Chad Rebels Return To Peace Talks

 

Several Chadian rebel and political groups have said they are resuming peace talks with the country’s military government in Qatar after pulling out last week.

Around 50 groups have been negotiating for more than four months in Doha, with the aim of holding an inclusive national dialogue to pave the way for elections.

But a host of them withdrew from the talks on July 16, accusing the government of seeking to destabilise peace efforts.

On Saturday, Colonel Adoum Yacoub, a spokesman for 19 groups that had pulled out, told AFP their concerns had been addressed.

“We had discussions with the mediator with whom we shared our grievances in writing and we received all the answers,” he said.

Brahim Hissein, a spokesman for Chad’s main armed opposition movement, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), said they had spoken to the mediator on Thursday and decided to “give the talks a new chance”.

Government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah praised “the foresight of (his) brothers”.

On Thursday, the Qatari mediator handed a draft peace agreement to the rebel groups and the Chadian government.

Mahamat Mahdi Ali, the leader of FACT, told AFP: “There are two or three points to discuss… but it’s a good start.”

The impoverished Sahel state was buffeted in April 2021 when its veteran president, Idriss Deby Itno, died fighting rebels, including FACT.

His son, Lieutenant-General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, immediately took over at the head of a junta.

He dismissed the government, dissolved the parliament and repealed the constitution, vowing to hold “free and transparent” elections in 18 months — a deadline that he said could be postponed once if “certain conditions” were not fulfilled.

The rebel groups who withdrew on July 16 did so less than 24 hours after the younger Deby’s administration announced that a national peace dialogue ahead of elections would start on August 20.

The rebels said the new date had been set without any consultation, describing it as an attempt to “exclude” many of the armed groups and their political allies from the dialogue.

Rebels Kill Four Senegalese Soldiers, Hold Seven Hostage In Gambia

The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline.
The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline.

 

Separatist rebels have killed four Senegalese soldiers and are holding seven hostage after a clash on the border between Senegal and The Gambia last week, the Senegalese army said in a statement.

Three soldiers died in the fighting on January 24 between the Senegalese army and rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), it said late Monday. A fourth died from wounds several days later.

Seven soldiers are being held hostage by the MFDC, and all are “alive and in good health”, the army said.

The MFDC is behind a low-intensity breakaway conflict in Senegal’s southern region of Casamance that dates back to 1982 and has claimed several thousand lives.

A previous tally said two soldiers were killed and nine were missing, but the army said all were now accounted for.

“There are no more missing persons,” it said in its statement.

The soldiers were part of the peacekeeping mission from the West African bloc ECOWAS in The Gambia, which is known as ECOMIG.

Comprising mainly Senegalese soldiers, ECOMIG was deployed to The Gambia in January 2017 when former dictator Yahya Jammeh refused to cede power after losing a presidential election.

The clashes took place as soldiers were on an operation to combat illegal logging on the border with The Gambia, the army said last week.

Casamance was a Portuguese possession for several hundred years until it was ceded to colonial France in 1888, becoming part of Senegal after the country gained independence in 1960.

The region, which has a distinct culture and language, is separated geographically from the rest of Senegal by the Gambia River, around which lies the tiny state of The Gambia.

Ethiopia Declares Nationwide Emergency As Rebels Advance

In this file photo taken on November 22, 2020 A member of the Amhara Special Forces watches on at the border crossing with Eritrea where an outdated Ethiopian flag waves, in Humera, Ethiopia. A year ago,

 

Ethiopia’s cabinet on Tuesday declared a nationwide state of emergency after Tigrayan rebels seized two crucial towns in an apparent push towards the capital, state-affiliated media reported.

“The state of emergency is aimed to protect civilians from atrocities being committed by the terrorist TPLF group in several parts of the country,” Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Lawmakers are expected to approve the measure within 24 hours, Fana said.

In recent days the TPLF has claimed control of two key cities about 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Addis Ababa and has not ruled out marching on the capital, which has so far not seen any fighting.

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The government has denied claims of TPLF territorial gains which, if confirmed, would represent a major strategic advance.

Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout, and access for journalists is restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to verify independently.

Earlier Tuesday, officials ordered Addis Ababa residents to register their firearms and prepare to defend their neighbourhoods.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray a year ago to detain and disarm the TPLF, a move he said came in response to attacks on army camps.

The 2019 Nobel Peace laureate promised a swift victory, but by late June the rebels had regrouped and retaken most of Tigray.

They then launched offensives into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara.

The international community has expressed alarm at the expanding conflict, with Western powers reiterating calls for an immediate ceasefire and for the African Union to broker peace talks between the warring parties.

