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Kenya gripped by tension as Kenyatta leads in disputed poll

Residents walk amid the remains of market stalls that were burnt to the ground during protests relating to the presidential election in the Kamangware district of Nairobi on October 28, 2017. AFP / Marco LONGARI Nairobi: Kenya was stuck in a dangerous limbo Saturday as President Uhuru Kenyatta took an unassailable lead in a disputed poll that has sparked violent protests in which nine have died.

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Africa:Chad’s Survivors of Torture and Rape Seek Justice for Fellow Africans

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: Chad's Torture Survivors Seek Justice for Fellow Africans

Ginette Ngarbaye, whose testimony in a court in Dakar in 2015 was one of many which helped prosecute Chad's former president Hissène Habré on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanities, pictured in N'Djamena, Chad.

By Inna Lazareva

N'djamena — Ginette Ngarbaye, 52, rises from her seat, leans forward and glares intensely at the ghost of her tormentor.

"I gave him a long, deep look - like this," she said, recalling how she came face to face with former Chad President Hissène Habré - the man responsible for the worst moments of her life.

Aged 20, she was arrested by Habré's soldiers, interrogated, tortured and raped - all while pregnant with her first child. Unable to get medical help, she gave birth on the cement floor of her cell, crowded with other women and crawling with insects.

"I don't even know what was used to cut the umbilical cord," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, wiping away droplets of sweat in the dusty courtyard at the home of a friend whose husband was abducted and killed in 1984.

But since Ngarbaye confronted Habré three decades on, delivering her testimony in a Dakar courtroom in 2015, she feels victorious, and still keeps a photo of the encounter.

Habré seized power in Chad in 1982, and imposed one-party rule. He waged a campaign against ethnic groups, including the Sara, Hadjerai, Zaghawa and Chadian Arabs, and others perceived to be opposed to his regime, carrying out arbitrary arrests, torture and political assassinations through his security agency.

After being ousted in a 1990 coup, he fled to Senegal. Two years later, the Chadian Truth Commission accused his government of being responsible for 40,000 murders and 200,000 cases of torture, but he was not arrested until 2013.

His conviction in May 2016 for war crimes and crimes against humanity sent shockwaves throughout Africa - marking the first time in modern history that one country's domestic courts have prosecuted the former leader of another on rights charges.

Other such cases have been tried by international tribunals.

"This Habré case showed that victims, with tenacity and perseverance, can actually create the political conditions to bring their dictator to court," Reed Brody, an American lawyer who has helped Habré's victims, said by email.

Many of those survivors, now in their 60s and 70s, are not resting on their laurels.

Every Saturday morning they gather in N'Djamena as they have done for the past 26 years. Today their objective is even more ambitious - to ensure justice is done not only for themselves but also for other victims of rights abuses across Africa.

"NEVER AGAIN"

"We think the Habré trial serves as an example for all of Africa and beyond, where many people are killed and there are major violations of human rights," said Clément Abaifouta, president of the Chad victims' association, who spent four years in one of Habré's prisons, earning the nickname "gravedigger" due to his job burying the bodies of detainees in mass ditches.

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Sitting in the association's dilapidated headquarters, Abaifouta pointed to a large poster on the wall with fat red letters stating "Never Again This!!!"

Above, sketches spell out exactly what that means: a woman bound in chains writhing in agony as a match burns her nipples; a man tied and hung upside down from the ceiling; a collection of human skulls piled on top of one another.

Today, only between 7,000 and 9,000 of Habré's victims - who may have numbered about a quarter of a million - are still alive, said Abaifouta.

"But look at what's happening in Burundi, in Gabon, in Syria - what's happening everywhere," he said. "The experience of Habré's victims can be used to bring justice in other countries."

In April, they met survivors of alleged atrocities committed by Gambia's former leader Yahya Jammeh. He is accused of rights abuses, including unlawful detention, torture and murder of perceived opponents - charges the ex-president's supporters deny.

This month, Jammeh's victims launched a campaign to bring him to justice with the help of Brody who was instrumental in the Habré legal process.

The Chadian activists are also sharing their experiences with young people, using extracts from Habré's trial as training materials, to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again.

"We as victims, who have lived through this disaster, we can put ourselves forward as an example to bring peace, well-being, reconciliation and a peaceful coexistence," said Abaifouta.

WAIT FOR COMPENSATION

The most pressing challenge for the victims is accessing financial compensation, which is still pending.

In April, the appeals court in Senegal ordered Habré to pay 82 billion CFA francs (about $144.5 million) in compensation, listing nearly 7,400 people as eligible and mandating a trust fund to search for and seize the former dictator's assets.

Two years earlier, a Chadian court ordered the government to pay more than $60 million in reparations, erect a memorial, and turn Habré's former political police headquarters into a museum.

To date, none of this has happened.

"The majority of people really need this money," said Ousmane Taher, the association's liaison officer. "His victims are now old, they have suffered so much, they don't have a job - they are waiting for this money to be able to take care of themselves."

Senegal has frozen some of Habré's assets, including a house in an upscale Dakar neighbourhood and some small bank accounts, said Brody. "But Habré emptied out the Chadian national treasury in the days before his flight to Senegal, and we believe his assets are much more extensive," he added.

The trust fund mandated by the Dakar court can also collect voluntary contributions - but the statutes governing it have yet to be approved by the African Union (AU).

REDRESS, a UK-based group working on justice for torture survivors, said it did not know the cause of the delay, and urged the AU to act at its upcoming summit in January.

The AU did not respond to a request for comment.

For now, the Chad victims' association has set up a savings and loans group, which helps people access cash in times of crisis.

RAPE AS A WAR CRIME

Experts are also hoping the Habré trial will serve as an incentive to press for more convictions of rape as a war crime.

