One (NST1), Rwanda aims to establish itself as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy including providing high standards, quality services and customer care across public and private sectors. Public services are still hampered by old local computer networks, and the potential for using geospatial data is still untapped. Moreover, after initial emblematic successes such as the use of drones to deliver blood bags to health centers, the government has expressed its desire to accelerate the development of the drone industry.

Government of France through AFD is supporting these priorities with a €37 million loan and a €1.2 million grant. This support will allow, starting from 2023, modernisation and harmonisation of network infrastructure of central and local administrations, in particular those having direct interactions with citizens (districts and sector offices, hospitals and other government agencies), with the aim of improving the efficiency and capacity to provide quality public services.

A Geospatial Hub (GeoHub), a centralized geospatial data infrastructure and services will also be set up and managed by the Rwanda Space Agency. It will help improve evidence-based development, planning, monitoring and evaluation of public policies in various fields (urban planning, response to natural disasters, health, agriculture, etc.).

Finally, AFD will support the drone sector, in which Rwanda has been a global pioneer by financing the construction of a centre of excellence as part of a Drone Operations Center (DOC), in Huye, Southern Province, which will be a place to test new-use cases for the industry. The DOC will be managed by a private company.

In parallel, AFD granted a €1.2M envelope to mobilize French expertise in the areas of the project.

The structuring of this ambitious project was made possible by the D4D Hub, a global digital cooperation of the European Union, which financed the feasibility studies.

"We are delighted with the signature of this new project, AFD's first financing in Rwanda in the digital sector! Because it will enable the delivery of quality public services in key institutions across the country, this 

project will help reduce access gap between the capital and the rest of the country. It will also make the country more attractive and create economic opportunities in Huye district thanks to support for the drone industry," said Arthur Germond, AFD's Director in Rwanda.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana said: “The financing we just concluded today with AFD will support Government of Rwanda’s efforts to modernize the administrative network infrastructure, operationalize a Geospatial Center of Excellence and a Drone Operation Center with the objective of improving government’s efficiency and capacity to deliver services, unlocking drone private sector development, and supporting policy design, monitoring and evaluation across government. It will also support innovation and economic development based on geospatial and drone generated data-base.''  by: Marlene Mutimawase, Africa Tech

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