Daily Watch – Katsina death toll rises, Ghana withdraws MTN tax claim

6th February 2023

On Sunday, a community leader in Arimogija and Molege communities of Ose Local Government Area of Ondo state, Mr Owolafe Folorunsho, confirmed to newsmen that, at least, six local farmers and traders have been murdered by suspected gunmen. “They laid an ambush, attacked the traders who were coming from Akure, and killed all the occupants before taking away their money and setting their vehicles and motorcycles on fire,” Mr Folorunsho added. According to him, the gunmen have been launching an attack on the communities at night using sophisticated weapons. Mr Folorunsho said that the recent attack which happened last week, on Thursday night, was triggered by the effort of the farmers to repel the continued wanton destruction of their crops by the gunmen. He said, “The gunmen have continued to invade our farmlands at night, harvest our crops to feed their cattle. At times, they will come during the day, force us to uproot the cassava by ourselves at gunpoint and command us to cut them into pieces to feed their cows.” He further stated that the assailants are gradually taking over four camps: Molege, Ugboruwen, Elerinta and Adedigba in the local communities. Confirming the incident, the traditional ruler in the community, the Onimoru, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun, lamented the atrocities of the gunmen.

The death toll from the attack by bandits on some communities in Bakori and Kankara local government areas of Katsina State has risen to 84, according to Daily Trust. It had earlier reported that no fewer than 41 members of vigilante groups and residents were confirmed killed in an ambush by terrorists, as an unspecified number were injured in Kankara last Thursday. However, residents of the affected communities had, on Friday, put the number of those killed at 58 and expressed fear that more corpses could be recovered from the area as others were still missing. The victims were said to have gone to the forest to recover cattle rustled by terrorists, who had launched an attack on the community earlier. Unknown to the vigilantes and their companions, the terrorists, who came through Bakori, were aware of their presence and laid an ambush. The paper reported that 26 more dead bodies were recovered on Saturday evening by security operatives and some volunteers after combing the scene of the killings, citing an unnamed eyewitness told Daily Trust who saw a vehicle at Yargoje junction carrying the dead bodies to Bakori communities. Katsina has said it will inaugurate a commission of inquiry to investigate the killings.

MTN has announced that the Ghanaian tax authority has withdrawn the tax liability case it had earlier levelled against the pan-African telco on 13 January 2023. The Ghana revenue authority had slapped MTN Ghana with a GHS8.2 billion ($665 million) fine, citing unpaid back taxes. In a statement published on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange news service (SENS) last Friday, MTN stated that the withdrawal came after extensive discussions between itself and the relevant Ghanaian authorities. “Shareholders are advised that following extensive and productive discussions held during this 21-day period between MTN Ghana, MTN and relevant authorities in Ghana, the GRA has on 3rd February 2023 fully withdrawn the tax liability assessment,” the statement read.

East African regional heads of state have called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tensions there have grown amid talk of war as Congo and neighbouring Rwanda trade allegations of backing armed rebels. The ceasefire call was issued in a communique at the end of the East African Community (EAC) summit in Burundi. EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki, said: “There must be an immediate ceasefire by all political parties.” He added: “The withdrawal included all foreign armed groups and directed the chief of defence forces of all the partner states of East African Community to meet urgently within the next one week and set new timelines for the withdrawal and the commend appropriate deployment matrix in different parts of eastern DRC.” Mathuki also said: “The heads of state called upon parties to respect and implement all the summit’s decisions and agreed upon themselves that any violation should be reported immediately and the summit now will take charge of this process.”