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Buhari Condoles Zimbabwean President, Says Mugabe Was Intelligent, Courageous Leader

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President Muhammadu Buhari says Zimbabwe and Africa owe a huge debt of gratitude to former Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who he describes as a “highly intelligent and courageous leader”.

The president’s Spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, said that the Nigerian leader made the remarks in a condolence letter he personally signed and sent to President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president had, on Sept.

6, condoled with the government and people of Zimbabwe over the demise of their former president.

He had noted that the late Mugabe fought and sacrificed so much to liberate his country and free his people from minority occupation.

The letter read in part: “Zimbabwe and Africa owe a huge debt of gratitude to this highly intelligent and courageous leader who fought and sacrificed so much to liberate his country and free his people from minority occupation.

“He was also in the vanguard of the fight to free several countries of Southern Africa from apartheid and colonialism. He was a true pan-Africanist and patriot. Africa has lost one of its finest sons.

Buhari said that Mugabe led his country to greater heights after independence until the economic sanctions imposed by Western countries, on account of the expropriation of land occupied by White Zimbabweans, crippled his country economically.

“As we join Zimbabwe and other African countries to mourn the departure of this great leader, please accept, on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria and on my own behalf, our sincere condolences,” the letter further read. (NAN)

Foreign News

Iran to Hold Memorial Services for Raisi on Tuesday

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Memorial ceremonies for President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian are planned in Iran for Tuesday.

Raisi, Amirabdollahian and seven senior Iranian officials died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Local media reported that a ceremony is being planned in the provincial capital of Tabriz in the morning, followed by a ceremony in the religious stronghold and pilgrimage city of Qom.

The date for the funerals of the two statesmen has not yet been announced.

Raisi is to be buried in his hometown of Mashhad.

The helicopter crashed in dense fog on the mountains over East Azerbaijan Province while the deceased were travelling back from a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

  (dpa/NAN)

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Iran’s Leader Appoints 1st VP Acting President

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday appointed the country’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber the interim president following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

Raisi was, on Sunday, killed in the crash along with the country’s Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and some other senior Iranian officials in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan.

Khamenei made the appointment known in a condolence message on the death of  Raisi and the others.

The leader described Raisi as a popular, capable, hard working and indefatigable President, expressing  sadness at the “bitter news of his martyrdom”.

Khamenei said that, according to Article 131 of Iran’s Constitution, the first vice president would be appointed at the helm of the executive arm.

He said that the first vice president was duty-bound to, in cooperation with the parliament speaker and the judiciary chief, make arrangements for election of a new president within 50 days.

(Xinhua/NAN)

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All 9 Victims in Iranian Helicopter Crash Identified

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The Iranian government said that all the nine people killed in Sunday’s helicopter crash have now been identified.

A high-ranking government representative told the Iranian news agency Tasnim, that  in spite of the  severe burns, the identities of all occupants in the helicopter were established on Monday .

Their bodies have since been transferred to Tabriz, the capital of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

State media had previously confirmed the deaths of all nine occupants of the helicopter, including  president Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

The chopper crashed while they were travelling back from a meeting with the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

A senior imam from Tabriz who led the Friday prayers in the city was on the aircraft.

Tasnim reported that the imam was alive for about an hour after the crash and was able to contact the presidential office before succumbing to his injuries.(dpa/NAN)

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