AfricaAfrica AsiaArts

Optimism as art project set up for people with HIV

An art project in the South African village of Hamburg, created by people affected by HIV, is now being exhibited in Johannesburg more than 15 years after it was completed.

The Keiskamma art project gathered together over 130 women to weave a story of their pain and loss – but also of hope for the future after being affected by HIV/AIDS in the early 2000s when it hit South Africa.

Nozeti Makhubalo is one of the artists involved in the giant tapestry. She detailed some of the hardships she faced to feed her family after her husband could no longer provide for them and how working on the artwork was a healing experience for her.

“But when you reach the studio, we’ve got tables where we are sitting together then we share that. So, we support each other, we share whatever burden you have. Then when you go home, you’re just happy as ever.”

The project also established a musical academy in the village where the youth can learn how to sing and play instruments.

Eunice Mangwane became involved in the art project to help spread awareness of HIV/Aids together with health workers who were unfamiliar with the Xhosa language spoken in the Eastern Cape.

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She says: “It was not long, and another one came and so on and so on until I had five patients in my house. And with the five that I had in my house, the two died in the house and the three are still living until now.

“And only then, when the community saw the progress of this guy, because I used to put him on a wheelbarrow when I’m taking him to the clinic.

“It’s only when they saw the progress of this gentleman that they would come”

The 4×7 multi-panel tapestry debuted at the Anglican Cathedral in Grahamstown, South Africa, in July 2005.

Since then, it has traveled to England, Canada, and the United States.

Founder of the Keiskamma Art Project, Carol Hofmeyr, says: “Many people say COVID brought people together, they wanted to help people around them; they wanted to support their neighbours.

“But HIV was not like that. People didn’t want them in their houses and so the act of making embroidery together is also a thing of pulling people together to support each other.”

About 14 percent of South Africa’s population lives with HIV, making it the country with the highest prevalence of the virus.

The exhibition of the Keiskamma altarpiece and other tapestries will remain on display at Constitution Hill until 24 March 2023.

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AfricaAfrica AsiaInternational

Burkina Faso: Confusion in Ouagadougou as Army fire gunshots

Gunfire was heard in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday, a day after President Paul-Henri Damiba was declared ousted in the second coup the West African country has seen this year.

Amid reports of rifts within the army, there was no update from self-declared leader Captain Ibrahim Traore, who was installed by the same group of army officers who helped Damiba seize power in a Jan. 24 coup.

“I have nothing to say,” Damiba’s government spokesperson Lionel Bilgo said in response to a request for comment.

A foreign security source in Ouagadougou said there were reports of gunfire in several parts of the city as a result of forces loyal to Damiba clashing with those supporting Traore.

A source in the Burkinabe military, who declined to comment directly on the activity in the capital, confirmed that there are forces still loyal to Damiba in the army who are pushing the coup leaders to back down.

Damiba’s whereabouts remain unknown.

The upheaval reflects deep instability in Burkina Faso, where a rampant Islamist insurgency has undermined faith in the authorities and displaced almost 2 million people, according to aid groups.

Traore appeared on television on Friday after a day marked by gunfire near a military camp, an explosion near the presidential palace, and the state broadcaster going off-air.

Flanked by soldiers, he declared the government dissolved and borders closed, citing Damiba’s failure to deal with the Islamists as the reason for his ouster. Damiba toppled former President Roch Kabore over the same issue.

Apparent calm returned to Ouagadougou early on Saturday, but the sound of shots around noon and the appearance of a heavily armed special forces convoy prompted shops to close and some people to run for cover. Two armed helicopters circled over the presidential palace.

“The situation remains tense in Ouagadougou. It is recommended to limit your movements,” the French Embassy said in a statement.

It later issued a separate statement “firmly denying” reports on social media of the French army’s involvement.

Mali, Chad, and Guinea have all seen coups since 2020, raising fears of a to backslide toward military rule in a region that had made democratic progress over the past decade.

