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Netherlands seize Air Tanzania plane over $165 million land title row

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An airplane belonging to Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), was on Thursday, seized in the Netherlands following a $165 million awarded to a Swedish firm, against Tanzania due to a revoked land title in the Bagamoyo Sugar project.

The firm, EcoDevelopment, which is owned by 18 Swedish nationals, had reportedly invested $52 million into a “ready-to-go” project for local production of sugar, renewable electricity and fuel under a Sweden-Tanzania bilateral investment treaty.

But the revocation of the land title in 2017, according to local media, was a major blow to the Swedish company which had worked for over 10 years to develop the project, after the government decided to unilaterally revoke the land title for the project.

The Tanzanian government had argued that an attachment for a stay of execution brought by the firm was unlawful because it was obtained a day after the state petitioned the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank organ based in Washington, to annul EcoDevelopment’s award.

When the case came up for hearing at the ICSID, the judge held that the provisional stay of execution of the award only took effect on the date the institution registered the state’s annulment request.

However, Tanzania’s Attorney-General Eliezer Feleshi, has dispelled fears of the possible attachment of an ATCL plane by a Dutch court, saying that everything was under control.

Feleshi who confirmed the seizure of the plane, said the Swedish firm that won a $165 million award against Tanzania had persuaded the court to uphold the attachment of the aircraft despite the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) having issued a stay of execution, pending annulment proceedings.

“It’s true that they went to court in the Netherlands after we had successfully appealed to the ICSID for a stay of execution. Everything is under control,” Feleshi said.

He added that the government had already appealed against the Dutch court’s decision but declined to offer further details.

“I can’t disclose further details. Let’s be patient as the matter is in court.”

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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