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Chad vote counting begins after tense first Sahel presidential poll since coups

Chad vote counting begins after tense first Sahel presidential poll since coups

CHAD deployed dozens of security forces in the capital amid rising tensions as polls closed and vote counting began in the first presidential election in Africa's Sahel region since a wave of coups. Soldiers and riot police patrolled the streets alongside at least 30 armoured and other military vehicles in the opposition-friendly southern neighbourhoods of the capital N'Djamena, according to Reuters reporters. The streets, normally bustling in the final hours of voting, were quiet. At least one voter was killed in the Central African country's second-largest city Moundou, south N'Djamena, after unidentified gunmen opened fire at a polling station, Chadian media reported. Nomads,…
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Heatwaves and outages test support for juntas in Chad and Mali

Heatwaves and outages test support for juntas in Chad and Mali

IN Chad's scorching capital N'Djamena, housewife Sylvie Belrangar turned the handle of a tap but nothing trickled out as water shortages and extreme temperatures swept parts of West and North-Central Africa's Sahel region. "The president promised water and electricity. But since then, we've seen nothing," she said last week, surrounded by withered plants in her parched compound. Belrangar's plight is echoed elsewhere in the semi-arid Sahel, whose worst heatwave in recent memory exposed in April the struggle of junta-led countries, such as Chad and Mali, to guarantee basic services when the need for water and electricity is most acute. Recent outages have…
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Blinken announces $150 mln in new aid for Sahel

Blinken announces $150 mln in new aid for Sahel

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $150 million in new humanitarian assistance for Africa's Sahel region, saying it would provide life-saving support to refugees and others impacted by conflict and food insecurity. Making the announcement during a visit to Niger, Blinken said the aid would address needs in Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. The package also included funding to support Sahelian refugees in Libya and Niger, he said. Thomson Reuters Foundation
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Malian and foreign soldiers believed to have killed hundreds in town siege, Human Rights Watch says

Malian and foreign soldiers believed to have killed hundreds in town siege, Human Rights Watch says

MALIAN troops and suspected Russian mercenaries allegedly executed around 300 civilian men over five days during a military operation in a central town, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Tuesday. The killings took place between March 27 and 31 in Moura, a rural town of around 10,000 inhabitants in the Mopti region, a hotspot of jihadist activity that has intensified and spread to neighbouring countries in the Sahel region. "The incident is the worst single atrocity reported in Mali's decade-long armed conflict," HRW said. The reported executions sparked condemnation from the United States, the European Union, France…
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French minister in Sahel amid talk of Russian hired guns for Mali

French minister in Sahel amid talk of Russian hired guns for Mali

FRANCE’S Armed Forces Minister has arrived in Niger as part of a two-day visit to allies in the Sahel region, where French-led military operations against Islamist militants are under threat from Mali's talks with Russian defence contractors. Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali's year-old military junta is close to recruiting the Russian Wagner Group, and France has launched a diplomatic drive to thwart it, saying such an arrangement is "incompatible" with a continued French presence. West Africa's main political bloc, ECOWAS, has also expressed concern. But Mali's junta has dug in, noting that France has begun scaling…
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France ends West African operation

France ends West African operation

JOHN IRISH and TANGI SALAUN PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron has announced that France's operation battling Islamist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa would come to an end with troops now operating as part of broader international efforts in the region. France, the former colonial power, has hailed some success against Sahel militants in recent months but the situation is extremely fragile and Paris has grown frustrated with no apparent end in sight to its operations and political turmoil especially in Mali. "The time has come to begin a deep transformation of our military presence in the Sahel," Macron told…
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Al Qaeda leader in Sahel killed

Al Qaeda leader in Sahel killed

THE French army has killed an al Qaeda leader during an operation in the Sahel region who is believed to be responsible for the kidnapping and killing of two French journalists in 2013, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has revealed. Parly said in an address posted on Twitter that three Islamist militants were also killed during the operation in the West African region. "On June 5, the Barkhane force detected a planned attack on an UN compound in Aguelhok in northern Mali", the minister said. She said that a military operation was launched as a group of armed terrorists was…
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French journalist kidnapped in Mali

French journalist kidnapped in Mali

FRENCH Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed yesterday that a French journalist who disappeared last month in Mali's northern city of Gao had probably been taken hostage by Islamist militants in West Africa's arid Sahel region. Olivier Dubois this month appeared in a video appealing to authorities to do everything they can to free him from the JNIM (al Qaeda North Africa) holding him. French authorities have previously only confirmed Dubois' disappearance. "Everything leads us to believe he's the hostage of a jihadist group", Le Drian told RTL radio.
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Chad military claims victory over rebels

Chad military claims victory over rebels

CHAD’S military has claimed victory in its weeks-long battle with northern rebels that led to the death of President Idriss Deby on the battlefield. However, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) said it was not aware of an end to the fighting. The group "will comment when it has reliable and credible information," said FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol. The transitional military authorities have previously said they have defeated the rebels only for clashes to continue. The conflict and broader political instability are being closely watched. Chad is a key power in central Africa…
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U.S. embassy to withdraw staff as Chad rebels advance

U.S. embassy to withdraw staff as Chad rebels advance

THE United States has ordered its non-essential staff in Chad to leave the African country as rebel fighters approached the capital on Sunday after early election results showed President Idriss Deby on course to extend his three-decade rule. Deby, who seized power in 1990 at the head of an armed rebellion, is a staunch ally of France and the United States in the fight against Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region. "Due to their growing proximity to N'Djamena and the possibility for violence in the city, non-essential U.S. government employees have been ordered to leave Chad by commercial airline,"…
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