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Crime prevention: Enugu PCRC assures new CP of robust partnership




Enugu, March 13, 2019 The Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Enugu State has assured the state’s new Commissioner of Police, Mr Sulaiman Balarabe, of its support toward prevention of crime in the area.

The executive members of PCRC led by its Coordinator, SP Ebere Amaraizu, gave the assurance when the group paid a courtesy call on the new commissioner his office in Enugu on Wednesday.

Amaraizu pledged the group’s continuous cooperation with the police for robust police community relations that would ensure effective policing of the state.

He informed the new commissioner that the committee had been alive to its responsibility of ensuring the security of lives and property of residents through effective partnership with the police.

According to him, the partnership has impacted greatly on the cordial working relations between the police and communities.

Amaraizu, who is also the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, said that the committee had a wider spread and coverage in all the Area Commands and Divisional Police Headquarters within the state.

Speaking, Dr Dominic Ezema, the State Chairman of the PCRC, welcomed the new commissioner to the state.

Ezema assured Balarabe that the committee would continue to evolve only those programmes of action that would promote the objectives of police-community relations.

Responding, Balarabe expressed appreciation to the committee for the visit, which he described as a timely one ‘‘since there is much to be done’’.

The commissioner added that the need for partnership between the police and respectable stakeholders could not be over-emphasised.

“The Command under my watch will continue to support all police-community relations programmes and aspirations.

“This committee remains an integral part of the Nigeria Police Force and this Command as well,’’ Balarabe noted.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Balarabe took over from former Commissioner, Mr Mohammed Danmallam, barely one month to the commencement of the 2019 general elections.

High point of the visit was the formal handing over of a welcome letter by the PCRC chairman to the commissioner.


Australian soldiers formally accused of war crimes in Afghanistan




Australian Special Forces soldiers have been formally accused of committing war crimes while serving in Afghanistan.

News Corp Australia reported recently that several troops have received notices from the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) accusing them of breaching the laws of armed conflict in Afghanistan.

It comes four years after the IGADF launched an investigation into allegations that Special Forces personnel were involved in unlawful killings in Afghanistan.

The notices advise recipients that the IGADF intends to make adverse findings against them, giving them several weeks to respond to the allegations before the report is handed to Angus Campbell, the Chief of the Defence Force, in July.

The final report will make recommendations on what actions should be taken against the accused men, including possible criminal proceedings, as well as recommendations about the culture of the Special Forces.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is conducting a separate investigation into alleged war crimes committed by two Special Forces soldiers, one of who is known only as “Soldier C” while the other is Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) revealed on Wednesday that Soldier C is under investigation for killing an unarmed intellectually disabled Afghan man known only as Ziauddin in 2012.

It is the second killing Soldier C has been implicated in after the ABC in March broadcast helmet camera footage of the soldier – who has since been stood down by the ADF – shooting a different unarmed Afghan man three times while he cowered on the ground.


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Spotlight: Los Angeles law enforcement officials pledge to remain vigilant against COVID-related hate crimes




Law enforcement officials issued a warning to local residents against hate crimes on Thursday at a meeting hosted by the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

They warned that in times of stress like the coronavirus pandemic, when the economy, health and the social structure itself have all taken a beating, some individuals may want to make those beatings more personal by targeting Chinese Americans in a hate crime.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told attendees that the pandemic has brought new challenges to law enforcement and unfortunately, ignorant members of the community may want to lay blame on the Asian American community.

“This (virus) is something we haven’t experienced in our lifetime — something new we have to adapt to. But there is no place for hate or racial discrimination,” Villanueva said.

Los Angeles, like New York, has one of the most diverse populations in the United States, where people of every culture, nationality, race and religion live side by side — sometimes harmoniously, sometimes not, law enforcement officers said.

At the federal level, hate crime laws include crimes committed on the basis of the victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

An Ipsos poll in April finds that over 30 percent of Americans have witnessed COVID-19 bias against Asians. The STOP AAPI HATE reporting center, tasked to track coronavirus discrimination-related cases, has received 1,710 incident reports from Asian Americans across the country since mid-March.

