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Forty-nine dead in New Zealand Mosque shooting



Forty-nine dead in New Zealand Mosque shooting

Forty-nine people have been killed and at least 20 wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described one alleged gunman, who had Australian citizenship, as an “extremist, right-wing” terrorist.

A man in his late twenties was charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, police confirmed.

Two other men and one woman were detained nearby and firearms seized, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

He said police had determined that one of the people detained was not involved in the incident, and officers were working to understand if the other two were connected.

The shooting was the deadliest in the country’s history.

One gunman live-streamed footage of his rampage to Facebook, filmed with a head-mounted camera. The footage showed him firing indiscriminately at men, women and children from close range inside the Al-Noor mosque.

Police called on the public not to share the “extremely distressing” footage online. Facebook said it had removed the gunman’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and was working to remove any copies of the footage.

The suspect was also believed to have published a manifesto outlining his intentions, in which he identified himself as a 28-year-old born in Australia and espoused far right and anti-immigrant ideology.

Police Commissioner Bush confirmed that the suspect who was charged was not known in advance to either New Zealand or Australian security services.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”. “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” she said.

What do we know at this point?

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch. Witnesses told local media they ran for their lives, and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the building.

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood was evacuated, but there were fewer details from that site. Police also defused “a number of IEDs (explosive devices) attached to vehicles”, Mr Bush said.

Authorities advised all mosques in the city to shut down until further notice. Armed police were also seen at Papanui High School in Christchurch, which was cordoned off.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bush said police were working to determine whether the other suspects detained were involved in the incident.

He said a number of firearms had been recovered from both shooting sites, and explosive devices were found in a car belonging to one of the suspects.

What happened at the mosques?

The sequence of events remains unclear and has mostly come via eyewitness reports to local media.

The first report of an attack came from the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch along Deans Avenue, facing Hagley Park. Witnesses there reported seeing people bleeding on the ground outside the building.

One unnamed survivor told TV New Zealand he saw a gunman shoot a man directly in the chest.

The attacker reportedly targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque, then moved to the women’s room.

“What I did was basically just waiting and praying, God please, let this guy run out of bullets,” the witness said.

“He came to this side, he shot this side, he went to another room and went to the ladies’ section and shot them. I just heard one of the ladies has died.”

A Palestinian man, who did not wish to be named, told AFP news agency he saw a man shot in the head, and heard rapid gunfire.

“I heard three quick shots, then after about 10 seconds it started again – it must have been an automatic, no one could pull a trigger that quick.

“Then people started running out. Some were covered in blood.”

A second mosque in the suburb of Linwood has also been evacuated, and the police commissioner said “multiple fatalities” were recorded at two locations. There are far fewer details emerging from there, however.

How are the authorities responding?

Multiple casualties have been brought to Christchurch Hospital, where there is a heavy police presence.

A spokeswoman said Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has activated its mass casualty plan, according to New Zealand news site

Police earlier cleared Cathedral Square, where thousands of children had been holding a rally for action on climate change.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said: “Police are responding with its full capability to manage the situation, but the risk environment remains extremely high.

“Police recommend that residents across Christchurch remain off the streets and indoors until further notice.”

A lockdown on all schools in Christchurch has now been lifted, and parents are being told they can collect their children.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted: “I’m horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.”

Who has been caught up in the attack?

As well as the numerous witness reports of casualties, the Bangladesh national cricket team appear to have narrowly escaped the shooting.

A reporter following the team, who were due to play New Zealand in a now-cancelled test match on Saturday, tweeted that the team had “escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters”.

Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that the “entire team got saved from active shooters”.

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.

“They are safe. But they are mentally shocked. We have asked the team to stay confined in the hotel,” he told the AFP news agency.


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General News

Krobo clashes: It will be unwise to make arrests – Police



One shot dead, several injured after police clash with Krobo residents

Krobo clashes: It will be unwise to make arrests – Police

Police in the Eastern region say it cannot make an arrest in the ensuing clashes at Odumase Krobo over the decision of Power Distribution Services (PDS) to disconnect residents there over unpaid bills.

