News in Brief


Egypt: President Morsi pardons political protestors

The recently elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has issued a pardon to any “revolutionaries” arrested since the beginning of the uprising which removed president Hosni Mubarak from power last year. The amnesty, which marks Mr Morsi’s first 100 days in office, could lead to the release of thousands of prisoners.

Mr Morsi’s described his decree as a “comprehensive pardon”. The ruling applies to anyone who was charged or convicted of “crimes and misdemeanours or attempts to commit them in support of the revolution and the realisation of its goals.”

Mr Morsi has already pardoned over 500 individuals since being elected president earlier this year.

Nigeria: Thirteen arrested after student lynchings

Thirteen people have been arrested after four students were savagely beaten and burnt to death. The victims had been accused of theft.

A video of the killings was posted on YouTube, and showed the four students being beaten by sticks before being set on fire. Local police identified one of those arrested as a traditional ruler in the Aluu community in Port Harcourt, the area in which the crime took place.

Tanzania: Ivory sale proposal criticised

The Tanzanian government’s plans to sell its stockpile of ivory has been labelled “ludicrous” by conservationists. Tanzania has applied to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) to allow it to sell the 100 tonnes of ivory it holds to overseas buyers, primarily in Japan and China. The government has also requested to downgrade the protection levels given to elephants – which would allow  trade in elephant hunting trophies, raw hides and live animals.

Tanzania says that all proceeds made from any sale would be reinvested into elephant conservation projects, but conservation groups have dismissed the proposals, warning it could encourage ivory poaching. Mary Rice, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said:  “It’s ludicrous for Tanzania to even consider applying for permission to cash in on its stockpile – dumping more than 100 tonnes of ivory onto the market will only serve to further confuse consumers as to the legal status of ivory, stimulating fresh demand, spurring the black market and leading to more poaching.”

Somalia: Islamic Relief banned by Al-Shabaab

Somalia is facing an aid shortage, it was claimed this week, after the Islamic insurgency group controlling parts of the country refused to allow entry to the international aid organisation Islamic Relief.

Using its Twitter account to confirm the news, al-Shabaab said that “Islamic Relief was also found to be covertly extending the operations of banned organisations, particularly WFP”.

Islamic Relief was one of the last foreign aid agencies still working in the al-Shabaab controlled regions of Somalia, leading to fears of an aid shortage after its withdrawal. The organisation says that up to 1.3 million people could now be at risk due to food, water and medical shortfalls.

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