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Ivory Coast President Launches Umbrella Party

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Ivory Coast President Launches Umbrella Party

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara on Monday made clear he will not seek re-election in 2020 as he launched a new umbrella party that he said would help ensure continuity.

The move will turn the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), currently the ruling coalition, into a formal party.

Named in honour of the country’s founding leader, the party held its constitutive assembly on Monday at a luxury hotel in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, adopting the new party’s statutes unanimously after one hour of debate.

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Ouattara ran unopposed as its leader.

The new party groups Ouattara’s own Rally of Republicans (RDR) with the Union for Democracy and Peace (UDPCI), which has six MPs in parliament, as well as figures from other parties.

But one coalition member, the Democratic Party (PDCI), refused to go under the RHDP umbrella, having demanded that the party field a sole candidate – from the Democrats’ ranks – in the 2020 vote.

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The RDR rejected the demand, even though the PDCI supported Ouattara in his 2010 and 2015 presidential runs.

However, some PDCI stalwarts agreed to join, of whom about a dozen were named ministers during a cabinet reshuffle just last week.

Speaking to the assembly on Monday, Ouattara made an appeal to PDCI leader Henri Konan Bedie, saying: “We must stay together,” recalling past victories won thanks to unity, notably during a post-election crisis in 2010-11.

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Ouattara, 76, drew thunderous applause when he said: “We must work, president Bedie and I, to transfer power to a new generation in 2020.”

The comments laid to rest speculation over whether Ouattara would seek re-election despite a two-term limit under the constitution.

Bedie, who is 84 and served as president of the former French colony from 1993 to 1999, has not revealed his intentions.

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Ten Killed In Deadly Somalia Prison Break Attempt

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Ten Killed In Deadly Somalia Prison Break Attempt

Somalia prison officials say 10 persons have been killed following a failed prison break that led to a shoot-out inside the capital -Mogadishu’s main prison.

State radio reported, another six were injured when Somali security forces beat back an uprising in the prison on Monday.

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A senior police officer said mutinous prisoners snatched guns from guards who were on duty on Monday evening, and killed three of them.

There are reports that one of the prisoners managed to get a pistol off a prison warden, then a group of inmates broke into the armoury. The guards and other security forces regrouped and killed the inmates.

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A specially trained police unit was deployed to deal with the violence at the prison which holds some of the most notorious al-Shabab prisoners on either life or death sentences.

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At Least 10 Dead In Ethiopia Protests Over Autonomy

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At Least 10 Dead In Ethiopia Protests Over Autonomy

Ethiopia’s health officials say at least 10 persons have died during clashes between protesters and security forces in the country’s southern region on Monday.

The protests were sparked by Sunday’s arrest of local officials and activists seeking a new autonomous region for their Wolaita ethnic group.

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Spokesman for the opposition party Wolaita national movement party- Matheos Balcha says one of their party members was arrested.

Security forces shot dead protesters in Boditi on Monday, a town 295 km southwest of the capital Addis Ababa. A 14-year-old boy was reported to be among the dead. Opposition spokesperson says 34 persons were injured.

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Prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018, and introduced democratic reforms, has struggled to appeal to ethnic nationalism.

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France Helps Hunt For Killers Of Aid Workers In Niger

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France Helps Hunt For Killers Of Aid Workers In Niger

Soldiers from France and Niger are collaborating to find killers of six aid workers, their local guide and driver at a giraffe reserve.

The troops began operations on Monday in the reserve and surrounding areas for signs of the gunmen who killed the French international aid workers along with their local guide and driver.

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Attackers on motorbikes ambushed the group on Sunday while driving through the reserve, a popular destination for expatriates, 65 km from Niger’s capital Niamey, in an area considered safe by the government.

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A French military source said, “military operations are ongoing including the use of air support to find the gunmen.

France and other countries have warned people against travelling to parts of Niger where militants, including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Islamic State, operate in rural areas.

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