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Mali’s military junta breaks off defence ties with France

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Mali’s ruling military junta has announced that the country would, beginning from Monday, break off from its defence ties with her former colonial rulers, France, citing “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty bu French troops based in the West African country.

Mali’s military spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga who made the announcement in a televised statement on Monday, said it was time the Malian government cut off all accords with France due to various abuses and deteriorating military cooperation.

“For some time now, the government of the Republic of Mali notes with regret a profound deterioration in military cooperation with France,” Maiga said.

Tne statement also cited multiple instances of French forces having violated the country’s airspace, referring specifically to the June 2021 decision by France to end its joint operations with Malian forces.

Monday’s announcement which had been in the pipeline for weeks after the military junta had threatened several times, was the latest confirmation of the deteriorating relations between the two countries following a build up of tensions between France and the junta since the military seized power in August 2000.

The agreements being severed, had set the framework for France’s intervention in Mali in 2014, which saw France deploye a large force to help Mali’s armed forces stop a jihadist offensive there.

But in February, France decided to pull out its troops after falling out with the military junta, particularly over its disagreement with the Kremlin.

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2023: Nigeria’s ruling party presidential candidates, Tinubu, Masari, can’t find certificates. What we know so far

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Kabiru Masari, the running mate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Nigerian presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the coming 2023 general elections, has declared that his school certificates and other vital documents including the certificate to landed properties, are missing.

Masari’s declaration of missing certificates, is coming barely a week after his principal, Tinubu, also declared that he could not explain the whereabouts of his primary and secondary schools certificates after soldiers invaded his house while he was in self-exile during the fight against military regime in Nigeria shortly after the June 12, 1993, presidential election, which was annulled by the General Ibrahim Babangida-led military regime.

While explaining how he lost his certificates, Tinubu had said the documents were among his personal effect destroyed when his property at the Balarabe Musa Crescent in Victoria Island, Lagos, was set ablaze by agents of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, in 1997.

Tinubu’s Form EC9, which was published on Friday by the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, revealed that the former Lagos State governor did not fill the columns for his primary and secondary school education, which generated a lot of controversies, leading to some opposition political parties and civil society groups threatening court actions.

But while Nigerians were still grappling with the idea of a presidential candidate without the basic primary and secondary school certifications, Masari, who was named as a ‘placeholder’, effectively meaning he is a temporary vice presidential candidate while the party looks for a suitable replacement, also announced that he is in the same boat as Tinubu.

In a sworn affidavit he deposed to on July 17, 2021, and submitted to the INEC, Masari claimed that the Grade II certificate he allegedly obtained from the Katsina State Teachers’ College and his primary school certificate were missing.

He also said told the electoral umpire that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a plot of land in Katsina State were also missing.

“Sometimes in January 2021, while on transit within Wuse Area, FCT-Abuja, I discovered that my original Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of Plot, No KT 17522, GRA Katsina, Katsina State; Certificate of Kaduna State Development Centre from 1994 – 1995 were missing,” the affidavit reads.

“Also missing were Grade II Certificate from Katsina Teachers’ College (KTC) from 1978 –1983 and First Leaving School Certificate issued by Masari Primary School in Katsina State from 1972 – 1978.

“Efforts made to trace the documents proved abortive hence this affidavit,” he added in the sworn affidavit.

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Guinean Prime Minister, Mohamed Béavogui meets political parties to mitigate tension

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In the bid to address tension that has bedeviled its political space, Guinean Prime Minister, Mohamed Béavogui has met with political parties.

The meeting comes after the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) suspended its call for a demonstration which would have been the first major protest rally under the now ruling junta.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister stressed that “it is essential that each of us here understand once and for all that the only agenda that counts is that of the people.”

Guinea’s pressure group, The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) had called for a nationwide demonstration against the West African country’s military junta earlier this month. The group also led protests against former President Alpha Conde, calling against the ban imposed by the junta on public protest.

Mohamed Béavogui, told the political parties, civil society organizations and trade unions that “only an inclusive approach, adapted to the Guinean reality, will enable us to lay the foundations for the good life together that we all aspire.

“We have already set up an inter-ministerial council, a group of colleagues. We are going to refine the group as we go along… You also have to get organised. The government is counting on the good faith of all the participants in this consultation.”

Mr. Béavogui concluded by asking participants to “send their contributions” by July 1. He did not set any new meeting dates.

Guinea is one of the West African countries that have recently experienced a military takeover of government. Mali and Burkina Faso are part of the negative trend. There has been pressure on the countries from the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for transition into civil government.

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