Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral Billed For September 19

Queen Elizabeth II
File photo of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died on September 8, 2022. She was 96.

 

The state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II will be held at Westminster Abbey in London at 11:00 am (1000 GMT) on Monday, September 19, royal officials said on Saturday.

Buckingham Palace also confirmed that the queen, who died on Thursday aged 96, will then be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London, for a committal service.

The queen’s body is currently in an oak coffin covered by the Royal Standard for Scotland, with a wreath of flowers on top, in the ballroom of Balmoral Castle, in northeast Scotland.

READ ALSO[PHOTOS] Flag Flies At Half-Mast At British High Commission

Royal officials called it “a scene of quiet dignity”.

The queen’s coffin will be taken on a 180-mile (290-kilometre) trip by road from the remote estate to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Sunday.

In the Scottish capital, the coffin will be taken from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’s Cathedral to lie at rest until Tuesday.

It will then be taken by air to Buckingham Palace in London, before lying in state at Westminster Hall from Wednesday.

AFP

Biden To Attend Queen’s Funeral

US President Joe Biden announces student loan relief on August 24, 2022 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Biden announced that most US university graduates still trying to pay off student loans will get $10,000 of relief to address a decades-old headache of massive educational debt across the country. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP)
In this file photo, US President Joe Biden announces student loan relief on August 24, 2022 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Biden announced that most US university graduates still trying to pay off student loans will get $10,000 of relief to address a decades-old headache of massive educational debt across the country. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP)

US President Joe Biden said Friday that he will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Britain.

“I don’t know the details yet, but I’ll be going,” he told reporters.

The date of the funeral has not been confirmed, but it is expected to take place in Westminster Abbey in London on September 19.

READ ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96

Biden said he had not yet spoken to the queen’s son, King Charles III.

“I know him… I did not call him,” he said.

Biden spoke to the media before boarding Air Force One at Columbus International Airport in Ohio, where he had been giving a speech.

AFP

Catholic Church Announces Date For Mass Burial Of Owo Massacre Victims

Scene of the St Francis Catholic Church, Owo where scores of worshippers were killed in Ondo State on June 5, 2022.

 

The victims of St Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State who were gruesomely murdered on June 5 will be buried this week, Channels Television gathered on Tuesday.

Gunmen suspected to be terrorists had stormed the church nine days ago, killing over 40 worshippers, while injuring several others. The massacre has since been condemned by Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari and many state governors who have called for a probe into the attack.

In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Ondo said the mass burial for the slain worshippers will hold would hold on Friday, June 17.

The Director of Social Communication of the Diocese of Ondo, Revd. Father Augustine Ikwu told Channels Television in Akure that the mass burial would take place at a new cemetery of the diocese located along Emure-Ile Road in  Owo.

READ ALSO: INEC Promises To Conduct Good Governorship Election In Ekiti

The Diocese and the State government had earlier announced that about 40 people died while several others sustained injuries during the attack on a fateful day.

Some of the injured victims are still receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre and the St. Louis Catholic Hospital both in Owo and some other private hospitals in the state.

Although no one has been arrested in connection with the attack, the police authorities said three unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been recovered from the scene of the Owo church attack.

Force Police Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, noted that police investigators have also recovered “pellets of expended AK-47 ammunition” from the scene.

Condemning the tragic incident, the Inspector-General of Police said full-scale investigations into the incident have been ordered with a view to bringing to book the perpetrators of the gruesome killings.

Meanwhile, governors across the six states in the South-west region have declared three days of mourning for victims of the terror attack at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

The governors made the decision in a virtual meeting held on Friday to review the state of insecurity in the region.

According to a communique issued after the meeting, the governors condemned the June 5 attack in Owo which claimed at least 40 lives, and scores hospitalised.

“The Governors agreed to declare a 3-day mourning period in memory of the victims of the 5th June 2022 terror attack on St Francis Catholic, Owaluwa Street, Owo, Ondo State, starting from Monday, 13th June, to Wednesday, 15th, June 2022 to symbolise our collective loss across all South Western States in Nigeria,” the communique read in part.

“The meeting agreed that all the Governors should direct the flying of Flags at Half Mast in all public buildings, facilitates and official residences across all the States in the South West in honour of the victims of the Owo terror attack.”

