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Tuesday, 18th June 2019
8:37:26pm

Africa

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Triple suicide attack kills at least 30 in northeast Nigeria

At least 30 people were killed in a triple suicide attack in northeast Nigerian state of Borno, state emergency officials said on Monday - the biggest mass killing this year by Islamist militants.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to call for security to be stepped up in areas where large groups gather.

The Boko Haram group and its Islamic State splinter group have often carried out attacks targeting civilians and the military in Borno state.

Their attacks during a decade-long insurgency have killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions of civilians.

“Yesterday (Sunday) around 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) it was reported that there was a very loud explosion in (village of) Konduga. On reaching the scene of the incident we found there was a lot of casualties. In fact the death toll was over 30 and the injured over 42,” an emergency service official told Reuters.

Earlier the village head, Bulama Kalli, said three suicide bombers had taken part in the attack, targeting a place where villagers had gathered to watch a soccer match on a large screen. Most of those killed have now been buried while several survivors are still in hospital in Maiduguri, Kalli said.

The military did not respond to a request for comment.

Boko Haram regards soccer - often watched by Nigerians while drinking beer - as un-Islamic and a demonstration of corrupting Western influence.

Konduga is located some 25 km (15 miles) from Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno state.

Buhari’s spokesman said the president had called for security measures to be put in place at open air screenings.

“He urges security agents to sustain surveillance in all theatres of security challenges in the country, taking into consideration the unconventional methods deployed by terrorists to harm innocent and unsuspecting victims,” spokesman Femi Adesina said in the statement.

Buhari began his second four-year term last month after winning an election in February in which he promised to improve security in Nigeria. 

Nigeria’s government says Boko Haram and the rival Islamic State West Africa Province group have been largely defeated - that is, driven out of territory they once held - but they continue to launch attacks on civilian and military targets.

“The Nigerian authorities must do more to protect civilians, especially in areas like Konduga that have frequently been targeted by Boko Haram,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

-Reuters 

Sudan's Bashir charged with corruption, in 1st appearance since April

Sudan’s ex-president Omar al-Bashir was charged with corruption-related offences on Sunday, as he appeared in public for the first time since he was overthrown and detained in April.

Looking much the same as prior to his removal by the military, he was driven to the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum.

He was charged with illicit possession of foreign currency and accepting gifts in an unofficial manner, prosecutor Alaa al-Din Abdallah told media, adding that Bashir would be given the chance to respond to the accusations.

His trial will be a test of how serious the country’s transitional military council is about trying to erase the legacy of his autocratic 30-year rule, marked by widespread violence, economic collapse and the secession of South Sudan.

Bashir was charged last month with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and prosecutors also want him questioned over suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

Sudan’s chief prosecutor said on Saturday that 41 former officials from Bashir’s administration were being investigated for suspected graft. 

POLITICAL PARALYSIS

The military overthrew and detained Bashir on April 11 after 16 weeks of street protests against his rule.

But despite his ouster, Sudan remains paralysed by a political standoff between a transitional military council and a coalition of protesters and opposition parties demanding a civilian-led administration during a planned transition to democracy.

Talks on a power-sharing deal have collapsed, and tensions soared on June 3 when security forces stormed a protest camp in Khartoum being maintained as a way to press military rulers to hand over power.

Protesters put the number of dead from the incursion at 128, and the health ministry at 61.

Military investigators on Saturday said that government officers of various ranks were found to have been responsible for the dispersal of the camp without approval. 

Addressing supporters at the presidential palace, the deputy head of the military council said on Sunday it was ready to accept nominees for top government positions proposed by the coalition.

“We are actually not in dispute and we are partners in this glorious revolution,” General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said. “They say a technocratic government and we are ready”.

-Reuters

Former Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe owns 16 farms

Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwe former president Robert Mugabe, owns 16 farms, in what is against the country's land policy which allows ownership of one farm per family.

This was revealed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during a radio interview in Harare on Friday.

Using Grace Mugabe's monicker, Mnangagwa said, "I know of one lady "Stop It" who has about 16 yet the law says one family one farm."

Zimbabwe went through a land redistribution exercise from 2002 which affected approximately 4,500 white farmers.

While thousands of black Zimbabweans were given pieces of land, most of the prime land went to high ranking political elite, who amassed more than one farm.

The seizure of white-owned farms was adopted by Mugabe's government, in a process that triggered the country's economic woes.

The land take overs, which were at first violent, did not only attract sanctions from western countries, but also resulted in the collapse of local industries which depended on agricultural produce.

Mnangagwa said the land audit conducted by the government revealed that "multi-ownership of farms continue to happen especially with high ranking officials."

"Land audit is on, the final report is coming. About eight provinces have been done and once its complete, I will share it with you."

Mnangagwa recently prevented one of his provincial ministers from taking over a vibrant coffee producing farm from a white farmer.

-Fin24

At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.

A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.

Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.

Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.

Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.

“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”

“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.

Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organisations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.

Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.

He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons”. 

Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.

Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicentre of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.

-Reuters  

Former Egyptian president Mursi buried in Cairo, son says

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has been buried alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, his son, Ahmed Mursi, said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Nasr City after authorities refused burial in Mursi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Mursi said. 

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital ... and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.

Mursi died on Monday from a heart attack after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said. He was 67. 

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

His death is likely to pile international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

-Reuters

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