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Safaricom on Friday launched trials for the high-speed fifth generation (5G) network that will be powered by Nokia and Huawei.

Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa said the trials will begin with both individual and enterprise customers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega.

Kenya's biggest telecom operator, partly owned by South Africa's Vodacom and Britain's Vodafone will leverage on the super fast 5G infrastructure to entrench its data offerings.

As part of its trial, the company plans to expand the number of 5G sites to 150 across nine towns over the next 12 months, primarily to establish if customers can enjoy speeds of up to 700 Megabits per second, with plans to upscale the speeds to over 1,000 Mbps incoming months. 

“Today marks a major milestone for the country. With 5G, we aim to empower our customers with super-fast internet at work, at home and when on the move, supplementing our growing fibre network,” said Ndegwa.

He added, "That they (Huawei) are used all over the world. we find them to be reliable."

The 5G technology will be an alternative to Home Fibre and Fibre for business services, targeting customers in places where Safaricom is yet to roll out its fibre network. Data by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) indicates that by September last year, Safaricom controlled 67.5 per cent of the mobile data segment in Kenya, in addition to a 35.6 per cent share of the home and office by fibre market.

Ndegwa said enterprise and Home Internet customers on the service will be provided with a 5G router. Additionally, the 5G service will be available on mobile phones beginning with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and P40, with Nokia 8.3, Samsung Galaxy S21 series, Samsung Galaxy ZFold2 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G coming on board by the end of April 2021.

“I congratulate Safaricom on this milestone, reinforcing the country’s position at being at the forefront of innovation in the region and the world. 5G technology will usher increased internet speeds and capabilities for millions across the country, laying a strong foundation for a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information and Technology.

“As the government we cannot licence a technology that we have not tested to ensure its safety and viability. We have worked with the company (Huawei) before and we can assure Kenyans that it’s safe for use,” added CS Mucheru.

The 5G technology can support up to 1 million connected devices per square kilometre compared to 4G which can only support up to 100,000 connected devices in a similar area.

This makes 5G suitable for providing super-fast internet speeds in high density areas and for linking thousands of connected devices such as in manufacturing and supply chain management for businesses. Nokia and Huawei have been chosen as the two technology partners to implement the roll out of Safaricom’s 5G network. By Noel Wandera, PdOnline

Photo Radio Tamazuj

 

A South Sudanese human rights defender is demanding that detained musician Larson Angok be presented before a court of law for trial or released.

Last week, police in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal State detained the popular singer in what was seen as an arrest over a controversial Facebook post or his recently produced songs. 

According to the state chairperson of the artists’ union Garang Dut, Larson was arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Wau, saying he was wanted for questioning. 

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, lawyer Philip Anyang, a human rights defender said it is against the law to hold someone for more than 24 hours and called on those holding him to urgently produce him before a court of law.

“There is no reason why someone can be detained for more than 24 hours without being produced before the court of law. If there is sufficient reason for further investigations, there are orders that are sought from the investigation officer through the order of the public attorney. The arrest of Larson Angok for the last four or five days has sparked a lot of chaos from many concerned South Sudanese and it’s a question of law," Anyang said. "So the question that can be sought now is where is he being held, who is holding him, who is the complainant and why is he being arrested so these are things that have not been understood by the public.” 

Anyang added that further detention is illegal and a violation of his rights. 

“The more he is being kept there you are violating his right, freedom of expression, and the right to liberty. No one can be kept there and we are not being told why he is being kept, he should be kept as the law provides,” Anyang pointed out.

Martin Mayep, a close relative to Larson Angok reiterated that they do not know why their kin is in detention.

He said they are concerned about his health condition since they have not had access to him. 

However, South Sudan Police spokesperson Daniel Justin confirmed that Larson is in their custody and court proceedings will soon begin. 

“We finished the investigation but the decision has not yet been made. He is a police officer with an assistant rank. We are the ones who arrested him; he is under our custody. He was arrested for the mistake he made. The investigation is finished but we are waiting for the investigator to raise the issue to his commodore and he will tell me the charges. Then they will inform me of the result," he noted.

Justin did not reveal the charges leveled against the musician. - Radio Tamazuj

Ethiopia receives 2.2M COVAX COVID-19 vaccines.
Source: Twitter, WHO Ethiopia.

 44 African countries have received batches of COVID-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, the agency said in Thursday, noting that 32 of those countries had already rolled out mas vaccinations.

The WHO Africa region said in a statement that some 7.7 million doses had already been administered around the continent, though vaccine deliveries had begun slowing down.

It urged for urgent supply of more vaccine doses as countries on the continent near exhaustion of their batches. 

Most countries that have rolled out vaccination drives in Africa have targeted high risk groups including healthcare workers, the elderly and essential service providers. 

The WHO African region noted that 10 countries were yet to receive their vaccine batches, and that a critical proportion of the population targeted in the initial phase of the vaccination campaign may remain unvaccinated for months to come due to global supply chain constraints.

