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EU to stop training Mali’s armed forces over Moura Village massacre

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Following recent reports and claims that the army in Mali assaulted civilians in supposed recent clashes with terrorists, particularly at Moura, a village in central Mali, the European Union says it will stop part of its training of Mali’s armed forces.

EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell made the disclosure on Monday, citing a lack of guarantees from Malian authorities that Russian military contractors would not interfere in the work.

Recall that the United Nations countered the claim revealed in a statement by the Mali military issued in which the army said it “neutralized 300 terrorists” in Moura village. The UN believed 300 civilians were killed in the village.

The US State Department had also condemned the “extremely disturbing accounts” of Mali’s military activities in Moura village. The US also stressed that it is concerned that many reports suggest that the perpetrators were unaccountable forces mercenaries from the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group.

Borrell said in a news conference after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, “we have decided to suspend, to stop, certain formations of our training mission in Mali focused on the units of the armed forces of the Malian national guard,”

While the United Nations Security Council had call for an independent investigation of the killing in Moura, africanewswatch.com reported on Sunday Russia and China disagreed with the request.

The EU on its own side has however made the decision on the case with the explanation that it was not convinced the army did not use mercenaries in the claimed neutralization of the terrorists in Moura.

Although Borell said the EU was not leaving Mali, he however said “there are not enough security guarantees from the Malian authorities over the non-interference of the well-known Wagner Group.”

The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization variously described as a private military company, a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mali has been a point of concern for the international community lately with Goïta’s continued stay in power. Recall that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ramped up sanctions on Mali after Goïta took over the government in August 2020. Mediators for the regional bloc had also been to Bamako in recent weeks to broker peace and transition into civil government.

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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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