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Gunfire heard at Mali army base, warnings of possible mutiny | News

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Soldiers have taken up arms near Mali’s capital and staged an apparent mutiny amid an ongoing political crisis in the country.

The soldiers on Tuesday fired their guns into the air in the base in Kati, a garrison town some 15km (nine miles) from Bamako, while witnesses said armoured tanks and military vehicles could be seen on its streets, according to media reports.

Some senior government ministers and army officers were also reportedly under arrest but it was not clear by whom.

There was confusion about the scale of the apparent mutiny and it was not immediately clear who was behind it, nor where embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita – who has faced weeks of opposition protests calling for his departure – was when it erupted. Reports said he had been taken to a safe location.

A French military source told Reuters news agency discussions were taking place between Mali’s army command and the mutineers.

Speaking from Bamako, journalist Mohamed Salah told Al Jazeera that the situation in Kati was “very confusing”, with reports of soldiers putting up barricades in the town and detaining officials.

In the capital, hundreds of people poured into the square around the Independence Monument, the site of mass anti-Keita protests since June.

“Whether he’s been arrested or not, what is certain is that his end is near. God is granting our prayers. IBK is finished,” Haidara Assetou Cisse, a teacher, told Reuters, referring to the president by his initials.

Opposition supporters gathered at Independence Square in Bamako to express support for the actions of the soldiers [Rey Byhre/Reuters]

Later on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, who was appointed by Keita in 2019 but does not belong to a political party, called on the mutinying soldier to stand down, urging dialogue to resolve the situation.

The mutiny “reflects a certain frustration that could have legitimate causes. The government of Mali asks all the authors of these acts to stand down,” Cisse said in a statement. 

The West African bloc ECOWAS has also urged the soldiers “to return to their barracks without delay”.

“This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, ECOWAS has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” the bloc said in a statement.

The French Foreign Ministry supported the appeal from ECOWAS, saying in a statement is was closely following the developments in its former colony. 

Earlier, the French Embassy said: “Because of serious unrest this morning, August 18, in the city of Bamako, it is immediately recommended to remain at home”. 

Similarly, the Norwegian Embassy in Mali said in an alert to its citizens: “The embassy has been notified of a mutiny in the Armed Forces and troops are on their way to Bamako. Norwegians should exercise caution and preferably stay at home until the situation is clear.” 

The US Embassy, for its part, issued an alert advising its staff to “shelter-in-place”.

Keita’s opponents have led mass protests for more than two months, demanding his resignation amid growing dissatisfaction over Mali’s economic woes, perceived high-level corruption and the failure to contain a worsening security situation that has rendered vast swathes of the country ungovernable.

At least 14 protesters were killed during three days of clashes with security forces last month, according to the United Nations and human rights activists.

Regional powers are worried that any prolonged unrest from the protests could derail the battle against armed fighters in the wider Sahel region, many of whom are centred in Mali.

On March 21, 2012 a mutiny erupted at the Kati military camp as rank-and-file soldiers began rioting and then broke into the camp’s armoury. After grabbing weapons they headed for the seat of government, led by then Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo.

The turmoil contributed to the fall of northern Mali to fighters and Sanogo was later forced to hand over power to a civilian transitional government that then organised an election.

The 2013 vote was won by Keita, who got re-elected five years later.

Underscoring the fear of Mali falling into further disarray over the current political crisis, ECOWAS has stepped in to mediate and urged Keita to share power in a unity government.

The 75-year-old president has also proposed some concessions, but these moves have been roundly rejected by opposition leaders who remain steadfast in calling for Keita’s departure.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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