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UN renews Lebanon peacekeeping mandate with minor changes | News

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Beirut, Lebanon – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously approved a resolution to renew the mandate of UN peacekeeping forces stationed on Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, making only minor changes after weeks of tough negotiations, a source at the UN told Al Jazeera.

The renewal was set to be officially announced by the UN at 22:30 GMT.

The 42-year-old mission’s troop ceiling was reduced from 15,000 to 13,000 after pressure from the United States and its ally Israel, both of which have blasted the force as ineffective in curbing the activities of Hezbollah. The force is, however, currently made up of only around 10,500 troops, and the change will likely have little effect on the ground.

Language was also inserted into the French-drafted resolution asking the Lebanese government to grant the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) “prompt and full access” to sites that it wants to investigate, including potential tunnels from Lebanon into Israel. It also condemns “in the strongest terms” attempts to restrict the movement of UN troops in their area of operations, but notes its respect for Lebanese sovereignty.

UNIFIL mediates regular meetings between the Lebanese and Israeli armies, aimed at keeping tensions low, in addition to its monitoring work and regular patrols of southern border areas.

Its activities have sometimes been impeded by local farmers and villagers as well as by private property belonging to citizens, or NGOs aligned with Hezbollah.

The multinational force has been stationed at Lebanon’s southern border since 1978, deployed during the country’s civil war. Its mandate was widened following the month-long 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah that left more than 1,100 Lebanese dead, mostly civilians, and killed more than 100 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Since US President Donald Trump took office, his administration has pushed for changes to the mission’s mandate, arguing it has failed to implement UNSC Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war and called for the removal of all armed groups in the south except the Lebanese army.

Hezbollah maintains a heavily armed presence and shared video of rockets it fired towards an Israeli army vehicle near the border last year. It said the move was in retaliation for an Israeli drone attack on southern Beirut, where the Iran-backed group is headquartered.

Lebanon, for its part, has long criticised the UN for failing to stop near-daily Israeli infringements on Lebanese sovereignty via air, sea and land. But Lebanese officials argue that the force should be maintained as is, in order to help maintain calm at the border.

The efficacy of the peacekeeping force has come into further question in the past month after Israel twice shelled Lebanese border areas, both times alleging it had acted in response to provocations by Hezbollah. The armed group denied any involvement in the first incident in late July but has not denied the second, which took place earlier this week.

Despite promising an investigation into the July incident, a diplomatic source previously told Al Jazeera that it had been inconclusive. A UNIFIL spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment at the time.



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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