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Over 1,900 children die of malnutrition in Tigray region in war-torn Ethiopia

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At least 1,900 children under the age of five have died from malnutrition in the Tigray region of war-ravaged Ethiopia in the past year.

According to a study carried out by local health officials and released on Wednesday, the deaths were recorded at health centres across the war-torn region between June 2021 and April 2022.

A doctor involved in the study said the true “number of child deaths from malnutrition is likely to be higher because most families are unable to bring their children to health centres because of transportation challenges.”

He added that most hunger deaths go unrecorded.

“Because we cannot access most areas, we do not know what is happening on the community level.

“These are simply the deaths we have managed to record in health facilities,” said the doctor who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“The children of families living in urban areas are especially at risk of malnutrition, as their parents do not have farmland to grow food,” he added.

The ongoing conflict in Western Tigray, which is under the control of forces from the neighbouring Amhara region, has been blamed for the deaths and hunger in the region.

UN figures also noted that more than 90 percent of Tigray’s 5.5 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 115,000 children who are severely malnourished.

Since June last year, Tigray has been cut off from the rest of Ethiopia when fighters from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, TPLF, recaptured most of the region as federal forces withdrew.

On March 24, the Ethiopian federal government unilaterally declared a surprise “humanitarian truce,” an announcement it said would allow food aid to flow into Tigray, but nearly one month later, only four convoys of around 80 food lorries have entered the region.

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Nigeria: Zamfara state government wants gun licenses for residents over insecurity

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The Commissioner for information in one of Nigeria’s Northern states, Zamfara state says residents in the state can start approaching the police command in the state for gun licences.

The troubled state wants individuals to carry guns to defend themselves against armed gangs of kidnappers causing havoc in the country’s northwest.

The commissioner, Ibrahim Magaji Dosara in statement said the state governor had directed the state police commissioner to issue 500 gun licences in each of the 19 emirates in the state to those wishing to defend themselves.

“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves,” Dosara said.

The state also banned the use of motorcyles and selling of petrol in three districts and one emirate, in areas which are the most affected by banditry, Dosara said. The state is divided into emirates and the emirates into districts.

“Anybody found riding motorbike within the areas is considered as bandits and security agencies are thereby directed to shoot such persons at sight,” said Dosara.

Gunmen, locally called bandits, have been attacking and killing thousands of people in the country’s North-west since 2017. These assailants have attacked rural dwellers, destroyed their farmlands and in many cases only allow them to the farm after they have paid protection fees. They have also targeted travellers across the region in what some analysts say is one of the most lucrative kidnap-for-ransom syndicates in the continent.

Owning a gun in Zamfara needs permission from the state governor and state police commissioner.

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Ex-Liberian rebel warlord charged in US over attempt to obtain citizenship fraudulently

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A former commanding general of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), a notorious rebel group during the West African country’s civil war, Moses Wright, who had sought asylum in the US has been charged with fraudulently attempting to obtain US citizenship, among other crimes.

According to the United States Justice Department, the 69-year-old Wright lied about his involvement in the persecuting and killing of non-combatants during the war when he applied for US citizenship.

If convicted, Wright faces a maximum possible sentence of 165 years in prison and a $7m (£5.7m) fine, according to the JD.

“The United States will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals,” the United States Attorney, Jacqueline C. Romero, said on the indictment of Wright.

The indictment of Wright comes after two other former combatants in Liberia’s civil war, Mohammed Jabbateh and Thomas Woewiyu, were convicted in the US for similar offences while a third rebel leader, Sekou Kamara, was arrested earlier this year in New York.

The AFL was responsible for death of an estimated 250,000 Liberians which amounted to around 8% of the population at the time, in the war which started from 1989 to 1997 and in 1999 to 2003, according to a report by the Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in late 2021, which described the AFL as a “significant violator group found to be behind some of the civil war’s largest scale massacres.”

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