Fri. Jul 12th, 2024


Mariupol teeters as Ukrainians defy surrender-or-die demand

Ethiopia war: Kenyatta in Addis Ababa, AU calls for a ceasefire

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has arrived in Ethiopia amid growing international efforts for a cessation of hostilities in the country’s war, as African Union (AU) envoy Olusegun Obasanjo expressed hope dialogue can end the conflict but warned “such talks cannot deliver” without an immediate ceasefire.

More than 12 months of fighting between federal troops and Tigrayan forces have cost thousands of lives and displaced more than two million people, with hundreds of thousands facing famine-like conditions.Obasanjo left Ethiopia on Thursday after meeting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group, while United States special envoy Jeffrey Feltman also visited the country last week for talks.On Sunday, Kenyatta, who has also participated in regional mediation efforts, landed in Ethiopia on a surprise one-day visit, with Abiy posting photos of the pair on Twitter.For its part, State House Kenya said on Twitter Kenyatta had held private talks with Abiy and Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde.Earlier this month, Kenyatta had called on Ethiopia’s warring sides to lay down their arms and find a path to peace.“The fighting must stop!” he had said in a statement, decrying the “particularly disturbing” lack of dialogue.Kenya has increased security along its borders amid fears of a wave of Ethiopians fleeing the war as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises spreads.Meanwhile, Obasanjo said in a statement on Sunday he was “optimistic that common ground towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict can be secured”.But with fighting intensifying in recent weeks, the former Nigerian president and AU special envoy for the Horn of Africa warned that “such talks cannot deliver in an environment of escalated military hostilities”.

Senegalese music legend Thione Seck dies at 66

Thione Seck, one of Senegal’s biggest music stars over the last 40 years, died at the age of 66 in the capital Dakar on Sunday, his lawyer said.“He died this morning of an illness at the Fann hospital,” lawyer Ousmane Seye told the AFP news agency, confirming reports in the Senegalese media.

Thione Ballago Seck, from a family of “griot” singers, was one of the West African country’s most famous musicians, alongside Youssou Ndour, Omar Pene, Ismael Lo and his own son, Wally Seck.

In the 1970s he sang in the Orchestre Baobab, known for playing a mix of Afro-Cuban salsa and traditional Senegalese music.

The singer and lyricist founded Raam Daan in the 1980s, which became one of the most popular purveyors of mbalax, a genre combining funk, reggae, dance music and local rhythms.

Some of his hits include Allo Petit, Orientissime and Diaga.

Tributes poured in after his death was announced, with the former mayor of Dakar Khalifa Sall paying tribute to “a true monument of Senegalese music”.

El Hadji Hamidou Kasse, a former journalist and current adviser to President Macky Sall, tweeted that Seck was “one of the artist heros of an era”.

Senegalese media reported that Seck was to be buried in a cemetery in the Dakar area of Yoff on Sunday afternoon.

The singer’s last years were marred by a long-running legal scandal involving counterfeit cash.

He was arrested in May 2015 after fake banknotes worth 50 million euros ($60m) were found in his Dakar house.

He was detained for nine months ahead of a trial but all charges were later dropped.