The rising racist sentiments against Asian Americans are believed to be fueled by some U.S. politicians’ misleading comments on the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Los Angeles Country Sheriff has increased uniform patrols of Asian churches and communities to ensure their safety in an effort to avoid any deplorable attacks like the one against an Asian-American woman that took place in Brooklyn, New York in April.

“Hate crimes can tear at the very fabric of our community, so we will diligently track all hate crimes and hate incidents and their investigations will receive the highest priority,” Villanueva said.

Lieutenant Andrew Meyer of the Major Crimes Bureau said that since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Sheriff’s Department has been closely monitoring the situation to keep an eye out for hate crimes and hate incidents.

“Everyone in our community has the right to be supported and protected against hate crimes and incidents. Victims should know that they have the full support of law enforcement and victim resources,” Meyer said.

Once a victim has taken the first step in reporting the incident, he assured attendees, law enforcement would do everything in its power to take these crimes seriously and respond to the victims with compassion and understanding.

Meyer said that so far this year, there have been 15 hate crimes, including one anti-Asian, and 21 incidents, also one anti-Asian. He reported that both the anti-Asian hate crime and the incident were COVID-related.

African Americans come in for the most hate crimes and incidents against them, suffering 45 percent of all Los Angeles hate crimes and 29 percent hate incidents in 2019; Hispanics are second, with 12 percent of crimes and 19 percent of incidents; Asians/Pacific Islanders came in with the least amount, 0.02 percent of crimes and 0.01 percent of incidents.

However, the officers cautioned that the COVID-19 outbreak could cause an escalation in hate incidents and crimes against the Chinese or Asian communities and urged community members to be vigilant and swiftly report any problems that arise.


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UK police arrest 650 gang members in major crime-busting drive




More than 650 members of “county lines” drugs gangs in Britain have been arrested in a major crackdown by four of the country’s biggest police forces, the British Home Office said Friday.

New figures show that, as a result of this activity, police made over 650 arrests, closed nearly 140 deal lines, seized cash and drugs with a total value of over 3 million pounds (3.7 million U.S. dollars), and made over 100 weapons seizures, said the department.

Officers also safeguarded scores of individuals — including 140 children.

The operations were carried out by London’s Metropolitan Police, West Midlands police centered on Birmingham, Liverpool-based Merseyside Police and British Transport Police which patrols the country’s rail network, and took place between November 2019 and Mach 2020.

This police surge activity was funded by 5 million pounds (6.2 million dollars) from the government’s 25 million pounds (30.9 million dollars) package to tackle county lines.

“County lines” is criminal exploitation, where children and vulnerable adults are coerced by gangs and organised crime networks to carry and sell illegal drugs from one area of Britain to another, usually across police and local authority boundaries.


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UN raises alarm over possible war crimes in DRC



The United Nations has warned of possible war crimes in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The warning came in a report released by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) on Wednesday.

It blamed militia mostly from the ethnic Lendu community in the region for barbaric acts such as “widespread and systematic killings, beheadings and rape,” among others.

UNJHRO said the atrocities might constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes.

According to the report, no fewer than 296 people, including women and children, were killed in the six months leading to April.

It said 151 others were wounded and 38 raped, mostly by fighters linked to the CODECO rebel group whose fighters are drawn from the Lendu ethnic group.

“The persistence of this violence is likely to push members of the communities targeted by the attacks, who have so far shown restraint, to form self-defence militias.

“This could increase the likelihood of large-scale inter-communal violence in the region.

“There is a high risk that leaders with more radical positions will emerge and plunge the area into a more serious cycle of violence, with even more attacks against (the army) and civilians,” the report said.

The ethnic violence, which started in 1999, emanated from a power struggle between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups over the control of resources.

Rich in diamond, gold and other natural resources, the Ituri province in the northeast saw the country’s worst fighting between 1999 and 2007.

UNJRHO said revenge fighting erupted again in Dec. 2017 after years of relative calm, reviving longstanding tensions over land.

“The recent attacks against civilians not only targeted the Hema and Alur communities, but included communities previously spared.

“The raids intensified from March this year, particularly around artisanal mining sites.

Since June 2018, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, bringing the number of displaced people in Ituri province to more than 1.2 million,” it said.

Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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PDP hails FG over successes against banditry, other crimes in Zamfara 



The Zamfara chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against banditry and other crimes in the state.

