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World news in brief

30 June 2023

Associated Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Paul Mackenzie (second from left) appears at Malindi Law Courts, Malindi town, on 2 May

Paul Mackenzie (second from left) appears at Malindi Law Courts, Malindi town, on 2 May

Kenyan cult suspect dies in custody

ONE of the 30 suspects being held with the Kenyan cult leader Paul Mackenzie in connection with the deaths of more than 300 people has died in custody, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday of last week. The investigations concerns people who were reportedly told to starve themselves to death in the hope of going to heaven (News, 28 April). A prosecutor said that Joseph Juma Buyuka was among the Mackenzie followers who had staged a ten-day hunger strike while in custody. Two other suspects were still critically ill in hospital. A press release issued by the National Council of Churches of Kenya last week offered “heartfelt condolences with all the affected families following the Shakahola holocaust”, in reference to the forest where bodies have been found. It expressed concern that the tragedy was being used by the government “as an excuse to control the practice of religious freedom”, and that it was “wholly facilitated by the failure of the criminal justice system”.

Nigerian human-rights organisation files complaint

A COMPLAINT has been filed with the International Criminal Court this month, accusing the governor of Imo state, in Nigeria, and 31 other public officials of “crimes against humanity”, Crux reports. The complaint, filed on Monday of last week on behalf of the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), accuses the governor and other state officials of having “aided and abetted, and . . . [of] still aiding and abetting, the Imo mass murders and other atrocities as well as grossly conspiring in their perpetration and perpetuation”. Intersociety often publishes counts of violence against Christians in Nigeria (News, 6 August 2021). It says that “no fewer than 1600 unarmed citizens of Imo State have been killed while 300 others disappeared without trace between January 2021 and May 2023, a period of 29 months.”

Former Primate of the Indian Ocean died

A FORMER Bishop of Seychelles and Primate of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Emeritus French Chang Him, died on 26 May, aged 85, ACNS reports. Ordained to the priesthood in June 1963, after studying at Lichfield Theological College, he became Bishop of Seychelles in 1979. Speaking to the Seychelles News Agency, the country’s President, Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican priest, said that the Archbishop was “often the sole voice of the voiceless during the one-party years. He would give support to those whose loved ones were detained or whose children had disappeared, all while mourning the brutal death of his dear brother, Davidson Chang-Him, who was murdered on 5 June 1977. He paid the consequences for standing up in many ways.”


Mary’s Meals power tennis champions

TWO children in Malawi who received meals from Mary’s Meals, a charity serving school meals to children living in 18 of the world’s poorest countries, have won the gold medal in mixed-doubles tennis at the Special Olympic World Games, which took place in Berlin last week. Hannah Winesi and Patrick Sichamba, who both have additional needs, beat a pair from Bulgaria. In Malawi, one third of all children of primary-school age eat Mary’s Meals. The national director of Special Olympics Malawi, Enid Mauluka, said: “Children are not motivated in sports or even in school unless there is a meal, because if you’re hungry you have no energy to participate.”

Christian Aid: Paris summit ‘woefully inadequate’

THE outcome of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact, held in Paris last week, fell short of the necessary changes, Christian Aid’s director of policy, public affairs, and campaigns, Osai Ojigho, said last Friday. Commitments included the World Bank’s agreeing that developing nations hit by climate disasters would be able to suspend debt repayments. This was “woefully inadequate and falls short of the transformative change low-income countries call for”, Ms Ojigho said. “With poorer countries facing crisis locked out of the planning for this summit, it is no wonder Macron’s piece of paper lacks a radical edge. . . We need a complete overhaul from debt cancellations and structural solutions that prevent the build-up of unsustainable debt to enforcement of fair global tax rules.”

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