Cattle Gang Launches Deadly Attack In Zamfara

 

A gang of cattle thieves killed 14 people overnight Sunday in a remote village in Zamfara State, police said, the latest assault in a long-running series of tit-for-tat attacks.

Police said the bandits were taking revenge for an earlier killing of nine suspected gang members by local vigilantes in a nearby village in Zamfara on November 3.

In the absence of a robust police force and effective judicial system in Nigeria, villagers created vigilante groups to fight off the gangs, but the villagers have since been accused of extra-judicial killings.

Zamfara officials struck a deal in July with the bandits to end their attacks and vigilantes to stop extra-judicial killings, but sporadic outbreaks of violence have continued.

Zamfara police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said assailants riding motorcycles stormed into a remote village overnight Sunday to Monday, shooting residents and burning homes.

As well as the 14 people who were killed, 10 others were injured, Shehu said.

For several years, rural communities in the agrarian state have been under siege from gangs of cattle rustlers.

The gangs launch their attacks from their camps dotting the Rugu forest — which straddles the states of Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, and Niger.

The peace deal had seen the cessation of bandit attacks in Zamfara state, prompting authorities in nearby Katsina state to start similar peace talks with the bandits.

However, sporadic outbreaks of violence are still reported. Last month bandits killed nine soldiers in reprisal after troops attacked their hideout in Anka district and killed their comrades.

Burkina Faso Army Says 32 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Two Operations

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

The Burkina Faso army said on Sunday it had killed 32 “terrorists” in two operations in the north of the country after an attack on a patrol.

One soldier was killed in the operations, which come less than a month after 37 people were killed in an ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company.

The army said 24 people were killed in the first operation on Friday and a further eight in a second on Saturday.

The first operation in Yorsala in Loroum province saw a number of women who “had been held and used by the terrorists as sex slaves” freed.

Arms, ammunition and other materials were also recovered in the second operation on the outskirts of Bourzanga in Bam province, the army statement added.

The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

The attacks have been claimed by a range of jihadist groups, including Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The country’s badly equipped, poorly trained and underfunded security forces have been unable to stem the violence, which has intensified throughout 2019 to become almost daily.

The Sahel region, including Burkina Faso’s neighbours Mali and Niger, has been afflicted by the violence despite the presence of the regional G5 Sahel force as well as French and US troops.

Chaos In Hong Kong As Pro-Democracy Protests ‘Blossom Everywhere’

 

Pro-democracy protesters stepped up Wednesday a “blossom everywhere” campaign of road blocks and vandalism across Hong Kong that has crippled the international financial hub this week and ignited some of the worst violence in five months of unrest.

The new phase in the crisis, which has forced schools and shopping malls to close as well as the shutdown of large chunks of the vital train network, prompted police to warn on Tuesday the city was “on the brink of total collapse”.

China, facing the biggest challenge to its rule of the territory since it was handed back by the British in 1997, has insisted it will not buckle to the pressure and warned of tougher security measures.

On Wednesday, commuters across many parts of the city woke to the increasingly familiar scenario of roads choked with bricks, bicycles, couches and other materials that had been laid out by the protesters overnight to block traffic.

Various lines on the subway, used by more than half of the city’s 7.5 million people daily, were also suspended due to vandalism, forcing many workers to stay at home.

Meanwhile, masked protesters dressed in their signature black were locked in a series of tense standoffs at university campuses following battles on Tuesday that continued through the night with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Maximum disruption

The chaos was part of the largely anonymous protest movement’s new strategy of “blossom everywhere”, in which small groups of people target as many parts of the city as possible to cause maximum disruption and stretch police resources.

Protesters had until this week largely confined their actions to evenings and the weekends.

The campaign began with an effort to shut down the train network and enforce a city-wide strike on Monday.

The already tense atmosphere escalated on Monday when a police officer shot an unarmed 21-year-old protester, leaving him in a critical condition.

It was only the third confirmed time a police officer had shot someone with live bullets since the unrest began in June.

A masked person on Monday then doused a 57-year-old man, who had been arguing with protesters, with a flammable liquid and set him on fire. He was also hospitalised in a critical condition.

The protest movement has been fuelled by fears that China is choking the liberties and freedoms Hong Kong is meant to have under the terms of the handover deal with the British.

Protesters are demanding the right to freely elect their leaders.