“A slowdown in vaccine supply could prolong the painful journey to end this pandemic for millions of people in Africa,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa. “While some high-income countries are seeking to vaccinate their entire populations, many in Africa are struggling to sufficiently cover even their high-risk groups. Acquiring COVID-19 vaccines must not be a competition. Fair access will benefit all and not just some of us.”

By Thursday, the continent had reported 4,139,706 COVID-19 infections with 110,846 deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently, some African countries have seen surged in new infections and deaths as a third wave of the virus batters the continent.

These include Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya have recorded a rising infection trend in recent weeks.

The WHO Africa region attributed the rise in cases to super-spreader events such as mass gatherings as well as a relaxation by the population in observing public health measures. How Africa

 

A squabble between a woman and her lover turned tragic last Wednesday after she killed an acquaintance.

Two others are admitted in a Nairobi hospital where they are nursing serious knife wounds.

Police officers at Kasarani Police Station had to make special arrangements to hold the woman in a lone cell after she turned violent on others. 

The woman and her lover disagreed while on their way home and started exchanging blows in an open field at Kamae in Kahawa West.

Some curious onlookers cheered them on while another group attempted to intervene.

It is at this point that things took a tragic turn when the woman pulled out a dagger and stabbed one man to death and injured two others.

Anne Mwangi, who runs a kiosk in the area, said the suspect and the three men seemed drunk and are known to each other.

Deep cut

DCI chief George Kinoti said one of the men who sustained a deep cut on his ear bled to death.  

The other injured men are currently admitted to the Kenyatta University Hospital ICU where they are receiving treatment for stab wounds. 

Those who witnessed the attack say the woman was swift and appeared to possess special skills. 

Kinoti said the police were informed by the public that the suspect was later seen licking blood off one of the victims.

The police chief said the investigators intend to take the suspect for mental examination.

“We will get into the bottom of the matter,” said Kasarani Police boss Muthuri Mwongela.

But the suspect denied that she was in possession of any special skills.

Yesterday, The Saturday Standard spoke to the suspect at the Kasarani Police Station where she will spend the next 14 days as the DCI completes the murder probe.

In an exclusive interview, the suspect claimed she was not aware that she had committed any offence and claimed that she was in communication with God who directed her to deal with errant public.

“I didn’t kill anyone. God spoke to me and asked me to deal with bad people," she claimed.

According to her, she was fighting back after unknown people attacked a prayer session she was having with her boyfriend at Kahawa West near the railway crossing.

She said she was not under the influence of any drugs. She said she was also not a drug abuser. - Kamore Maina, The Standard

Somali refugee Fatuma Yussuf Diriye is seen during an interview with Reuters in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, Aug. 13, 2018. Photo Reuters

 

NAIROBI - Kenyan authorities have ordered the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) to make plans to close two refugee camps that are home to more than 400,000 refugees, mainly Somalis and South Sudanese. While it's not the first time Kenya has threatened to close the camps, rights groups say the order could endanger refugees’ lives.

Twenty-year-old Schadrack Nishimwe, a Burundian living in the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya, fears for his future as the host nation threatens to close the camp.

If this camp is closed, he said, I can lose the peace and education I have here.  If I go back home, there is no peace. He added, if I go back, I will be admitted to a lower grade. Forget about the education system. I am not so sure I will be able to continue with my studies.

On Wednesday, Kenya ordered the closure of Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, home to at least 400,000 refugees, the majority of them Somalis.

The East African nation gave the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, two weeks to develop a plan to close the camp.

It's not the first time Kenya has threatened to close the Dadaab refugee camp. In 2016 Kenya wanted to close the camp in the northeast of the country for security reasons. It believes the camp is used by the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab to plan and carry out attacks. The plan was blocked by Kenya's high court, which termed it unconstitutional.

Abdullahi Osman, a Somali national, is one of the refugee leaders in the Dadaab camp. He said it’s too dangerous for him to go home.

He said it’s not possible to go back to Somalia.  He says if the Kenyan government wants to take us by force, that’s something else, but if we are asked to give our view, there is no safe place to go in Somalia. Many places in Somalia are insecure and there are killings.

Otsieno Namwaya is a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. He said returning refugees to volatile countries is a dangerous affair.

“What we should note is that the reasons for which refugees left their countries are still there, the situation in Somalia has not stabilized, a few refugees from South Sudan who are in the camps, the place where they came from the situation has not improved, and Burundi and many others. So for Kenya to come up right now and say they want to take them back, I think that’s in the violation of its obligations,” said Namwaya.

In a statement Wednesday, the UNHCR said the move will negatively impact refugees' lives, especially coming at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attempts to reach the Kenyan Interior Ministry, which is in charge of refugee issues, were unsuccessful.

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have been on the decline in recent years, with Mogadishu accusing Nairobi of interfering with its internal affairs. Kenya denies that allegation.

Kenya has been hosting large numbers of Somali refugees since 1991, when Somalia’s central government collapsed, and the country descended into civil war. - Mohammed Yusuf, Voice of America

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