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Kenya Closes Marsabit Forest As Tribal Killings Escalate



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motorcyles - kenya - burned

*A so-called “forest of evil” in Kenya reportedly used by criminals as a hideout and is also at the center of a bloody tribal conflict is now off-limits to civilians, according to the African country’s government. The Ministry of Interior and Coordination, which recently announced the ban, said it will flush out criminals in Marsabit Forest.

“We will close all the entry and exit points of Marsabit Forest so that we will be able to know the routes they use to have their way into the forest,” said Marsabit County commissioner Evans Achoki.

A map showing Marsabit National Park in Kenya. (Jim Walsh/Zenger)

Achoki said the move would also help in dealing with animal poachers and illegal logging; the latter has been blamed for diminishing water levels in key dams in the forest. The county legislators blamed officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service for being lax in conserving the Marsabit Forest, whose notable features include a crater lake, Lake Paradise.

Among the criminals reportedly taking refuge in the forest near the country’s northern border are those responsible for several recent killings in the region. Since June 1, at least 30 people have been killed in what is believed to be tribal conflict pitting the Borana and Gabra communities areas against each other.

Police around a truck in Marsabit, Kenya. (Michael Kwena/Zenger)


Destroyed property in Marsabit, Kenya. (Michael Kwena/Zenger)

The Marsabit County Assembly women’s caucus had asked the interior ministry to conduct forceful disarmament in the area to weed out all illegal firearms in possession of locals being used to terrorize residents. Led by Safia Wako, the Sololo representative on the assembly, they said the killings in the region have paralyzed development projects there. They are also concerned about the next generation being wiped out, as killings are targeting students.

The caucus also asked the national minister for internal security, Dr. Fred Matian’gi, to pursue the killers and bring them to trial. They cited a lack of coordination between security agencies in the region even as killings continue to rise.

According to Matian’gi  and assembly security committee chairman Kiya Jillo, the killings are also linked to political incitement and asked the government to dig deeper into the matter.

Matiang’i has vowed to adopt tough measures to end Marsabit clashes that have attracted the attention of many Kenyans. Matiang’i  said he regretted that the country has lost many lives, including those of government officials who died while on peace missions to try and end the perennial tribal conflicts.

“We have had countless meetings with Marsabit county leaders but it seems things are not working. We have to change our doctrine of internal security in that particular part of the country,” he said.

Police have arrested six people, mostly politicians, for instigating violence in the region that has long been known for tribal conflicts. Those arrested were later released on bail.

Still, there are some signs of hope. Last month, the Borana Council of Elders and their counterparts in Gabra sealed a peace pact aimed at ending the clashes. The elders, who met in a closed-door session, agreed to spearhead peace talks among their communities who have been at war for a long time.

Addressing the press, Gabra Council of Elders chairman Konchora Chepe said the idea was championed by leaders who had been arrested for instigating violence in the region. The elders agreed to cease fire and resolved to hold meetings regularly in case an issue pitting the two communities arises

“The arrests taught us that we can live and work together and that’s why we are championing for our communities to live peacefully,” he said.

According to Borana Council of Elders’ chairman Guracha Boru, the fight between the two communities has hurt people, with most families losing loved ones and property. The elders have also asked youths to not be recruited by politicians wanting to use the clashes to gain “political mileage” ahead of the 2022 general elections.

The meeting was attended by 24 elders from the two communities. It was the first-ever such session held in a bid to end the tribal clashes in the region. Much of the ongoing violence between the two communities is traceable to the July 2005 Turbi massacre, in which at least 60 people were killed—including 22 children.

(Edited by Edwin Lombard and Matthew Hall.)




The post Kenya closes Marsabit Forest as tribal killings escalate appeared first on Zenger News.



2,200-lbs Croc Once Ate 3 Schoolgirls, Now Changed by ‘Marriage’




The composed demeanor of the enormous crocodile, sunning himself inside his enclosure with his “wives,” doesn’t give away the fact that Big Daddy was a killer. He shows no signs of being a threat to onlookers walking around the pond along shaky boardwalks trying to get quick photos.

Formerly, Big Daddy had been known as the Tana Terror by locals because of his attacks on local fishermen and villagers. But his female companions, Sasha and Salma, have brought out his softer side in what was an initially savage captivity.

