Johannesburg The United States has imposed sanctions against a rebel leader in the Central African Republic, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement on Friday.
Pompeo’s office imposed sanctions on Bi Sidi Souleymane, leader of the Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) rebel group.
The group is accused of committing numerous human rights abuses and displacing thousands in the troubled country since 2015, the statement said.
The sanctions freeze the rebel leader’s assets and impose a travel ban on Souleymane, also known as Sidiki Abbas. Souleymane directly perpetrated torture, the statement said.
“Today’s action signals that the United States will not tolerate those who commit human rights abuses and will prevent such actors from benefiting from the United States financial system,” said the statement.
The move by the United States follows similar sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council earlier this week.
Under Souleymane’s leadership, 3R also carried out campaigns of rape, arms trafficking and violence.
“For instance, on 21 May 2019, 3R killed 34 unarmed civilians in three villages, summarily executing adult males,” the UN Security Council said.
“Bi Sidi Souleymane openly confirmed to a UN Entity that he had ordered 3R elements to the villages on the date of the attacks, but did not admit to giving the orders for 3R to kill,” it added.
Souleymane signed a 2019 peace agreement and was appointed a military advisor to the government of Prime Minister Firmin Ngrébada.
In 2020, however, he announced the group’s withdrawal from the agreement following a disagreement over his role and returned to the bush.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN) https://nnn.ng/united-states-imposes-sanctions-on-central-african-rebel-leader/
Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed put his sterling short game on display to grab the United States Open halfway lead on Friday.
Tiger Woods finished well outside the cut in windy conditions which humbled many of the game’s top golfers.
Reed only hit five fairways on a tough scoring day at Winged Foot but made a slew of stunning recoveries.
He then needed only 25 putts en route to an even-par 70 that left him at four under on the week and one shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau (68).
“I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good,” said world number 10 Reed. “I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that’s what you need.”
Reed, who started the day one shot back of overnight leader Justin Thomas, grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on his final hole, the par-five ninth.
That was where his shot from a greenside bunker settled five feet from the cup.
Unlike the first round when 21 players finished under par in soft conditions, Winged Foot proved a much sterner test on Friday.
DeChambeau, Bubba Watson (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (69) were the only players from a 144-player field to break par.
DeChambeau, who has turned heads this year with his new physique and prodigious length off the tee, went out in the morning wave.
He muscled his way around a scorecard-shredding Winged Foot course like few others can.
The world number nine finished his round with a monstrous eagle at the par-five ninth hole where, after a 380-yard drive, he stuffed a pitching wedge to six feet.
“Confidence is at an all-time high right now, driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I’m putting it like I know I can,” said DeChambeau, whose best major finish was a share of fourth place at this year’s PGA Championship.
Thomas (73), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (70) and Harris English (70) were all two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.
This was a tournament that was originally scheduled for mid-June but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masters champion Woods (77) missed the cut for the eighth time in his last 15 majors after a round during which he made five bogeys and two double-bogeys over a miserable 11-hole run.
“Physically it was frustrating that I didn’t drive the ball as well as I needed to,” said Woods.
“Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It’s been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that.”
Phil Mickelson’s latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors fell apart as the six-times runner-up carded a 74
He missed the cut after posting one of the worst 36-hole scores of his major career.
Among the others to miss the cut were defending champion Gary Woodland, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and top-20 players Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Visa Ban: FG says sanctioning electoral offenders disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty
The Nigerian government has said it considers it disrespectful to the Sovereignty of the country for any outside country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.
The Nigerian government made this known in a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that this comes as a response to the recent announcement of the United States and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.
The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the United States and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.
“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.
“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and United States to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.
The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.
The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the United States as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Kidnappers free ex-US Army officer in Ekiti
After four days in captivity, a former officer of the United States army and native of Ijan Ekiti in Ekiti, Mr Jide Ijadare, has been released by his abductors.
Ijadare was kidnapped about 2.05p.m on Tuesday at his palm oil producing factory on Tuesday alongside one of his staff.
A contractor working with the factory was also shot dead by the assailants.
A family source told journalists that Ijadare regained freedom after paying the ransom demanded by the kidnappers.
The source said the abductors had called few hours after the incident and demanded for N20 million ransom.
“My brother was released this afternoon around 4.15 p.m and he has reunited with the family,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Sunday Abutu, confirmed that the victims had been freed
He, however, said that the police were not aware of any ransom being paid before the release.
“We are not aware of any ransom being paid.
” We believe he was released after the pressure the security agencies and local hunters had put on them by combing the surrounding bushes,” he said.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
FG launches 25m tree planting, distributes cooking gas cylinders
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has said that tree planting would stimulate green environment and help to check the impact of climate change and deforestation in communities across the federation.
Tallen said this on Friday during the Federal Government’s launch of the National Cooking Gas Distribution and Tree Planting programme at Onueke in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi (LGAs)
She urged the local government chairmen to embark on tree planting in their areas and ensure that it became part of people’s national life.
She said that 1,000 cylinders would be distributed to each of the 774 LGAs in the country.
The minister said that the programme was targeted at indigent women and girls in the rural areas.
She said that WHO’s report indicates that emission from cooking stoves kills about 4.3 million people annually through air pollution and indoor-smoke inhalation, leading to respiratory disease and death.
“This event is to create public awareness, particularly women and other stakeholders, on the dangers of using firewood for cooking their health and environmental implications,” she said.
The Chairperson of the event, Mrs Princess Ngbada, commended the federal government for choosing the state to launch the programme.
Ngbada, a former Coordinator of New Partnership for Africa Development in Ebonyi, expressed optimism that the use of cooking gas would drastically preserve the forest and reduce the health hazard of cooking with firewood.
Gov. David Umahi, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Kelechi Igwe, hailed the programme and promised that the state government would key into it.
The state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mr Rebecca Ogbuewo, pledged that the state government would effectively enforce the tree planting to protect the environment.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme entails the planting of 25 million trees as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sam Oditah