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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.

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Zambia ranks 8th in Africa for highest food inflation

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Zambia has been ranked as the eighth African country with the highest food inflation as of May 2024, with a rate of 16.2 percent.

The ranking which was made by the World Bank in its latest Food Security Update report for June 2024, however, revealed that the country’s food inflation rate had decreased to 15.2 percent.

The World Bank’s Food Security Update placed Zambia behind Malawi and Nigeria, which jointly lead the continent with food inflation rates of 40.7 percent.

“Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (particularly its eastern provinces), Myanmar, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Yemen are also identified as hotspots of very high concern,” the report said.

“These regions face significant levels of acute food insecurity exacerbated by worsening factors such as conflict, displacement, and economic instability.

“Recent additions to the list include the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, while Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Somalia, and Zimbabwe continue to face acute hunger,” the report highlighted.

According to the report, domestic food price inflation remains high, with data from the latest month between February and May 2024 showing high inflation in many low-and middle-income countries.

It added that Zambia’s inflation was higher than five percent in 59.1 percent of low-income countries, 63.0 percent of lower-middle-income countries, 36.0 percent of upper-middle-income countries and 10.9 percent of high-income countries.

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Nigerians thrown into mourning as 22 die, 150 injured in school building collapse

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Nigerians have been thrown into mourning following the death of 22 victims including young school children and their teachers after a classroom building collapsed on Friday in the city of Jos, Plateau State, in North-Central Nigeria.

The tragic incident, which occurred after a two-storey school building caved in at Saints Academy, a secondary school in the Busa-Buji neighbourhood of Jos North Local Government Area of the state, also injured over 150 people who were lucky to be rescued.

According to eyewitnesses, the building collapsed on around 8:30 am when many of the students and teachers were already in classes writing their end of term examinations.

The State Government, in a statement confirming the tragedy, confirmed 22 deaths and 150 injured persons from the Jos collapsed school building.

In the statement, Commissioner for Information, Mr. Musa Ashoms, the Commissioner for Information, said six of the injured were in critical condition while those injured were receiving treatment in various tertiary health facilities in the state, just as the bodies of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuaries.

The State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, in a statewide broadcast, described the incident as a tragic and a monumental loss to the state.

The Governor, while sympathizing with the families of the affected victims, stated that the incident was heart-wrenching and unfortunate.

“This is tragic, unfortunate, heart-wrenching and a gloomy situation,” he said.

“We appreciate the timely intervention of the search and rescue team, as well as members of the public, who rushed to the school premises to assist in evacuating some of the surviving students and staff.

“I have directed the relevant government agencies, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, to provide necessary support to survivors.

“Words cannot fully comfort the grieving families over their immense loss, so we pray that God will continue to console and uphold them during this difficult period,” Mutfwang said.

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