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News & Announcements

News & Announcements

Algerian Health Ministry Confirm 120 Health Workers Die From COVID-19

Algeria has lost up to 120 frontline health workers to the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic. This is among the over 9,000 health officials who contracted the virus. The country’s health ministry revealed this on Monday.

“So far a total of 120 health staff have died and 9,146 others have been infected by the virus” in the North African country, said the spokesman of the government’s coronavirus scientists’ panel Djamel Fourar.

With the country facing a severe second wave of infections, several doctors have gone public with calls for the population to respect health protocols and avoid going out except when necessary.

Algeria is one of the hardest-hit countries in Africa, with almost 76,000 infections since its first registered case on February 25, with over 2,000 deaths, according to official statistics.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been receiving treatment for the virus in Germany since October 28.

This month the government tightened movement restrictions and extended a night-time curfew.

It also imposed weekend halts on public transport and a two-week shutdown of sports facilities and cultural centres.

All gatherings have been banned and the borders closed since March 17.

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Congolese Warlord Bags Life Sentence For War Crimes

Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka, a militia commander in Congo, has been sentenced to life in prison by a military court on Tuesday. The sentence was over a war crime Sheka committed, including murder, sexual slavery, and child soldier recruitment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The two-year trial involving more than 300 victims is a landmark for Congolese justice, rights groups and the United Nations said.

Authorities first issued a warrant for Sheka’s arrest in January 2011 but he remained at large until 2017 when he surrendered to U.N. peacekeepers.

Sheka and Séraphin Zitonda, a commander from another militia in the same Congo, received life sentences at the trial in the city of Goma for crimes committed in Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu between 2010 and 2014.

“This verdict is a source of immense hope for the many victims of the conflicts in the DRC: their suffering has been heard and recognized, and impunity is not inevitable,” said Leila Zerrougui, head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo.

The men were found guilty of orchestrating raids on villages in Walikale territory in mid-2010 where 380 men, women, and children were raped, and 287 killed.

“We salute the courage of the victims, who have continued to testify despite the threats,” said Yuma Fatuma Kahindo, the lawyer representing the group of victims.

Daniele Perissi, a representative of TRIAL International, a charity that fights impunity for international crimes, said the authorities had proved they are capable of taking on “an incredibly complex case” from a legal and security point of view.

A successor to Sheka’s militia, the NDC-Renove, was one of the largest armed groups in the east of the country in recent years and seen as having close ties with the national army until it split and turned on itself in July.

The army will continue military actions to bring perpetrators of crime to military justice, an army spokesman said.

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Firefighters In S/Africa Help Woman Deliver Her Baby On Rooftop

In what has been applauded even beyond the South African enclave, the City of Cape Town firefighters in South Africa have been lauded for their swift response after they helped deliver a baby on a rooftop on Tuesday.

In a statement, quoted mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, as saying that the crew from Belhar Fire Station received a call just before 5 am and when they got to the address, found a woman in labour on the roof of the house.

According to Smith, the roof was the only way the woman could get out of the yard from the residence. She shortly gave birth to a baby boy.

Firefighters from the Belhar station delivered a baby on a roof on Tuesday morning. Photo: Supplied by City of Cape Town

“Staff clamped and cut the baby’s umbilical cord, and monitored his vitals until the rescue vehicle arrived from Epping Fire Station,” Smith said.

“Firefighters also assisted the mom and baby from the roof.”

The mother and newborn baby were transported to the hospital soon afterwards.

This is not the first time members of this fire crew have stepped up to help a baby. On October 9, a two-week-old baby boy was brought to the fire station by his family, unresponsive and not breathing.

The crew members sprang into action and gave the baby cardiopulmonary resuscitation, after which he started breathing again. Once stable, the child was transported to Tygerberg Hospital in Parow by ambulance.

At the time, Smith commended the crew for saving the young baby’s life.

“Our emergency services exist to ensure the safety and the well-being of all our residents and it is heart-warming to know that the community can turn to our services when in need,” he said.

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FIFA Bans CAF President Ahmad For Five Years

Fifa, the world football governing body, has come down hard on CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad as it has clamped a five-year ban on the Madagascan.

Fifa’s Independent Ethics Committee handed the CAF President the ban for five years from all football-related matters.

In addition to the sanction, the Madagascan administrator was punished with a fine of 200,000 Swiss Franc. 

