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Report attributes Moroccan migrant border deaths to stampede, asphyxiation

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A report by a Moroccan-based human rights group, the National Council on Human Rights (CNDH), on Wednesday, said those who lost their lives last month during an attempt by hundreds of migrants to storm the border between the North African kingdom and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, died as a result of asphyxiation following a stampede of an “unprecedented nature, followed by tactics used and scope.”

The incident had led to the deaths of 23 migrants, mostly from Sudan and Chad, which the CNDH said would have been prevented if the border security had handled the attempt differently.

In addition to the deaths, 200 Moroccan and Spanish law enforcement officers and more than 70 civilians were injured in the melee.

The 30-page preliminary report on the events of the June 24 incident, following a fact-finding mission the group sent to the shared border between Morocco and Spain and the surrounding areas.

The report noted that about 2,000 migrants had attempted a massive crossing to Melilla, and when they reached the crossing station, the migrants jostled in a very narrow and tightly secured space.

It said the mission gathered from authorities, NGOs, and injured migrants at the hospital that Moroccan law enforcement officers did not use lethal weapons but used tear gas and truncheons to block the storming.

“Reports from the NGOs showed videos of Moroccan policemen poking migrants lying on the ground with batons, and was told by authorities they were isolated and individual cases,” the CNDH said.

The CNDH concluded that asphyxiation was the main cause in the deaths, but said the report was not conclusive as “only an autopsy can accurately determine the exact individual causes of death.”

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Inflation rate rise to all time high at 9.6% in Algeria in three years

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For the first time in three years, the inflation rate in Algeria has risen to an all time high of 9.6 per cent at the end of August, in what economists in the North African country say is as a result of rise in the prices of basic commodities globally and its impact on local markets.

The Deputy Director-General of the Algerian National Office of Statistics, Hamid Zaydouni, who disclosed this during a hearing at the Finance Committee of the People’s National Assembly on Thursday, said Algerian market recorded an inflation rate of 7.23 per cent during 2021, the highest in nearly three years.

“Algeria is witnessing an unprecedented rise in the prices of various products, some of which have increased by more than 100 per cent, amid warnings by consumer protection associations that the rise would weaken people’s purchasing power,” Zaydouni said.

“Over the past three years, the inflation rate in Algeria ranged between 3.5 and 7.5 per cent.

“The high prices have affected subsidised goods such as cooking oils, semolina and farina,” he added.

Zaydouni added that from 2021, the inflation rate of 7.2% was calculated but the average inflation rate has been 8.8% per year since then.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2019, most African countries have been on the threshold of rising inflation as global economy had experienced enormous pressure.

The war between Russia and Ukraine which broke out in February has also contributed to the economic crisis in the continent with inflation growing at an alarming rate, often forcing countries to raise interest rates, hoping to slow down the inflation which has continued to rise to all time high.

According to statista.com, the “overall inflation rate in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 is expected to grow today whopping 12.2 percent, with the surge following a global tendency, as consumer prices soar all over the world, impacting advanced as well as emerging and developing economies.”

As at August, Sudan had the highest inflation in Africa as of 2022 with the rate reaching 245 percent.

Sudan is closely followed by Zimbabwe with the second-highest inflation on the African continent, averaging 90 percent.

Countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, amongst others have had to raise their interest rates at some point due to inflation.

 

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Egyptian police officers jailed six years for torturing man to death

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Two Egyptian policemen who tortured a civilian to death in their custody have been sentenced to six years in prison by a court on Thursday.

The convicts were found guilty of murdering Mahmoud Khamis Gaber while he was in police custody, by a Minya Criminal Court which also heard that the torture included electric shocks and sexual abuse on the victim in 2019.

The victim’s lawyer told the court that Gaber was arrested after public prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him following accusations that he possessed a firearm and ammunition without a licence.

The court was told that he was tortured to death in an effort to get him to confess to the possession of an unlicensed weapon.

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