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DR Congo accuses M23 rebels of breaching peace truce, killing civilians

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The Democratic Republic of Congo has accused accused the M23 rebels of breaking a five-day old peace deal and killing 50 civilians in the country’s turbulent east.

The ceasefire which took effect in the North Kivu province at the weekend, was the outcome of a summit between DRC and its neighbours, Rwanda, which was to have been followed by the rebels pulling out from captured territory, a withdrawal that has yet to take place.

The ceasefire was scheduled to take effect on Friday, November 25, at 1600 GMT and be followed by a pull-out by the M23 two days later, after a parallel initiative undertaken by the East African Community (EAC), decided to deploy a regional force to help stabilise the region.

Spokesman for the DRC Army, General Sylvain Ekenge, in a statement on Thursday, said the M23 insurgents was “carrying out massacres, the most recent of which is that of 50 Congolese civilians, heinously murdered on Tuesday in Kishishe, a village some 70 kilometres north of the eastern city of Goma.”

Ekenge claimed that while Congolese forces had “scrupulously observed the truce”, but that the M23 had attacked government positions.

But on Friday, the rebel group issued a statement denying the alleged massacre of civilians.

In its statement, the M23 described the accusations of a massacre in Kishishe as “baseless allegations” and insisting that “it has never targeted civilian populations,” M23’s military spokesman, Willy Ngoma, said, while confirming that there was fighting with the army.

A DRC security official who spoke speaking on the condition of anonymity, accused the M23 of having breached the ceasefire and “carrying on looting and fighting”.

“The fighting is heavy; we are using heavy artillery. Fighting resumed on Thursday in Kirima, about 10 kilometres from the town of Kibirizi after the rebels crossed the bridge, heading for Kibirizi,” said the DRC army officer.

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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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