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Security fear grips as army announces overthrow of military government in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s army captain, Ibrahim Traore, announced Friday evening that the army had seized power and ousted military leader Paul Henri Damiba, who himself had taken power in a coup only eight months ago.

Traore said in a statement that a group of officers who helped Damiba seize power in January had decided that the leader was no longer able to secure the country, which has been battling a mounting Islamic insurgency.

The statement signed by Traore was read on state television late Friday by another military officer.

“Faced with the deteriorating situation, we tried several times to get Damiba to refocus the transition on the security question,” Traore’s statement said.

When Damiba came to power in January, after ousting President Roch Kabore, he had promised to make the country more secure. However, violence in the country has continued, and political tensions have grown in recent months.

Damiba had just returned from addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

The country’s new military leaders said they were dissolving the national assembly. They also announced that Burkina Faso’s borders had been closed and that a curfew would be in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Before Friday evening’s announcement, troops in Burkina Faso had blocked streets in the capital, Ouagadougou, and state TV had stopped broadcasting.

Young men chant slogans against the power of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Damiba, against France and in favor of Russia, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 30, 2022. Residents say gunfire rang out early in the morning and the state broadcaster had gone off the air, fueling fears of a coup – which ultimately occurred.
Young men chant slogans against the power of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henri Damiba, against France and in favor of Russia, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 30, 2022. Residents say gunfire rang out early in the morning and the state broadcaster had gone off the air, fueling fears of a coup – which ultimately occurred.

At around 4:30 a.m. Friday, gunfire and a loud explosion were reported in Ouagadougou, in the vicinity of Camp Baba Sy, where Damiba is based. Witnesses said gunfire could also be heard coming from Kosyam, where the presidential palace is located.

A reporter for VOA who went to the capital’s city center Friday found a military blockade on Boulevard Charles de Gaulle. Many military members were wearing face masks and were reluctant to talk, while local police said they had no idea what was happening.

Just after 12 p.m. local time, the president’s office released a statement on Facebook, part of which said, “In view of the confusing situation created as a result of a movement of mood by some elements of the national armed forces this Friday … negotiations are underway to bring back calm and serenity.”

The U.S. Embassy warned Americans to limit their movements and stay informed of local media reports.

The events Friday came after rising frustration with the government’s inability to deal with insecurity caused by militant groups linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State.

On Monday, a convoy carrying food and basic supplies to the northern town of Djibo, which has been under siege by militants for years, was ambushed. Eleven soldiers were killed, and more than 50 civilians were said to be missing.

The incident raised serious concerns about the government, with many citizens expressing their fears and doubts on social media.

Paul Melly, an analyst for Chatham House, a London-based think tank, said, “Burkinabe feel afraid about the continuing spread of jihadist violence.”

Henry Wilkins in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, contributed to this report, which also includes information from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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Most anticipated movie’s title ‘ANIKULAPO’ is on Netflix

The movie’s title has been revealed as Anikulapo and is referred to as ‘Death & Life, The Rebirth of Identity.

A blog post on KAP’s website emphasizes origin and culture. According to the director, “we are witnessing in our days, the appreciation and rebirth of the almost dying Yoruba culture, we are experiencing the rise of hope for the heritage that was once thought to be lost.”


A mystical folklore drama is revolving around the life of a zealous young man seeking greener pasture in the great Oyo Kingdom. Unfolding events & his illicit affair with the king’s wife leads to his untimely death & encounter with a mystical bird believed to give & take life.”


Six years in the making, the unknown story is set in the 17th-century Oyo Empire. The filmmaker describes Anikulapo as ” Game of Thrones recreated in Nigeria but with a better representation of our culture”.