Sylvester Oromoni: Police Release Body To Family After Fresh Autopsy

A combination of file photos of the front gate of Dowen College and Sylvester Oromoni.

 

The Lagos State Police Command has released the remains of the late student of Dowen College, Sylvester Oromoni, for burial.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the release followed the conclusion of an autopsy on the corpse to ascertain the cause and nature of death.

Sylvester’s body was moved to Lagos on Monday from Delta state for the Autopsy at a public facility in the nation’s commercial hub.

The autopsy was carried out in the presence of five parties: the victim’s parents, parents of the alleged students, the school’s representatives, the police investigators while representatives from the Ministry of Health stood in for the Lagos State government.

READ ALSO: Sylvester Oromoni: Coroner Fixes December 15 For Preliminary Meeting

On Wednesday, the body was escorted back to Delta State where he will be laid to rest.

The Lagos State Government is keenly interested in the outcome of the investigation to unravel the mystery behind the course of death of the young schoolboy

But the result of the autopsy is yet to be released while the police investigation continues.

Sylvester was said to have died from the injuries sustained during an assault by five of his colleagues who wanted to initiate him into cultism.

As part of the means to get the deserved justice for the 12-year-old boy, the Oromoni family had demanded a coroner inquest into the student’s death.

This is even as the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, said that some students have been arrested for the alleged assault.

Vice President Of Dangote Group Sani Buried In Kano

dangote burial
The late Dangote’s body was received by family members earlier in the day.

 

The Vice President of the Dangote Group, Sani Dangote, has been buried in Kano State.

Sani Dangote’s burial took place on Wednesday at the Palace of the Emir of Kano.

Earlier, the remains of Aliko Dangote’s younger brother arrived at the Aminu Kano International Airport. Family members were on the ground to receive his body.

The late Sani Dangote died on Sunday, according to a statement by the Dangote Group.

Those who attended the burial include Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State;  Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State; Senate President Farouk Lawan; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and other dignitaries.


READ ALSO: Lagos EndSARS Panel Submits Report One Year After Inauguration

Vice President of Dangote Group Dies


‘His Honesty In Business Is Exemplary’ 

The late Dangote died on Sunday.

 

Since his demise, condolence messages have been coming from various leaders across the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari, aside from an earlier call to the Dangote family, also sent a delegation to represent him at the burial of Aliko’s younger brother who died after a protracted illness in the United States.

In a message to Alhaji Aminu Dantata, the patriarch of the Dantata family, and to the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko, President Buhari described the deceased as an honest business leader with a reputation for integrity.

According to a letter sent through the delegation led by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Buhari said the late Sani Dangote was “an exemplary person who, along with his brother, Aliko demonstrated the power of human spirit and determination.”

Buhari said the late business tycoon was a man of integrity.

 

He thanked the Dangote family for spreading happiness and giving the country an appreciable identity to the world.

President Buhari equally prayed to Allah to grant fortitude to the Dantata and Dangote families over the loss.

The delegation met Hajiya Mariya Sunusi Dantata, the mother of the Dangote’s, and also consoled the Emir, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and through him consoled the Emirate Council and the people of Kano.

The delegation was also received by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who thanked the President for sending a powerful delegation to the burial.

A delegation from the President also attended the burial ceremony held in Kano.

 

The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko, and his uncle, Alhaji Aminu Dantata expressed appreciation to the President and prayed in turn for his good health and the success of the administration he leads.

Several dignitaries attended Sani Dangote’s burial.

 

In addition to Sirika, the delegation included the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmud Mohammed; Minister of Power, Engineer Abubakar Aliyu; Director-General DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

 

 

Ex-Deputy Senate President Mantu Buried In Abuja

Former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, being buried in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

The former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, who died in the early hours of Tuesday, has been buried in Abuja.

He was aged 74 years.

Family members, friends and political associates had converged at the Sheikh Khalid mosque in the nation’s capital, where prayers were held for the deceased.

People gather in Abuja for the burial of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu on August 17, 2021. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

Dignitaries who attended the prayer session include the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso among others.