The judgment centered on sexual violence - a rare outcome at war crimes tribunals, Kim Thuy Seelinger, director of the sexual violence programme at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in a journal article this year.

Rape was declared a war crime in 1919 after World War One, but only in 1998 did the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) first successfully charge former Rwandan mayor Jean-Paul Akayesu with using rape as a weapon of war.

The ICTR's successor, the International Criminal Court, went on to issue its first rape conviction in 2016 when it held Democratic Republic of Congo's Jean-Pierre Bemba responsible for a campaign of rape and murder in Central African Republic.

But the Habré case points to the difficulty of securing successful prosecutions. Habré was convicted of rape, as well as sexual crimes committed by his security agents, yet he himself was later acquitted of rape on procedural grounds because a key testimony came too late.

To prevent that happening again, "we must do more to support earlier disclosure of sexual violence", wrote Seelinger.

As one of those who spoke out about rape by Habré's soldiers despite the social stigma, Ngarbaye said people had mocked her and other witnesses for testifying against a man and a regime that had seemed all-powerful.

Their courage was vindicated by Habré's conviction.

"We waited so long (for justice) - and finally it came," said Ngarbaye.

- Reporting by Inna Lazareva, editing by Megan Rowling and Kieran Guilbert

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Liberia:Supreme Court Stops Runoff Election

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica

Police patrolled the streets ahead of the announcement of election results.

By Lennart Dodoo

Monrovia — The Supreme Court of Liberia has ordered the National Elections Commission (NEC) to stay any and all actions in the pending runoff election scheduled for November 7, 2017 in line with the Writ for Prohibition prayed for by the Liberty Party.

The Liberty Party requested the Writ of Prohibition and a rerun of the October 10 presidential and legislative elections, citing mass irregularities and fraud.

The ruling Unity Party, the All Liberian Party and the Alternative National Congress have all joined the Liberty Party's pursuit for a rerun of the October 10 polls.

Former soccer legend and Senator of Montserrado County, George Manneh Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Vice President for Republic of Liberia, Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the Unity Party are poised to contest the runoff election next Tuesday.

The Chief Justice and his associates were tight-lipped Tuesday evening after their deliberation, but Mr. Ambrose Nmah, Communications Director at the Temple of Justice told reporters that the Bench had not come out with any decision yet.

"No decision has been reached yet; as you are aware some of the justices were not in the country, they only arrived today and came here straight from the airport to receive briefing on the case," he said.

However, a high placed source confided in this paper that Supreme Court late Tuesday evening issued the writ of prohibition prayed for by the Liberty Party which effectively puts a halt to the runoff election scheduled for next Tuesday until the Liberty Party's case and any appeal is exhausted.

"This means that the runoff will be scheduled after the whole matter, if LP loses. If LP wins, whole new elections could be ordered. This brings the possibility of an interim government which some have been pushing; Madam Sirleaf tenure ends on the 18th of January," the source hinted.

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Portion of the writ of prohibition obtained by FrontPageAfrica reads:

"you are commanded to instruct the Respondents to stay any and all actions in respect to the pending run-off Election scheduled for November 7, 2017, pending the disposition by the Supreme Court of the Petitioners Petition.

"You will further inform the parties that given the constitutional issues raised in the petition, coupled with the fact that election matters are to be expeditiously heard and determined, that upon service of this Writ and Returns thereto, the case is hereby docketed for the urgent disposition by the Bench en banc."

The National Elections Commission has also been ordered to file their returns on Thursday, November 2, 2017.

Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor and Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh were out of the country, but rushed to the Temple of Justice directly from the airport upon their arrival on Tuesday.

Election observes including National Democratic Institute (NDI), European Union, Carter Center, Liberia Elections Observation Network, among others were seen on the third floor of the Temple of Justice on Tuesday evening.

Journalists and observers are not being allowed on the fourth floor of the Temple of Justice where the justices deliberating.

Our reporter at the grounds of the Temple of Justice said prior to the arrival of the Chief Justice, agents of Executive Protection Service (EPS) in vehicle marked EPS 72 came to the Court asking for the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator. Both the Chief Justice and the Court Administrator were not present at the time. The Agents left after 30 minutes of waiting.

The Chairman of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, had always insisted that though there were irregularities during the October 10 elections, they are not grave to warrant a rerun of the elections.

Cllr. Korkoya said during a press conference last week that the Commission does not have the financial resources to conduct a rerun of the elections but would be obliged to rerun if the Supreme Court makes such decision.

It is not yet clear how the political leader of the CDC would respond to the writ, but Senator Weah and the CDC who have been against the call for rerun of the election on Monday cautioned the Supreme Court Monday to be mindful of their decisions relating to electoral complaints.

"We would like to say that the peace and stability of this country lie in the hands of the Honorable Supreme Court."

"The Liberian people are watching, the voice of the people is the voice of God and the will of the people must be respected," he asserted.

According to Senator Weah, having been in politics over the past 12 years, he understands the position and has felt the way the Standard Bearer of the ruling Unity Party, Vice President Joseph Boakai feels, for which he is joining the Liberty Party to call for a rerun of the October 10 elections.

He, however, noted that for the love of the country, he allowed peace and stability to supersede his quest for state power, despite being convinced that the both 2005 and 2011 elections were not credible.

"I've played my part, I've allowed the national government of Madam Sirleaf and the beneficiary Joseph Boakai to have stability to show their work," he said.

While the ruling Unity Party and its cohorts are calling for the dissolution of the NEC, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Monday announced her confidence in National Elections Commission and the Judiciary, as well to handle election-related complaints impartially.

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An African president’s journey: From Commander-in-Chief to Tribalist-in-Chief

AndrA© Guichaoua is a professor at the prestigious Faculty of Economics at PanthA©on-Sorbonne University, France. In a recent syndicated article on elections in Africa, he argued that most votes are largely a ritual, with results known before the vote, oppositions suppressed, and most incumbents enjoying too big an advantage to be defeated.

