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Malnutrition rising in Mozambique amid extremist insurgency

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Mozambique’s humanitarian crisis from the extremist insurgency in the country’s north is rapidly spiraling, with more than 950,000 people in urgent need of food aid, the U.N. World Food Program said Thursday.

An estimated 50,000 people fled their homes amid the rebels’ five-day siege of Palma earlier this month, swelling the numbers of displaced and hungry.

“People have scattered in many different directions since the recent attacks in Palma. Survivors are traumatized. They’ve had to flee, leaving behind all their belongings, and families have been separated,” said Antonella Daprile, WFP’s country director in Mozambique, who visited Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, where many of the displaced have sought safety.

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“We met a young mother who fled the violence with her two daughters. They walked for three days without food or water and have no idea whether the rest of their family survived,” Daprile said.

Many have fled to Pemba on boats, making a treacherous trip in stormy seas, and thousands are still trapped in Palma and the nearby settlement of Quitunda. WFP said it is delivering food to those areas as well as to coastal islands.

“This is the rainy season, the cyclone season, and northern Mozambique is in the eye of the storm,” said Shelley Thakral, WFP’s regional spokesperson for southern Africa. “I saw families huddled under flimsy tarpaulins for shelter.”

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Many of the displaced in Mozambique have been taken in by other families, who are already poor. The host families are also experiencing hunger, aid workers said.

Children are worst affected by the rising rates of malnutrition. Almost 21% of displaced children under 5, and 18% of children of host families, are underweight, according to a recent survey by UNICEF and WFP. The rates of chronic malnutrition, which has lifelong consequences, are at an alarming 50% of displaced children and 41% of children from host communities, according to the survey.

WFP’s emergency food distributions provide rations to feed a family for two weeks with supplies of high-energy biscuits, rice, pulses, vegetable oil, water, and canned foods such as sardines and beans.

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In response to the growing crisis, WFP is scaling up its response, with plans to assist 750,000 internally displaced people and vulnerable members of the local community across the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa and Zambezia.

“This is an operation that requires funding to sustain food assistance and flights to deliver supplies to the hardest-hit, the hardest-access areas,” said Thakral. “We need $82 million until the end of the year to support the vulnerable.”

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Nigeria collapsing, agitations should be solved through dialogue — Bishop

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Bishop Hilary Dachelem, of the Catholic Diocese of Bauchi in Nigeria, expressed concern over the ongoing killings in Nigeria, adding that the country is falling apart.

The bishop, who spoke at a press conference at St. John’s Cathedral in the diocese of Bauchi on Thursday, May 6, urged the government to dialogue with various groups agitating in the country, rather than sweeping it aside under the carpet.

Noting that in the past, crime was minimal in the country, Bishop Dachelem said: “This is certainly not the Nigeria we used to know; we are facing a different Nigeria. The Nigeria we used to know was a free country and it was not as if there was no crime then but it was minimal and not at the alarming rate that it is now.

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“There were pockets of issues but they were not too overwhelming. Those who were into crime and criminality were very insignificant compared to the entire number; but now, I don’t know if the majority of us are criminals, more or less.

“In the former Nigeria we knew, you could go anywhere at any time; we had armed robberies but they weren’t as prevalent as what we have today, so much, that a governor is afraid of traveling, even a governor is attacked by bandits

“If a governor who has all the paraphernalia of security at his disposal is also suffering from this, if we don’t do anything, we know that we are already heading for a doom.

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“Nigeria is indeed sick because it doesn’t carry the integrity of a federal nation; it doesn’t carry what a corporate nation should be. Nigeria is not okay, not what it should be, something is definitely wrong somewhere.

“If you open the television, people want to know ‘where is the place that people have been kidnapped, who and who have died? How many? Where?’ This is the anxiety that people are attacked because we have acculturated ourselves with the culture of death and it is sad.

“If we are comfortable with the culture of death, one day, we will kill everybody and all of us will wake up and there is no Nigeria.

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Speaking of the secessionist movement underway in the southern regions of the country, the bishop said; “Agitations by various groups across the country should not be swept under the carpet but must be solved through dialogue.”

Nigeria has witnessed a series of attacks by Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists, including Fulani herders who seek to transform the Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic state.

Dachelem added that, “Nigeria is a nation that is collapsing, almost a nation in moribund with the way it is going”.

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Do not assist or sell weapons to Nigeria — Kanu writes to US

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PHOTO: Joe Biden (left), Nnamdi Kanu (right)

The rights activist and leader of the indigenous peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has called on the United States not to assist or sell arms to Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria in April asked for assistance and arms from the United States, saying it was for fighting terrorism in the country.

But in a letter dated May 1, 2021, Kanu listed the reasons why United States President Joe Biden should decline the request.