The interment was held at the Gudu cemetery also in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Buhari Mourns Former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu

Prior to his demise in a private hospital, sources close to the family said Senator Mantu fell ill nine days ago and was being treated at home and thereafter rushed to the hospital when his condition did not improve.

Mantu was elected deputy senate president in 2001 under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a position he held till 2007 when he did not return to the Senate.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, had mourned the late senator, lauding his contributions to national development.

The body of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, carried for burial in Abuja. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

Buhari in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the late Bantu dedicated his life to the service of his people.

He commiserated with the leaders, members of the National Assembly, friends, political associates, and the Plateau State Government.

Governor Lalong on his part described Mantu’s death as a great loss to the state and Nigeria at large.

Lalong said he received the news of the demise of the elder statesman and erudite politician with a heavy heart, recalling his enormous contributions to the socio-political development of the State and the nation at large.

Former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, being buried in Abuja on August 17, 2021. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.

 

“Late Senator Nasiru Mantu was a grassroots politician whose life was all about the interest of the people as he did everything within his power to serve them through empowerment and quality representation,” the governor was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Makut Simon Macham.

“He earned his place in Nigerian politics by active involvement and also had a great connection with the youth whom he mentored not only in politics but in other fields, especially service to humanity.”

Arotile, Nigeria’s First Female Helicopter Combat Pilot, Laid To Rest In Abuja

 

The burial of Nigeria’s first female helicopter combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile, was held on Thursday at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

Arotile, who died on July 14 in Kaduna, was buried in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.

She died from severe injuries following a road traffic accident at the NAF base in Kaduna, the Air Force has said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot, Arotile, Dies At 25

The driver that hit her was reportedly a former secondary school classmate who, in the process of reversing his car to give her a lift knocked down the deceased.

The late Tolulope Arotile. Photo: [email protected] Air Force.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders paid homage to the young military star after her demise and the Air Force promised she would be buried with full military honours.

Eight months before her death, she had been commissioned as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.

A Pandemic Burial

The Thursday burial was restricted to a few guests, due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the virus.

Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria's first female combat helicopter pilot, was buried in Abuja on July 23, 2020.
Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, was buried in Abuja on July 23, 2020.

 

Guests included Arotile’s friends, family, and colleagues.

Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, were also sighted at the ceremony.

READ ALSO: Arotile Will Be Buried With Full Military Honours – NAF

Other top officials present at the ceremony were the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali.

Uninvited guests including unaccredited journalists were politely turned back at the entrance to the cemetery as only vehicles of senior officers and immediate family members of the deceased are allowed to drive in, Channels TV gathered.

‘Honour Arotile’

Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday observed a minute of silence in honour of Arotile.

The Red Chamber is also asking the Airforce to erect a monument in her honour.

The Senate’s resolution was in response to a motion moved by Senator Smart Adeyemi, a Kogi state lawmaker.

Arotile was an indigene of Kogi state.

Another federal lawmaker from Kogi state, Senator Jibrin Isah, also wants the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of her death.

Iranians Flock To Soleimani’s Hometown For Burial

Iranian mourners gather around a vehicle carrying the coffin of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020.   AFP

 

Iranians gathered in Kerman for the burial Tuesday of top general Qasem Soleimani in the final stage of funeral processions after he was killed in a US strike in Iraq.

The massive number of mourners in the hometown of the slain commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations arm appeared to match the huge turnout seen in the cities of Tehran, Qom, Mashhad and Ahvaz.

A hugely popular figure in the Islamic republic, Soleimani was killed outside Baghdad airport on Friday in a drone strike ordered by US President Donald Trump, ratcheting up tensions with arch-enemy Iran which has vowed “severe revenge”.

“The enemy killed him unjustly,” the Revolutionary Guards’ top commander, Major General Hossein Salami said, adding the process of “expelling the United States from the region has begun”.

“Our will is firm. We also tell our enemies that we will take revenge, and that if they (strike again) we will set fire to what they love,” he told the sea of black-clad mourners.

“They themselves know well what places I am talking about.”

Schoolgirls joined chants of “Death to Trump” from the crowd, an AFP correspondent reported.

The assassination of Soleimani set off an escalating war of words between Iran and the United States.

In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani on Monday warned Trump to “never threaten” Iran, after the US leader issued a US strike list of 52 targets in the Islamic republic.

