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Malian military helicopter fires rockets close to UK peacekeepers’ location

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The UK Ministry of Defence has confirmed that a Malian military helicopter on Wednesday, fired several rockets close to the location of British members of a UN peacekeeping force in the country.

The incident which was also confirmed by the United Nations, was the first of its kind between Mali which is backed by Russian forces, and the UN peacekeepers, a UN official said, adding that the peacekeepers were all safe and accounted for.

“We are aware of a recent incident in Mali in which rockets were fired by a Malian Armed Forces helicopter close to a detachment of UK personnel.

“All UK personnel are safe and accounted for, and the circumstances surrounding this incident are being investigated,” the official said.

The incident, according to a diplomatic document, took place in the area of Tessit, near Gao city, about 950 kilometres north-east of Bamako, the capital, where the Malian army helicopter allegedly fired six rockets in quick succession.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said an investigation into the events was under way.

On March 31, Africa News Watch had reported how a United Nations helicopter carrying eight peacekeepers and UN observers was shot down by rebels in Congo, leaving no survivors.

The Congolese Army which confirmed the incident, hadrevealed that the helicopter was carrying out reconnaissance for the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo along with another helicopter when it was attacked.

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Ruling junta, politicians sign agreement for civil transition in Sudan. Will it work?

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An agreement for a civilian-led transition that will last for two years has been made between Sudanese political parties and the military.

The arrangement is toward elections and ends a sometimes violent standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021.

The power-sharing arrangement between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition was delayed due to the absence of a Prime Minister after a coup in 2021.

The military under the new arrangement agreed it would only be represented on a security and defence council headed by a prime minister.

The military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said civilians should control politics and guide foreign policy. Signatories applauded when he repeated a slogan used by protesters to call for the army to exit politics: “Soldiers belong in the barracks, and parties go to elections.”

Recall that Sudanese politician, Wagdi Salih was released from prison on Sunday ahead of the discussion surrounding the coalition agreement.

Meanwhile, the transition plan does not seem to have sat well with some session of the public as security officers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters about 1-1/2km from the presidential palace on Monday over the development.

One of the protesters, 36-year-old state employee Ahmed Fateh al-Rahman, said. “We want justice for our martyrs, trial for the military, and civilian rule.” “We will defeat this agreement because it is an extension of the coup.”

Will the arrangement lead to lasting progress in the political crises facing the East African country?

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Zambia’s Vice President, Mutale Nalumango, to visit Ivory Coast for summit on nutrition

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Zambia’s Vice President, Mutale Nalumango is set to visit and attend the African Union (AU) High-level meeting to address issues of nutrition on the continent.

Fourteen member countries are participating in a two-day meeting which includes governments, experts, and cooperating partners.

The Vice President Permanent Secretary for Administration, Lilian Kapusana confirmed the journey on Tuesday.

Among other issues, the Vice President will reaffirm the commitments by the ruling government’s commitment to ensuring food security in the country.

“Mrs. Nalumango will address the challenges and milestones made in food and nutrition together with our cooperating partners who gave implemented projects in addressing issues of malnutrition and stunted growth in the country,” Ms. Kapusana said.

Participating countries at the summit are expected to reaffirm commitments to improving food and nutrition through agreements that will be signed during the course of the deliberations.

The United Nations Children’s Fund reported that in 2021, six million children are affected by life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in West and Central Africa.

Hopefully, the summit on nutrition will end with concrete measures to address some of the issues like land and crop degradation, periodic droughts and weather-related shocks, poverty, limited access to basic food staples and essential services, and population growth, which all contribute to emergency levels of malnutrition in the region.

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