The adjudicatory chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee found Ahmad guilty of abuse of office, misappropriation of funds and, offering gifts and other benefits as Caf president and Fifa vice-president.

Late last month, Ahmad disclosed his intention to run for a second term in office but he was down with coronavirus, which forced him to hand over to CAF’s first vice-president Constant Omari as he continues his recovery.

The statement from the FIFA website read: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Ahmad Ahmad, the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and a FIFA Vice-President, guilty of having breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the 2020 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 (Misappropriation of funds) of the 2018 edition.

“The investigation into Mr. Ahmad’s conduct in his position as CAF President during the period from 2017 to 2019 concerning various CAF-related governance issues, including the organisation and financing of an Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca, his involvement in CAF’s dealings with the sports equipment company Tactical Steel and other activities.

“In its decision, following an extensive hearing, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that, based on information gathered by the investigatory chamber, Mr. Ahmad had breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF President, pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics.

“Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr. Ahmad had breached arts 15, 20 and 25 of the current edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics, as well as art. 28 of the 2018 edition, and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for five years. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 200,000 has been imposed on Mr. Ahmad.”

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Burkina Faso Troop Kills American In Ouagadougou

The armed forces in Burkina Faso have killed an American citizen outside a military base in the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday, security and diplomatic sources said.

The man was strolling outside the Baba Sy military camp to the south of the city and acting “suspiciously”, a high-ranking source in the security forces told AFP.

After he refused to comply and tried to flee, soldiers fired warning shots, some of which hit the man, according to the source.

He was immediately taken to a health centre where he died, the source added.

An official at the American Embassy in Burkina Faso confirmed the death of an American citizen in Ouagadougou, without providing details.

The shooting comes with the West African country on edge as it prepares for a general election Sunday in the shadow of a growing jihadist insurgency.

Military camps have been frequently targeted, including an attack on a base near the Malian border last year that killed 24 soldiers.

The security crisis has dominated the electoral campaign and an undisclosed number of troops have been deployed for polling day in the landlocked nation, one of the world’s poorest.

No votes in the presidential and parliamentary polls will be cast in one-fifth of the country’s territory, where large swathes remain outside the state’s control and jihadists strike almost daily.

The violence has forced one million people — five percent of the 20 million population — from their homes in the last two years, and at least 1,200 have been killed since 2015.

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Uganda Releases Presidential Candidate, Bobi Wine, on Bail

After days of unrest that claimed the lives of at least 37 persons, Ugandan pop star and presidential candidate, Bobi Wine, has been granted bail by the authorities Friday.
Bobi Wine was arrested and charged with holding rallies likely to spread the coronavirus.

The violence came as campaigns kick-off ahead of January elections in the oil-rich East African nation, whose ageing leader Yoweri Museveni is a staunch Western ally but faces accusations of corruption and nepotism at home, which he denies.

Opposition leader Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested on Wednesday while campaigning in eastern Uganda for allegedly holding mass rallies in violation of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Uganda is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 14, with Wine emerging as a serious threat to Museveni, 76, who aims to extend his 34-year rule.

Violence snowballed as authorities deployed the military across the capital Kampala and surrounding areas to help police forces disperse protesters they accuse of rioting and looting. Police said they used live bullets, tear gas, and water cannon, and arrested nearly 600 people.

Local media reported police pathologist Moses Byaruhanga as having told Reuters on Friday the death toll had jumped to 37.

Witnesses said they saw university and high school students gunned down in the streets.

Journalist Jocylynne Nakibuule, who works at local station Spark TV, said she had helped a 15-year-old boy shot in the back on Thursday.

“I am a mother. When I saw the boy, my motherly instincts kicked in. I forgot all about the riots,” Nakibuule said, adding that she took him to the hospital on a motorbike taxi.

“He was bleeding constantly,” Nakibuule said, sobbing. “I kept calling his name, Amos, Amos, please fight to save the pain of your mother.”

The boy’s mother told her that soldiers had shot at them as they came out of a shop, she said.

Nakibuule went back to covering the protests. On Friday morning, the hospital told her the boy had died.

Fred Mpanga said his 21-year-old nephew, Yusuf Kimuli, was also killed after going to buy milk.

“Gunmen who were not in uniform and were in a private car moving around shooting people, they shot him in the back,” Mpanga said.

