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US imposes financial sanctions on CAR militia leaders

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The United States has imposed financial sanctions against two militia leaders accused of collaborating on violence intended to destabilise the Central African Republic, which is struggling to end years of division and bloodshed.

John Smith, director of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said the assets of Abdoulaye Hissene and Maxime Mokom were both frozen, although it was not clear whether either holds any property within US jurisdiction.

Generally, US nationals are also prohibited from transactions with those under sanctions.

Hissene is a chief in the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition that ousted then-President Francois Bozize in 2013. Mokom is an leader in the Christian militias known as anti-balaka, which arose in reaction to Bozize’s ouster.

Violence between the Seleka and the anti-balaka, which included waves of ethnic cleansing, has left the country deeply divided along religious fault lines.

Smith said: “today’s action underscores our ongoing efforts to target those responsible for fuelling violence and human rights abuses in the Central African Republic.”

The allegations against Hissene and Mokom, who initially hailed from rival armed factions, underline the increasingly convoluted web of alliances between rebels and militias that continue to undermine security despite successful elections.

US authorities accuse them of collaborating as part of a plot to overthrow Central African Republic’s transitional government in September 2015 and attempting to derail through violence a constitutional referendum later that year.

They were suspected of planning to disrupt the arrival of President Faustin-Archange Touadera at the airport in the capital, Bangui, June 2016, raising fears of a possible coup attempt.

“From seemingly opposing sides of the conflict, Hissene and Mokom have in the past few years conspired to keep the war going, much for their own personal benefit,” said Ruben de Koning of The Sentry, which researches the financing of conflict in Africa.

Both Hissene and Mokom have commanded fighters during a new wave of clashes that has struck the centre of the country since November.

The violence, among the worst since 2015-16 elections, has stretched the capacity of a UN peacekeeping mission and highlighted the chaos that still reigns in much of the former French colony.

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Motherland News

Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral

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Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.

A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.

Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.

She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer. 

Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.

The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.

 

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Motherland News

Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US

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Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.

At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.

 

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