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2 dead amid anti-government protests in eastern Congo

A Congo police spokesman says at least two people, a police officer and citizen, have been killed in clashes between police and protesters in eastern Congo. Col. Pierrot Mwanamputu said the two died early Monday amid demonstrations in Goma to protest President Joseph Kabila's continued rule and the delay of elections.

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Kenya:’Repeat Presidential Poll Was Free, Fair and Credible’

Photo: PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation at State House, Nairobi, on October 25, 2017.

By Patrick Lang'at and John Ngirachu

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has declared that the just-concluded repeat presidential election was credible, free, fair and credible.

Mr Chebukati has subsequently declared Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as president-elect and deputy president-elect respectively.

Mr Kenyatta garnered 7,483,895 votes, which is 98.27pc of the valid votes cast in the fresh election held last week and which was boycotted by his main challenger, Nasa’s Raila Odinga.

The declaration process, which is ongoing, started a few minutes to 4pm with Mr Chebukati reading the votes that each candidate got in each of the 47 counties.

The declaration is made without results from 25 constituencies in Nyanza that failed to vote on Thursday due to disruptions of polling.

Mr Chebukati said that the conditions that had been set for the repeat poll were met and that the fresh election credible, free and fair.

MOST DIFFICULT

He described as the “most difficult and legally unchartered waters” the fact that Kenya, first in Africa and the Commonwealth, and only the fourth in the world, had its presidential election annulled and a repeat poll done.

“I am satisfied that we were able to meet these conditions (I had set) to deliver what to us, and I believe, [to] observers, was a free, fair and credible election,” said Mr Chebukati.

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DETAILED STEPS

He said detailed steps were undertaken to ensure the election was okay and to address concerns from General Election where the Supreme Court annulled President Kenyatta’s win.

Mr Chebukati said that the election was run by a fresh team made of election staff from all over the country.

He added that conditions in 25 constituencies in Nyanza region made it impossible to hold the repeat election.

Speaking earlier in the day, IEBC Vice-Chairperson Consolata Nkatha said that voting in areas that did not hold elections will not affect the final result.

VERIFICATION

She said that a verification process had been completed in 266 constituencies where elections were held and that the commission, in accordance with Section 55(B)(3) of the Elections Act, directed that a return to the election be made, thus paving way for a president-elect to be declared.

Last Thursday’s fresh election was ordered by the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling on September 1 that annulled President Kenyatta’s August 8 win over illegalities and irregularities committed by the IEBC.

Mr Odinga boycotted the fresh poll, demanding, among other things, the sacking of senior electoral officials and change of both the ballot paper printer and the poll’s technology provider.

NYANZA

However, it became impossible to hold elections in 25 constituencies in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori, where Mr Odinga enjoys massive support.

In most of these constituencies, hooligans prevented polling from taking place, welding and riveting shut gates in some places and in others engaging in violence to the extent that the IEBC could not secure its officials.

Mr Chebukati said on Friday that election officials were intimidated, kidnapped or tortured and said that where the commission’s staff was under threat, it was concerned.

266 CONSTITUENCIES

However, election took place in 265 of Kenya’s 290 constituencies as well as the diaspora with Kenyans in East and South Africa casting their ballot.

Of those 266 reporting constituencies, President Kenyatta had 7,483, 895 votes, just 719,395 shy of the 8,203, 290 he had in the annulled poll.

And with 7,616, 21 valid votes in the 266 constituencies that voted, the voter turnout was 42.36 per cent, while taken against the 19, 611, 423 total voters in Kenya, the Thursday fresh poll’s turnout drops to 38.84 per cent.

The August 8 election had a 79.17 per cent voter turnout, a drop from the 86 per cent in the 2013 election won by President Kenyatta with Mr Odinga coming in a close second, and losing a subsequent Supreme Court petition.

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Zimbabwe: Acting President Mphoko Blasts VP Mnangagwa

Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko has taken his colleague Emmerson Mnangagwa head on accusing him of disrespecting President Robert Mugabe's authority and promoting tribal tensions for political expediency. This comes after Mnangagwa, addressing a gathering last Saturday at the memorial of the late Gutu senator Shuvai Mahofa, made a U-turn saying he was poisoned.

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The US Will Invade West Africa in 2023 After An Attack in New York — According to Pentagon War Game – The Intercept

When the Pentagon peers into its crystal ball, the images reflected back are bleak.

On May 23, 2023, in one imagining from the U.S. military, terrorists detonate massive truck-bombs at both the New York and New Jersey ends of the Lincoln Tunnel. The twin explosions occur in the southern-most of the three underground tubes at 7:10 a.m., the beginning of rush hour when the subterranean roadway is packed with commuters making their way to work.

The attack kills 435 people and injures another 618. Eventually, we’ll come to know that it could have been much worse. The plan was to drive the trucks to “high profile targets” elsewhere in Manhattan. Somehow, though, the bombs detonated early.

This spectacular attack, which would result in the highest casualties on U.S. soil since 9/11, isn’t the hackneyed work of a Hollywood screenwriter — it is actually one of the key plot points from a recent Pentagon war game played by some of the military’s most promising strategic thinkers. This attack, and the war it sparks, provide insights into the future as envisioned by some of the U.S. military’s most important imagineers and the training of those who will be running America’s wars in the years ahead.

