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Shireen Abu Akleh, Al Jazeera shot and killed in West Bank

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Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh shot dead while covering Israeli military operation in West Bank.

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in the West Bank Wednesday,

Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist for Al Jazeera, was fatally shot on Wednesday while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Her death was confirmed shortly after, according to the Palestinian health ministry, who said she was shot in the head by a live bullet. Ali Al-Samudi, Abu Akleh’s producer, was also shot and is in stable condition, according to the ministry.

Al Jazeera has accused Israeli security forces of deliberately targeting and killing Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a prominent journalist in the Arab world, and has called on the international community to condemn the killing and hold Israel accountable.

Her death occurred under mysterious circumstances. According to three eyewitnesses, the journalists were shot by Israeli troops and that no Palestinian militants were present at the time.

“The Israeli army shot us,” Samudi, the injured producer, explained. “There was no Palestinian gunman in the place.”

The Israeli Defense Forces said its security forces were in the area “to arrest suspects in terrorist activities,” and that both Palestinians and Israeli forces were firing at the time.

“Suspects fired heavily at the force and threw explosives as part of the activity in the Jenin refugee camp. The force retaliated by opening fire. Hits were discovered “According to the IDF. “The possibility of journalists being hit by Palestinian gunfire is being looked into. The incident is being investigated.”

“Palestinians fired extensively at our forces, firing wildly and indiscriminately in every direction,” IDF Chief of Staff Major General Aviv Kochavi said in a subsequent statement. Unlike Palestinians, IDF soldiers fire in a professional and selective manner… at this point, it is impossible to say which shot hit her.”

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Kochavi also stated that the incident would be investigated by a special team.

Following a series of attacks targeting Israelis that left 18 people dead, the Israeli military has increased its operations in the West Bank. Several of the attackers were Jenin residents.

Prior to Kochavi’s statement that determining who shot Shireen Abu Akleh was “not possible” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett appeared to blame Palestinian crossfire.

“According to the information we’ve gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were indiscriminately firing at the time — were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Wednesday.

A video released by Israeli officials, including the IDF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows a man firing down an alley and people running in the Jenin Refugee Camp, shouting about a soldier being shot.

“No IDF soldier was injured, which increases the possibility that Palestinian terrorists were the ones who shot the journalist,” Bennett said.

CNN has tracked down and verified multiple videos from the shooting scene. They show armed Palestinians and Israeli military firing in the streets nearby. While the videos clearly show that they were shot in the morning, CNN is unsure what date they were shot on or whether they were shot before or after the shooting of Abu Akleh.

When Shireen Abu Akleh was shot, video shows she was wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest with the word “press” written on it.

Before she and Samudi were shot, another journalist covering Wednesday’s events in Jenin told CNN that Shireen Abu Akleh and other journalists made themselves known to Israeli forces in the area.

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“I saw Shireen on the ground,” Mujahed al-Saadi, a journalist, said. “We attempted but failed to save Shireen.

He continued, “The occupation targeted Shireen while wearing a helmet, the injury was under the ear,” “Shireen fell while she was wearing press (gear) and even with that the people who tried to save her were shot at, the targeting was clear against Shireen and against us as journalistic teams.”

An investigation has been requested by the US ambassador to Israel.

Ambassador Tom Nides expressed his sadness over the death of American and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh of @AJArabic @AJEnglish. “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin.”

Nides is married to CNN’s senior vice president of US newsgathering, Virginia Moseley.

“immediate and thorough” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who called for a “those responsible must be held accountable.” investigation into the killing.

Price tweeted on Wednesday, “We are heartbroken by and strongly condemn the killing of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank,”

He went on to say, “Her death is an affront to media freedom everywhere,”

Following the shooting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced on Twitter that his government had offered to conduct a joint Israeli-Palestinian investigation, adding, “Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.”

As word of Abu Akleh’s death spread, tributes began to pour in.

Nida Ibrahim, a colleague, described her as a “very well respected journalist.”

“As you can imagine, this is a shock to the journalists who have been working with her,” Ibrahim said, crying.

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In a statement released by the Qatari foreign ministry, the Qatari foreign ministry condemned Abu Akleh’s death, accusing Israel of “assassinating” her.

According to a statement, “The State of Qatar condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israeli occupation forces…and the injury of Al Jazeera producer Ali Samoudi,”

“Qatar considers [this] a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and a blatant infringement on freedom of media…and the right of people to obtain information,” the statement continued.

Al Jazeera is partly funded by the Qatari government, and its headquarters are in Doha.

For over two and a half decades, Shireen Abu Akleh had been reporting on the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. According to Bir Zeit University, where she taught, she was born and raised in Jerusalem and came from a Christian family.

At the age of 26, she joined Al Jazeera when it was founded in 1997 and became the face of Palestinian coverage for millions of Arab households.

“Every house … inside Palestine or outside of Palestine, is mourning Shireen because she is our voice to the world,” Terry Bullata, an Abu Akleh friend and former classmate, said. “She is the voice of our occupied people’s suffering. She is the embodiment of our desire for liberty.”

“In difficult times, I overcame fear,” Abu Akleh said in a video posted on Al Jazeera YouTube earlier this year to commemorate the channel’s 25th anniversary. Although changing reality is difficult, at least I was able to bring that voice to the world.”

