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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

Court jails two internet fraudsters, convicts another

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan Zonal Office has secured the conviction of two internet fraudsters, namely: Rasak Olayinka Balogun and Ayodeji Oluwaseun Olatona, who all pleaded guilty to separate one-count charge of criminal impersonation.

The offence runs contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.

 

While Balogun was sentenced to seven months jail term by Justice Mohammed Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, Olatona had his date with Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, who sentenced him to six months imprisonment.

Apart from his jail term, Balogun was ordered to restitute $4,000 (Four Thousand United States Dollars) to his victim, one Mantonia Duncan, and also forfeit his laptop, Samsung Galaxy S8 phone and iPhone 11 Pro Max to the federal government, while Olatona will restitute $500 (Five Hundred United State Dollars) to his victim and forfeit his iPhone 7 to the Federal government.

In a similar development, Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Osogbo, convicted one Timilehin Awojoodu of criminal impersonation, but reserved his sentence till July 21, 2020. Besides the conviction, the judge ordered Awojoodu to restitute the sum of $2,500 (Two Thousand, Five Hundred United States Dollars) to his victim and forfeit his iPhone 7 and Infinix Hot 7 phone to the government.

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Crime & Court

Buhari okays Magu’s suspension, Umar now chairs EFCC

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Niheria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has on Friday confirmed the suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Magu’s suspension by the President, which takes immediate effect, was announced in a statement from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, who signed the statement explained that the presidential directive was to allow unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.

He disclosed further  that President Buhari has directed the EFCC Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar, to take charge and oversee the activities of the commission.

Umar will oversee EFCC’s activities pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regard.

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South-east governors absent as FG inaugurates zone 13 police headquarters in Anambra.

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IGP Adamu

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu on Wednesday inaugurated the Zone 13 Nigeria Police Headquarters at Ukpo, near Awka in Anambra.

Ukpo is housed by Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra. The newly-created zone covers the three South-East states of Ebonyi, Enugu and Anambra.

Interestingly, the governors in the zone were conspicuously absent. The governors who were not present at the event, were Willie Obiano of Anambra state; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state and their Ebonyi state counterpart, Dave Umahi.

It will be recalled that Ebonyi was previously under Zone 6 in Calabar, while Enugu and Anambra were under Zone 9 with headquarters in Umuahia.

In a message read on his behalf by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Mr Celestine Okoye, Adamu noted that in Ukpo that siting the zonal headquarters in Anambra would boost the operations of the police in the South-East.

He disclosed that the process of locating the zonal headquarters at Ukpo was not easy, thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving Ukpo community as zone 13 headquarters.

The IGP also hinted that the police authorities would soon inaugurate a Mobile Police Base in Nsugbe in the Anambra East Local Government Area.

He lauded Mr Arthur Eze, an indigene of Ukpo for his contributions toward the location of the zonal headquarters at Ukpo.

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Eze, a philanthropist said he was thankful to Buhari and the police high command for their choice of his community as the headquarters of zone 13.

“Buhari has shown love and interest in the development of the South-East since he took over as the nation’s president.

“He is currently rehabilitating the Enugu-Onitsha highway, constructing the 2nd Niger Bridge and has approved this new police zone 13 for our people.

“We cannot thank him enough, and as a leader from the zone, I must say that we the Igbo people are happy with President Buhari and will continue to support his people-oriented programmes”.

Eze, who later handed over the key of the complex to the Okoye, said that policemen deployed to the zone would have a fruitful working experience.

A former Commissioner of Police in Enugu and Edo States, AIG. Danmallam Mohammed, has since assumed duties as the pioneer officer in-charge of the new zone.

The inauguration ceremony was well attended by scores of traditional rulers, business executives and politicians from the three states in the zone.

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