Via Kunle Afolayan Production

The Cast

 As we await exact details of this historical story, Anikulapo, we see that Afolayan is bringing together a number of familiar Yoruba Nollywood stars, some of whom have given us a snippet through their social platforms into what they have been up to in what might be an entire Yoruba-language movie. The untitled movie will star Sola Sobowale (King of Boys), Hakeem K. Kazeem, Fathia Balogun, Kunle Remi (A Naija Christmas), Bimbo Ademoye (Gone), Kareem Adepoju aka Babawande, Taiwo Hassan, Adebayo Salami, Moji Olayiwola, Queen Adedoja Adeyemi (Miss Oyo State 20/21 winner) and many others who are yet to be revealed.
More cast members of Anikulapo have been revealed: Dele Odule, Toyin Afolayan, Sunday Omobolanle, Aisha Lawal, Ibironke Ojo-Anthony, Adewale Elesho Adeoye, Ariyike Owolagba, Moji Afolayan, Jinadu Ewele, Ifayemi Elebuibon, Olayiwola Razaq, Ropo Ewenla, Mr. Macaroni and Ikorodu Bois.

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WHO: Cholera surging globally as climate change intensifies

Cholera is surging around the globe, the World Health Organization warns.

Flareups of the deadly disease have been reported in 26 countries in the first nine months of this year. In comparison, fewer than 20 countries reported cholera outbreaks per year between 2017 and 2021. In addition to greater frequency, the WHO reports the outbreaks themselves are larger and more deadly.

While poverty and conflict are major triggers of cholera, climate change is a growing threat.

Philippe Barboza, WHO team lead for Cholera and Epidemic Diarrheal Diseases, said climate change presents an additional layer of complexity and creates the conditions for cholera outbreaks to explode.

“This is what we have seen in southern Africa with the succession of cyclones that affected the eastern part of the African Coast,” Barboza said. “The drought in East Africa is driving population movements, reducing access to water, which is already needed. So, of course, it is a key factor, which is fueling the outbreak. And the same in Sahel and other places.”

Fifteen of the 26 cholera-infected countries are in Africa, according to the WHO.

FILE - A girl carrying water on her head walks past sewage around houses in Abuja, Nigeria, Sept. 3, 2021.
A girl carrying water on her head walks past sewage around houses in Abuja, Nigeria, Sept. 3, 2021
Barboza said massive climate-induced floods in Southeast Asia also have resulted in large outbreaks of cholera in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many countries that have made significant progress in controlling cholera are now back to square one, he added.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by contaminated food or water. It can kill within hours if left untreated. Cholera outbreaks can be prevented by ensuring access to clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene, as well as stepping up surveillance and access to health care, Barboza said.

“This is what we need countries to do, but that is easier said than done. Although many of the cholera-affected countries are actively engaged in these efforts, they are facing multiple crises, including conflict and poverty, and this is why international action is so important,” he said.

Cholera is a preventable and treatable disease, Barboza said, so with the right foresight and action, the current global crisis can be reversed.


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AfricaAfrica Asia

Uganda’s parliament sets tough penalties for human organ trade

Parliament has passed the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2022 setting tough penalties for dealing in human organs for commercial purposes.

The Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill, 2022 seeks to establish a legal framework for organ, cell, and tissue transplants in Uganda. The Bill also sought to regulate the conduct of donation and transplant activities in the country.

In an attempt to prevent vices associated with human organ donation and transplantation, Parliament approved a life sentence for persons who deal in human organs and tissue for commercial purposes. It also prescribes life imprisonment with no option to pay one’s way out for child organ traffickers.

The Bill establishes the Uganda Organ and Transplant Council to oversee and regulate organ and cell donation and transplantation in Uganda.

The provisions include stem cell therapy for miners who are twins or close siblings after approval by the Council

The Committee on Health, which earlier scrutinized the Bill, listening to views from various stakeholders recommended that child organ donation only be done in exceptional circumstances approved by the Council with the consent of a parent or guardian.

“The provisions include stem cell therapy for miners who are twins or close siblings after approval by the Council. Prescribe a penalty of life imprisonment for a person who contravenes the provision,” said Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health.

