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Senegal residents lament rising cost of food items as Ramadan closes in

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Residents of Senegal have been lamenting the rising cost of food items with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan just a few days away.

Basic foodstuffs in the West African country has been on a steady rise following the closure of Senegal’s border with Mali, which has seen the restriction of foodstuff and other items coming into the country.

The worst hit is the capital, Dakar, where residents have been calling on the government to reopen the border so that products can come in.

The closure of the Senegal-Mali border was necessitated by a range of
economic and diplomatic sanctions against Mali, including border closures, by ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) in January, following a coup staged by the military.

The sanctions by the regional bodies were meant to deal a blow to the Malian junta, but the effect of the sanctions have gone beyond Mali and are now taking tolls on neighbouring countries including The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and even as far as Nigeria, where prices of goods have skyrocketed.

A resident of Dakar, Ndèye Marie Diop, who spoke on the price increase, said:

“The closure of the Mali border has made things worse because there are products that Senegal does not have and that leave Guinea, Mali or the Ivory Coast, and inevitably, one must pass through Mali before coming to Senegal.

“Things will be very difficult during Ramadan under these conditions.
There are all these problems, they must open the border. All the products are there. If the border is closed, what will come in?”

Metro

Zambian government moves to retrieve body of student killed while fighting in Russia-Ukraine war

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Zambian authorities have resolved to send a delegation to Russia next week to retrieve the body of a 23-year-old Zambian student, Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, who died while fighting for the Russian military in Ukraine.

Nyirenda’s family and the government are, however, still waiting for answers from Moscow on how he was recruited into the army while serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia.

Spokesman for the Zambian Ministry of Information and Media, Thabo Kawana, who confirmed this in a statement on Saturday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spearheading efforts to bring the body of Nyirenda back to the country for burial.

“The government is also offering support during this trying moment and doing everything they can to arrange for the funeral and repatriation of the body back to Zambia,” Kawana said.

“Using our diplomatic channels and our all-weather cooperation between Russia and ourselves, we will be able to get to the bottom of this matter,” he added.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo, at a press conference earlier in the week, said that Nyirenda who had been studying at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, was serving a nine-year prison sentence for a drug offense.

He said Nyirenda was killed on the front lines in September, but Russian authorities only just informed Zambia of the death while Zambia is demanding answers over the student’s death and why he had been sent to Ukraine.

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Algerian court sentences 49 people to death for lynching citizen over forest fires

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An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death for lynching and burning a citizen, Jamal Ben Ismail, and mutilating his body in the Kabylia region after he was wrongly accused him of causing a vast forest fire in which over 90 people were killed, the Algerian Press Service reports.

However, according to the Algerian moratorium on executions enacted in 1993, the sentences would be concerted to life imprisonment terms.

The report by the APS on Friday said the Casablanca Court of First Instance in Algiers, also handed down judgements “ranging from ten to two years enforceable imprisonment against 28 defendants, in addition to fines ranging from 100 to 200,000 Algerian dinars, while it acquitted 17 other defendants.”

“All the accused were prosecuted on multiple charges, particularly the offence of committing “terrorist acts and subversion against the state security and national unity, involvement in deliberate and premeditated murder.

“Other charges were assault with violence against members of the public force, dissemination of hate speech and incitement to destroy the property of others and armed gathering,” according to the APS.

Local media reports that the then 38-years-old Ismail, had voluntarily gone to a town in Tizi Ouzou in the northwest of the country to help extinguish forest fires.

“When he learned that some of the town’s residents suspected him of being involved in setting fires because he was a stranger to the region, he rushed to hand himself to the police, however, a large crowd of angry citizens snatched him from the hands of the police, tortured him, burned him alive and mutilated his body,” a media report said.

Some videos circulated on social media showed crowds surrounding the police car where Ben Ismail was held, they then dragged him out and started beating him.

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