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Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey joins Arsenal for £45m

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Thomas Partey has signed for English Premier League club Arsenal from Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid on a long-term deal worth £45m. 


The 27-year-old who has been linked with the club throughout the transfer window, played 35 matches for Atletico Madrid in the La Liga last season were they finished third behind Barcelona and Champions Real Madrid. 


Partey joined Atletico in 2011 and has won the Europa League trophy (2017-2018), the Super Cup (2018), and played in two Champions League finals – 2014 and 2016. 


“We have been watching Thomas for a while,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. “So we’re now delighted to add such a high-quality player to our squad. 


“He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years.


“We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.”


Partey made his international debut for Ghana in May 2016, and has played 29 matches with 10 goals scored for the Black Stars. 


And joining Arsenal means he now becomes the third African international at the club, alongside captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Egypt’s Mohammed Elneny. 

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Six Soldiers Killed in Twin Attacks by Suspected Extremists in Mali

The attacks occurred at Boulkessy and Mondoro, two areas that have witnessed heavy violence in Mali.

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The Malian military said on Sunday, that six of its soldiers have been killed in twin attacks that occurred overnight while some 30 suspected extremists were also left dead in response.

The attacks ocurred near the country’s border with Burkina Faso at army positions that have been targeted in the previously been targeted, with a deadly extremist offensive having begun in northern Mali in 2012 before spreading to other regions.

In a statement, the army said “the provisional toll is six dead and 18 wounded” among the soldiers. The army added that the attacks prompted a response which left “around 30 dead on the terrorist side”.

The twin attacks occurred at Boulkessy and Mondoro, two areas that have witnessed heavy violence in Mali.

The army said the “complex and simultaneous” attacks occurred at about 3:30 am (0330 GMT), with a local official in Mondoro estimating that the fighting lasted for about an hour.

According to the army, a large amount of military gear, as well as some 40 motorcycles were seized from the attackers.

According to a medical source, a number of wounded soldiers were evacuated by helicopter.

In September 2019, some 50 soldiers killed when the same army positions were targeted in one of the deadliest attacks to hit Mali since 2012.

The Support Group for Islam and Muslims, the main terrorist alliance in the Sahel region affiliated with Al-Qaeda, later claimed responsibility for that attack.

Three other Malian soldiers were killed on Thursday, in a bomb blast that occurred in the Mondoro area.

In its fight against the extremists and terrorists, Mali has received support from France’s Barkhane force, which numbers 5,100 troops spread across the arid Sahel region.

The French force has been fighting terrorist groups alongside soldiers from Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger.

In addition, the UN has also deployed its 13,000-strong Minusma peacekeeping force to Mali. The force which was first established in 2013, has since suffered 146 hostile deaths in the region.

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Central Africa News

Central African Republic Declares State of Emergency

Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, the spokesperson for the presidency, made the announcement on national radio.

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The Central African Republic has declared a 15-day state of emergency all over the country, as violent attacks continue, following attempts of a coalition of armed groups seeking to overthrow the newly re-elected President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

Albert Yaloke Mokpeme, spokesperson for the presidency, made this announcement, Thursday, on national radio.

He disclosed that the state of emergency will last until Feb. 4.

The rebels staged an attack last week just outside the nation’s capital, Bangui, but were repelled by UN peacekeeping forces. Recently, the U.N. mission has asked the UN Security Council for more troops and more equipment.

The rebels have been carrying out sporadic attacks in towns far from the capital Bangui and on the RN3 highway, which is the crucial supply line that links the capital with neighbouring Cameroon.

The coalition of armed groups is calling for the resignation of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra who was re-elected in a contentious election on December 27.

Militias who claim to represent ethnic or other groups control two-thirds of the country’s territory and this has been raising questions about government’s control of the vast, mineral-rich central African nation.

Just last week a call was made by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), for the immediate end to all armed violence and clashes in the Central African Republic. Reports from the agency state that about 60,000 people have been forced to flee their home since December, most of whom have fled to neighbouring Cameroon.

Meanwhile health workers in the land-locked central African country, have complained that the continued violence has made it more challenging to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health workers say they are unable to penetrate places where fightings have escalated.

So far, the country has recorded a total of 4,963 positive COVID-19 cases, out of which 1,924 has since recovered. 63 people have died of COVID-19 related issues so far.

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Central Africa News

UN Seeks More Peacekeepers for Central African Republic

The situation in the landlocked Central African country has been tense since after Bozize’s candidacy for the Dec. 27, 2020 elections was turned down.

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The United Nations peace mission in the Central African Republic has sought more equipment and peacekeepers amid the violence that has been escalating in the country since last month. 

While speaking to the UN Security Council at a virtual meeting late Thursday, Mankeur Ndiaye, head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country (MINUSCA) said “We need an increase in our capacity in order to respond to this new threat which is destabilizing the country even further.”

“If our requests are not heard, the response of the mission, and most particularly that of the forces, is going to be to do whatever it can. But troops are currently deployed over extremely large areas and as a result, the force only has limited response ability, and we cannot cover the entire territory because of the size of the country,” Ndiaye added.

He noted that assaults and ambushes have continued, and that some UN peacekeepers have also fallen victim, seven of whom have been killed in recent weeks.

Most of the attacks witnessed in the country are blamed on the so-called Coalition of Patriots for Change armed group, which is backed by former President Francois Bozize.

The situation in the landlocked Central African country has been tense since after Bozize’s candidacy for the Dec. 27, 2020 elections was turned down.

Former President Francois Bozize who is a retired general, seized power in a 2003 coup but was overthrown in a 2013 rebellion. Several militia groups, some close to Bozize, have since attacked armed forces, civilians, and UN peacekeeping forces.

The incumbent president Faustin-Archange Touadera, who won a second term in last month’s polls, has reiterated his commitment to peace in the country.

Last week, The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for an immediate end to all armed violence in the Central African Republic, stating that some 60,000 people have been forced to flee the country since December. ​​​​​​​

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