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DR Congo Kasai conflict: ‘Thousands dead’ in violence

DR Congo Kasai conflict: 'Thousands dead' in violence

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The UN has called for an investigation into the violence, which has left millions displaced

More than 3,300 people have been killed in the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region since last October, the Catholic Church says.

The figure, reported by Reuters, is from Church sources in the country.

The deaths are the result of clashes between the army and a rebel group, but civilians have also been caught up in the violence.

The UN has reported on the discovery of more than 20 mass graves but has put the death toll so far at about 400.

According to the Church, 20 villages have been completely destroyed, half of them by government troops.

The UN human rights chief, Prince Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, said investigators in Kasai province had identified dozens of mass graves along with harrowing evidence of people being shot, burned or hacked to death.

Atrocities were being carried out by the security forces and a government-backed militia, known as the Bana Mura, which was set up to help fight a rival group known as the Kamuina Nsapu, Prince Zeid said.

He added that local authorities had denied the UN access to information about what was happening in the region. The UN has said it has evidence that hundreds of villagers from the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups have been killed.

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The UN Human Rights Council is likely to vote this week on whether to mandate an independent investigation into the violence following what the group's commissioner described as horrific atrocities committed in Kasai province.

The Congolese authorities have said they would reject it.

More than a million people have been displaced in the region in the last year and aid workers say the humanitarian response on the ground has so far been inadequate.

Violence erupted in the once peaceful Kasai region last August, after the death of a local leader during fighting with security forces.

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Somali soldier who killed minister Siraji gets death sentence

Somali soldier who killed minister Siraji gets death sentence

Image caption Abas Abdullahi Siraji was Somalia's youngest-ever cabinet minister

The Somali soldier who shot dead the country's youngest-ever cabinet minister last month has been sentenced to death by firing squad.

Abas Abdullahi Siraji was in his car near the presidential palace in Mogadishu when he was killed by Ahmed Abdullahi Abdi, who reportedly mistook him for a militant Islamist.

The minister's death caused shock and anger at the time.

The military court which sentenced the soldier said he can appeal.

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His lawyers argued that the killing was an accident, the AFP news agency reports.

They said that the minister's car attracted suspicion after it drove up behind the car carrying the auditor general, who the soldier was protecting.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The minister was in his vehicle near the presidential palace when he was shot

At 31, Mr Siraji became Somalia's youngest-ever member of parliament last November before becoming the minister of public works earlier this year.

He grew up as a refugee in neighbouring Kenya, home to hundreds of thousands of Somalis who fled drought and conflict, and was seen a role model for his widely admired determination to succeed.

Sensing his popularity with the youth, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo appointed him to the cabinet.

When Mr Siraji was killed, the president cut short a visit to Ethiopia to attend his state funeral.

Image caption The president and many other dignitaries attended Mr Abas' funeral

Somalia has been wracked by conflict since the long-serving ruler Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

It is currently battling militant Islamists from the al-Shabab group, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

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The funeral of Ivorian star Cheick Tiote is held in Abidjan

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Ivorian football star Cheick Tiote during his funeral ceremony in Abidjan.

The funeral of Ivorian star Cheick Tiote was held in Abidjan on Sunday following his sudden death in China earlier this month.

Tiote died aged 30 after collapsing during training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.

The former Newcastle United midfielder was honoured with a military funeral with a host of dignitaries and players in attendance.

His body was flown back home to Ivory Coast from China earlier this week.

We're all here to show him love and to show him he's always going to be in our hearts

Salomon KalouIvory Coast and Hertha Berlin striker

Hundreds of people, including former Elephants coach Herve Renard, were at Abidjan's international airport to receive Tiote's body on Thursday.

Cheick Tiote won more than 50 caps for his country and was part of the Ivory Coast squad that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

A number of his former team-mates attended the funeral, including Germany-based striker Salomon Kalou who said he, like so many others, was left devastated by the news of his death.

"He's someone I respected as a human being but also as a football player," Kalou told BBC Sport.

"I played six years with him in the national team and I played against him with Chelsea when he was at Newcastle, so we had a good relationship and I couldn't miss this funeral for anything in the world.

"It's unreal. It looks like a dream right now. We're all here to show him love and to show him he's always going to be in our hearts," Kalou added.

Mourners pay tribute to Cheick Tiote at his funeral in Abidjan on Sunday

England-based striker Wilfried Bony recalled how Tiote had been a mentor figure for him when he first started playing for the Elephants.

"From the beginning when I joined the team in 2010, he was one of the first players who came and talked to me about how to be here, my attitude, how to train, how I need to react with the other players.

"And Tiote was a player who loved to win who loved to be first, he never wanted to lose. He wanted always to be the best," said Bony.

Ivorian Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly was joined by Ivorian Sports Minister Albert Amichia and President of the Ivorian football federation Augustin Sidy Diallo at the funeral in Abidjan as the country paid its last respects to its former international midfielder.

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Mali attack: Two dead as gunmen storm tourist resort

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionA fire burns in the forest surrounding the resort

Gunmen have stormed a tourist resort in Mali popular with Westerners and two people are dead, the country's security minister has said.

"It is a jihadist attack. Malian special forces intervened and hostages have been released," Salif Traore told AFP.

"Unfortunately for the moment there are two dead, including a Franco-Gabonese."

Government troops battled the gunmen at the luxury resort Le Campement Kangaba, east of the capital Bamako.

According to the security ministry, "one of the terrorists was able to escape, after being injured". He left behind a machine gun and bottles filled with "explosive substances".

The ministry said another two people had been injured, including a civilian.

A security ministry spokesman told Reuters 32 guests had been rescued from the resort.

