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Ethiopia/Tigray crisis: Rebels agree to respect government ‘unilateral truce’

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Rebels from the Tigray region in Ethiopia said they will respect the cessation of hostilities declared by the Ethiopian government, saying it was to allow aid to flow into Tigray.

Ethiopia’s government on Thursday declared an immediate, unilateral truce in its conflict with rebellious Tigrayan forces to allow aid into the northern province, although it was not clear how it would enforce it.

A ceasefire or truce is “a suspension of acts of violence by military and paramilitary forces, usually resulting from the intervention of a third party. It signals an attempt to reach a more comprehensive and permanent settlement of an armed conflict. Ceasefires can be unilateral: a party can declare a ceasefire without seeking a ceasefire from the other side as the Ethiopian government has declared.

“The government of Tigray will do everything it can do to make sure this cessation of hostilities is a success,” the regional Tigrayan government said in a statement.

The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state in Ethiopia. The Region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama people. Formerly known as Region 1, its capital and largest city is Mekelle. Tigray is the fifth-largest by area, the fifth-most populous, and the fifth-most densely populated of the 11 regional states in Ethiopia. 96 per cent of Tigrayans are Orthodox Christian.

War broke out between Tigray’s rulers – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – and the central government led by Abiy, in November 2020. Since the outbreak of the war, which began in Tigray (northern Ethiopia) and then spread to the neighbouring regions of Amhara and Afar, has been marked by numerous allegations of abuses on both sides.

United Nations rights chief, Bachelet raised alarm in February at the growing human rights and humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. She said the 16-month conflict between Ethiopian government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, has spread into the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara.

According to the UN, since mid-February humanitarian operations had to relocate to serve the needs of more than four hundred thousand displaced civilians.

Report says fighting in the Afar region has so far prevented convoys carrying food aid and fuel from delivering the supplies since the only operational road between Semera, the capital of Afar, and Mekele, the capital of Tigray was blocked.

Metro

Shelve your planned protest, I’m addressing your grievances, Tinubu begs Nigerian youths

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President Bola Tinubu has called on aggrieved Nigerian youths and organizers of the planned nationwide #EndBadGovernance protests on August 1 to shelve the plan as he is working hard to address their concerns.

Tinubu, who made the plea on Tuesday through the Minister of Information National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said there was no need for the protests as he had heard the cries of Nigerians and was doing everything possible to address them.

Idris, who conveyed the President’s message while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the president was working assiduously to ensure the country’s economy was placed in a good position.

“We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today, but also for the future.

“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that, he asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas, he has listened to them,” Idris said.

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Zambia: PF lawmaker Chitotela sentenced to 10 years in prison

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A Member of Parliament in Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of arson by the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court.

Chitotela, an MP on the platform of the Patriotic Front (PF) who represents Pambeshe Constituency in the Parliament, was found guilty by Magistrate Martin Namushi of malicious damage, and received a five-year sentence on one of the counts.

He was also sentenced to an additional 11 months for threatening violence and 18 months for occasioning actual bodily harm.

Chitotela’s co-accused, Nixon Chilangwa, another MP who represents Kawambwa Constituency, was acquitted of arson charges but according to the Magistrate, was not spared from the law.

Chitotela, although acquitted of charges related to threatening violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, now awaits the High Court’s decision on the arson charges.

According to media reports, Chitotela, Chilangwa, and five others were dragged before the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court on charges bordering on arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and assault, all allegedly committed during the August 2021 general elections.

The others involved in the trial were Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu, and Kunda Chitotela.

Chifumbe was sentenced to five years for malicious damage to property, threatening violence, and threatening actual bodily harm, Kaniki and Kunda Chitotela were found guilty of arson, while Musantu was been acquitted of all charges.

Magistrate Namushi also denied the bail applications for Chilangwa and Chifumbe, citing unconvincing reasons for their release.

The defense team is expected to appeal for bail in the High Court.

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