UN Libya Mission strongly condemns bombing of military academy, at least 30 dead - Mega Icon Magazine
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UN Libya Mission strongly condemns bombing of military academy, at least 30 dead

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Saturday’s bombing reportedly took place as cadets were gathering on a parade ground at the Hadaba academy in a southern district of the capital.

The forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) have been laying siege to Tripoli since April, under the leadership of commander Khalifa Haftar, who is aligned with a rival administration in Tobruk, opposing the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and allied forces, based in the capital.

Following an uptick in aerial attacks and shelling in recent weeks, which have killed at least 11 civilians since early December, the Secretary-General  António  Guterres  released a statement on Friday, renewing his call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and a return to political dialogue.

‘Dangerous’ escalation must stop

Responding to Saturday’s attack, where the majority of victims were reportedly cadets from cities across the country, UNSMIL stressed in a statement in Arabic on Twitter, that the escalation in military action “in this dangerous manner further complicates the situation in Libya and threatens opportunities to return to the political process.”

According to news reports, forces allied with the GNA described the attack as an aerial strike, launched by the LNA, but a spokesperson for the eastern-based militia denied any involvement.

Offering its sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured, UNSMIL added that the continuing indiscriminate shelling of civilians and civilian buildings such as hospitals, “may rise to the level of war crimes, and the perpetrators will not go unpunished no matter how long it may take.”

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Unhindered humanitarian access

In a statement on Friday, the deputy head of the Mission, Yacoub El Hillo, condemned the intensified airstrikes, saying he was “horrified by these senseless, indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and civilian infrastructure that continue to take innocent lives.”

He said 12 health facilities had been forced to close in the main areas of “active clashes” on the capital’s outskirts, with another four facing imminent shutdown. More than 210 schools are closed leaving 113,000 children out of school.

Basic services must be provided to all civilians who are in desperate need and whose lives are at risk, added the UNSMIL deputy chief: “Unimpeded, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians must be guaranteed, to allow concerned authorities, United Nations and humanitarian partners provide life-saving work…I call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and comply with the provisions spelt out in the Geneva Conventions – which must be fully respected and implemented in this conflict”.

Concern is also rising over the prospect of further foreign intervention, with the rival administration in the east reportedly receiving backing from several countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Russia.

Last Thursday, the Turkish parliament approved a bill to unilaterally send troops in support of the Tripoli-based Government.

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In his statement on Friday, the UN chief warned that “any foreign support to the warring parties will only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution.”

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Crime & Court

Siblings Faking To Be EFCC Agents Arraigned In Abeokuta

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The Ibadan zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned two siblings – Olatunji Beyioku (aka Bashorun) and Oluwayomi Oluwafemi Beyioku (aka Ola 1) – for allegedly falsely presenting themselves as agent of the commission to defraud members of the public.

The duo were on Thursday, January 23, dragged before Justice Mohammed Abubakar of the Federal High Court 1, sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on 18-count charges bordering on conspiracy, impersonation, forgery, money laundering and obtaining money under false pretenses.

According to the charges, the accused persons allegedly laundered over N12,000,000 (Twelve Million Naira) and also defrauded unsuspecting victims of the sum of N404,000,000 (Four Hundred and Four Million Naira).

The facts of the case revealed that the brothers had represented themselves as operatives of the EFCC in order to gain undue advantage of their victims.

The charge also stated that Oluwayomi forged a document to claimed that he bagged a Higher National Diploma (HND) from the Lagos State Polytechnic, and one other that claimed that he participated in the one year mandatory national youth service for degree holders.

The duo were found to have made millions of naira engaging in series of fraudulent activities, using the proceeds to purchase a multi-million naira building, two cars – Honda Accord Crosstour and a Mercedes Benz GLK, different brands of mobile phones and other landed properties worth millions of naira.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the eighteen-count charges.

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Upon their not-guilty plea, EFCC’s counsel, Festus Ojo prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand them in correctional custody. However, their counsel, Femi Meyile, prayed the court to admit them to bail.
Justice Abubakar allowed the prayer as he granted them bail in the sum of five million naira with one surety each in like sum. The sureties were also ordered to deposit their international passports with the Chief Registrar of the court.

The case was adjourned to March 9, 2020, for trial while the accused persons are to be remanded in the correctional custody pending the perfection of their bail conditions.

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Crime & Court

EFCC slams Transparency International over poor rating on Nigeria

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has vehemently condemned in strong terms, the 2019 Corruption Perception Index, (CPI) recently released by Transparency International (TI) which ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries analysed. It also restates commitment to corruption fight.

The Commission further faulted the poor rating as baseless, describing it as appalling, the bogus and ambiguous criteria used by Transparency International to arrive at what can best be described as a jaundiced and illogical rating.

EFCC in a tweet said, “We insist that the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The claim and inference that Nigeria ranks the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa is totally unacceptable, as it is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years.

“Moreover, it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits that the index does not show real incidences of corruption, yet it claims that the report is a reliable indication of the perception of Nigerians and the international community about the state of corruption in the country”.

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Libyan militant, Mustafa Al-Imam sentenced to 19 years for terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi

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A Libyan militant, Mustafa Al-Imam was sentenced on Thursday to more than 19 years in prison by  a federal Judge for  participating in the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

A jury had last year convicted Mustafa al-Imam  of conspiring to support the extremist militia that launched the fiery assaults on the U.S. compounds but deadlocked on 15 other counts.

The attacks, aimed at killing American personnel, prompted a political fracas in which Republicans accused the Obama administration of a bungled response.

Al-Imam was sentenced to a total of 236 months behind bars. He is the second militant convicted in the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications specialist Sean Smith and security officers Tyrone Snowden Woods and Glen Anthony Doherty.

According to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Thursday,  Al-Imam’s sentencing sends a strong message to those who would attempt to commit such a heinous crime.

“We express our continued gratitude to the U.S. law enforcement, military, and intelligence communities for their relentless efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack. We continue to mourn the losses of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods. Each sacrificed his life promoting American ideals. Their colleagues serving around the world today continue that important work in the same spirit and in their honor”, Pompeo added.

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