A suicide bomber killed 29 people Wednesday in Kabul, the latest in a string of attacks to rock the Afghan capital since the start of the year.
Another 52 people were injured in the blast, according to Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahid Majroh.
A spokesman for Kabul city police, Basir Mojahid, said the attacker was trying to reach the capital's Sakhi shrine, where people had gathered to celebrate the Persian new year, known as Nowruz.
Police patrol the streets after a blast in front of Kabul University on Wednesday.
A series of attacks in the capital this year had already fueled doubts over the Afghan authorities' ability to keep people safe.
Less then two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed at least nine people when he detonated his device at a security checkpoint.
The previous month, several people were killed and injured in a suicide attack in the Shashdarak area of Kabul, not far from the Kabul Green Zone where many diplomatic compounds are located.
In January, Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people. Days later, the group claimed responsibility for an attack outside a hospital in which militants detonated explosives packed inside an ambulance. Nearly 100 people were killed in that attack.
The Afghan government announced on February 28 it would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.
The group has not publicly responded to the proposal.
During a trip to Kabul last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that some factions of the Taliban had expressed interested in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.
Before reaching the shrine, the attacker was identified by security forces and blew himself up in front of Kabul University, Mojahid said. The blast happened about 12:40 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).
ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement, saying an attacker it named as Abu Talha al-Peshawri had detonated his explosive vest among "polytheists" gathering to celebrate Nowruz.
The US Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass, condemned the attack as "shameful" on his official Twitter account and said the United States was committed to working with the Afghan authorities "to secure peace in the year ahead."
The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has filed his response to the suit challenging his appointment at the Supreme Court.
Mr. Amidu in his response said the suit was without merit and the plaintiff, Dr. Dominic Ayine, is being sponsored by National Democratic Congress (NDC) members.
“To the best of my knowledge, information and belief, the Plaintiff [Dominic Ayine] brought this action in his name fronting for the immediate past Government to set at naught the popular wishes of the majority of the Ghanaian electorate who see the President’s acceptance of the nomination of the 2ndDefendant [Martin Amidu] as Special Prosecutor, as being in the national interest to attack the canker of corruption in the body politic,” Martin Amidu indicated in his affidavit verification sighted by Citi News.
“[Dominic Ayine] was also the immediate past Deputy Minister for Justice for less than four years in the immediate past Government that was overwhelmingly defeated in the last elections on 7thDecember 2016….the legal firm of Lithur Brew and Company now representing the Plaintiff [Dominic Ayine] are also the lawyers for former President, John Dramani Mahama: the immediate past Attorney General, Marrita Opong Brew-Appiah was and is a member of the law firm as well as Tony Lithur who was also appointed by the former President as Chairman of the lucrative Ghana Airport Company Limited during his tenure of office and also holds himself out as the personal lawyer of the former President,” Martin Amidu noted.
Dr. Ayine a former Deputy Attorney the Mahama led administration filed a suit at the apex court challenging the eligibility of Mr. Amidu being 66 years of age, is too old to hold public office as Special Prosecutor based on Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4), and 295 of the 1992 Constitution.
According to him, Section 13 of Act 959 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act is not amendable to the provisions of Article 199 of the 1992 Constitution, which deals with the retiring age of public servants “because the Special Prosecutor and the Deputy Special Prosecutor are not appointed under Chapter 14 of the Constitution.”
Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul says but for his diligence, Ghana would have been short changed in the US, Ghana military agreement.
At a press conference held to address some issues surrounding the deal, the minister said the deal which was signed by former Foreign Minister, Hanna Tetteh was a bad deal because the conditions by the US government were orders and did not factor government of Ghana’s input.
According to him, he renegotiated and got some of the conditions reviewed so Ghana would be short changed.
He noted that the previous administration signed the agreement in secrecy but he gave the US two conditions which were to ensure the agreement goes to parliament for ratification and renegotiation.
Dominic Nitiwul stressed that Ghana cannot back out from the agreement because it is bidding.
Under the agreement, the government will allow the US military unfettered access to some facilities close to the Kotoka International Airport.
The facilities will be a storehouse where military equipment will be stored for exclusive use by the US military.
“The NDC went to sign this thing in the dark but we said we will take it to Parliament before we will sign it. We haven’t sold Ghana, they are the people who sold Ghana,” he revealed in a press conference.
Meanwhile, the Minority Chip in Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak has said the former Foreign Affairs may be summoned before the House to answer questions.
