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UN agency repatriates 43 refugees from Libya to Niger

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UN agency repatriates 43 refugees from Libya to Niger

…As Former South African president Jacob Zuma loses appeal***

The UN Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that 43 refugees have been repatriated from Libya to Niger.

“43 refugees safely landed in Niger in the latest UNHCR humanitarian evacuation from Libya and will be resettled to Switzerland in a later stage,” UNHCR tweeted earlier Friday.

A few days ago, the UNHCR announced the evacuation of 306 refugees from Libya to Rwanda.

“As violence in Tripoli intensifies, these evacuations have never been more urgent.

But with thousands of refugees still at risk in detention centers and urban areas in Libya, we need states to help us get more refugees out of the country much more quickly,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean.

The UNHCR estimated that 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers are now being held in detention centres in Libya, confirming that they face risk of “being caught up in the continued clashes.”

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe, due to the state of insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya’s east-based army and the UN-backed government have been fighting since early April over control of Tripoli, which has claimed many lives including immigrants.

In the meantime,  South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma has edged closer to coming to trial for corruption after a High Court dismissed an appeal on Friday.

Zuma, who is facing numerous corruption charges, was meant to stand trial on Oct. 15, but his lawyers appealed the decision.

The High Court in Pietermaritzburg, in Zuma’s eastern home province of KwaZulu-Natal, dismissed his appeal with costs.

The trial is now expected to go ahead next year, however, Zuma could approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.

This would further extend the already lengthy legal saga that dates back to 1999 over alleged kickbacks in a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.

The deal, with French company Thales, was overseen by Zuma when he was vice president.

Zuma’s legal team has continued to argue that charges against the 77-year-old should be dropped due to political interference and an unreasonable delay in prosecution.

Also read:  Rescue ship Ocean Viking takes 104 refugees aboard off Libya

But the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) argued that there was a clear public interest in ensuring the prosecution, and no evidence of political motivation for the charges.

In 2007, Zuma was charged with 16 counts of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud.

The charges – relating to 783 payments in connection to Thales – were dropped before he became president in 2009.

In early 2018 the NPA served a fresh indictment, deciding Zuma must face trial.

Zuma was forced to resign as president under intense pressure from his African National Congress (ANC) party shortly beforehand.

 

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Sri Lankan President Thanks Seychelles Defence Forces For Rescuing Sri Lankan Vessel From Somali Pirates

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President Ramkalawan says Seychellois military boarded boat with utmost courage to take complete control

 The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) Special Forces and Seychelles Coast Guards on board Coast Guards vessel Topaz led a successful operation to regain control of a Sri Lankan vessel hijacked by armed Somali pirates.

Seychellois special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers.

The Commander in Chief of the Seychelles, President Wavel Ramkalawan has spoken to the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette to congratulate the Special Forces and Coast Guards team on a well-executed and successful mission.

“This is the spirit of the Seychelles Defence Forces. Professionalism, courage, and bravery are the tenets of the new spirit in the force. Though small, we will make our contribution to attaining maritime security, peace, and determination in the fight against terrorism to ensure that the world, especially in our part of the Indian Ocean remains a safe and peaceful region. Once again, I reiterate the  pride and confidence of the Seychellois nation in the Seychelles Defence Forces.”

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GoG: Promoting Trans-boundary Management For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

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…Mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of the Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23, 2024/ — From January 21st to 27th, 2024, AU-IBAR is on a mission in the republics of Benin and Togo. The mission is dedicated to supporting the implementation of a Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative between the two nations. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), under the project “Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity within the Framework of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy,” this initiative holds the promise of fostering socio-economic development through the judicious use of marine resources.

Collaborative Efforts: AU-IBAR is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) body, the Abidjan Convention, and the World Bank-funded West African Coastal Area Management (WACA) Project. The SIDA-funded project, implemented by AU-IBAR, involves an assessment to map the extent of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) usage in Africa as a management tool for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa.

Mission Objectives: This mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME). The current objective is to secure joint expert validation of the SoME report and obtain high-level political endorsement for the provisions of the jointly validated report, demonstrating the commitment of both countries to the cause. Participants in the joint validation workshop include WACA project-nominated committee members from Benin and Togo, representatives from the Abidjan Convention, and government authorities from both nations, alongside relevant AU-IBAR staff.

Political Commitment: The opening statements during the joint meeting saw representatives from the Governments of Benin and Togo, the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, and the representative of the Director of AU-IBAR express unwavering commitment to the transboundary marine management process. Both the Director of AU-IBAR and the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention reiterated their support for the Governments of Benin and Togo in realizing their shared vision for the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the designated shared maritime boundary.

Key Outcomes: The pinnacle achievement of the joint meeting is the validation of the study report on the state of the marine environment between Benin and Togo. This validation marks a significant milestone towards establishing the transboundary MSP between the two countries. AU-IBAR Director, DR Huyam Salih, emphasized that this accomplishment is a crucial step forward in enhancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the Gulf of Guinea.

Conclusion: The joint expert consultation workshop serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at promoting transboundary management of shared marine aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea. The validated report and political commitment from Benin and Togo are integral to realizing the socio-economic development potential inherent in the sustainable use of marine resources. As AU-IBAR continues its mission, the hope is that this initiative will serve as a model for other regions seeking to harmonize efforts for the conservation and management of their shared marine ecosystems.
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U.S.-British Strikes In Yemen Left 5 Dead, Say Houthi Rebels

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The U.S. and British military strikes in Yemen have left five Houthi fighters dead and six others injured, the Iran-aligned rebels said on Friday, vowing retaliation.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression,’’ the Houthi military spokesman Yehya Saree said in a statement.

Saree said the massive attack had targeted several Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

“It will not pass unanswered and without punishment.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on the ground and in the sea,’’ he said. 

  • dpa
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