Police and protesters have clashed in Mali as post-coup talks start. Supporters of the M5-RFP coalition, which led months of mass demonstrations against deposed president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, clashed with police at the entrance to the conference centre, delaying the start of the talks.
Police fired tear gas to disperse campaigners for civilian rule before substantive talks over Mali’s political future began on Thursday, in what is seen as a sign of a deepening rift over who should lead the post-coup transitional government.
The junta that toppled president Keita on august 18 wants the transitional government to be led by the military, while the democratic coalition and regional leaders have called for a civilian to lead.
International powers fear the political uncertainty in Mali could undermine the fight across west Africa’s Sahel region against Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic state, as a previous coup did in 2012.
The talks between the junta, political parties and civil society groups were called to resolve a number of issues including the length of the transition and the make-up of the governing bodies after West African leaders demanded that name of a civilian interim president and prime minister must be provided by Sept. 15
A senior member of M5-RFP, Bakary Keita said “they are trying to confiscate our revolution from us, we were very clear from the start. We want a civilian as president of the transition, not a soldier.
Somali Pirates Hijack Panama-Flagged Ship
Pirates have hijacked a panama-flagged ship that was travelling from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu port. Authorities say the ship had developed mechanical problems when the incident happened.
A security official in Somalia’s autonomous Puntland region was quoted as saying the ship was attacked at night when the crew was sleeping.
The governor of Gardafu region in Puntland, Musse Salah said six pirates were involved in the attack.
This is the first piracy incident in the region in several years. Piracy off the coast of Somalia had reduced significantly in recent years, in part because of extensive international military patrols.
Dozens Of Migrants Die In Shipwreck Off Libya – UN
The UN refugee agency has reported that at least 45 migrants and refugees, including five children, have died in the deadliest shipwreck this year off the coast of Libya after the engine of vessel they were travelling on exploded.
On Wednesday, some 37 survivors predominantly from Senegal, Mali, Chad and Ghana were among more than 80 persons on board a vessel whose engine exploded off the coast of Zwara have since been detained in Libya.
Libyan coast is often used as a jumping off point for entry into Europe via Italy and Malta for refugees and migrants looking to reach the European Union.
The UN refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was “deeply concerned by recent delays in rescue and disembarkation”.
UNHCR and IOM also said “we urge states to swiftly respond to these incidents and systematically provide a predictable port of safety to people rescued at sea. Delays recorded in recent months, and failure to assist, are unacceptable and put lives at avoidable risk.”
Libya has become a key transit country for migrants since the 2011 overthrow and killing of its former leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Classes Resume For Final Year Students In Nigeria
Schools in Nigeria have finally reopened after four months of closure induced by COVID-19. The catch: only final year students are allowed to resume lessons to prepare for their examinations.
COVID-19 prevention measures are in place and every student is carefully screened before being allowed to enter classrooms to ensure safety from contracting the disease. Social distancing would also be enforced.
No food will be served at school. Students are to take their food from home. Schools are also advising any student who is sick to stay at home.
Lagos state education commissioner, Folashade Adefisayo expressed satisfaction at the level of compliance at the schools after leading a team of monitors to different schools in the state.
The government says it is still studying the situation to determine when all students, other than final year students, can also return to class.
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