On Tuesday, Iranian lawmakers voted to designate all US forces around the world “terrorists” over Soleimani’s killing.

Parliament also agreed to bolster the coffers of the Quds Force, which Soleimani led, by $244 million (200 million euros).

 ‘Boils the blood’ 

In Kerman, people converged from afar on Azadi Square where two flag-draped coffins were on display, with the second one reportedly containing the remains of Soleimani’s closest aide, Brigadier General Hossein Pourjafari.

“We’re here today to pay respects to the great commander of the holy defence,” said one of the mourners who came from the southern city of Shiraz to attend the funeral in Kerman.

“Haj Qasem was not only loved in Kerman, or Iran, but also the whole world,” Hemmat Dehghan told AFP.

“The security of the whole world, Muslims, Shiites, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and especially Iran, all owe it to him,” said the 56-year-old war veteran.

Another mourner said Soleimi’s assassination “boils the blood of the Iranian people”.

“He was seen as a great man who was ready to serve his people both then in the war and now. He must certainly be avenged,” said Sara Khaksar, an 18-year-old student.

Friday’s assassination of the 62-year-old Soleimani heightened international concern about a new war in the volatile Middle East.

Iraq’s parliament has demanded the government expel the 5,200 American troops stationed in the country in response to the drone attack which also killed top Iraqi military figure Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Baghdad requested in a letter to the UN — seen by AFP — that the Security Council condemn the US strike so that “the law of the jungle” is not allowed to prevail.

The operation represented “a dangerous escalation that could lead to a devastating war in Iraq, the region and the world,” wrote Iraq’s UN ambassador Mohammed Hussein Bahr-Aluloom.

 Markets on edge 

On Sunday night, the US mistakenly notified the Iraq of an imminent troop pullout in a letter that sparked confusion in Washington.

“We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure,” said the letter, whose authenticity was confirmed to AFP by both Iraqi and US defence officials.

In the letter, US Brigadier General William Seely said the US-led coalition would “be repositioning forces”.

But Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said the letter was a mere “draft” that was sent by mistake.

Germany said Tuesday it was withdrawing some of its troops deployed as the anti-IS coalition in Iraq.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday that Iran must avoid “further violence and provocations”.

The European Union, whose foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on the crisis Friday, said it was in both Iran and Iraq’s interests to “take the path of sobriety and not the path of escalation”.

Saudi Arabia — an oil-rich US ally seen as vulnerable to Iranian counter strikes — also appealed for calm after a “very dangerous” escalation.

World financial markets have been on edge over the crisis.

“The new year has started with a bang in so far as volatility is concerned,” said Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com.

“This is mainly due to the escalation of tensions between the US and Iran after Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.”

Soleimani is expected to be buried at the martyrs’ cemetery in Kerman between 2:00 and 4:00 pm (1030 and 1230 GMT).

AFP

Chirac’s Family Bids French Ex-President Final Farewell

This photograph taken on October 5, 2019, shows a portrait of late French President Jacques Chirac at the “Musee du President Jacques Chirac” (President Jacques Chirac museum), the museum is to open to public, free of charge on October 5 and 6, 2019 in Sarran, central France.  GEORGES GOBET / AFP

 

Former French President Jacques Chirac’s family bade him a final farewell Saturday at an intimate ceremony in the southwestern village where he grew up.

“I can only say thank you in the name of my father and mother,” the statesman’s daughter Claude Chirac said in a tearful address at Sainte-Fereole, a small village in the Chirac fiefdom of the Correze region.

“In childhood and adolescence, Jacques Chirac was made here,” said mayor Henri Soulier.

Born in Paris, Chirac, who died aged 86 on September 26, moved as a young boy to Sainte-Fereole where he was elected a municipal councillor in 1965 before becoming a Correze lawmaker two years later.

He continued to represent the Correze department until becoming president in 1995, serving as head of state until 2007.

Chirac’s widow Bernadette, 86, did not attend the gathering of some 200 people in a picturesque village square decked out in portraits of the former president showing key moments of his life in public service.

Soulier said he had proposed and Chirac’s family had agreed to rename the square after him in the village which they had insisted would be the site of the final homage to his life.