Central Africa Rebel Groups Call Off Ceasefire As Election Nears

 In this file photo taken on August 04, 2018 New recruits for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) march in formation during an award presentation in Berengo. FLORENT VERGNES / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 04, 2018 New recruits for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) march in formation during an award presentation in Berengo. FLORENT VERGNES / AFP

 

A rebel coalition that has been fighting the government in Central African Republic said Friday it was calling off a three-day ceasefire ahead of a tense general election on the weekend.

The Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), which began an offensive against the government a week ago, said in a statement it had “decided to break the 72-hour truce it had imposed on itself and resume its unrelenting march towards its final objective”.

In the statement, which was confirmed to AFP as authentic by two of the six groups in the coalition, the CPC said that it made the decision “faced with “the irresponsible stubbornness of the government”.

READ ALSO: Tunisia Extends Five-Year-Old State Of Emergency

The ceasefire’s signatories had “invited the authorities to observe the ceasefire over the same period” and called on President Faustin Archange Touadera to suspend Sunday’s presidential and legislative election.

But government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kazagui dismissed the ceasefire on Thursday, saying it was “a non-event” and that “we haven’t seen these people stop what they’re doing”.

The rebel coalition said Friday the government had “cavalierly rejected” this “chance for peace”.

“Several attacks followed on positions occupied by the patriots of the CPC,” its statement said.

The authenticity of the statement was confirmed by two armed groups — the 3R and the Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa (FPRC).

General Bobo, the leader of 3R, told AFP that “now either the government disperses us, or we march on Bangui, which is our final objective”.

Fighting had resumed in Bakouma, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) east of the capital Bangui, according to Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeeping force.

The CPC was created on December 19 by armed groups who accuse Touadera, the frontrunner in the Sunday’s election, of trying to fix the vote.

Its components are drawn from militia groups that, together, control two-thirds of the country.

At the weekend, the government accused Touadera’s ousted predecessor, Francois Bozize, of fomenting a coup with the rebels, a charge he denies.

Gunmen had sought to advance down the main highways towards Bangui, but were stopped, according to MINUSCA.

 

AFP

Zambia Denies Accusations Its President Sponsored Rwandan Rebels

Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu, (pictured) was accused of supporting “rebel attacks to remove Rwandan President Paul Kagame from power.

 

Zambia’s government on Tuesday rejected claims President Edgar Lungu had bankrolled a Rwandan rebel leader accused of orchestrating deadly attacks in his country’s border regions.

The claims were made by the rebel chief, Callixte Nsabimana, who is on trial for terrorism and other charges. He has already admitted to working with other foreign governments against Rwanda.

During his latest hearing on Monday, Nsabimana told a Rwandan High court that Lungu had promised his National Liberation Front (FLN) $1 million to help oust the administration in Kigali.

He said Lungu had made a down payment of $150,000 in support of “rebel attacks to remove President Paul Kagame from power”.

Zambia is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. It is 1,258 kilometres away from Rwanda. Image: www.distancefromto.net

In a statement Tuesday the Zambian presidency said it “would like to categorically refute these claims”.

It stated “unequivocally that these allegations are false and must be treated with the contempt they deserve”.

“The governments and peoples of Zambia and Rwanda continue to enjoy strong and fraternal relations founded on mutual respect,” said the statement from presidential spokesman Isaac Chipambe.

Nsabimana, also known as “Sankara” has in previous hearings named Burundi and Uganda as supporters of the rebel activities against Rwanda.

The rebel commander is charged with terrorism, treason, incitement violence, murder and kidnap among other charges.

AFP

Violence In DR Congo As Rebels Kill 14 Civilians In Revenge Mission

A picture of the DR Congo Flag

 

Assailants in DR Congo have killed 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strongholds in the east of the country, a local official said on Saturday.

The latest killings, which occurred in the night from Friday to Saturday, take the total number of those killed in revenge attacks to around 30.

 

AFP

Seven Children Among 16 Dead In Yemen Air Strikes

 

Seven children were among 16 people killed on Tuesday in twin airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in southern Yemen, an official and a doctor said.

“Sixteen people, including women and children, were killed and nine others injured” in a coalition air raid targeting a residence in Daleh province, the local official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A doctor at Al Thawra hospital in Ibb province where the bodies were taken said seven children and four women were among the dead.

The Iran-backed Huthi rebels condemned the coalition for its “continued aggression” against the Yemeni people, according to their Al-Masirah television.

The coalition could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in March 2015 in support of the beleaguered government.

The fighting has also displaced millions and left 24.1 million — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.

The United Nations has described Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

AFP

Indian Special Forces Kill Seven Maoist Rebels In Gunfight

BREAKING: 'Multiple Casualties' As Gunman Opens Fire At US Synagogue

 

Indian special forces killed seven suspected Maoist rebels in a raid on a jungle camp Saturday that triggered a gunfight lasting several hours, police said.

The far-left rebels in the central state of Chhattisgarh are part of a long-standing conflict that has left tens of thousands dead since the 1960s.

