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> 2013-11-20 17:19:48
African News Panorama – Read our pick from Reuters and AP news agencies on Wednesday
KENYA – ICC to discuss the cases of Kenyan leaders
Delegates attending the annual summit of member states of the International Criminal Court have agreed to hold a special session Thursday on the African Union's proposal that sitting heads of state should not be prosecuted. The Hague-based court is under severe strain because of the prosecution of Kenya's president and his deputy. The cases are progressing despite efforts by the African Union to halt them. Kenyan Vice President William Ruto is on trial for allegedly fomenting violence in the aftermath of his country's 2007 elections and President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to go on trial in February on similar charges. Both men insist they are innocent. Last week, the U.N. Security Council rejected a resolution calling for the Kenya cases to be deferred by a year.
(Photo: Kenyas Deputy President William Ruto, right, awaiting the start of his trial in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands).
MAPUTO – Municipal elections
Mozambicans on Wednesday voted in municipal elections amid tension and sporadic violence between the government and the main opposition group. Voters were called to elect town presidents and assemblies in some 53 municipalities. The voting came a day after the opposition Renamo group said it had no intention of disrupting the vote but will boycott it. Renamo objects to the current electoral law, saying it is biased in favor of the ruling Frelimo party. The government wants Renamo fighters to disarm. The two sides fought a civil war after independence from Portugal in 1975. A peace deal was signed in 1992. State radio said voting was peaceful.
SOUTH AFRICA –Building collapse
South African investigators on Wednesday searched the rubble of a shopping mall under construction that partially collapsed on Tuesday, killing one person and injuring 29. Police said a case of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, would be opened as authorities determine who was responsible for the accident. The collapse happened in Tongaat, near the eastern coastal city of Durban. The South African Press Association quoted a municipal official as saying construction should not have been taking place because of irregularities in the work.
CAIRO – Suicide attack
A suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into one of two buses carrying off-duty soldiers in Egypt's turbulent region of northern Sinai on Wednesday, killing at least 11. The attack also seriously wounded 37 (over 35) others. Security and military officials said the suicide bomber struck when the two buses traveled on the road between the border town of Rafah and the coastal city of el-Arish. The northern Sinai region, which borders Gaza and Israel, has been restless for years, but attacks have grown more frequent and deadlier since the July ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Meanwhile, clashes late Tuesday between revolutionary youths opposed to military rule and police killed a teenager and wounded 41 others, said Ahmed el-Ansari, head of Egypt's emergency services. The violence in Cairo's famed Tahrir Square followed daylong protests marking the second anniversary of clashes between protesters and police on an adjacent street. A joint police and army contingent cleared the square of protesters late Tuesday.
HARARE – opposition members freed
Zimbabwe's main opposition says six of its supporters spent three nights in jail after they allegedly grabbed seed and fertilizer donations which they said were being distributed only to members of the ruling party. Movement for Democratic Change party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the six appeared Wednesday in court in the eastern Nyanga district where theft charges were dropped. Mwonzora said his party members objected to the biased distribution and were arrested for taking the farming supplies.