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Over 500 soldiers, civilians killed by terror acts in Q1, 2022 in Mali – UN report

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A report by the United Nations on Monday said over 500 civilians have died in attacks carried out by armed forces and Islamist groups in Mali from January to March this year.

The U.N.’s Malian mission, known as MINUSMA, said in the report that “Malian Armed Forces, supported on certain occasions by foreign military elements, increased military operations to combat terrorism … some of which sometimes ended in serious allegations of violations of human rights,”

Mali has been at the centre of controversies amidst its fight against terrorism. Earlier in the month, the junta announced that Bamako would break off from its defence ties with her former colonial rulers, France, citing “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty but French troops based in the West African country.

It is reported that at the heart of the rift between France and authorities in Bamako is whether Mali should enter into negotiations with the jihadist groups that continue to rampage across the north and centre of the country. Bamako is in favour of opening discussions while Paris sees negotiations with jihadists as a red line that must not be crossed.

Between the time frame of the UN report. The EU and the US have both condemned Mali’s alleged use of Russian based mercenaries the (Wagner Group) to fight terrorists and alleged attacks on civilians.

According to MINUSMA, the most notable case of civilian attacks was in the town of Moura, where witnesses and rights groups say the Malian army accompanied by white fighters killed scores of civilians they suspected of being militants.

The recent figure by the UN makes it a 324% rise over the previous quarter and highlights the failure of Mali’s military junta to limit human rights abuses or stop groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State from carrying out campaigns of violence.

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.

Musings From Abroad

Despite heavy security presence, Libyan protesters step up campaign, vow to continue demonstrations

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Libyan protesters have vowed to step up its campaign and continue with their demonstrations until all the ruling elites quit power and pave way for elections.

The protests which began on Friday, saw the burning of the country’s parliament building in Tobruk when a large crowd broke through the security and set the building on fire.

The incident prompted the government to release thousands of security personnel into the streets but the demonstrators were not deterred as they defied the presence of the forces on Saturday and Sunday by holding rallies in Tripoli, Tobruk, and Benghazi, and other major cities in the North African country.

While addressing the protesters, leaders of the movement said they would step up its campaign from Sunday, urging demonstrators to set up tents in city squares and practise civil disobedience until they achieve their goal of ousting political institutions and holding new elections.

Libyan Observer reports that the protesters held their biggest rally in Tripoli for years, chanting slogans against the feuding political elites, as demonstrators blocked off roads in Benghazi and Misrata and set fire to government buildings in Sebha and Qarabuli.

The media also reported that despite pleas by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the demonstrators are bent on going on with their daily protests until they force the ruling elites out.

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Musings From Abroad

US commends Kenya’s effort at resolving Rwanda/Congo tension

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The US has praised Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta for his effort at resolving tensions between East African neighbour, DR Congo and Rwanda.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with President Kenyatta in a phone call on Thursday describes Kenya’s move as the best approach to end armed conflict in the troubled east of the country.

The US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said of the phone call, that “Secretary Blinken expressed his appreciation for the Nairobi process, which has brought together the leadership of the DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.

“The Secretary noted these heads of state meetings are instrumental for facilitating the de-escalation of regional tensions, and in particular between the DR Congo and Rwanda.”

The acrimony between the countries was pronounced last month when Rwandan military authorities accused the armed forces of neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo of cross-border attacks.

Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, last week called on the East African regional bloc to deploy East African force to the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to restore security following renewed fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels which has seen thousands killed and displaced since the resumption of hostilities.

Although the move to deploy the forces has been commended by the US, United Nations and the African Union, Congolese politicians and the public have expressed reservations about the proposed deployment of peace troops. They said the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) would be duplicating roles of the UN Mission (Monusco) as well as other existing interventions currently on the ground.

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