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Thirty-five African migrants die, dozens missing as makeshift boat capsizes off Libya

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The United Nations Migration Agency says at least 35 African migrants have died while others are still missing after their makeshift boat capsized on Saturday off the Libyan coast.

The International Organization for Migration (IMO) which also confirmed the incident, said it took place off the western Libyan city of Sabratha, “a major launching point for the mainly African migrants making the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.”

The IOM, in a statement on Sunday morning, said so far, bodies of six migrants were pulled out, while 29 others were still missing and “presumed dead.”

“The tragedy is the latest to involve migrants departing from North Africa to seek a better life in Europe. This past week alone, at least 53 migrants were reported dead or presumed dead off Libya,” the IOM said.

“Dedicated search and rescue capacity and a safe disembarkation mechanism are urgently needed to prevent further deaths and suffering,” the body added.

The UN Immigration Agency said investigations by its top human rights body found evidence of possible crimes against humanity committed in Libya against migrants detained in government-run prisons and at the hands of human traffickers.

“Earlier this month, more than 90 people in an overcrowded boat drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, days after they left Libya.

“Migrants regularly try to cross the Mediterranean from Libya in a desperate attempt to reach European shores. The country has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

“Human traffickers in recent years have benefited from the chaos in Libya, smuggling in migrants across the oil-rich country’s lengthy borders with six nations. The migrants are then typically packed into ill-equipped rubber boats and set off on risky sea voyages.

“At least 476 migrants died along the central Mediterranean route between January 1 and April 11,” the Agency said.

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Metro

Shelve your planned protest, I’m addressing your grievances, Tinubu begs Nigerian youths

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President Bola Tinubu has called on aggrieved Nigerian youths and organizers of the planned nationwide #EndBadGovernance protests on August 1 to shelve the plan as he is working hard to address their concerns.

Tinubu, who made the plea on Tuesday through the Minister of Information National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said there was no need for the protests as he had heard the cries of Nigerians and was doing everything possible to address them.

Idris, who conveyed the President’s message while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the president was working assiduously to ensure the country’s economy was placed in a good position.

“We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today, but also for the future.

“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that, he asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas, he has listened to them,” Idris said.

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Zambia: PF lawmaker Chitotela sentenced to 10 years in prison

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A Member of Parliament in Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of arson by the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court.

Chitotela, an MP on the platform of the Patriotic Front (PF) who represents Pambeshe Constituency in the Parliament, was found guilty by Magistrate Martin Namushi of malicious damage, and received a five-year sentence on one of the counts.

He was also sentenced to an additional 11 months for threatening violence and 18 months for occasioning actual bodily harm.

Chitotela’s co-accused, Nixon Chilangwa, another MP who represents Kawambwa Constituency, was acquitted of arson charges but according to the Magistrate, was not spared from the law.

Chitotela, although acquitted of charges related to threatening violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, now awaits the High Court’s decision on the arson charges.

According to media reports, Chitotela, Chilangwa, and five others were dragged before the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court on charges bordering on arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and assault, all allegedly committed during the August 2021 general elections.

The others involved in the trial were Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu, and Kunda Chitotela.

Chifumbe was sentenced to five years for malicious damage to property, threatening violence, and threatening actual bodily harm, Kaniki and Kunda Chitotela were found guilty of arson, while Musantu was been acquitted of all charges.

Magistrate Namushi also denied the bail applications for Chilangwa and Chifumbe, citing unconvincing reasons for their release.

The defense team is expected to appeal for bail in the High Court.

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