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Ivory Coast conflict: Commander jailed over mystery killings

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The head of the presidential guard under Ivory Coast’s ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo has been sentenced to 18 years in prison over killings during the country’s civil conflict in 2011.

Gen Bruno Dogbo Ble was convicted at the murder trial for four foreign businessmen, who were abducted from a top hotel in the main city of Abidjan.

Only one body was ever found, dumped in a lagoon in the city.

Some 3,000 people died in the conflict that followed elections in 2010.

 Tamasin Ford in Abidjan says there are still many unanswered questions about the case which was long shrouded in doubt and mystery.

A unit of the elite presidential guard was found to have stormed the Novotel Hotel in Abidjan’s financial district on 4 April, 2011, as fighting raged for control of the commercial capital.

They abducted the French hotel manager along with the French head of Sifca, the country’s biggest agro-industrial group, his Beninoise assistant and a Malaysian colleague.

The prosecution said that the victims were taken to the presidential palace, where they were tortured and killed.

Hotel Novotel

After a 10-month trial in Abidjan, five others were also jailed for their role in the killing, including the country’s former police chief.

But it remains unclear why they were killed and on whose orders.

Violence broke out when then President Gbagbo, now on trial at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, refused to accept defeat to President Alassane Ouattara.

President Ouattara has been criticised for only prosecuting his opponents following the country’s civil conflict, despite both sides being accused of atrocities.

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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