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West-Africa

Dynamite Explodes, Kills 20, Wounds 600 in Equatorial Guinea

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President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea has told local press that a series of explosions at a military barracks killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 600 others on Sunday.

According the President, the explosion at 4 p.m. local time was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the military barracks located in the neighborhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata.

“The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata,” the president said in a statement, which was in Spanish.

The defense ministry released a statement late Sunday saying that a fire at a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-caliber ammunition. It said the provisional death toll was 20, adding that the cause of the explosions will be fully investigated.

The country’s president said the fire may have been due to residents burning the fields surrounding the barracks.

State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out “we don’t know what happened, but it is all destroyed.”

Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital.

Equatorial Guinea, an African country of 1.3 million people located south of Cameroon, was a colony of Spain until it gained its independence in 1968. Bata has roughly 175,000 inhabitants.

Earlier, the Health Ministry had tweeted that 17 were killed. The ministry made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded.

The ministry said its health workers were treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble.

The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid.

“It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said.

A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a “moment of crisis” and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports center set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases.

Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometers of the city because the fumes might be harmful.

Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that “Spanish nationals stay in their homes.”

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Politics

African Union Suspends Mali

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Mali will no longer take part in the affairs of African Union a continental body that brings together all 55 Member States.

The African Union has effectively suspended Mali’s membership and threatened sanctions in response to a second military coup last Friday.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led both coups, was declared president on Friday. Interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained and pressured to resign.

In a statement the AU’s Peace and Security Council said Mali’s suspension – effective immediately – would remain until “normal constitutional order has been restored”.

Failing “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition”, the council said targeted would follow.

Below is the full statement by AU against the Mali situation

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 1001st meeting held on 1 June 2021, on the situation in Mali.

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling its previous communiques and press statements on the situation in Mali and in the Sahel region, in particular Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (M)] adopted at its 1000th meeting held on 25 May 2021 and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(CMXLl)] adopted at its 941st meeting held on 19 August 2020;

Taking note of the opening remarks by the PSC Chairperson for June 2021 and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to the AU, H.E. Ambassador Joel Nkurabagaya and the statements by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye; H.E. Ambassador Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU, as the representative of ECOWAS Chair and Ambassador Fafre Camara, Permanent Representative of Mali to the AU, as well as the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of the AU Mission for the Sahel (MISAHEL), H.E. Ambassador Maman Sidikou;

Deeply concerned about the evolving situation in Mali and its negative impact on the gains made thus far in the transition process in the country;

Also recalling the Communique of the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, held on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

Mindful of the provisions of all relevant AU normative instruments, including the AU Constitutive Act; the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union; the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; and the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government, adopted by the 36th Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Lomé, Togo, July 2000 (the Lomé Declaration);

Reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the AU to respect the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Mali, as well as the AU’s solidarity with the people and Government of Mali;

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council,

1. Endorses the decisions adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, as outlined in paragraph 8 of its Communique issued on 30 May 2021, in Accra, Ghana;

2. Condemns in the strongest terms possible and totally rejects coups d’état and unconstitutional changes of government in the Continent, consistent with the provisions of Article 4(p) of the AU Constitutive Act;

3. Decides, accordingly, in line with the relevant AU normative instruments, to immediately suspend the Republic of Mali from participation in all activities of the African Union, its Organs and institutions, until normal constitutional order has been restored in the country;

4. Strongly urges the Malian military to urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali, while calling for the creation of conducive conditions for an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition, based on the agreed transition roadmap for Mali, failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures against any spoilers of the current transition;

5. Calls on the Malian defence and security forces to immediately lift all restrictions on all political actors, including the house arrest of H.E. Bah N’Daw and H.E. Moctar Ouane ;

6. Calls upon the transitional authorities to respect and abide by the originally stipulated 18 months transitional period and, therefore, appeals once again to the Malian people to place the supreme interests of the country and its people above all else, to remain calm and to continue to work together within the framework of the 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali, which emanated from the Algiers process, with the effective participation of women, the youth and Malians in the Diaspora, to resolve the current crisis, and organize free, fair and credible democratic elections on 27 February 2022;

7. Requests the Chairperson of the Commission through his Special Representative and Head of AU Mission in Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) to continue to closely coordinate with the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

8. Expresses support for the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and commends its efforts in Mali, while reiterating AU’s readiness to actively collaborate with the UN in maintaining peace, stability and security in Mali;

9. Demands unambiguously that the current leadership of the transition process, including the Head of the Transition, Vice-President and Prime Minister, should not, under any circumstances, be candidates for the forthcoming presidential election in Mali;

