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UN deploys more troops to Mali tri-border area with Burkina Faso, Niger as terrorist attacks continue

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The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has deployed two units to the African country’s tri-border area with Burkina Faso and Niger to respond to a spate of civilian killings, it said on Thursday.

This comes after a recent surge in terrorist attacks in the troubled West African country. One of such was the attack on two Egyptian peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in Mali MINUSMA and two Malian soldiers were killed last month in two separate events in Mali.

The special United Nations peacekeeping force was established in Mali on 25 April 2013 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2100 to stabilize the country after the Tuareg rebellion of 2012. It was officially deployed on 1 July and has become the UN’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission, with 209 peacekeepers killed out of a force of about 15,200.

“The security situation in the Tri-border area… particularly in the localities of Tessit, Talataye, Ansongo and the Menaka region, has deteriorated considerably in recent weeks,” said the U.N. peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA.

MINUSMA deployed one unit to the area over a week ago and was in the process of deploying another on Thursday, it said, adding that the attacks have resulted in “dozens of deaths”.

At least 500 civilians have been killed in the last three weeks in the regions of Gao and Menaka, said a military source, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

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 National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an organization fighting to make this area of Mali an independent homeland for the Tuareg people, had taken control of the region by April 2012.

Until recently, French-led military intervention ousted jihadists who were taking control of northern Mali, and troops remained to provide support for anti-terrorist operations. But deteriorating relations with Mali’s new military leaders, who seized power in a 2020 coup, have prompted France to reconsider its role in the country.

Metro

Zambian government moves to retrieve body of student killed while fighting in Russia-Ukraine war

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Zambian authorities have resolved to send a delegation to Russia next week to retrieve the body of a 23-year-old Zambian student, Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, who died while fighting for the Russian military in Ukraine.

Nyirenda’s family and the government are, however, still waiting for answers from Moscow on how he was recruited into the army while serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia.

Spokesman for the Zambian Ministry of Information and Media, Thabo Kawana, who confirmed this in a statement on Saturday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is spearheading efforts to bring the body of Nyirenda back to the country for burial.

“The government is also offering support during this trying moment and doing everything they can to arrange for the funeral and repatriation of the body back to Zambia,” Kawana said.

“Using our diplomatic channels and our all-weather cooperation between Russia and ourselves, we will be able to get to the bottom of this matter,” he added.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo, at a press conference earlier in the week, said that Nyirenda who had been studying at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, was serving a nine-year prison sentence for a drug offense.

He said Nyirenda was killed on the front lines in September, but Russian authorities only just informed Zambia of the death while Zambia is demanding answers over the student’s death and why he had been sent to Ukraine.

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Algerian court sentences 49 people to death for lynching citizen over forest fires

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An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death for lynching and burning a citizen, Jamal Ben Ismail, and mutilating his body in the Kabylia region after he was wrongly accused him of causing a vast forest fire in which over 90 people were killed, the Algerian Press Service reports.

However, according to the Algerian moratorium on executions enacted in 1993, the sentences would be concerted to life imprisonment terms.

The report by the APS on Friday said the Casablanca Court of First Instance in Algiers, also handed down judgements “ranging from ten to two years enforceable imprisonment against 28 defendants, in addition to fines ranging from 100 to 200,000 Algerian dinars, while it acquitted 17 other defendants.”

“All the accused were prosecuted on multiple charges, particularly the offence of committing “terrorist acts and subversion against the state security and national unity, involvement in deliberate and premeditated murder.

“Other charges were assault with violence against members of the public force, dissemination of hate speech and incitement to destroy the property of others and armed gathering,” according to the APS.

Local media reports that the then 38-years-old Ismail, had voluntarily gone to a town in Tizi Ouzou in the northwest of the country to help extinguish forest fires.

“When he learned that some of the town’s residents suspected him of being involved in setting fires because he was a stranger to the region, he rushed to hand himself to the police, however, a large crowd of angry citizens snatched him from the hands of the police, tortured him, burned him alive and mutilated his body,” a media report said.

Some videos circulated on social media showed crowds surrounding the police car where Ben Ismail was held, they then dragged him out and started beating him.

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