The letter to Biden reads as follows:

Honorable Joe Biden
President
United States of America
The White House
Washington DC

Re: REQUEST FOR UNITED STATES MILITARY ASSISTANCE BY PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI OF NIGERIA

Dear Mr. President:

We, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) applaud your election as President of the United States, the most powerful office in the history of the world. We salute your adept and muscular discharge of presidential duties during your tenure in the White House.

Mr President, as you consider Buhari’s request for military assistance to Nigeria, we respectfully urge you to also consider the following:
1. President Buhari has made Nigeria the most dangerous country in the world for Christians, Jews and Nigeria’s indigenous peoples, particularly those of the former Republic of Biafra. Hundreds of thousands are routinely plundered, tortured or killed with impunity by Nigerian security forces controlled and populated by Buhari’s Fulani Islamic tribesmen, often in collaboration with Fulani herdsmen (Islamist terrorist group that has been internationally branded the 4th deadliest terrorist grouping in the world). These atrocities have been confirmed and published by US State Department in its various Human Rights Reports on Nigeria, by Amnesty International and other credible bodies. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended listing Nigeria as a country of concern because of its religious oppressions. United States sales or transfers of weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram are diverted to killing and terrorizing Christians and Jews. The Nigerian army, which leadership is Fulani and Islamist is complicit in these illicit transfers.

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2. President Buhari is promoting radical Islam in secular Nigeria. He has endorsed Sharia law in twelve northern Nigerian states. He has treated Boko Haram with kid gloves, releasing from detention hundreds arrested by the previous administration. He recruited them into Nigerian army and offered generous foreign scholarship to hundreds of them. He has appointed radical Muslims to head every security agency in Nigeria, including Sheik Isa Pantami whose profuse support for Al Qaeda and Taliban was widely published recently. Yet, Mr Buhari has refused to sack him from his sensitive position as Minister of Communication overseeing the biometric data of Nigerians. By defending Sheik Pantami, Mr Buhari is seemingly aligning with Mr Pantami’s terrorist sympathies. Mr Buhari is a strong ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran and China; and he has generally pursued policies that put Nigeria at odds with US national interest since you came to office.
3. President Buhari is conducting a genocidal campaign against tens of millions of Christians and Jews, particularly those indigenous to the former Republic of Biafra. These include mass killings, torture, and the destruction of Christian schools, churches and Jewish synagogues. He has arbitrarily branded and terrorized the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a nonviolent group pursuing the Independence of the former Republic of Biafra. Mr Buhari’s draconian measures were geared to retaliating against peaceful demonstrations favoring the restoration of Biafran independence that was cruelly extinguished by a genocidal military campaign Buhari partly led between 1967 and 1970. He has concocted treason charges against IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu to crush Biafran self-determination, despite the fact that self-determination is legal under Nigerian law. Mr. Buhari’s demonic rule is convulsing Nigeria and creating new safe havens for radical Islamic terrorists that pose potent threat to US interests, from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea.

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Prayers:

1, We respectfully suggest that you consider, among other things, denying weapons sales or transfers to Nigeria under the Leahy Amendment; listing Nigeria complicit in persecuting Christian and Jews under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

2, We respectfully urge Mr President to invoke particularly Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, which prohibits the furnishing of assistance authorized by the FAA and the Arms Export Control Act to any foreign security force unit where there is credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

In conclusion, we state categorically that the national interests of the United States lie in protecting Christians and Jews in Nigeria, defeating radical Islam and preventing instability in West Africa which will altogether be enhanced by a US-led diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian government to – as a matter of urgency – agree to a UN-supervised referendum on Biafran Independence.

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We wish you and your family many wonderful years in the White House.

Sincerely,
___________________________
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
Leader, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)

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Rwanda in talks to produce COVID-19 vaccines

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Paul Kagame

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently seeking to establish permanent vaccine production capacity in regions where this is currently mostly absent.

Under the initiative targeting low and middle-income countries, WHO plans to expand capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines and scale-up manufacturing to increase global access.

President Paul Kagame this week told the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, co-chaired by Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that the only way to ensure vaccine equity is to produce more vaccines where they are needed.

“Rwanda is working with partners to bring the first mRNA manufacturing facility to Africa. So long as Africa remains dependent on other regions for vaccines, we will always be at the back of the queue, whenever there is scarcity,” President Kagame said.

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Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga, Rwanda’s Minister of State in Charge of Primary Healthcare, said, “The government is looking for a way to produce the vaccine from Rwanda. It is one way to acquire the vaccine for Rwanda but also for Africa. There is hope. Rwanda is negotiating with partners who are willing to manufacture the vaccines from Rwanda. I cannot say exactly when but there is hope that the negotiations will be fruitful.”

Rwanda needs at least 13 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 60 percent of the population, about 7.5 million people, by June 2022. So far, only 4 percent have received the first dose of the vaccine.

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