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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.

Metro

M23 rebels take control of Kitshanga in eastern DR Congo

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The M23 rebels have announced that its fighters have seized control of the strategic town of Kitshanga, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after days of intense fighting.

The DRC military authorities also confirmed in a statement late on Friday that its forces have withdrawn from the town in a tactical move to protect civilians in the face of a renewed offensive by the rebel militia.

“We have tactically withdrawn from the city in order to attract these genocidal forces deep into the city and avoid the worst for our people in Kitshanga,” spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, said in the statement.

“We are making every effort to dislodge this enemy,” he added.

Videos then emerged on social media showing the M23 fighters celebrating and claiming they had captured the town.

The M23 rebels said it took control of Kitshanga town on Thursday night after capturing several villages on the road linking the town of about 60,000 people to the provincial capital, Goma.

In an earlier statement, M23′s spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, has accused government troops of attacking civilians in Kitchanga and elsewhere, and said the rebel group was “obliged to intervene and stop another genocide”.

While condemning the recent development, the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), said more than 500 people, including women and children, are seeking refuge at its base in the town of Kitshanga.

MONUSCO spokesperson, Ndeye Khady Lo, said civilians fleeing from Kitchanga have been given tents, food, water and first aid.

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Metro

237 African migrants rescued off Libyan coast

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Not less than 237 African migrants were on Friday, rescued after their makeshift boat capsized off the Libyan coast while navigating the dangerous Mediterranean Sea, on their way to Europe.

French medical charity, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which carried out the rescue mission, said the migrants were rescued by its chartered rescue vessel, Geo Barents, which was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, north of the country’s capital Tripoli, when it received a distress call.

“The Geo Barents ship encountered other overcrowded rubber dinghies with migrants attempting to reach Europe and took them on board,” the NGO said.

“Following instructions by the maritime rescue coordination centre, the ship then sailed towards the northern Italian port of La Spezia.l,” it added.

The MSF and other NGOs operating rescue vessels off Africa’s northern coast have accused the Italian government of deliberately assigning far away ports to discourage their operations, an accusation the Italian Interior Ministry had denied.

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