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‘Deadliest’ Boko Haram attack on Rann claims 60

Rann, northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has now been hit four times since March last year.

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Amnesty International says Boko Haram has killed at least 60 civilians in an attack on the remote town of Rann in northeast Nigeria earlier this week.

The human rights group’s Nigeria director Osai Ojigho said “at least 60 people” were killed while satellite imagery showed “mass burning” of structures used by displaced people.

“Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 were found outside,” the group said in an emailed statement, adding that some 50 people were still missing.

It quoted one of 10 civilian militia members who travelled to Rann to bury the dead as saying the bodies found outside the town all had gunshot wounds.

“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Ojigho.

The death toll made it the “deadliest” by Boko Haram on Rann, she added.

In January 2017, a botched Nigerian air strike intended to hit jihadists killed at least 112 people as aid workers distributed food.

Rann, which is some 175 kilometres (110 miles) northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has now been hit four times since March last year.

The first attack killed three aid workers and saw three others kidnapped. Two of the three were later executed. The second attack happened in early December.

On January 14, fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau attacked a military position.

Some 9,000 people fled across the border into Cameroon but were sent back, as troops from Nigeria’s eastern neighbour were deployed to Rann as reinforcements.

Cameroonian forces were withdrawn last Sunday, which the United Nations said forced more than 30,000 people to flee in fear of another attack.

AFP has been told the remaining Nigerian soldiers also withdrew because there were not enough of them to fight off Boko Haram if they came in greater numbers.

Amnesty’s Ojigho said “environmental sensors detected fires” in and around Rann on Monday and Tuesday, indicating the jihadists returned after the troops pulled out. 

Analysis of satellite images indicated the two attacks had left most of the town “heavily damaged or destroyed”, and “well over 100” structures had been burned down.

Many of the structures destroyed date back to 2017, indicating they had been constructed for those who had fled to Rann in search of refuge from the fighting.

Rann had been home to some 35,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), according to the International Organization for Migration.

Amnesty International said it wanted Nigeria to investigate the withdrawal of troops, as it “may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed” to attack.

On Wednesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council called on Cameroon to keep open its borders to those fleeing Boko Haram attacks.

More than 27,000 people have been killed in nearly 10 years of fighting, while some 1.8 million others remain homeless and reliant on aid for food, shelter, healthcare and water.

The UN this week said it needed $848 million (741 million euros) to fund projects for affected civilians in Borno state and two other northeast states over the next three years.

An additional $135 million was required to help the 228,500 Nigerian refugees who have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, it added.

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East Africa News & Stories

DR Congo military kills 16 militiamen in northeastern region

A spokesperson for the military said militia positions were targeted in Walendu Pitsi sector, killing 16 militiamen and capturing one

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DR Congo military kills 16 militiamen in northeast region
Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

The military in DR Congo said on Tuesday that sixteen militiamen have been killed in the northeastern part of the country, an area where ethnic violence has left at least 160 dead and forced hundreds of thousands to flee in the past two weeks.

A spokesperson for the military said militia positions were targeted in Walendu Pitsi sector, killing 16 militiamen and capturing one.

“At the moment, operations are concentrated around the Kpadruma locality where there is violent fighting,” Lieutenant Jules Tshikudi, a provincial army spokesman, told reporters.

He said;

“The soldiers of the armed forces of the DRC have chased attackers from several localities which they were occupying and sowing insecurity.” 

He also added that four AK47 rifles were recovered.

Lieutenant Tshikudi did not reveal the name of the group that was targeted, but there have been repeated outbreaks of violence between different ethnic groups in that area.

Between 10 and 12 June, there was a flare-up in violence in the Djugu region in DRC’s volatile Ituri Province which led to the deaths of at least 160 people, local authorities said. Earlier death tolls put the figure at somewhere between 50 and around 70.

The UN refugee agency has voiced deep concerns over the developments, which it said had seen “multiple attacks” involving the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups since early June.

The agency has said the recent wave of violence in the area has forced more than 300,000 people to flee their homes, with “large-scale displacement” reported in three of Ituri’s five administrative territories, with people fleeing unrest in Djugu territory especially.

The region which is known to be rich in gold, has experienced extreme violence before, with deaths numbering tens of thousands due to clashes between the Hema and Lendu form the periods of 1999 to 2003.

The DRC counts an estimated 4.5 million internally displaced people. Ituri and North Kivu province, just to the south, are battling with a major epidemic of Ebola that has claimed more than 1,400 lives since August last year. Both provinces are in the eastern part of the DRC, where the country shares its border with Uganda.

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Zuma’s lawyer says he will attend ‘prejudiced’ graft inquiry

Jacob Zuma, who was forced out of office last year over corruption allegations, has denied any wrong doings

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Jacob Zuma will attend ‘prejudiced’ graft inquiry -lawyer
Former South African President Jacob Zuma speaks with his lawyers at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg. (Photo by Themba Hadebe / POOL / AFP)

South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, will attend a judicial inquiry into government graft during his tenure even though he believes it is prejudiced against him, his lawyer said.

Zuma’s lawyer Daniel Mantsha, on Tuesday, said:

“He is going to the commission as invited from July 15-19.”

However, “our client remains of the view that the commission is prejudiced against him and lacks the requisite impartiality,” Mantsha wrote separately in a letter to the inquiry seen by reporters.

It wasn’t specified in the letter if Zuma would testify or answer questions. It described last week’s invitation from the commission for Zuma to attend – in which it said he had been implicated in graft by at least nine witnesses – as part of a “disinformation campaign”.

The primary brief of the inquiry is to investigate corruption allegations, notably at state firms Eskom and South African Airways, which are in serious debt after years of mismanagement.

It is reviewing accusations that three prominent businessmen – brothers Atul, Ajay, and Rajesh Gupta — unduly influenced Zuma during his presidency about political appointments and the awarding of state contracts.

Jacob Zuma, who was forced out of office last year over corruption allegations, has denied any wrongdoings.

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East Africa News & Stories

Kagame calls out the West’s ‘human rights superiority complex’

Kagame said compared to what it was 25 years ago, Rwanda is now a different country

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Kagame criticises West's 'human rights superiority complex'
Photo credit: AFP

In an interview with French TV broadcaster, France24, Rwandan president, Paul Kagame has termed criticisms of his country’s human rights record as “rubbish” and “ridiculous”.

Kagame said compared to what it was 25 years ago, Rwanda is now a different country.

He challenged the host of the program to look at what he called Europe’s failing human rights record, particularly the way migrants have been treated.

“[Europe] is violating people’s rights, with this problem of people being bundled and sent back to sink in the Mediterranean and so many being mistreated in your own country”, he said.

He further added that criticisms from the West were tinged with a superiority complex:

“You really need to stop this superiority complex nonsense about human rights.

“You think you are the only ones who respect human rights, all others are about violating human rights. No, we’ve fought for human rights and freedoms for our people much better [than] you people who keep talking about this nonsense.”

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