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Press freedom suffers setback in Somaliland as ten journalists are detained for covering attempted jail break

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Ten journalists have been arrested and detained in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, the self-declared independent region of Somalia, for covering an attempted jail break.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), reported on Friday that the journalists who all work for local independent media organisations, were arrested for covering a daring attempted prison break on Wednesday in Hargeisa.

The Hargesia prison is a high security facility in the city where more than 150 criminal and terror convicts are being held.

A group of the detained men reportedly attempted to escape, leading to a fierce battle and in the ensuing clash with the police, media stations got wind of the melee and sent out reporters to cover the incident.

“The ten journalists were arrested as they covered a standoff between inmates and guards at the Hargeisa Central Prison where a riot broke out after prisoners started hurling stones at the guards,” NUSOJ said in the statement by Secretary-General Omar Faruk Osman.

“Reinforcements were called in and journalists from different media responded to the ensuing commotion that saw the guards open fire, to quell a protest by the inmates who were armed with stones,” Osman added.

According to the group, the police, following up on the arrest of the journalists, raided the independent Horn Cable TV headquarters in Hargeisa in efforts to prevent broadcasts on the events at the prison.

NUSOJ published a list of journalists it said were still in detention and demanded their urgent release, which included local MM TV journalist Mohamed Ilig and Hassan Gallayr, a BBC Somali service reporter.

Others included Niciima Abdi (Caroodeg Media), Ahmed Mahmud (Saab TV), Aydaruus Mahamed (Goobjoog online news site), Ahmed Shimali of HCTV, Mahamed Faan of MM TV and Ahmed Samraawi of Bulsho TV.

But in defence of the clampdown on the media, the Commander of Somaliland Prison Corps, General Ahmed Awale Yusuf, claimed that the affected journalists had shared false news.

“There are people who misinformed the public about the small incident that happened at the prison,” Gen Yusuf told the media.

“We hold them accountable, and we will not allow such people to go unpunished,” he added.

Metro

Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will help resolve the country’s debt crisis.

Hichilema, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the agreement would also help pave the way for the country to negotiate with private creditors.

Before signing the agreement, Zambia had struggled to revive its debt restructuring process after a deal to rework $3 billion Eurobonds was rejected by its official creditors, with international media reporting that China and other creditors did not believe that it offered comparable debt relief to that of bondholders.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, had assured that the government was trying to clarify the meaning of a “comparable treatment” with bondholders.

However, while addressing a gathering during the Nc’wala ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province, President Hichilema confirmed the signing of the agreement with the two Asian nations.

“On the official creditors’ side, the last two countries that had not signed, China and India, have now signed,” Hichilema said.

The President added that Zambia was now turning to the private creditors in a bid to address the debt issue because the had defaulted on its foreign debts in November 2020 and that its restructuring had been beset by delays.

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Metro

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

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A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10 Nigerians are indebted to online loan sharks and are finding it difficult to come out of such debts.

The report noted that 26 per cent of average Nigerians were indebted to different loan apps spread across the country which is as a result of the harsh economic challenges brought about by different unfavourable government policies.

The report which was discussed at a Finance Roundtable in Lagos on Saturday by co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, lamented the widening wealth divide among Nigerians, saying it was inimical to economic growth as a vast majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

According to Eweniyi, the report ‘captures the attitude of different demographics in the country viz- a-viz their savings and spending habits, debt management, and future financial plans.’

As a panacea to solving the problems of indebtedness, Eweniyi advocated ‘savings before spending in order to avoid running into debt,’ adding that the option of savings was still elusive to Nigerians who live below the poverty line of $2 per day dollars per day.

“We must also know that while innovation is key, it cannot go far without social interventions for the people.”

She urged the government to focus on Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid in its conversation as well as simplify access to public credit facilities to improve income status of average Nigerians.

“This is why government must as much as possible explore collaboration with private sector to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and also drive financial literacy and inclusion,” Eweniyi emphasized.

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