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Rwandans To Celebrate Heroes Day Under Lockdown

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On Monday February 1, Rwandans will wake up to observe a national Heroes Day despite this taking place at a time all 30 districts are detached from each other while the Capital Kigali is frozen into a Lockdown.

Heroes Day allows Rwandans to reflect on the country’s heroes classified into three categories named in Kinyarwanda as Imanzi, Imena, and Ingenzi.

Celebrations are scheduled to take place at village level across the country to pay tribute to the heroes that have shaped the future of the country.

Imanzi:
This is the highest order that is bestowed upon people that pushed to limits and even sacrificed their own lives in the interest of Rwanda.

For example, Major-General Fred Rwigema that led exiled Rwandan refugees to forcefuly return home by use of arms. He died in action on the battle front during first days of the liberation war.

“Unknown Soldier” represents all soldiers who lost their lives in the liberation.

Imena:

This is a category reserved for people with proven track record such as King Mutara III Rudahigwa, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and Nyange Secondary School students who were killed by militias after refusing to divide themselves along ethnic lines.

Ingenzi:
This is a category reserved for living heroes – However, the list is yet to be made public.

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Health

Rwanda Receives 240,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

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Rwanda has received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative. About 240,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine arrived in Kigali on Wednesday morning aboard Qatar Airline.

The second consignment with 102,960 jabs of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to arrive in the evening via a KLM flight also from the COVAX facility, and all through a coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health and, Dr. Mwinga Kasonde, World Health Organisation (WHO) Rwanda country representative were at the airport to receive the vaccines, valued at approximately US$720,000, according to sources.

Vaccination will begin on Friday beginning with high-risk groups across the country. The target is to vaccinate 30% of the population by the end of 2021, and 60% by the end of 2022, according to the Minister of Health.

Dr. Kasonde said that Rwanda has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with the determination to suppress the circulation of the virus and save lives. “These doses Of COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX Facility represent an unprecedented global effort to have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” she said.

A complete dose requires two shots. The AstraZeneca-Oxford and Pfizer vaccines will thus cater for 171,480 people identified as priority risk groups, including frontline workers, and those above 65 years old, and some with chronic health conditions.

Germany is the single biggest donor to ACT-Accelerator and COVAX at a tune of with its €2.1 billion.

Dr. Ngamije told journalists that, “We are pleased to receive these first AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX initiative, and appreciate the partnerships with the UN Family, GAVL funders as well as manufacturers that have made this possible.”

Juliana Lindsey, UNICEF-Rwanda Country Representative said that children, women, and men all over the country can be confident that Rwanda has taken its first steps towards recovering from the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the vaccines will be dispatched from the Rwanda Biomedical Center warehouse to District Hospitals and then on to all 508 health centres across Rwanda.

Vaccination exercises will take place on Friday in hospitals and health centres, and vaccine recipients will be invited through their respective Districts.

Minister Ngamije cautioned that those vaccinated should continue to observe COVID prevention measures, including masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowded and closed spaces, and hand hygiene.

The health minister also pointed out that the Governmentof Rwanda continues negotiations with multiple partners, including international organizations and other governments, to acquire additional vaccines that will cover more people in subsequent phases.

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National

South Kivu Security Agents Trained On Human Rights

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A total of 91 officers from different security services in the province of South Kivu have completed training aimed at improving their scope and capacity on human rights, sexual violence, law and criminal procedure as well as on human rights of the arrested person.

The six-day training commenced on Monday and concluded on Saturday facilitated by the Joint United Nations Office (UNJHRO) and organized in collaboration with the Monusco Police, UNPOL.

Participants in this training came from the Judicial Police and the Congolese National Police (PNC), the National Intelligence Agency and the General Directorate of Migration (DGM).

Discussions during this training dwelt on matters related to the work of OPJ, especially on the pleadings they pose.

