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Mali Plans To Increase The Size Of Its Army To Rein In Jihadists

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Mali is planning to increase the size of its army by nearly 50% in a recruitment drive this year in fight against jihadist groups.

Prime minister Boubou Cisse said on Wednesday, the country will hire 10,000 new soldiers in the coming months to allow armed and security forces be much more effective in areas they were not. The move is aimed at uprooting jihadist groups.

He did not say how much the increase would cost or how the arid west African country would pay. It was also not clear how it would lure people into an army whose troops are frequently killed in attacks by Islamists.

Much of central and northern Mali is largely used by groups as a base from which to launch attacks across neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

At least 20 soldiers were killed in a pre-dawn attack on an army camp in the centre of the country on Sunday. France warned on Monday against possible U.S. troop cuts in west Africa, as that will have an impact on logistical support and intelligence gathering.

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Malawi Airlines Staff Strike Disrupts Flights To South Africa

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Malawi Airlines staff have gone on strike today over deductions from their November salaries. The airline crew and staff stormed the company’s head office in Lilongwe, demanding answers from management for salary deductions they said were made without prior notice or consultations.

Passengers were stranded at the Kamuzu International Airport after flights were grounded.

Local media report, the industrial action has affected the only weekly flight from the country`s capital Lilongwe to Johannesburg.

Malawi airlines is government-owned with Ethiopian Airlines holding some of its shares.

The strike comes a month after the country reopened its air border closure in march because of coronavirus.

 

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Ethiopia’s Tigray Crisis: PM Declares Assault On Regional Capital Mekelle

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An African Union mission has arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to try mediating between the federal government and the northern Tigray state after three weeks of conflict.

Three former African heads of state – of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, Liberia -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe are part of the mission.

Their arrival coincides with what prime minister Abiy Ahmed has called the “final phase” in the assault operation in Tigray.

Abiy has already rejected international efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the fighting, describing the conflict in the nation that has killed 600 persons as a law-enforcement operation. Thousands have fled their homes into neighbouring Sudan.

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Miners Trapped Underground In Zimbabwe

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The Zimbabwe Miners Federation has on Thursday said rescue operations are under way in northern Zimbabwe, where dozens of illegal miners are believed to be trapped underground after the collapse of an old mine shaft.

Wellington Takavarasha, head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation said the incident occurred late Wednesday in the town of Bindura, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the capital Harare.

At least 40 informal miners in Zimbabwe have been trapped underground after a shaft in a disused gold mine collapsed, six miners have since been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

Takavarasha told AFP the miners were working inside the disused Ran Gold Mine when a shaft caved in.

Mining without the proper permits has been on the rise in the gold-rich country due to high levels of joblessness and the COVID-19 lockdown.

The southern African country is rich in minerals such as platinum, diamonds and gold. Small-scale miners account for over half of the gold produced in the country.

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