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US withdraws troops from peacekeeping monitoring groups in South Sudan

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The “lack of sustained progress” by the United Nations peacekeeping monitoring groups in South Sudan has forced the United States to pull out of the systems.

In a statement on Friday, the US Department of State said the systems that monitor the peace process in the war-torn country had failed to meet reform milestones set before it and therefore, the US would no longer be s part of the systems.

The US will be withdrawing from two key peacekeeping systems, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM).

The statement cited the failure of South Sudanese leaders’ failure to establish a “unified, professional military” as well as their lack of political will to protect members of the civil society members and journalists and to enact necessary financial reforms.

“South Sudan’s leaders have not fully availed themselves of the support these monitoring mechanisms provide and have demonstrated a lack of political will necessary to implement critical reforms,” the State Department said in the statement signed by its spokesman, Ned Price.

However, the US will continue to provide about $1 billion in humanitarian and development aid and offer support to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), among other financial backing, the statement added.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has been one of the most expensive in the world with billions of dollars pumped into it by the UN, the US and other donor agencies but so far, it has failed to sustain the peace due to the lack of cooperation by the warring factions in the country.

Despite a transition period set to end in February 2023, where President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar agreed to form a unity government more than two years ago, the country continues to face instability and sporadic violence that has left nearly one million people dead.

They have also been unable to agree on many key provisions of the peace deal including drafting a permanent constitution.

The UN has repeatedly criticized the leadership of the country over its role in the violence, violations of human rights, clamping down on political opponents, plundering public funds as well as committing war crimes.

Metro

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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