After a blast at an illegal refinery, at least 37 people have been killed in Ibaa Community of Rivers State, Nigeria.
According to security officials and the head of security in the community, Rufus Welekem, the incident happened in the early hours of Monday morning.
Two pregnant women were among the victims.
Illegal refining is common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria as impoverished locals tap pipelines to make fuel to sell for a profit. The practice, which can be as basic as boiling crude oil in drums to extract fuel, is often deadly.
A Reuters witness saw the charred remains of 15 people in an open space surrounded by burnt palm trees and a motorbike.
“Thirty-five people were caught in the fire. Two people who were lucky to escape also died this morning in hospital,” said Welekem.
He said relatives had identified some of the victims and taken them for burial.
Nigeria has tried to clamp down on illegal crude refineries for years, with little success, partly because powerfully connected politicians and security officials are involved, local environmental groups say.
Crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and legal battles over oil spills are pushing oil majors in Nigeria to sell their onshore and shallow water assets to concentrate on deepwater operations.
Colonel sentenced to death in DRC
A colonel in the Democratic Republic of Congo army, Mike Mikombe, has been sentenced to death for killing more than 50 demonstrators in August.
Troops serving under Mike Mikombe opened fire in the eastern city of Goma on members of a religious sect taking part in a banned protest against the United Nations peacekeeping force.
He was charged with crimes against humanity.
A military tribunal has also found three other officers guilty and sentenced them to 10 years in prison.
However, the BBC World Service learned that his lawyers would appeal the judgement.
The death sentence is often handed down in DR Congo, but it’s been more than 20 years since an execution took place.
Niger says 29 soldiers killed in attack near Mali border
Not less than 29 Niger soldiers have been reportedly killed in an attack by armed insurgents near the country’s border with Mali, the West African nation’s defence ministry said in a statement late hours of Monday, October 2, 2023.
“The provisional toll of the attack is as follows, 29 soldiers fell in battle, and two were wounded,” the statement, on Niger national television, said, adding that several dozen assailants were killed.
The defence ministry did not say which group was responsible, nor has any group come to claim the attack.
The attack is one of the deadliest since soldiers seized power in a military coup in the country in July.
Niger, like neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso, is battling militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that have killed thousands and displaced over two million people in the West Africa Sahel region.
The defence ministry disclosed that the soldiers were returning from operations against the militants when they were targeted by over 100 assailants in vehicles and motorbikes using explosive devices and suicide bombers.
According to Reuters, three days of national mourning have been declared across the country.
Rwandan genocide suspects arrested in the Netherlands
A Rwandan former military official alleged to have played a vital role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide was detained in the Netherlands on Tuesday, Dutch prosecutors disclosed.
Pierre-Claver Karangwa, 67, was detained in a Dutch investigation into his role in the genocide, which prosecutors started after the Dutch Supreme Court in June 2023 said he could not be extradited to Rwanda out of fear of an unfair trial.
Rwanda accused Karangwa of playing a key role in the massacre of nearly 30,000 Tutsis in Mugina parish near the Rwandan capital, Kigali, in April 1994 and had asked for his extradition in 2012.
However, in a court case over his possible extradition in December 2022, Karangwa said he was innocent of the crimes he was accused of.
Karangwa, who has lived in the Netherlands since 1998, had his Dutch nationality revoked over the genocide accusations, theoretically paving the way for his extradition.
However, the Supreme Court denied this because of Karangwa’s position as an opposition politician.
The Dutch prosecutors said they suspected Karangwa of being involved in burning down a house with dozens of women and children in it following the attack on Mugina parish.
According to figures gathered by Reuters, an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed during Rwanda’s genocide, orchestrated by an extremist Hutu government and executed by local officials and ordinary citizens.
The Netherlands has tried and convicted other Rwandan genocide suspects before under universal jurisdiction and has, in the past, also extradited genocide suspects to Rwanda.
South Sudan president fires another central bank governor
State television announced that the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has fired another central bank governor of the country, Johnny Ohisa Damian and other senior finance officials.
This is President Salva’s second time he has sacked a central bank chief in just over a year.
Mr Damian’s sacking was made known on Monday in the late hours, with no reason for his sack.
An advisor to the International Monetary Fund, James Alic Garang, is announced as the new South Sudan’s Central Bank Governor.
Two deputy governors, the head of the government’s revenue authority and other senior officials in the finance and trade ministries have also been announced.
Abrupt changes to the leadership of the central bank and finance ministry have been frequent in recent years, and in 2020 alone, the central bank governor was replaced twice.
Damian only took up the position inAugust 2022 after Moses Makur Deng was removed from the role.
South Sudan’s economy has been depressed since a civil war that erupted in 2013, forcing about a quarter of its population to flee to neighbouring countries.
The war cut oil production, the mainstay of economic activity. While crude output has improved in recent years, it is yet to reach levels seen before the war.
Production in other sectors like agriculture has also plummeted, while in 2020, the double blow of the COVID-19 pandemic and plunging oil prices added to the South.