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Equatorial Guinea compensates victims of 2021 Bata blast but will it bring solace?

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The government of  Equatorial Guinea said it has compensated 84 families of victims of explosions in a military camp in Bata that had killed 107 people and injured 615.

A series of powerful explosions at a military base in Equatorial Guinea’s largest city of Bata in March 7, 2021 literally devastated the Nkoa-Ntoma camp in Bata, the economic capital, and many neighboring residential areas after a fire caused by a poorly controlled burning had set fire to the arsenal and the armory of the military hold.

An official statement from the presidency in Equatorial Guinea said the blasts were caused by negligence of a military unit “in charge of storing explosives, dynamite and ammunition at the Nkoa Ntoma military camp”.

The compensation ceremony was presided over by vice president of the Central African country and son of the head of state, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.

Each family received eight million CFA francs, about 12,000 euros. People who were amputated as a result of the disaster received 4 million CFA francs, about 6,000 euros.

“The government of Equatorial Guinea has released 700 million CFA francs (about 1.1 million euros) to compensate the victims,” said state television station TVGE.

Equatorial Guinea, like most other African countries, has had its fair share of misrule, with corruption an endemic challenge. Poverty remains rife and many watchers of the country’s political space doubt if the handouts made by government would have the desired  soothing effects.

Bata is a port city on the mainland of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. A long, palm-fringed esplanade stretches along its waterfront. The colossal, futuristic Freedom Tower overlooks the Gulf of Guinea. The colonial-style Bata Cathedral dates from the 1950s. The city’s busy markets sell clothing, crafts, fresh fish and produce. Just outside the center, Bomé is a popular beach lined with restaurants and bars.

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Metro

South African serial rapist gets four life imprisonment terms

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A South African serial rapist and killer, Philani Justice Nkosi, has been sentenced to four life imprisonment terms by a Mpumalanga High Court for rape and murder.

The court also sentenced the 35-year-old to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of murdering one of his victims who recognised him.

Nkosi was sentenced on Friday after the court found him guilty of one count of murder, three counts of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, who expressed satisfaction with the sentence, said Nkosi committed the offences between 2014 and 2018 in Bhuga Trust and Halfway Trust in KaBokweni.

“In one incident which stands out, the accused attacked a 12-year-old victim while she was on the way to the local shop. He dragged her to the nearby bush, raped and strangled her to death,” Nyuswa said.

“He also raped another woman in March 2016, stabbed and robbed her of cash.

“The accused continued with his crime spree until December 2018 when he raped an adult woman who was on her way home from work.

“The matter was reported to the police, and the accused was subsequently arrested and linked to other crimes through DNA,” Nyuswa said.

Nkosi who pleaded not guilty to the crimes, claimed the two rape survivors were prostitutes and that the deceased was his girlfriend.

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Tanzanian court sentences 11 people to death for killing South African conservationist

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A Tanzanian High Court has sentenced 11 people to death after they were found guilty of killing a South African conservationist, Wayne Lotter, who was murdered in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

The convicts include nine Tanzanians and two citizens of neighbouring Burundi.

The victim was a renowned anti-poaching activist who was singled out by the convicts for disrupting their illegal poaching activities, according to prosecutors while testifying in court on Friday.

State prosecutors told Judge Leila Mgonya that the 51-year-old Lotter who was based in Tanzania, was a founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO which worked to stop the poaching of elephants and trafficking of ivory in the East African country.

He was shot dead in Dar es Salaam when the taxi he was travelling in was ambushed and though the exact motive for his killing is still unknown, his colleagues believe he was singled out for his work on protecting elephants, local media reports.

While handing down the death sentences, Judge Mgonya said there was compelling evidence that linked the 11 to the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder on which they were charged

“Some of the suspects, in their statements recorded by police officers, confessed to have taken part in the conspiracy meetings and in killing. The evidence provided was strong enough to convict them,” the judge said.

Tanzania is one of the worst hit African countries in terms of elephant poaching, with a data released early this year noting that more than 66,000 elephants have been lost in the last 10 years due to the activities of illegal poachers.

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