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UN Expert Calls For Immediate, Unconditional Release Of Ex-Mali Officials2 minutes read

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A UN human rights expert on Wednesday called on Mali’s coup leaders to release former government officials detained for more than a month.

The military junta had in a coup on August 18 ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from power. Keita and some top politicians were arrested and detained. However, while Keita was released and allowed to travel out of the country for treatment, others are still languishing in detention.

Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, called for their immediate and unconditional release.

“There is no legal basis for detention of the former prime minister, the former president of the National Assembly, and other former Malian officials taken into custody in the coup d’état of 18 August,” he said.

“I call on the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to comply with Mali’s international human rights obligations,” he said. “Everyone arrested during the coup must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Of the 18 people arrested by the coup leaders on 18 August, at least 13 are still being illegally detained at the Kati military camp in Bamako, despite calls for their release from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“I am extremely concerned by the fact that those arrested by the coup leaders have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for more than a month,” said Tine. “This detention contravenes international and regional human rights instruments to which Mali is a party.”

Under international law, no one should be deprived of liberty except in accordance with the law. Anyone arrested must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their arrest and promptly informed of any charges against them.

“I urge the CNSP to scrupulously respect their rights, including the right to communicate with their families and lawyers and to receive visits, in particular from family members,” Tine said. “But above all, I urge the CNSP to release them immediately.”

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Doctors Without Borders Launches Mass Casualty Plan After School Shooting In Cameroon

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Following this morning’s school shooting in Kumba, South-West Cameroon, Doctors Without Borders launched a mass casualty plan.

According to a press statement, the group responded with ambulance service and surgical care in the Presbyterian General Hospital (PGH), Kumba.

Doctors Without Borders received a total of ten patients between the ages of 10 and 15. Of these patients, five were referred to other hospitals for specialist treatment through our ambulance service; four continue to receive treatment in PGH; and tragically, one patient was pronounced dead on arrival.

“As a medical humanitarian organisation we lament the tragic loss of life in the Kumba community. This attack, which saw children gunned down while attending school, was a reprehensible and indecent act. Civilian structures including schools and hospitals must not be targets, ” said Alberto Jodra Marcos, Emergency Coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in South-West Cameroon.

It would be recalled that Gunmen stormed the Mother Francisca College in Kumba in southwestern Cameroon on Saturday, killing at least eight schoolchildren and wounding eight more.

One parent who was just outside the school at the time of the attack said the gunmen arrived on motorbikes and in civilian clothes in the middle of the day before shooting the children indiscriminately.

It was not clear if the attack was linked to the ongoing struggle between the army and groups attempting to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia in the English-speaking west.

A local witness in the area said Ambazonian fighters were responsible for the bloodshed.

“Ambazonian fighters arrived [at] the school… started shooting into the classes. They say the students are traitors for attending classes when they have called for an effective school boycott in the Northwest and Southwest regions… we ran into the house for safety. It was so terrifying,” he said on condition of anonymity.

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ECOWAS Seeks To Name, Shame Countries Flouting Court Rulings

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it plans to name and shame countries who have not regarded the decisions and rulings of the Community institutions.

This is coming in view of the flagrant disregard for the rulings and decisions of the Community Court of Justice by member states since the establishment of the court.

President of the Court Justice Amaoko Asante said in Abuja on Saturday that he has sought to make presentations at the Summit of Heads of State where he can name such countries that are in violation of the court.

Asante who spoke on the sidelines of a valedictory session in hounor of members of staff who were retiring from service, said that the disregard for the court’s ruling had remained a cause for concern.

“The issue of implementing the court’s judgments is an issue which leaves a little more to be desired.

“We are pushing them, writing to them, reminding them, reminding the commission.

“It is the Commission President’s duty to ensure that they are done.

“Therefore, judgments are normally served on him and served on parties and the countries that are to do the enforcements; some are very adamant but we are still pushing them.

“We have presented to Council that it should let the court present its report at the summit.

“When the President of the Court stands there to present his report, he is going to name and shame countries who are not complying to the judgments of the court.

“We feel that if they are able to accede to this request of ours and they do it, things will change.”

The retiring staff members include: Chief Registrar Mr Tony Anene, Principal Legal Officer Mrs Franca Ofor, an Accountant Mr Apenteng Takyako, a Translator Mrs Mariama Gouro and a secretary Mrs Elisaberth Ashalley.

Retirement at the court is upon the attainment of 62 years of age or 35 years in service whichever comes first.

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Nigeria’s NECO Postpones Certificate Exams Indefinitely Over Crises

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An examination body in Nigeria has postponed a certificate exam indefinitely over the different crises in the West African nation.

Azeez Sani, the spokesman of the National Examinations Council (NECO), in a statement on Sunday, said the decision to postpone the ongoing Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) indefinitely was reached by the governing board of the council last week after it reviewed the conduct of the on-going 2020 examination nationwide.

The statement read, “The Governing Board of the National Examinations Council at its Special Meeting held on Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 reviewed the on-going 2020 SSCE (internal) nationwide,” it read.

“The Council had in a press release, dated 21st October 2020, informed the general public of rescheduling some papers of the 202 0 on-going SSCE.

“Arising from that meeting, today (Sunday) the Governing Board resolved that the 2020 SSCE (Internal) be postponed indefinitely in view of the current security challenges, occasioned by the ENDSARS protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in some parts of the country.

“In making this decision, the Board noted that due to these security challenges, some state governments imposed curfew and closed schools in order to safeguard lives and property;

“In the circumstances, it has become difficult for the council to move examination materials across the country and students in the affected locations were unable to sit for the papers already scheduled in the examination timetable.

“The Governing Board further resolved, that when normalcy returns, the Council will continue with the conduct of the examinations in all States.

“While regretting any inconveniences this postponement may cause our esteemed stakeholders, the Council has however taken this decision in order to maintain the integrity and security of its examination procedures for seamless conduct of the Council’s examination.”

News Central reports that NECO had initially rescheduled its examinations scheduled for Oct. 22, 23 and 24 to November, owing to insecurity and curfew imposed by some states during the #EndSARS protests.

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