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Militants in Mali sustain attacks on counter-terror forces

After its Friday suicide attack on the Mali headquarters of a regional Sahel force known as G5, militants in Mali on Sunday rammed a bomb-laden car into a patrol convoy carrying soldiers belonging to the French counter-terror force Barkhane in the northern Malian city of Gao, killing at least two civilians, officials said

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After its Friday suicide attack on the Mali headquarters of a regional Sahel force known as G5, militants in Mali on Sunday rammed a bomb-laden car into a patrol convoy carrying soldiers belonging to the French counter-terror force Barkhane in the northern Malian city of Gao, killing at least two civilians, officials said.

The Friday attack killed two soldiers and a civilian.

The Malian defence ministry said at least two civilians were killed in the attack near the northern exit of the city.

About a dozen people, including both civilians and soldiers, were wounded, the ministry added.

The ministry had initially said that French soldiers were among the dead, but they later revised that statement. A French army spokesman confirmed that a patrol of around 30 soldiers had come under attack in Gao on Sunday and that there were a number of civilians killed, but would not immediately give more details.

“There are several injured among the French soldiers who were travelling in two vehicles and which were completely destroyed in the explosion. Their base has been evacuated.”

France began a military intervention in Mali in January 2013 to drive out al Qaeda-linked militants who hijacked a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs and attempted to take control of the central government in Bamako.

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Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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Politics

DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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