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Mauritania summons Malian ambassador over ‘criminal act’ on citizens at borders

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The foreign ministry of Mauritanian on Tuesday accused Mali’s army of crimes against Mauritanians after protesters in the capital charged they had been killed “in cold blood”.

The ministry summoned the Malian ambassador to protest the recurring acts.

Mauritania shares a 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) border with Mali, where the junta seized power in 2020.

Mali’s ambassador Mohamed Dibassy had been called in to hear a “strong protest against the recent, recurring criminal acts”, committed by the army following the disappearance of several citizens just over the border, the ministry said.

Dozens of people had demonstrated earlier in the day outside the presidency demanding revenge and an end to disappearances they said had been carried out by Mali’s soldiers over recent days.

Protesters held up placards claiming the Mauritanians had been killed “in cold blood” in the border area south of Adel Bagrou, in the east of Mali.

Mauritanian Member of Parliament, Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Henenna, told newsmen that at least 15 of his countrymen had been killed.

The government in Nouakchott promised to investigate, but there was no immediate response to the charges from Mali.

Seven Mauritanians died in Mali in the same region, near Nara, in January. The Bamako authorities announced an inquiry and said there was no evidence linking the army to the deaths.

Unverified voice recordings posted on social media quote witnesses blaming the Malian army for the disappearance of as many as 30 Mauritanians.

The ministry noted in a statement carried by the national news agency that a senior Mauritanian delegation had gone to Mali after the January deaths “to try to contain this hostile behaviour towards our citizens”.

“Despite the assurances given” by the Mali authorities, their response had been “below expectations”

A Mauritanian diplomat, speaking anonymously, offered a warning to the junta in Bamako.

“We have clearly told the Malians that if this continues, we will close the border,” he said.

Mali has sought to improve ties with Nouakchott since the West African ECOWAS bloc of nations, Guinea apart, closed their borders with Mali in January to sanction the junta for delaying a return to civilian power.

Politics

Congo DR electoral body, CENI, announces date of presidential election

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The electoral authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Commission Electorale Nationale Independente (CENI) have announced dates for the next presidential election.

CENI on Saturday said the election will take place on December 20th next year.

The commission outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of miles, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The incumbent president, Felix Tshisekedi, who already expressed his intention to run again. He might be running against Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election and was denied victory.

Terrorist activities, largely by a rebel group, M23 have drawn reactions from stakeholders in the East Africa region and global observers. The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

According to the electoral authorities, insecurity remains the main challenge for the next elections.

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Congo DR rebel group, M23 wants direct talks with government. Will Kinshasa concede?

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The M23 rebel group, which has been at loggerheads with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has asked for a direct talk with the government.

The positions are days after the deadline for the declaration of a permanent truce between the worrying battles.

Leaders of Rwanda, Burundi, and Angola met this week in Luanda to find a solution to the conflict in eastern Congo, which has forced thousands to flee their homes.

But the M23 was not part of the discussions and found out about the statement on social media, its spokesperson said.

The spokesperson of the group, Lawrence Kanyuka, “thanked the regional leaders for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current conflict.”

“Give us direct negotiations with the government to resolve the root causes of conflict that are producing all these wars here,” he said. M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa also issued a statement to the same effect.

Meanwhile, Congo DR’s foreign minister Christophe Lutundula said: “It won’t happen. I can reassure you on behalf of the government and the President of the Republic.”

The M23 is a rebel military group based in eastern areas of the DRC, mainly operating in the province of North Kivu.

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