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Jihadists now control 40% of Burkina Faso, ECOWAS mediator, Mahamadou Issoufou confirms

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Former President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou who was recently appointed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as a mediator to Burkina Faso, has claimed that about 40 per cent of the land mass is under the control of jihadists while the military government has control of 60 per cent.

Issoufou made the claim on Saturday in the capital Ouagadougou, after holding talks with military government officials on the country’s timetable for a return to democratic rule.

“Today, 40 per cent of the territory is out of the control of the state. Burkina Faso today is facing a multidimensional crisis: security, humanitarian, political and socioeconomic.

“These events, very painful, prove how difficult the security situation remains,” Issoufou said, following the talks with the military government’s leaders led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

In recent months, the West African country has witnessed increased militia attacks and violence which had led to the killing of many civilians, with last week’s massacre of 89 people in the northern village of Seytenga, being one of the worst massacres in the country’s history.

Reacting to the killing, Issoufou said the regional bloc will do everything possible to help the country return to democratic rule which was truncated by the military who seized power in January.

When Damiba overthrew elected president Roch Marc Christian Kabore in the putsch, he had accused the president of failing to adequately tackle the violence of the rebels, and said restoring security would be his top priority.

As a result of the coup, ECOWAS suspended the country and threatened punitive measures unless its military rulers speed up the process to restore democracy.

But despite the military administration, Burkina Faso has been caught up in an escalating wave of violence attributed to rebel fighters allied to both al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group.

The violence has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced 1.9 million people to flee their homes.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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