Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has suspended her son and 45 other government officials for failing to declare their assets to anti-corruption authorities, in her first major step to battle graft in her administration.
Charles Sirleaf, one of three of the president's sons appointed to government posts, was suspended from his position as Deputy Central Bank Governor.
Corruption is seen as a big obstacle to development in the West African state, which remains one of the world's poorest countries nearly a decade after the end of a 14-year civil war.
The suspensions come amid growing concern about government graft in Liberia, which is a nascent iron ore producer and has attracted international energy companies such as Chevron, seeking to develop its offshore oil blocks.
"President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has, with immediate effect, suspended 46 government officials," said the statement, issued by the presidency late on Monday.
The statement said the officials could be reinstated after they declared their assets to the commission.
The other sons of the president in government posts are Robert Sirleaf, senior adviser and chairman of state oil company NOCAL, and Fumba Sirleaf, head of the National Security Agency.
Johnson-Sirleaf, who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for her role in maintaining peace in Liberia after the war, was Africa's first elected female head of state when she came to office in 2005. She was re-elected for a second term late last year.
Those suspended are, as follows:
Hon. E. Othello Gongar Commissioner, Governance Commission
Hon. Wissedi Sio-Njoh Commissioner, National AIDS Commission
Amb. Alhaji G. V. Kromah Amb.-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Amb. David Anderson Chief of Protocol/Executive Mansion
Hon. Micah Wilkins Wright Deputy Minister/Solicitor General (MOJ)
Amazing Giant Snake Found in the Red Sea that killed 320 tourists and 125 Egyptian divers, has been killed by a professional team of elite Egyptian scientists and qualified divers.
Names of the scientists who participated in the process of catching the huge snake were: D. Karim Mohammed, d. Mohammed Sharif, d. Mr. Sea, d. Mahmoud students, d. Mazen Al-Rashidi.
And the names of the divers who participated in the process of catching the huge snake were: Ahmed leader, Abdullah Karim, fisherman Knight, Wael Mohammed, Mohammed Haridi, spears Alvajuma, Mahmoud Shafik, a full-Sharif. The Snake body has been transferred to in the Egypt morgue at Sharm El Sheikh international animal.
50 have been killed and dozens injured in Libya as tribal groups are fighting in the country’s south. After the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is left in a condition which some residents call a ‘non state’.
The fighting between rival armed militias, ongoing since Sunday, has spilled into the center of Libya’s third largest city of Sabha on Tuesday. The country’s National Transitional Council initially sent out 300 of its troops to calm the situation but the contingent had to be reinforced two-fold, Reuters said.
However, there are reports that the national army may have retreated from the city. "We know that they are here to try to solve the problem and not fight," Sabha fighter Oweidat al-Hifnawi told the agency. "There are unconfirmed reports that they have retreated out of the city."
The fighting resulted in the resignation of an NTC representative to Sabha, Abdulmajid Saif al-Nasser. He said that he was leaving his post as the council proved unable, or unwilling, to curb the violence.
"I have not seen any reaction from the Council to what is happening now in Sabha. The air force has not been sent out, there was only a plane from the health ministry carrying medicine," he said. "The state is supposed to intervene in these cases but there is no state."
The ongoing fighting started after a man from the Tibu tribe allegedly killed a member of the Sabha tribe. The country’s Health Ministry confirmed that most of the 50 dead, already killed in the clashes, perished from gunshot and shrapnel wounds. 160 more have been left injured.
The National Transitional Council, which came to power after the ouster of the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi, is struggling to establish its control over the whole of Libya. The council is trying to persuade tribal militias, busy with fighting over power and resources in the uncontrolled country, to lay down their arms and join national army and police.
The lawlessness Libya has plunged into is the direct result of how the current government came into power, Oxford-based freelance journalist Neil Clark told RT.
“The main problem is that Libya is awash with arms. And who is to blame for this? It’s the Western powers, who gave these arms to the rebels to topple Gaddafi. And now you have different tribal militias all heavily armed. You have got a very week divided government in Tripoli, which cannot control its territory. You have got a real recipe for anarchy at the moment,” he explained.
“The main Western news channels are not covering the story the way they are not covering Iraq. In the end of the story Gaddafi is gone, and they are really not interested in reporting what’s going on, which is a human rights catastrophe,” he added.
A shocking video has appeared on the Internet showing Libyan rebels torturing a group of black Africans. People with their hands bound are shown being locked in a zoo-like cage and allegedly forced to eat the old Libyan flag. “Eat the flag, you dog. Patience you dog, patience. God is Great,” screams a voice off-camera in the video uploaded via LiveLeak.com.
The torturers are also shown making the group of captive black Africans stand up with pieces of green cloth still in their mouths and apparently forcing them start jumping.
A number of people are shown standing outside the cage watching the atrocity.
After Muammar Gaddafi was killed, hundreds of migrant workers from neighboring states were imprisoned by fighters allied to the new interim authorities.
They accuse the black Africans of having been mercenaries for the late ruler.
In the course of the fighting to topple Gaddafi last year, sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees “became targets of stigma, discrimination and violence,” the human rights group Amnesty International said last month.
“At the beginning of the crisis, there was vastly exaggerated propaganda for which the highest level of the National Transitional Council should take some responsibility because they largely contributed to that unfounded propaganda,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response advisor.
Some of the black migrants managed to flee into neighboring Mali and Niger, but more than 5,000 were detained. They face mass execution, beatings, and revenge killings, according to an Al Jazeera report published back in September.
Before the Libyan uprising broke out, the country hosted about a million black African workers, many of them employed in domestic work, construction, trash collection and other low-wage jobs.
Human Rights Investigations (HRI) suspect Libyan rebels of ethnic cleansing of the black population of the country, particularly in the city of Tawergha.
Following a deadly attack against a base in Bani Walid, loyalists of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have reportedly gained control over his one-time bastion.
"The loyalists of Gaddafi took control of the entire city of Bani Walid," former National Transitional Council (NTC) member M'barek al-Fotmani said on Monday.
The latest developments follow an attack by loyalists against a base, killing at least five “thuwar” (anti-Gaddafi revolutionaries) and injuring tens more. A commander is reportedly among the dead.
According to Fotmani, the loyalists were carrying green flags and chanting pro-Gaddafi slogans.
Bani Walid, 170 kilometers (110 miles) south of Tripoli, was one of the last pro-Gaddafi bastions to fall in the deadly uprising against the former dictator's rule.
Meanwhile, the US has sent some 12,000 troops to Libya. The deployment is said to be aimed at generating stability and security in the region, the troops are expected to take control of the country's key oil fields and strategic ports.
The security situation in the country remains fragile months after the overthrow of Gaddafi. Militias have largely refused to heed calls to disarm.
In Libya, protesters have been holding regular demonstrations for weeks, demanding the ouster of Gaddafi-era officials and more transparency about how the NTC is spending Libyan assets.