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UN Envoy Condemns killings of Peaceful Protesters in Sudan

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet, has condemned the killings of peaceful protesters against military rule in Sudan.

It is “utterly shameful” that live ammunition keeps being used against protesters, Bachelet said in a statement from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

According to reports, security forces killed at least 15 people and wounded thousands of Sudanese protesting on Wednesday against military rule.

The protesters, marching against an Oct. 25 coup across the capital Khartoum and in the cities of Bahri and Omdurman, demanded a full handover to civilian authorities and for the leaders of the Oct. 25 coup to be put on trial.

Bachelet said at least 39 people had been killed by security forces in Sudan since the October 25 military coup, 15 of whom were reportedly shot dead on Wednesday.

“Shooting into large crowds of unarmed demonstrators, leaving dozens dead and many more injured, is deplorable, clearly aimed at stifling the expression of public dissent, and amounts to gross violations of international human rights law,” she said.

According to reliable medical sources, more than 100 people were wounded during protests on Wednesday in Khartoum, Khartoum-Bahri and Omdurman.

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Of the injured, 80 sustained gunshot injuries to their upper bodies and heads.

Arrests were reported to have been made before, during and after the demonstrations. Police issued a statement saying that 89 police officers had also been injured.

On Wednesday, the military imposed a total shutdown of phone and mobile communications across the country, in addition to the continued shutdown of internet services, effectively cutting off Sudan from the world.

Only satellite links continued to function.

Bachelet explained that people were unable to call for ambulances to treat injured protesters.

She said families were unable to check on the safety of their loved ones, and hospitals were also unable to reach doctors as emergency rooms filled up, to name just a few very real and serious consequences.

For the High Commissioner, “blanket internet and telecommunications shutdowns violate core principles of necessity and proportionality and contravene international law.”

Since the military coup, journalists, particularly those perceived to be critical of the authorities, have been targeted.

Journalists have been arbitrarily arrested, attacked while reporting, and had their homes and offices raided by security forces.

There have also been disturbing reports of their attempted abduction by armed assailants in plain clothes.

“With the internet shutdowns, the role of journalists in getting essential information out on the current situation is particularly crucial, but I fear the increasingly hostile environment against them may lead to self-censorship, and further threaten media pluralism and independence,” the Commissioner said.

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Bachelet also urged the authorities to immediately release all those who had been detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as all detained political actors.

She upheld that all members of the security forces and political and military leaders responsible for unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against protesters must be held accountable in line with international human rights law.

The Commissioner also stressed the need to ensure that healthcare workers were not targeted for providing medical care to injured protesters, and that their essential work is not hampered. (NAN)

Foreign News

Buhari to British PM: No Third-term for Me

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Great Britain on the sidelines of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, during which he once again reiterated his resolve to respect the maximum term limit in the Nigerian Constitution.

The PM, obviously not quite familiar with the maximum two terms limit, had asked if President Buhari would run for office again; to which the latter responded: “Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.

” (General laughter).

Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement yesterday, said that, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, not being allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President dispelled such insinuation, saying the detained separatist was being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain,”

Buhari said: “He felt very safe in Britain, and said awful things against Nigeria.

We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he has said there.

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“His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again, if he’s admitted to bail?”

On the keenness expressed by the PM to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilize Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gadaffi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”

On Boko Haram insurgency, Buhari said there was serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great). God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion.”

 Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.

He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding: “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalize on it.”

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The Prime Minister offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.

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Dozens Killed, Millions Stranded in India, Bangladesh Floods

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At least 59 people are known to have died in lightning strikes and landslides triggered by severe monsoon storms in India and Bangladesh.

Millions of people have been stranded while emergency workers have struggled to reach those affected.

Forecasters are warning that the flooding is expected to get worse over the next few days.

Bangladesh government officials have described the recent flooding as the country’s worst since 2004.

Unrelenting rains over the last week have inundated vast swathes of the country’s north-east region, exacerbated by runoff from heavy downpours across mountains in neighbouring India.

Schools have been converted into makeshift shelters and troops have been deployed to evacuate households cut off from neighbouring communities as a result of rising waters.

People try to survive as monsoon rains swamped huge areas of the country, leaving millions of homes underwater in Sylhet, Bangladesh on June 18, 2022.

Bangladesh government officials have described the floods as the country’s worst since 2004

“The whole village went under water by early Friday and we all got stranded,” Lokman, whose family lives in Companiganj village in Bangladesh, told AFP news agency.

“After waiting a whole day on the roof of our home, a neighbour rescued us with a makeshift boat. My mother said she has never seen such floods in her entire life,” the 23-year-old added.

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A patient is taken to upstairs as flood water enter inside Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital in Sylhet, Bangladesh on June 18, 2022.

A patient is moved to a higher floor as flood waters enter a hospital in Sylhet, Bangladesh

In Assam state in neighbouring India, more than 1.8 million people have been affected by floods after five days of incessant downpours.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters he had instructed district officials to provide “all necessary help and relief” to those caught in the flooding.

“Our house is submerged in water. I’ve never seen such huge floods in my life,” Husna Begum, a resident of Udiana village in Assam, told the BBC.

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Hundreds Protest in Tunis against President’s Plan for Constitution

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Hundreds of people demonstrated in Tunis yesterday in a second day of protest against a constitutional referendum called by President Kais Saied that his opponents say would cement his hold on power.

The demonstration was organised by the Salvation Front, a coalition including the moderate Islamist Ennahda, the largest party in a parliament that Saied dissolved in March.

It followed a similar protest on Saturday called by the Free Constitutional Party over the referendum, and a strike on Thursday by a powerful labour union over government economic reform plans, which brought much of the county to a standstill.

The president’s supporters say he is standing up to elite forces whose bungling and corruption have condemned Tunisia to a decade of political paralysis and economic stagnation.

The head of the country’s constitution committee said on Saturday he will hand over the new draft of what he described as a democratic constitution to the president on Monday, ahead of a July 25 referendum.

The country’s main political parties say they will boycott the plebiscite.

But opposition to Saied remains fragmented, as shown by the separate demonstrations at the weekend.

On Sunday, protesters marched through central Tunis to Avenue Habib Bourguiba, watched by a heavy police presence.

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“Saied must leave… The people on the streets are constantly against you Saied,” activist Chaima Issa told Reuters. “The UGTT (union) went on strike, and judges are protesting. Do you want to rule a people that reject you?”

Judges in Tunisia on Saturday extended their national strike for a third week in protest against a decision by Saied to sack 57 judges on June 1.

The president accused them of corruption and protecting terrorists – charges that the Tunisian Judges’ Association said were mostly politically motivated.

Saied’s move heightened accusations at home and abroad that he has consolidated one-man rule after assuming executive powers last summer and setting aside the 2014 constitution to rule by decree.

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