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Protesting miners chase away South African President Ramaphosa on Labour Day

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to abandon his Workers’ Day speech and whisked away by security officials in the northwestern city of Rustenburg after protesting mine workers stormed the stage and forcefully stopped him from making the speech.

The disgruntled miners employed by the state-owned Sibanye-Stillwater Mine, were staging a protest on Sunday to mark the international labour day, and made demands of an increase in their wage of 1,000 rand ($63) per month instead of the 850 rand ($54) being offered by the mine, when Ramaphosa made a stopover to address them.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa decided to mark the Workers Day, a public holiday in South Africa to mark May 1, by giving a speech to union members in Rustenburg, a mining center,” one of the organisers of the protest said.

However, the President was roundly booed by the miners as he started his address with a call for the striking workers and other members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions to calm down and listen to what he had to say.

“We have heard that you want your 1,000 rand. We will deal with that matter,” Ramaphosa told the protesting workers.

But shortly after that, Ramaphosa was forced to give up his speech altogether when angry miners stormed the stage and overwhelmed police surrounding the stage. Ramaphosa’s security guards had to whisk him away from the venue.

“The striking workers have become even angrier in recent days over reports that Sibanye-Stillwater’s CEO, Neal Froneman, earned more than 300 million rand ($19 million) in 2021 in salary payments and company share schemes,” an labour union official in the Northern province said on Monday.

“The tumultuous scene Sunday indicates the challenges that Ramaphosa faces later this year in his effort to be reelected head of the ANC as the unions are a key constituency of the party,” he added.

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Two Liberian Maritime officials arrested for alleged rape in South Korea while on seminar

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Two top Liberian Maritime Authorities staff who were in South Korea for a seminar were on Saturday, arrested and detained by the Asian country’s police for allegedly raping two teenage girls.

The suspects identified as Moses Owen Browne and Daniel Tarr, were arrested at a hotel in the southeastern city of Busan after a friend of the victims reported the case to the police, the Busan police said in a statement.

Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and Tarr, a Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), were in South Korea on a government mission to the IMO, which means they were representing the West African country at the programme.

According to a statement on the LiMA website condemning the incident, the officials were in South Korea attending the “International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit” when this alleged incident occurred.

“LiMA unequivocally maintains a zero-tolerance stance on any types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.

“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, under national and international Law,” the statement read.

The South Korean police said it plans to seek formal arrest warrants for the two men which would allow them to hold the suspects in custody for up to 10 days before charging them to court.

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Interim Malian PM accuses France of stabbing country in the back following withdrawal of troops

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Interim Mali’s Prime Minister, Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga, has accused its former colonial masters, France, of “stabbing” the West African country in the back following the withdrawal of the European country’s military in August.

Maïga who addressed the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) holding in New York on Saturday, criticised France for taking a “hasty” decision by withdrawing its troops from the country which is still battling to contain the incursions of jihadist militants and terrorists.

“The world will remember that, after being abandoned in mid-air on 10 June 2021 by France’s unilateral decision to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali, my country was then stabbed in the back by the French authorities,” Maïga said.

“In view of the seriousness of the acts committed by the French, Mali, in its letter dated 15 August 2022, requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

“The purpose of this meeting is to allow Mali to present the evidence in its possession, demonstrating that the French army has repeatedly attacked my country.

“I would like to say that the Malian people have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. They fully support the government in rebuilding Mali and in returning to a peaceful and secure constitutional order in March 2024, following free, transparent and credible elections,” the Interim PM added.

France had withdrawn its troops from Mali following several accusations by the Malian government against members of its forces including extrajudicial killings, after its first military intervention in 2013, leading an effort to oust Islamic extremists from taking control of northern Malian towns.

The withdrawal of the French troops ended its nine years presence in the country in a bid to stabilise the country amid repeated attacks by insurgents.

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