Prior to the ceremony, local leaders had accompanied the family to lay a wreath at the tomb of Chirac’s parents.

The group then stopped by the village hall and the family home, of which Claude Chirac’s husband Frederic Salat-Baroux vowed “we shall never sell this house. One is always from somewhere and, for Claude, that’s here.”

Claude recalled how she was “often at Sainte-Fereole with Laurence,” Chirac’s other daughter, who died in 2016.

“We would leave Paris on Friday and our parents would leave us there before travelling around the department,” she recalled.

“My mother is very emotional today that she cannot come … it’s an exceptional homage. It is very comforting to her. And I want to say thank you for that because she really needs it,” Claude said.

Local authorities said meanwhile some 3,000 people had participated in a day of “memory and friendship” to honour Chirac at nearby Sarran, where Bernadette was first elected a municipal councillor in 1971 and which houses a museum dedicated to his life.

Among those attending Saturday was former Socialist president Francois Hollande, who was a political rival of Chirac in Correze, as well as Chirac’s grandson Martin Rey-Chirac.

Dozens of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, last Monday paid their final respects at a funeral service in Paris alongside dignitaries including former US president Bill Clinton, a day after 7,000 people queued to view Chirac’s coffin at Invalides military hospital and museum.

He was then laid to rest at a cemetery at Montparnasse in Paris.

France Bids Farewell To Ex-President Chirac

People queue to say a final farewell to former French President Jacques Chirac as the coffin lies in state at the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral at the Invalides memorial complex in central Paris on September 29, 2019. Kamil Zihnioglu / POOL / AFP

 

Thousands of people on Sunday queued in Paris to bid a final farewell to France’s former president Jacques Chirac, fondly remembered as a charismatic giant of domestic and international politics despite a mixed legacy.

A massive queue snaked round the Invalides complex to pay homage at Chirac’s coffin ahead of a national day of mourning on Monday and a memorial service expected to be attended by dozens of world leaders.

Chirac’s death on Thursday aged 86 prompted a flood of tributes to a man whose high-profile political career spanned three decades capped by 12 years as president from 1995-2007.

But it also sparked questions about how much this consummate political operator had actually achieved during a long spell in office and again threw the spotlight on a 2011 conviction for graft over his time as Paris mayor.

Nevertheless, a poll in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper showed that the French consider him to have been their best president of the modern era, alongside Charles de Gaulle.

An initial multi-faith prayer was held around the coffin in the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides cathedral at the Invalides memorial complex with close family, including his daughter Claude.

His wife of six decades Bernadette, 86, was however not present.

Members of the public were then allowed in to view the coffin, draped in a French flag and flanked by a picture of a waving Chirac.

Thousands lined up in a queue that wound around the Invalides complex for almost one kilometre, braving rainy weather and the prospect of a long wait.

Allowed to enter in small groups, some crossed themselves while others took photos and even selfies.

“Chirac represented a certain era,” said Marin Menzin, 21. “If he had seen the queue today, he would have jumped into the crowd to shake hands.”

Putin to attend service 

 

The French presidency had since Thursday night thrown open the doors of the Elysee Palace for anyone wanting to write in condolence books. By the time the doors shut on Saturday evening, 5,000 people had done so.

The national day of mourning in France Monday will see a minute of silence observed in all public institutions and schools.

The coffin of Chirac will at 0900 GMT Monday leave the Invalides, under a military escort through the streets of Paris, before arriving at the Saint-Sulpice church for a final memorial service attended by President Emmanuel Macron.

The Elysee said some 30 heads of state and government are expected to be present, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Former leaders who worked closely with Chirac, notably including German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, will also be there.

Chirac’s successors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, will attend, the Elysee said. France’s current political class will all be there, including far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose father and former far-right chief Jean-Marie Le Pen made no secret of his enmity for Chirac.

In a rare public appearance, also present will be the third president of France’s modern fifth republic Valery Giscard d’Estaing, 93, who has now outlived his successor Francois Mitterrand who died in 1996, and Chirac.

In the final act, Chirac will be buried at the Montparnasse cemetery in southern Paris, next to his daughter Laurence who died in 2016 aged 58 following a battle with anorexia.