Some angry youth at Lower Manya Krobo Municipality of the Eastern region again clashed with the Police at Odumase Krobo on Wednesday.

At least one person has reportedly been shot dead while five persons have sustained gunshot wounds, according to a local journalist.

Speaking to Atiewin Mbilla-Lawson, the PRO of the Eastern Regional Police Command said the situation was in such a way that it would be “foolhardy” to try and make an arrest.

“We are talking about close to about thousand people charging on police who the number is it is now we cannot match the kind of force that they are trying to charge on the police officers,” he said.

“For now the immediate to do is try and disperse these crowds and we will use all available means to do.”

The protest

The youth organized a spontaneous protest to petition the Municipal Chief Executive for the Area, Kwaku Simon Tetteh, on their concerns on over billing by PDS and its ongoing mass disconnection exercise.

The youth had earlier on Wednesday morning mounted road blocks and pelted the PDS Staff with stones and sticks at Yohe, a community near Odumase Krobo when PDS staff went to the community to discontinue its mass disconnection exercise.

The irate youth smashed a PDS Nissan Pick Up with Registration Number GV 2318-1. It took the intervention of armed Police personnel to rescue the PDS staff.

The PDS staff decided to switch off the transformer cutting off power supply to the entire area.

Shortly after the attack, the angry youth mobilized to embark on a protest to petition the MCE but the armed Police rushed to protect the Municipal Assembly Office by preventing the youth from entering the premises.

This has led to clashes between the youth and the Police. Many warnings shots have been fired to disperse the youth who are also attacking the Police with stones and other implements.

Injuries amidst warning shots

Three people were injured after a similar chaos Monday at Manya Kpongunor over mass disconnection exercise by Power Distribution Services (PDS).

Reports indicated that the Police reinforcement team fired tear gas after they were attacked by the youth.

PDS is embarking on a mass disconnection exercise with armed Police personnel in Somanya, Odumase Krobo and its environs.

The exercise dubbed “Revenue Mobilization” according to Somanya District Manager of PDS Ing. Edward Ochire, has become necessary due to the failure by many residents to pay their electricity bills since 2017. A situation he said has led to revenue shortfalls of the company.

Hundreds of houses have been disconnected in the ongoing exercise which started May 13, 2019 from Kpong and Nuaso communities.

One person was put behind bars for attempting to resist disconnection of his house. Since the exercise began, many of the affected residents have been trooping to the offices of PDS to pay their accumulated bills ranging between Ghc3, 000 and Ghc 20,000

There has been long standing feud between residents and workers of ECG now PDS. In 2017, angry residents in Somanya attacked PDS office for over billing.

Police vehicles were torched and properties destroyed in the violent attacks. Many residents have since refused to pay electricity bills and have threatened to attack PDS staff who attempt disconnecting their homes.


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General News

Special Prosecutor ‘completely wrong’ – Ayariga responds to charges



Special Prosecutor ‘completely wrong’ - Ayariga responds to charges

Special Prosecutor ‘completely wrong’ – Ayariga responds to charges

Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga has been left baffled by charges leveled against him by the Special Prosecutor.

The Special Prosecutor has begun the prosecution of the MP after charging him with five counts for fraudulently evading tax and dealing in foreign currency without a license.

SP charges

Mr Ayariga has been charged with the fraudulent evasion of taxes, after he paid the duty of ¢6,000 when he imported three Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles instead of approved duty of ¢36,000.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, accuses him of selling the three Toyota vehicles which were purchased with a loan from Parliament meant for his use as a public officer to one Fredrich Marfo of Atlas Rent A Car.

The former Information Minister has also been charged with abuse of his office as a public officer, for personal gain.

He also accuses Ayariga of dealing in foreign exchange without a license and transferring money to an agent in Dubai, without a requisite license when he purchased the car.

