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US launches first airstrike against al-Shabab militants in Somalia since announcing return of troops

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The United States has launched an airstrike targeted at al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants in Somalia; the first since Washington announced that US Special Operations Forces would return to the Horn of Africa nation following the conclusion of a protracted election that returned former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to power last month.

The Somalian Ministry of Information announced the airstrike on Friday on Twitter, saying it had “targeted al-Shabab militants near Beer Xaani, west of the southern city of Kismayo, after they had attacked Somali forces.”

According to the ministry, initial estimates indicated that at least five al-Shabab fighters were killed in the strike while there were no civilian casualties.

Friday’s airstrike against al-Shabab came after US announced in mid-May that it would reestablish a “small, persistent US military presence in Somalia,” following the withdrawal of its troops stationed in the country by former President Donald Trump in December 2020.

Pentagon officials had described the move which would see about 500 US special forces working outside of Somalia, as a repositioning, noting that the troops had been flying into the country to periodically work with the Somali military.

President Mohamud who welcomed the US plans, had described President Joe Biden as Somalia’s “best friend.”

Condemning the decision of the Trump’s administration to withdraw the US troops, Mohamud, through one of his Special Advisers, described it as not only a wrong decision but ill-advised and hasty.

“This was a wrong decision taken. Withdrawal was a hasty decision.

“It disrupted counterterrorism operations. To reinstate and start with the new president is the right decision, and it came at the right time,” said the adviser who asked not to be named because his position in the administration had not yet been made public.

Somali officials have also said they hope a persistent US military presence in Somalia will lead to an increase in airstrikes against the al-Shabab group who have been carrying out intensive bomb attacks in the country including an attack on an African Union (AU) base in April which killed 10 Burundian peacekeepers and injured 25 other soldiers.

Metro

Nearly €20 million in contention as Chad arrests top oil sector, banking officials

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An investigation into embezzlement at the national oil company in Chad has led to the arrest of a group of senior officials from Chad’s oil and banking sectors.

According to the government, the arrest has been on over the past 10 days.

The Minister of Communication and government spokesman, Abderaman Koulamallah on Sunday said the embezzlement of 13 billion CFA francs (nearly 20 million euros) within the Chadian oil company (SHT) and the National Security Agency (ANS), the internal and external intelligence services, is conducting the investigation.

Among those arrested is the former private secretary of General Mahamat Déby, Idriss Youssouf Boy. Michel Boayam and Tahir Issa Ali Souleymane were also questioned in the framework of the investigation.

“Many people have been arrested and some have been released as part of the investigation into financial misappropriations of 13 billion CFA francs at the SHT.

“The case is currently being handled by the judiciary” and some of the defendants will eventually be presented to a judge at the end of the preliminary investigation, the spokesman added, without giving any details of the charges.” Koulamallah told journalists.

Chad is a modest oil producer, with 47 million barrels in 2021, The central African country joined the circle of African oil producing and exporting countries in the early 2000s and its economy is now very dependent on it.

It is not uncommon to identify corrupt trend in oil sector in Africa. Report says the 2005–2014 oil boom raised incentives for corruption across the oil industry’s value chain. A highly diverse set of private sector actors engaged in corrupt behavior.

Chad’s neighbour, Nigeria, who is also Africa’s largest oil producer, is perhaps the biggest reference to corruption in oil sector in the continent. Efforts from the Nigerian government to investigate and curtail the ill can be traced to the 1950s during the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime. A panel of enquiry was set up to investigate a Two Billion, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira fraud which could not be accounted for by the NNPC.

The cases of corruption in the sector once again raises question if the liquid tressure has been a blessing or curse to the “black continent.”

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326 Mozambican Police officers dismissed for involvement in crimes since 2020

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The Mozambican Police Force (PRM), has dismissed 326 officers from the force since 2020 over their involvement in different crimes which include extortion, bribery, use of excessive force and violence against citizens.

The dismissal of the police officers was as a result of a 2020/2021 report on human rights abuse in the country put together by the Mozambican Bar Association (OAM), which was released last week in Maputo.

According to the 2020 report, many arbitrary detentions persisted including situations of people being locked up for more than 48 hours in cells and detainees driven to prisons without any magistrate validating their detention.

“Among various abuses, the violence practiced by the police also includes physical assault, arbitrary detention and sometimes even murders.

“For instance, four police officers were sentenced to the maximum penalty of 23 and 24 years in prison, for their involvement, on 7 October 2019, in the murder of the executive director of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations of Gaza (FONGA), Anastácio Matavel,” the report stated.

The OAM also recommended exemplary disciplinary, administrative and criminal accountability of those police officers involved in violence against citizens, as well as modification of the requirements for admission of candidates for a police career, ensuring that only persons who show a commitment to the cause of law and order and public security are admitted.

The OAM also called for the dissemination of information on crimes of violence committed by the police, including the names of the officers involved and the disciplinary measures taken.

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