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Ethiopian soldiers of Tigrayan descent refuse to return home, seek asylum in Sudan

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At least 550 Ethiopian soldiers who are part of the United Nations peacekeeping team in Sudan have refused to return home and are seeking asylum for fear they will be persecuted due to their Tigrayan ethnicity, a military official with knowledge of the plan said on Tuesday.

According to the officer, the soldiers who are part of a UN peacekeeping force working in Abyei, a contested oil-rich area on Sudan’s border with South Sudan, are afraid of persecution back home by the Ethiopian authorities.

The official said that the soldiers were at the peacekeeping mission’s rear base in Kadugli in South Kordofan and that UNHCR was “planning to move them to one fenced camp near a refugee camp for Eritreans in Sudan’s Gadaref state.”

The war in Ethiopia which is going into its third year, pits the Ethiopian government and its allies against the Tigrayan forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party that once dominated national politics and now controls the Tigray region in the Northern region of the country.

Since the fighting started, ethnic Tigrayans have been repeatedly detained without trial according to international human rights watchdogs.

Last year, a rights commission said in a report that thousands of ethnic Tigrayans have been detained in inhumane conditions, including very elderly people, nursing mothers and babies.

The United Nations has said at least 15,000 Tigrayan civilians were arrested or imprisoned across Ethiopia under the state of emergency declared in November and lifted in February.

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Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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