One of the oldest and biggest crocs in Africa—estimates vary, but he’s thought to be about 120 years old or more—he spends his retirement years breeding and relaxing with his companions at the largest crocodile farm in East Africa, Mamba Village in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city.

The origin of his name is obvious: He weighs more than 1,000 kg (2,205 pounds) and is more than 15 feet long. It also derives from the character the predator displayed while being captured from his hideout, according to Mr. Hezron Awiti, the crocodile farm’s owner.

The village of Rhiketa Kubwa, situated almost 100 miles from Mombasa, rests along the meandering Tana River, one of the longest Kenyan rivers draining its waters into the Indian ocean. When the river breaks its banks, it floods whole villages and leaves people at the mercy of the blood-thirsty crocodiles.

“Big Daddy” trying to jump up to take a bite of meat dangled over him during the feeding time at the Mamba Crocodile Farm (Courtesy: John Chesoli)
Hezron Awiti, the Crocodile Farm proprietor dangles a stick to scare away “Big Daddy” at farm’s dry land area where crocodiles rest during the day (Courtesy: John Chesoli)

Almost 35 years ago, he attacked and killed five people, including three schoolgirls, in a span of four months during late 1987 and 1988 before he could be subdued, taken captive, and brought to Mamba Village. The private conservation farm raises crocodiles for meat and hides and is a tourist attraction.

Elias Juma, one of the trappers currently working as the lead ranch warden at the crocodile farm, recalled how the violent Big Daddy was taken from the river at the village of Rhiketa Kubwa. Local crocodile trappers successfully used a cow’s head as bait to trick and trap the cunning monster. He was wrapped in chains and canvas while people bayed for his blood. Angry villagers had to be restrained by rangers from Kenya Wildlife Service, a government agency, from killing the 15-foot long crocodile.

It took the whole night for trappers to overpower the cunning crocodile, pull it to the roadside using ropes, and forcefully load him into a truck, according to the farm proprietor.

The woman who had lost her three daughters to the reptile collapsed when she saw the huge crocodile being captured after a long struggle with his trappers.

Big Daddy continued to be extremely violent and hostile that after arriving in his new home; he mauled 10 of his fellow crocodiles and was put in solitary confinement.

But after Sasha and Salma, aged 39 and 44 respectively, were introduced into his enclosure a few years ago, his demeanor surprisingly changed. The farm proprietor recalled that Big Daddy began to show affection toward the two female crocodiles and immediately shared his meal with them when they were brought into his heavily protected pond.

“Big Daddy’s” fellow crocodiles bask in the sun during the day at the farm (Courtesy: John Chesoli)

Big Daddy, currently blind because of his age, eats 60 kilograms of meat per meal, which is almost equivalent to two goats. They feed once a week.

“Spectacular feeding time for Big Daddy and his two wives is always at 1700 hours every Friday when the crocodiles could be seen jumping a few meters up from their ponds to get a bite of meat and fish that is left dangling from the top by a farm warden,” Juma said.

Plans have been posed over the years to have an official wedding for the three crocs, with a meat cake of course, but the plans have been delayed by various logistical challenges.

(Edited by Cathy Jones and Allison Elyse Gualtieri.)

The post 2,200-lbs croc once ate 3 schoolgirls, now changed by ‘marriage’ appeared first on Zenger News.

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Nigeria’s Education Gap Worsens Amid COVID-19 Crisis



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nigeria classroom

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*Schools in Nigeria have been shut for months amid the global coronavirus pandemic, raising concerns over the future of millions of underprivileged children.

Education systems around the world have had to turn to digital and online learning during COVID-19. But as noted by Vice, the most vulnerable children are being cut off from learning completely.

Here’s more from the outlet:

Before the virus had even struck Africa’s most populous country, UNICEF had calculated that 10.5 million Nigerian children aged between five and 14 years old are not in school, while only 61 percent of six to 11 year-olds regularly attend primary school. Nigeria accounts for approximately 20 percent of the total global out-of-school population. The pandemic has made things worse.

 The Lagos State Ministry of Education has attempted to address this problem by publicly broadcasting lessons across TV and radio, covering eight subjects: maths, English, physics, chemistry, biology, English Literature, economics and Yoruba. The Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, hopes the lessons can be recorded and circulated to as many students as possible.