The “5/23” terror attack was a small but pivotal part of a simulated exercise conducted last year by students and faculty from the U.S. military’s war colleges, which are the training grounds for prospective generals and admirals. Sprawling and intricate, the 33rd annual Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program (JLASS-SP) brought together 148 students from the U.S. Air Force’s Air War College, the Army War College, the Marine Corps War College, the Naval War College, the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, the National War College, and the National Defense University’s Information Resources Management College. They collaborated for several weeks of remote war-gaming conducted via “cyberspace tools, telephones and video teleconferencing,” according to Pentagon documents obtained by The Intercept. It culminated in a five-day on-site exercise at the Air Force Wargaming Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

The materials used in JLASS-SP — obtained via the Freedom of Information Act — detail the chaotic tenure of an imaginary 46th president, Karl Maxwell McGraw, and offer a unique window into the training of the Armed Forces’ future leaders. The documents consist of hundreds of pages of summary materials, faux intelligence estimates, fictional situation reports, and updates issued while the exercise was in progress — The Intercept is publishing one of these fictional situation updates here. They are highly detailed and, at a time when the press and lawmakers are increasingly asking questions about U.S. military involvement in Africa, offer a stark assessment of the potential perils of armed action there. While it is explicitly not a national intelligence estimate, the war game, which covers the future through early 2026, is “intended to reflect a plausible depiction of major trends and influences in the world regions,” according to the files.

Attacks in the Pentagon’s JLASS-SP simulated exercise.

Map: The Intercept

McGraw, a former independent Arizona senator who rode his populist “America on the Move” campaign to victory in the 2020 election, ushers in a wave of equally independent congressional candidates and the promise of “TRUE change” in Washington. His presidency is, instead, buffeted by a seemingly endless string of crises.

Just after entering office, in February 2021, a cyberattack shuts down the control system of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Berwick, Pennsylvania, “shaking the confidence of the American people in the government’s ability to protect critical infrastructure.” For the next two years, while dealing with the fallout from an Asian economic crisis, state-sponsored cybercrime, and the rise of new anti-globalism and right-wing extremist groups, the McGraw administration claims success in thwarting numerous overseas terror attacks, including a plot to bomb a number of U.S. embassies and consulates throughout Europe. But in West Africa, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is expanding its presence and building on long-running failures of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts in the region, including U.S. support for French and African military operations that began in 2013 and now appear more or less permanent.

By 2021, according to the war game’s scenario, AQIM boasts an estimated 38,000 members spread throughout Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, and a network of training camps in Mauritania, as well as outright bases in Western Sahara. At the same time, AQIM strengthens its ties with the terror groups al Shabaab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Central Africa’s Lake Chad Basin to create a “network of synchronization across the African continent and beyond,” including shared funding, training methods, and IED-making materials. As this pan-African Islamist terror cartel grows, so does AQIM’s global reach, eventually allowing it to carry out the devastating attack on the Lincoln Tunnel and another, that same day, on the Canadian Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, killing 135 people including the Canadian Ambassador and his staff.

With near-complete congressional backing and the assent of the government of Mauritania, President McGraw joins forces with Canada to launch Operation Desert Strike. A major U.S. and Canadian ground force, backed by air and sea power, lands in Mauritania on June 15, 2023 with McGraw promising the American people a “well-planned, rapid, and efficient operation that would conclude in three years.” As with so many other American wars and interventions since 1945, however, U.S. military operations do not go as planned and instead seem to follow the well-worn path of America’s many other forever wars.

Illustration: Owen Freeman for The Intercept

“We are facing a tough and adaptive enemy,” Major General Roger Evans, the commander of Operation Desert Strike, tells the press in January 2026. “But this coalition is tougher and more adaptive.” Even in wargames, however, there’s a credibility gap between what imaginary generals say about fictitious wars and the (made up) facts on the ground. Exercise documents offer a more pessimistic assessment of the three-and-a-half-year-old war. “A steady increase in violence in northern Mauritania and Mali continues to frustrate Operation Desert Strike commanders as they struggle to counter a stubborn enemy,” reads a report. According to the fictional files, during December 2025 attacks are up a staggering 90% over November’s numbers.

Mounting terrorist strikes — like the Christmas Eve bombing outside a Canadian base in eastern Mauritania that kills eight coalition troops and wounds another 15, an assault on a U.S. military convoy that claims the lives of seven American soldiers, and an ambush that kills one Green Beret and sees another reportedly captured by al Qaeda-allied militants – are just one indicator of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Maghreb. As the conflict enters its fourth year, weapons and militants continue to freely pour into the war zone. “We’re doing our best to work with the nations in the region to control the flow of enemy fighters and weapons into Mali, Mauritania, and Algeria, but there are not enough forces to be everywhere,” coalition spokesman Colonel Byron Scales admits.

That coalition, too, is frequently a problem in and of itself. In November 2025, the United States is slated to begin transferring responsibility for the war to the African Union and decrease its military footprint. But that deadline comes and goes as the AU demands more money and fails to adequately scale up its efforts. That, coupled with Canadian Prime Minister Richard Baker beginning to withdraw his forces on April 1, 2026 and NATO rebuffing President McGraw’s request for additional support, makes it clear that the war would become ever more American and grind on far beyond McGraw’s own withdrawal deadline of December 2026.

Despite – or perhaps, increasingly, because of – the presence of 70,000 U.S. forces and their Canadian allies, civilians in the region continue to suffer mightily. In 2025, the terror group Boko Haram, reinvigorated by the war, carries out 12 suicide bombings in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, alone. That December, the group rampages through the Nigerian town of Damaturu, killing more than 100 people in a series of coordinated bombings and gun attacks. Days later, AQIM’s Christmas Eve bombing of the Canadian military base in Mauritania claims the lives of 83 civilians shopping in the nearby marketplace.

