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African Union calls for caution as Sudan-Ethiopian border clash escalates

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The African Union has called for caution and restraint as clashes between Ethiopia and Sudan in the disputed al-Fashaqa border area is threatening to escalate into a full-blown war.

The tensions broke out after Sudan accused Ethiopia of executing seven of its troops on Sunday, which Ethiopia blamed on a local militia, leading to Sudan forces firing into the disputed area on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Ethiopian authorities said Sudanese military had captured Jabal Kala al-Laban, an area on the border after using heavy artillery.

The clashes have taken place around the al-Fashaqa region, where land disputes between Sudanese and Ethiopian farmers have simmered for decades.

In a statement on Wednesday, the AU appealed for the warring parties to exercise “complete refrain from any military action, whatever its origins,” and called for dialogue between Sudan and Ethiopia to resolve any dispute.

A Sudanese political analyst, Shawgi Abdulazim, who spoke with journalists on the conflict, said a broader war is unlikely because both countries are politically and economically fragile and a war could have disastrous effects.

“I don’t think this will lead to broader conflict, it will continue to be small clashes here and there.

“Always these small clashes are happening at the beginning of the rainy season in this area, because the farmers start cultivating their farms.”

Metro

First UN humanitarian food aid ship leaves Ukraine for Africa

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A first United Nations humanitarian food aid vessel loaded with grain left Ukraine on Friday for Africa to supply to country’s affected by conflicts and droughts.

The vessel will carry the first shipment of humanitarian food aid to Africa under a UN-sanctioned deal to move grain trapped by the Russia/Ukraine war, with the aim helping to relieve a global food crisis.

Though previous ships with grain that were permitted to leave Ukraine under the deal were not humanitarian, this is the first of such UN humanitarian food aid under the scheme.

The ship, MV Brave Commander, left the Yuzhne, Ukraine, east of Odesa on the Black Sea coast after being loaded with wheat and will first travel to Djibouti, where the grain will be unloaded and sent to Ethiopia, according to the UN.

Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, announced in a tweet that the vessel would be loaded with 23,000 metric tons of grain bound for Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, which are some of the countries in facing the worst drought in over 40 years.

UN spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, who confirmed the development, said
“the wheat grain will go to the World Food Program’s operations in Ethiopia, supporting WFP’s Horn of Africa drought response as the threat of famine stalks the drought-hit region.

“It is one of many areas around the world where the near complete halt of Ukrainian grain and food on the global market has made life even harder for families already struggling with rising hunger,” Dujarric said.

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Over 150 endangered vultures poisoned to death in South Africa, Botswana

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Not less than 150 endangered vultures in South Africa and Botswana have been poisoned to death, according to conservationists who warned that the mass killings could push the birds closer to extinction faster.

A conservation group, Vulpro which raised the alarm on Friday, said the vultures were poisoned in separate incidents.

The group said more than 50 white-backed vultures were found dead in Botswana’s northern Chobe district on Friday, while about 100 others were discovered in South Africa’s Kruger National Park the same day.

“The repercussions of these poisonings are huge. It’s breeding season so their chicks will not survive and breeding pairs have been lost for good,” the organisation wrote in a tweet.

“Vulture populations cannot withstand these losses and the threat of extinction creeps ever closer,” it wrote in another tweet.

Vulpro’s founder, Kerri Wolter, who expressed worries over the attacks, said in both cases, the birds died after feeding from the carcass of a buffalo, which appeared to have been laced with poison.

Park officials in South Africa said they were investigating the incident, adding some of the carcasses appeared to have been harvested for their body parts.

According to a wildlife group in South Africa, vulture poisoning is very common in the southern African region as the heads and other vital parts are used in preparing traditional medicine.

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