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Niger parliament approves deployment of foreign forces in fight over terrorism

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Amidst the increased rate of terrorist attacks in Niger, the majority of the country’s parliament has voted in favour of the deployment of foreign forces on their territory to fight jihadists.

135 majority of the 166 parliament members supported the move to hire mercenaries in the push to overcome insurgence.

Niger’s Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, insisted that the move to deploy foreign forces in the fight does not question the country’s sovereignty.

“Entering into new partnerships in no way calls into question our sovereignty over the national territory”. Mahamadou remarked.

The Prime Minister also revealed that the recent departure of French and European forces from Mali “constitutes a major factor in worsening the security situation” along the 800km border between Niger and Mali.

Until recently, the relationship between Mali and France seems smooth with French-led military intervention ousting jihadists who were taking control of northern Mali but the relations have deteriorated with Mali’s new military leaders, who seized power in a 2020 coup.

Niger is involved in fighting against jihadist movements with links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State groups and has the support of several western countries such as France and the United States.

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French journalist Galindo covering AU meeting detained in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia claims that a French journalist who came to cover the last African Union (AU) Assembly conference is being held in detention for violating his rules of accreditation.

Prior to the AU Summit, Antoine Galindo, a journalist with the French investigative news site Africa Intelligence, is said to have arrived in Addis Ababa. However, on February 21, he was arrested, charged, and then placed under detention again.

On Monday, a number of international press organisations called for his release, despite Addis Ababa’s contention that the reporter had broken rules.

The Nation was informed by an Ethiopian government spokesman that Galindo was only able to cover the summit and its associated activities due to his credentials.

“The Ethiopian Media Authority (EMA) has not issued any other permit to cover other local issues,” the spokesperson told the Nation on Monday.

“Police have therefore accused him of operating outside the accreditation he was given to cover the AU Summit plus accused him of engaging with members of militant forces that the country has outlawed for their attempts to destabilise a nation.”

The producer of intelligence reports on Africa, Indigo Publications Group, denounced the “unjustified arrest on February 22 and subsequent detection of one of its journalists in Addis Ababa.”

According to the employer, it informed the EMA in writing in January that Galindo will in fact also be covering certain local “Ethiopian affairs” and that it would like to speak with some officials.

While on a reporting assignment in Ethiopia, Galindo was reportedly arrested at approximately 3:55 p.m. and placed under arrest by the cops. Since then, he has been held at the Bole District’s Addis Ababa Police Commission.

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ECOWAS folds, lifts economic, travel sanctions on junta-led Niger, others

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Economic sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso were lifted with immediate effect by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday.

This came after the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held an unprecedented meeting at the State House in Abuja, where they deliberated for hours on the political, peace, and security situation in the region.

Mali and its bordering junta-run nations, Niger and Burkina Faso, abruptly announced last month that they were abandoning ECOWAS, the largest political and economic union in West Africa, reversing decades of regional integration.

The ECOWAS Commission President, Dr. Omar Touray, announced the Authority’s resolutions and stated that it has halted the closing of the air and land border with Niger, creating a no-fly zone for any commercial aircraft.

Additionally, it has halted the unfreezing of all of Niger’s assets at EBID and the freezing of any financial transactions involving the central bank of the ECOWAS states and Niger.

Additionally, it removed the restriction on military junta members’ and their families’ travel. “Based on humanitarian considerations due to lent and the approaching month of Ramadan,” according to Touray, the decision was made.

Sanctions against Mali citizens being elected to ECOWAS positions were also lifted by the authority. Along with the lifting of sanctions against Guinea, all four nations were extended an invitation to future ECOWAS technical consultative meetings.

Additionally, ECOWAS requested that the member states that were withdrawing reevaluate their choice in light of the advantages their citizens had received.

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