They were in a camp in dense forest in Rajnandgaon district, some 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the state capital Raipur.

“So far seven bodies have been recovered from the encounter spot,” a senior police officer in the district told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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He said arms and ammunition were recovered from the camp.

Chhattisgarh is mineral-rich but among India’s poorest states, and guerrillas are demanding greater rights over land and resources.

A landmine blast on Wednesday was blamed on the rebels, and killed one paramilitary.

Maoist-inspired insurgents in the so-called Naxalite movement are present in at least 20 Indian states but are most active in Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh.

The government has deployed tens of thousands of police and special commandos in a bid to eradicate the groups.

AFP

Colombia Blames Deadly Bogota Car Bombing On ELN Rebels

Security forces work at the site of an apparent car bomb attack on a police cadet training school in Bogota, that left at least four people dead and 10 injured on January 17, 2019. JUAN BARRETO / AFP

 

The Colombian government on Friday blamed leftist ELN rebels for the car bomb that killed 21 people at a Bogota police cadet training academy.

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero, speaking from the presidential palace, described the Thursday bombing as “a terrorist attack committed by the ELN.”

Peace talks with the National Liberation Army, Colombia’s last major rebel group, broke down in 2018 under the former president Juan Manuel Santos.

AFP

Rebels Kill Seven Civilians In DRC

 

Rebels killed at least seven civilians and abducted 15 others, including children, in fresh overnight raids in the far eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, civilian and military sources said Sunday.

Fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) staged two raids Saturday night in the North Kivu region bordering Uganda, Teddy Kataliko, leader of the civilian administration in Beni district, told AFP.

According to his account, rebels at Mangboko burnt a lorry driver in his vehicle and killed six other civilians, while in Oicha, they killed one person and abducted 15 others — for a total death toll of eight.

Beni district administrator Donat Kibwana said seven people were killed and 15 people were abducted, including 10 children.

Army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay also put the death toll at seven.

Kataliko denounced the army as ineffective, saying: “It is not normal that the army cannot manage to keep the population safe,” but Hazukay insisted that soldiers had reacted quickly to stop the rebel incursions.

The ADF, which US authorities designated a terror group in 2001, is a militia created by Muslim rebels to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni but which also operates in the DRC.

It is blamed for a string of attacks in the region since 2014 that have killed at least 700 civilians, and 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers in a December assault last year.

AFP

Yemen Govt To Resume Talks With Rebels

Yemen President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi

 

Yemen’s government said Thursday it was ready to re-start peace talks with Huthi rebels, as international pressure to end the years-long conflict intensifies.

The United Nations said a day earlier it aimed to relaunch the talks within a month after a previous attempt collapsed in September when the rebels refused to attend.

“The Republic of Yemen welcomes all efforts to restore peace,” a government statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency said.

“The government of Yemen is ready to immediately launch talks on the process of confidence-building, primarily the release of all detainees and prisoners, as well as those who have been abducted or subject to enforced disappearance,” it said.

The United States this week called for an immediate end to the hostilities in Yemen, where Washington backs a Saudi-led coalition fighting alongside the government against the Iran-backed Huthis.

In September, the Huthis refused to travel to Geneva for planned peace talks, accusing the UN of failing to guarantee their delegation’s return to the Yemeni capital Sanaa and to secure the evacuation of wounded rebels to Oman.

Previous talks broke down in 2016 when 108 days of negotiations in Kuwait between the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and the rebels failed to yield a deal.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week called for an end to the Yemen war, including air strikes, in an implicit acknowledgment that the Saudi-led coalition was involved in the bombing of civilians.

Both the Huthis and Saudi Arabia along with its allies stand accused of transgressions that could amount to war crimes.

The coalition has been blacklisted by the UN for the maiming and killing of children in a country where 14 million people now face starvation.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, is the target of the longest drone war in US history.

In 2012, the US expanded a covert war against the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington categorises as the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened after the Huthis seized Sanaa.

Rights groups say the toll could be as high as 50,000.

AFP

Rebels Kill 11, Abduct 15 In DR Congo – Security Sources

 

Rebels killed at least 11 people and abducted 15 others, including 10 children, in an overnight raid near Beni, near DR Congo’s eastern border with Uganda, security sources said Sunday.

Police recovered the bodies of 11 civilians killed in the town of Matete north of Beni, he said, adding that the missing children were from five to 10 years old, Beni police chief Colonel Safari Kazingufu told AFP.

The attack, thought to have been carried out by members of the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), had targeted Beni, the regional army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay told AFP.

“We repulsed the attack but unfortunately, there were deaths among the civilians and soldiers,” he said, without specifying how many soldiers had been killed.

One local resident told AFP he had seen the bodies of two uniformed men at the site of the fighting.

Earlier, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO told AFP they had been involved in an exchange of fire with suspected rebels near Beni.