Thorn of Africa

New Statesman
Mogadishu, Somalia

After dark, the dull thud of mortars and the staccato popping of machine guns come more frequently. Sometimes the explosions make it hard to sleep, so I lie awake counting, learning to read the Mogadishu soundscape: one . . . two-three . . . four. Pauses follow sequences of explosions like Morse code, each bullet and mortar landing somewhere, ending or ruining a life.

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Fear grows among Uganda’s gay community over death penalty draft law

The Times of London
Kampala, Uganda

There was a time in Kampala when gay men would meet for furtive one-night stands, even if they were prevented from forming lasting relationships in a country where homophobia is rife.

“You would just have sex, then disappear. We were secretive out of fear,” said Peter, 39. At one point, things had begun changing for the better. “You could know where a guy lived and hung out; you could start to form relationships, something more permanent,” he said. “Then along comes this Bill that wants to kill us.” Continue reading Fear grows among Uganda’s gay community over death penalty draft law

Kenya relocates zebras and wildebeest to feed its hungry lions

The Times of London
Rift Valley, Kenya

Shortly after dawn yesterday, as a large orange sun shone across a classic Rift Valley scene of grassland, acacia trees and misty blue hills, the silence was broken by the thumping blades of a helicopter.

The pilot made low, buzzing runs at small herds of zebra, coaxing them towards a 50m-wide funnel-shaped trap with Tarpaulin walls hidden among the trees. Continue reading Kenya relocates zebras and wildebeest to feed its hungry lions

In Mogadishu African Union soldiers are attempting to keep the peace

The Times of London
Mogadishu, Somalia

“This is a peacekeeping mission in a place where there is no peace to keep,” said Major Ba-Hoku Barigye, spokesman for the operation in Somalia, as he squatted behind a wall of sandbags on a roof in central Mogadishu.

Next month, the African Union mission (Amisom) will have spent three years in a city that has been a graveyard for peacekeepers from the United Nations and America. Continue reading In Mogadishu African Union soldiers are attempting to keep the peace