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Six Sentenced To Death For 2021 Ghana Coup Plot

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A Ghana court on Wednesday sentenced six people to death by hanging, including three soldiers, for their involvement in an alleged plot three years ago to overthrow the country’s government.

The men were arrested in 2021 while testing weapons at an old shooting range in Accra, and intelligence telephone taps led to a blacksmith shop, where they ordered the weapons manufactured, according to court documents.

They had all pleaded not guilty during the trial. Police posted heavily armed units outside the high court for the hearing and sentencing.

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One of the lawyers for the six, Victor Adawudu, said the defence team would go to the country’s Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

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We will also be going to the Supreme Court for it to look at the evidence,” he said.

The high court, however, acquitted a police chief Benjamin Agordzo, army officer Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, and one other junior military officer, Corporal Seidu Abubakar.

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“We give glory to God. He alone has made it happen. They knew it was falsehood. Our God doesn’t fail. I have always been free within my heart and I knew how it was going to end,” a visibly elated police chief Agordzo told the media following his acquittal.

The six, including a gunsmith and a civilian employee of the Ghana Armed Forces, were charged with conspiracy to commit treason in 2021.

Ghana’s attorney general Godfred Yeboah Dame who led the prosecution hailed the outcome of the trial.

“It is a significant judgment because the constitution of Ghana as the fundamental law of the country, which has sustained the stability of the nation, frowns seriously upon any attempt to overthrow a government and that is why that offence [treason] is punishable by death,” Dame told the media after the trial.

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According to court documents, the men were arrested at their base in the capital Accra with locally-manufactured guns, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and AK-47 rifles and other ammunition.

Dame said the accused belonged to an association called Take Action Ghana (TAG) and had planned to stage demonstrations, ostensibly to topple the government.

It is the first treason trial in Ghana since 1963 when the first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown. Ghana last executed a criminal under the death penalty in 1992 when it returned to constitutional rule.

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The new ruling comes as the West African country, known for its stable democracy since 1992, faces heightened security while the wider region has seen a spate of coups in recent years.

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FG Threatens To Punish Schools Shunning Safety Guidelines

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The National Safe Schools Response Coordination Centre, under the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, has issued a stern warning to schools across the country about the importance of adhering to safety guidelines.

The Commander of the centre, Hammed Abodunrin, announced that deliberate failures to comply could result in significant sanctions.

In a chat with The PUNCH on Wednesday, Abodunrin emphasised the critical nature of the Safe School policy, which aims to ensure security and prevent violence in educational institutions nationwide.

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“While the policy remains voluntary at this stage, the government is strongly advocating for compliance among school managements and communities,” he stated.

Abodunrin clarified that the policy was currently not enforceable by law but highlighted the government’s expectation that schools would willingly adhere to the guidelines.

“Everyone desires security, and we do not foresee widespread refusal to comply. However, should there be capacity gaps making compliance difficult, assistance will be provided to those schools,” he explained.

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Despite its voluntary status, the NSCDC is taking a proactive stance. “Where failures are noted to be deliberate, the Safe School teams will report to the authorities for appropriate actions which may include sanctions,” Abodunrin warned.

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The commander also discussed the government’s efforts to institutionalise school safety and security within higher education. He revealed plans to introduce specialised programmes on school safety, potentially up to the doctoral level.

Higher institutions will be encouraged to run special programmes in school safety, recognising it as a critical field of study,” he said.

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Abodunrin noted the growing importance of these issues, drawing parallels to fields like disaster management and peace and conflict studies, which have only recently been established as distinct academic disciplines.

“The specific need to address school safety and security underscores its potential to be integrated either as a subject within the security studies curriculum or as an independent field,” he said.

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Two Arrested Over South Africa Barber Shop Shooting

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Two suspects aged 24 and 28 have been arrested over a barber shop in Khayelitsha, South Africa, that left three children and a 30-year-old man dead.

The gunmen opened fire on Qwarha Street in Site C before fleeing the scene on Saturday afternoon. The children killed in the incident were aged 12, 11 and five. Two other individuals were unharmed.

Police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said the suspects are facing murder and attempted murder charges and will appear in the Khayelitsha magistrate’s court on Friday, June 14.

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With the investigation unfolding, the possibility of more arrests and further charges being pursued cannot be ruled out.”

She said Western Cape serious violent crime detectives are also investigating another multiple murder shooting incident that occurred in Nyanga on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

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Six Russian Nationals With ISIS Ties Arrested In US

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Six Russian nationals with potential ties to ISIS have reportedly been arrested in New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles in a coordinated sting by law enforcement.

Two ICE officials have told the New York Post they arrested the suspected terrorist affiliates last week after the FBI raised the alarm.

The suspects are originally from Tajikistan, and they also have Russian citizenship, according to the Post

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Anonymous ICE officials told the newspaper a wiretap revealed one of the suspects talking about bombs.

‘Remember the Boston marathon [bombing]? I’m afraid something like that might happen again or worse,’ one official told The Post.

READ ALSO: Russian Embassy Denies Forcing Nigerian Students To Fight In Ukraine

The suspect in question has been involved with law enforcement before and had a court date next year, according to the source.

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It comes as top law enforcement officials warned the threat of a terrorist attack in the US has risen ‘enormously’ over the past few months.

Attorney General, Merrick Garland made the astonishing admission while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday last week during a hearing dedicated to investigating the department’s politicization.

‘I am worried about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the country after October 7,’ Attorney General Garland said. ‘The threat level for us has gone up enormously.’

‘Every morning, we worry about this question. We try to track anyone who might be trying to hurt the country,’ he continued. ‘Of course, this is a major priority for the Justice Department.’

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, also said ‘we have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole other level’ after the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

‘We have seen a rouges’ gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies,’ Wray said.

‘Just in the time I have been FBI director we have disrupted multiple terror attacks around U.S. cities.’

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‘I would be hard-pressed to think of a time when so many different threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at the same time.’

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Wray said threats against Jewish Americans has been particularly acute.

‘We’ve seen an elevated threat to the Jewish community in the United States.’

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Though he said Jewish communities were targeted before the October 7 attack, since then the threats ‘went up dramatically.’

‘Religiously motivated hate crimes, close to 60 percent of them, are targeted at the Jewish community,’ Wray testified, noting how the community only makes up two percent of the U.S. population.

‘Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, not unlike an attack we saw in the Russia theater,’ he added, referring to the Crocus City Hall concert shooting in March.

 

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