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70 killed, hundreds displaced as gunmen attack villages in Plateau State, Nigeria

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In Plateau state Nigeria, gunmen on Sunday reportedly killed more than 70 people and burned down houses while hundreds of villagers fled their homes.

The Plateau State Police public relations officer, Gabriel Ubah, who confirmed the attack, told newsmen that the police had to send reinforcements to the affected villages which included Kukawa, Giyanbahu, Dangur, and Keren.

“We’re doing our best. Security operatives will be deployed to the areas and we’ve also renewed our strategies which will not be made known to the public. It’s an in-house security strategy that has been put in place,” he said.

Terrorist activities have taken an upward trend in Nigeria since the deadly Boko Haram sect based in North-Eastern Nigeria, which is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon was founded in 2002. Attacks by armed gangs are also becoming increasingly common in central Nigeria.

The police spokesperson also revealed that the Force is yet to determine the number of casualties from the attacks. Local residents say more bodies were discovered Monday.

Local residents say the victims included farmers who were tilling their fields in preparation for planting. They say the attackers abducted dozens of people, including women and children.

The attacks occurred barely one week after 17 people were killed elsewhere in Plateau during a festival held to pray for peace and a bountiful harvest. There have also been recent attacks in Kaduna State, Northwest, Nigeria.

According to Statista, “between 2011 and 2021, Boko Haram was responsible for thousands of deaths in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Nigeria is the country most affected by the terrorist group’s attacks. States in the North-East register the highest number of deaths. Borno is by far the most threatened state, Boko Haram has caused over 34 thousand deaths in this area…”

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South Africa slams 54 fraud, immigration charges on Rwandan genocide suspect

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One of the most wanted Rwandan Genocide suspects, Fulgence Kayishema has been slammed with a 54-count charge by South African prosecutors, including fraud and immigration charges.

Kayishema, an ex-Rwandan police officer who is wanted internationally over his alleged role in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, was arraigned at a Cape Town court on Friday.

After being on the run for over two decades, Kayishema was arrested on May 24 on a grape farm in South Africa where he had been hiding under a false name, according to a prosecutor, who said refugees working in the farm gave him up.

Spokesperson of the South African prosecutors, Eric Ntabazalila, who addressed a press conference outside the court, said the fugitive now faced 54 separate charges relating to fraud and immigration offences, up from five previously preferred against him.

Kayishema had been a fugitive from justice since 2001, when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) indicted him for genocide for allegedly ordering the massacre of 2,000 people hiding in the Nyange Catholic Church,” Ntabazalila told journalists.

Some of the charges could see Kayishema imprisoned for up to 15 years, said Ntabazalila.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also allege that Kayishema used a false identity to apply for asylum and refugee status in South Africa.

The case was adjourned to June 20 to allow Kayishema’s defence team to consult, at which point he could apply for bail, while he is also expected to face extradition to Rwanda to be tried over the ICTR genocide indictment.

With Kayishema’s arrest, there are only three indicted fugitives still on the run after a sweeping indictment by the international tribunal.

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US, WFP, USAID suspend food aid to Ethiopia

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The United States along with the World Food Program (WFP) and the USAID have suspended food aid to Ethiopia following allegations of theft and diversion by government officials.

The WFP and the USAID announced the suspension on Friday, a day after the US government announced that it was suspending the programme due to the same reasons.

WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain, who made the announcement early on Friday, said the suspension was temporary, until a full investigation was conducted by the Ethiopian government.

“We will temporarily cease food aid in Ethiopia, but nutritional assistance to children, pregnant and lactating women, school meals programs and activities to strengthen farmers and herders in the face of external shocks will continue without interruption,” McCain said in a press release.

Diversion of food is absolutely unacceptable. The Ethiopian government’s commitment to investigate and hold those responsible accountable is welcomed.

“WFP is working closely with its UN partners, humanitarian organizations and local actors to reform the way aid is distributed across Ethiopia,” she added.

On Thursday, the US government’s international aid agency, USAID, had announced the suspension of its food aid to Ethiopia, while denouncing a “widespread and coordinated operation to divert.”

“USAID intends to immediately resume food aid as soon as we have confidence in the integrity of the distribution systems to get aid to its intended recipients,” the agency had said.

In a joint statement with the USAID, Ethiopian authorities assured that a joint investigation was underway “so that the perpetrators of these hijackings are accountable.”

According to the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA), more than 20 million people of the 120 million Ethiopian population, about 16%, depend on food aid due to conflicts or recurring drought in the region which has also displaced 4.6 million people in the country.

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