Cameroon president Paul Biya’s tough talk that he would crush separatist fighters in the country’s two English-speaking regions is receiving mixed reactions in the country. Many had expected a more conciliatory tone from the president in his end of year message.
Biya said the separatist problems in the northwest and southwest regions remain the most urgent issues to be dealt with in the new year. He said the mostly youthful separatist fighters have been brainwashed by Cameroonians in the diaspora and have refused to embrace his many overtures. As a result, he said the military will now show no mercy for those who continue to refuse to surrender and be forgiven.
The president has accused Cameroonians in the diaspora of funding violence at home by buying weapons. He said they should be more patriotic by refraining from what he described as their destruction of the country.
Opposition leaders have immediately criticized the comments. They say it would be difficult for the country to hold scheduled local elections next month with the current tensions in the English-speaking regions.
Two Pilots Killed In Military Trainer Aircraft Crash In Algeria
Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has confirmed the killing of two pilots in a military plane crash. Tebboune tweeted early on Tuesday, saying that the plane involved is a trainer aircraft.
It crashed in Algeria’s Oum El Bouaghi province, 500 km east of the capital, Algiers.
There was no immediate confirmation on the cause of the crash.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. currently has 6,000 military personnel in Africa.
Gambia Govt Bans Protests, Silences Critical Media
Gambia’s president, Adama Barrow’s decision to stay in office for five years instead of his initial three-year pledge, is creating serious social disorder in the country as protests continue.
The government has resorted to banning groups and silencing the media to see if that would quell the people’s dissent. The government has banned the “three years is up” movement. That is the group that has been mobilizing the people to demand that Barrow leave. The government says it is a “subversive, violent, and illegal movement.
Police in Banjul, the capital, fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters on Sunday. Demonstrators responded by throwing stones and setting tires on fire. More than a hundred thirty protesters were arrested by police. And more than two dozen were injured
A local hospital director said three persons were killed in the clashes.
The government has denied that any protester was killed.
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