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26 killed as wildfires rage through eastern Algeria

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At least 26 people have been confirmed killed as wildfires rage through forests of eastern Algeria, according to a televised statement late Wednesday by Interior Minister, Kamel Beldjoud.

In the statement which the Minister said was a “provisional report noted that most of the victims of the inferno were reported in the region of El Tarf, near the northern Algerian-Tunisian border, where 24 people were found dead on Tuesday, including eight on a public bus which was caught by the flames as it was driving in a mountainous region.

Beldjoud also said that two people died on Wednesday in the region of Setif, about 300 kilometers east of the capital Algiers.

“39 fires have started in 14 regions, including 16 in El Tarf and that 3,200 hectares (over 12 square miles) of forests and brush have been ravaged by blazes since the beginning of August,” the statement said.

The North African country’s President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in a condolence message, expressed his solidarity with the victims, adding that the Algerian state will use all human and material resources to put an end to the wildfires and families of people who died or whose homes were affected will get compensations.

This is the second time in the last three months where wildfires have ravaged Algeria after 104 people, including 33 soldiers in mid-June, forcing the authorities to rent a firefighting aircraft from Russia to combat the fires.

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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