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Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled

Anti-gay activists in Ethiopia said Thursday they have been forced to abandon plans to demonstrate in the capital after apparently failing to win support from the government and the powerful Orthodox church. The anti-homosexuality rally had been planned for April 26, and comes amid a trend of increasing stigmatisation of homosexuals across the continent -- with Uganda and Nigeria recently adopting tough anti-gay legislation.

Ethiopia Christian group to stage anti-gay demo

An Ethiopian religious group on Thursday announced plans to stage an anti-gay rally this month to protest what it called "rising incidents" of homosexuality in the conservative Horn of Africa nation. The initiative comes after Uganda and Nigeria recently passed tough anti-gay laws, although Ethiopian authorities said they were "indifferent" to the demonstration. "The country has seen an increase in gay-related activities and this has reached an alarming stage," said Dereje Negash, the head of a Christian Association, Woyniye Abune Teklehaimanot.

Ethiopia spies on citizens with foreign technology

Ethiopia is using foreign technology to spy on citizens suspected of being critical of the government, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Tuesday. The report accused the government of using Chinese and European technology to survey phone calls and Internet activity in Ethiopia and among the diaspora living overseas, and HRW said firms colluding with the government could be guilty of abuses.

Kenya police recall battling Westgate mall attackers

Kenyan police officers described in court Friday how they battled the gunmen who carried out last year's Westgate mall massacre, in the trial of four men accused of supporting the attack. The attack, in which at least 67 people were killed, was claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents. Police constable Ali Niraj, who had been guarding a security van delivering cash, said after hearing gunshots he saw two of the attackers wearing bullet proof vests and carrying AK-47 rifles.

US disappointed by Somali rape case convictions

Somalia must protect rape victims and bring attackers to justice, a US official said Wednesday, voicing concern at the jail terms given to a woman who said she was raped and two journalists who broadcast her story. "We are deeply disappointed by the recent conviction of an alleged rape victim," Will Stevens, spokesman for the US State Department's African affairs bureau, told AFP.

Somalia names new bank governor after graft charges

Somalia appointed a temporary governor for the central bank Thursday, the third official in just over a year designated to head an institution mired by corruption allegations. Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said the cabinet had approved the appointment as interim governor of Bashir Isse Ali, who has already served in the post under past governments. The appointment also comes amid political infighting between the president and prime minister.

Undeterred by perils, migrants flee hardship in Eritrea

By Aaron Maasho MAI-AINI REFUGEE CAMP, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Ten years ago, Eritrean migrant Habtu hunkered down on the vomit-stained deck of a creaking trawler on the Mediterranean Sea, making the final stage of his perilous bid to reach Europe. It is a trip thousands of Eritreans attempt each year, fleeing one of Africa's poorest and most isolated nations, a place where army conscription with pitiful pay can last years.

Priest claims Eritrea spies hunting shipwreck survivors in Italy

A priest at the head of an association helping survivors of immigrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean on Thursday claimed mediators working with Italian police were in fact spies of the Eritrean regime. Don Mussie Zerai, who runs the Habeshia organisation, told journalists in Rome that some of the Eritrean translators and intermediaries working with Italian authorities to identify survivors of a deadly shipwreck in October were working for Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki's regime.

Top Somalia Shebab militant killed in drone strike

A senior militant in charge of suicide attacks for Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels has been killed in a drone strike in southern Somalia, a Somali government official said Tuesday. Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled told government radio that the Somali intelligence services have been tracking Ibrahim Ali Abdi, also known as Anta-Anta, for some time before the strike took place on Monday. The minister did not say who carried out the attack, but an official in Washington said the US military carried out a drone strike targeting Shebab in Somalia on Monday.

Uganda on alert over fears of Kenya-style mall attack

Uganda was on high alert Friday over fears of an attack similar to the bloody mall assault by Somalia's Shebaab fighters in neighboring Kenya, where investigators continue to recover charred body parts. At least 67 people were massacred in the upmarket Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi when gunmen stormed the crowded complex on Sept. 21, firing from the hip and hurling grenades at shoppers and staff.
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