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Security forces rescue two kidnapped Canadians in Ghana2 minutes read

Citizens and travellers are once again assured that Ghana remains safe

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The Canadians, charity volunteers aged 19 and 20, were taken on the evening of June 4, in Kumasi,

Ghanaian security forces on Wednesday freed two young Canadian women who had been kidnapped at a golf club in the city of Kumasi last week, a government official said.

“National Security Operatives in the early hours of Wednesday 12 June 2019 completed an operation which successfully rescued the two Canadian women recently abducted” in Kumasi, Ghana’s second biggest city, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement.

main entrance to the Royal Golf Club in Kumasi on June 7, 2019 where two Canadians women, 19 and 20 years old, were kidnapped
This image shows the main entrance to the Royal Golf Club in Kumasi on June 7, 2019 where two Canadians women, 19 and 20 years old, were kidnapped late on June 4. – The two Canadian women were abducted at the golf club in Ghana, police said on June 6, a rare attack in a country seen as one of the safest in West Africa. (Photo by MAHMUD MOHAMMED-NURUDEEN / AFP)

Related: Two police officers, seven other killed, including two police, in Mali border attack

“Citizens and travellers are once again assured that Ghana remains safe,” he added. The Canadian charity volunteers aged 19 and 20 were abducted June 4, in Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city, some 200 kilometres northwest of the capital Accra.

They had been travelling in a taxi with a third Canadian woman. When they reached their destination, the pair got out of the taxi first and were taken. The third woman then went to alert the police with the taxi driver. Police said the women were volunteers with Youth Challenge International, a Canadian international development organisation headquartered in Toronto.

Abductions and violent crime towards foreigners are rare in Ghana. But earlier this year, local media quoted President Nana Akufo-Addo as warning that action must be taken to make sure kidnapping “doesn’t become a feature of our society”.

Silver Spring residence in Kumasi, where two Canadians women, 19 and 20 years old, were living before having been kidnapped
This June 7, 2019 image shows the Silver Spring residence in Kumasi, where two Canadians women, 19 and 20 years old, were living before having been kidnapped late on June 4. – The Canadians, charity volunteers were taken on the evening of June 4, in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, some 200 kilometres northwest of the capital Accra. (Photo by MAHMUD MOHAMMED-NURUDEEN / AFP)

Related: Ghanaian investigative journalist shot dead

Police on Tuesday briefly arrested Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the chairman of the largest opposition party, in connection with kidnappings in the country. He was later released but ordered to report back to the Criminal Investigations Department on Thursday, according to a post on the official police Twitter account.

Ghana, a nation of some 30 million people, has long been seen as a bulwark of stability in a region struggling to contain multiple groups of Islamist fighters.

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UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

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A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

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Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

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The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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