The trainees made some recommendations during the closing ceremony. These include: creating a mechanism to protect the OPJs from harassment by the military auditors; Facilitate the implementation of continuous refresher training; Establish a schedule of regular meetings and organize legal mornings and meetings with the hierarchical heads of the OPJs.

And finally, ensure regular monitoring of the impact of human rights training through grassroots consultation.

This training was triggered by several cases of denunciations which reached the UNJHRO office and the numerous visits to dungeons and amigos

With prosecutors, the UNJHRO reported on cases of arbitrary and unlawful arrests, failing to respect human rights and the person arrested in terms of pre-trial detention.

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National

Italy Demands For Answers On Assassination Of Envoy

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The Italian government has demanded for answers on the brutal assassination of its envoy that occurred in troubled Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Monday, Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio, his driver and his bodyguard were shot dead in Kibumba, in the North Kivu. They were part of a convoy of two World Food Program (WFP) vehicles.

The dynamics of the ambush are also being investigated by the Public Prosecutor of Rome. A team of our Carabinieri del Ros, delegated by the Prosecutor’s Office, has already flown to Goma for an initial investigative mission.

“We have formally asked the WFP and the UN to open an investigation that clarifies what happened, the reasons behind the safety device used and who was responsible for these decisions. We also explained that we expect clear and exhaustive answers as soon as possible,” Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the diplomat’s widow claims that her husband was “betrayed” by “someone close”. Someone who “knew his whereabouts spoke, sold him and betrayed him,” she said, without giving further details.

Di Maio added, “We owe the truth first of all to our fallen. But the best way to honor the memory of Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere Vittorio Iacovacci is also to continue to strengthen our political attention towards the African continent, in which Luca strongly believed, with passion and dedication.”

Luca Attanasio and Vittorio Iacovacci were shot dead, by two bullets each, in the fire fight between their attackers and the Congolese rangers, who intervened to rescue the Virunga forest.

These are the first results of the autopsies carried out at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome on the bodies of the ambassador and the carabiniere, killed Monday in an ambush in the DRC.

The first autopsy results therefore support the hypothesis of an attempted kidnapping that ended badly  and not of an attack aimed at killing – sent to the air by the unexpected arrival of the rangers.

However, they still don’t clarify which weapons the shots came from. In essence, it is not yet clear whether the two Italians were victims of friendly fire or not.

Attanasio was wounded in the abdomen, the blows pierced the body from left to right, without however leaving war residues: in fact both the entry and exit holes have been identified.

The diplomat, died an hour later in the hospital of the UN Monusco mission in Goma. Iacovacci, who instead died on the spot, was first hit by a shot in the hip area, then by a second shot that first touched the forearm, fracturing it, and then stopped at the base of the neck.

And this is where an AK-47 bullet, a Kalashnikov, was spotted. According to the government of Kinshasa – which accuses the Hutus of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (Fdlr) of attempted kidnapping “for extortion purposes” – the six assailants were armed with “five Kalashnikovs and a machete”. But the same automatic rifles would also be supplied to the guards of the national park where the ambush took place.

For this reason, the Carabinieri del Ros, in Goma, intend to check the rangers’ weapons and compare them to the bullet found in Iacovacci’s body and to those found on the cars of the World Food Program convoy, attacked in the militia-infested North Kivu province.

The Congolese driver, Mustapha Milambo, was also killed in the ambush, while the other 4 members of the WFP, initially taken to the forest by the kidnappers together with the two Italians, are safe.

Kinshasa has instructed that all foreign diplomats present on the Congolese national territory are from now on obliged to report any movement within the country to the government.

The local authorities, in the hours following the attack, had made it known that they were unaware of the fact that Attanasio was in that area, and therefore that they could not protect him.

According to researcher Christoph Vogel, who has worked for the Conflict Research Program at the London School of Economics (United Kingdom) and Ghent University. (Belgium). In 2019, around 130 armed groups existed in Kivu alone, 122 were listed across the area (North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri and Tanganyika) in 2020.

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