UN and South Sudanese police are doing frequent joint patrols in Jonglei State. Photos: Gideon Sackitey/UNMISS

 

From the outskirts, Anyidi looks deserted, with a long dry season having taken its toll. Scattered green patches do, however, spell good news: the imminent arrival of times of much-needed rain.

But on this day, a team of UN police officers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan arrives before the wet gifts of heaven.

Stationed in Bor, the team also consists of officers from the South Sudan National Police Service. They are all here to show the presence of law enforcement, the cooperation between peacekeepers and national police and to build trust and confidence in the district of Anyidi Payam (an administrative division).

“This short-distance patrol is also an opportunity to inspect the police post built here last year, financed by the peacekeeping mission,” says Superintendent Dorothy Namasiku Nyambe, the police coordinator at the UNMISS field office in Bor, adding that their visit is vital to assure local police officers on the ground that they can count on continued technical assistance and advice from their UN colleagues.

Anyidi town is fast establishing itself as a major trading post where cattle from the neighbouring Greater Pibor Administrative Area is sold. From here, traders continue to Bor to buy essential supplies before heading back to Pibor.

“Most of the youth here are armed, and the risk of frictions between visiting traders and residents is real. Our joint presence on the ground gives them [traders] the assurance they need to go about their normal business,” comments Akech Mapio, a Lieutenant of the South Sudanese police and advisor to the Jonglei State Police Commissioner.

The vibe is different in Makuach, where the patrol team goes next. Here, local police officers are still recovering from the shock of having six colleagues shot dead and another 21 being wounded during vicious intercommunal fighting in July last year.

“One of the officers who witnessed the carnage needs psychosocial support, which he has not yet received, but we are happy to see UN police visiting us and we hope we will see you here more often as we more forward,” says Corporal Mabior Meriel, officer in charge on the day.

Mabior and his colleagues, not to mention the women living in Makuach, are having a difficult a time during the dry season.

“We have no clean drinking water here. We get water from a shallow stream two hours away, and then we have to boil it before we can drink it. Fetching water every day is very tiring for our women,” he says, adding that mattresses and blankets are also in short supply. - GIDEON SACKITEY/FILIP ANDERSSON, UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN

 

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis urged countries in his Easter message on Sunday to quicken distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly to the world’s poor, and called armed conflict and military spending during a pandemic “scandalous”.

 Coronavirus has meant this has been the second year in a row that Easter papal services have been attended by small gatherings at a secondary altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of by crowds in the church or in the square outside.

After saying Mass, Francis read his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message, in which he traditionally reviews world problems and appeals for peace.

“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened,” he said.

Francis, who would normally have given the address to up to 100,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, spoke to fewer than 200 in the church while the message was broadcast to tens of millions around the world.

The square was empty except for a few police officers enforcing a strict three-day national lockdown.

The pope asked God to comfort the sick, those who have lost a loved one, and the unemployed, urging authorities to give families in greatest need a “decent sustenance”.

He praised medical workers, sympathised with young people unable to attend school, and said everyone was called to combat the pandemic.

“I urge the entire international community, in a spirit of global responsibility, to commit to overcoming delays in the distribution of vaccines and to facilitate their distribution, especially in the poorest countries,” he said.

Francis, who has often called for disarmament and a total ban on the possession of nuclear weapons, said: “There are still too many wars and too much violence in the world! May the Lord, who is our peace, help us to overcome the mindset of war.”

‘INSTRUMENTS OF DEATH’

Noting that it was International Awareness Day against anti-personnel landmines, he called such weapons “insidious and horrible devices … how much better our world would be without these instruments of death!”

In mentioning conflict areas, he singled out for praise “the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy and making their voices heard peacefully”. More than 550 protesters have been killed since a Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar, which the pope visited in 2017.

Francis called for peace in several conflict areas in Africa, including the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia and the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique. He said the crisis in Yemen has been “met with a deafening and scandalous silence”.

He appealed to Israelis and Palestinians to “rediscover the power of dialogue” to reach a two-state solution where both can live side by side in peace and prosperity.

Francis said he realised many Christians were still persecuted and called for all restrictions on freedom of worship and religion worldwide to be lifted. New York Post/Reuters

  •  Italy at Billionaires Beach Resort, Malindi in 2019. 
  • An increasing number of Europeans have been flocking the Kenyan coast as they escape the Covid-19 restrictions in their countries.

    The UK in January 2021, instituted a lockdown that banned all travel for its residents. At same the time, Hotel managers in Lamu and Watamu area reported an influx of travellers from December 2020 to when the year began.

    Hotels such as Peponi reported the one of the best seasons in history with 80% bed occupancy in that period.

    "It is crazy how busy we have gotten over the past months. We are full most weekends. A lot of Europeans and Brits are coming down to stay for long periods," the hotel's manager was quoted by British magazine The Independent.

    The beachfront view at the Watamu.
    The beachfront view at the Watamu. FILE

    When President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a raft of lockdown measures majorly affecting five counties - Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru, International flights were not affected.

    Travellers from the UK are exempt from quarantine with the only requirement being a negative Covid-19 test be taken within 96 hours of travel. 

    Another popular five-star hotel in Watamu, Hemingway’s, was almost fully booked for the first week of March. 

    In many of the Kenyan coastal towns, nightclubs targetting tourists are allowed to operate on a 24-hour basis and revellers party under the protection of compromised government officials. 

    Kenya's tourism industry took a heavy hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic but with the reopening of borders and the resumption of international travel.

    Kenya tourism ministry has also adopted influencer marketing by engaging British supermodel Naomi Campbell to market Kenya to the international market.

    Recently, Kenyan award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has been marketing Kenya as a tourism destination. 

    On Tuesday, March 16, the Oscar-Award-winning actress publicized her visit with photos of her vacationing in the picturesque Lamu Island, breaking her routine of a quiet entry and exit into Kenya.

    Lupita Nyong'o posing for a photo in Lamu on March 16, 2021
    Lupita Nyong'o posing for a photo in Lamu on March 16, 2021
    FACEBOOK

    A recent report by the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) showed Kenya's tourism recovery projections expecting recovering in three years.

    "We expect international arrival recovery in 2024 (at 2.2 million) from the 2019 figure of 2.1 million,” said the TRI in a report.

    Arrivals from the US, which is Kenya’s top source market, are predicted to rise to 263,601 from 245,439 in 2019.

    Arrivals from the United Kingdom are projected to go up by 13,430, China (6,171) and India (9,076).

    Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala during a visit to Maasai Mara on February 19, 2021
    Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala during a visit to Maasai Mara on February 19, 2021.Kenyans.co.ke
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