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CRIME

Nigeria: Finally, Federal Govt Declares Bandits Terrorists

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After much public outcry, the federal government last night, declared bandits in the North West and North Central parts of the country as terrorists.

In the Gazette, the federal government outlawed the activities of the bandits in the two regions and any other part of the country.

The federal government’s Gazette, released by the office of the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, warned members of the public not to participate in any activities of the group.

The Gazette is titled, “Order Declaring The Activities Of Yan Bindiga Group, And Any Other Group In any Part Of Nigeria As Terrorism And Illegal, Proscribing Their Existence And Restraining Any Persons Or Group Of Persons From Participating In Any Manner Whatsoever In Any Form In The Activities Of Any Of The Group.”

It read, “Notice is hereby given that by the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No, FHC/ABJ/CS/1370/2021 dated 25th November, Proscription 2021 as per the schedule to this Notice, the Activities of Yan Bindiga Group, Yan Ta’adda Group and other similar groups in Nigeria are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the North West and North Central Regions of Nigeria and are proscribed, pursuant to sections 1 and 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.

“Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of the activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the groups referred to in paragraph 1 of this Notice will be groups violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and liable to prosecution.

“This Notice shall be cited as the Terrorism (Prevention) Proscription Short Title. Order Notice, 2021.”

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Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in November 2021 ordered the proscription of the activities of the groups.

Specifically, the court, in a ruling held that the activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism

The ruling declaring bandits terrorists followed an ex parte motion the federal government filed through the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The motion was moved by the director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed Abubakar.

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AFRICA

Central African Republic Seleka militia leader pleads not guilty at ICC

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A suspected leader of the Seleka militia groups in the Central African Republic, Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the opening of his trial at the International Criminal Court.

Prosecutors said Said oversaw a prison in the capital Bangui where inmates were beaten and tortured.

“I plead not guilty to all charges and all situations,” Said, dressed in a dark grey suit, told the judges.

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The mostly Muslim Seleka militia groups seized power in 2013-2014 as part of the Central African Republic’s long-running civil war, ousting then-President Francois Bozize.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan told judges at the start of the trial that the Seleka ruled “by fear, by terror”. In the period of crimes charged Khan said Said was the de facto leader of a detention center where he “wielded immense power”.

Khan painted a picture of Said as the head of a prison that was actually a torture center who “actively hunted down civilians” and brought them to the prison knowing “what nightmare awaited them under his control”.

The ICC has charged leaders of both the Seleka and opposing Christian militias known as “anti-balaka”. Said is the first alleged Seleka member to go on trial.

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In February last year Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, a former African soccer executive whom prosecutors say was a senior anti-balaka militia leader and Alfred Yekatom, also known as “Rambo”, went on trial for charges relating to attacks on Muslim civilians.

Another suspected anti-balaka leader is also being held in ICC custody, awaiting a confirmation of charges hearing expected in early 2023.

The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern and predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka, or “Alliance” in the Sango language, seized power in March 2013. Their rule gave rise to the opposing anti-balaka Christian militias.

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AFRICA

Liberia’s Former Defence Chief Samukai to Be Jailed for Embezzlement

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The Supreme Court of Liberia handed down two-year prison sentences to former defence chief Brownie Samukai along with deputies Joseph Johnson and James Nyuman Ndokor after they failed to return one million euros worth of stolen money from a government pension account.

Samukai, who was in court as the ruling was being read on Thursday, fled the building before he was taken to jail.

Accroding to Marvin Sackor, Liberian Deputy Inspector General for Operations: “We are working with our counterparts, the National Security Agency, to get a clear understanding about the whereabouts of Samukai.”

The funds were stolen from the Armed Forces of Liberia pension account during the mandate of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, when Samukai headed the defense ministry.

The three men were ordered by the court to pay a total of €500,000 within six months, but failed to do so.

Gross violation

The Supreme Court’s Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh said the convicts will remain in prison until the balance amount is paid in full, with an interest rate of €20 per month, for what she termed a ‘gross violation’.

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The three were found guilty of theft of property, criminal conspiracy, and misuse of public money among others for embezzlement from the Army’s compulsory savings account.

The ruling means Samukai will not be allowed to serve as Senator of Lofa County.

Brownie Samukai, a staunch critic of incumbent President George Weah and a stalwart of the former ruling Unity Party, was elected during the 2020 midterm Senate election but was barred from taking his seat after he was found guilty of raiding the Army coffers.

Positive ruling for soldiers

Soldiers whose money was stolen by the three former officials have welcomed the court ruling.

“The money was forcefully deducted from us monthly; surprisingly we heard the account was empty,” says soldier James Wilson*.

“I am happy, but I think their properties should be seized. We need the money,” Wilson told RFI via telephone from the Edward Binyan Kessely Military Barracks in Monrovia.

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Samukai supporters say ruling politcally motivated

Supporters of Samukai have described the court’s ruling as a plot against the senator-elect.

