DRIVE BY ASSASSINATION ROCKS MOMBASA
The assassination of what is largely considered a radical Islamic preacher with suspected links to Al Shabab and other terrorist groups, has left Mombasa reeling from an immediate outbreak of violence, which left one more person dead in its wake as marauding youths stoned an innocent bystander to death. The shooting happened yesterday along the main road leading into the city of Mombasa at Bamburi and almost if choreographed youths formed mobs attacking cars and notably churches, turning their anger against another religion similar to the riots which swept Zanzibar a few months ago. There, as was the case in Mombasa where religious tolerance was long a hallmark, it appears that radical elements within the Muslim community were prepped and let loose as on command, since the church storming appeared to be well coordinated.
The targeted shooting of Sheikh Aboud Rogo was immediately condemned by community leaders in Mombasa from all walks of life, and in particular the fact that Rogo was enroute to hospital where he was taking his wife, who sustained gunshot wounds herself. The father of Mrs. Rogo and her young daughter thankfully escaped without injuries, a miracle considering that their car was sprayed with bullets from an automatic weapon.
Rogo was facing a court case on terrorism charges but was out on bail. No stranger to such allegations, he was also charged in connection with the bombing of a beach resort in Kikambala and attempted shooting down of an Israeli jetliner flying out of Mombasa but was eventually acquitted for lack of evidence.
The coast tourism fraternity, as well as top government officials including President Kibaki, appealed for calm and the massive deployment of security personnel following the revenge attacks appears to have served the purpose as Mombasa and its environs was reported to be calm, though few people were out and traffic was notably almost nil.
Tourism arrivals at the coast, compared to a year ago, are down by about 20 percent and this incident will do little to restore market confidence overseas, where the sudden alarmist withdrawal of US personnel from the coast a few weeks ago already rocked the tourism trade, before the order was reversed a week later.
Said a regular source from Mombasa: This incident was uncalled for. The man was facing charges in court and in a civilized society there should be no place for such extra judicial killings. The same applies for the mobs which then formed to attack churches and burn cars. If they want to destroy the livelihood of coast people, all of whom depend on tourism, that is the way to go. This will make bad headlines and though calm was restored very quickly, unlike in Zanzibar where it took days to sort out the violence, the damage was done. Mombasa was NOT on fire as international media have claimed. There was a geographically limited situation, and while that was bad and regrettable, it was swiftly contained when security moved in. So please let everyone know that Mombasa is calm as I write this mail to you, and that no tourists were anywhere near the mobs.
Other sources too confirmed that while most people stayed indoors, no rowdy scenes were seen late in the day yesterday in Mombasa itself and traffic was low but normal. Watch this space.
Archive for August 28th, 2012
DRIVE BY ASSASSINATION ROCKS MOMBASA
RWENZORI VISITOR CENTRE OPENS ITS DOORS
The USAID funded STAR programme, short for Sustainable Tourism in the Albertine Rift has now handed over their arguably last project component to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, when the new Rwenzori Mountains National Park visitor centre was formally launched earlier today.
Built adjoining to the latest lodge addition to the Ugandan safari circuit, Equator Snows by GeoLodges Africa which also owns and operates the Nile Safari Lodge, the Jacana Safari Lodge and the award winning RainForest Lodge in Mabira Forest the new visitor centre will offer comprehensive information to visitors to the park as well as facilities like a small restaurant, briefing rooms where the guides can meet hikers and pass on important information and a small shop offering local crafts in support of nearby communities.
The Mountains of the Moon, as the range along the common border between Uganda and the Congo DR is known, have for long attracted the attention of the global mountaineering community, and a new trail network baptized as the Mahoma Trail, also prepared by the USAID STAR project in conjunction with the US Forest Service, will go a long way to opening up the park to hikers, not just climbers, in an effort to increase overall visitor numbers.
The new 28 kilometre long trail offer hikes between 1 and 3 days and has opened new territory for visitors on the lower slopes of the mountain range, hitherto not accessible but for the most hardened hikers. The new loop reaches Lake Mahoma where it joins the existing Central Circuit from where hikers can return to the visitor centre.
Established in 1991 as a protected area, the Rwenzori Mountain National Park was recognized by UNESCO in 1994 as a World Heritage Site and in 2008 given Ramsar site status, affording it additional resources and attention.
The delivery of Kenya Airways 36th bird is now imminent as the aircraft was over the past two days put through a vigorous inflight testing regime, ahead of the formal handover later this week at the Embraer assembly plant in San Jose Dos Campos.
The aircraft, once it joins the fleet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, will be deployed on regional and medium distance routes across the African continent and is, as all other Kenya Airways aircraft, configured in a Premium and Economy class section, offering 12 business class seats in a 2 x 1 layout and 84 economy class seats in a 2 x 2 layout. The Embraers are playing a crucial role towards achieving Kenya Airways target of connecting every political and commercial capital on the continent with Nairobi by the end of 2013, using this type of medium distance jet alongside the proven B737NGs and, in particular on select Southern and Western African routes, the B767 and B777. It was confirmed from a regular source at Kenya Airways that the airline will take delivery of at least one such aircraft every month until April next year, when according to Plan Mawingo deliveries of additional B737NGs will commence. The attached slide from one of the airlines public presentations on their fleet development shows the progressive build up from 40 aircraft by the end of 2012 to 50 aircraft the following year and 60 the year after.
Watch this space and more important, watch The Pride of Africa where things are underway to turn Kenya Airways into the continents preferred carrier.