“We will continue to work with our partners to root out and destroy al Qaeda. We are making progress, but it will take time,” Major General Evans tells the public in early 2026. Just how much time and how much progress, however, is only offered in a private assessment sent to the head of U.S. Africa Command on March 8, 2026. In that communique, Evans catalogues the many setbacks plaguing Operation Desert Strike: the resilience of AQIM, the upcoming loss of Canadian forces, the weakness of Malian and Mauritanian troops, and the African Union’s reluctance to provide soldiers, among them. Even a decade into a fictional future, however, the recommendations for another failing, forever war-in-the-making sound far less like futuristic thinking and far more like the predictable solutions to America’s present-day military adventures:

I recommend that we delay our pullout from Mauritania and Mali for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, given the loss of the Canadian forces, and the desire not to “give-back” the gains we have made in their sector, I recommend a surge of three additional Army [brigade combat teams], or [U.S. Marine Corps] Regiments, for a period of 12 months. While this is a difficult scenario given the competing global demand for forces, the mission will fail if some adjustment is not made to keep forces on the ground here in Northwestern Africa.

Evans’ message is the last issued for the Operation Desert Strike segment of the war game, so we don’t know the AFRICOM commander’s response or what President McGraw eventually decides when presented with the options to either double down on the war to avenge the deaths of a devastating terror attack, or to “fail.” Given the range of responses over the last decade-plus to setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Somalia, Yemen and Libya, you don’t need a crystal ball, or to attend a U.S. military war college, to have a pretty good idea of President McGraw’s decision. It seems safe to assume that America’s fictitious war in West Africa will continue into the 2030s, just as its wars of the 2000s have staggered into the late 2010s. One can almost imagine the fictional military officers of President McGraw’s fantasy world conducting their own wargames, charting out their own fictitious forever wars that grind on without end into distant fictional futures.

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Africa:Stumble over Mugabe Challenges WHO Leadership

Photo: WHO

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization, speaking at the World Conference on NCDs in Montevideo.

analysisBy Tami Hultman

Washington, DC — A few days ago, the 'insider' development news organization Devex gave the new Director General of the World Health Organization a thumbs up for his first 100 days in office.

He had announced a senior leadership team that was 60 percent women, representing all world regions. To the delight of women's global health leaders and experts in maternal/child health, he appointed a nurse - Elizabeth Iro of the Cook Islands - as WHO's first chief nursing officer. He fast-tracked a strategy for meeting global health challenges and mobilizing the resources to achieve them. He made universal health coverage his priority, with a focus on delivering care to the world's poorest people.

He appointed Pakistani Dr. Sonia Nishtar - who was a lead rival for the director general's post - to head a commission on non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, which are taking an increasing toll on health in developing countries, as well as wealthier ones.

Tedros is the first African head of WHO. He was elected by its members - the world's nations - after a hard-fought campaign, where candidates from Europe got strong backing from their countries. Health planners were hopeful that the organization would not be caught behind the curve of the next potential - many say 'inevitable' - global pandemic, as it was for Ebola.

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Disbelief over Mugabe appointment

And then.

At a meeting on non-communicable diseases in Latin America, Tedros announced the appointment of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1987, suppressing opposition as the country's economy plummeted and unemployment rose to 95 percent.

Zimbabwe's Community Health Working Group on Health reported this month that spending on public health is among the lowest in southern Africa and is dropping.

The outcry over Mugabe's WHO appointment by Tedros was immediate, from both global health experts and human rights leaders. Questions of "What was he thinking?" from supporters have been accompanied by calls for his resignation. Twitter was abuzz with appeals to Tedros to rethink. And he did.

Yesterday @DrTedros tweeted: I'm listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. Today, he rescinded the Mugabe appointment.

The strength to listen, respond

Today, in a statement issued from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Tedros announced the change and said, " I have also consulted with the Government of Zimbabwe and we have concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the World Health Organization." What is important, he said, is to unite around the issue of bringing health to all. "I thank everyone who has voiced their concerns and shared their thoughts," he said. "I depend on constructive debate to help and inform the work I have been elected to do."

The responses have been swift and predictably mixed. Many on Twitter have said the appointment had called into question Tedros's judgement and his qualifications to lead WHO. Other were relieved, and some of the prominent world thinkers on health who had been most outraged, like Richard Horton, currently editor-in-chief of the British medical journal The Lancet, tweeted @richardhorton1:

WHO has rescinded its appointment of Robert Mugabe as Goodwill Ambassador. The right decision. Thank you Dr Tedros. Strong leadership.

The challenge for Tedros now is to move past this controversy to implement the bold programme he has outlined. The danger is that an early miss-step can shadow the future battles that must be fought to reform the organization and make it nimble, responsive and accountable to the world's people. The poorest and the sickest among us - and all who believe in equal access to health services - can hope that Horton is right - that the ability to listen to criticism and respond promptly is a manifestation of the strength and leadership needed for this historical moment.

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Uganda: Age Limit – President Museveni Responds to MP Bobi Wine

Below is an unabridged response from President Yoweri Museveni to Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in regards to the age limit amendment and governance. Kyagulanyi had called for the retirement of President Museveni because according to him the country was facing 21st problems that need 21st solution and can be implemented by the 21st generation.

Start the conversation, or Read more at AllAfrica.com.

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Nikki Haley: Why I am being sent to Africa (opinion) – CNN – CNN.com – CNN

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Ramaphosa will accept fate if Zuma chooses to axe him – Independent Online

"I serve at the pleasure of the president, and if I'm fired, it will be at the pleasure of the president," Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

Ramaphosa was asked by opposition party members in the National Assembly to confirm or deny speculation that he was next in line to be axed by President Jacob Zuma.

"When I was appointed deputy president, I accepted the appointment because it's the president's prerogative to appoint anybody to the executive and if a decision is to remove me, I will accept it... and I will continue serving the people of South Africa in one form or another," Ramaphosa told MPs.

The question to Ramaphosa came a week after Zuma chopped one of his most fierce critics, South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande, from his cabinet.

Earlier this year, Ramaphosa came out publicly against Zuma regarding the firing of Pravin Gordhan, the country's respected former finance minister.

