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Explosion at illegal refineries kills scores in Rivers, Imo states Nigeria

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An overnight explosion at an illegal oil refining depot on the border of Nigeria’s Rivers and Imo states has killed more than 100 people.

The site was in the Ohaji-Egbema local government area of Imo state in the Abaezi forest that straddles the border of the two states.

The state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Opiah, said “The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition.”

Former president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (Mosop), Ledum Mitee while speaking on the accident said “the Rivers state governor has made a push recently to stamp out illegal refining in Rivers so it has to move to the fringes and neighboring states. In the last month or two, there were several raids, and some security agents involved were tackled.”

Operations of illegal refineries are common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. In January, troops of Operation Delta Safe discovered and immobilized a total of 39 illegal refining sites and a total of 637,500 liters of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil; and 950,000 liters of Stolen Crude oil were recovered in the course of the operations.

Although Nigeria is one of the largest oil producers in the world, the West African country does not refine crude oil locally. State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has four refineries, two in Port Harcourt (PHRC), and one each in Kaduna (KRPC) and Warri (WRPC) but none has worked to capacity for years despite several investments to succinate the refineries.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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