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Separate terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali kill 11 soldiers, scores wounded

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Separate attacks by suicide bombers in Mali and Burkina Faso, two countries battling terrorist insurgents, have killed eleven soldiers and four civilians on Sunday.

According to a statement by the military in Mali, suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives into three military camps in central Mali before dawn, six were killed and 15 wounded at the Sevare camp, and five were wounded at two other locations.

In northern Burkina Faso, Mali’s neighbour also troubled by insurgents, armed gunmen attacked a military detachment in Gaskinde in the early hours, killing five soldiers and four civilians, two security sources told journalists.

The Mali War started in January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa with several insurgent groups, Jihadist and separatist fighters with affiliations with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, which they called Azawad.

The junta in Mali has sought the help of private fighters belonging to Russia’s Wagner Group, accused of committing abuses in other countries and sanctioned by the European Union.

Several bodies like the United State, European Union, and the United Nations have raised concern over the use of mercenaries – The Wagner Group by the Malian Army. 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.

Mali and Russia have previously said they are not mercenaries but trainers helping local troops with equipment purchased from Russia. The Russian government denies ties to the Wagner Group.

Terrorist activity in Burkina Faso also involves religious terrorism conducted by foreign-based organizations, although some activity occurs because of communal frustration over the lack of economic development. Recent attacks are concentrated in the Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, Nord, Sahel, and East regions, along the border with Mali and Niger. A series of attacks in Ouagadougou in 2016, 2017, and 2018 by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its affiliates was particularly deadly, garnering international attention.

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Two Liberian Maritime officials arrested for alleged rape in South Korea while on seminar

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Two top Liberian Maritime Authorities staff who were in South Korea for a seminar were on Saturday, arrested and detained by the Asian country’s police for allegedly raping two teenage girls.

The suspects identified as Moses Owen Browne and Daniel Tarr, were arrested at a hotel in the southeastern city of Busan after a friend of the victims reported the case to the police, the Busan police said in a statement.

Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and Tarr, a Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), were in South Korea on a government mission to the IMO, which means they were representing the West African country at the programme.

According to a statement on the LiMA website condemning the incident, the officials were in South Korea attending the “International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit” when this alleged incident occurred.

“LiMA unequivocally maintains a zero-tolerance stance on any types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.

“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, under national and international Law,” the statement read.

The South Korean police said it plans to seek formal arrest warrants for the two men which would allow them to hold the suspects in custody for up to 10 days before charging them to court.

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Interim Malian PM accuses France of stabbing country in the back following withdrawal of troops

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Interim Mali’s Prime Minister, Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga, has accused its former colonial masters, France, of “stabbing” the West African country in the back following the withdrawal of the European country’s military in August.

Maïga who addressed the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) holding in New York on Saturday, criticised France for taking a “hasty” decision by withdrawing its troops from the country which is still battling to contain the incursions of jihadist militants and terrorists.

“The world will remember that, after being abandoned in mid-air on 10 June 2021 by France’s unilateral decision to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali, my country was then stabbed in the back by the French authorities,” Maïga said.

“In view of the seriousness of the acts committed by the French, Mali, in its letter dated 15 August 2022, requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

“The purpose of this meeting is to allow Mali to present the evidence in its possession, demonstrating that the French army has repeatedly attacked my country.

“I would like to say that the Malian people have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. They fully support the government in rebuilding Mali and in returning to a peaceful and secure constitutional order in March 2024, following free, transparent and credible elections,” the Interim PM added.

France had withdrawn its troops from Mali following several accusations by the Malian government against members of its forces including extrajudicial killings, after its first military intervention in 2013, leading an effort to oust Islamic extremists from taking control of northern Malian towns.

The withdrawal of the French troops ended its nine years presence in the country in a bid to stabilise the country amid repeated attacks by insurgents.

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