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Sierra Leone: President Bio accuses opposition of influencing deadly protest

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President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio has blamed opposition parties for the week-long protest that rocked the West African country.

The president on Friday night, claimed that his political rivals had attempted to overthrow his government in a “premeditated” insurrection.

On Wednesday demonstrations descended into clashes between security forces and youth demanding the president’s resignation, because of “economic hardship” in protests in parts of Freetown and other areas in the Northern part of the country.

In an address to the nation on Friday evening, President Bio, said the opposition had been stoking tensions “for some time”.

“This was not a protest against the high cost of living occasioned by the ongoing global economic crisis,” he said. “The chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the democratically elected government.”

The president cited members of the All Peoples’ Congress, his party’s main political rival and the country’s former ruling party, as well as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

“The peace, security and stability of this nation were shattered by persons whose insurrection was pre-meditated, well-planned, financed and executed with shocking brutality,” he said.

Meanwhile, Police officers and army troops are currently patrolling Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown after a demonstration.

Spokesperson for Sierra Leone’s defence ministry, Colonel Abu Bakarr Sidique Bah, said “This is an assurance patrol for the public to give them assurance that there is security, and there is peace, and everybody is to go about his normal business.”

At least 10 people including security personnel were killed during clashes between the protestors and security forces. Bio succeeded Ernest Bai Koroma as president. As the main opposition leader, Bio was a critic of his predecessor president Ernest Bai Koroma and his administration.

Metro

Despite denials, new satellite images reveal Eritrea Army build-up near Tigray

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Despite Eritrea denying that its army is not involved in launching assaults on Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, new satellite images have shown its military building up near the troubled region in preparation for what many say will be a large-scale offensive.

Last week, the Tigray forces had accused Eritrea of launching a full-scale offensive along its border after a break down of a five-month truce between its forces and the Ethiopian government which saw an escalation of fighting that renewed in August.

But while the Eritrean government denied that its military was building up offensive against Tigray, satellite imagery provided by Maxar Technologies on Thursday shows battle tanks, self-propelled howitzers, and an M-46 field gun battery in the Eritrean town of Serha, near the border.

Other satellite imagery captured and shared by Maxar shows military mobilization in the Tigray town of Sheraro.

Since conflicts broke out between Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Eritrea has secretly fought alongside Ethiopia against the Tigrayan forces while rejecting allegations that its soldiers committed some of the worst atrocities in the conflict that began in late 2020.

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Finally, trial of Rwanda Genocide alleged mastermind, Félicien Kabuga, resumes at UN tribunal

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The trial of one of the alleged masterminds and financiers of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Félicien Kabuga has gone has begun at a United Nations Tribunal in the Hague.

Judges at the tribunal revealed on Thursday morning that the hearing will proceed although Kabuga was not attending the opening of the three counts of genocide in Rwanda.

Mr. Félicien Kabuga is accused of aiding and abetting hit squads in the slaughter of about 800,000 persons from the Tutsis ethnic in just 100 days, and of using a radio station to incite hatred against them.

Prosecutors argue that Kabuga is behind the most powerful weapon in the genocide’s execution – a radio station used to mobilize one ethnic group, Hutus, to take up arms against another, Tutsis.

The radio station is alleged to have broadcast hateful messages, describing Tutsis as “cockroaches”.

There has been the prosecution of some of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in the East African country. In 2011, two key organizers of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 were sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations tribunal dealing with war crimes in the country.

Africa’s rich ethnic diversity is not void of clashes such as the Rwanda genocide. An ethnicity is a group of people who share an identity marked by a characteristic such as a language, culture, leadership, or inhabited territory.

Other African countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have all had and still share ethnic conflict.

Observers have argued that the administrative and structural divisions that came with colonialism account for part of the remote cause for inter-ethnic clashes in the continent as the post-colonial structures which many African societies continued after independence pitch the ethnics against each other, thus creating a rife atmosphere for conflict.

Beyond colonialism, however, the lack of the political will to maintain previous peace agreements, and to a large extent ineffective conflict management also contribute to the disturbing cases of ethnic clashes in Africa.

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