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Algerian Cartoonist Bags Three Year Jail Term for Facebook Post

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An Algerian meme creator, Walid Kechida, has been jailed three years for critising authorities on Facebook.

Kechida, 25, has been in detention for eight months following his arrest in April 2020 for posting a satirical cartoon criticising the Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune on his Facebook page.

The page – Hirak Memes – is named after an anti-government movement that organised mass protests throughout 2019, which helped force the longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down.

Algerian authorities had in April said the cartoonist was arrested for bringing “contempt and offence” to President Tebboune and for “offending the precepts” of Islam in internet memes and other online posts.

An official of a prisoners’ rights group – National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD) – confirmed Kechida’s jail term. He added that the cartoonist was always ordered to pay a fine.

The official said Kechida’s lawyers would appeal the sentence.

According to the CNLD, no fewer than 90 people, including activists, social media users and journalists, are currently in custody in connection with the country’s anti-government protest movement or individual liberties — mostly for dissenting social media posts.

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Semi Ajayi Trumps Boly as West Brom Beat Wolves 3-2

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi, continued his scoring form for West Brom in the Baggies 3-2 away victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium.

Ajayi, who has had success in front of goal this season, grabbed the equaliser for his side who were trailing 2-1 by halftime.

The 27-year-old Nigerian scored in West Brom’s draw against Liverpool last month while he was also on target in the FA Cup loss to Blackpool last weekend. He also had an effort ruled as a Ruben Dias own goal in the Baggies draw against Manchester City at the Etihad. His goal on Saturday afternoon was his second in 17 league matches.

West Brom’s Matheus Pereira scored twice from the spot to give Allardyce his first victory as the club’s manager.

The result gave West Brom a big boost in their bid to avoid relegation, as they moved to within three points of 17th place, albeit remaining stuck in 19th spot for now. Wolves stay in 14th place.

“It’s massive. If there was one game to change our season, this is the game. It’s the one fans look forward to the most,” West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers told BT Sport.

“We had seven days with the gaffer. This was the first time really on the training ground, getting back to basics… He’s a bit tough on us, but it’s not a happy situation we’re in, so we need that tough love.”

West Brom opened the scoring when centre back Willy Boly fouled Callum Robinson in the seventh minute on the edge of the box and Pereira stepped up to convert the penalty, sending Wolves keeper Rui Patricio the wrong way.

Boly made amends later when his back-heeled pass in the box freed up Fabio Silva, who side-footed the ball past David Button for the 18-year-old’s first goal at home.

Minutes later, Boly made it 2-1 when the ball fell to him during a corner kick, leaving Button no chance to make a save as the defender scored from six yards out.

West Brom turned things around with two quick-fire goals after the restart, the first from a long throw-in when Kyle Bartley’s flicked header allowed Semi Ajayi to loop his header past Patricio.

The visitors sealed the win when Robinson won another penalty after drawing a foul from defender Conor Coady and Pereira scored from the spot again.

“We wanted to control the game and be aggressive in defence and we didn’t do it,” Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said.

“Two penalties and a throw-in. We knew we required better defending. We must rectify it and do better.”

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UN Peacekeeper Dies After Vehicle Strikes Landmine in Mali

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A United Nations peacekeeper has died in northern Mali after his vehicle struck a landmine, a statement said on Saturday.

The statement, issued by the United Nation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said that the second of the two peacekeepers in the vehicle was seriously injured.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, MINUSMA Head, said the peacekeeping mission’s tanker truck, which was part of a logistics convoy, drove over the mine near the town of Tessalit in the Kidal region.

While securing the site of the incident, peacekeepers detected a second explosive device and neutralized it, the statement added.

Mali’s central and north have experienced regular flare-ups of violent attacks following a 2012 military coup that saw separatist rebel groups and later al-Qaeda-associated militants take control of the region.

French and African military operations, alongside the Malian Army’s efforts scattered militants and restored government control over the area.

Rebel activities and military operations have, however, continued in some areas in spite of signing of various peace agreements.

MINUSMA is supporting the Malian Army and France’s Operation Barkhane in securing the volatile region.

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Three UN Peacekeepers Killed Injured in Mali, CAR in 3 Days

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No fewer than three UN peacekeepers were reportedly killed and four others injured in separate attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali over the past three days.

According to the United Nations, the deceased peacekeepers were from Rwanda, Burundi and Egypt while the nationalities of those wounded have not been disclosed.

The UN said the latest attack, which occurred on Friday near Tessalit, a village in the Kidal region of Mali, targeted a convoy of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

An Egyptian peacekeeper died and another was seriously injured in that incident, UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement on Saturday.

Earlier on Friday, a peacekeeper from Burundi was killed and two others injured in an attack by combatants in CAR.

That attack targeted a convoy of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) in Grimari, a city in the Ouaka prefecture.

It followed a similar attack by rebel fighters near the capital, Bangui, on Wednesday that left a Rwandan peacekeeper dead and another wounded.

Reports say violence has intensified in parts of the Central African Republic over the Dec. 27 presidential and legislative elections.

Armed groups opposed to the re-election of President Faustin-Archange Touadera, are alleged to be behind the attacks.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said the worsening post-election violence had forced no fewer than 120,000 people from their homes.

In different statements, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned all the attacks and called for action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He emphasised that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers might constitute a war crime.

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