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Newly Re-elected Chad’s President Idriss Deby Dead 

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The shock announcement came only the day after the 68-year-old was proclaimed the winner of a presidential election that had given him a sixth term in office.

The army said Deby had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled against rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day.

Deby “has just breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.

Deby, 68, had ruled Chad with an iron fist for three decades but was a key ally in the West’s anti-jihadist campaign in the troubled Sahel region.

The army said a military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a four-star general, would replace him.

On Monday, the army had claimed a “great victory” in its battle against the rebels from neighbouring Libya, saying it had killed 300 fighters, with the loss of five soldiers in its own ranks during eight days of combat.

Deby would have been one of the longest-serving leaders in the world, after provisional results showed him winning the April 11 election.

He was a herder’s son from the Zaghawa ethnic group who took the classic path to power through the army, and relished the military culture.

His latest election victory — with almost 80 percent of the vote — had never been in doubt, with a divided opposition, boycott calls, and a campaign in which demonstrations were banned or dispersed.

Deby had campaigned on a promise of bringing peace and security to the region, but his pledges were undermined by the rebel incursion.

The government had sought Monday to assure concerned residents that the offensive was over.

There had been panic in some areas of N’Djamena on Monday after tanks were deployed along the city’s main roads, an AFP journalist reported.

The tanks were later withdrawn apart from a perimeter around the president’s office, which is under heavy security during normal times.

“The establishment of a security deployment in certain areas of the capital seems to have been misunderstood,” government spokesman Cherif Mahamat Zene had said on Twitter on Monday.

“There is no particular threat to fear.”

However, the US embassy in N’Djamena had on Saturday ordered non-essential personnel to leave the country, warning of possible violence in the capital. Britain also urged its nationals to leave.

France’s embassy said in an advisory to its nationals in Chad that the deployment was a precaution and there was no specific threat to the capital.

The rebel raid in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem was carried out by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Libya.

The group has a non-aggression pact with Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman who controls much of Libya’s east.

FACT, a group mainly made up of the Saharan Goran people, said in a statement Sunday that it had “liberated” the Kanem region. Such claims in remote desert combat zones are difficult to verify.

The Tibesti mountains near the Libyan frontier frequently see fighting between rebels and the army, as well as in the northeast bordering Sudan. French air strikes were needed to stop an incursion there in February 2019.

In February 2008, a rebel assault reached the gates of the presidential palace before being pushed back with French backing.

AFP

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Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022

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Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.

The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.

He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.

Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.

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#EndSARS: Panel Affirmed Nine Killed, Four Missing, 24 Injured At Lekki Toll Gate

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No fewer than nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

This was contained in the report of the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters obtained by our correspondent on Monday.

According to the report, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four were presumed dead.

The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.

Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.

The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.

According to the 309-page report, the protesters were killed by suspected policemen and soldiers.

Part of the report read, ” The evidence before the panel shows that after the Nigerian Army left, Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing
protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one shot close to Serah Ibrahim.

“Several unidentified bodies were removed by security agencies and LASEHMU (Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit) and deposited at various hospital mortuaries in Lagos State.

“Three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of October 21st October, 2020 to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.

“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon.

“The Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020, or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa.”

The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.

Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the terms of reference of the Panel were expanded to cover that incident.

The panel sat for over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.

The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million to 70 victims.

The PUNCH

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Lagos #EndSARS Panel Submits Report

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The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report on Monday to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the government house, Ikeja, Lagos.

The panel submitted two sets of reports — a consolidated report on police brutality cases and the Lekki incident investigation.

On October 19, 2020, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos government inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state.

Speaking after receiving the report, Sanwo-Olu said it is the beginning of the “difficult process of proper reconciliation and restitution”.

The governor commended members of the panel for the work done, adding that posterity will be kind to them.

He said the report will be submitted to the national economic council (NEC), adding that “proper response” will be accorded to the recommendations.

Sanwo-Olu also constituted a four-member committee headed by Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state’s attorney-general, to come up with a white paper on the panel’s recommendations within the next two weeks.

“I’m believing and trusting that this process will help us start the very difficult process of proper reconciliation, restitution, bringing together of anyone that must have been one form or the other being affected,” he said.

“By either the police or any of our citizens that must have been wronged by one form or the other, the process of healing, I imagine, with the submission of this panel report, will start that process.”

The sitting was initially meant to last for six months but the period of proceedings stretched into one year.

The panel concluded its sitting on October 18, 2021, and said its findings and recommendations would be submitted to the state government.

Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, had said 186 of the 252 petitions submitted were deliberated upon.

According to an infographic released by the panel, the sum of N409.7 million was awarded to 70 petitioners.

However, the decision of the panel not to disclose its report on the Lekki shooting incident did not go down well with many Nigerians, including lawyers representing #EndSARS protesters.

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