Gunmen have killed 12 soldiers in northern Burkina Faso in an attack on a military post near the border with Mali.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore announced the attack on Friday, calling the assailants “forces of evil”.
Attacks in Burkina Faso were relatively rare before a major attack by al Qaeda-linked fighters on a hotel in the capital, Ouagadougou, that killed 29 people in January.
“This attack demonstrates that the fight against terrorism will be without respite and also underscores the necessary decisions that must be taken to give confidence and vitality to our army,” Reuters quoted Kabore as saying.
He said those killed were members of the army’s special anti-terrorist group. The army had earlier said that 10 soldiers and one gendarme had been killed.
Islamic militants are active in Burkina Faso’s northern neighbour, Mali, and Burkinabe authorities are concerned that the long desert border between the two countries could become a transit point for militants.
Friday’s attack about 30 kilometres from the Malian border began around 5:00a.m. and was carried out “by about 40 heavily armed individuals who have not yet been identified,” the army said in a statement.
A newly formed militant group led by a fighter formerly loyal to Algeria’s Mokhtar Belmokhtar claimed to have attacked a Burkinabe military position in September, and unidentified gunmen killed three Burkinabe soldiers and two civilians in October.
Islamic State fighters on Wednesday kept up their fierce defense of the southern approaches to Mosul which has held up Iraqi troops on the southern front and forced an elite army unit east of the city to put its more rapid advance on hold.
Ten days into the offensive, Iraqi army and federal police units are trying to dislodge the militants from villages in the region of Shora, 30 km (20 miles) south of Iraq’s second largest city.
The frontlines in other areas have moved much closer to the edges of Mosul, the last major city under control of the militants in Iraq, who have held it since 2014.
The elite army unit which moved in from the east has paused its advance as it approaches built-up areas, waiting for the other attacking forces to close the gap.
“As Iraqi forces move closer to Mosul, we see that Daesh resistance is getting stronger,” said Maj. Chris Parker, a coalition spokesman at the Qayyara airbase south of Mosul that serves as a hub for the campaign.
The combat ahead is also likely to get more deadly as 1.5 million residents remain in the city and worst-case United Nations’ forecasts see up to a million people being uprooted.
U.N. aid agencies said the fighting has so far forced about 10,600 to flee their homes. Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, told Reuters on Tuesday that a mass exodus could happen, maybe within the next few days.
In the worst case scenario, Grande said it was also possible that Islamic State fighters could resort to “rudimentary chemical weapons” to hold back the impending assault.
The battle may become the biggest yet in the 13 years of turmoil unleashed by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the fall of Mosul would mark the group’s effective defeat in Iraq. It was from its Grand Mosque that Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” that also spans parts of Syria. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday the attack on Raqqa, Islamic State’s main stronghold in Syria, would start while the battle of Mosul is unfolding.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR says some 900 people have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul and crossed the border into Syria.
This is the first large group of civilians confirmed to have escaped since Iraqi forces began its offensive to liberate Mosul from the Islamic state on Monday.
As many as 1.5 million people are thought to be in Mosul, with up to 5,000 IS fighters.
This has prompted fears that the militants will use the civilians as human shields by moving into their neighbourhoods as Iraqi forces get closer to Mosul.
Since Mosul’s capture by ISIS fighters in June 2014, Mosul has been a vital stronghold for ISIS.
It is the largest city under ISIS control in Iraq and Syria and it was the city from which the group first declared the establishment of its so-called caliphate.
Mosul residents had been told by the Iraqi government that it may be safer to stay in the city while the operation is under way – with fears that the militants have booby-trapped roads and placed snipers on routes, in and out.
The UN however says it is working to create new refugee camps to the south, east and north of Mosul, as it predicts about 200,000 people will need shelter in the first days and weeks of the operation.
At least 30 people have died in a suicide attack targeting Shiite in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
Over 60 others were injured in the attack launched a tent in a crowded market in a northern district of the city.
Many Shia pilgrims are taking part in mourning rituals commemorating the killing of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein, in the 17th century. Reports say a militant detonated a suicide vest in the tent at lunchtime, when it was full of pilgrims.
Some people were also in the tent to mourn the death of a local resident, authorities said. The tent was set up in a crowded market in the city’s northern al-Shaab district.
No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State has carried out similar attacks in the past.
The latest attack comes as Iraqi forces prepare for an offensive in northern Iraq on Mosul, the last is-held major city in the country.
Three coordinated Islamic State bomb attacks on Monday killed 38 people in the Southern port city of Mukalla in coastal region of Yemen.
Officials say the militants struck at sunset as soldiers were preparing to break their day-long fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
At least 35 people died in Yemen after launching triple bomb attacks in the country’s south-eastern city of Mukalla.
The attacks also injured 24 people, involved a suicide bomber, a car bomb and an improvised explosive device.