10. Calls on the military leadership and all political stakeholders to fully and unconditionally respect the transition charter while urging for the immediate appointment of a civilian Prime Minister to lead the conclusion of the transition process and to coordinate a genuinely inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue process for the stability of Mali;

11. Further decides to constitute a PSC evaluation mission to Mali, to engage with all concerned stakeholders and the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator, in order to identify areas in which the AU could provide support to Mali, particularly as this relates to the implementation of the transition programme and the holding of elections;

12. Appeals to the international community to extend financial support to Mali in order to enable it to address the grave macroeconomic challenges facing the country and ensure that the transition plan is not derailed;

13. Also requests the Chairperson of the Commission to monitor the situation in Mali closely and to provide regular updates to Council, at least once every quarter and as necessary; and

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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West-Africa

US Firm Accuses Ghanaian Political Party Of Money Laundering

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Birim Group LLC an equity fund and securities investment company based in the United States has brought charges against Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, a Ghanaian Politician and flag bearer of Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

Groupe Nduom- the umbrella company for 60 other businesses owned by Dr Nduom is being accused of laundering a total of U$63,000,000.

“The Nduom family defendants, by and through their ownership, control and use of defendants GN Bank, Gold Coast Fund Management and over 60 undercapitalised interrelated companies, collected several million dollars of depositor’s saving, investment contributions and insurance premiums, and in violation of U.S. and Ghana laws illegally laundered approximately $63,000,000 of depositors’ funds through its Virginia-based sham ‘procurement and consulting service’ company, International Business Solutions,” Birim Group LLC stated.

The statement further stated that the purported “criminal scheme” involved “international money wire system – of inflated, over-invoiced and above-market rate fees disguised as payment for ‘management service’”.

Dr Nduom, his wife Yvonne Nduom, their children, Nana Kweku Nduom, Edjah Nduom and Nana Aba Nduom in their official capacities in the business are all named as defendants in the suit.

“Plaintiff further alleges that Nduom family defendants dominate and control the Corporate Defendants and the related 60 or more companies, and in so doing, these entities commingle their funds and other assets and fail to segregate the funds of the separate entities. There is also the unauthorised diversion of corporate funds or assets to non-corporate uses”.

The plaintiff, Birim Group LLC further alleges that Groupe Nduom engaged in these illegalities for the “sole personal financial benefit of the Nduom family” and used his businesses as a conduit to “facilitate the unlawful acts”.

Reference was also made to the recent cleanup in Ghana’s financial sector where the plaintiff claims “a substantial portion of its [GN Bank] loans were illegally made to Nduom-related entities without the benefit of appropriate risk assessments, managements or determinants”.

“Groupe Nduom-GH (GN-GH) is wholly owned, dominated and controlled by Nduom and his family for the sole personal benefit of Nduom. Having failed to meet its regulator’s qualifying criteria, defendant GN-GH was initially downgraded and reclassified from a commercial banking house to a Savings and Loans Company.

“On or about August 16, 2019, its license was formally revoked by its regulator, the central Bank of Ghana”.

The plaintiff believes that the “manipulations and liabilities” among Groupe Nduom’s entities effectively resulted in the “diversion of assets from one business entity to the Nduom defendants and their other entities to the detriment of creditors and depositors”.

Among the many reliefs being sought, Birim Group LLC, acting as assignors, are asking for “treble compensatory damages, as well as, consequential, exemplary and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by trial.

They also want the court to order “disgorgement of all profits, benefits and other compensation obtained by defendants including all ill-gotten gains from their illegal and criminal activities.

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West-Africa

Ugandan ADF Rebels Launch More Attacks In Beni

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The Ugandan Allied Democratic Front Rebels operating in Democratic Republic of Congo have launched a stingy attack in Mambasa territory in Beni killing two civilians on Tuesday.

A reliable source told Taarifa that this attack was executed in Ngaka village in Mambasa territory.

“These ADF rebels arrived very early on Wednesday morning and killed 2 civilians, which is still a provisional toll,” said Idriss Kokodila, administrator of the territory of Mambasa.

According to eyewitness account, the ruthless rebel fighters The fact swept through Mambasa-Beni axis where they managed to take goods and animals from the population to the village of Ngaka located 4 km from Makumo on the national road 4.

However,  Gilbert Sibamwenda, president of the civil society of the Bangole group says, “The rebels killed more than 7 civilians in the village of Ngaka and its surroundings. We need large-scale military operations because they are scattered in nature. ”

“The army is in pursuit of these rebels,” said Idriss Kokodila, administrator of the territory of Mambasa.

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