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24 Hours Across Africa

Libya conflict escalates as thousands flee Tripoli homes as battle rages on outskirts

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Source: Reuters

Eastern forces and troops loyal to the Tripoli government fought on the outskirts of Libya’s capital on Wednesday as thousands of residents fled from the battle.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar held positions in the suburbs about 11 km (7 miles) south of the center, with steel containers and pickups with mounted machine-guns blocking their way into the city.

Residents reported LNA planes buzzing Tripoli and the sound of clashes in outskirts. Haftar’s forces were engaging Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s fighters at the former international airport, one soldier told Reuters.

The United Nations said at least 4,500 Tripoli residents had been displaced, most moving away from their homes in conflict areas to safer districts of the city. Many more were trapped, it said.

The LNA forces moved out of their stronghold in east Libya to take the sparsely-populated but oil-rich south earlier this year, before heading a week ago toward Tripoli, where the internationally-recognized government of sits.

Libya has been split into rival eastern and western administrations since the 2011 topping of former strongman Muammar Gaddafi. He ruled for more than four decades before falling in a Western-backed revolt.

Since then, political and armed factions have vied for power and control of Libya’s oil wealth, and the country split into rival eastern and western administrations linked to shifting military alliances after a battle for Tripoli in 2014.

The United Nations wants to bring both sides together to plan an election and way out of the chaos.

Its humanitarian agency the OCHA said it was extremely concerned about the “disproportionate and indiscriminate use” of explosive weapons in densely-populated areas.

Half a million children were at risk, it added.

As well as the humanitarian consequences, renewed conflict in Libya threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration across the Mediterranean to Europe, scupper the U.N. peace plan, and encourage militants to exploit the chaos.

Islamic State killed three people in a remote desert town under LNA control two days ago.

In Tripoli, nearly 50 people have died, mainly fighters but also some civilians including two doctors, according to latest U.N. casualty estimates. The toll is expected to rise.

Several thousand migrants, detained after trying to use Libya as a staging-point for crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, have also been caught up in the crisis.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday it had relocated more than 150 of them – among several thousand in total – from one detention center in south Tripoli to a facility of its own in a safe zone.

One official at that detention center said he flung open the doors on Wednesday and released another 150 migrants for their own safety due to the proximity of clashes.

The United Nations, United States, European Union and G7 bloc have appealed for a ceasefire, a return to the U.N. peace plan, and a halt to Haftar’s push

Opponents cast him as a would-be dictator in the mould of Gaddafi, though Haftar projects himself as a champion against extremism pushing to restore order to Libya.

Haftar was among officers who helped Gaddafi rise to power in 1969 but fell out with him during a war with Chad in the 1980s. He was taken prisoner by the Chadians, rescued by the CIA, and lived for about 20 years in Virginia before returning in 2011 to join other rebels in the uprising against Gaddafi

Despite the flare-up in conflict, normal life was just about continuing in Tripoli, a city of roughly 1.2 million people, though prices were rising and businesses are closing earlier than usual, residents said.

“I don’t care who wins or loses, I just want to survive with my family,” said a teacher in Tripoli, who hoped to get out.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Atiku Abubakar Displays Evidence That Shows He May Have Won Elections.

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has insisted the result from the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows he defeated President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election.

In his submission to the presidential election tribunal, the former vice president gave the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from where the results were obtained.

According to the result declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

But in Atiku’s petition, he claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

In response, INEC had claimed the results being paraded by Atiku was and not from its website.

But the PDP yesterday said the address of the server from which the results were obtained is unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server.”

Atiku and the PDP also alleged the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they added.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria.org).”

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24 Hours Across Africa

More than 135 Nigerians returns from Libya.

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Over 135 stranded Nigerians in Libya has been received, The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the development. Alhaji Idris Muhammed, Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of NEMA, confirmed the development to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Muhammed said the Nigerians arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 11.50 p.m on Monday aboard a chartered Al Buraq Air aircraft with registration number DMG-MJI. FILE: Libya returnees on arrival  According to him, they were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVR) Programme.

He said: “The returnees are made up of 59 adult females, four female children and five female infants. “Also, there are 63 adult males, two male children and three infant males.” 2 suspected traffickers nabbed as 164 Nigerians return from Libya Muhammed said the returnees were welcomed by NEMA and other agencies, including the National Refugees Commission, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons as well the Nigeria Immigration Service.

One of the returnees gave an account how he was maltreated  by stating that “The Arabs treated us like slaves. You work without being paid and so many of us were killed while watching the killings. “All of us here don’t fear death; we have seen what is more than hell. “The Libyans don’t care if you are black or not, the treatment given to us (blacks) is same they give to their Arab neighbours from Tunisia or Algeria. “Once they need someone to work, those chosen must follow them.

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