Staff Writer With AFP

  • AfricaCameroon military personnel

    Five Jihadists, Two Soldiers Killed in Cameroon Clash

    Two soldiers were killed early on Tuesday when jihadists attacked a military position in northern Cameroon after crossing from Nigeria, sources said, while seven other soldiers were injured in a mine blast in the same village. The device exploded when the soldiers’ vehicle was passing, according to an army colonel. Both the explosion and the overnight attack took place at Soueram, close to the Nigerian border in Cameroon’s Far North region, the colonel and a local official told AFP. “Two Cameroonian soldiers were killed” in the overnight assault, while five jihadists died in the counter-attack, the colonel said. The attack was claimed by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity. ISWAP is a splinter group of Nigeria’s Boko Haram, which has led a bloody 11-year campaign against perceived Western influence. An army vehicle was destroyed and the jihadists made off with a piece of heavy weaponry, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A local leader, who also asked not to be identified, confirmed the attack and the toll, adding that there were no civilian casualties. The Far North is an impoverished tongue of land that lies between Chad to the east and …

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  • AfricaMinusca peacekeepers in Bambari

    Nine Militia Fighters Arrested in Central African Republic Killings

    Nine fighters from an armed group that launched a week-long attack last week in south-eastern Central African Republic have been arrested. The assailants belong to a branch of the CAR’s biggest armed group, the Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), the country’s special criminal court said in a statement on Monday. The court is responsible for trying cases of serious human rights violations in the country, which has been ravaged by conflict for more than 20 years. The UPC has committed “widespread and systematic attacks on the civilian population,” the court said. During the attacks on the town of Obo last week, government forces backed by U.N. troops killed around 10 fighters from the rebel militia and captured others, a government spokesman had told AFP. Led by a mercenary named Ali Darassa, the UPC has been campaigning for months to extend its grip in the southeast, at the crossroads of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The UPC is one of myriad armed groups that have controlled most of the CAR since the country plunged into violence in 2013. A few months away from high-risk presidential elections due in December, the CAR continues to be plagued by militia …

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  • Middle EastFormer Libyan General Khalifa Haftar.

    Russia Sent Warplanes to Back Mercenaries in Libya: US Military

    Russia recently sent fighter jets to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fighting for strongman Khalifa Haftar, the U.S. military command for Africa (Africom) said Tuesday, in a major escalation in the long-running conflict. The military fighter aircraft left Russia and first stopped in Syria where they “were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin” before arriving in Libya, said Stuttgart-based Africom. The U.S. military did not specify when exactly the jets arrived, only saying that it was “recently.” The announcement comes a day after Libya’s U.N.-recognised government said hundreds of Russian mercenaries backing rival military commander Haftar had been evacuated from combat zones south of the capital Tripoli. The retreat follows a series of setbacks for Haftar’s years-long offensive to seize the capital from the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The Kremlin has always denied involvement in the conflict. But United Nations experts said in a report last month that the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian paramilitary organization seen as close to President Vladimir Putin, had sent fighters to back Haftar. “For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now,” said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend …

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  • EuropeRussian Air Force Sukhoi Su-57

    Russia Begins Building First Stealth Bomber: Report

    Russia has begun manufacturing the prototype of its first strategic stealth bomber, state news agency TASS reported on Tuesday, as the country presses ahead with the modernization of its military. Quoting defense industry sources, TASS said the state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation was overseeing the project. It said material was being shipped for the project and that work had begun on the cockpit of the bomber, known as the PAK DA. “The final assembly of the entire machine should be complete in 2021,” one of the sources told TASS. Stealth bombers are designed to evade radar detection while carrying large amounts of weaponry. Russian officials have revealed few details of the project, though last year Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said aircraft maker Tupolev — which is part of United Aircraft Corporation — was in charge. Reached by AFP, United Aircraft Corporation spokesman Sergei Loktionov declined to comment on the report. Tupolev also did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Reports have said the plane will feature a flying wing design similar to U.S. stealth bombers, fly at subsonic speeds and carry strategic cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons. The U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bombers are among the world’s most feared …

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  • Middle EastFormer Afghan Taliban fighters

    Afghanistan to Free 900 More Taliban Prisoners

    Afghan authorities plan to release 900 more Taliban prisoners Tuesday, as a rare ceasefire by the insurgents entered its third and last day.

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  • Middle EastAfghan Taliban-US peace deal

    Afghan Govt Frees Taliban Prisoners as Truce Holds for Second Day

    Afghan authorities released 100 Taliban prisoners Monday as part of the government's response to a surprise, three-day ceasefire the insurgents called to mark the Eid al-Fitr festival.

