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UN Opens New Ethiopian Refugee Camp in Sudan

Since Sunday, 580 Ethiopian refugees have been transferred to the camp and given a hot meal on arrival, a UNHCR spokesman told reporters in Geneva.

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The United Nations said on Tuesday it had begun moving some of the more than 56,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan to a newly-opened camp, with the existing facility nearly full.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said tents to shelter up to 5,000 people have so far been set up at the new Tunaydbah camp. More were to be pitched in the coming days.

Since Sunday, 580 Ethiopian refugees have been transferred to the camp and given a hot meal on arrival, a UNHCR spokesman told reporters in Geneva.

Refugees are continuing to flee the unrest in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, with 800 having crossed the border with eastern Sudan since the New Year.

“Latest arrivals tell of being caught in the conflict and being victims of various armed groups, facing perilous situations including looting of their houses, forceful recruitment of men and boys, and sexual violence against women and girls,” said spokesman Andrej Mahecic.

“Refugees are arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs, fatigued and in weak conditions after sometimes days of travel.”

He said more than 30 percent of the refugees were estimated to be aged under 18, while five percent were over 60.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered troops into Tigray on November 4 following alleged attacks by Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces on federal military camps there.

Abiy, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, claimed victory on November 28. However, the TPLF has vowed to fight on and the UN says clashes persist.

The Um Raquba camp in eastern Sudan is approaching capacity.

UNHCR and its partners relocated 580 Ethiopian refugees from a reception site to Tunaydbah to keep them safe and offer better conditions, said Mahecic.

The spokesman said more funding was needed to sustain the camps, especially with the rainy season expected to start in May.

Some $40 million has been pledged to UNHCR for the regional response to the Tigray emergency, covering only 37 percent of the estimated financial requirements.

“It is critical to further improve water and sanitation conditions in the refugee camps and reception areas, as well as to ramp up Covid-19 prevention measures, including isolation facilities,” said Mahecic.

Before the conflict broke out, some 96,000 Eritrean refugees, many of whom fled neighbouring Eritrea’s authoritarian government, were living in four camps in Tigray.

Mahecic said agencies had reached some parts of southern Tigray but were still unable to reach sites in the north.

“We still are asking for full and unfettered access to the entire region,” he said.

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East Africa News

Mozambique Arrests Three Nigerians over Memberships of Cocaine Trafficking Network

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The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) have arrested three Nigerians, a South African and a local on suspicion of belonging to an international network of traffickers of cocaine.

The quintet were arrested in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, following a complaint from the local population.

Maputo police spokesman Leonel Muchina said that the group was caught while “threatening” a Nigerian, who allegedly received eight kilograms of cocaine from Brazil, worth an estimated 18 million meticais, and destined for South Africa.

The alleged receiver reportedly tried to break the deal after receiving the contraband, prompting the international network to dispatch some members from Brazil to Maputo to recover the cocaine.

On arrival in Maputo, the group had offered a Mozambican 50,000 meticais – 28,000 meticais in advance and 22,000 after job completion – to identify the receiver’s place of residence.

Once the alleged receiver’s residence was located, the group visited and subjected him to torture, including the firing of a gun close to his ear.

The gunshot alerted neighbours who tipped off the police.

The police said one of the alleged drug traffickers who came to Mozambique to recover the drug confessed to his participation in the illegal operation but the alleged receiver of the drugs denied being part of the group, insisting he had never received any drugs.

The National Migration Service (SENAMI) revealed that the Nigerians involved in the case entered the country illegally and would be deported after prosecution.

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“We’re Out of Food And Stuck With An 18-month Old Baby” – Bobi Wine Cries Out

Bobi Wine has cried out to the world after being denied food and water in his house arrest. He has also revealed that an 18-month old baby is stuck with them in the house

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Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine), opposition candidate in the just concluded Ugandan Presidential election has revealed the precarious situation he’s in with his family.

Bobi Wine, who garnered 34.8% of electorates’ votes in the election, has been under house arrest alongside his wife, and an 18-year old kid, who is his wife’s niece.

The musician and parliamentarian had earlier rejected results of the election, citing discrepancies in votes tallying and rigging.

Bobi Wine has been denied every form of access from outside and his wife was prevented from getting food from the garden.

As it stands, Bobi Wine said they’ve run out of water and milk, and need urgent supplies as they are stuck in their home.

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni has been criticised for his treatment of Bobi Wine pre-election and post-election, with the international community expressing their concerns at the violation of human rights.

The 38-year old Presidential candidate, his wife and some others have been held under a house arrest for six days now. The American Ambassador to Uganda made attempts to visit him on Monday but was turned back by soldiers at the entrance of his home.

The Ugandan Police have claimed they placed Wine under house arrest to prevent any form of chaos that may arise from his post-election reaction.

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Ex-Judge, Hamuth, Appointed to Lead Mauritius Oil Spill Probe

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Mauritius has appointed Abdurraffeek Hamuth, a former judge, to lead an inquiry into the circumstances in which a Japanese-owned vessel, the Wakashio, entered its waters and spilled hundreds of tonnes of oil.

The MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping and chartered by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), ran aground on a coral reef off Mauritius on 25 July 2020. It was carrying 4,000 tonnes of oil before it split into two on 16 August.

Former Judge Hamuth and his assessors will investigate the cause and extent of the damage caused by the bulk carrier.

Testimonies at the inquiry are expected to reveal how the hull of the vessel cracked.

About 15 people have so far confirmed their participation, including opposition leader, Arvin Boolell, maritime safety expert and social activist, Bruneau Laurette, along with government officials and crew members.

Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and his assistant Hitihamillage Subodha Janendra Tilakaratna were arrested after the vessel sunk.

In September 2020, an expert witness told a court in Port Louis that the captain of the MV Wakashio, Nandeshwar, had been drinking before the accident.

According to the expert, the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), which took an audio recording in the ship, confirmed suspicions of a birthday party a little more than an hour before the ship ran aground and that the Capt Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar, had consumed alcohol.

Capt Nandeshwar was also aware that the depth under the ship was decreasing considerably, the court heard.

The court heard that the ship’s voice recorder did not record any call with the Mauritius National Coast Guard.

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