Four UN peacekeepers and a Malian soldier were killed in two attacks on peacekeepers in Mali on Friday, according to the UN officials.
Suspected jihadists attacked peacekeepers carrying out an operation with Malian defence forces in Indelimane, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Menaka near the border with Niger, on Friday morning, the UN officials said.
Later Friday, another attack was carried out against a UN convoy north of Douentza in the Mopti region, the officials said.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned “the outrageous attacks” and warned that targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes and lead to sanctions, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
The UN mission in Mali and UN officials in New York said peacekeepers repelled the Friday morning attack in Indelimane but three peacekeepers from Niger and one Malian soldier were killed, and about 17 soldiers and one civilian working for the UN were injured.
The UN mission reported that at least three assailants were also killed.
The mission in Mali evacuated the injured and dispatched a quick reaction force supported by attack helicopters to Indelimane to reinforce the peacekeepers on the ground, the UN said.
In the second attack near Douentza, the UN mission said peacekeepers engaged the assailants in heavy fighting that involved rocket launchers.
One peacekeeper was killed and three others were seriously injured, the mission said.
A 2012 uprising prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow Mali’s president of a decade. The power vacuum that was created ultimately led to an Islamic insurgency and a French-led war that ousted the jihadists from power in 2013. But insurgents remain active in the region.
The UN Security Council condemned the first attack in Indelimane in the strongest terms and called on Mali’s government to swiftly investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice. Council members also underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes, and any involvement could lead to UN sanctions.
The council expressed concern at the security situation in Mali and the broader Sahel region and urged Malian parties to fully implement a 2015 peace agreement “without further delay”.
Members said actions by the 5,000-strong force being formed by five Sahel nations Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad to fight terrorist and criminal groups will contribute to “a more secure environment” in the region.
The more than 11,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has become the most dangerous in the world for soldiers as Islamic militants routinely attack UN peacekeepers and convoys across the north.
As of October, there had been 146 fatalities since the mission was established in 2013, according to UN peacekeeping data.
Source: ( AFP )
2020 Finance Bill Exempts Minimum Wage Earners From Tax: Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the recently proposed 2020 Finance Bill will exempt workers earning the minimum wage from paying tax.
Buhari disclosed this on Monday in a speech delivered virtually by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the opening session of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Group Conference themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience.”
“We are proposing in the new Finance Act that those who earn minimum wage should be exempted from paying income tax,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
“These provisions which complement the tax breaks given to small businesses last year will not only further stimulate the economy but are also a fulfilment of promises made to take steps to help reduce the cost of transportation and the impact of inflation on ordinary Nigerians.”
Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has revealed that Nigeria would emerge from recession in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.
Speaking on Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab said the current recession would be short-lived.
She blamed COVID-19 for the current recession, saying it followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.
“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth,” Ahmed said.
Court Remands Nigerian Senator, Ali Ndume, In Prison
Senator Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial district has been ordered on Monday by a federal high court to be sent to prison.
The order follows his inability to produce Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, whom he stood as surety for in his corruption and money laundering trial.
The high court, sitting in Abuja was presided over by Justice Okon Abang and ordered Senator Ndume to be remanded in Kuje correctional centre.
Justice Abang, however, gave three conditions upon which Ndume can regain his freedom namely payment of N500m bail bond into the Federation Account of the Federal Government and present evidence of such payment in court or the FG sells the property situated in Asokoro, Abuja which Ndume pledge as security for the bond and present evidence of sale and payment of the N500m realised into the Federation Account or he (Ndume) produces Maina, who is believed to have now jumped bail, in court.
Shortly after the pronouncement by the Judge, Senator Ndume was led away from the courtroom by security operatives.
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