The Bill imposes a life sentence for anyone who removes a human organ, tissue, or cell from a living donor without consent or authorization; and prohibits the sale of one’s organs for financial gains.

Corporate bodies will face a penalty of Shs10 billion for being involved in the human organ trade. For the same offence, individuals including health workers or traffickers face a fine of  Shs2 billion or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or both.

The Bill prohibits monetary or any other forms of compensation for organs, tissues, or cells other than reimbursement of donation-related expenses except for justifiable expenses approved by the council.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, said that the Bill will help Ugandans get organ transplants, but also protect vulnerable people.

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AfricaAfrica AsiaInternational

Ex-Guinea military ruler, Moussa Camaragoes on trial for 2009 stadium massacre

Former Guinean president and military ruler Moussa Dadis Camara and 10 other men are set to face trial for a 2009 stadium massacre and mass rape by the country’s security forces.

The 11 men have been indicted for their responsibility in the killing of more than 150 people and the rape of more than 100 women in the capital Conakry, according to a report by a United Nations-mandated international commission

On September 28, 2009, tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators held a protest in the stadium to pressure Camara not to stand for election as president of Guinea the following year. Camara came to power through a military coup in 2008.

“The tens of thousands of opposition supporters and civil society had no idea of the terror waiting for them that day in 2009,” Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris said while reporting from Conakry.

“Survivors speak of the horrific massacre with some victims shot at close range. Women and girls trapped by the shootings were beaten and raped by security forces.”

Like hundreds of families who blamed Camara for the killings, Cherno Maju Bah, is still bitter over the killing of his nephew.

“You can forgive somebody if (they) didn’t do it deliberately,” Bah told Al Jazeera. “But if he did do it deliberately, you can’t forgive him. He did it. He meant it and he did it.”

Numerous testimonies report how the presidential guard’s Red Berets, police officers, and militiamen entered the stadium around noon, cordoned off the exits and opened fire indiscriminately on a crowd that had previously been festive.

Unarmed civilians were attacked with knives, machetes, and bayonets, leaving the stands, corridors, and grass strewn with the dead and dying. Others were trampled to death in the panic.

Asmaou Diallo, who was at the protest, told the Reuters news agency she was assaulted and barely escaped with her life, and that her son was killed in front of her.

“The most shocking image for me that day was that of the body of my slain son. I still haven’t processed what happened,” said Diallo, who now heads an association of parents and victims of the killings.

“Knowing that this trial will take place is for all the victims the beginning of hope for deliverance,” she said.

International investigators found the abuses could qualify as crimes against humanity, noting the brutality went on for several days against sequestered women and male detainees who were tortured.

Camara has denied responsibility for the incident, blaming it on errant soldiers, including his former aide-de-camp Lieutenant Aboubacar Toumba Diakite, who is also among those indicted. He has also denied responsibility.

‘Personal criminal responsibility

On the eve of Wednesday’s trial, Amnesty International released a report calling for better protection for rape victims in Guinea and the “urgent” adoption of a comprehensive law on gender-based violence.

After prolonged investigations and repeated delays by the previous government, the military government that seized power in September last year gave an order that the trial should start no later than September 28, the anniversary of the mass killing.

Camara, who was in exile in Burkina Faso following an attempted assassination and his removal in 2009, returned to Guinea over the weekend. Relatives say he intends to “clear his name” but the international commission has accused him of “personal criminal responsibility and command responsibility”.

He was interviewed by a prosecutor and detained on Tuesday alongside two other former senior military officers, their lawyer Pepe Antoine Lamah told journalists.

“It is in violation of the law that the prosecutor decided to incarcerate my clients,” Lamah said.

At least 600 victims of the stadium incident have been identified, according to Alseny Sall, a spokesman for the Guinean Organization for Human Rights.

Sall said some 154 were killed that day by soldiers from the presidential guard, the military police, the police, and military trainees as about 50,000 people gathered at the stadium to protest.

Waiting for trial

Some relatives of those killed have said they never received their loved ones’ remains.

