Five things to know to start your Wednesday

Kaduna train attack: Terrorists release five more victims

Terrorists who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound AK9 train on March 28 have released an additional five captives out of the remaining thirty-nine held captives. This leaves thirty-four that the government has to do all within its power to get released.

Mustapha Umar Imam, one of the released captives who spoke to the press, talked about his experience during the four months that he was in captivity.

“My experience is really terrible,” he said “You can see I just finished shedding tears of joy that I have been returned back and that I am going to be reunited with my family very soon,” he continued looking rather emaciated.

“Quite frankly, the experience I have been through in the last four months is not something I would not like even my enemy to go through because there was barely food for people to eat,” he added, exposing the deplorable situation he and other captives were in.

“We were hungry for the last three to four months. We were quite surprised that in the last two weeks that they started bringing foodstuffs that we ate,” he added, explaining how deprived of food and basic medical supplies they were during their stay in the detention of the bandits.

“We were actually okay in the last two weeks, but in the first three months, we were actually very very hungry.”

“When I say very very hungry, this is an understatement.”

“There were days we ate once on certain days; just imagine a child that was barely one-year-old feeding once a day. “Just do the math,” he said, describing the camp’s horrifying lack of food, to the point where even children were not given any kind of emotional consideration.

On any kind of medication in camp, he complained of a lack of it. According to him, he was practically the medical doctor on camp, attending to both the captives and the Boko Haram terrorists.

“There wasn’t medication, to be frank with you. We had on the radio someone claiming that he would bring medication whenever it was needed. There wasn’t any medication on camp.”

“There was a day that a particular lady who had malaria which you could treat with just N1,000 but this lady was going into coma because there wasn’t medication for her malaria. So the situation is really really terrible,” he illustrated how bad things had fallen in the camp.

On sexual molestation, he said that he didn’t witness any form of molestation, though he heard that some of the women in camp claimed that they were attempted molestation by the bandits, and that this happened in the first two to three weeks when they were held captive.

He advised the government to do all it took to rescue the remaining captives.

Strike: KASU defies ASUU, resumes 2020/2021 academic semester

The management of Kaduna State University (KASU) has reopened the school for the second semester of the 2020/2021 academic session. This comes five months after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) mandated its member universities to embark on a strike.

According to the school’s management, this resumption is to enable the school to conclude the second semester that was abruptly disrupted by the ASUU strike.

The management noted that the school does not have any industrial issues with the state ASUU branch and, as such, instructed all lecturers and non-academic staff to resume with immediate effect.

Read also: ASUU strike: When will it be over? (2)

Brent crude heads towards $100 ahead of OPEC+ meeting

Brent crude futures was headed for $100 per barrel on Wednesday morning following some unclear signals as the oil market prepares for today’s OPEC+ meeting.

Some oil analysts expect the price to fall below $98 per barrel following the announcement that output will likely remain unchanged amid supply challenges and concerns about a potential global recession that could hit energy demand. This is according to Trading Economics.

Specifically, US President Joe Biden visited Saudi Arabia last month and pleaded with OPEC to pump more crude, but capacity constraints and the inability of some member states to meet output targets such as Nigeria and Libya made the prospect of any significant supply boost unlikely.

Markets also continued to fret about an economic slowdown that has countered signs of tight physical markets.

US warns of possible retaliation over Ayman al-Zawahiri death

The US government has issued a warning to its citizens to be alert and observe all counter-terrorism measures following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The statement from the state department noted that al-Zawahiri’s death could prompt retaliatory attacks from al-Qaeda supporters or other linked groups to target US facilities and personnel abroad.

The US president on Monday confirmed Al-Zawahiri’s death, which happened on Sunday in Kabul following a US drone strike.

Until his death, he was the leader of al-Qaeda after replacing Osama bin Laden, who was killed by a US special strike force in Pakistan in 2011.

“The Department of State believes there is a higher potential for anti-American violence given the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 31, 2022,” the department said.

“Current information suggests that terrorist organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions across the globe,” it added.

“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.”

The alert added that US citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a “high level of vigilance and practise good situational awareness” when travelling abroad. This is according to the BBC.

Morocco’s trade deficit rises by 48.7% in Q1 as energy imports soar

The foreign exchange office of Morocco said on Monday that the rise in global commodity prices was responsible for the country’s trade deficit expanding by 48.7 percent to 150.5 billion dirhams ($14.6 billion) in the first half of this year.

According to Reuters, details from the agency report showed that imports rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier to 365.5 billion dirhams, while exports increased 41.2 percent to 215 billion dirhams.

Other details revealed that the country’s energy bill soared the most, up 124.7 percent to 71.4 billion dirhams, while the cost of wheat imports climbed 55 percent to 13.3 billion dirhams, which is the most important imported item.

On its export list, phosphates which is one of the country’s most valuable export items, grew by 84.3 percent to 57.4 billion dirhams. This impressive performance was followed by industrial exports and tourism, which surged by 30 percent and 20 percent to close at 52.8 billion dirhams and 27.3 billion dirhams, respectively.

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