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Burundi Reiterates Support for Morocco’s Territorial Integrity. Photo Morocco World News


Rabat – Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Albert Shingiro reiterated today his country’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Shingiro also reaffirmed Burundi’s support for the UN-led political process, emphasizing the efficiency of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.

Morocco submitted the autonomy initiative to the Security Council in 2007 as part of national efforts to help the UN find an agreed upon political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

The plan suggests making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region that remains under Morocco’s sovereignty. 

The initiative seeks to allow the region’s inhabitants to manage their social, economic, and political affairs while Morocco handles defense and diplomacy. 

Burundi’s FM made his remarks during a press briefing following a meeting with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

The meeting also served as an opportunity to stress Burundi’s unchanged decision to maintain its diplomatic representation in Rabat and its consulate general in Laayoune, according to Morocco’s state media.

The announcement refuted claims pro-Polisario websites have promoted, which said that Burundi closed its representation in Laayoune due to “financial” issues.

Burundi was among a list of 18 countries that opened diplomatic representations in Laayoune and Dakhla, southern Morocco, to reflect their support for Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Burundi opened its consulate in Laayoune on February 28.

The country will install its consul general in Laayoune “shortly,” Shingiro announced.

He said that his country’s position has manifested itself on several occasions and in different ways.

The Burundian official also welcomed Morocco’s decision to open a resident embassy in Bujumbura, seeking to boost cooperation between the two countries in different fields.

He said that the embassy will serve as a diplomatic bridge between the two capitals.

Burundi and Morocco signed today a cooperation roadmap covering the period from 2021 and 2024.

The cooperation reflects the countries’ common desire to intensify their relations, according to Morocco’s state media.

Bourita and Shingiro signed the roadmap.

The cooperation will include granting scholarships for students and trainees from Burundi to Moroccan public higher education institutions.

Under the cooperation roadmap, Morocco will also share expertise in different fields with senior officials from Burundi.

The North African country will support Burundi in preparing files relating to the development of infrastructure of strategic projects for the country. It will also support Burundi in obtaining support from regional and international funding organizations with which Morocco maintains relations. - Safaa Kasraoui, Morocco World News


Rwandan Hutu rebels denied allegations they were behind the killing of the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and instead accused the armies of the DRC and Rwanda of responsibility.

An Italian Carabinieri unit, meanwhile, was expected in DRC on Tuesday to investigate.

Luca Attanasio died of his wounds on Monday after a World Food Programme (WFP) convoy came under fire near the eastern city of Goma while he was on a field trip. The Italian government said an Italian policeman, Vittorio Iacovacci, and a driver it did not identify also died.

DRC’s interior ministry blamed the killings on “members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR]”, a Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has plagued the region for more than a quarter of a century.

But the FDLR rejected the allegation in a statement received by AFP news agency on Tuesday.

It said the ambassador’s convoy was attacked near the Rwandan border, “not far from a position of the FARDC [DRC’s armed forces] and Rwandan soldiers”.

“The responsibility for this despicable killing is to be found in the ranks of these two armies and their sponsors who have forged an unnatural alliance to perpetuate the pillaging of eastern DRC,” it said.

The FDLR denied “being involved in the attack” and called on Kinshasa and UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO to “shed light” on the killings “instead of resorting to hasty accusations”.

DRC and Rwanda authorities have not reported the presence of any regular Rwandan troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But an analyst at the Kivu Security Tracker, a US monitor, said: “The FDLR are near the place where the attack took place. It’s in the realm of possibility that the Rwandan rebels are responsible for this attack.”

Attacks increasing

It is unusual for a top diplomat to be targeted in eastern DRC, but attacks have been rising, Pierre Boisselet, coordinator of the Kivu Security Tracker, said.

“Attacks on humanitarians and kidnappings of humanitarian workers have been increasing. Last year we recorded 12 of those incidents in North and South Kivu, but only one ended in a death,” he said.

“Usually violence by armed groups targets civilians,” or civilians are hurt amid clashes between armed groups and the army.

The attack, 25km (15 miles) north of Goma, was right next to Virunga National Park.

DRC’s interior ministry said four other people in the convoy were kidnapped, but one person was found by the army.

