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Ukraine withdraws troops from DR Congo’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission

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The Ukrainian government has withdrawn its 250-strong troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, saying the country’s military needs the soldiers back home to help fight the invading Russian forces.

The withdrawal of Ukraine’s aviation unit from the mission was earlier announced in March, but experts had warned that the withdrawal could leave the UN mission seriously short of helicopters for its aerial operations.

Ukraine had contributed eight fighter helicopters to the mission which made up a third of the UN fleet in the MONUSCO but the withdrawal of the troops on Saturday means that the vital components of the mission has been removed.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the Eastern European country has pulled out its troops from other UN peacekeeping missions where they had been deployed.

A DR Congo’s parliamentary defence committee member, Jacques Ndjoli, who spoke with the BBC on the withdrawal, said it was relatively serious, but pointed out that bringing peace to the country was primarily the responsibility of the Congolese Army.

In the past few months, the UN mission in the DR Congo has been under immense pressure to wind down its operations in the country with widespread criticism over its failure to restore peace in the eastern parts of the country where different armed groups have operated for three decades, killing, raping and looting the region’s rich minerals resources such as gold and diamonds.

Many have also called for the operation of the mission which has been in the country for 22 years, to be winded down as it has become one of the largest and most expensive of the UN’s 12 peacekeeping missions around the world.

Metro

Somali military tribunal jails wife of Islamic State leader eight years

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A Somali military tribunal has sentenced the wife of a leader of the Islamic State terrorist group to eight years in prison for “passing on information and organizing financial transactions for the group.”

According to a top Somali military official, the convict, Fartun Abdirashid, the wife of the head of the Daesh (IS) group in the country, Abdiqadir Mumin, was sentenced on Monday after she was found guilty by a military court in Mogadishu.

“Fartun Abdirashid has been under the custody since her arrest in March last year in Mogadishu. Her husband is Abdiqadir Mumin, who is the head of the Daesh group, a terrorist organization linked to the Islamic State,” the military official said.

The Somali public prosecutor’s office, said the suspect was accused of frequently transferring $100 to $200 to the group’s members, and also had a working relationship with Bilal Al-Sudaani, a senior Islamic State group official who was killed last Wednesday in a U.S. raid in the northern Bari region.

Mumin, who was a former al-Shabab cleric, had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2015, and has led his group to hold a smaller but significant footprint in Somalia compared to the al-Shabab terrorist group that has carried out numerous attacks in the country.

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30 killed, 20 missing as tropical storm, Cheneso, sweep across Madagascar

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At least 30 people have been confirmed killed while 20 are missing following flooding and landslides caused by a tropical storm, Cheneso, which swept across Madagascar over the weekend.

The Madagascar National Office for Risk and Disaster Management, in a provisional assessment on Monday, said, the storm which made its first landfall in the northeast of the Indian Ocean island nation last Thursday, has so far impacted close to 89,000 people.

The Madagascan Meteorological Agency in a statement, said the storm, which has now passed across the country into the Mozambique Channel, saw winds gusting up to 170 kilometres per hour (105.63 miles per hour) and unleashed torrential rains.

The director of the Risk and Disaster office, Colonel Faly Aritiana, also said there had been house collapses and landslides in which people were trapped.

“People have been reacting generally in the right way, but some people have not been taking enough note of our warnings not to cross rivers in flood because the flow is much stronger than usual,” Aritiana said.

“The storm has damaged infrastructure, with many roads cut by rising waters, landslides and collapsed bridges,” he added.

Local media say nearly 33,000 people have had to leave their homes in the Boeny region, in the northwest of the island, while the prices of basic foodstuffs have skyrocketed.

“Prices of vegetables and rice increased a lot after the storm with the cost of tomatoes quadrupling. The merchants say it’s because the national road is cut,” it added.

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