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Soldiers accused of widespread looting from homes near Sudanese capital



Residents of Omdurman have described widespread looting by soldiers from the Sudanese armed forces in the only part of the city they still control.

People living in Ombada district in the west of Omdurman, which lies across the Nile from the capital, Khartoum, said soldiers had taken everything from cars to spoons, and had shot at those who tried to stop them.

Mariaim Yassin said soldiers raided the house of her mother shortly after she had died, taking an air conditioning unit, a television and some clothes out on the back of a donkey. Neighbours who tried to stop them had live bullets shot at their feet, though no one was injured.

Yassin said her family had been forced to leave their homes due to clashes between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces group earlier in the war. When the fighting subsided the family returned. “We were hopeful when the army deployed in our area,” she said, “but they keep looting everything.”

Yassin took her mother’s furniture to her own house for safekeeping but got stopped one day by three soldiers who asked her where it had gone. “I got really scared and froze and could not tell them anything,” she said, adding that the soldiers left when a male neighbour appeared.

The homes of people from the Rizeigat community, which makes up the core of the RSF, have been badly affected. Soldiers have been seen on a daily basis leaving the houses of Rizeigat people who fled to other parts of Sudan earlier in the war, pushing carts full of items including beds, tables and televisions.

Almost all of the houses in the western part of the Ombada 19 neighbourhood have open front doors – a sign that they have been looted.

In some instances, soldiers have been looting items previously looted by residents who had entered the homes of wealthy people who fled at the beginning of the war, which broke out in April. The conflict has killed more than 12,000 people, displaced more than 6.5 million, and severely hit Sudan’s economy.

One man living in a Rizeigat neighbourhood got shot last month in his leg by soldiers while trying to prevent them from stealing from him. The same day, four local women disappeared. The family of one of them said they found her earrings and passport at a hospital in an army-controlled area. They were told she had been buried but were given no further details.

The RSF has also been accused of looting in areas under its control, including banks in central Khartoum, as well as people’s homes and cars. There have been reports of looted items being sold in Chad and Niger.

One explanation for the looting is that regular army salaries are low. Soldiers can expect to earn about 10 times less than their counterparts in the RSF, which controls vast lands in the western Darfur region rich in gold and other minerals.

The army did not respond to a request for comment. An RSF advisor denied that its fighters were responsible for any looting.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, one of a handful of organisations still providing vital aid across Sudan, said last week that the situation faced by millions of people in the country was dire.

“I have never, in all my years, seen such a horrific mega-catastrophe with so little attention or resources to reach people in their hour of greatest need,” said Jan Egeland, the NRC’s secretary general. “Millions are trapped in the crossfire, in ethnic violence, in bombardments, and we are simply not there,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Last weekend, the army and the RSF both cast doubt on on an announcement by regional mediators that they had committed to a ceasefire and political dialogue.

IGAD, a grouping of East African nations, has sought along with the US and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the conflict.

IGAD had said that army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo had agreed to meet for the first time since the outbreak of fighting as well as a proposal for an unconditional ceasefire.

In a statement on Sunday, the army-aligned foreign ministry said it did not recognise the IGAD statement as it did not incorporate notes it had made, in particular that the meeting with Dagalo was conditional on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of RSF troops from the Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the RSF said its acceptance of the meeting was on condition that Burhan did not attend in his capacity of head of state, a post he has held since 2019, when the army and RSF worked together to oust the country’s long-ruling dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The army, which regards the war as a rebellion by the RSF, is unlikely to accept such a stipulation.

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Nigeria is seeking Interpol’s help to arrest three suspects who allegedly stole $6.2m (Sh964m) from the central bank, using the forged signature of then President Muhammadu Buhari.




Fraudsters In Nigeria Forged Ex-President’s Signature To Steal Sh964 Million From The Central Bank

Authorities believe that the suspects conspired with Nigeria’s former central bank chief Godwin Emefiele.

He is already on trial on 20 charges, including illegally receiving the $6.2m.

Mr Emefiele has denied all the charges, and is currently out on bail.

He is the most high-profile former official to be charged with corruption since President Bola Tinubu took office last May.

Prosecutors also allege that Mr Emefiele unlawfully authorised the release of the money from the central bank vault.

In a statement last December, he described the allegations as “barefaced lies told by the investigator in order to achieve his satanic agenda”. He called for a “thorough and transparent investigation”.

Mr Emefiele’s alleged accomplices have been named as Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Ocheme, a former central bank employee, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

The suspects are believed to have left Nigeria, prompting the authorities to seek Interpol’s help with their arrest and repatriation, the agency added.

None of the three suspects has commented on the allegations against them.

The alleged theft took place several months before Muhammadu Buhari stepped down as president

The government ordered their arrest late on Tuesday, hours after Boss Mustapha, a senior official in ex-President Buhari’s administration, testified in Mr Emefiele’s trial.

Mr Mustapha told the court in the capital, Abuja, that neither he nor Mr Buhari had given their signatures to approve the withdrawal of the $6.2m.

“Looking at the signature, it is a faint attempt at reproducing [former] President Buhari’s signature,” Mr Mustapha was quoted as telling the court by the Nation newspaper.

When shown the document used to withdraw the funds, Mr Mustapha said it “did not emanate from the office of the president”, the newspaper added.

The funds were withdrawn in cash in January last year, a few months before Mr Buhari’s term ended.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Emefiele falsified the document in question, which requested the central bank to issue the funds so that Mr Buhari could use them to pay foreign election observers.

Mr Emefiele was appointed as central bank governor in 2014 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan, with Mr Buhari reappointing him in 2019. He held the post until Mr Tinubu took office.- BBC.

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Exclusive: Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel Mounts Final Appeal Over Murder Conviction



Vybz Kartel

 Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel on Wednesday asked a London court to overturn his murder conviction, citing attempts to bribe his trial jury and the use of incriminating messages as reasons his conviction is unsafe.

The musician, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is one of Jamaica’s most popular artists and has collaborated with performers such as Jay-Z and Rihanna.

Kartel, 48, has been in jail in Jamaica since 2011 when he was arrested over the disappearance of his associate Clive “Lizard” Williams, whose body has never been found.

After a 64-day trial in Kingston, one of the longest in Jamaican history, Kartel and three others were convicted in 2014. Kartel was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years, later reduced on appeal to 32-and-a-half.

Kartel and his co-defendants are mounting their final possible appeal at the Privy Council in London, the final court of appeal in Jamaica and some other Commonwealth countries.

Prosecutors had said Williams was murdered at Kartel’s home over two guns that Williams and another man had lost. They relied, in part, on messages sent by Williams before his alleged murder and others sent by one of Kartel’s co-defendants.

But lawyers representing Kartel and his co-defendants say the messages were obtained in breach of Jamaican law and should not have been put before the jury.

They also say the trial judge wrongly handled allegations that one juror offered 500,000 Jamaican dollars ($3,200) to fellow jurors to return not guilty verdicts, which could look like “the actions of guilty men” and prejudice the jury.

Lawyers representing Jamaican prosecutors said the trial judge was right to allow the messages into evidence and in how he dealt with the jury.

“The evidence in the case against all the appellants was overwhelming, in particular in the case of Mr Palmer,” Peter Knox said in court filings.

He added: “Even if there were irregularities in the trial, they did not result in a serious miscarriage of justice.”

The appeal concludes on Thursday with a ruling expected at a later date.

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