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13 African migrants, including six children, four women, die, as two boats sink off Tunisian coast

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Not less than 13 African migrants, including six children and four women, have been confirmed dead when their boats sank off the Tunisian coast on their way to Europe, a judicial official in the country, Mourad Turki, said.

“Another 10 migrants were declared missing as the two make-shift boats sank off the coast of Sfax, while 37 were rescued. Among the bodies recovered were four women and six children,” Turki said.

Majority of the migrants were said to be from sub-Saharan Africa and had set off in the two boats to embark on the often dangerous attempt of crossing the Mediterranean into European countries in search of greener pastures, with many of them fleeing conflicts and poverty in their countries.

In recent months, hundreds of Africans have drowned off the Tunisian coast following an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe, especially Italy and Spain, from Tunisia and Libya.

Tunisia and neighbouring Libya have become key departure points for migrants seeking to reach European shores, often in vessels that are barely seaworthy, an official of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said.

The UN agency added that in 2021 alone, around 1,300 migrants drowned or went missing in the central Mediterranean, making it the world’s deadliest migration route.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on it’s part, estimates that more than 18,000 migrants have died or disappeared while attempting to make the crossing since 2014.

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Zambian agency issues flood alert around Lake Tanganyika areas, advises relocation

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The Zambian Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) has issued a flood alert on areas surrounding Lake Tanganyika in Northern Province, warning residents in the affected areas to relocate and move upland to avoid being caught unawares.

Acting Director General of WARMA, Frank Nyoni, who face the warning, said the authority had observed rising water levels in Lake Tanganyika which are likely to cause flooding in some areas of Mpulungu and Nsama Districts.

In a statement issued in Lusaka on Saturday, Nyoni said the rise in the Lake water levels are due to intense rainfall received in the Northern parts of Zambia.

“The areas which are likely to be affected include Mpulungu Harbour, Kasaba Bay, Nsumbu Bay, Nkamba Bay, Chituta Bay, Mbete Bay and other areas along the shoreline,” Nyoni said in the statement.

The Acting DG stated that the Authority had observed that the water levels in “Lake Tanganyika had exceeded the long-term average with the highest lake water level of 4.36m which was recorded in 1964, exceeded by 0.53m as of 1 2th April, 2024, reaching a record high of 4.89m.”

“Furthermore, the Lake water levels are still rising and it is anticipated that the peak will be reached by June, 2024,” Nyoni added.

He therefore, advised that members of the public using the Lake and settlers along the lake shorelines in the affected areas should be on high alert and consider possibly moving upland as the Lake levels are still on the rise.

“The Authority will continue to monitor the Lake water levels and will keep the public informed of any changes in the situation,” he promised.

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Yoruba secessionist group seeks exit from Nigeria, writes open letter to Tinubu

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A secessionist group known as the Yoruba Self-Determination Movement (YSDM) has written an open letter to Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu seeking to break away from the country.

The group, which describes itself as a leading figure in the self-determination struggle for a Yoruba sovereign state separate from Nigeria, said it was demanding to pull the Yoruba nation out of the present Nigeria through peaceful negotiations.

In the letter addressed to the President on Saturday, the group said it was prepared to negotiate terms of the secession from Nigeria due to the activities of suspected Fulani herdsmen in their region and in Nigeria as a whole.

The letter jointly signed by leaders of prominent Yoruba advocacy groups including Prof. Banji Akintoye, the national leader of the YSDM; Chief Sunday Adeyemo Igboho, leader of the Yoruba National Defence and Otunba Ola Ademola, Vice-Chairman Yoruba Self-determination Movement, said:

“We have the honour to send to Your Excellency this important letter on behalf of the many millions of Yoruba people at home in Yorubaland in Nigeria and in the Yoruba Diaspora in almost all countries across the world.

“We send this letter most respectfully to Your Excellency as a follow-up to our earlier letter, dated August 06, 2022, which we delivered to your predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his exalted position then as President of Nigeria.

“Since 2015, the Fulani have been killing widely among the other peoples of Nigeria, including us Yoruba, destroying farms, villages and other assets, kidnapping men, women and children, extorting large amounts of money as ransom from friends and family of the kidnapped, and repeatedly asserting their intention to seize the homelands of all the indigenous peoples of Nigeria for the purpose of turning all into a Fulani homeland.

“In our Yoruba homeland, our people are resisting somewhat better, but the Fulani attacks and killings and kidnappings are unrelenting and are coming daily, leading to horrific instability, and forcing most of our farmers to abandon farming altogether, thereby dooming Yoruba people to years and years of famine. According to an unofficial estimate, the Fulani have killed as many as 29,000 Yoruba people in the years since 2015.

“And our reason is that we know that restructuring cannot keep the Fulani marauders away from our homeland – since, after restructuring, the Fulani would still be Nigerians like us, and would still have full citizens’ rights to come in large numbers, and with weapons and intent to kill and destroy and seize land, to our homeland.

“Their spokespersons have said again and again unambiguously that their Fulani nation has prepared all its citizens to fight their current war of subjugation and land seizure for decades and even centuries to come.

“We Yoruba must not underestimate the Fulani; we must not condemn our people to Fulani killings, destruction, raping, kidnapping and extortion of ransom for decades or centuries to come. Our Yoruba nation may not survive such prolonged battering.

“Your Excellency, we Yoruba Self-determination Movement, acting for and on behalf of our 60-million Yoruba people of the Ekiti State, Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, and Oyo State, plus the Yoruba Local Government Areas of Kogi State and Kwara State, and plus the Itshekiri homeland of Delta State, all together constituting the Yorubalnd in Nigeria, hereby most humbly place our crowning request before Your Excellency as follows:

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall, within the next two months, but not later than June 15, 2024, inform us Yoruba Self-determination Movement that the Nigerian Federal Government have graciously agreed to our proposal for negotiation and that they have set up a negotiation team that will meet and dialogue with our Yoruba nation’s negotiation team.

“That as soon as we receive the communication from the Nigerian Federal Government, in response to this request of ours for negotiation; we shall forward the list of our negotiation team to the Nigerian Federal Government.

“That the Nigerian Federal Government’s negotiation team and our negotiation team shall meet to appoint co-chair persons, to agree on a date for the first negotiation meeting, to the negotiation venue, and to the negotiation agenda and process.

“That the Nigerian Federal Government shall invite the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, to send observers to the negotiation meetings.

“Your Excellency, please accept the best assurance of our highest regards and our best wishes.”

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