Tougher response

But instead of offering concessions, China has responded with ominous warnings that it is prepared to further curb freedoms, and that it wants tougher security measures in Hong Kong.

On Tuesday the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, warned that local district elections due to be held on November 24 may be cancelled if the protesters do not back down.

“Only by supporting the police force to decisively put down the riots can (Hong Kong) return to peace and hold fair elections, to help Hong Kong start again,” the commentary said.

Other powerful arms of the Chinese state media have also again raised the prospect this week of the Chinese military being deployed in Hong Kong to end the crisis.

Still, China is not yet prepared to take such drastic action as military intervention as it plays a longer game of weakening and intimidating the protest movement, according to Ben Bland, Sydney-based director of the Southeast Asia Project at the Lowy Institute, a policy think-tank.

“It still seems, as far as we can tell, that the most likely response is going to continue to be led by the Hong Kong authorities and the Hong Kong police,” Bland told AFP on Wednesday.

But the events this week have deepened concerns that Hong Kong’s police cannot solve the crisis, and that a political solution must be found.

The police force’s spokesman, Kong Wing-cheung, appeared to echo those fears on Tuesday.

“Hong Kong’s rule of law has been pushed to the brink of total collapse,” Kong said.

Bolivia’s Election Turmoil: A Timeline

 

Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned after three weeks of turmoil stemming from a disputed October 20 election in which he was declared the winner, giving him a fourth straight term.

Here is a recap of the tensions leading to his dramatic move.

Morales seeks fourth term

On October 20, Bolivians go to the polls with Morales, Latin America’s longest serving leader, seeking a fourth straight term.

His only serious challenger is centrist Carlos Mesa, president between 2003 and 2005.

Second round?

Partial results released hours after polls close put Morales on 45 percent of the votes and Mesa 38 percent, with 84 percent of ballots counted.

A margin of 10 percentage points between candidates is required to avoid a second round runoff.

Morales has won all his previous elections in the first round.

Vote count stalls

The release of official results is inexplicably stalled overnight with 84 percent of votes counted.

On October 21, international observers ask for clarification and Mesa accuses Morales of cheating to avoid a runoff.

Opposition supporters protest outside key vote counting centers in the capital, La Paz, and in other cities.

Count change

Late October 21, the election authority releases more results showing Morales edging towards an outright victory with 95 percent of the votes counted.

Organization of American States (OAS) monitors express “deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change.” Mesa alleges fraud.

Violence breaks out at protests in several cities. Mobs torch electoral offices in the cities of Sucre and Potosi, while rival supporters clash in La Paz.

Opposition strike

On October 22, opposition groups call for a nationwide general strike from midnight “until democracy and the will of the citizens are respected.”

The vice president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal resigns, criticizing what he calls mismanagement of the election count.

There are new clashes between protesters and security forces in La Paz.

‘Coup’

On October 23, Morales likens the general strike to a right-wing coup.

Mesa urges his supporters to step up protests and insists a “second round must take place.”

He says he will not recognize the results tallied by the tribunal, which he accuses of manipulating the count to help Morales win.

Clashes break out between rival demonstrators in the opposition bastion of Santa Cruz, where offices housing the electoral authority are set on fire.

Security forces and demonstrators also clash elsewhere.

Morales declares victory

On October 24, Morales claims he has won outright.

In the evening, the election authority issues final results, giving Morales has 47.08 percent of votes and Mesa 36.52 percent.

The opposition, the EU, the US, OAS, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia urge a second round.

Fresh clashes take place between rival groups, along with road blocks and demonstrations.

On October 27, Morales says that there will be no “political negotiation” and accuses his rivals of preparing a “coup”.

Call for ‘de-escalation’

On October 28, protests deepen with around 30 wounded in clashes with security forces and between supporters of Morales and Mesa at La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

On the 29, the government invites Mesa to take part in an audit of the election results by the OAS, a body that works to promote cooperation in the Americas.

The United Nations calls for an urgent “de-escalation” of tensions.

Outside audit

As outrage grows, the OAS begins to audit the election results.

On November 3, an opposition leader vows to oust Morales and appeals to the military for its support.

The death toll in the protests rises to three on November 6 with the death of a student.

On the 8th, police officers in at least three Bolivian cities join the opposition, in some cases marching in the street with them.

