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Convicted Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, to serve 30-year sentence in Belgium

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A convicted Congolese militant warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for war crimes, was on Thursday, transferred from the International Criminal Court to Belgium to start a the tribunal said in a statement.

“Mr Bosco Ntaganda was transferred to the Kingdom of Belgium to serve his sentence of imprisonment at the Leuze-en-Hainaut prison,” the Hague-based ICC said in the statement.

“The ICC relies on the support from states for the enforcement of its sentences and is highly appreciative of the voluntary cooperation of the Belgian government in this case,” the court’s registrar, Peter Lewis, said.

The 49-year-old Ntaganda who was dubbed the “Terminator,” was convicted by the ICC in 2019 of leading a reign of terror in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in the early 2000s.

The Rwandan-born Ntaganda was convicted of five counts of crimes against humanity and 13 counts of war crimes, including murder, sexual slavery, rape, and use of child soldiers.

He was the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the court with many of the other charges related to massacres of villagers in the mineral-rich Ituri region of Congo.

Prosecutors portrayed him as the ruthless leader of ethnic Tutsi revolts amid the civil wars that racked Congo after the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda.

Formerly a Congolese army general, Ntaganda became a founding member of the M23 rebel group.

He became the first-ever suspect to surrender to the ICC, when he walked into the U.S. Embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali and gave himself up.

Metro

Islamist jihadists kill nine in attack on Niger refugee camp

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Nine people have been confirmed killed by Islamist jihadists who attacked a refugee camp in western Niger Republic on Saturday night, local officials said.

The camp, according to the officials, housed refugees from neighbouring Mali who were displaced by the turmoil in the country.

“The toll from the attack is nine dead, one wounded and six missing,” an elected county official said.

“The attack was carried out by heavily armed terrorists who arrived on motorcycles and opened fire on the refugees before fleeing back to Mali,” he said.

A security personnel who also confirmed the attack, said it happened in the Tahoua region which lies in a zone bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, two countries that have been heavily hit by jihadist insurgency and has come under repeated attack since 2017 by armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Jihadists attacks in the region since 2021 have led to the killing of hundreds of civilians and soldiers alike.

According to the United Nations, there are over 61,000 Malian refugees sheltering in Tahoua and nearby Tillaberi.

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Metro

Three killed in attacks on ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church

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An attack on an Ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Saturday has claimed the lives of three people, while an unspecified number were reported injured, according to a a religious media outlet.

The violence which erupted in southern Ethiopia, came on the backdrop of tensions in the Orthodox Tewahedo Church after some rebel bishops broke away from the body of the church and created their own synod in Oromia, the country’s most populous region.

The breakaway bishops have accused the church of discrimination and linguistic and cultural hegemony, saying congregations in Oromia are not served in their native language, claims rejected by the patriarchate.

Church-affiliated Tewahedo Media Center (TMC), in a report on Sunday, said two Orthodox Christian youths were killed, and another four people injured, when Oromia special forces attacked the church in Shashamene, which lies about 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of Addis Ababa.

The outfit later said there had been sniper fire on the church from nearby high-rise buildings that had killed a woman and injured others.

A statement issued by the Archbishop of Addis Ababa Diocese of the church. Abune Henok, described the incidents in the Oromia city of Shashamene as “shameful and heart-wrenching,” and urged the clergy and the faithful to wear black in protest, while calling for peaceful demonstrations at churches at home and abroad on February 12.

The World Council of Churches also issued a statement on Friday voicing its “deep concern” about the developments in the Ethiopian institution.

“We call upon all political leaders in Ethiopia to support the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in its efforts to achieve unity and peace among its members,” WCC general secretary, Jerry Pillay said in the statement.

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