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MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday the government will invest in maritime security to ensure the safety of the industry.

Kenyatta made the pledge during the presentation of the Presidential and Regimental Colors to the Kenya Navy Manda Bay Base, an exercise that will see the military installation gain expanded operational autonomy as it sets out to become a more geo-strategic facility for national, regional and global security operations.

While noting that emerging maritime security challenges require responsive multilateral approaches, President Kenyatta promised that Kenya will continue to actively engage with partners to improve its naval capabilities and that the government will continue allocating adequate resources to the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to enable them to fulfill their mandate of securing the country's interests.

"I call upon the local communities and leadership to collaborate with security agencies to achieve the success we desire," said the president in the coastal Lamu County, stressing that the frontline military installation plays a critical role in defending Kenya's sovereignty, maintaining territorial integrity, and securing the nation's maritime borders.

In a statement released by the presidency, Kenyatta said that Manda is an "invaluable listening and watching tower for Kenya and Kenyans." And the expansion of the naval base's operational autonomy was meant to establish a military installation with adequate capacity to respond to all forms of enemy aggression.

"The Kenya Navy Base Manda Bay is of utmost significance in enhancing counterterrorism efforts and maritime security, besides protecting the country's port infrastructure. In addition, this base boosts security in the region and guards vital trade routes that are the lifeblood of international commerce," said Kenyatta, who singled out the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor projects such as the new port, roads and other supporting infrastructure as some of the prized national and international investments that the military base is tasked to proactively protect round the clock. - Xinhua


NAIROBI, Kenya, September 21, 2021/APO Group/ -- High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kenya Velupillai Kananathan called on the Kenyan Foreign Minister Ambassador Raychelle Omamo in Nairobi, on 15 September, 2021.

At the outset, the Foreign Minister highlighted the growing relations between the two countries and thanked the High Commissioner for injecting new dynamism and creating a momentum in the relations between Kenya and Sri Lanka through various activities and engagements. Foreign Minister Omamo said that Kenya and Sri Lanka are enjoying more than five decades of friendly relations which proved the natural synergy between the two countries for greater bilateral cooperation.

High Commissioner Kananathan emphasized that the recent air connectivity between Colombo and Nairobi by the Sri Lankan Airlines was the turning point in bringing the two countries physically close to deepen the bilateral cooperation. The High Commissioner briefed the Foreign Minister on the ongoing vibrant vaccination drive in Sri Lanka under the direct guidance of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to inoculate the entire population in the shortest possible time. He further opined that with the successful eradication of COVID-19, the air connectivity will enable trade, investment, tourism, people and people contact to gradually increase between the two countries. As regards the cooperation at multilateral forums, High Commissioner Kananathan added that the two countries should continue to work together at multilateral forums for the mutual benefit of the countries. Foreign Minister Omamo responded by reassuring of Kenya’ s support to continue the existing effective cooperation between Kenya and Sri Lanka at international and regional forums including in the United Nations and its agencies, Commonwealth, NAM, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) etc.

Both the Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner agreed to activate the bilateral mechanisms to broad-base the relations into diverse areas of cooperation. High Commissioner Kananathan said that we are blessed to have Kenya as our good friend and Sri Lanka will always remain your true friend. Sri Lanka appreciates the great ties between Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Minister Omamo thanked High Commissioner Kananathan for sustaining this partnership and for continuing on the firm foundation between the two nations. Towards that end, Foreign Minister Omamo reassured the High Commissioner the unwavering support of Foreign Ministry and all other Kenyan government and private institutions. - Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Sri Lanka

Government critic Rusesabagina was portrayed as a hero for saving lives in a Hollywood film on the 1994 genocide.

Paul Rusesabagina, 67, was arrested last year on arrival from Dubai after what he described as a kidnapping by Rwandan authorities [File: Clement Uwiringiyimana/Reuters]

The case has had a high profile since Rusesabagina, 67, was arrested in August 2020 after what he described as a kidnapping from Dubai by Rwandan authorities. 

He was accused of supporting an armed wing of his opposition political platform, the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change. The group had claimed some responsibility for attacks in 2018 and 2019 in the south of the country in which nine Rwandans died.  

“He founded a terrorist organisation that attacked Rwanda, he financially contributed to terrorist activities,” Justice Beatrice Mukamurenzi said of Rusesabagina. 

‘Show trial’

Since being portrayed by actor Don Cheadle as the hero of the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, Rusesabagina – based in the United States – emerged as a prominent critic of President Paul Kagame. 

Author Michela Wrong, who recently published a book on Rwanda, told Al Jazeera the verdict was clearly a message to the opposition.

“This seems like a show trial, which is really aimed at silencing dissent, making sure that anyone standing up, criticising and challenging Kagame is simply will not be allowed to do that,” she said.

“The verdict is making clear to people who are in the diaspora and criticising Kagame that the government can get them wherever they are.”

Rusesabagina was targeted for challenging Kagame’s government for years, said Wrong.  

A Belgian citizen and US resident, Rusesabagina was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts during the genocide. 

Rusesabagina denied all charges against him, while his supporters described the trial as proof of Kagame’s ruthless treatment of political opponents.

The Rwandan government had said Rusesabagina would get a fair trial, but it has drawn international concern. In December, 36 US senators wrote to Kagame, urging him to release Rusesabagina. 

‘Enforced disappearance’

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence on nine charges, including “terrorism”, arson, taking hostages, and forming an armed rebel group that he directed from abroad.

Rusesabagina became a global celebrity after the Hollywood film, which depicted him risking his life to shelter hundreds as the manager of a luxury hotel in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, during the 100-day genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Rusesabagina used his fame to highlight what he described as rights violations by the government of Kagame, a Tutsi rebel commander who took power after his forces captured Kigali and halted the genocide. 

Rusesabagina’s trial began in February, six months after he arrived in Kigali on a flight from Dubai.

His supporters say he was kidnapped. The Rwandan government suggested he was tricked into boarding a private plane.

Human Rights Watch said at the time his arrest amounted to an “enforced disappearance”, which it called a serious violation of international law.

Rusesabagina said he was gagged and tortured before he was jailed, but Rwandan authorities denied it.  SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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