BEIRUT, sept 12 (AP) — A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia is set to begin at sunset in Syria amid mixed messages of commitment from various rebel factions but with verbal backing by President Bashar Assad’s government.
Assad made a rare public appearance on Monday, attending prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha at a mosque in the suburb of Daraya, which surrendered last month after four years of government siege.
The cease-fire deal hammered out between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva last week allows the Syrian government to continue to strike at the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants, until the U.S.
and Russia take over the task in one week’s time.Rebel factions have expressed deep reservations about the deal.16 dead, 250 injured in Tanzania earthquak (AFP) – At least 16 people died and 253 were injured in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck northwest Tanzaniaand was felt throughout the Great Lakes region, local authorities said Sunday.
As rescuers scrambled to find survivors from Saturday’s quake, Tanzanianpremier Kassim Majaliwa headed to the worst-hit city, Bukoba, to attend a ceremony at its stadium.”This tragic event is unprecedented. We’ve never known this in our country,” he told mourners. “The government is with you. It will not abandon you.”
President John Magufuli, who is from the region, said he was “deeply saddened”.A group of 15 boys at a secondary boarding school in Bukoba district are believed to be among the 16 dead and 253 injured, according to Salum Kijuu, governor of Kagera province where Bukoba is located.More than 800 buildings have been destroyed, including 44 public ones, Kijuu told AFP.Across the border in Uganda, an unknown number of homes have also been razed by the quake which struck at 1227 GMT at a depth of 40 kilometres (24 miles) in the region near Lake Victoria.
In the Ugandan village of Minziro in the district of Rakai, residents appealed for help on Sunday, describing terrifying scenes of rocks crashing down nearby hillsides.”I am sure the government can’t reconstruct our houses but in the meantime it can aid us with construction materials for tents,” victim Masembe Remegio told AFP.
Earthquakes are fairly common in the Great Lakes region but are almost always of low intensity.- Tremors across the region -The quake’s epicentre was 23 kilometres (15 miles) east ofthenorthwesternTanzanian town of Nsunga, in Bukoba district, and was felt in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya, the US Geological Survey said.
Bukoba city suffered widespread damage, with 270 houses destroyed and electricity disrupted, the Red Cross said in a statement.Its main hospital was stretched to nearly full capacity and had limited stocks of medicine.”Telecommunications have been disrupted and we are trying to get a clear pictureof the damage to hospitals and other essential infrastructure,” Andreas Sandin, Red Cross operations coordinator in East Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, said in a statement.
No damage was reported in Tanzania’s economic capital, Dar es Salaam, which is located some 1,400 kilometres southeast of Bukoba.In Rwanda the shaking was felt across the country, with hotel staff and half-dressed visitors seen rushing out of their rooms in the capital, Kigali, when the quake struck.In Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, the president’s spokesman Willy Nyamitwe tweeted: “I just felt an earthquake at 1429.”