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16 killed, scores injured as insurgents attack military base in Burkina Faso

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An insurgent attack on an army base in Burkina Faso has killed at least 12 soldiers and four paramilitary fighters while 21 persons were declared wounded by the army.

According to a statement by the army, the attack took place early Friday morning at Burkina Faso’s Namissiguima military base in the province of Sanmatenga in the north-central part of the West African country.

The statement also revealed that men of the Burkina Faso army have been deployed to the area to secure and maintain order.

Attacks by jihadists linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State group have killed thousands and displaced an estimated 1.5 million people in Burkina Faso since 2015.

France24 reports that between 2015 and 2018, terrorist attacks targeted the capital Ouagadougou and other centers of power. Since 2019, attacks by mobile combat units targeted mostly rural zones in the north and east of the country, fuelling displacements en masse and intercommunal violence. Some 2,000 people were killed, among them civilians and members of the armed forces or the Volunteers for the Defence of the Homeland, a civilian auxiliary group of the army created in 2020.

Constant cases of insurgent attacks and other security-related challenges were among the said reasons for the coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso which was launched on 23 January 2022, but it appears not much has changed with the security situation and insurgency despite the military takeover.

Metro

$5m forfeited to govt in seized plane scandal that rocked Zambia

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The Zambian government has been made $5 million richer following a court ruling that ordered the forfeiture of the sum seized in a gold scam scandal that rocked the nation last year.

The same ruling also mandated the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to release the plane involved in the scandal to its owners after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and other interested parties in the criminal case entered into a consent judgment.

The Global Express T77WSS Jet, was confiscated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka last year on suspicion of ferrying gold from the country worth millions of dollars after landing from Cairo, Egypt.

In the consent judgement signed on April 10, the owner of the disputed jet, World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited, through one of its Directors, Michael Adel Michel Botros, an Egyptian, agreed to surrender the $5 million to the Zambian government in exchange for the plane.

The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, on the other hand, consented to the immediate release of the the aircraft to its owners

The jet was reportedly hired by a management company known as Ibis Air PTY Limited.

The parties further agreed on the other properties seized comprising of 602 pieces of brass pellets, a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about $7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

The consent judgement read:

“That DEC shall release the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet, to the first and second interested parties forthwith:

“That the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros shall surrender the sum of $5,000,000.00 only to the government of the Republic of Zambia.

“That the sum of $697,700.00 be released to the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros through his advocates to cover some of the attendant costs of facilitating and servicing the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet in order for it to achieve optimal airworthiness.

“All other items seized by DEC be surrendered to the State: and we consent to the order in the terms herein set out.”

In an affidavit in opposition to the DPP’s application filed last year, Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa had stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Aldamasy had argued that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

Botros had also argued that he was a victim of a gold scam which also involved government officials but the DPP wanted an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo, are currently undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

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Tanzania, Rwanda others recall Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup

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As a safety step, drug regulators in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe have called back a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after their counterparts in Nigeria said that lab tests showed high levels of toxicity.

These countries are the fourth and fifth to recall the same batch of syrup. The syrup is used to treat children with coughs, hay fever, and other allergic responses. South Africa has also called back another group.

Nigeria’s health regulator, NAFDAC found a high amount of diethylene glycol in the syrup. This chemical has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022, in one of the worst waves of poisoning from oral medications in the world. Diethylene glycol is dangerous for people to eat or drink and can cause sudden kidney failure.

J&J made the recalled batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup in South Africa in May 2021. However, the brand is now owned by Kenvue (KVUE.N), which split off from J&J last year. The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said the recall began on April 12 after learning about the test results in Nigeria.

“This is an exercise that does not involve investigation but rather monitoring to ensure that those affected drugs are removed from the market,” TMDA spokesperson Gaudensia Simwanza told Reuters on Monday.

A spokesperson for Kenya’s drug regulator said its test results on the syrup would likely be ready on Wednesday. “A review of our safety database doesn’t reveal any adverse events reported,” the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. “However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures.”

The Medicines Control Agency of Zimbabwe said it didn’t know when the product was brought into the country, but it was worried that the syrup could get into the market without permission. In this case, it said it would do more checks.

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