Gordhan was, and remains, outspoken about the looting at state-owned enterprises, something Ramaphosa too was grilled on.

Also read: KPMG report was 'grossly unfair' to Gordhan: Ramaphosa

The deputy president said the scale and depth of corruption at South Africa's state-owned companies like Eskom, Prasa and Transnet, which are central to economic growth in the country, was only now coming to light.

MPs were not buying it, insisting his silence on corruption had worsened the problem.

"We have a president who the ANC elected with 783 charges of corruption over his head. You were silent then... The law enforcement agencies have been captured, you were silent.

"Your silence has aided and abetted the prevalence of corruption in the country...Why should we believe you now when all along you have run away from realities presented before you?", asked Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa.

Ramphosa even faced a tough question from within the African National Congress ranks with Zukiswa Rantho, who chairs an inquiry into corrupt activities at Eskom, asking why state capture was only being probed now given that a witness told the inquiry state capture should have come under investigation several years ago.

"These incidents of corruption are only now spewing out in the manner that all of us have become aware of them and to this end... the various parliamentary committees have now been set up to go through all these," he answered.

"The admission that will be made is yes that as news coming out about what is happening in various state-owned enterprises, we have delayed and taken too long to act against those involved."

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Rwanda genocide: France keeps 1990s archives secret

Rwanda genocide: France keeps 1990s archives secret

Image copyright AFP Image caption June 1994: French soldiers on patrol pass ethnic Hutu militiamen in Rwanda

France's top constitutional authority says presidential archives on Rwanda should remain secret, thwarting a genocide researcher.

In 1994 France backed Rwanda's ethnic Hutu leaders at the time of the genocide by Hutu militias. Some 800,000 people - mostly Tutsis - were killed.

The Constitutional Council says a 25-year block on ex-president François Mitterrand's documents is legitimate.

A researcher, François Graner, had sought permission to study them.

He argued that the rule keeping many government documents under wraps violated the public right of access to official archives - a right dating back to the 1789 French Revolution.

He said he is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The restrictions on access to the presidential archives "are justified on the grounds of common interest and are proportional", the Council said in its ruling.

The constitution says papers deposited in the archives by a president or minister can remain secret for 25 years after that person's death.

Mitterrand was president from 1981 to 1995, and died in 1996.

Rwanda: How the genocide happened

Rwanda: 100 days of slaughter

Image copyright AFP Image caption In 1984 President Mitterrand was hosted in Rwanda by President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu

In April 2015, the French presidency announced that its archives on Rwanda for 1990-1995 would be declassified.

François Graner then requested access to the Mitterrand archives, but was rebuffed.

Mr Graner has written a book accusing French officers of helping the Hutu militias.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, who took control after the genocide, has made similar allegations of French complicity. France denied any involvement in the killings.

Image copyright AFP Image caption A genocide memorial in a church where thousands of people were massacred

"It's obviously a cover-up," Mr Graner said. "There are political reasons for this decision."

France had close military co-operation with the Rwandan military before the genocide erupted. The spark was the death of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down.

During the 1994 killings, France sent a force to set up a supposedly safe zone. Critics accused France of not doing enough to stop the slaughter.

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Africa: Lessons To Be Learned from Kenya As Liberia Prepares to Vote

Photo: Vivian Lowery Derryck

On the road to Sanniquelli, third largest city in Liberia. Inadequate infrastructure is one of the challenges facing the country as citizens prepare to vote on October 10.

columnBy Vivian Lowery Derryck

Washington, DC — The Kenyan Supreme Court's monumental decision on 1 September to annul the presidential election and order a new poll in two months time is reverberating through the continent. But the decision is particularly significant for Liberia, which holds the next African national election on 10 October.

The Kenyan decision is a victory for civil society and the institution of the judiciary, plus it reinforces peaceful resolution of electoral disputes and/or malfeasance. These are all important lessons for Liberia as the country holds its first post-civil war election without the UN.

The Liberian poll will test both the electoral process and the country's major institutions in a hotly contested race to replace the two-term first democratically elected female president in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

George Weah, twice denied the prize, campaigns with Jewel Howard Taylor, former wife of convicted warlord and former president Charles Taylor, as his running mate, raising a host of bitter Liberian civil war memories as well as legal issues. Current Vice President Joseph Boakai carries his party's standard and, with his vice-presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Emmanuel Nuquay, represents slow but steady progress in reconstructing a country devastated by more than a decade of civil war and the 2014-2015 unprecedented Ebola crisis. Meanwhile, 18 other candidates are vying for the presidency, including former warlord and current Senator Prince Johnson, Attorney Charles Brumskine, twice defeated in earlier presidential runs, and former Coca Cola executive Alex Cummings.

Teachable moments from Kenya for Liberia's upcoming election

The intense political landscape is further fraught by the Liberians having organized this election largely on their own, after UNMIL's major reduction in presence—from 15,000 peacekeepers to 260 police and 230 troops. That means Liberian responsibility for accurate voter registration; ballot security; ballot availability and voter access on election day in outlying counties during the rainy season; polling stations (5,390) management; monitoring the count; and ensuring accurate transmission of results to the central election headquarters for the final tally.

This massive undertaking with hugely reduced logistical support and security apparatus from UNMIL means that impoverished Liberia and its international donors have been forced to absorb the bulk of the multi-million-dollar tab. Reduced resources mean increased vulnerabilities.

Enter Kenya and the teachable moment. The glaring irregularities exposed in the Kenyan election may bring closer scrutiny to the preparations, counting process at the polling stations, and transmission of the ballots to the Liberian National Election Commission (NEC).

