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France Urges U.S. To Stay In Fight Against Islamists In Africa’s

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France Urges U.S. To Stay In Fight Against Islamists In Africa's

French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has appealed to the United States not to slash support for French military operations in west Africa, where groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State are expanding their foothold.

Last year, the Pentagon had announced plans to withdraw hundreds of military personnel from Africa, as it redirects resources to challenges from china and Russia, after two decades focused on counter-terrorism operations.

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Those cuts could deepen following an ongoing global troop review spearheaded by defense secretary Mark Esper.

France is worried about the possibility as it relies on U.S. Intelligence and logistics for its forty-five hundred-strong mission in the Sahel. The deaths of 13 French soldiers in a helicopter crash during a combat mission in Mali in November, has increased France’s determination to secure more support in the zone.

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A senior French defence ministry official says it is time to increase, not ease, pressure on militants to prevent Islamic state from rebuilding in the Sahel.

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The U.S. currently has 6,000 military personnel in Africa.

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Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks

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Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks

Zambia police said on Thursday, they have arrested 16 persons suspected of being behind a spate of attacks in which people were sprayed with poisonous substances that have caused some deaths.

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The attacks began in December and were initially confined to the mineral-rich copperbelt.  They have since spread to the capital Lusaka.  Police are still trying to pinpoint the exact number of victims.

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Last week, president Edgar Lungu ordered soldiers to join the police in patrolling the streets after the attacks, that have sparked public outrage.

Britain and the United States have issued travel alerts to their citizens following the attacks.

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Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife’s Death

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Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife's Death

Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane, who was accused of killing his wife and was due in court for hearing on Friday, did not show up.  Police said they were unsure of his whereabouts.

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Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital, Maseru, two days before the minister took office.

Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah, has also been charged with ordering Lipolelo’s murder. She is currently out on bail.

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The prime minister bowed to pressure and announced on Thursday he would step down in July.  Both Maesaiah and Thomas Thabane, who married two months after Lipolelo’s killing, have denied any involvement in her death.

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Authorities say the prime minister’s whereabouts are unknown.  Some even suggest he might have fled the country.

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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government

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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government

South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.

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Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.

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There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

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