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Dozens of post-election protesters arrested in Malawi

Nearly 70 people have been arrested, a day after Mutharika accused protesters of plotting to oust his government.

Kathleen Ndongmo

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Malawi opposition supporters march to the Malawian parliament during a demonstration against the re-election of the president, which protestors say was due to fraud,

Police in Malawi said Sunday they had arrested dozens of people over a wave of protests that have gripped the country following disputed results from May’s election won by President Peter Mutharika.

Nearly 70 people have been arrested, police said, a day after Mutharika accused protesters of plotting to oust his government.

Police said the arrests came after “criminal acts”, including looting and the stoning of cars and buildings during demonstrations on Thursday.

Related: Malawi police fire tear gas on US ambassador, protesters

“So far we have arrested 68 suspects strongly connected to the looting and injuring of police officers,” police said in a statement.

Protest organisers were defiant, vowing to go back to the streets calling for the electoral commission chief Jane Ansah, to resign.

A new round of protests is scheduled to resume on Monday.

“We will be on the streets exercising our rights peacefully,” said the organisers, a coalition of rights groups, in a statement on Sunday.

Protesters watch a Malawi Defence Force armoured vehicle passing by during an overnight vigil against the result of the May 21 presidential vote in Lilongwe on July 4, 2019. – Several thousand people protested in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on July 4, 2019 against the re-election of the President, which they claim was fraudulent. (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

“We will not abrogate our ultimate citizens rights to assemble and to protest because of the cynical and nefarious actions of a tiny few. We will not be cowered into accepting an incompetent (electoral commission),” they said.

On Saturday Mutharika told a rally to mark the country’s 55th anniversary of independence that the violence linked to the protests was “calculated to turn Malawi into a lawless state”.

“They want to create lawlessness so that they can take over this government. But they will only take this government over my dead body,” he said.

The nationwide protests have been organised by a non-profit grouping, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which has rejected allegations of trying to topple the government.

None of the main protest organisers has been reported arrested.

Opposition leaders claim correction fluid was used on some results sheets and have lodged complaints in court.

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Counsel to ex-Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir asks court for bail release

In the first hearing, an investigator said that Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years

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Counsel to ex-Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir asks court for bail release
Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir sits in a defendant's cage during his corruption trial in Khartoum on August 24, 2019. Bashir appeared in court for the second hearing of his corruption trial. Mahmoud Hjaj / AFP

Sudan’s deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir appeared in court Saturday for the second hearing of his corruption trial, during which his defence asked for his release on bail.

Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in on Monday when his trial on graft charges opened.

In the first hearing, an investigator said that Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years.

The judge in Khartoum Saturday heard three witnesses, two of them investigators who searched Bashir’s residency after his ouster and the other a banker.

“We ask the court to release the accused on bail,” Bashir’s lawyer Hashem Abu Bakr said, to which the judge answered he would examine a written request.

After the hearing, as a massive security convoy escorted the 75-year-old Bashir back to prison, two opposing groups of demonstrators had gathered.

One group of a few dozen protesters were chanting slogans for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country’s deadly conflicts.

READ: Sudanese ex-President Bashir admits receiving $90 million from Saudi royal

“Bashir is a killer” and “He has to face justice”, chanted some of the demonstrators.

Another smaller group had turned out in support of the deposed Islamist general, who was forced from power by relentless protests in April after 30 years in power.

While the sight of Bashir sitting inside a cage in a courtroom was unthinkable only months ago, many in Sudan and abroad have warned that this trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces.

The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur.

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Senegalese opposition leader Amath Dansokho dies at 82

President Macky Sall has described Dansokho as “a great warrior for liberty, democracy and the progress of peoples”

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Senegalese opposition leader Amath Dansokho dies at 82

Veteran Senegalese opposition figure and former minister Amath Dansokho, a major presence in Senegal’s politics for more than 60 years, has died in Dakar aged 82, according to his associates.

Local media said Dansokho, a former leader of the opposition Party of Independence and Labour and an ally of President Macky Sall, died Friday following an illness.

In a statement, Sall called Dansokho “a great warrior for liberty, democracy and the progress of peoples.”

Born in Kedougou in southeast Senegal in 1937, Dansokho was a member of the African Independence Party, the first Communist outfit in French-ruled west Africa, before leaving to form the Party of Independence and Labour.

An opposition figure under Presidents Leopold Sedar Senghor, Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade, he was jailed numerous times and spent many years in exile elsewhere in Africa and in the then Eastern Bloc.

Dansokho, who served as mayor of Kedougou and was a deputy in the national assembly was made a minister under Wade, but then fired after he criticised the running of the government.

“A baobab has fallen, a man who fought every battle for democracy and fundamental liberties,” human rights activist Alioune Tine wrote on Twitter, referencing the mighty tree which is a national symbol.

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17 die in road accident in central Nigeria

The accident involving an 18-passenger Toyota bus and a truck transporting a container happened in Kwara state

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17 die in road accident in central Nigeria
(File photo)

Seventeen people were killed when a passenger bus collided with an oncoming truck in central Nigeria, a road safety official said Friday.

The accident involving an 18-passenger Toyota bus and a truck transporting a container happened in Kwara state on Thursday, said Udeme Eshiet of the Federal Road Safety Corps. 

“Due to excess speeding in which the two drivers were involved… they could not negotiate the sharp bend properly, and when they eventually met, it resulted in head-on collision,” he said. 

Seventeen people on the bus died, while the two occupants of the truck sustained serious injuries, he added.

Accidents are common on Nigeria’s poorly-maintained roads, caused by reckless driving, speeding and disregard for traffic rules. 

Nineteen people were killed last month when four vehicles collided on a busy road in northern Nigeria’s Kano state. 

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