An offshoot of Al-Qaeda controlled the port city but was recaptured in April by Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces.
Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attacks via their online news agency, Amaq.
The first explosion occurred as an attacker detonated his suicide vest at a checkpoint on Mukalla’s western approaches.
The second blast came from a bomb-laden car at the military intelligence headquarter and the final one was an improvised explosive which went off as the soldiers were about to begin their evening meal.
The Yemeni security officials believe the attacks was caused by the rivalry between Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
The Federal Government has alerted Nigerians to the existence of a newly-launched mobile application developed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), for propagating Jihad to children.
This was disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.
The Minister said that the mobile application tagged ‘Huroof’ (Arabic alphabets or letters), was to be used by ISIS to teach children the Arabic alphabets with the aid of guns, military tanks and cannons.
“The application utilises colourful illustrations that attract and engage the attention of young children,” he said.
Mr Mohammed urged members of the public in general and parents in particular to be vigilant, so as to prevent their children and wards from being indoctrinated.
The State Security Service has arrested five persons allegedly connected to the creation of sleeper ISIS training cells in Kano State, northwest Nigeria.
The Kano State Director of SSS, Abdullahi Chiranchi, told journalists on Thursday that the arrest was a significant breakthrough in blocking every possible move to make Kano a training ground for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
He said those arrested were from Kogi State and were moving to Libya, Morocco and other places with ISIS presence.
However, Mr Chiranchi did not disclose the names of the arrested suspects.
He added that a nine-man international cattle rustling, armed robbery, kidnapping and car-snatching gang was also arrested.
The Kano State SSS boss said the gang had been terrorising Kano, Kaduna and residents of Niger Republic.
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka believes the Nigerian government inherited a burden that may take a while to lessen but it must sustain efforts at improving the economy.
This comes as Nigeria assesses the Buhari administration after one year in office.
He was speaking to Channels Television in Johannesburg where he is expected to speak at a public lecture entitled Politics, Culture and the New Africa.
“This administration has inherited a heavy baggage. While I am critical in some aspects of the priority, I think that to clear up the mess left by previous administrations is going to take quite a while especially in the sector of economy.
“So I don’t use words like optimism or pessimism, I’m just pragmatic. I look at what there is on the ground and of course wherever I can intervene, I do both privately and publicly,” he said.
Renowned Nigerian author and playwright, Professor Kole Omotoso, also said that the current administration has ticked a number of little things but there must be more effort to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
“We are going in the right direction but in the process, we need to do so many things. We need to look at not just the suffering of the people but the way people seem to indulge in bearing suffering.
“It is as if even if you try to solve the problem for them they will prefer to be suffering and smiling,” Prof. Omotoso said.
The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari has not rescinded his decision to publish the amounts that have been recovered by his administration from those who had allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, May 30, a day after Nigeria marked its Democracy Day.
The conversation, ‘Assessing Buhari’s One Year In Office’ saw the President’s spokesman addressing several controversies generated by the President’s national broadcast on Sunday.
The President’s Democracy Day speech had been widely criticised because it failed to address the promise to publish the amounts of funds that have been recovered and from whom they were recovered since the anti-corruption campaign started.
The President had promised that the information would made public when his administration clocks one year but Mr Shehu said that “the President did not at any time say he was going to name names”.
Mr Shehu expressed surprise that the issue had generated so much negative reactions from Nigerians, explaining that the President did not cancel his decision to announce the seizures that have been made.
“What he (President) said was that the Minister of Information will be making a pronouncement on this and this is going to happen when work resumes from Tuesday.
“This is likely going to be out by Wednesday, or latest by Thursday. So nothing has changed from the position that there will be disclosure.
“The President has given authorisation that these assets that have been taken back from those who took from the treasury be put out there. So my view is that nothing is lost.”
Mr Shehu said that the directive by President is that “money on account” in the CBN should be disclosed. He explained that there were also many accounts that have been frozen by investigating agencies.
He named the Police, EFCC, ICPC and the Office of the National Security Adviser among those handling the matter, so the Presidency expects “that there will be a snapshot of where they stand with the ongoing investigation and the recoveries when that disclosure is made”.
One Year Lost
Mr Shehu disagreed with the view by some Nigerians that the Buhari administration had lost one year, as it has failed to achieve some of what it promised to achieve in the first year.
“The President had focus, he knew what to do from the beginning. He identified the problems of this country, putting the security of the country on top of the heap.
“He said repeatedly, ‘this country must be secured, there must be peace in this country for you to develop and manage it very well’.
“And I think that he has done for this country what others had failed to do for four to five years in which they had allowed problems like Boko Haram to fester.
“A street protest in Maiduguri had grown into a city-wide phenomenon, problem for neighbouring states and all of the Lake Chad, in fact a global phenomenon with the linkage to ISIS.
“President Buhari within one year is about to bring Boko Haram to a closure. This is massive,” he said.