Kimuli lay in the street for more than an hour bleeding to death because people were afraid to help him, Mpanga said, citing accounts from witnesses who spoke to the family.

“All the light has been snuffed out of my life.”

It remains unclear who was responsible for the bloodshed. During the protests, a witness told Reuters that men in civilian clothes were walking around carrying assault rifles.

Multiple opposition parties have previously accused the government of using non-uniformed security personnel to quell riots. The government has denied those accusations.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga blamed the protesters, saying Wine’s supporters targeted bystanders who do not support their National Unity Platform (NUP) party.

“What we have seen in the last few days, that is violence, vandalism, looting, intimidation, and threats, are crimes that were being committed (against) people who are not pro-NUP,” he said. “This is not something that we can tolerate.”

NUP spokesman Joel Senyonyi told Reuters the party condemned the looting and said it had urged supporters to protest peacefully.

In a televised court appearance on Friday, Wine blamed the president for the shootings: “It is Museveni who is supposed to be in this dock for killing innocent citizens.”

Wine is popular among Ugandan youth, who often play songs in which he denounces government corruption.

Wine has said that being “born hustling and born to hustling parents, raised in the ghettos” meant he could understand the struggles of impoverished Ugandans. He has repeatedly urged Museveni to retire.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said authorities were “weaponizing” Covid-19 to suppress opposition ahead of the elections.

“This is just the beginning of the campaign season,” said Oryem Nyeko, the group’s Africa researcher. “It seems to be a sign of things to come.”

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News & Announcements

Gunmen Kidnap 12 Nigerian Senior Police Officer In The Restive North

Even as the Nigerian Army has sustained its fight against banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism in the Northern part of the country, the country’s police force was targeted as 12 of its senior personnel were on days ago abducted in the region.

The yet-to-be-identified gunmen kidnapped the police officers, all in the ranks of Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs), while on their way to Zamfara from the troubled Borno State.

According to BBC Hausa Service on Tuesday, one of the abductees called his wife and asked her to raise N1 million, noting that there would be trouble if she failed.

“He called me on Wednesday and told me that he was in the hands of the kidnappers.

“I can’t tell you I have any other information. We are in a state of frustration,” she was quoted as saying.

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Nigeria: Bandits Suffer Heavy Casualty As Troops Kill Scores Of Them

Bandits operating along the dreaded Abuja-Kaduna way in the restive northern part of Nigeria suffered heavy casualty as the country’s troops killed scores of them on Tuesday.

The army revealed this on Wednesday, saying that it’s land and air components of Operation THUNDER STRIKE, on Tuesday, killed scores of the armed bandits in a joint offensive operation along that Kaduna-Abuja expressway.

Major General John Enenche, Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, (CDMO), in an operation update released in Abuja, said the operation was conducted to clear identified bandits’ camp around Kuku area of Kagarko Local Government Area along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway axis of Kaduna State.
“The operation was executed yesterday, 17 November 2020, on the heels of credible Human Intelligence reports indicating that a cluster of huts and other structures at the location served as a hideout for a notorious bandits’ leader, named “Major”, along with his fighters.

“The first wave of the air component’s airstrikes, which involved six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft undertaking five missions in a total of 13 sorties, commenced at dawn and targeted the cluster of huts housing “Major”. 
“The attack aircraft hit some of the target structures and neutralized some of the bandits”, the update stated.

General Enenche said the second wave of attacks was executed by NAF helicopter gunships which, while continuing to engage the bandits’ location, also provided close air support to the Land Component as they advanced from Kagarko via Kuku into the bandits’ enclave.
“This paved way for the ground troops to overrun and destroy the camp without effective resistance from the bandits. 
“A NAF Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft remained airborne providing situational awareness for the troops throughout the operation”, he said.
The Military High Command commended the land and air components for their professionalism and urged them to remain resolute in the conduct of operations in order to eradicate all armed bandits.

The defense operations spokesman said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria also appreciated the continued support and cooperation of all well-meaning Nigerians, as it keeps up the tempo of operations to defeat all enemies of the nation.

