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#GreatHomeComing: Hundreds Ethiopian migrants repatriated from Saudi Arabia

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday repatriated the first contingents of hundreds of Ethiopian migrants who have been in detention.

The repatriation is in line with “The Great Homecoming” which the Ethiopian government announced in December 2021 in the bid to have all its nationals scattered across the world living in poor conditions.

According to a statement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the returnees who were mostly mothers with young children, landed at Addis Ababa International Airport throughout the day,

“It is estimated that about 750,000 Ethiopians currently reside in the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) with about 450,000 likely to have travelled to the country through irregular means and will need help to return home,” the IOM said in a statement.

The body said it is working closely with the Government of Ethiopia and its partners as the country continues to receive thousands of returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“A coordinated multi-sectoral response is critical to ensure returnees receive essential services such as medical care, food, shelter, and psychosocial support as well as specialized protection services to alleviate their immediate needs, risks and vulnerabilities and enable their return home in safety and dignity”. The statement reads further.

Meanwhile, human rights organizations have repeatedly denounced the detention conditions of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia.

“We were crying daily,” said Jemila Shafi, 29, one of the returnees from Saudi Arabia. She said that they were given one loaf of bread and a pot of cooked rice to be shared between 300 people. “Even 400 people were living in one room and we couldn’t see the sun light,” she added.

According an October 2021 report,   in October 2021, “Thousands of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi prisons are living in horrifying conditions, locked up in overcrowded and dirty cells, starving, mistreated and beaten, and in need of medical attention. Some of them are in mortal danger.”

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Nigeria: Zamfara state government wants gun licenses for residents over insecurity

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The Commissioner for information in one of Nigeria’s Northern states, Zamfara state says residents in the state can start approaching the police command in the state for gun licences.

The troubled state wants individuals to carry guns to defend themselves against armed gangs of kidnappers causing havoc in the country’s northwest.

The commissioner, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara in statement said the state governor had directed the state police commissioner to issue 500 gun licences in each of the 19 emirates in the state to those wishing to defend themselves.

“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves,” Dosara said.

The state also banned the use of motorcyles and selling of petrol in three districts and one emirate, in areas which are the most affected by banditry, Dosara said. The state is divided into emirates and the emirates into districts.

“Anybody found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons at sight,” said Dosara.

Gunmen, locally called bandits, have been attacking and killing thousands of people in the country’s North-west since 2017. These assailants have attacked rural dwellers, destroyed their farmlands and in many cases only allow them to the farm after they have paid protection fees. They have also targeted travellers across the region in what some analysts say is one of the most lucrative kidnap-for-ransom syndicates in the continent.

Owning a gun in Zamfara needs permission from the state governor and state police commissioner.

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Ex-Liberian rebel warlord charged in US over attempt to obtain citizenship fraudulently

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A former commanding general of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), a notorious rebel group during the West African country’s civil war, Moses Wright, who had sought asylum in the US has been charged with fraudulently attempting to obtain US citizenship, among other crimes.

According to the United States Justice Department, the 69-year-old Wright lied about his involvement in the persecuting and killing of non-combatants during the war when he applied for US citizenship.

If convicted, Wright faces a maximum possible sentence of 165 years in prison and a $7m (£5.7m) fine, according to the JD.

“The United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals,” the United States Attorney, Jacqueline C. Romero, said on the indictment of Wright.

The indictment of Wright comes after two other former combatants in Liberia’s civil war, Mohammed Jabbateh and Thomas Woewiyu, were convicted in the US for similar offences while a third rebel leader, Sekou Kamara, was arrested earlier this year in New York.

The AFL was responsible for death of an estimated 250,000 Liberians which amounted to around 8% of the population at the time, in the war which started from 1989 to 1997 and in 1999 to 2003, according to a report by the Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in late 2021, which described the AFL as a “significant violator group found to be behind some of the civil war’s largest scale massacres.”

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