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Pirates Attack Passenger Boats, Kill Two in Rivers State, Nigeria

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Nigerian Pirates

Suspected pirates have reportedly killed two people during an attack on two passenger boats in Nigeria’s coastal waters.

News Central gathered that the passengers were returning from a carnival on 5 January 2021 when they were attacked by the pirates on the coastal waters of Aru-Gbanaama and Polokiri in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The first boat was reportedly attacked when the helmsman stopped midway to remove some debris from the engine. The pirates allegedly stormed the boat, hitting the passengers with paddles and machetes. The passengers were also pushed into the waters.

Unaware of the incident, a second boat was said to have attempted to pass the area but was intercepted. The passengers in the second boat reportedly jumped into the waters themselves on seeing the injuries inflicted on occupants of the first boat.

It’s not the first time pirates have attacked boats in Rivers. In December 2020, sea pirates reportedly killed one person, abducted two and hijacked a passenger boat on the Isaka River in Okrika Council Area of Rivers State. The passengers were reportedly travelling from Port Harcourt to Bonny about at the time of the incident.

In October 2020, the people of Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State held a peaceful protest against insecurity on their Waterways. The protests came two days after suspected sea pirates attacked a boat conveying passengers to Port Harcout on Sunday, October 25.

One died in the incident while most of the passengers managed to flee into the creeks.

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Health

Moderna Vaccine Found Effective Against COVID-19 Variant found in South Africa

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Tests conducted by global pharmaceutical giant, Moderna,have found that its COVID-19 vaccine may work against the South African variant of the virus.

The variant, called 501Y.V2 has a high transmission rate and has led to increased number of cases in South Africa.

It has also spread to more than 20 countries of the world.

Although current vaccines were prepared against to work against the earlier strains, tests conducted have shown the Moderna vaccine also has an effect on the new strain.

The results are yet to be put under peer reviews with that expected to happen in the coming days.

The vaccine has also been found to be effective against the UK variant with a better efficaciousness, in comparison with the South African variant.

South Africa is believed to have made arrangements AstraZeneca and China’s Sinopharm vaccines with the variant raging in the country probably not captured by the vaccines currently in distribution.

The country will also pay prices higher than more financially buoyant countries in the European Union.

While Moderna vaccine may work, the company has also said the immunity it gives against the South African variant may disappear quickly.

South African researchers have said the vaccines produced now may not have an effect against the highly infectious variant in the country.

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East Africa News

Somali Government Intercept Smuggled Weapons, Ammunitions

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

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The Somali government has commenced investigations into the source and origin of certain sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country.

The country’s minister of information said there had been an attempt by Somali and foreign entities, to illegally import high caliber weapons and ammunition into the country without government knowledge and permission.

In a statement issued in the capita Mogadishu, the minister said “the federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from the point of procurement to post distribution, and it is these existing frameworks that have enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries.”

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the Somali government takes very seriously, violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilizing effects.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,” the report said.

Shortly after Somali plunged into civil war 25 years ago, The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on the nation.

The statement followed hours of fighting in the southern town of Beled Hawo between the security forces of Jubaland and and government forces as the two sides battled to take control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

The Somali government did however say its forces managed to repel the militia group, and managed to recover illegally imported arms and ammunition, also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

Bothe sides have reportedly suffered casualties, even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

This is not the first time that The Somali government and Jubaland forces will battle over that land. In March 2020, both forces were engaged in a similar battle to take control of the town.

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East Africa News

Ethiopian Forces Detain Minors in Crackdown On TPLF Rebels

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An Ethiopian human rights commission group has found minors in the custody of Ethiopian forces in Western Gambella.

The minors, some found to be as young as 11 were arrested alongside members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Tigrayans have been held since November, and the state still has not started investigations into their culpability.

“The Commission was alarmed to find two boys aged 11 and 12 and a girl aged 14 detained since mid-December 2020 on suspicion of being members of OLF Shane,” it said, following the arrest of Tigrayans and a breakaway group from the Oromo Liberation Front.

There is renewed tension in the country as the parliamentary elections, through which a Prime Minister is chosen, draws closer.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party faces pressure from the country in the face of the Tigrayan crisis.

Read: More Ethiopian Refugees Flee Into Sudan’s Blue Nile State

Ethiopia runs a federal system of government with at least 10 regions having their parties including the TPLF, run by Tigrayans and the Oromo Liberation Front for the people of Oromo.

Abiy benefited from a coalition of various parties in 2018 when they kicked out the TPLF which had ruled for 27 years.

Opposition parties have revealed harassment of their members by the national government, with human rights activists asking for a look into Ethiopia’s current situation.

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