Government has directed the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend with immediate effect, the charging of Import VAT on selected categories of commodities.
A statement issued to that effect said the hike in import charges were “unintended” and that the suspension of the Import VAT, a temporary measure, follows extensive consultation between Government and various stakeholders.
Signed by Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid added “This suspension is pending an assessment of Harmonized code (HS Codes) for customs which were reviewed effective same date,” the statement said.
Affected commodities included;
• Mobile phones
• Electrical transformers
• Tractors for agricultural purposes
• Solar cells
• Musical instruments
• Outboard motors
• Mortar mixers and
• Day-Old Chicks
Also suspended but indefinitely, is a proposed 'fumigation levy' for shippers.
“Further details of affected products will be outlined by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in due course.
“Government is grateful to all stakeholders for forthrightly participating in the engagement sessions and looks forward to a substantive resolution of the challenges faced by importers and shippers.”
Industry players raised concerns after the import VAT was slapped on some 64 commodities which started on March 1, 2018.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that Ghana is fully committed to the success of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
He gave the assurance after the formal launch of CFTA in Kigali, Rwanda, at an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, on Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.
With the CFAT described as “the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation”, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana has already indicated her readiness to host the CFTA Secretariat in Accra.
The coming into being of the CFTA, according to President Akufo-Addo, is one of the most important decisions the African Union will ever take.
“Fifty five years ago, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed to spearhead the struggle for liberation and de-colonisation of our continent. Its triumph ushered us into the era of the African Union (AU), our continental body, which is now the champion of our collective interests in the global community,” he said.
The President continued, “The time is now right that we demonstrate strong political will to make the African Union an economic and political success, and to make the project of integration real.”
With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years time, President Akufo-Addo noted that an African Common Market presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to the continent with hard work, enterprise and creativity, hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area.
“A working, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent. Research has shown that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest levels of intra-regional trade. It is, thus, vital that the treaty works, and that the Continental Free Trade Area becomes reality,” he said.
An increase in trade, President Akufo-Addo explained, is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between African countries.
“An increase in trade is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between our respective countries. It will mean a rapid increase in exchanges of our agricultural, financial, industrial, scientific and technological products, which would enhance dramatically our attainment of prosperity, and the prospects of employment for the broad masses of Africans, particularly our youth,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo appended his signature to the three legal instruments namely the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area; the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons; and the Kigali Declaration, which have brought the CFTA into being.
The Sports ministry has began the sod cutting for the multi-purpose Facilities they promise to construct in all the 10 regions of Ghana.
The Volta Region (Ho) is the first region to witness a sod cutting for' construction of the facility.
The edifice will have a FIFA standard football pitch, 8 lane athletics track, tennis court, basketball court, handball court, gymnasium, counseling centre, youth ICT centre, entrepreneurship centre and a restaurant. The facility to cost the government $2.4 million
According to Mr Asiamah, the project begins immediately and is expected to be completed in nine months.
He said it was important for the government to continue to make such investments to secure the future of Ghana.
Nine (9) teachers of the Ejisuman Senior High School in the Ashanti Region have been interdicted for allegedly abusing female students of the school, sexually.
The affected teachers were alleged to have forced the female students to stroke their manhoods with some of them engaging in sexual intercourse with the students in return for examination marks.
The Head of Public Relations at the GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo, said the committee’s report has been forwarded to the Ashanti regional education directorate to conduct further investigations.
The school was recently hit by a scandal following which an investigation was conducted.
Over 10 students said they told the committee they were forced by some of the teachers to stroke their manhood until they ejaculate as punishment.
Others spoke about how they demand sex and being forced to have sex with their teachers.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has waded into the discussions surrounding the decision by Ghana to allow United States Forces to station their troops in the country.
The former military leader who later become a constitutionally elected president in tweet said the agreement which was given a cabinet approval and awaiting a parliamentary ratification is a ‘’bit too much.’’
The tweet by the former president read: ‘’ Ghanaians may love Americans but not to the extent of living with foreign troops on such a scale”.
“Ghanaians have enough foreigners dominating their economic and social life. Adding foreign troops to the discomfort will be a bit too much.
“Ghanaians have felt stateless before in my life time. Let’s not go there again,” Mr Rawlings said.
Per the defence agreement, Ghana would, among others, provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces”.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has said the US will not establish a military base in Ghana.
“The United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.”
“The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana, is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance.
“This year, the United States of America is investing over $20million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S Forces as it did in 2017”.