On November 10, the OAS announces that it found many irregularities in its analysis of the election.

Morales calls a new election, but it is too late. Two ministers and the speaker of congress resign after their homes are attacked by opposition supporters.

The commanders of the armed forces and the police add their voices to the calls for Morales to step down.

On the evening of November 10, from his native coca growing region in central Bolivia, Morales announces his resignation after nearly 14 years in power.

37 Killed In Burkina Faso’s Deadliest Attack In Five Years

FILES) In this file photo taken on March 02, 2019 Burkinabe soldiers take part in a ceremony in Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso’s security forces are overwhelmed by the flare-up of attacks carried out almost every day by jihadist groups. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

An ambush on a convoy transporting employees of a Canadian mining company in Burkina Faso killed 37 people on Wednesday, the deadliest attack in nearly five years of jihadist violence in the West African country.

The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015.

On Wednesday morning “unidentified armed individuals” ambushed five buses carrying local employees, contractors and suppliers of the Samafo mining company, said Saidou Sanou, the governor of the country’s Est Region.

As well as the 37 civilians killed, 60 were wounded, he said.

Mine owner Semafo Inc. said the five buses escorted by the military were approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Boungou gold mine in the Tapoa province when they were ambushed.

A security source said “a military vehicle that was escorting the convoy hit an explosive device”.

“Two buses carrying workers were then fired upon,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Burkina Faso’s government said the gunmen had conducted a “complex attack”, adding that defence and security forces had launched a relief operation and were searching the area.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Clashes Erupt At Guinea Funeral March

It was the third deadly attack on Canadian firm Semafo, which operates two mines in Burkina Faso, in 15 months.

“We are actively working with all levels of authorities to ensure the ongoing safety and security of our employees, contractors and suppliers,” Semafo said in a statement, offering condolences to the families of the victims.

The mine itself, it added, remains secure and its operations had not been affected.

Two separate attacks on convoys carrying Boungou mine employees in August and December last year killed 11 people.

The company blamed “armed bandits” for last year’s attacks, and subsequently reinforced its armed escorts.

The Burkina Faso government this year asked mining companies to make their own arrangements to transport their employees, according to sources close to the miners.

Nearly 700 dead in five years

Burkina Faso’s northern provinces have been battling a nearly five-year wave of jihadist violence that came from neighbouring Mali.

The attacks — typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings — have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

The attacks have been claimed by a range of jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The country’s badly equipped, poorly trained and underfunded security forces have been unable to stem the violence, which has intensified throughout 2019 to become almost daily.

The Sahel region, including Burkina Faso’s neighbours Mali and Niger, has been afflicted by the violence despite the presence of the regional G5 Sahel force as well as French and US troops.

Burkina Faso’s previous deadliest attack was in January 2016, when jihadists raided the Splendid Hotel and a cafe in the capital Ouagadougou, killing 30 people, around half of them foreign nationals.

In August this year, the army suffered its worst attack with 24 soldiers killed in an assault on a base in Koutougou, near the Mali border.

On Monday, an attack on a base in northern Burkina Faso killed at least five gendarmes and five civilians.

15 Killed In Suspected Rebel Attacks In Thailand

 

At least fifteen people were gunned down in an ambush by suspected Muslim militants in Thailand’s violence-wracked south, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, one of the bloodiest days in the 15-year insurgency.

Thailand’s three southernmost provinces have been in the grip of a conflict that has killed more than 7,000 people, as Malay-Muslim militants fight for more autonomy from the Thai state.

Despite the high death toll, the highly localised unrest garners few international headlines.

The region is heavily controlled by the police and the military, with residents and rights groups accusing them of heavy-handed tactics.

Villagers trained and armed by security forces are also enlisted to monitor remote villages, though they are rarely targeted by the rebels.

READ ALSO: Lufthansa To Scrap 1,300 Flights Over Two-Day German Strike

This changed late Tuesday when militants struck two checkpoints in Yala province manned by civilian defence volunteers, opening fire on them as a group of villagers stopped to talk, southern army spokesman Pramote Prom-in told AFP.

In the largest death toll in years, “twelve were killed at the scene, two more (died) at the hospital, and one died this morning”, said Pramote, adding that five others were injured.

The attackers took M-16 rifles and shotguns from the checkpoints, he said. “These acts were by militants.”