This was contained in a statement signed by the party’s State Secretary, Alhaji Hashimu Modomowa, and made available to newsmen in Gusau.

The party dissociated itself with the recent remarks by the state Commissioner for Rural Development and Cooperative, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi, in which he accused the federal government of paying more attention to COVID-19 than banditry.

Modomowa said that the commissioner’s utterances were capable of setting the state and federal government on a collision course.

According to him, the federal government has done fairly well in fighting banditry and other crimes in the state.

“This includes the establishment of 1 Brigade of Nigeria Army, 207 Quick Response Group of the Nigeria Airforce and Joint Task Force (JTF) under Operation Hadarin Daji”, he said.

Modomowa also appreciated the federal government for granting the request of Zamfara government in reviving mining activities in the state.

He said this would go a long way in reducing crime by providing job opportunities to the teaming youths of the state.

The PDP secretary stressed that the government and people of the state would continue to appreciate the federal government’s commitment in containing armed banditry and menace of COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Remains of Rwandan war crimes suspect found in Congo, UN prosecutor says



Amsterdam, May 22, 2020 The remains of a fugitive major suspect in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide have been identified in a grave in Congo, a UN war crimes prosecutor said on Friday.

Serge Brammertz said Augustin Bizimana, who was indicted on 13 charges, including genocide, murder and rape, is believed to have died in Pointe Noire, in the Republic of the Congo, in 2000.

His remains were identified by DNA testing.

“Bizimana was alleged to be responsible for the murders of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian United Nations peacekeepers, and for the murder of Tutsi civilians in five Rwandan regions,’’ Brammertz said in a statement.

The announcement of Bizimana’s death follows the arrest in Paris recently of Felicien Kabuga, another of a handful of prominent suspects from the Rwandan genocide who had been on the run for over two decades.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda conducted 50 trials before closing its doors in 2015.

Brammertz is prosecutor of a successor UN court with dual offices in Arusha, Tanzania and The Hague, Netherlands, that continues to function for remaining suspects and appeals.

He said prosecutors had conducted DNA analysis “late 2019” on remains that had earlier been recovered from a grave site in Pointe Noire.

“Subsequent investigations and comparative DNA analysis over the last several months ruled out that the remains were those of any other person,” he said.

According to Brammertz, his office continues to pursue Protais Mpiranya, the former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces, and five other Rwandan suspects.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Two Angolan nationals nabbed in Namibia for wildlife crimes




Two Angolan nationals had been arrested in Namibia after they were found in possession of six elephant tusks and 112 porcupine quills, the environment ministry said on Tuesday.

Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said in a statement that the suspects are charged with contravening sections of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act 9 of 2008, as amended.

The two suspects were remanded in custody following their appearance at the Rundu Magistrates’ Court last week.

Namibia has lost 11 rhinos and one elephant to poaching since the beginning of the year, according to the latest figures provided by the ministry.


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Uganda’s annual crime rate decreases by 9.8 pct in 2019




Uganda recorded a 9.8 percent decrease in the volume of crimes reported to police in 2019, according to the annual crime report released by the country’s police chief here on Tuesday.

Martins Okoth Ochola, Inspector General of Police said a total of 215,224 cases were reported in 2019 compared 238,746 cases recorded in 2018.

“This is due to deliberate efforts by the government to tackle crime and efforts by security personnel,” said Ochola at the launch of the Annual Crime and Safety Report 2019.

A total of 55,704 theft cases were recorded in 2019 as compared to 61,533 cases reported in 2018, according to the report.

Some 159 cases of kidnap cases were reported nationwide in 2019, compared to 184 cases reported in 2018, with at least 13 victims were killed.

At least 10 cases of terrorism were reported to the police force in 2019 compared to 16 cases recorded in 2018, giving a decrease of 37.5 percent.

A total of 120 incidents related to trafficking in persons were registered during 2019 as compared to 286 in 2018, according to the report.

“I am happy to report that in 2019, a total of ten criminal syndicates were dismantled, their members arrested and charged accordingly, and others have been sentenced to death by hanging,” said Ochola.

The police recorded 2,750 cases of narcotics in 2019 compared to 2,890 cases in 2018, reflecting 4.8 percent decrease.