 

 

 

 

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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines

Contrabands blocking Apapa rail track are to be removed by NPA, says Customs

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The Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) has alleged that seized contraband goods blocking the rail track leading to Nigeria’s biggest seaport in Apapa Lagos are to be removed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

 

NCS, in a reaction to SlyeNews report on “Customs blocks Apapa port rail track with contrabands” said it was not the responsibility of Customs to remove the contrabands, but that of NPA.

 

Public Relation Officer, Apapa Area Command of NCS, Abubakar Usman said: “The contraband seized by Customs are to be moved by NPA not by the Nigeria Customs Service.

 

“This process includes some administrative exchange between the two agencies, which had already taken place. Logistics are already underway to evacuate the containers to government warehouse Ikorodu,” he stated.

 

The Project Manager, Team Construction Company, Mrs Precious Ebare, had earlier alleged that some of the contraband goods seized by Customs were on the rail track and slowing completion of the track to the terminal.

 

Ebare also said the Customs long room situated around the rail track was yet to be demolished, making it difficult for the construction company to proceed with the project.

 

But Usman said: “ The long room is not meant to be demolished. Customs long room is outside the port, far away from where the construction is ongoing. Furthermore, the rail track is designed to bypass the scanning site, making room for part of the building to be demolished,”

 

Efforts to reach NPA were not successful, as its spokesman, Nasir Ibrahim was unable to respond to enquiries as at press time

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2023 Presidency: AGF Malami Opposes Moves By PDP, Others To Join Emefiele’s Suit

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The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, on Thursday, rejected the prayer by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join a suit filed by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over his presidential bid in the forthcoming 2023 elections.

Malami

The AGF also opposed a motion seeking to join two lawyers; John Aikpokpo-Martins and Olakunle Edun, on behalf of themselves and the Save Nigeria Our Fatherland, a group, before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Although counsel for Emefiele, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and lawyer to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), T.M. Inuwa, SAN, did not oppose the two applications, counsel for the AGF, Oladipe Opeseyi, SAN, objected to the move.

After an argument that lasted for about two hours, Justice Mohammed stood down the matter for ruling.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Emefiele, through his lawyer, had, on Monday, approached the court with an ex-parte motion, seeking the court’s interpretation as to whether he could run for the 2023 presidential primary while he holds office as Governor of CBN.

He had sought an order of the court, restraining the Federal Government from removing him from office over his presidential ambition, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter.

He also prayed the court to stop the INEC from taking any action against him in the bid to contest in the presidential primary by virtue of his office.

The CBN governor made the prayers in an ex-parte motion dated and filed on May 9 by Ozekhome, seeking an order of maintenance of status quo ante bellum pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

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But in his ruling, Justice Mohammed did not grant the motion.

Rather, he adjourned the matter until May 12 (today) for ruling.

The judge then made an order directing the INEC and AGF to appear today by noon over why Emefiele’s prayers should not be granted.

He ordered that all the applications, including the ex-parte, filed in the course of the matter be served on all the defendants.

He also directed that hearing notices be issued to the defendants to appear on the said date to show cause why the prayers should not be granted.

As of the time of filing this report, the judge is yet to deliver the ruling on whether the PDP and the group should be joined in the suit.

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Nigerian Newspaper Headlines

Alleged $.36m Fraud: EFCC Closes Case Against American

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has closed the case of alleged $368,698.24 VISA racket fraud brought against an American, Marco Antonio Ramirez, before a Special Offences Court, sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

The defendant is facing an amended nine-count charge alongside his companies: USA NOW LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP.

Ramirez, upon arraignment, pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges

At today’s proceeding, the prosecuting counsel, Samuel Daji presented the prosecution’s last witness, Ayotunde Solademi, who works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Office of the Legal Attache in the US Consulate.

He said: “Sometimes in 2016, the Office of the Legal Attache in Nigeria received a letter from the EFCC, containing a request that the FBI should assist the EFCC to find out about the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.

“Also to know if USA Now LLC has the right to issue out the EB-5 Investor Immigrant visa to Nigerians.

“The FBI investigated the matter relating to questions that were asked.”

According to him, following the conclusion of investigations, a reply of the findings was sent to the EFCC.

He said: “We responded to the EFCC based on our search and people interviewed.

“The main crux of our finding was that Nigeria is not a participant of the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Programme.

“And if Nigeria is not a participant, then no company has been given the licence or right to give out the visa to them.”

He thereafter, identified the FBI correspondence with the EFCC, as the prosecution sought to tender it. There was no objection from the defence, and it was admitted in evidence as Exhibit P19.

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Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Lawal Pedro, SAN, the new counsel for the defendant, the witness testified that Ramirez was in fact also wanted in the United States to stand trial for some other charges against him.

“Sometime in 2018, the FBI wanted the EFCC to return the defendant to the US to face charges against him,” he said.

After the cross-examination, the prosecution informed the Court that it was closing its case.

Thereafter Justice Dada adjourned till June 24, 2022 for the defence to open its case.

The charge reads: “Marco Antonio Ramirez, USA NOW LLC, and USA Now Energy Capital Group LP on or about the 26th day of July, 2013 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $250,000 from Gabriel Ogie Edeoghon under the false representation that the sum was his investment in your company: USA NOW Energy Capital Group LP in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme, which investment would qualify him to be eligible to a USA Green Card, and which representation you knew to be false.

“Marco Antonio Ramirez, on or about the 5th day of March, 2014 at Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $50,281.33 from Oludare Talabi under the false representation that the said sum is to procure United States of America L1 VISA programme for him, which representation you knew to be false.”

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