Nails were also scattered on the roads in an apparent effort to slow the security forces, the army said in a separate statement.

A bomb squad was dispatched Wednesday morning to investigate and detonate an explosive device suspected to have been left by fleeing attackers about three kilometres (1.9 miles) from one checkpoint.

The southern army commander told reporters that the attackers were targeting “weak points”.

“This is just to gain the headlines and scare Thai people nationwide,” said Pornsak Poonsawasdi.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the perpetrators must “be brought to justice”, according to Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich.

– Tit-for-tat attacks –
Rebels seeking autonomy for the culturally distinct region bordering Malaysia have been fighting the Buddhist-majority Thai state, which colonised the area over a century ago.

The conflict is characterised by tit-for-tat attacks that usually target symbols of the Thai state and its security forces but civilians from both Muslim and Buddhist communities often get caught in the crossfire.

The violence has bled into tourist destinations, like in 2012 when a series of car bombs in Songkhla province’s Hat Yai killed 13 people.

The incidents have been fewer in recent years, but the hits have become “more intense”, said Don Pathan, an expert on the so-called Deep South.

Tuesday’s attack marked the largest coordinated effort “in a very long time”, he added.

It comes days after Bangkok hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which brought head of states from all over the world — along with hundreds of foreign journalists.

“It (the attack) is a reminder that they are still here,” Pathan said.

Civilian defence volunteers rarely draw the rebels’ ire “unless if they cross the line and become part of the government security apparatus”, he added.

The rebels accuse the state of railroading their distinct culture as well as carrying out routine abuses which go unpunished.

The latest incident stoking outrage in the region was the death in August of Abdulloh Esormusor, a Muslim man who was detained by the military and left in a coma after being interrogated at a notorious Thai detention centre.

Suspects are routinely taken for interrogation and held under emergency laws in detention centres where rights groups have documented torture.

Days after Abdulloh’s detention, four people were killed in a late-night attack on a military outpost, fuelling speculation of a retaliatory operation.

A week later, several small bombs exploded in Bangkok, injuring four people as the city hosted a major summit attended by top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Thailand has linked the bombs to southern insurgents — though no group ever claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Fulanis: Spotlight On Mali’s Jihadist Insurgency

 

For centuries, the Fulani people trod the paths of the Sahel with their cattle, largely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Today, the world’s attention has turned to this ancient herding community as many of its members have been ensnared in a deadly jihadist insurgency spreading from Mali’s restive north to its centre.

In the Mopti region, the Fulani — also called Peuls — are the biggest ethnic group and the most numerous recruits to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist cells, such as the notorious Katiba Macina.

The group’s Fulani leader Amadou Koufa has called on his “brothers” throughout West Africa to join his holy war against “non-believers”.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Contemporary Art Booms And Prices Soar

The deep poverty and isolation of the Fulani people have made many vulnerable to the siren call of the jihad — an appeal that today is disseminated at lightning speed on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The herders’ prominent role in the jihadist revolt has ignited long-standing rivalries, based on access to land, with farmer groups.

The conflict has turned a once-peaceful tourist region into a no-go area for visitors, its highways sown with roadside bombs, and swathes of the countryside are littered with abandoned burned-out villages.

Hundreds have been killed and the situation is getting worse by the day — the number of people who have fled their homes in Mopti has quadrupled over the last year to 70,000, according to the UN.

The violence in Mali, in turn, has spread to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, stirring anxiety among the coastal states of West Africa that they could be next in line.

67 Killed In Anti-Abiy Protests, Ethnic Violence In Ethiopia

 

 

Violence in Ethiopia that began with protests against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and quickly morphed into ethnic clashes has left 67 people dead in Oromia state, a police official said Friday.

The spike in the death toll came as the high-profile activist at the centre of the violence accused Abiy, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of acting like a dictator and suggesting he might challenge him in elections planned for next year.

“The total number dead in Oromia is 67,” said Kefyalew Tefera, the regional police chief, adding that five of the dead were police officers.

Violence erupted in Addis Ababa, the capital, and in much of Ethiopia’s Oromia region on Wednesday after the activist, Jawar Mohammed, accused security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him — a claim police officials denied.

Kefyalew told AFP that the violence had ended in Oromia but Amnesty International researcher Fisseha Tekle said late Friday that he was still receiving reports of attacks.