Some charities have attempted to fill the gap. On the 13th of June, Slum2School Africa, a leading volunteer-driven development organisation announced the launch of its first virtual learning classroom directly targeting underserved students. The goal is to reach 10,000 students.

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Meanwhile, according to the report, a significant number of Nigerian cannot afford wifi.

“Thousands of our kids in secondary and primary schools across slums and underserved communities weren’t learning, and many were being engaged in various abusive activities,” says Otto Orondaam, Founder of Slum2School Africa. “So we decided to build the first virtual learning classroom and studio in Nigeria, and also get digital tablets, laptops to thousands of these kids to aid virtual learning. Today 108 kids are learning with their tablets and 840 kids have over 30 community teachers connected through laptops engaging them in cluster learning, but we still have thousands of kids to reach.”

Henry Godwin, a TeachForNigeria Fellow, explained what the government can do to bridge the digital divide that’s pushing out children in underserved communities and rural areas. 

“Learning worksheets can be made available to children who are not digitally connected and they can still continue school work through those learning worksheets which are easily understandable,” he says. “There are also low cost tech solutions that can be deployed, and also learning tabs that are solar powered with preinstalled educational videos and content.”

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Best Travel Guide to Enjoy A Family Holiday In Egypt



Egyptian vacation - family1a

Egyptian vacation - family1

*Among the most interesting places on earth that fits the best family vacation is the glorious land of Pharaohs since it has it all from majestic monuments, spectacular nature, all types of incredible entertainment and everything else that amaze anyone from a child to an elder. All travelers from all around the world are so welcomed to enjoy the incredible beauty of Egypt especially the young ones who wait their vacation to get the chance to pay a visit with their families and friends to Egypt to see the amazing beauty of the treasures there which they spend the whole year studying and reading about.

Egypt tours is your ideal choice for enjoying an impressive Egypt family holiday package. Everything in Egypt is really huge and breathtaking and there is no place in Egypt that is disappointing or doesn’t deserve to be visited. On the contrary, you will enjoy every single moment of your vacation with your family while touring around the massive temples, incredible tombs, majestic historical sightseeing, totally magical museums, breathtaking gorgeous nature, and while doing unforgettable activities with others as Egypt has it all. If you have children with you, they won’t get bored at all and they will find lots of things to share with you. The majority of 5* hotels, Nile Cruises; domestic flights are good value for money which makes it much easier to enjoy a vacation with the whole of your family. It is going to be an exotic & exciting holiday in Egypt.

There are lots of thing to see and to do in the majestic land of Pharaohs and the most important thing is that the whole tourist spots in Egypt are impressive, safe, and offer the greatest lifetime adventure especially because children usually get bored after spending some time in one place and if you have taken the decision to travel to Egypt with your kids & family to spend your Egypt vacation, It is going to be the best decision ever you make especially if you have children at young ages and it is going to be your responsibility to promote their awareness and broaden their knowledge about the whole world and to be more specific, the countries that are known with their amazing history, taking the highest security measures, and offer all means of comfort and entertainment and you will find Egypt on the top list where your children will learn a lot about the Egyptian customs & traditions and how the ancients have managed to establish such an unparalleled civilization out of nothing and succeeded in letting it be one of its kind.

Egyptian vacation - family

Best Places to Visit in Egypt

When it comes to arranging a tour with your family, you will think a lot about what will let them get happy, thrilled, and have something to remember for the whole of their life especially that there are hundreds of things to do. Here is your travel guide on the must-be visited sites in Egypt and feel free to choose the most interesting destinations for you & your family while planning your Egypt tours.

Enjoy the Perfect Tour Towards Giza Pyramids & Old Cairo

Giza Pyramids Complex is the most interesting and impressive site all over the world for kids, children, adults, teenagers, elders, and everyone because of the majestic size of the Pyramids and all that mysteries that revolve around the construction of such a wonder of the ancient world. You will spend with your family there some wonderful time and for extra excitement, you can head to Cairo, the capital of Egypt and the site where there are some of the most impressive historical & religious sightseeing just like the hypnotic Egyptian Museum, the glorious Saladin Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque, the Hanging Church, Ben Ezra Synagogue, Amr Ibn El-As Mosque, Mosque of Ibn Tulun, St. Virgin Mary Church, Khan El-khalili Bazaar, and so other magnificent attractions that you can include in your tour itinerary while being in Cairo and it mainly depends on the number of days you have to spend.

