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MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday the government will invest in maritime security to ensure the safety of the industry.

Kenyatta made the pledge during the presentation of the Presidential and Regimental Colors to the Kenya Navy Manda Bay Base, an exercise that will see the military installation gain expanded operational autonomy as it sets out to become a more geo-strategic facility for national, regional and global security operations.

While noting that emerging maritime security challenges require responsive multilateral approaches, President Kenyatta promised that Kenya will continue to actively engage with partners to improve its naval capabilities and that the government will continue allocating adequate resources to the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to enable them to fulfill their mandate of securing the country's interests.

"I call upon the local communities and leadership to collaborate with security agencies to achieve the success we desire," said the president in the coastal Lamu County, stressing that the frontline military installation plays a critical role in defending Kenya's sovereignty, maintaining territorial integrity, and securing the nation's maritime borders.

In a statement released by the presidency, Kenyatta said that Manda is an "invaluable listening and watching tower for Kenya and Kenyans." And the expansion of the naval base's operational autonomy was meant to establish a military installation with adequate capacity to respond to all forms of enemy aggression.

"The Kenya Navy Base Manda Bay is of utmost significance in enhancing counterterrorism efforts and maritime security, besides protecting the country's port infrastructure. In addition, this base boosts security in the region and guards vital trade routes that are the lifeblood of international commerce," said Kenyatta, who singled out the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor projects such as the new port, roads and other supporting infrastructure as some of the prized national and international investments that the military base is tasked to proactively protect round the clock. - Xinhua

Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda's 1994 genocide, is escorted in handcuffs from the courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda, Sept. 25, 2020. Photo Reuters

 

Rights groups in Africa have condemned the Rwandan High Court’s sentencing of Paul Rusesabagina, made famous in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda, to 25 years in prison. The court on Monday found Rusesabagina and 20 other suspects guilty of terrorism. Rusesabagina denies the charges, and critics say his arrest and trial did not meet international standards for justice.

Bahima Macumi fled to Kenya more than 20 years ago following Rwanda's civil war, but has been following Rusesabagina's trial closely.

He said Rusesabagina clearly did not get a fair trial.

He says this shows the Rwandan government does not want to be corrected, because if it did, they would have at least listened to this person who saved over 1,000 people. He says if the person who saved over 1,000 people can be called a terrorist, what would they call the one who did not save anybody?

To the world at large, Rusesabagina is a hero for sheltering at-risk Tutsis and Hutus in the Kigali hotel he managed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

To the Rwandan government, he is a threat, a fierce critic of President Paul Kagame who allegedly supported a militia group that seeks to overthrow the Rwandan government.

Human rights advocates are condemning his conviction.

According to Amnesty International, the Monday court ruling puts in question the fairness of Rwanda's judicial system when it comes to high-profile and sensitive cases.

Sarah Jackson is Amnesty’s deputy regional director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes.

"We found many fair trial violations, including his unlawful rendition to Rwanda, his imposed disappearance at the beginning of the case and his initial inability to select a lawyer of his own choosing and all of these things during the pretrial period impact the fairness of the trial itself," Jackson said.

Rusesabagina has 30 days to appeal his conviction, but rights groups doubt that judges can make an impartial decision on the case. Human Rights Watch's Lewis Mudge explains.

"Unfortunately, this case has become an emblematic case in Rwanda so much that it really does highlight the lack of independence in the judiciary," Mudge said. "It's difficult for us to say that an appeal should happen or will happen because that will imply a degree of confidence in the judicial system that is currently in Rwanda.”

Rusesabagina says he was tricked into going to Rwanda in August of 2020. He had boarded a flight in Dubai that he believed was bound for Burundi, only for the flight to land in Kigali, where he was quickly arrested.

He went on trial along with 20 others in February. U.S State Department spokesman Ned Price Monday said the reported lack of fair trial in Rusesabagina's case calls into question the fairness of the verdict. Rwandan prosecutors maintain the trial was fair. - Victoria Amunga, Voice of America

 

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 21, 2021/APO Group/ -- High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Kenya Velupillai Kananathan called on the Kenyan Foreign Minister Ambassador Raychelle Omamo in Nairobi, on 15 September, 2021.

At the outset, the Foreign Minister highlighted the growing relations between the two countries and thanked the High Commissioner for injecting new dynamism and creating a momentum in the relations between Kenya and Sri Lanka through various activities and engagements. Foreign Minister Omamo said that Kenya and Sri Lanka are enjoying more than five decades of friendly relations which proved the natural synergy between the two countries for greater bilateral cooperation.

High Commissioner Kananathan emphasized that the recent air connectivity between Colombo and Nairobi by the Sri Lankan Airlines was the turning point in bringing the two countries physically close to deepen the bilateral cooperation. The High Commissioner briefed the Foreign Minister on the ongoing vibrant vaccination drive in Sri Lanka under the direct guidance of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to inoculate the entire population in the shortest possible time. He further opined that with the successful eradication of COVID-19, the air connectivity will enable trade, investment, tourism, people and people contact to gradually increase between the two countries. As regards the cooperation at multilateral forums, High Commissioner Kananathan added that the two countries should continue to work together at multilateral forums for the mutual benefit of the countries. Foreign Minister Omamo responded by reassuring of Kenya’ s support to continue the existing effective cooperation between Kenya and Sri Lanka at international and regional forums including in the United Nations and its agencies, Commonwealth, NAM, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) etc.

Both the Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner agreed to activate the bilateral mechanisms to broad-base the relations into diverse areas of cooperation. High Commissioner Kananathan said that we are blessed to have Kenya as our good friend and Sri Lanka will always remain your true friend. Sri Lanka appreciates the great ties between Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Minister Omamo thanked High Commissioner Kananathan for sustaining this partnership and for continuing on the firm foundation between the two nations. Towards that end, Foreign Minister Omamo reassured the High Commissioner the unwavering support of Foreign Ministry and all other Kenyan government and private institutions. - Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Sri Lanka

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