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Four UN troops killed in Mali attack

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Four United Nations peacekeepers were killed Friday when suspected jihadists staged a major attack on their camp in Aguelhok, northern Mali, the UN mission said.

The peacekeepers “bravely pushed back a complex attack carried out by several heavily armed terrorists,” MINUSMA said, adding the attackers had suffered heavy losses and had abandoned “several of their dead”.

In a statement, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he “condemns in the strongest terms” the assault, commending the bravery of those who repelled the attack.

The incident left 19 wounded, the statement said, in addition to the four troops who were killed.

A source in MINUSMA said the attack occurred around 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the Algerian border, targeting a contingent of peacekeepers from Chad.

A UN source described the dawn raid as of “very large magnitude” by about 100 attackers on motorbikes and in vehicles.

“The fighting lasted three hours… mortar shells, shooting exchanges… attempted suicide car bombing,” the source said.

He added that about 20 assailants had been killed.

A Chadian military source said “two of our forces’ positions were attacked. We lost four people, including our forces’ detachment commander, and 16 were injured.”

The UN force’s statement called the attack another “attempt against the peace process” that will “in no way undermine its determination to continue the execution of its mandate”.

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It thanked “international forces for their aerial support”.

The attack took to 10 the number of MINUSMA troops killed this year.

– Second attack –
Also on Friday morning, two Malian soldiers were killed and around 10 wounded in an attack blamed on jihadists in Diafarabe in the country’s centre, Mali’s army said in a statement.

Local resident Youssouf Aya told AFP that he had seen a line of armed men on motorcycles headed toward a military post, then heard gunfire.

He said the assailants had “briefly occupied” the military post before leaving along the Niger River.

Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first broke out in the north in 2012 before spreading to the centre and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

France, the former colonial power, intervened in Mali in 2013 to beat back the jihadists and now has some 5,100 soldiers deployed across the semi-arid Sahel region, though the mission has not been without controversy.

A UN probe published Tuesday concluded that a French air strike in central Mali killed 19 civilians on January 3.

The French defence ministry has denied the account, insisting it had identified and attacked an “armed terrorist group”.

On Friday, France’s military issued a statement on a separate incident, saying a woman died and a child was slightly wounded in a fire linked to an operation in Mali.

It said a suspected jihadist was also killed and two others captured in the operation overnight Wednesday to Thursday in an area southeast of Tessalit in the country’s north.

According to the statement, the soldiers were shot at by the suspected jihadist in a tent and returned fire.

The tent caught fire with the woman and child inside, it said. The child was evacuated to a military hospital.

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[BREAKING] Arms fund probe: Finally, Army chief appears before Reps

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, is currently appearing before the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies.

The committee had no less than two times invited Attahiru and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to answer questions on the procurement of arms and ammunition.
On Friday, the committee, after a long wait, postponed the investigative hearing till Monday.

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Earlier on March 22, 2021, the committee had, after the failure by the CBN governor and the COAS to appear before it, summoned them to appear before on April 7, 2021.

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Three Alledged Bandits killed in katsina State

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Three Alledged Bandits killed in katsina State

Three gunmen alleged to be bandits has been killed by the residents of Magamar Jibia border community, Katsina State on Sunday.

The Residents said the gunmen had entered the community on vehicles and motorcycles around 11pm on Sunday and invaded the house of one of the residents.

The house-owner reportedly raised alarm, which prompted the community residents, who were mainly youths, to mobilize and confront the bandits.

It was learnt that the youths overpowered the gunmen who then made a retreat to the nearby forest where they came from.

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The youths reportedly killed three of the bandits while the rest escaped to the forest.

One of the community leaders who pleaded for anonymity said, “The youths killed three of the bandits. In fact, they burnt two of the bandits to ashes while the corpse of the third bandit was removed by the police this morning (Monday).”

The Spokesman for the Katsina Police Command, SP Gambo Isah was yet to react to the incident by Monday afternoon, although another community leader in the area, Gide Dahiru had confirmed the incident.

Gide said, “Yes, the bandits came on Sunday night but the residents confronted them, leading to the death of three of the bandits. The rest of the bandits escaped back to the forest.”

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Kidnapped Imo Catholic Priest Regains Freedom

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The Kidnapped Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Izu Marcell Onyeocha, has been released on Monday morning.

The Imo State Police Command spokesman, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the priest’s release.

Rev. Fr. Izu Marcell Onyeocha, was kidnapped on Sunday, April 11, 2021 along the Ihube – Okigwe highway by gunmen, after his vehicle broke down on the busy expressway Sunday night.

Orlando had told journalists that one Bissong Isa Atugu who was in the same Nissan Exterra SUV, said Fulani herdsmen allegedly took the priest away after inflicting him with machete cuts.

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