“This is purely political! The people of Lofa are under-represented because our senator-elect has been prevented from taking his seat even though he’s already paid some of the money,” exclaimed Lofa resident Yanquoi Flomuku.

This refers to a payment made on Thursday of €170,000 in three separate checks, prior to the judgement.

But the court maintains as the three were convicted together, they must return the funds together.

Others insist that President George Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change party influenced the court’s ruling. They maintain he also has plans for political opponents such as politician Alexander Cummings of Alternative National Congress (ANC).

“Just as they used the court to keep Brownie Samukai out of the Liberian Senate, the Congress for Democratic Change intends to use the slanderous but baseless case of fraud to keep Alexander B. Cummings off the ballot paper,” says Menipakei Dumoe, an ANC political activist.

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However, Adolphus N.S. Weah, an independent political analyst who doubles as Chairman of the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) disagrees.

He says the case is purely legal, describing the ruling as a boost against corruption.

“I don’t see any witch hunt here,” says Weah.

“It sends out a bad picture for someone to illegally take away resources belonging to servicemen so we should all support the court clampdown on corruption,” he told RFI in Monrovia.

While court’s search for the three culprits took two years, many see the ruling as a new day in Liberia’s fight against corruption.

*names have been changed for protection

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CRIME

Brazil Wife Beats Husband’s Mistress Then Throws Her Off Bridge (VIDEO)

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The phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” took on a literal meaning last week when a wife in Brazil, angry after catching her husband cheating on her, managed to get her hands on his mistress, beating her up in front of her house before dragging her through the streets by her hair and tossing her off a bridge.

The incident, which was caught on camera – but only starts from the middle of the savage assault – began when the woman caught her husband cheating on her with a blonde.

The mistress can be seen trying to cling on to a gate while the spurned wife angrily grips her hair and strikes her over the head.

Unable to fight back, the mistress screams in agony as her lover’s wife drags her along the ground, down the street and across the road to a bridge. The pair is then joined by another woman, later revealed to be a friend of the wife’s, who helps throw the mistress off a 10-foot-high bridge.

 

The women then wipe their hands of the deed and walk off as the mistress struggles to stand up and compose herself after being tossed into the water.

It’s unclear whether the woman was injured during the attack.

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Watch a video of the beating HERE.

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CRIME

Ways hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to curb it

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Have you ever received a message from any of your contacts that reads something like this; “Hello, I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code”?

Well, if you have received such from a friend, his/her line had most likely been hacked, and the hackers were trying to do same to yours.

A recent research conducted in Australia showed that in 2019 alone, Australians have lost almost $90 million. The figures rose by 62% during the period the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, with one in every 6 social media user falling victim.

According to the research conducted by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, this was common across WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram, getting even more young people who considered themselves too smart to be scanned.

How is this possible?

WhatsApp is a messaging application linked to your mobile phone number. The app is designed to be used on one device at a time, with an advanced end-to-end encryption that only allows sender and receiver to see the messages.

Any attempt to log in from another device requires a 6-digit verification code that only the owner of the sim card has access to.

 

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When the hacker tries to access your WhatsApp account from another device, the app prompts for the 6-digit verification code.

Now, this is where you have to be alert. The hackers will try to get the six-digit verification code by any means.

They could claim to be calling for any reason, and then request the code to verify that you really own the sim card. Or they could claim that you are the beneficiary of some windfall, and they need the code to confirm.

The sad part of it is that as soon as you fall victim, all your contacts become potential victims as well, because they now utilise the access to send a WhatsApp message to them.

The message could also be asking them for their verification code, personal or financial details, or it could start out as romance or online dating where the victim is roped into believing that he is in some sort of romantic tryst.

Worse still ask them to make payment for some product or service they would never receive, or offer juicy deals where they claim to double the victim’s supposed investment.

Quick tip here; Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message. No matter how stranded the person claims to be; insist on a voice or video call before sending money into any account.

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Personal details, pins and codes should be a no-no.  Any verification code, token or pin sent to your sim card is not meant to be divulged to anyone else.  Giving it out allows the hackers to impersonate you.

 

So what if you discover you have been deceived into giving out your details?

Quickly try to change your passwords and deactivate all online transactions on your accounts. If you can reach your bank, place a hold on transactions of any kind and freeze your cards. This authorises your bank to disregard any request to move out funds from your account, until you say otherwise.

This can only work if you discover really fast, but as advised, it is a situation best avoided.

What to look out for?

According to Cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie, the first red flag to look out for is “spelling mistakes or poor grammar”. Fortunately, the scammers are not that ‘smart’ and they make errors which they keep sending to their potential victims repeatedly.

Once you find that your contact (friend or client) is sending you a message containing spelling errors, don’t ignore it. Place a call across and find out what is going on. Scammers almost never take such calls and if they do, you will figure out that you have the wrong person.

Another thing to beware of is generic greetings or URLs that don’t match the company in the message. Often, such urls could take you to sites where you are then asked to fill in personal and sensitive data.

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Importantly, if the offer looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

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