Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

Updated 24 November 2012
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Darfur rebels ‘seize’ Sudan army base

KHARTOUM: Sudanese rebels have seized an army compound in the Darfur region, the insurgents said on Saturday, after peacekeepers expressed concern over escalating violence.
The pre-dawn attack happened on Friday about five kilometers northeast of Kebkabiya in North Darfur state, said Ibrahim Al-Hillu, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army’s Abdelwahid Nur faction.
“We captured the compound and all the equipment inside, with five on our side wounded,” he told AFP from his base in France.
Hillu added that the rebels then repulsed a government counter-attack and are now “counting their bodies.”
Sudan’s army spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Kebkabiya is about 150 kilometers west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state where violence has surged.
Earlier this month, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said “escalating violence has become a matter of grave concern.”
Since July, civilians have been increasingly at risk from inter-communal fighting, harassment by militia groups and sporadic clashes between rebels and government troops, particularly in North Darfur, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in October.
The Nur faction has several hundred combatants and a “sphere of influence” limited to the mountainous Jebel Marra area, south of Kebkabiya, said a July report by the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.
The fertile Jebel Marra is home to the non-Arab Fur people who gave their name to Darfur (Land of the Fur).
Government military operations and air attacks have regularly targeted the area, the Small Arms Survey said.
Government forces are now massing for a new attack on eastern Jebel Marra, according to Hillu.
Although down from its peak, violence persists in Darfur nine years after Nur and other ethnic minority rebels rose against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government, which they want to overthrow.
Impoverished Darfur is also dealing with a rare outbreak of yellow fever that health officials say is suspected of killing 127 people in the region since early September.


Tanzanian police say driver identified in billionaire kidnapping

Updated 19 October 2018
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Tanzanian police say driver identified in billionaire kidnapping

  • Dewji, 43, who is considered Africa’s youngest billionaire, was seized by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam Thursday morning last week.
  • His family is offering a reward of half a million dollars (435,000 euros) for information that would help police find him.

NAIROBI: Tanzanian police said Friday they had identified the driver of a vehicle used in the kidnapping of Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji, who was snatched over a week ago.
Dewji, 43, who is considered Africa’s youngest billionaire, was seized by gunmen as he entered a hotel gym in Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam Thursday morning last week.
His family is offering a reward of half a million dollars (435,000 euros) for information that would help police find him.
Police chief Simon Sirro told a press conference that surveillance videos at the hotel had captured images of the vehicle used by the kidnappers, a dark blue 4X4.
“We have been able to identify the vehicle. So we have advanced a lot in our investigation, we will publish these photos,” he said.
“On top of that we know this car entered the country on September 1 from a neighboring country,” Sirro added, refusing to name the country.
“We already have the names of the vehicle’s owner and the driver.”
Sirro said he would send Tanzanian police to the neighboring country in question, without giving any details.
He said that of 27 people arrested eight were still in custody.
The opposition has called for independent international investigators to take over the probe, citing an increase in kidnappings and attacks in which no one is ever brought to book.
Dewji is chief executive of the MeTL Group, which operates in a dozen countries and has interests in agriculture, insurance, transport, logistics and the food industry.
According to Forbes, he is worth $1.5 billion (1.29 billion euros) and ranks 17th on the list of African billionaires.
He was a member of parliament from 2005 to 2015, and in 2013 became the first Tanzanian to feature on the cover of Forbes magazine. Two years later, he was named Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year.
Dewji is also the main shareholder in Tanzania’s Simba FC football club.