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New UN report says Somalia’s Al-Shabab militants expanding revenue base

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A new United Nations report released by security experts on Thursday has revealed that the Somali Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab, has devised new means of expanding its revenue stream beyond its traditional activities of forceful extortion, to charging tolls at checkpoints and illegally taxing properties and in constructions.

In the report, the UN experts say the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group is seeking more funds to pay about $1 million per month in salaries to its fighters and despite Somalia’s crackdown on the extremist group, the militants are also able to move funds through local and Islamic banks.

According to the report, a Somali woman narrated that how the al-Shabab militants demanded she “pay $425 this year in so-called taxes for a house she bought almost three years ago in Mogadishu.”

“The woman said a man called her on the phone and summoned her to an al-Shabab court outside Elasha-boyaha, in Lower Shabelle region.

“She travelled there, and met a crowd of people from Mogadishu who were also summoned by the court. She said nobody dares to defy the group’s orders because people get killed,” the report said.

The experts’ report added that al-Shabaab, in May, issued a notice to households of annual charges between $100 and $300 for iron sheet, stone, and multi-story houses.

“The group also extorts owners of buildings and homes being constructed around Mogadishu at about 25 per cent of the value of the development,” the report said.

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66-yr-old South African man sentenced to 18 years for forcefully marrying, raping 13-yr-old girl

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A 66-year-old South African man, Bheki Nxasana, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by a Gqeberha High Court in the KwaZulu-Natal province, after he was found guilty of forcefully marrying and raping a 13-year-old disabled girl.

The court also sentenced Nxasana’s accomplices, Mxosheni Sibiya and Nomvo Nxasana, who is Nxasana’s sister, on charges relating to “child trafficking and forced marriage of a 13-year-old mildly mentally challenged girl.”

Court documents made available to journalists on Friday, reveals that Nxasana had forcefully married and raped the mentally disabled girl in connivance with Sibiya and Nomvo.

According to the the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Luxolo Tyali, the victim who is an orphan, was married off to Nxasana, in 2016, by one of her relatives.

“Evidence is that the victim was orphaned and lived with a relative in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal,” Tyali said.

“The relative gave her up to her Sunday school teacher who was friends with Nomvo, the sister of the would-be husband.

“Nomvo took her to her daughter who lived in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, where Bheki, who worked in Gqeberha, comes from.”

The NPA spokesman said investigations showed that Bheki, with the assistance of Nomvo, initiated “lobola” (customary marriage) negotiations and dowry payments were made in 2016.

“Bheki took the teenager to his house where he allegedly strangled and raped her repeatedly in the name of marriage.”

“The teenager was made to dress in newly married woman’s (makoti) traditional attire and lived at Bheki’s homestead where she worked as a new bride.”

“She managed to escape after the matter was reported to the police in April 2017 and the suspect was arrested.

“During the trial, all the accused claimed that they were not aware of the girl’s age when they entered her into a customary marriage and were not aware that they were acting unlawfully,” Tyali added.

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Former Kenyan policeman, three others sentenced to death for murder of human rights lawyer

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A former Kenyan police officer, Frederick Leliman, alongside three accomplices, were on Friday, sentenced to death by a Nairobi High Court for the murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and a taxi driver.

Leliman and the three others were convicted of carrying out the murders in one of the most popular cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the eastern African country.

The lawyer and activist, Willie Kimani, was representing a motorcycle taxi operator who had sued Leliman for shooting him at a traffic roadblock in 2016 at the time he was murdered.

The bodies of Kimani, the client Josephat Mwendwa and a taxi driver, Joseph Muiruri, were discovered in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River, in the east of the country, days after they were reported missing.

Evidence produced in court showed that the three victims were abducted by a team led by Leliman after a court session on June 22, 2016, and were briefly locked up and later taken out and murdered in an open field.

While Leliman was given a death sentence, former police officers, Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku, received sentences of 30 and 24 years, respectively, while a police informant, Peter Ngugi, was jailed for 20 years.

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