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Niger: Nigerian among evacuees on first planes to land in Rome, Paris

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Niger: Nigerian among evacuees on first planes to land in Rome, Paris

 

A Nigerian is among evacuees on the first planes that landed in Rome and Paris on Wednesday after leaving the Niger Republic following last week’s military takeover.

France and other countries are expected to fly more of their citizens out of the West African country on Wednesday.

An Italian military plane carrying 87 evacuees from Niger arrived in Rome early on Wednesday, according to Reuters journalists at the airport.

Some 36 Italians, as well as 21 U.S. citizens, four Bulgarians, two Austrians, and one citizen each from Britain, Niger, Hungary, Senegal, and Nigeria were on the plane, as well as military personnel.

A military junta overthrew Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum and his government on July 26 in the seventh military takeover in less than three years in West and Central Africa.

With the risk of conflict escalating, France, the former colonial power, Italy and Spain said they would evacuate citizens by air.

The first French flight left Niger on Tuesday evening and landed in Paris early on Wednesday with 262 people on board, according to Reuters journalists there.

“Things could have turned ugly but it still is nice to be back here,” a French evacuee who gave his name as Charles told Reuters TV.

“We will see how things evolve over there in the coming days and weeks. For us, who care about it quite a lot, we will follow this closely,” he said.

The recent coups in the region have come amid a wave of vitriol aimed at former colonial power France that resulted in its troops having to withdraw from Mali and Burkina Faso this year and last.

Many of those soldiers are stationed in Niger.

The United States, Germany, and Italy also have troops in Niger on counter-insurgency and training missions.

 

There has been no announcement of troops being evacuated.

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3 teens arrested in Germany for allegedly plotting terror attack

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German authorities have arrested three teenagers aged 15 and 16 on suspicion of plotting a deadly Islamist terrorist attack in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, prosecutors said on Friday.

The state’s Central Office for the Prosecution of Terrorism (ZenTer NRW) sought an arrest warrant for the teenagers over the Easter holiday.

They were suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in accordance with the aims and ideology of (extremist militia organisation) Islamic State.

The detained suspects are a 15-year-old girl from Dusseldorf, a 16-year-old girl from the Märkischer Kreis district and a 15-year-old boy from the Soest district, located about 100 kilometres to the east of Dusseldorf.

A fourth suspect has reportedly been identified in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg, and the local court there has issued an arrest warrant.

According to the investigators, the teenagers are accused of having agreed to commit murder and manslaughter.

This is in conjunction with the preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state.

 

The presumption of innocence applied in all stages of the proceedings.

Security sources told newsmen that the young people had formed a chat group, but had not drawn up a concrete attack plan for a particular time and place.

However, sources said the cities of Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Cologne were discussed as targets, and attacks with knives and Molotov cocktails on people in churches or police officers in police stations had been considered.

The sources said authorities had also conducted searches as part of the investigation.

A machete and a dagger were seized in Dusseldorf, but no evidence of the construction of incendiary devices was discovered.

Sources said the father of the Dusseldorf suspect had already attracted attention from authorities in the past because he had allegedly collected donations for the Islamic State.

The investigators declined to reveal how the suspected terrorists were tracked down, but said that foreign intelligence agencies “did not play a role.”

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Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election

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Russia on Monday officially recognised Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the presidential elections in March, a vote that he is all but certain to win.

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.

The Central Election Commission said it had registered Putin, who nominated himself, as well as right-wing firebrand and Putin-loyalist Leonid Slutsky as candidates for the vote.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

 

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.

Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers are likely to be barred from monitoring the vote.

While Putin is not expected to face any real competition, liberal challenger Boris Nadezhdin has passed the threshold of signatures to be registered as a candidate.

However, it is still unclear if he will be allowed to run, and the Kremlin has said it does not consider him to be a serious rival.

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