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The Kenyan crisis centers on the role of institutions, the judiciary and the electoral commission, two especially vulnerable institutions in Liberia. The Liberian Supreme Court has decreed several controversial election-related rulings and the citizenship of Counselor Jerome Korkoya, the head of the NEC, is under scrutiny. So there was no surprise when the Kenya situation hung over the proceedings at the dedication of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court Complex in remote Sanniquellie, Nimba County the day after the Kenyan bombshell.

The Kenyan debacle was front and center in the Chief Justice's remarks at the opening when he applauded the bold decision of the Kenyan court, reinforced the importance of the judiciary in the democratic process and reiterated Liberian dedication to the rule of law and faithful adherence to the constitution.

There is an opportunity for Liberian officials to do more than laud the Kenyan court and its bold decision. According to news accounts, the fraud in Kenya took place after accurate counting at polling stations, when the results were forwarded as changed vote tallies, and intercepted e-mails were replaced with fraudulent vote counts. Falsified vote certification forms were also submitted. The Kenyan case offers a teachable moment to demonstrate to citizens the distinction between a flawed vote and a flawed count.

The East African experience also reinforced citizen faith in national institutions. Raila Odinga's dogged persistence in appealing to the institution of the judiciary resulted in a hearing. It's a lesson that should be heard across the continent, but especially in Liberia with its upcoming contest.

To benefit immediately, African Union, U.S., EU and UN Electoral Assistance Division officials should send IT specialists to Kenya who can quickly review the Kenyan anomalies. The team or similar experts should then immediately travel to Liberia to inspect the Liberian system for similar vulnerabilities. If any are found, safeguards could be put in place against potential mischief. To reassure the public, the experts and the Government of Liberia should hold a joint press conference and publicly discuss any vulnerabilities found and measures taken to correct them.

In addition, Liberian polls would benefit from having independent election statistics experts present on Election Day, with a special invitation to University of Michigan professor and elections statistics expert, Professor Walter Mebane, whose forensic analysis incontrovertibly exposed the Kenyan deficiencies.

Liberian officials say that they are on schedule and will be ready. Billboards, radio programs, newspapers, jewelry and casual conversations are consumed with election news. The Sunday after the Kenyan decision, pastors referenced it and prayed for peaceful, transparent elections.

Government efforts and international assistance are supported by a massive civil society effort, including a highly experienced Women's Situation Room with its national outreach involving churches, NGOs, professional organizations, the private sector, youth groups and a 150,000-motorcycle brigade currently in training to monitor the polls.

Liberians are proud people. They want this election to run smoothly and to conclude peacefully with a universally accepted winner so that the world will witness Liberia's first civilian handover from elected leader to elected leader in more than 80 years. They yearn to solidify their status as a successful post-conflict nation of peaceful, violence-free elections. Therefore, all 20 candidates for president should be willing to unite behind a joint statement confirming that each will reject a poll that shows discrepancies between the final tallies at each polling station and the tallies sent to election headquarters in Monrovia, and denounce any evidence of tampering with the process.

All the candidates signed a general statement supporting peaceful elections at a recent ECOWAS meeting, but given the Kenyan events and the multiple vulnerabilities in any given electoral system, a specific new reconfirmation is warranted.

As a bonus, while obtaining commitments from the political parties to reject tainted election results, the issue of the citizenship of Counselor Korkoya of the National Elections Commission, could also be addressed. It's a thorny issue that already has been raised to question the legitimacy of the process and even a call to postpone the elections. Since Counselor Korkoya has overseen at least two previous elections successfully, in the spirit of national unity, all political parties should agree to let him serve in this election and then resolve the nationality question post-election.

Major national elections either strengthen or weaken pivotal democratic institutions. In the case of Kenya, the judiciary was strengthened and citizens have renewed faith in that foundational institution. Let the international community benefit from the Kenyan case as a lessons-learned and avoid in Liberia the unsettling uncertainty and huge expense being incurred in Kenya. The lessons-learned are relevant for any country and every future election:

Liberia just happens to be the election in West Africa looming in a little less than one month. The international community, partnering with Liberian politicians, its judiciary and its electoral bodies, can make positive history by doing everything in their joint power to ensure a clean election--thereby rekindling the "love of liberty" in the country's national motto and aiding Liberians on their path to national reconstruction.

Vivian Lowery Derryck is founder of The Bridges Institute.

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South Sudan rebels accuse government of new offensive

South Sudan's armed opposition has accused government troops of attacking a town that has sheltered thousands of displaced people near the Sudan border and sending them fleeing again. Opposition spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel calls this week's alleged offensive on Aburoc an "act of terror against innocent civilians."

Start the conversation, or Read more at Star Tribune.

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Nigeria: Buhari Heads to New York to Seek UN Support On Chibok Girls Release

Photo: Premium Times

President Buhari with the freed Chibok girls.

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will lead the Nigerian delegation to the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Onyeama made this known in Abuja on Tuesday when he briefed the newsmen on the conference scheduled to hold from Sept. 12 to Sept. 25 .

He said Nigeria would at the meeting, renew its call for international support for the release of remaining Chibok girls.

He said that Nigeria would also call for comprehensive reform of the UN, particularly the Security Council to reflect effective, equitable and fair representation.

"We are absolutely delighted that, as he did last year, Mr President will be leading the Nigerian delegation to the UNGA in New York.

"That should be an excellent message to the world that Nigeria is engaged at the very highest level with the international community and it is present in the big and global issues of the day.

"Of course, when we attend UNGA we always have clear objectives of what we want to get out of it for the country.

"We are always keen that Nigeria's priorities and interests are really pushed and our objectives are achieved," he said

According to him, under the leadership of President Buhari the 2017 UNGA will be no exception as the delegation will engage robustly with the international community.

More on This

Buhari to Lead Nigerian Delegation to UN General Assembly
72nd UN General Assembly - Govt to Solicit Int'l Support for Release of Remaining Chibok GirlsBuhari to Lead Nigerian Delegation to UN General Assembly

He said that the 2017 UNGA provided a high level window of opportunity to advance Nigeria's actions toward the promotion of peace and fervent implementation of SDGs.

