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Amnesty calls for release of abducted Libyan protesters | News

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Amnesty International pressed for the release of at least six protesters abducted when armed men, allegedly allied with Libya’s UN-recognised government, fired live ammunition to disperse a demonstration in the capital.

The incident took place on Sunday when protesters rallied in Tripoli and elsewhere in western Libya against deteriorating economic conditions and corruption.

The rights group said armed men in military camouflage opened fire on the crowd using heavy weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles and truck-mounted machine guns.

The interior ministry accused “outlawed infiltrators” of firing at the protesters and said an investigation had been opened.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, criticised the Government of National Accord (GNA) for not reining in abusive, unaccountable militias and armed groups” and instead “relying on them for security, law enforcement and fighting its rivals”.

“The GNA has the responsibility to uphold the right to peaceful protest, protect protesters from those seeking to silence them with live ammunition and address the underlying issues that have led people to come out onto the streets,” said Eltahawy in a statement.

The organisation urged an immediate release of those abducted and called for an independent investigation, as did the UN mission in Libya. It said the protests were motivated by frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water and a lack of services throughout the country.

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said the protesters ‘did not obtain necessary permits’ for the rally [AFP]

The London-based group said on Wednesday that in addition to the six individuals who had been abducted, several protesters were wounded in the shooting, which happened in an area that is under the control of the Nawasi armed group that nominally operates under the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

Amnesty, citing eyewitness accounts and its Nawasi contacts, said there were “strong indications that this militia was behind the attack” on the protesters.

The demonstrations continued on Wednesday for the fourth day in a row. Footage circulated online showed demonstrators marching and chanting slogans against the UN-recognised government.

Militiamen also opened fire at protesters in Tripoli’s Martyrs Square on Wednesday, which was the scene of Sunday’s attack, according to a protester who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. He said dozens of protesters were detained and their whereabouts were unknown.

Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga acknowledged that a Tripoli-allied militia fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters. He said in a statement early Thursday the militias, which it did not name, abducted some of the protesters who were forcefully disappeared.

Meanwhile, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said in televised comments the protesters “did not obtain necessary permits” for the rally. In a meeting with military and security officials Wednesday, he described the demonstrations as “riots”, according to a statement from his office.

He also announced a round-the-clock curfew lasting four days to fight the coronavirus, a move protesters say is meant to stop their continued rallies. The protesters defied al-Sarraj’s decision and took to the streets after his announcement, before being dispersed by militias.

Libya has seen a surge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, with most of the cases in the country’s west. So far, authorities have reported more than 11,800 cases, including 210 deaths, though the actual numbers are thought to be far higher, in part due to limited testing.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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