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Renewed clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray halt aid deliveries – UN

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), has attributed the inability to deliver needed aid to troubled northern Ethiopian Tigray region to renewed clashes which has increased a humanitarian crisis triggered by nearly two years of war between pro-government forces and Tigrayan rebels.

The UN agency which raised the alarm on Thursday, said the clashes which resumed last month, have forced desperately needed aid deliveries to Tigray to be halted.

The resumption of fighting also broke a five-month truce brokered by the UN in March which had allowed aid convoys to travel to the region’s capital, Mekele, for the first time in many months.

Since the resumption of hostilities in late August, the two sides have continued to trade blames for starting the latest round of hostilities, with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing the government and neighbouring Eritrea of launching a joint offensive against Tigray.

The fighting has also disrupted access to aid in neighbouring regions with the OCHA saying “humanitarian operations in hard-to-reach areas in Amhara region, such as in parts of Wag Hemra, were put on hold due to security concerns.”

“The last humanitarian convoy to enter Tigray before the interruption was the humanitarian convoy on 23 August consisting of 158 trucks with humanitarian and operational supplies,” the UN’s agency said.

“The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights, which had been flying between Addis Ababa and Mekele twice per week, have also come to a halt since 26 August.

“The renewed violence is already impacting the lives and livelihood of vulnerable people, including the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance,” it added.

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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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