He said Nigeria would pursue its agenda in line with the theme for the session "Focusing on people: Striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet"

Onyeama said that Nigeria would seek the support of the international community in eradicating the residual traces of terrorism from the northeast of the country.

"Government's efforts have resulted in the release of over 80 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok in 2014

"We will call for continued international support to ensure the safe release and return of the remaining Chibok girls," he said.

He said that Nigeria would also reiterate call for the repatriation of the proceeds of illicit financial assets to countries of origin.

He said that Nigeria at the 2016 UNGA co-sponsored the resolution on repatriation of illicit financial assets to countries of origin.

"At the 72nd Session, the country will follow-up on this resolution and call for international cooperation to combat illicit flows and enhance asset recovery to foster sustainable development.

"Nigeria will also advocate for the eradication of poverty through partnerships which focus attention on people and planet in line with SDG Goal 1

"In this connection Nigeria will call for the continued support and cooperation of the international community to achieve this goal," he said.

According to him, Nigeria will seize the opportunity to take stock of the progress and achievement it has made since the adoption of the global agenda.

He said that Nigeria was keen on the reformation of the UN, particularly the Security Council, to reflect an even-handed and fair representation.

"The UN must scale up its process of change and reform to strengthen its delivery capacity to meet new demands and deliver its vital services in most effective and efficient manner.

"The contemporary call for the reform of the UN Security Council is for a transparent, accountable Council. To this effect, Nigeria will call for the comprehensive reform of the UN.

"Africa must be adequately represented on the Security Council in the Permanent membership category. In this regard, Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa and the world in advancing international peace and security," he said. (NAN)

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South Africa’s Motlanthe: ‘Good if ANC loses power’ – BBC News – BBC News

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionKgalema Motlanthe: It will require courage to renew the ANC

It will be good for South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) to lose the 2019 election, ex-President Kgalema Motlanthe has said.

The party has become "associated" with corruption, and it has to lose for the "penny to drop", he told the BBC.

Mr Motlanthe is a senior ANC member whose comments show growing disillusionment with the party.

The party has won each general election with more than 60% of the vote since white minority rule ended in 1994.

However, it lost some of South Africa's main cities - including the commercial capital, Johannesburg - in local elections in 2014.

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Voters were seen to have punished the party because of worsening corruption within its ranks.

Its leader, President Jacob Zuma, has survived eight no-confidence votes in parliament.

He has been accused by the opposition and his ANC critics of being at the centre of a corrupt network in government, an allegation he denies.

In the interview with BBC Hardtalk, Mr Motlanthe said the electorate will vote out the ANC for as long as it is "associated with corruption and failure".

"It would be good for the ANC itself and let me tell you why - because those elements who are in it for the largesse will quit it, will desert it and only then would the possibility arise for salvaging whatever is left of it," Mr Motlanthe added.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe Zuma presidency: Scandals and successes

He said the ANC could renew itself, but it would require "lots of courage and failing that it has to hit rock bottom".

"It has to lose elections for the penny to drop," Mr Motlanthe told Hardtalk.

Mr Motlanthe served as South Africa's president between 2008 and 2009.

He was closely allied with Mr Zuma, but later fell out with him.

Mr Zuma is due to step down as ANC leader in December and as president in 2019.

He is backing his ex-wife and former African Union commission chairwoman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed him.

Her main challenger is Mr Zuma's deputy and former business tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa.


Zuma's scandals:

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Jacob Zuma is due to step down in December - but could now be ousted sooner 2005: Charged with corruption over a multi-billion dollar 1999 arms deal - charges dropped shortly before he becomes president in 2009. 2005: Charged with raping a family friend - acquitted in 2006 2016: a court ordered he should be charged with 786 counts of corruption over the arms deal - he has appealed 2016: Court rules he breached his oath of office by using government money to upgrade private home in Nkandla - he has repaid the money 2017: Public protector calls for a judge-led inquiry into allegations he profiteered from relationship with wealthy Gupta family - he denies allegations, as have the Guptas No inquiry appointed yet

The Guptas and their links to Zuma

South Africa's anti-corruption crusader

How Zuma's Nkandla home has grown


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Nigeria: Jonathan Believed Boko Haram Was Sponsored to Remove Him – Obasanjo

Photo: allafrica.com

Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan.

'We did not do what we should have done when we should have done it. We left it to become a very very intractable problem', these were the words of former president Olusegun Obasanjo while responding to questions in an interview with BBC's Nkem Ifejika.

The former president who was speaking about why it seems difficult for insurgency in Nigeria to end permanently pointed out that the issue was not nipped in the bud to prevent what we have now.

Speaking further, Obasanjo said ' I went out in 2011 to Maiduguri. I took great risk to find out what is really happening. Boko haram, do they have grievances, if they have grievances, what are their grievances and I brought all that to Jonathan. Jonathan didn't believe that Boko Haram was a serious issue. He thought that it was a device by the North to prevent him from continuing as president of Nigeria which was rather unfortunate.

'Even when Chibok girls were abducted, it took a while for the government to believe. Now if that is the situation, you can understand why the right attention was not paid to the issue of Boko Haram when it should have been paid.

'Boko Haram will not be over. It started from a position of gross under-development, unemployment, youth frustration in the north-east. So we must be treating the disease not the symptom'.

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Obasanjo Blames Jonathan for Boko Haram's Spread

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed ex- President Goodluck Jonathan for the unending Boko Haram… Read more »

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5 killed in attacks blamed on Somali Islamic extremists

In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Islamic extremist al-Shabab fighters killed four Somali government soldiers and briefly took a town near the border with Kenya on Monday, Sept.

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