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ICC Begins Inquiry Into Nigeria #EndSARS Protests

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The International Criminal Court has opened an inquiry into the anti-police brutality protests in Nigeria, termed #EndSARS, in which dozens of unarmed demostrators were allegedly killed by soldiers.

Thousands of youths had gathered in the West African country’s major cities protesting against a rogue police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has now been disbanded.

On Tuesday, 20 October 2020, Nigerian Armed Forces shot at unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria, killing dozens.

Now the ICC has confirmed that it’s conducting a preliminary examination into the recent #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

In a statement, the office of the ICC prosecutor said it had received information on alleged crimes.

The examination will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met”.

For weeks crowds of peaceful protesters gathered in streets in major towns of the country to demonstrate against police brutality, leading to a crackdown.

Some 51 civilians, 11 police officers and seven soldiers were killed, according to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Rights group Amnesty International said security forces opened fire on protesters, killing and injuring a number of people. Both the police and the army have rejected Amnesty’s allegation.

The ICC said it would make findings of the preliminary examination public.

Last month, the ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had said her office is paying a close eye on developments in Nigeria.

“My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies,” Bensouda said in a tweet.

“Any loss of life or injury is concerning. We have received information alleging crimes and are keeping a close eye on developments, in case violence escalates and any indications arise on that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed,” she added.

Witnesses said soldiers fired live ammunitions on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on Tuesday. The army denied its personnel were involved.

Although Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said there were no fatalities from the attack on the unarmed protesters, witnesses and Amnesty International said “several” people died.

The shooting has attracted global outrage against the Nigerian authorities.

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Rwanda Cancels Plan to Increase RwandAir Fleet

The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.

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Rwanda has announced that it is putting on hold the acquisition of new airplanes for its national carrier RwandAir, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.


The additional planes were to enable RwandAir serve the increasingly opened skies through the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).


Due to the global pandemic, RwandAir was forced to suspend operations following the lockdown in March, and only resumed operations in August when the country started a gradual re-opening of the economy.


The airline has gradually re-opened routes, though passenger occupancy remains low as some parts of the world remain in a lockdown while in other countries, travel remain restricted.


The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.


RwandAir currently has 12 airplanes including two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGen, four Boeing 737-800NG, two Bombardier Q-400 NextGen, one Airbus A330 – 300, and one Airbus A330 – 200.


Before the pandemic hit, the airline had planned to lease two Airbus A330neo and two Boeing 737 Max 8.

Read also: Rwanda, Qatar sign aviation pact


Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete says “Even the planes we have are not being used to the maximum due to the Covid-19. We have to wait until the passengers are free to keep travelling in a safer environment, so that we can now expand as we cannot expand in this environment.”


He spoke during a press briefing on Friday after signing a bilateral air services agreement (BASA) with the Republic of Korea, bringing the total to 101 BASAs within and outside Africa. Out of these, 52 have been ratified, 17 signed, and 32 initiated.


According to the airline’s earlier plans, the A330neos were to be deployed on long-haul routes to Guangzhou, China, and New York, as well as boost capacity to Dubai, Lagos, and Johannesburg.


RwandAir recently secured clearance to serve New York on code-share and wet-lease basis; an arrangement where one airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline or other type of business acting as a broker of air travel (the lessee), which pays by hours operated.


The 737 Max 8s were scheduled to serve Tel Aviv in Israel, and other regional flights such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.


Despite the halting of airplane acquisitions, the government says infrastructure investment to support the aviation sector will continue.
Qatar is set to acquire 60 per cent stake in RwandAir and is expected to complete construction of Bugesera Airport.


According to Gatete, negotiations with Qatar have advanced, and inking the deal between the two parties should take place anytime soon, under which the construction work should take off.

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Senegal Football Legend Papa Bouba Diop Dies Aged 42

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In the first game of the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup, Senegal dazed colonial masters, France and registered their name in history as one of Africa’s greatest teams. The man who scored the lone goal that condemned the French to defeat was Papa Bouba Diop, who died on Sunday.

Diop, who played for Portsmouth, West Ham and Fulham in the Premier League and RC Lens in the Ligue 1 was a key member of the Senegal team that made it to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.

World football governing body, FIFA announced the former Teranga Lion’s death on Sunday via a tweet.

Diop joined Portsmouth in 2007 and won the FA Cup one year later in a team that was managed by Harry Redknapp.

He thereafter had stints with Greek club AEK Athens and Birmingham City in the Championship.

Diop’s former clubs, Fulham and Portsmouth have expressed their devastation about the news.

Recall that the world was thrown into mourning last week when global football legend and World Cup hero, Diego Armando Maradona died at the age of 60.

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President Ghazouani Doubles Pension, Allowances on Mauritania’s 60th Independence

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President Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani, has announced 10 social measures for the most vulnerable segments of the population in a message to mark the celebration of the 60th independence anniversary of the country.

They include a 100 per cent increase in the basic pension for all pensioners, a doubling of the pension of widows and their health insurance benefits and the monthly payment of retirement pension.

There is also the generalization of the chalk allowance to include all primary and secondary school principals granted over a period of 12 months instead of the previous nine months.

The President also announced an increase in the rural allowance and the supervisory allowance for inspectors of basic and secondary technical education to the tune of 10,000 old ouguiyas (about US$27).

Others include a 30 per cent increase in the salaries of health workers and a generalization of the risk premium to all health personnel.

In addition, there is a 50 per cent increase in the care of patients with kidney failure and people living with disabilities, and the granting of monthly cash transfers of 15,000 old ouguiyas (US$ 40) to them.

Health insurance for the benefit of all persons living with a disability and the payment of monthly cash transfers of 20,000 old ouguiyas (US$ 54) for disabled children are the latest measures announced by the Mauritanian president.

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