Malian special forces intervened, backed by UN soldiers and troops from a French counter-terrorism force.

Witness Boubacar Sangare was just outside the compound as the attack unfolded.

Image copyright Lecampement.com Image caption Mali's government has said it suspects jihadists are behind the resort attack

"Westerners were fleeing the encampment while two plainclothes police exchanged fire with the assailants," he said.

"There were four national police vehicles and French soldiers in armoured vehicles on the scene."

He added that a helicopter was circling overhead.

The European Union training mission in Mali, EUTMMALI, tweeted that it was aware of the attack and was supporting Malian security forces and assessing the situation.

Earlier this month, the US embassy in Bamako had warned of "possible future attacks on Western diplomatic missions, other locations in Bamako that Westerners frequent".

Image copyright Reuters Image caption French soldiers stand around a United Nations vehicle following an attack where gunmen stormed Le Campement Kangaba in Dougourakoro

BBC correspondent Alex Duval Smith says many expats and wealthy Malians go to Kangaba at weekends, to enjoy the pools, cocktail bar, canoeing facilities, and other activities for children.

Mali has been fighting a jihadist insurgency for several years, with Islamist fighters roaming the country's north and centre.

In November 2015, at least 20 people were killed when gunmen took guests and staff hostage at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.

Al-Qaeda's North African arm, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), said it was behind that siege.

Mali has been in a state of emergency since the Radisson Blu attack. It was extended for a further six months in April.

The country's security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters from parts of the north.

French troops and a 10,000-strong force of UN peacekeepers have been battling to stabilise the former French colony.

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Archaeologists in Ethiopia uncover ancient city in Harlaa

Image copyright Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter Image caption These are the remains of a 12th Century mosque

A forgotten city thought to date back as far as the 10th century AD has been uncovered by a team of archaeologists in eastern Ethiopia.

Artefacts from Egypt, India and China have been found in the city in the Harlaa region.

The archaeologists also uncovered a 12th Century mosque which is similar to those found in Tanzania and Somaliland.

Archaeologists says this proves historic connections between different Islamic communities in Africa.

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"This discovery revolutionises our understanding of trade in an archaeologically neglected part of Ethiopia. What we have found shows this area was the centre of trade in that region," lead archaeologist Professor Timothy Insoll from the University of Exeter said.

The team also found jewellery and other artefacts from Madagascar, the Maldives, Yemen and China.

Harlaa was a "rich, cosmopolitan" centre for jewellery making, Prof Insoll said.

"Residents of Harlaa were a mixed community of foreigners and local people who traded with others in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and possibly as far away as the Arabian Gulf," he said.

'City of giants'

BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza says there was a local myth that the area was occupied by giants because the settlement buildings and walls were constructed with large stone blocks that could not be lifted by ordinary people.

However the archaeologists found no evidence of this.

"We have obviously disproved that, but I'm not sure they fully believe us yet," said Prof Insoll.

Image copyright Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter Image caption These beads are signs of a lucrative trade in the region Image copyright Prof Tim Insoll, University of Exeter Image caption Further excavations are expected to be conducted next year

A statement from the team says the remains of some of the 300 people buried in the cemetery are being analysed to find out what their diet consisted of.

Further excavations are expected to be conducted next year.


A religious crossroads

Ethiopia was one of the earliest places known to be inhabited by humans. In 2015 researchers discovered jaw bones and teeth in the north-west of the country dating to between 3.3m and 3.5m years old.

Coptic Christianity was introduced from Egypt and was adopted as the religion of the Kingdom of Aksum in 333 AD. The Ethiopian church maintains that the Old Testament figure of the Queen of Sheba travelled from Aksum in northern Ethiopia to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem.

Islam arrived in Ethiopia in the 7th Century as early Muslim disciples fled persecution in Mecca. The main seat of Islamic learning in Ethiopia was Harar, which is located near Harlaa. Harar is said to be among the holiest Islamic cities and has 82 mosques, including three dating from the 10th Century, and 102 shrines, according to Unesco.

Today there are about 30m Christians and 25m Muslims in the country, according to 2007 census figures.


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Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane sworn in despite wife’s killing

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane sworn in despite wife's killing

Image copyright AFP Image caption Prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L) was sworn in for a second time

Lesotho's new Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has been sworn in, two days after his estranged wife was shot dead.

There were doubts whether the inauguration would take place so soon after her killing.

Prime Minister Thabane's ABC party defeated his bitter rival Pakalitha Mosisili's party in a snap election earlier this month.

It was the third election in three years after a bitter power-struggle.

Africa Live: BBC news updatesFind out more about Lesotho

Mr Thabane's party won 48 of the 80 directly contested seats in the 120-strong parliament but he had to form a coalition government with three other parties in order to reach a 63-seat majority to form a government.

"I sincerely hope that political reforms will bring stability in Lesotho and ensure that Lesotho governments last for a normal five-year term," Prime Minister Thabane said in his inaugural speech, AFP reports.

Mr Thabane also commented for the first time about the recent death of his wife Lipolelo, who was shot dead on Wednesday night while travelling home with a friend.

"I am mourning her death, and the senseless killing of people like this... is one of many challenges that I am faced with as a new prime minister," AFP says

Image copyright China TV Image caption Lipolelo Thabane was going through a prolonged divorce

The police say the motive for her killing is unknown and an investigation is continuing.

The couple had been living separately since 2012 and filed for divorce which hasn't been granted yet.

Mr Thabane attended the swearing in with another wife, Ma Isaiah Ramoholi.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Thomas Thabane (C) attended the swearing in with his wife Ma Isaiah Ramoholi (L), while King Letsie III (R) looks on

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