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Anti-terrorism: Burkina Faso’s junta announces military zones, forbids activities

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The military junta is Burkina Faso has created two “zones of military interest” where “all human presence is forbidden” in the north of the country.

The leader of the transitional government, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, made the decision in order to combat growing deadly jihadist violence in the region.

The decision came after Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba convened the High Council of National Defence (CSDN) on Monday “around the security situation still worrying” in the country, “despite the efforts made by the defence and security forces in the fight against terrorism.”

“The CSDN has decided to create two zones of military interest, notably in the eastern and Sahel (northern) regions,” he said, adding that the decision was taken “for greater efficiency in the fight against the terrorist hydra.

The commander of operations of the national theatre (COTN), Lieutenant Colonel Yves Didier Bamouni, explained that any activity or human presence will be prohibited at the risk of exposing oneself “to the military operations that will be conducted there shortly”

The CSDN also decided to create a patriotic defence and surveillance brigade (BVDP) which will bring together all the volunteers for the defence of the fatherland (VDP), civilian auxiliaries already engaged in the anti-jihadist struggle in the various communes of the country.

Terrorist activity in Burkina Faso  has involved religious terrorism conducted by foreign-based organizations, although some activity occurs because of communal frustration over the lack of economic development. Recent attacks are concentrated in the Hauts-Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, Nord, Sahel, and East regions, along the border with Mali and Niger.

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Tragedy as 22 die in South African night club

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At least 22 people have died from exposure to poisonous substances in a popular nightclub in East London, South Africa.

Bodies of the victims were said to have been found on chairs early on Sunday morning at the scene occurred at Enyobeni Tavern in the city.

Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department, told Reuters: “We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death. We are talking 22 bodies right now.”

Police spokesperson, Tembinkosi Kinana, said “the incident is still under investigation, we do not want to make any speculations at this stage.”

Meanwhile, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his condolences to the families affected.

The president in a statement said he was worried about the circumstances under which young people, potentially under the age of 18 years, were allowed to gather at the tavern but said the law must take its course once investigations conclude.

Night life is a big part of South Africa’s entertainment industry with is the largest market for food and drink in sub-Saharan Africa, and a large and competitive hospitality industry.  According to a study by Statistics, South Africa, spending on alcoholic drinks such as Wine and Beer trumps that on other beverages such as Tea and Coffee.

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Gabon, Togo become newest members of Commonwealth group of nations

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Gabon and Togo have become the latest countries to be admitted into the Commonwealth Group of Nations following their acceptance at the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.

The two African Francophone nations were formally admitted to the group after years of trying to join the 54 nations bloc, bringing the number to 56, the first since Rwanda joined in 2009.

The admission of Gabon and Togo by the Commonwealth on Saturday, which was the highlight of the summit as it drew to a close, sees a continuing expansion of the group of nations beyond ex-British colonies as smaller states seek to benefit from the group which is projected to bring $2 trillion in trade by 2030.

While welcoming the new nations in his closing remarks at the summit, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said:

“We have admitted Gabon and Togo as new members, and we all welcome them to the Commonwealth family.”

Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey said the membership of the country has opened the door to 2.5 billion consumers in the Commonwealth realm, offered new education opportunities, and tapped a craze for English among his countrymen.

“Togo’s membership is motivated by the desire to expand its diplomatic, political, and economic network… as well as to get closer to the English-speaking world,” he told a news conference.

On his part, Gabonese President Ali Bongo said his country was “making history” by joining the group after 62 years of its independence.

“Sixty-two years after its Independence, our country is getting ready to breakthrough with a new chapter. It’s a world of opportunities for Gabon on the economic, diplomatic & cultural levels,” Bongo said in a statement on Twitter.

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