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Civilian deaths, use of mercenaries in central Mali village ‘extremely disturbing’ – United States

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The US State Department on Sunday says it is following “extremely disturbing accounts” of large numbers of people killed in a village in central Mali.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the country countered the claims of Malian Army that its troops killed over 200 jihadists in military operations in the centre of the Sahel state. The UN said it has heard reports of civilian deaths, raising human rights concerns.

In a statement, Price said there were conflicting reports about who was responsible for the killings that took place in late March in the village of Moura, about 250 miles (400 km) northeast of the capital, Bamako.

The US also raised concern over the use of mercenaries – The Wagner Group by the Malian Army in the clash. The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization variously described as a private military company, a network of mercenaries, or a de facto private army of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We are concerned that many reports suggest that the perpetrators were unaccountable forces from the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group. Other reports claim the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) had targeted elements of known violent extremist groups,” he said.

“These conflicting reports illustrate the urgent need for the Malian transition authorities to give impartial investigators free, unfettered, and safe access to the area where these tragic events unfolded.”

Mali has been a point of concern for the international community lately with Goïta’s continued stay in power. Recall that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ramped up sanctions on Mali after Goïta took over the government in August 2020. Mediators for the regional bloc had also been to Bamako in recent weeks to broker peace and transition into civil government.

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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