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UN shocked as more than 200 killed in renewed ethnic fighting in Sudan’s Darfur

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The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, says the global human rights body is shocked at the wanton killings that have seen more than 200 people dead in the troubled Darfur region in Sudan.

Bachelet who expressed her disappointment in a statement on Wednesday, demanded an “impartial and independent” investigations into the attacks following fighting that erupted in the troubled region between members of the Massalit community and Arab fighters since Friday.

In the statement, the UN human rights chief she was “appalled” at the spike in the ethnic violence which has spread “in and around the West Darfur state capital El Geneina” and has worsened the situation in the “vast, arid and impoverished region long awash with guns.”

“I am appalled. I am in shock. I am concerned that this region continues to see repeated, serious incidents of intercommunal violence, with mass casualties,” she said

“The fighting, which comes as Sudan grapples with the fallout from a coup six months ago led by army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, has seen hospitals attacked, a police station destroyed and a market burnt to the ground,” the UN reported.

An official death toll from the governor of West Darfur state, Khamees Abkar, showed that as at Wednesday, at least 213 people have been killed in three days of violence, with the clashes centred on Krink, a locality of about 500,000 people roughly 1,100 kilometres west of Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

Abkar called the destruction and death a “massive crime”, noting that 201 people were killed and 103 wounded on Sunday alone, in a video published late on Tuesday.

It is the latest in several rounds of recent intercommunal clashes, pitting the Massalit, an ethnic group of largely settled farmers, against semi-nomadic Arab pastoralist groups, heavy fighting initially erupted on Friday when at least eight people were killed in the Krink region, with gunmen attacking Massalit villages in retaliation for the killing of two comrades, the General Co-ordination for Refugees and Displaced in Darfur, an independent aid group, said.

Metro

Zambian opposition party LM demands sack of Agric Minister

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One of Zambia’s opposition parties, Leadership Movement (LM), has called for the immediate dismissal of the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Mtolo Phiri, over alleged incompetence and for misleading President Hakainde Hichilema.

LM Secretary-General, Jairos Ngoma, who addressed a press conference in Lusaka,
said Phiri had been lying to Hichilema over the status of the agriculture sector in the face of climate change.

Ngoma alleged that the minister lied to the president, claiming that farming inputs had been distributed on time countrywide when no such items had been distributed.

Ngoma stated that farmers had been sharing fertilizer distributed to them in various parts of the country and that the commodity was not distributed on time as promised.

“Mr. President, you are a farmer and people in Eastern Province who have been sharing fertilizer voted for you in numbers knowing that you understand them as you a farmer yourself,” Ngoma stated.

He went on to accuse the United Capital Fertiliser claiming that the company was exporting the commodity to Botswana instead of distributing it to farmers in line with an agreement it had with government.

He said as a result, farmers have resorted to sharing the fertilizer in “medas” across the country because what was meant for them was being sold.

“This company is a subsidiary of China; it’s taking fertiliser to Botswana, 15,000 metric tonnes and later it is taking it to Dar es Salaam,” he alleged.

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Fuel subsidy removal, a blessing to Nigeria, govt insists

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Despite the excruciating hardship and hunger resulting from the unplanned removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu as well as other policies, the Nigerian government says the decision is a blessing to the country as it has started yielding dividends.

Government mouthpiece, the Minister of information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who made the assertion while interacting with journalists in Lagos, said that fuel subsidy removal had started delivering dividends as over $30 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), had been attracted into the country so far.

Idris says though the people are feeling the pangs, the ultimate goal is that the country is reaping the benefits of the “bold reforms” carried out by President Tinubu.

“Because of subsidy removal, Nigeria has attracted over $30billion foreign direct investment in various sectors especially in manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, oil and gas among others,” the Minister said.

“These investments are already being realized. From the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Nigerian economy had grown by 3.46 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 against 2.4 in the preceding quarter. It was a better performance that was actually anticipated.

“There is something happening in the economy, it is gradual and it takes time before tangible results are seen by all.

“Only those who know how the financial system works will be able to see some of these things already happening. In January this year, the Nigeria stock exchange all share index recorded 100.000 point mark,” he said.

The Minister however, berated the Nigerian media over what he calls unbalanced reports, and challenging journalists to always balance their reportage with the positive things that the government had done in order not to scare potential investors, noting the various interventions by the federal government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“To begin with, the monies that were given to the sub-nationals increased significantly. Governors that were earning less, finding it difficult to pay salaries now have more money at their disposal as a result of fuel subsidy removal.

“We are aware of the N35,000 that Labour has been clamouring for, the emphasis would be that by October 1, the President said he is going to give N25,000 wage award to every worker pending the new wage being negotiated with labour,” he added.

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