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South Africa: Gunmen make spectacular attempt to rob 3 cash vans

Reports say that three trucks were hit in two attempted cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies on Tuesday

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Reports say that three trucks were hit in two attempted cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies on Tuesday.

Fidelity CEO Wahl Bartmann confirmed one of their trucks was bombed at about 7.30pm on the N2 close to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

“The truck was shot to bits‚” Bartmann said. “At this stage it looks like they could not blow open the truck. It looks like they twice tried to bomb the vehicle.”

No money was stolen. The police were still on the scene when contacted by TimesLIVE on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday evening‚ two G4S trucks were hit on the N8 between Bloemfontein and Botshabelo in the Free State.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo confirmed the incident before she left to visit the scene.

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UN report estimates 43,000 died in Somali drought in 2022

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A new report released on Monday by the United Nations has estimated that at least 43,000 people died in Somalia’s longest drought on record in 2022, with half of the victims being children under five years old.

The report which is the first official death toll announced in the drought that ravaged large parts of the Horn of Africa, added that more than 18,000 people, and as many as 34,000, are forecast to die in the first six months of this year.

The report which was put together by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Agency and carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, feared that the current crisis is far from over with neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya both facing a sixth consecutive failed rainy season while rising global food prices and the war in Ukraine complicate the hunger crisis.

“Famine is the extreme lack of food and a significant death rate from outright starvation or malnutrition combined with diseases like cholera,” part of the report said.

“A formal famine declaration data shows more than a fifth of households have extreme food gaps, more than 30% of children are acutely malnourished and over two people out of 10,000 are dying every day.”

Responding to the report, the U.N. resident coordinator in Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, told journalists on Monday that the risk of famine still remains imminent going into the year.

“The death rate was increasing as the year came to a close. The hardest-hit populations are in Bay and Bakool in southwest Somalia and displaced people who have fled to the capital, Mogadishu.”

“Millions of livestock have died in the current crisis compounded by climate change and insecurity as Somalia battles thousands of fighters with al-Qaida’s East Africa affiliate, al-Shabab,” he added.

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Gunmen kill nine Chinese nationals at Central African Republic mine

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Armed gunmen have killed nine Chinese nationals and wounded two at a gold mining site in the Chimbolo region of Central African Republic, authorities said on Monday.

The attack on Sunday, according to the Mayor of Bambari Town which oversees Chimbolo, Abel Matipata, occured when the gunmen stormed the mining site and overpowered the guards before opening fire indiscriminately.

The attack came a few days after gunmen kidnapped three Chinese nationals in the country’s west near the border with Cameroon, which prompted the CAR President, Faustin Archange Touadera, to plan a trip to China in a bid to reassure investors.

Local media reports that the assault on the Chimbolo gold mine began around 5 a.m. at the site which was launched just last week.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion fell on the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), which is active in the area and regularly launches attacks on the country’s armed forces, according to local media.

However, the CPC, an alliance of rebel groups aligned with former President Francois Bozize, in a statement,has blamed the attack on Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group.

Its spokesman, Mamadou Koura, said the allegations by the government that it was behind the attack were false.

He claimed that Russian mercenaries had planned the attack “with the goal of scaring Chinese who have been present long before the Russians settled in this part of the country.”

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