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Scores feared dead as Somalia’s Al-Shabab militants launch attack in Ethiopia

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Somali-based Al-Shabab militants have claimed responsibility in a cross-border attack on Thursday in Ethiopia’s Afdher region where an unspecified number of people were killed.

According to Ethiopian police report, the invasion triggered gunbattles with Ethiopia’s paramilitary Liyu police which also led to an unknown number of casualties in what is believed to be the first time al-Shabab has launched an attack in Ethiopia.

Somali military also report that dozens of al-Shabab fighters crossed into the Afdher zone of Ethiopia’s Somali region late Thursday whee they carried out the attack.

The military intelligence report, quoting its Ethiopian counterparts, says ar least 87 al-Shabab militants were killed in the fighting.

The Liyu police on Saturday also confirmed that al-Shabab attacked and took control of several of their positions but confirmed that all positions have since been recaptured, witht police suffering heavy casualties.

Though the al-Shabab group has not commented on the attack, it acknowledged attacking the Somali border towns of Washaaqom, Aato and Yeet on Wednesday, where Liyu police are known to be present.

Security experts in the country believe the group may be trying to show it is still dangerous, and may also believe that Ethiopian forces have been weakened by the Tigray conflict and they believe they can easily overrun the vulnerable areas.

Metro

US air strikes targets al-Shabaab Islamists in Somalia

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Several US air strikes have taken out several al-Shabaab commanders and their strongholds in Somalia, according to state media reports on Wednesday.

A statement by Somalia state own media said US military carried out air strikes against the al-Shabaab fighters in the central Hiran region on Tuesday, killing several fighters and their commanders.

The report said the air strikes followed a request from the Somali government following renewed attacks by the rebel group in different parts of the country.

A statement by the US-Africa Command based in the Horn of Africa country said airstrikes in June and July killed seven jihadist fighters flatter an increased in attacks on government targets in recent months by the insurgents.

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Sierra Leone: Parliament passes law to protect locals from land grabs

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The parliament in Sierra Leone has passed two laws that is widely believed will boost the rights of rural landowners and women.

The Customary Land Rights Act and the Land Commission Act, both enacted on Monday, will protect against land grabs by big mining and agribusiness firms.

The new laws empower local landowners to negotiate the value of their land with investors and prevent it being leased out without their express consent.

An official of international legal advocacy group, Namati, Eleanor Thompson, said “to our knowledge there is not a legal regime anywhere, in either hemisphere that grants such robust rights to communities facing harm.”

The move is also praised by Gerben Haringsma who is the director of SOCFIN, the biggest agribusiness company in Sierra Leone, called it a “dream of NGOs”.

“Certainly, it will block any investment… It makes things very expensive and we are all prone to enormous blackmail by various communities.” Haringsma remarked.

Sierra Leone has a history of sometimes deadly conflict between local communities and foreign companies that have cleared huge tracts of land for palm oil and sugarcane plantations in recent years.

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