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Over 100 killed as Somali forces, al-Shabaab engage in fiercest battles since August

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A fierce battle between Somali forces and al-Shabaab militants on Friday led to the killing of over 100 persons on both sides, according a government statement on Saturday.

The statement noted that the fighting was the deadliest since August last year when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a total war on the al-Qaeda-backed terrorists with massive military offensives.

While the government statement asserted that more than 100 al-Shabaab extremists were killed after they attacked a Somali National Army base in the Galgudud region village of Galcad, the militants, in its counter statement, said its fighters killed scores of soldiers in the attack.

The government statement said seven soldiers, including an officer from the elite, US-trained Danab brigade, were killed in the “intense attack” but asserted that the military remained in control of the base.

But a spokesman for the al-Shabab militants, Sheikh Abu Musab, asserted that more than 150 Somali soldiers and officers were killed.

A resident of Galcad, Abukar Uluso, who spoke to journalists, confirmed heavy gunfire exchange between the government forces and the terrorists.

“It was during the dawn prayer when I heard the sound of explosions followed by an exchange of gunfire,” Uluso said.

“Most fatalities were among the two sides, and the civilian casualties are minimal since the attack took place inside the army base,” Uluso added.

Metro

Islamist jihadists kill nine in attack on Niger refugee camp

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Nine people have been confirmed killed by Islamist jihadists who attacked a refugee camp in western Niger Republic on Saturday night, local officials said.

The camp, according to the officials, housed refugees from neighbouring Mali who were displaced by the turmoil in the country.

“The toll from the attack is nine dead, one wounded and six missing,” an elected county official said.

“The attack was carried out by heavily armed terrorists who arrived on motorcycles and opened fire on the refugees before fleeing back to Mali,” he said.

A security personnel who also confirmed the attack, said it happened in the Tahoua region which lies in a zone bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, two countries that have been heavily hit by jihadist insurgency and has come under repeated attack since 2017 by armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

Jihadists attacks in the region since 2021 have led to the killing of hundreds of civilians and soldiers alike.

According to the United Nations, there are over 61,000 Malian refugees sheltering in Tahoua and nearby Tillaberi.

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Metro

Three killed in attacks on ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church

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An attack on an Ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Church on Saturday has claimed the lives of three people, while an unspecified number were reported injured, according to a a religious media outlet.

The violence which erupted in southern Ethiopia, came on the backdrop of tensions in the Orthodox Tewahedo Church after some rebel bishops broke away from the body of the church and created their own synod in Oromia, the country’s most populous region.

The breakaway bishops have accused the church of discrimination and linguistic and cultural hegemony, saying congregations in Oromia are not served in their native language, claims rejected by the patriarchate.

Church-affiliated Tewahedo Media Center (TMC), in a report on Sunday, said two Orthodox Christian youths were killed, and another four people injured, when Oromia special forces attacked the church in Shashamene, which lies about 250 kilometers (150 miles) south of Addis Ababa.

The outfit later said there had been sniper fire on the church from nearby high-rise buildings that had killed a woman and injured others.

A statement issued by the Archbishop of Addis Ababa Diocese of the church. Abune Henok, described the incidents in the Oromia city of Shashamene as “shameful and heart-wrenching,” and urged the clergy and the faithful to wear black in protest, while calling for peaceful demonstrations at churches at home and abroad on February 12.

The World Council of Churches also issued a statement on Friday voicing its “deep concern” about the developments in the Ethiopian institution.

“We call upon all political leaders in Ethiopia to support the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in its efforts to achieve unity and peace among its members,” WCC general secretary, Jerry Pillay said in the statement.

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