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Dissidents amnesty law results into riots in Ethiopian prisons

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ETHIOPIA

A law granting amnesty to dissidents passed by parliament has resulted to outbreak of riots in six Ethiopian prisons.

Over the past two days, inmates attempted to escape by lighting fires in the prisons, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

A separate fire at a prison in the northern city of Mekele killed two people, Fana said, but it was unclear if the blaze was connected to the rioting.



“It is against the constitution and will hamper the peace, unity, and togetherness spirit of the people,” government spokesperson Kassahun Gofe said of the unrest, according to Fana.

Kassahun said the rioting was due to a lack of “understanding” about the amnesty law.

 The prisons affected by rioting were in the northern Amhara Region, the capital Addis Ababa and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, Fana said.

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The reprieve was part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda that has seen Ethiopia’s one-party government make peace with various opposition groups.

Since coming to power in April thousands of prisoners, including high-profile opponents, have been released.

Abiy has also announced a slew of economic reforms and led a dizzying peace process with neighbouring Eritrea.

Earlier this month, state media reported that prison chiefs had been sacked for “failing to discharge their responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights”.

The announcement came as Human Rights Watch sounded the alarm over torture, rape and starvation at a notorious prison in the country’s volatile Somali region.

The reforms represent a stark departure for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which, together with its allies, controls every seat in parliament.

 The violence came days after Ethiopia’s parliament passed an amnesty for dissidents charged with crimes like treason and attacking the government.

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Crime

France to be more cautious with Renault after Nissan’s Ghosn case

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President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said France would be extremely vigilant about the fate of Renault and its alliance with Nissan after the arrest of the French auto group’s boss Carlos Ghosn in Japan.

Macron, speaking at a news conference in Brussels with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel at the start of a two-day state visit said: “It is too early to comment on the facts.”



But he went on to add that the French state, as a Renault shareholder, “will be extremely vigilant as to the stability of the alliance and the group.

Ghosn, one of the world’s best-known businessmen, was reportedly under arrest in Japan on Monday in a shocking fall from grace linked to allegations of financial misconduct.

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Japanese media said Ghosn had been arrested after questioning by prosecutors for various improprieties including under-reporting his income.

The news rocked the auto industry, where Ghosn is a towering figure credited with turning around several major manufacturers and who leads an alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi.

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The news rocked the auto industry, where Ghosn is a towering figure credited with turning around several major manufacturers and who leads an alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi.

Macron said his government would give “all its support” to employees of Renault, one of France’s most emblematic companies.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Macron will visit a tech hub in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, home to many of the Islamic State jihadists who carried out the 2015 Paris attacks.

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Crime

Nigeria: Attempted bank robbery fails in Osun State – Report

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Attempts by some persons suspected to be armed robbers to attack some commercial banks in Lagere Area of Ile-Ife, Osun State, was, on Monday, foiled by some eagle-eyed residents of the area.

Seven commercial banks have branches in Lagere area and the suspected robbers arrived the area about 10am.

According to eye witnesses, the robbers, who stormed the area in a Toyota Camry car and a bus, parked near a commercial bank in the area and shot continuously into the air to scare away people.



However, policemen attached to the banks and members of the vigilance groups within the vicinity responded with stronger force, forcing the robbers to beat a retreat.

“When the robbers arrived Lagere, they parked their vehicles a few meters away from the banks.

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You know, about seven commercial banks have branches in the area. At the time they arrived, activities in the area were just picking up. Customers were moving in and out of the banks.

“They suddenly began shooting into the air to scare people away; but policemen attached to the banks and vigilante boys responded with stronger force, shooting at the direction of the robbers.

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“The robbers escaped through Akarabata area, Modakeke; and moved out through Ondo road.

“They were given hot chase by the combined team of policemen and vigilante boys,” a resident of Lagere, Adeolu Olagunju, said.

“Their attempt on the banks failed. One of their vehicles was seized by our men. I have not been properly briefed. But that is the situation for now,” Odoro said.

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