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Mali accused of ‘hostage taking’ after authorities refused release of detained 46 Ivorian soldiers

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The back and forth regarding the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested by Mali has continued with Ivory Coast accusing Bamako of “hostage-taking”.

The accusation comes after Malian authorities laid out conditions for the release of the detained soldiers who have been held in Mali for two months.

Three female soldiers among the 49 were released last week.

Authorities in Bamako arrested 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast in July and labelled them “mercenaries”, claiming that the soldiers came to Mali to work for a contracting company of the United Nations mission.

Ivory Coast’s Chief of Staff, General Lassina Doumbia August, revealed that “negotiations are continuing” for the release of 49 Ivorian soldiers detained since July 10 in Mali.

Mali’s military ruler, colonel Assimi Goïta last Friday mentioned the necessary “compensation” for the advancement of the talks. “When Ivory Coast, asks for the release of its soldiers, (it) continues to serve as a political asylum for certain Malian personalities subject to international arrest warrants”, Goïta said.

A source close to the Ivorian presidency told newsmen on Sunday, that “it’s a hostage-taking that will not remain without consequences.” The source added that Ivory Coast would continue to seek a solution through “diplomatic channels”.

The diplomatic up brouhaha is expected to be a point of discussion at the extraordinary summit of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to be held next week in New York.

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Lesotho to hold parliamentary election as political instability rages

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Southern African nation, Lesotho will hold its parliamentary elections on Friday despite political instability rocking the country following the inability of politicians to pass constitutional reforms meant to end years of conflicts.

The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) which has been in power in the country since 2017, has continued to battle with internal divisions within the party which led to the appointment of two prime ministers in five years.

One of the prime ministers, Thomas Thabane, stepped down in 2020 after he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife.

His successor, Moeketsi Majoro, declared a state of emergency in August this year after legislators failed to pass two bills meant to end political volatility in parliament.

But in September, Lesotho’s highest court ruled the declaration unconstitutional.

The proposed constitutional reforms would have amended everything from the role of political parties, to rules over floor-crossing in parliament, the appointment of senior officials and the role of the prime minister.

The aim of the proposed reforms, according to the Prime Minister, was to make Lesotho less prone to political logjams when disagreements occur but the lawmakers had failed to agree on them.

The general elections scheduled to be held in on October 7, will see the election of120 members of the National Assembly and the Lower House of Assembly.

According to the guidelines for the elections, the 120 members of the National Assembly will be elected using the mixed-member proportional representation system, with voters casting two votes.

Eighty members are elected from single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, with the remaining 40 elected from a single nationwide constituency as leveling seats, which are allocated to make seat totals reflect the national vote share.

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President Tshisekedi of Congo DR appoints new military chiefs amidst growing unrest

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The presidency in the Democratic Republic of Congo has replaced the head of the armed forces as part of broader military reforms aimed at boosting efficiency.

President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Christian Tshiwewe Songhesha, former commander of the Republican Guard, an elite unit in charge of protecting the head of state.

Songhesha replaces Célestin Mbala Musense as the army chief of staff, the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The president’s deputy director of communications, Giscard Kusema, told journalists that the wave of appointments is part of a broader framework of military reform.

He further revealed that “almost the entire staff has been replaced by young officers. Several are from the Republican Guard, but not all, and that’s because they have proven themselves.”

“For years, all the experts have been asking for a military programming law that gives more financial autonomy to the army and flexibility in procedures,” Kusema added.

Congo is one of the troubled zones of East Africa. between 1998 and 2003, government forces supported by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe fought rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda in what is known as the Second Congo War.

Unfortunately, the wave of unrest does not seem to be over as the country remains a territory for terror acts with multiple attacks lately.

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