The defence ministry said Friday that it was deploying forces to seven hotspots to restore order, according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Jawar is credited with promoting protests that swept Abiy to power last year but he has recently become critical of some of the premier’s policies.

In an interview at his residence in Addis Ababa, Jawar told AFP that Abiy — named Nobel Peace laureate two weeks ago — seemed to be taking Ethiopia back to “the old ways” of authoritarian rule.

“He has resorted to the early signs of dictatorship, of trying to intimidate people, even his very close allies who helped him come to power who happen to disagree with some of the policies and positions and ideologies he’s advocating,” Jawar said.

“Intimidation is the start of authoritarian rule.”

Both men are members of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest.

Their feud highlights divisions within Abiy’s Oromo support base that could complicate his bid for a five-year term when Ethiopia votes in elections currently planned for May 2020.

Jawar said that running against Abiy was “one possibility,” though he also said he could be convinced to back Abiy if he changes course.

“I want to have an active role in the coming election. In what capacity I’m not sure but I want to make sure that the influence I have in the country has a positive contribution,” he said.

Religious, ethnic conflict

After two days of violent protests, tensions had cooled Friday in Addis Ababa, although the total damage inflicted by the unrest was still being tallied.

Fisseha of AI said the violence had included instances of security forces opening fire on protesters but was increasingly taking the form of ethnic and religious clashes.

“Some people have lost their lives with sticks, with machetes, some houses have been burned. People have been using even bullets and light arms to kill each other, to fight each other,” he said.

At least six people were killed in the town of Ambo, west of Addis, after security forces opened fire on protesters, Fisseha said.

Ethnic and religious violence has been reported in the towns and cities of Dodola, Harar, Balerobe and Adama.

Property belonging to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which some associate with the Amhara ethnic group, has been targeted in several locations, Fisseha said.

Daniel Bekele, head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, urged public figures to tamp down virulent rhetoric that could contribute to additional unrest.

“It is extremely depressing that public officials and community leaders don’t appreciate the consequences of their actions and words leading to this senseless loss of lives, destruction of property and disruption of ordinary life,” he said.

“As security forces are struggling to calm the crisis, everyone has a responsibility to do their share and cooperate.”

Fierce Battles In Mexico As Arrest Of El Chapo’s Son Goes Wrong

 

Heavily armed gunmen waged an all-out battle against Mexican security forces Thursday as soldiers arrested — then reportedly released — a son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in his home state, Sinaloa.

Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said soldiers on a routine afternoon patrol came under fire from a residence in the state capital, Culiacan.

He said they responded by taking the house and detaining four people inside, including Ovidio Guzman, one of several sons of “El Chapo” who have partly taken over the Sinaloa cartel since he was extradited to the United States in 2017.

Cartel gunmen then “surrounded the house, outnumbering the soldiers,” and began a massive assault on various parts of the city, Durazo said.

That triggered an hours-long battle that left blazing vehicles strewn across the street and sent terrified residents running for shelter.

“In order to protect the greater good, the people of Culiacan’s safety and well-being, the (federal government’s) security cabinet decided to suspend said actions,” Durazo said in a video message.

READ ALSO: Mexico Says Son Of Drug Kingpin ‘El Chapo’ Arrested

According to Mexican media reports, that included freeing Ovidio Guzman.

Neither Durazo nor President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s office immediately responded to requests for further information, and details on the day’s incidents remained murky.

Durazo said the security cabinet would travel to Culiacan to personally oversee the next steps. Officials were due to give a press conference in the western city at 6:45 am (1245 GMT) Friday.

Images carried on Mexican television showed army and police personnel under assault by men armed with heavy weapons.

Some panicked drivers abandoned their cars in the middle of the street to take cover from the deafening gunfire.

Gunmen blocked roads and highways into the evening, bringing the city of 750,000 people to a standstill, AFP journalists said.

Sources in the Sinaloa state government speaking on condition of anonymity said police officers had been wounded.

They also said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison in Culiacan amid the chaos.

The state government said it was “working to restore calm and order in the face of the high-impact incidents that have occurred in recent hours in various points around Culiacan.”

It called on residents to “remain calm, stay off the streets and be very attentive to official advisories on the evolving situation.”

