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Myanmar’s military seizes power, declare emergency

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Myanmar’s military announced Monday that it has seized power and will rule the country for at least one year after detaining its top political leaders.

The military declared a state of emergency, detaining State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party just hours before the scheduled start of the first session of the new parliament.

It claimed the moves were being carried out due to “voter fraud” in the Nov. 8 elections which resulted in the dominance of Suu Kyi’s NLD party in parliament. Critics say the military used the voter fraud allegations to justify the coup.

The military also announced that Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing has been installed as the country’s president.

The detention of top political figures follows days of rising tensions between the military and civilian government, said NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” Nyunt had said right after the arrests.

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He added that he also expects to be detained.

As debate continued in the country over the results of the November last year elections, the army’s chief of staff announced on Jan. 27 that the Constitution could be terminated if election laws were not properly enforced.

In the cities of the capital Naypyidaw and in Yangon, soldiers descended on the streets early on Monday as telephone and internet lines were cut off in Naypyidaw.

In addition, the families of ministers in 14 regions said the ministers had been “taken” from their homes by soldiers.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement on Friday that Guterres was “following with great concern the latest developments” in the Southeast Asian country, urging all parties to “refrain from all forms of provocation, respect the results of the Nov. 8 general election and adhere to democratic norms.”

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Chief of staff: Constitution can be repealed

Myanmar’s Election Commission has denied allegations by the military of election rigging, resulting in the victory of Suu Kyi’s party on Jan. 29.

Myanmar’s military chief Hlaing had said last week that the Constitution could be dissolved if election laws were not properly enforced.

A later statement on Saturday by the army, also known as the Tatmadaw, had claimed Hlaing’s statement was not a threat of a “coup.”

In November last year, the main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), had voiced support for the military, calling for a recount.

Led by Suu Kyi, the NLD won 346 seats in the 642-seat National Assembly, reaching a majority capable of forming a government.

The USDP came in second with 25 seats, while the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) party, which represents ethnic groups in Shan state, came in third with 15.

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In Myanmar, a constitution drafted by the military in 2008 prevents the ruling party from gaining control of parliament.

The army appoints a quota of 25% of parliament seats and exerts direct control over the government through its control over some key ministries.

Bicameral Myanmar’s Senate consists of 224 seats, while the House of Representatives has 440 members.

Nigel Adams, Britain’s Minister of State for Asia, said elections in Myanmar were blocked in areas with minorities and that Myanmar officials should hold free and fair elections at the first opportunity.

The EU also called on the Myanmar government to include all ethnic, religious and minority groups, including Rohingya Muslims, in the democratic process in the country.

In the Nov. 8 elections, there were 37 million voters, 5 million of whom voted for the first time, while around 7,000 candidates competed for seats in a total of 1,171 national and local councils.

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Judge adjourns Kanu’s trial as DSS refuses to bring him to court

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Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and Biafran pro-independence leader

ABUJA — Binta Nyako, the judge presiding over the trial of Biafran pro-independence leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has adjourned the trial until October 21, 2021.

The judge said the adjournment was due to the refusal of Nigeria’s secret security, Department of State Services (DSS), to bring the separatist leader to court.

Meanwhile, Some lawyers who arrived at the Federal High Court in Abuja for the trial were barred from entering the court.

DSS which denied them entry into court, has disclosed no reason for the undemocratic action, prompting many to ask if the separatist leader will be tried secretly.

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Kanu, whose trial was scheduled to resume today Monday, July 26, 2021, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes for calling for a referendum on an independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.

He was seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to Nigeria after fleeing to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed scores of civilians in an attempt to assassinate him.

Many of his supporters, including two foreign journalists, were arrested on Monday at the court premises after international media and numerous media organizations in the country were prevented from covering the trial.

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In south-eastern Nigeria, residents closed markets and some entry points into towns to show solidarity with the detained activist.

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Nigeria bans international media, others from covering Kanu’s trial

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No reason was given by authorities who refused to comment on the sudden violation of press freedom and citizens' rights to monitor a trial.

ABUJA — Nigeria’s Department of State Services has banned international and other media from covering the trial of Biafran pro-independence leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in court.

A statement signed by Chief Information Officer, Catherine Oby Christopher noted that the DSS has only accredited 10 Nigerian media organizations, namely: ThisDay, Premium Times, The Nation, Daily Independent, The Herald, National Television Authority , Continental Television, African Independent Television, Daily Post and Channels Television.

No reason was given by authorities who refused to comment on the sudden violation of press freedom and citizens’ rights to monitor a trial.

Nnamdi Kanu, human rights activist is currently being held in the Nigeria’s Department of State Services detention center in Abuja after being seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to the country.

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The separatist leader who had fled to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed many civilians in an attempt to assassinate him, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes, for calling for a referendum on the independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.

Many anxiously await his trial to resume in court Today July 26, 2021.

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Policeman shoots student for not wearing mask in DR Congo

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Security forces standby in Kinshasa during demonstrations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 19 and 20 December 2016.

A Democratic Republic of Congo policeman has shot a student who was not wearing a mask while filming on the streets of the capital, witnesses said on Sunday.

“Our friend Honore Shama, a student in the faculty of arts at the University of Kinshasa, was filming a video as part of his acting practical work requirement,” Patient Odia, a friend who was present at the confrontation, told AFP.

“A policeman told him to wear a mask during the filming.”

“Despite his (Shama’s) explanations and after having showed him a mask, the policeman, who was expecting to be offered money, became infuriated, accused him of resisting and shot him at point-blank range.”

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Other witnesses told a similar story to the popular Top Congo radio as well as several online news sites.

The policeman responsible has fled and the city’s police are searching for him, the head of Kinshasa police, General Sylvano Kasongo, told AFP.

“Police have detained two police officers, present during the incident provoked by their irresponsible colleague… as well as the head” of a local police station, he said.

“The search continues to find the fugitive policeman,” Kasongo said.

Wearing a mask is obligatory in DR Congo, with transgressors fined 10,000 Congolese frances (five dollars, four euros).

In Kinshasa, police are regularly accused of harassment and of pocketing the mask fines they collect.

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DR Congo has registered 47,786 Covid-19 cases and 1,021 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccinations have been halted in the country since July 10, because the AstraZeneca vaccines in stock passed their expiration date.

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