“The hardest thing for me was not being able to mourn my husband. His body disappeared and was never returned to us. It’s a situation that weighs on me,” said Salimatou Bah, a rice seller.

“All we want is justice. This trial must ensure that such things never happen again in this country,” she said.

Despite repeated commitments under former President Alpha Conde’s regime, victims and relatives say they have been waiting for the trial for 13 years.

While many welcomed the move by Guinea’s military government to bring the case to trial, there are also suspicions that the decision could be politically motivated by the current military leader, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

Doumbouya, who came to power in a coup last year after 11 years of civilian rule, is under pressure to step down and set a date for new elections.

Human rights defenders and the International Criminal Court have also been pushing for justice.

“The objective is to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and victims are accorded their rights,” Alpha Amadou Bah, a lawyer who has taken the case to the ICC on behalf of a victim, told Al Jazeera.

“Because many people are still missing. This trial could lead us to where the missing are buried. Without justice, there will be no closure for families.”


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Nigeria: MSF seeks humanitarian aid for troubled northwest child malnutrition

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders has called on the United Nations to add northwest Nigeria to its humanitarian response plan, due to the high numbers of children suffering from malnutrition. The group, known by its French abbreviation MSF, said it has treated nearly 100,000 children in the region for malnutrition this year.

In a communique Tuesday, MSF warned that malnutrition among children in northwest Nigeria is at catastrophic levels and called for an immediate response from the global humanitarian community.

MSF even proposed that northwest Nigeria be included in the U.N.’s annual humanitarian response plan.

It’s the second time in three months that the medical aid group has raised serious concerns about the malnutrition crisis in Nigeria, following an alarm about northeast Nigeria in July.

Northwest Nigeria has been hard-hit by militant attacks and raids by kidnap-for-ransom gangs since late 2020.

MSF also said climate change and soaring food prices have made matters worse.

“We have scaled our response. We’re almost at a limit basically because we cannot handle this alone,” said Froukje Pelsma, MSF’s head of mission in Nigeria. “This is why we’re asking for more people to come.”

Pelsma said there are more than 30 organizations working in the northeastern part of the country but only three or four agencies in the northwest working on malnutrition.

“We want people, most especially the U.N. and other agencies, to look beyond the northeast,” she said.

MSF said it has admitted 17,000 children into 10 feeding centers across five states in the region.

Zamfara State has been the most impacted, with a 64 percent increase in the number of severely malnourished children this year compared to 2021.

“We’re working now in Kebbi, Sokoto Zamfara, Katsina, and in Kano, but we’re still also very much afraid and pretty sure that we only see the top of the iceberg,” Pelsma said. “We can see numbers, but that doesn’t mean that that covers the whole issue, because we cannot be in every location.”

For years, humanitarian responses have been centered around northeastern states, especially Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, where the militant group Boko Haram has been active since 2009.

This week, top officials of the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) met in the capital to highlight problems of food security, with the goal of strengthening responses, using agriculture.

“There’s a lot to be done. This is a country where we have quite a big segment geographically that is affected by different forms of conflict,” said Fred Kafeero, FAO representative in Nigeria. “But how do we intervene in terms of strengthening and responding to that humanitarian emergency and moving towards resilience building? Much of our work is also looking at the root causes and trying to strengthen and build sustainability in the process.”

On Wednesday, MSF is taking part in a high-level humanitarian coordination team meeting with top officials of the United Nations.

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Sports News: Ex-super eagles player, Mikel Obi retires from football

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s ex-international, Mikel John Obi announced his retirement from football after about 20 years in the game.

Obi took to his Instagram page to announce his retirement from football.

According to him, “there is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today

“I look back at the past 20 years of my career, and I must say that I am very satisfied with all that I was able to achieve and more importantly the human it has helped shape.

“All of this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, managers, clubs, coaches, teammates, and most importantly my ever-loyal fans. You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days when I did not live up to your expectations. I say a big thank you.”

