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Cameroon separatist forces enforce curfew in English-speaking northwest region



Separatist forces in Cameroon on Monday, enforced a curfew in the English-speaking Northwest region districts of Oku, Kumbo and Kakiri after President Paul Biya announced he had ordered troops to move to the region and crush the rebellion.

In a statement, Cameroon’s military said it deployed scores of troops to the troubled region where the Ambazonia separatists declared independence and have been fighting for self determination.

In the statement, the military said armed gangs sealed markets, chased people and vehicles from the streets and abducted scores of civilians who did not comply with their orders.

A resident who fled the conflict told reporters that there has been serious gun firing between the Ambazonia rebels and federal forces from Saturday to Monday while the towns have become ghost-towns with empty streets as many residents were forced to flee to safety in neighbouring Nigeria.

He said the situation, especially in Kumbo for the past two days “has been very, very precarious,” he said.

The resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said battles between troops and rebels intensified after President Biya’s New Year’s Eve speech where he said many rebel groups have been crushed and the threat from separatists has been significantly reduced.

A deputy defense chief for the Ambazonia Defence Forces, Capo Daniel, however, dismissed Biya’s claims that their forces have been significantly reduced.

“That Paul Biya mentioned that peace is returning is laughable. Ambazonia-controlled areas have largely increased. Nineteen Cameroon military men were targeted in Bui and some of them were airlifted for treatment.

“There have been some arson attacks by the Cameroon military in Bui as well as in Oku. Ambazonia will not give up their fight until we have achieved our goal of independence,” Daniel said.

Separatist groups in the English-speaking Cameroon launched their rebellion in 2017 after what they said was years of discrimination by the country’s French-speaking majority, with the United Nations saying the conflict has killed more than 3,500 people and displaced over 750,000.


Somali military tribunal jails wife of Islamic State leader eight years



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



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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