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Liberian narcotics officials nab two more suspects in $100 million cocaine heist

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Liberian narcotics officials, acting with top intelligence supplies by the United States security agencies arrested two foreign nationals suspected to be part of a drug syndicate that smuggled cocaine worth $100 million into the West African country last week, the agency reported on Wednesday.

The Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), had, on Friday, arrested a Guinea-Bissaun national, Malam Conte after he had accompanied the drugs in a ship and delivered them to a frozen food company, TRH Trading Incorporation, Lebanese-owned company.

The LDEA had also said its operatives were on the trial of other members of the drug smuggling cartel said to have facilitated the movement of the drugs into the country.

The agency statement confirming the arrest of the new suspects, said one of them who is also a citizen of Guinea-Bissau, was arrested in Monrovia, while the second suspect, a Lebanese, was caught while attempting to flee the country.

The LDEA said it was still on the heels of two other members of the cartel, a Brazilian and a Portuguese, who are still on the run.

A spokesman for the LDEA said that cocaine which weighed 520 kilograms, and largest cache ever seized in the country, were concealed in a huge consignment of frozen poultry products that had been delivered to a cold storage facility near Monrovia’s seaport.

“Drug enforcement personnel, acting on the American tip, stormed the facility moments after the container had arrived and arrested a Guinea-Bissaun national, Malam Conte who had accompanied the drug consignment.

“We are now trying to determine whether the drugs were transiting through Liberia or whether this was its last destination,” the statement said.

“The success of this operation is the direct result of excellent communication between law enforcement agencies around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Liberia,” it added.

Metro

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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