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Egypt born spiritual leader of Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, dies aged 96

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An influential Egyptian-born Sunni Muslim scholar and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has died at the age of 96, the movement announced.

The news which was announced on Monday on Sheikh Al-Qaradawi official Twitter account, said the cleric who was formerly the Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, passed away in Qatar, where he lived in exile after his home country, Egypt, had declared him wanted as a result of the activities of the Brotherhood.

Sheikh Al-Qaradawi who was born in Egypt in 1926 under British colonial rule, studied the religious sciences during his youth, combining it with his Islamic education and anti-colonial activism.

Al-Qaradawi was arrested several times throughout the 1950s as a result of his political activism, as well as his association with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, eventually led him to move to Qatar in the 1960s, where he acquired the position of Dean of the Faculty of Shariah at Qatar University, and been living there in self-exile.

Even while in exile, Al-Qaradawi was still an active critic of the Egyptian government and openly condemned the 2013 military coup against the democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi who was a key member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He was also opposed the new government under Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and following his condemnation of the new regime, he was unable to return to Egypt for a second time, after his first exile prior to the 2011 revolution.

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Rwanda accuses US of inflaming crisis in eastern DRC

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The government of Rwanda on Tuesday, accused the United States as well as the international community of ‘exacerbating and inflaming’ the crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The accusation was made by the Foreign Affairs Ministry after the US urged Kigali to stop any support for the M23 rebels who have a base in a Rwandan territory.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had in a telephone call on Sunday to Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said “it was clear that all external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must end, including Rwanda’s support for M23.”

But in a press release published on Tuesday, the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, affirmed that Paul Kagame and Anthony Blinken “had had good exchanges but that differences remain on the understanding of the problem.”

“The erroneous approach of the United States and the international community continues to exacerbate the problem in the east DRC.

“Rwanda’s security problems must be taken into account… M23 should not be equated with Rwanda,” Biruta said.

The crisis in eastern DRC between government forces and the M23 rebels which is made up of mainly Tutsi ethnic group, a predominant tribe in Rwanda, has continued to heighten tensions between the two neighbours with the DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting and encouraging the militia, accusations Kigali has always denies.

Rwanda on its part, has often blamed the crisis in eastern DRC on authorities in Kinshasa and accused the international community of turning a blind eye to DRC’s support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel group made of Rwandan Hutus who were involved in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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Somali forces, local vigilantes, recapture strategic town from Al-Shabaab terrorists

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The Somali National Army (SNA), alongside local vigilantes popularly called Mo’awisley, on Monday, recaptured the strategic city of Adan Yabaal from the al-Shabaab terrorist group, the military said in a bulletin on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the town located near the border between Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions that comprise Hirshabelle State, which is about 220 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu, is one of the five federal member states of the Federal Government of Somalia, and had been a strategic location held by the al-Qaeda-sponsored extremist group.

The SNA said in the bulletin that it met no resistance from the al-Shabaab fighters who left the town without posing resistance on getting information about the approach of the federal troops.

Al-Shabaab have lost most of the towns and settlements in Hirshabelle State, both Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions, after the SNA and Mo’awisley vigilantes waged offensive wars.

“Mo’awisley vigilantes, who are mainly composed of nomadic herders, took up arms and rebelled against the jihadists’ confiscation of their livestock and illegal tax collection known as zakawaat.

“Over the last couple of weeks, the government forces and the vigilantes have been gradually inching towards the town which they seized on Monday. The town had been under the full control of al-Shabaab for over a decade,” the bulletin said.

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