At least 132.012 kg and 100 rolled sticks of narcotics were seized at Entebbe International Airport, about 40 kilometers, south of the capital, Kampala.

“Heroine had the largest quantity seized at Entebbe International Airport with 123.07 kg and 31.7 kg in 2018, an increase of 91.37 kg,” said the annual report.

The police recorded 13,613 defilement cases in 2019 compared to 15,366 cases in 2018, giving an 11.4 percent decrease. “Defilement still poses a big problem to the police. Whereas there was decrease in defilement cases, children continue to be defiled, majority of whom being the girl child. This is unacceptable,” said Ochola.

At least 1,528 cases of rape were reported to police compared to 1,580 cases in 2018, which gives a decrease of 3.2 percent.

By the end of 2019, a total of 746 cases of murder by mob action were reported compared to 636 cases reported in 2018, giving an increase of 17.2 percent.

The report shows that at least 64 corruption cases were reported to police in 2019 compared to 32 cases reported in 2018.

“My appreciation goes to all men and women of the Uganda Police Force for your tireless efforts amidst challenges of fighting crime. Keep up the spirit,” said Ochola.


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U.S. Supreme Court eases path to deport immigrants for crimes



The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday made it easier for federal authorities to deport certain immigrants who have committed crimes in a victory for President Donald Trump’s administration.

The court ruled 5-4 with the conservative justices in the majority to uphold a lower court decision.

It had found a legal permanent resident from Jamaica named Andre Martello Barton ineligible to have his deportation canceled under a U.S. law that lets some longtime legal residents avoid expulsion.

Barton was targeted for deportation after criminal convictions in Georgia for drug and gun crimes.

The decision could affect thousands of immigrants with criminal convictions many for minor offenses who reside legally in the U.S.

The Trump administration argued against Barton’s bid to avoid removal. Trump’s hardline stance on both legal and illegal immigration has been a key feature of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign.

He has justified his immigration crackdown in part by citing crimes committed by immigrants.

Permanent residents selected for deportation may apply to have their removal canceled if they have been living continuously in the U.S. for at least seven years, except if they have committed certain serious felonies.

At issue in the case was the meaning of a 1996 change – known as the “stop-time rule” – in U.S. immigration law.

This provision disqualifies immigrants who commit certain crimes from this discretionary benefit by stopping the clock on their period of continuous residency.

The Federal Government had said the rule was triggered in Barton’s case because his assault charge would bar his admission into the country, even though as of 1996 he had resided in the U.S. too long to be declared deportable for that crime.

Barton argued that he could not be found inadmissible because he had already been lawfully admitted.

Noting that deporting a permanent resident is a “wrenching process,” conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority on Thursday, disagreed.

“Removal is particularly difficult when it involves someone such as Barton who has spent most of his life in the United States,” wrote Kavanaugh, appointed to the court by Trump in 2018.

“Congress made a choice, however, to authorize removal of non-citizens – even lawful permanent residents – who have committed certain serious crimes.”

In a dissent, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the ruling “at odds with common sense.”

Sotomayor noted that the immigration judge who heard Barton’s case said she would have preferred to grant Barton’s bid to avoid deportation, noting that he had rehabilitated and that his four children were all U.S. citizens.

Barton, a car repair shop manager and father of four, came to the United States as a teenager with his mother in 1989.

He was convicted in Georgia in 1996 of assault and possession of a firearm in an incident in which his friend shot at a house from a car he was driving. Barton also was convicted of drug possession in 2007 and 2008.

In 2017, immigration authorities decided Barton’s deportation could not be canceled because the 1996 assault charges triggered the stop-time rule, just months before he reached the seven-year milestone.

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2018.

There are more than 13 million lawful U.S. permanent residents, also known as “green card” holders, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Of the estimated 1.9 million non-citizens the government has deemed deportable based on a criminal convictions, most are legal residents or those in the country on temporary visas, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a research organisation.

The ruling came a day after another immigration crackdown by Trump, who ordered a temporary block on some foreigners from permanent residence in the U.S., saying he wanted to protect American workers and jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

That order is due to last for 60 days and then will be reviewed and possibly extended.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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