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  • AfricaDemocratic Republic of Congo soldiers

    Nine Killed in Eastern DR Congo Attack

    Nine civilians were killed on Sunday in the eastern DR Congo region of Beni in another attack blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, according to local sources. The attackers fled after a gunfight with army troops, according to Anthony Mualushayi, a regional army spokesman. The fighters “burned down some houses” and people have fled, said Donat Kibwana, the region’s administrator, adding that there were “some wounded on the military side.” Local official Bozi Sindiwako told AFP that two women and seven men were killed. The ADF is accused of killing more than 400 civilians in six months in retaliation for a military offensive launched in October against their bases. More than 1,000 civilians have died in attacks blamed on the ADF in the Beni region since October 2014. They often target farmers returning from the fields or at home in their villages at night. The mainly Muslim movement originated in neighboring Uganda, opposed to the rule of President Yoweri Museveni. In 1995 they crossed the border into DR Congo, which became its base of operations. “Barbaric acts” are being committed by militiamen in Beni and elsewhere in eastern DR Congo, the government said at a cabinet meeting on Friday. …

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  • AfricaOperation Barkhane Bourgou 4

    Eight Jihadists Killed in Ivorian-Burkina Operation: Ivory Coast Army

    Eight suspected jihadists were killed and another 38 captured in a joint operation by Burkinabe and Ivorian forces near the two countries’ shared border, the Ivory Coast army said Sunday. The captured men — 24 in Burkina Faso and 14 in Ivory Coast — were handed over to intelligence services, a source at Ivorian army headquarters told AFP. A “terrorist base” was destroyed at Alidougou in Burkina Faso, the source added. Arms, ammunition, USB keys, and cell phones were also seized during the operation, the source said. Operation “Comoe,” named after a river that flows through the two west African countries, was launched in early May, the source said, praising the “perfect coordination between the two armies.” This joint operation, presented on Saturday by the two armies’ top commanders as the first of its kind, took place northeast of the Ivorian town of Ferkessedougou and south of Banfora in Burkina Faso. On Saturday, a Burkinabe security source said the entire operation had been carried out in Ivory Coast. But local people told an AFP journalist that the fighting took place around the villages of Tinadalla and Diambeh north of Kong in the northeast of Ivory Coast. They spoke of a considerable military …

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  • Middle EastIran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaks during a ceremony in Tehran

    Iran’s Khamenei: Fight to ‘Liberate Palestine’ Is ‘Islamic Duty’

    Iran’s supreme leader said it was an “Islamic duty” to fight for the “liberation of Palestine” in a landmark speech Friday amid rising tensions with regional arch-enemy Israel. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at Western governments and their Arab “puppets” for supporting the Jewish state, in his first ever address marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day. The 80-year-old leader also appeared to confirm for the first time that Iran has helped to provide Palestinians with arms. The remarks came at the end of a week that saw Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launch a Twitter tirade against Khamenei and reports that the two sides carried out cyber attacks on each other. “The aim of this struggle is the liberation of the entire Palestinian land” and “the return of all Palestinians to their country,” Khamenei said in the speech broadcast live on state television. “The policy of normalizing the presence of the Zionist regime in the region is one of the major policies of the United States of America,” he said. “Some Arab governments in the region, which play the role of U.S. puppets, have provided the necessary preconditions for this, such as economic ties and the like; these efforts are completely fruitless and sterile. …

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  • Africa

    Sudan’s Bloody Tribal Clashes Threaten Fragile Transition

    An upsurge in bloody tribal clashes in Sudan has killed at least 59 people and wounded over 100 this month, heaping more pressure on the country’s fragile transitional government. More than a year since the fall of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, who ruled over ethnically diverse regions with an iron fist, the joint civilian-military administration has struggled to steady a politically and economically unstable Sudan. In the latest inter-ethnic violence, 30 people were killed in clashes on May 7 between the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the Falata, who trace their roots to western Africa, sparked by a dispute over livestock. Three days later, three people died, 79 were wounded and several homes were burnt down in violence between members of the Bani Amer and Nuba tribes in the eastern city of Kassala, near Sudan’s border with Eritrea. This was followed by yet more lethal confrontations that left 26 people dead and 19 injured on May 13 in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan province. Tribal grievances spilling over into bloodshed have been a mainstay of Sudan’s numerous ethnic conflicts since independence from British and Egyptian rule in 1956. Sudan’s most notorious violence shook the Dafur region in 2003 when Bashir’s …

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