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Human Rights Watch accuses Russian troops of killing civilians in Central African Republic

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International rights group, the Human Rights Watch (HRW), on Tuesday, accused Russian troops of committing rights abuses, torture and killing of civilians in the Central African Republic, (CAR).

In a statement released by HRW, the organisation said it had compelling evidence in its possession which indicts the Russian paramilitary troops in the African country of committing serious crimes against humanity.

“Forces in the Central African Republic, whom witnesses identified as Russian, appear to have summarily executed, tortured, and beaten civilians since 2019,” the statement which was issued by one of HRW’s spokesperson, Ida Sawyer said.

Continuing, it said:

“Several Western governments, United Nations experts and special rapporteurs have found evidence that the forces linked to Russia operating in the Central African Republic include a significant number of members of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military security contractor with apparent links to the Russian government.”

The New York-based human rights group also said it was aware of arbitrary detentions, tortures and summary killings of men randomly arrested in the street in the central town of Alindao since June last year, but did not say if those atrocities were also committed by the Russian soldiers.

It also called on the Central African government to exercise it’s right to request international security assistance and to stamp its feet down to stop foreign forces from killing and abusing civilians with impunity.

“To demonstrate its respect for the rule of law, and to put an end to these abuses, the government should immediately investigate and prosecute all forces, including Russia-linked forces, responsible for murder, unlawful detention, and torture,” Sawyer said.

The CAR has been in the throes of war since 2013, with government forces fighting against numerous militia groups from all fronts with the threats of a state on the verge of collapse.

In 2020, after a few months of respite, fighting resumed abruptly when rebels launched an offensive to overthrow President Faustin Archange Touadera and he had to call on Moscow for help, with hundreds of Russian paramilitary forces brought in to push back the rebels who still hold sway over swathes of the country.

Last month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, denounced “serious human rights violations” in the Central African Republic, including killings and sexual violence against civilians, committed by rebel groups but also by the military and their Russian allies.

Metro

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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