The Special Prosecutor says Mr Ayariga also breached procurement rules in the purchase of an ambulance for a hospital in his constituency.


But in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story, Mr Ayariga said the allegations leveled against him are not entirely accurate.

He denies evading tax because “taxes on all the vehicles have been paid. There is no tax owed on any of the vehicles…there is not even a 1 cedi tax owed on any of the vehicles.”

Mr Ayariga explained that it was no fault of his that Ghs6,000 instead of Ghs36,000 import duty was paid for the three Land Cruisers.

According to him, “when the vehicles came, Parliament wrote to Finance Ministry for exemption, Finance wrote to GRA granting the exemption and then assessed the exemption at 36,000 [cedis] then we gave the money to an agent to clear the vehicles.

“When the agent got to the port, he was told that the assessment by the Finance Ministry was wrong and that it was 6,000 [cedis] so he paid that and brought the balance back. So when Martin Amidu started the investigations and invited me, I told him I never went to the port so [he should] invite the agent and ask him how he paid ?6,000 instead of ?36,000,” the MP narrated.

He is by this, surprised that the Special Prosecutor still went ahead to charge him although he had no hand in what transpired at the port and how the agent paid a reduced amount as import duty.

In his view, the port authorities should be questioned so they can clarify how an import duty of ?6,000 was paid instead of ?36,000 because he had no hand in it.

“That is an administrative matter, it has nothing to do with me,” he stressed.

Mr Ayariga is prepared to go to court to defend himself on the matter and is hopeful of getting a favourable judgement there.


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Call made for Jammeh’s extradition and trial



Call made for Jammeh's extradition and trial

Call made for Jammeh’s extradition and trial

Mr. William Nyarko, Coordinator of the Jammeh 2 Justice Ghana Campaign, and Executive Director, Africa Center for International Law and Accountability, said this in Accra at a conference dubbed, “Bringing Yahya Jammeh to Justice for the Deaths and Enforced Disappearance of approximately 44 Ghanaians Migrants in the Gambia.”

He observed that whilst former President Jammeh had some protection from the Gambian constitution in the form of an immunity clause, “there is no perpetual immunity from prosecution for crime.”

Mr. Nyarko said whilst the former Gambian President could be tried in Gambia, he still wielded some measure of influence over there, considering the fact that he had been president for over two decades and had only recently been voted out of office.

He said this made Ghana the ideal place for Mr. Jammeh to be extradited to and tried, especially considering the fact that an estimated number of 44 Ghanaians were among the victims.

Mr. Nyarko noted that whilst there appeared to be a few obstacles in the way of Jammeh’s trial quest, such as authorities in Equatorial Guinea’s unwillingness to lend into Mr. Jammeh’s extradition, those seeming obstacles could be dealt with if a more concerted effort was made by all stakeholders.

He said other African countries whose nationals fell victim to the situation, for example, could come together and make a strong case for justice to prevail, and that would impact strongly on making a case for Mr. Jammeh’s prosecution.

Mr. Nyarko said the former Gambian president could be tried for murder, torture and forced disappearance because by the final findings and report on the incident, the killings were absolutely illegal.

Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, chaired the program and said for concrete results to be achieved towards putting Mr. Jammeh on trial, the concerted efforts of stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations and the media would be needed.

He said pressure from the governments of the affected African countries was also most needed and urged the government to reach out to the families of the victims.

According to Human Rights Watch and Trial International, a para-military unit, controlled by then Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, summarily executed more than fifty Ghanaian, Nigerian and other West African migrants, in July, 2005.

Witnesses said the migrants, including some 44 Ghanaians, were arrested in July 2005, and taken to the naval Head Quarters in Banjul, the capital of Gambia.

Gambian security officials then divided the migrants into groups, and turned them over to the junglers, an armed unit directly connected to then President Jammeh, who summarily executed the migrants near Banjul and along the Senegal-Gambia border.

Mr. Jammeh is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea, after ruling Gambia for twenty two years.


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