1. Sierra Leone abolishes death penalty.
In a move feted by human rights groups Sierra Leone’s parliament has voted to abolish the death penalty in the country. It has been over 20 years since Sierra Leone last conducted a state execution, although judges have continued to impose capital sentences, leading to a separation of death row inmates from the rest of the prison population. President Julius Bio is expected to sign the vote into law shortly, and in doing so will become the 23rd African nation to abolish the death penalty.
2. Rwandan forces kill 30 jihadists in Mozambique.
In a sign of immediate impact Rwandan forces have scored a victory against insurgents in Mozambique’s troubled Cabo Delgado province. With 1000 soldiers of the Rwandan defence forces having arrived only two weeks previously, the elimination of 30 terrorists confirms their intent to take an active role in re-establishing control and order in the resource-rich region.
Rwanda’s lead has been followed by SADC nations including Botswana and South Africa, with commitments to support Mozambique beginning to materialise.
3. UK and India conduct joint naval exercises in Bay of Bengal.
The Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has arrived in the Bay of Bengal and linked up with Indian Navy elements for three days of complex naval exercises. The maritime partnership exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy will see the two navies conducting a range of multi-ship, air, sea and sub-surface maritime evolutions, as well as, close quarter manoeuvring. This enables both forces to advance their interoperability and cooperation ahead of further exercises when the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) returns to the Indian Ocean in the autumn. The combined forces equate to 10 ships, two submarines, approximately 20 aircraft and almost 4,000 personnel.
The link-up is the latest engagement for the Royal Navy’s CSG as a continues its route to the Pacific, stopping to work alongside friends from across the Commonwealth. The Indian Navy is sending a ship to the Atlantic Ocean to exercise alongside the Royal Navy later in the year.
4. Samoa’s new Prime Minister preparing to take office after court ruling.
Weeks of instability look to be over with Samoa’s Court of Appeal ruling that incoming Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa’s victory and new government were legal. The announcement marks the end to the threat of political turbulence with long-standing predecessor Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi having refused to cede power to the country’s first female premier.