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Gunmen Shoot Dead 34 Persons In Ethiopia Bus Attack

As violence in Ethiopia continues to escalate, gunmen in the western part of the country killed at least 34 people in an attack on a bus on Saturday night, the national human rights body said on Sunday, as fears grow of a security vacuum in the country amid a military campaign in the north.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Reuters noted, said the number of people killed was likely to rise after what it called a “gruesome” attack on the passenger bus in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. It said there were reports of “similar” attacks, and of people fleeing the violence, in other parts of the region.

“The latest attack is a grim addition to the human cost which we bear collectively,” Daniel Bekele, commission head, said in a statement.

He urged regional and federal authorities to work together on a strategy for Benishangul-Gumuz due to the “unrelenting pace” of attacks there. Armed militiamen killed at least 45 people in the same region in September, according to the Ethiopian government.

The violence comes amid a 12-day-old war between the Ethiopian Government and the restive Tigray region in the country’s north. 

Experts say that conflict could encourage other ethnic groups to exploit the chaos to push for more autonomy, while the redeployment of forces to Tigray could leave other regions exposed.

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How Proscribed Notorious Nigerian Police Unit Damaged My Scrotum – Witness

In the ongoing Nigerian nationwide probe on police brutality, particularly the disbanded and Proscribed Police Unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a testifier has revealed how the notorious police unit, in a bid to force statements out of his mouth, hit and damaged his scrotum. 
The petitioner, Dr. Justin Ugochukwu  Nwankwo, told the ongoing  Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extra Judiciary killings, and Other Related Matters sitting in Awka Anambra State capital, how his scrotum was damaged while in detention for 81 in Awkuzu SARS detention.

Nwankwo who was a  manager at Upper-Class Hotel in the state’s commercial town of Onitsha and currently a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, said he was brutally tortured to near death and his scrotum hit several times at Awkuzu SARS under the supervision of the commander, CSP James Nwafor.
He said he was heavily tortured to force him to implicate the owners of the hotel to the effect that there were kidnapping activities in the hotel.

He said: “When you hear that my  scrotum was damaged, my hair pulled and was hanged, it was to force me to implicit  the owner of the hotel that the place was for kidnapping den” 
“At the time of torture, my scrotum was damaged and many injuries were inflicted on me. Look at the scars on my forehead, my face, head, all these were incurred while in Awkuza SARS detention.
“If you see my back you could see scars as a result of torture with electric iron by the Awkuzu SARS led by James Nwafor.
“They go for my scrotum to force me to say what did not happen.
“They even write my statment and forces me to thumbprint.

“In between the torture one must intermittently fell unconscious and they will pour buckets of water on you 
“Honestly, I  received the highest torture because they wanted me to be prosecution witness to the owner of the hotel. There was so much torture for  me  to accept that there were kidnapping activities at the hotel which was not true 
“I was tortured, incarcerated, and almost killed by  Awkuzu SARS. To the glory of God, I survived, and even till today police have not brought any formal charges against us. We were arrested detained for 81 days without any charge. 
“This is why  I approached the panel for the world to know that after 81 days in SARS detention and seven years after, we have not gotten any charge, police apology or government as to what happened at upper-class hotel Onitsha in 2013.
“I seek for my name to be cleared because by the time the incident happened we were tagged   Otokoto in Onitsha.
“We are asking the Panel to set us free from the mental torture and for the police and government to pay us compensation for the damages inflicted on us by Awkuzu SARS,” he said.

He revealed that on the day of the incident, somebody lodged in the hotel room with his name with which the manifest was submitted to the police and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). 
According to him, the room 102  where corpses were found somebody paid for it and somebody lodged, saying that to the best of his knowledge nobody in the hotel brought in any corpse.
“By the time the police came around at 8 am, the lodger had left and somebody name Obi had been earlier submitted to them.
“The first injury I got from Awkuzu SARS was my insistence that somebody lodged in room 102 and that the name of the lodger was forwarded to police and CID.

“It was not a  standard practice that hoteliers will search guests in hotel rooms,” he said.
According to him, the majority of people who normally lodge in the hotel were traders because the hotel was located inside the market.
“The worst was that the hotel was demolished the same day they arrested us. 
“So the police started and concluded the investigation of the case in a day and the government ordered for the demolition of the hotel the same day. 

“On the same day, the police investigated the case, took the case to court, and got judgment and order was executed the same day.
“The former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, said there was a security report on the hotel and we have been asking him to make the report public. 
“When you arrested us, you should have left the hotel and do the investigation and allow the court to give the order for demolition,” he said.

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