Dire security situation

“El Chapo,” 62, was sentenced to life in prison in July for trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States over the course of a quarter-century.

However, his cartel remains one of the most powerful in Mexico.

Guzman’s extradition unleashed an initial period of instability in the group, as Ovidio and his brothers waged war with cartel co-founder Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada for control, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

But the situation has since stabilized into a reluctant truce.

Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was re-arrested in 2016 after a brazen prison escape — the second of his career.

He is considered the most powerful drug lord since Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, who was killed in a police shootout in 1993.

After being convicted in a New York court, “El Chapo” is now serving a life sentence in the notorious ADX federal maximum security prison in Colorado.

Ovidio and his brothers have tried to fill their father’s shoes, but anti-narcotics experts portray them as flashy party boys who have little ability to run the business side of the cartel.

Reports that Ovidio had been arrested and then freed triggered harsh criticism of Obrador’s security strategy.

The leftist leader, who took office in December 2018, has struggled to rein in the brutal violence racking Mexico.

Earlier this week, 28 people were killed in two separate gun battles in the restive states of Michoacan and Guerrero.

Mexico has registered more than 250,000 murders since the government controversially deployed the army to fight drug cartels in 2006.

Many experts blame the “drug war” for spiraling violence, as fragmented cartels battle each other and the army.

Egypt Kills 15 militants In North Sinai Shootout

 

Egyptian security forces have killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout in restive north Sinai, the interior ministry said Sunday.

A militant group was “planning hostile acts targeting military and police forces…in order to destabilise national security”, the ministry said in a statement.

It did not name a specific group, but said “terrorist elements” had been hiding in a farm in El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.

When forces approached, “the militants shot live rounds forcing troops to deal with them (and) leading to 15 deaths”.

Graphic pictures of the bodies of the alleged militants were sent along with the Sunday press release.

Authorities also said they found a small trove of stashed weapons including an explosive belt, several rifles and an explosive device.

The ministry did not specify when the reported shootout took place, but Sunday’s announcement follows recent military operations in Sinai that authorities say killed 118 suspected militants.

Nine soldiers were killed and one wounded in those “counter-terrorism” operations, a military statement said on Friday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid tribute to the dead personnel in a series of tweets late Friday, describing “terrorism” as a “cancer still trying to kidnap the nation”.

In February 2018, Egypt’s military launched a nationwide offensive against Islamist militants, focused mainly on North Sinai, where the Islamic State group still has a significant presence.

Some 665 suspected jihadists and around 60 soldiers have been killed since, according to official figures.

UN Peacekeeping Helicopter Crashes In C.Africa, Three Dead

 

Three people were killed and a fourth was injured when a combat helicopter used by United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic crashed on landing, the UN force said on Friday.

“It is with immense sorrow that I have learned of the crash of a Senegalese combat helicopter as it was landing at Bouar, leading to three deaths and one injured,” the head of the MINUSCA mission, Mankeur Ndiaye, said on Twitter.

Ten Dead At President Nyusi’s Rally Ahead Of Elections In Mozambique

 

At least ten people were killed in Mozambique during a stampede at a campaign rally of President Filipe Nyusi, the ruling party said, just over a month ahead of general elections.

The small stadium in the northern city of Nampula where the rally was being held on Wednesday was overcrowded and a crush occured as people rushed for the exits at the end, according to witnesses.

“Unfortunately 10 of our party’s militants died,” the ruling Frelimo party said in a statement, adding that 85 people were injured.

READ ALSO: 16 Killed In Mozambique Insurgency Attack

The scene was “total chaos”, rally attendee Benjamin Nhumaio told AFP.

“What happened is that the gates were closed and they were only opened after the departure of Frelimo candidate, President Nyusi,” said Nhumaio.

“Hence everyone inside the 25 de Junho Stadium wanted to leave at the same time and there were people who were pushed and they fell and were trampled,” he added.

The incident claimed the lives of at least 6 women and 4 men, according to the party.

Nyusi is hoping for a second term in office at general elections scheduled for October 15. His Frelimo party has dominated power for more than four decades and he is expected to win.

His government and ex-rebel group-turned opposition party Renamo completed a long-awaited peace pact last month, 27 years after the end of the first civil war.

But Renamo has said dozens of its members have come under attack just days after the signing of the historic deal, threatening the landmark agreement.