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Musings From Abroad

Despite withdrawal from Mali, over 3,000 French troops still in Sahel region, — Colonel, Pierre Gaudillière

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Despite the total withdrawal of French troops in Mali, France has revealed that some 3,000 French troops are still deployed in the Sahel.

French general staff made the revelation on Wednesday, two days after the total withdrawal from Mali.

Mali on Wednesday asked the United Nations Security Council for an emergency meeting to stop what it describes as “acts of aggression” by France.

The general staff told journalists that “as part of the re-articulation of Operation Barkhane out of Mali, about 3,000 soldiers will remain engaged in the Sahel and will carry out their missions from existing holdings in Niger and Chad, alongside our African partners: military combat partnership, operational military partnership, logistical operations.”

Spokesman for the General Staff, Colonel Pierre Gaudillière, said “the end of the presence of French soldiers in Operation Barkhane in Mali does not mean the end of Operation Barkhane. The transformation of Operation Barkhane is much more profound than this departure from Mali,”

“It is part of a new partnership approach with African countries that request it,” he continued, taking the example of Niger, where the French and Nigerien armies “conduct joint patrols and joint training.

Mali under Colonel Goita has been at diplomatic loggerheads with France. It started by breaking defense alliance with the French, the junta also quit the anti-jihadist force, G-5 force but has enjoyed good relationship with Russia.

The French presidency said Monday, “France remains committed to the Sahel,” as well as “in the Gulf of Guinea and (in) the Lake Chad region,” as jihadists affiliated with al-Qaida and Islamic State groups, long contained in the Sahel, are now nibbling away at the ground further south.

France has had its relationship with some African countries turn sour lately with recent anti-French protests in some parts of the continent. The government in Gabon was forced to stop planned protest in May. There were also pockets of “anti-French” protests in South Africa in the month.

Musings From Abroad

South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, wife, get royal invite to visit Britain

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Preside Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa is set to make a state visit to Britain in his first visit to the United Kingdom since King Charles became the constitutional monarch.

The Buckingham Palace said on Monday that President Ramaphosa and his wife, Tshepo Motsepe, have accepted an invitation from the new British monarch for the Nov. 22-24 state visit.

President Ramaphosa’s visit will be in line with former South African presidents, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and Jacob Zuma all made state visits to Britain.

Camridge scholars, Henshaw, and Peter James argued in a study that Britain and South Africa continued to be bound closely together both by common interests and by mutually advantageous bargains founded on Britain’s indispensibility as a market, a source of goods, technology, and capital, and as a military ally.

Britain is South Africa’s fourth-biggest export market. In 2021, Britain exported 4 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) of goods and services to South Africa.

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Musings From Abroad

Two Liberian Maritime officials arrested for alleged rape in South Korea while on seminar

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Two top Liberian Maritime Authorities staff who were in South Korea for a seminar were on Saturday, arrested and detained by the Asian country’s police for allegedly raping two teenage girls.

The suspects identified as Moses Owen Browne and Daniel Tarr, were arrested at a hotel in the southeastern city of Busan after a friend of the victims reported the case to the police, the Busan police said in a statement.

Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and Tarr, a Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), were in South Korea on a government mission to the IMO, which means they were representing the West African country at the programme.

According to a statement on the LiMA website condemning the incident, the officials were in South Korea attending the “International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit” when this alleged incident occurred.

“LiMA unequivocally maintains a zero-tolerance stance on any types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.

“Liberia Maritime Authority will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, under national and international Law,” the statement read.

The South Korean police said it plans to seek formal arrest warrants for the two men which would allow them to hold the suspects in custody for up to 10 days before charging them to court.

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