The UN vehicles were hijacked by the attackers and taken into the bush. The Congolese army and park guards for Virunga National Park responded to the attack and there was an exchange of fire, according to North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita.

‘Heinous targeting’

Attanasio was shot in the abdomen and was then transported to the UN Mission in Congo hospital where he died from his wounds, according to the interior ministry. The driver and police officer died at the scene.

The WFP said the attack occurred on a road that had been cleared previously for travel without security escorts, and it was seeking more information from local officials on the attack.

UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the determination of whether roads are safe is normally made by UN security officials in the country.

He said he had no details on “the exact unfolding of the incident,” and “the investigation will bring, hopefully, clarity to that”.

Attanasio, 43, represented Italy in Kinshasa since 2017, first as head of mission and then as ambassador from October 2019.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella described the ambush as a “cowardly attack.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement urging the DRC to swiftly investigate a “heinous targeting” of a UN mission.

Scores of militias roam the DRC’s four eastern provinces, many a legacy of wars in the 1990s that pulled in its regional neighbours and killed millions.

Monday’s attack occurred in the thickly forested, mountainous terrain of the Nyiaragongo Territory – north of the North Kivu capital of Goma – one of the most dangerous parts of the country.

The FDLR is one of a number of armed groups operating there.

Eastern DRC remains one of the most insecure parts of the expansive country. More than 2,000 civilians were killed last year by armed rebel groups, according to a UN report last week.

Attanasio is the second European ambassador to have been killed while serving in the DRC. In January 1993, French Ambassador Philippe Bernard was killed during riots in Kinshasa sparked by troops opposing former President Mobutu Sese Seke. - Al Jazeera

The immigration department is keen. Photo Shutterstock


Foreign countries are sceptical of customary marriage declarations without a certificate of marriage. I’ve read many journals on issues relating to marriage and divorce, and sometimes, the law has a hand in it.

During my visit to the USA a few years ago, I noticed that many Kenyans living abroad had landed into trouble with the immigration authorities over their marital statuses.

The problem has become so grave that the US immigration department is regularly turning down applications by Kenyans for permanent residency. The seed of the problem is planted while one is still in Kenya during the tedious and expensive process of applying for a US visa.


One of the application forms requires every applicant to state their marital status. Many Kenyans who have undergone a traditional marriage ceremony or are living with their partners, predictably, indicate that they are married. But paperwork is critical if you’re going to live abroad.

After a few months in the USA, you realize that they need proof of your marital status if married. So as the Kenyan you are, you decide to get creative...Change your status to single and buy yourself an easy ticket to permanent residency.

But unfortunately, the immigration department is keen. And when they run their routine background checks, they notice the conflicting information on your Visa. This misrepresentation is used to deny your application for permanent residency status.

The issue of marital status has seen many Kenyans face rejection when it comes to acquiring US citizenship. One could argue that the governments abroad are to blame for not recognizing our customary marriages. But maybe our own government should take some blame too for not enforcing legal measures to marriage.

In Kenya, the law recognizes four main types of marriage; civil marriages, which are usually celebrated at the Attorney General’s chambers, religious marriages (Hindu, Christian, and Muslim), which are celebrated at places of worship, customary marriages and common-law marriages.

Civil and religious marriages are easy to prove thanks to the marriage certificate and national marriage register. If a foreign government wishes to establish if a person is married in Kenya, it would merely need to ask the Registrar of Marriages if the marriage is entered in the Register

Things, however, get tricky when it comes to marriages under customary law and common law. Customary marriages have remained recognized in law, but there is no formal regime to register them and provide for the issuance of marriage certificates. This is usually not necessary as long as the couple is still happily cohabiting.

Issues, however, arise in divorce proceedings and in succession matters where one of the spouses has passed away. The only way to prove a customary marriage is by calling witnesses who can provide evidence that dowry was paid and a traditional marriage ceremony conducted

So it’s not hard to see why many applications for permanent residency abroad get declined. It is true that we all want to live the American Dream and many Kenyans often find themselves in a tight spot – either deny their spouses here and get the freedom abroad or stick with their spouses and fail the immigration test. -  Karuri Muthaka, The Standard

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