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Nigerien Communication Minister, Mahamadou Zada sent to jail. Here’s why

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A judge of the economic and financial division of Niamey has sent Nigerien Minister of Communication, Mahamadou Zada to jail for his alleged involvement in a high-profile embezzlement case.

The Minister is believed to have mismanaged public funds when he was managing a public company (Société de patrimoine des mines du Niger) between 2013 and 2021. The misappropriated fund is said to be about three billion CFA francs (more than 4.5 million euros) according to a judicial source.

According to the Nigerien press, the scandal exploded when the management of Taanadi, a local micro-finance institution, wrote to Sopamin a year ago to say it had not found any trace in its books of a CFAF 3 billion deposit announced by Sopamin.

The state-owned company manages the Nigerien state’s holdings in mining companies operating in the country, including uranium had been implicated in a scandal linked to international trade in uranium organised by the French group Areva (now Orano) over the sale in autumn 2011 of a large quantity of uranium for $320 million.

60-year-old President Bazoum came into office last year as the first democratic transfer of power after the government says it thwarted an attempted coup by parts of the military. The president has made the fight against corruption one of his main priorities, and recently revealed that “some thirty senior state officials, guilty of embezzlement or misappropriation, are currently in prison and will remain there for a long time.”

Metro

M23 rebels take control of Kitshanga in eastern DR Congo

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The M23 rebels have announced that its fighters have seized control of the strategic town of Kitshanga, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after days of intense fighting.

The DRC military authorities also confirmed in a statement late on Friday that its forces have withdrawn from the town in a tactical move to protect civilians in the face of a renewed offensive by the rebel militia.

“We have tactically withdrawn from the city in order to attract these genocidal forces deep into the city and avoid the worst for our people in Kitshanga,” spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, said in the statement.

“We are making every effort to dislodge this enemy,” he added.

Videos then emerged on social media showing the M23 fighters celebrating and claiming they had captured the town.

The M23 rebels said it took control of Kitshanga town on Thursday night after capturing several villages on the road linking the town of about 60,000 people to the provincial capital, Goma.

In an earlier statement, M23′s spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, has accused government troops of attacking civilians in Kitchanga and elsewhere, and said the rebel group was “obliged to intervene and stop another genocide”.

While condemning the recent development, the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), said more than 500 people, including women and children, are seeking refuge at its base in the town of Kitshanga.

MONUSCO spokesperson, Ndeye Khady Lo, said civilians fleeing from Kitchanga have been given tents, food, water and first aid.

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Metro

237 African migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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Not less than 237 African migrants were on Friday, rescued after their makeshift boat capsized off the Libyan coast while navigating the dangerous Mediterranean Sea, on their way to Europe.

French medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which carried out the rescue mission, said the migrants were rescued by its chartered rescue vessel, Geo Barents, which was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, north of the country’s capital Tripoli, when it received a distress call.

“The Geo Barents ship encountered other overcrowded rubber dinghies with migrants attempting to reach Europe and took them on board,” the NGO said.

“Following instructions by the maritime rescue coordination centre, the ship then sailed towards the northern Italian port of La Spezia.l,” it added.

The MSF and other NGOs operating rescue vessels off Africa’s northern coast have accused the Italian government of deliberately assigning far away ports to discourage their operations, an accusation the Italian Interior Ministry had denied.

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