Obi said he would also like to encourage everyone who might have been inspired one way or the other in the course of his career to never give up on their dreams, saying that every time on thought about quitting, “remind yourself why you started.”

“This is not goodbye, it’s the start of another journey, another chapter of my life. I look forward to what the future holds and I hope you will walk with me. Thank you,” he said.

Born on 22 April, 1987, Obi is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder.

Obi began his career with local club Plateau United, before joining Norwegian club Lyn at 17 in 2004. In 2006, he made a controversial transfer to English club Chelsea after Manchester United claimed they had already signed him.

He stayed with Chelsea for 11 years, before moving to China with Tianjin TEDA in 2017. After two years in China, he returned to England on a short-term deal with Middlesbrough, before joining Trabzonspor on a free transfer in July 2019.

Mikel moved back to England in August 2020 joining Stoke City. In a 14-year international career between 2005 and 2019, he played 91 times for Nigeria, scoring six goals.

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AfricaLife Drama

LIFE DRAMA: My lover was kidnapped to raise money for our wedding — Suspect

A 28-year-old kidnap suspect, Bello Ahmed, has revealed that he kidnapped his lover to raise money for their marriage.

The suspect was arrested along with three others for their alleged involvement in the abduction of one Miss Hannah Queen at Apo Estate, recently.

It was learned that the principal suspect, Bello, had allegedly conspired with three others ¾ Ibrahim Mohammed, 30; Bilyamiyu Mohammed, 30; and Uche Daniel ¾ to abduct his lover to raise money for their traditional marriage.

The victim was abducted on March 26, 2022 after a carefully-organized plan by her lover who she met in Dubai.

The four suspects were arrested by operatives of the Force Intelligence Bureau’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

The police said the suspects were arrested for criminal conspiracy and kidnapping over the well-coordinated kidnap.

Their arrest is a sequel to a report filed at the IRT Headquarters at Guzape by one of the victim’s uncles, ACP Yusuf Sanni.

However, in his statement, Bello admitted to organising the abduction of his lover because she had put him under pressure to raise money for their traditional marriage.

He said, “My lover put so much pressure on me to marry her. So, I was forced to kidnap her to raise the money I needed. I regret my involvement in the act as I couldn’t get the money. I expected that I will be paid the ransom.”

The kidnapped victim who is a lawyer and daughter of a renowned diplomat was said to be in a relationship with the suspect who lives in Dubai United Arab Emirates UAE. Also, Bello is a friend to the parents of the victim.

Police investigations revealed that the key suspect had married a wife and had two children in Dubai before relocating to Nigeria.

The investigation also revealed that the suspect had a rented apartment at the aforementioned estate in Abuja upon his relocation to Nigeria based on the relationship.

He was alleged to have brought the other three gang members into the 3-bedroom bungalow apartment three days before the kidnap was arranged by himself when the lady visited him and was relaxing in his living room.

After the criminal gang members took him and his would-be spouse into captivity, he made the victim believe that he had sent N10m to the kidnappers for their release through a fake bank alert, until she discovered the antics and started calling her parents for her release.

The key suspect confessed that they expected a total of N50m as ransom from the parents of the victim so that the gang would get up to at least N10m each.

Further interrogation revealed that Bello had initially planned to marry the lady as a second wife in November 2022, but moved the marriage ceremony forward to July to forestall the possibility of her marriage to a newfound lover.

Exhibits said to have been recovered from the suspects include a hack saw, two masks, one beret cap, one masking tape, and one iPhone.

Other exhibits said to have been used by the suspects for the kidnapping and still missing from the house of the key suspect include; three toy guns and an axe.

According to the investigative Police Officer, Sergeant Law Okeke, all the suspects are culpable in the crime as all have made useful statements to aid the police investigations into the crime.

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, has directed the police authorities on the imperatives of diligent prosecution of the matter in the nation’s law courts for justice to be served on all the suspects involved.


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