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Many injured as DR Congo protest against regional force turns violent

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Many people were reportedly injured on Wednesday after police in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo reportedly fired tear gas and live bullets at crowds of people protesting against the presence of regional forces in the region.

The East Africa regional force which is composed of soldiers from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Burundi, was deployed in November 2022 to enforce peace if that part of the country, but the people and activists in the region have accused the troops of inability to curb insecurity and have staged protests against the forces.

On Wednesday, thousands of people took to the streets of the provincial capital, Goma, to demand the withdrawal of the forces from the province but the demonstration turned violent when police fired tear gas and live bullets at the protesters.

Local media reported that at least two journalists were hit by tear gas cannisters, but survived without injuries, while two other journalists have been taken into police custody.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Mayor of Goma had banned the protests and said that only representatives of the activists would be allowed to drop a petition at his office.

“The regional force has appeared to be making progress but with the continued attacks by the M23 rebels in the region, the people have become disenchanted and have clamoured for the forces to leave the province,” a local activist said.

However, the M23, has already handed over previously seized territories in line with an agreement reached by heads of state at a summit last year in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

But while justifying the presence of the forces in the mineral-rich North Kivu province, DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, said the M23 rebels had not withdrawn from those areas, but were moving around and redeploying more rebels in the area.

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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Metro

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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