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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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Tunisia-US relations develop cracks, no thanks to President Saied’s ‘one-man’ rule

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The once chummy relations between Tunisia and the United States is gradually developing serious cracks as a result of President Kais Saied drifting into a one-man authoritarian rule.

Before the rift, the US was Tunisia’s main donors but according to US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, in a statement on Thursday, Saied’s power grab leaning on an authoritarian government and the “dream of self-government” for the country was in danger.

Austin’s comments is coming on the heels of previous US criticism of Saied in the wake of the adoption of a controversial constitution that further empowers the President and undermines the country’s post-2011 democratic gains.

“Across Africa, those who support democracy and freedom and the rule of law are battling the forces of autocracy, chaos and corruption,” Austin said at a US Africa Command ceremony.

“We can feel those headwinds in Tunisia, where people inspired the world with their demands for democracy,” he said.

The standoff has already seen the US cut back on aids to Tunisia following political instability in the North African country which is gradually sliding towards autocracy and analysts believe the situation could cast a shadow over Tunisia’s quest to obtain a lifeline from the IMF to avert the crumbling of its public finances.

Before the recent condemnation by Austin, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken had also decried Tumis8 drifting into a one-man under Saied.

“Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people’s hard-won gains since 2011,” Blinken had said following the constitution referendum held on July 25.

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DR Congo’s main opposition leader, Jean-Marc Kabund, arrested

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A main opposition leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Marc Kabund, has been arrested by government forces after he made an alleged uncomplemetary remarks on President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

Kabund, a former right-hand man of Tshisekedi, fell out with the President and became a prominent opposition leader, was arrested after a controversy raged over a remark about his one-time boss.

Kabund who was a former vice president of parliament had a falling out with President Tshisekedi earlier this year, after which he launched his own political party.

Following the breakup with the incumbent president, Kabund has been under investigation in recent weeks on charges that authorities have not specified, but his lawyers say he is accused of contempt of the head of state after a speech whete he called the President “a danger” to the country.

“They did not respect the procedure. Today they came after the hearing and arrested him despite his parliamentary immunity,” Kabund’s lawyer, Henriette Bongwalanga said after he was arrested.

Kabund was a leading figure behind Tshisekedi’s rise to power but fell out with the President over difference which highlighted fault-lines in the country’s leadership.

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