 ‘No angel’ 

Perhaps Chirac’s most significant political decision was opposing the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He also presided over a significant cut in road deaths, acknowledged France’s role in the deportation of Jews in World War II and warned of the risk of climate change before it rose high on the political agenda.

But many tributes focused not on policy achievements but the sheer charisma and genuine love for his country of a man who Macron said Thursday “embodied a certain idea of France.”

According to the Ifop survey in Le Journal du Dimanche, based on interviews with 1,015 people, 30 percent of French now see Chirac as their best president, the same rating as de Gaulle.

“It’s clear Chirac was no angel,” the paper wrote in an editorial, saying he had sometimes overstepped the mark for sake of power.

“But to experience all these tests and embody the spirit of a nation, is this not the legacy of a great president? It is at least that of a great man,” it wrote.

AFP

Mugabe To Be Buried At Home Village

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for a mass at the family homestead in Kutama village, 80km northwest of Harare, on September 17, 2019.

 

Zimbabwe announced on Thursday that ex-president Robert Mugabe will be buried at his home village in Zvimba as requested by his family.

The government said the family of the former leader, who died in Singapore on September 6 aged 95, “has expressed its desire to proceed with his burial in Zvimba”.

“Government is cooperating with the Mugabe family in their new position,” government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in a statement.

Tensions erupted after the government proposed a burial at the National Heroes Acre while the family insisted on a private ceremony in Mugabe’s homestead.

Government did not state the burial date, but “all the necessary support” will be provided “to give the late former president a fitting burial as led by the family.”

The family was not immediately reachable for comment, but a close family associate and some local private media said the burial would take place on Saturday.

“The position as I understand it is that the body will be in Zvimba today for burial on Saturday,” a source close to the Mugabe family told AFP.

The former guerilla leader, who came to power at the end of white minority rule in 1980 and ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted for 37 years and seven months, died of prostate cancer, according to his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He was toppled on November 2017 in a military-backed coup, ending an increasingly iron-fisted rule marked by political oppression and economic ruin.

Mugabe’s health deteriorated rapidly after the ousting and he made regular trips to Singapore to seek treatment.

His burial place was caught up in a dispute between his family — who wanted to bury him at his rural homestead Zvimba — and the government, which pushed for the body to rest at a national monument in the capital.

Two weeks ago the family said they had agreed that he would be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument, in about a month, once a mausoleum was built for him.

But on Thursday they made an about-turn, reverting to their original plan.

AFP

Tunisia Ex-President Ben Ali Buried In Medina

Former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali 1987 poses for an official picture in front of the Tunisian flag.  Handout / AFP

 

Tunisia’s former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was buried in the Muslim holy city of Medina on Saturday, witnesses said, after he died in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Ben Ali, who died Thursday in the city of Jeddah, was laid to rest at Al-Baqi cemetery next to the Prophet Mohammed’s mosque and a place of great reverence for Muslims.

Some of his family were to receive condolences on Sunday in an upmarket suburb of Tunis, according to a small notice published in Tunisia’s La Presse newspaper.

Ben Ali, the first leader to be toppled by the Arab Spring revolts, died aged 83.

He ruled his North African country from 1987 until 2011 and was viewed by some as a bulwark against Islamist extremism, but he faced criticism for muzzling the opposition and his reluctance to embrace democracy.

Eventually, growing frustration over unemployment and high prices snapped.

In late 2010, a young trader in Sidi Bouzid, in the impoverished centre of the country, set fire to himself in protest at humiliation by police.

That sparked protests which rocked Tunisia and triggered a deadly clampdown.

But the protesters won: on January 14, 2011 Ben Ali fled Tunisia for Saudi Arabia where he stayed until his death.

His rapid departure sparked a string of similar uprisings across the region, toppling Egyptian and Libyan strongmen Hosni Mubarak and Moamer Kadhafi.

The ex-leader’s wife, Leila Trabesli, who has led a comfortable and discreet life in exile with daughters Nesrine and Halima — along with son Mohamed — has little incentive to return home.

She faces heavy sentences for embezzlement, alongside possession of weapons, drugs and archaeological artefacts.

Ben Ali himself was sentenced several times to life in prison, including for the bloody suppression of protests in the last weeks of his autocratic rule that killed more than 300 people.

He never faced justice.

AFP