Kindly also notice that the Egyptian government is about to open the “Grand Egyptian Museum” which is going to be the greatest museum to be ever built by a man so can you imagine how much your children are going to enjoy while being in such a magical site!!

Relax as Never Before in The Red Sea

Playing on the beach or having a snorkeling excursion is maybe the most desirable wish any child may have to spend a wonderful vacation. Egypt has the most fascinating coastal cities on the Red Sea that offer the best types of services and the most relaxing accommodation. You can sit relaxed on the beach with your wife watching your children playing in front of you and you can get a marvelous banana boat ride on the sea.

If you want to explore the most magical types of fish & coral reefs, you will find in Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Marsa Alam what exactly you are looking for with the most reasonable prices and the best well-organized tours.

Head Towards Upper Egypt on the Board of A Nile Cruise

For an unforgettable historical tour with your family, there are two charming Egyptian cities that lie in Upper Egypt and you can choose either to have an overland tour between them or to choose the other favorable choice which is boarding a Nile Cruise and we highly recommend the second option as it fits families more and allow you to experience what you have never experienced before. It is going to be something similar to going with the flow and since Egypt is the gift of the Nile, you will be able to see the other fabulous face of Egypt through visiting Karnak & Luxor Temples, Valley of the Kings, and Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor plus heading on the same Nile cruise vacation towards Aswan’s exquisite sightseeing including The High Dam, Philae Temple, the Unfinished Obelisk, Abu Simbel Temples, and lots of other incomparable sightseeing that you won’t find anywhere except in Egypt.

Necessary Procedures to Be Considered While Arranging  A Family Tour in Egypt

  1. Check with the members of your family who are going to share the experience with you about what they want to see or visit so that you try to satisfy everyone and leave them happy since Egypt has it all from the wonderful things you can have while being there.
  2. Check the weather in Egypt before your arrival to arrange your clothes and the items you should back with you accordingly since weather in Egypt differs from a season to another and you should also read more about the weather on each season to choose which season best fits your requirements.
  3. Choose a good travel agency and this point is really important and necessary for the safety of your children and your family since your agency will be the one responsible for your bookings and you won’t be able to feel relaxed and happy unless all elements of your bookings were perfectly arranged just like what you have requested.
  4. If you have young children, ask from your travel agency to book hotels for you that have views and offer some entertainment activities especially the coastal ones and this will allow your children to enjoy much more.
  5. If any member of your group has any kind of medical issue that may affect his/her tour in Egypt, you should let your tour operator know all the details to act accordingly and prepare everything in the best possible way.
  6. If you have specific inquiries, you need to inform your agency in advance about all of them to arrange it for you for example if you are allergic towards specific type of food or if you don’t want to get into tombs as you have some breathing issues, you should be very clear about them.

Best Activities to Enjoy in Egypt

There are tens of different activities that you can enjoy with your family while spending your vacation in Egypt during the daytime or even at night. As during the whole day, you can visit the memorable tourist sightseeing, try some water sports & activities, Ride A Camel in Giza Complex which is a totally wonderful thing to do in such a historical site. At night, you can head to Cairo to have a charming Dinner Cruise in the middle of the Nile and taste some wonderful traditional food and see some amazing Egyptian shows. You can also decide to attend the Sound & Light Show in Giza and if you are in Luxor, you can attend the Sound & Light Show at Karnak. There is a very interesting activity that you can enjoy with your family which is having a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor in the early morning and that way you will be able to check the amazing attractions in Luxor from the highest point.

There are lots of other impressive things & activities that you can enjoy while being in Egypt and there is no doubt that you will enjoy the most with the whole members of your family of all ages especially after knowing that lots of hotels and Nile Cruises in Egypt offer facilities for accessible travelers and this is such a wonderful thing for travelers from all around the world to enjoy their Egypt Vacations without facing any kind of problem. Just check what things you want to see & enjoy and then come to the beautiful land of Egypt to enjoy the best of it in an unforgettable tour with your family & friends.

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