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ISWAP fighters attack military post, kill five in Nigeria’s Borno state2 minutes read

The terrorists withdrew and attacked troops in nearby Gajiganna, where they killed a second soldier and seized a gun truck, sources said.

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A grab taken from a video posted on YouTube by Boko Haram depicting a Boko Haram attack that kills 8 in Chad
A grab taken from a video posted on YouTube on June 2, 2015 by Boko Haram shows an alleged Boko Haram member delivering a speech at an undisclosed location. Boko Haram rejected claims from Nigeria's military that it has been routed by a four-nation offensive in a video released online on June 2, which does not show the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau. The unidentified speaker, his face obscured by a headscarf, instead called Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, who have been battling the Islamists, "the lying coalition partners". "Most of our territory is still under our control," said the speaker in the 10-minute message which was posted on the video-sharing site YouTube. The video bears the logo "Islamic State in West Africa" and follows the Nigerian militants' pledge of allegiance in an audio message in March to the IS group, that has overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq. The message is the first video released by Boko Haram since February, when Shekau was shown in high definition footage and vowed to disrupt Nigeria's elections. (Photo by -/YouTube/AFP)

Terrorists aligned with the Islamic State operating within Nigeria’s northeast region have killed five security personnel, including two soldiers, in three separate attacks in Borno state, military sources said Wednesday.

In the first attack on Monday, fighters from the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) jihadist group aboard trucks attacked a military post in Tungushe village near the state capital Maiduguri, killing a soldier and injuring another, a military officer told AFP.

“The terrorists attacked around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT), leading to a gun battle in which a soldier was killed and another one was injured,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified.

He said two insurgents were killed in the incident while a gun truck was recovered along with weapons.

The militants withdrew and attacked troops in nearby Gajiganna, where they killed a second soldier and seized a gun truck, according to anti-jihadist militiaman Ibrahim Liman.

Tungushe, which lies 22 kilometres (13 miles) from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly targeted by ISWAP and fighters from the rival Boko Haram faction, attacking troops and raiding the village for food and livestock.

Around the same time on Monday, insurgents on motorcycles and in four trucks fitted with machine guns stormed into the town of Rann near the border with Cameroon, attacking troops and militia positions.

“We lost three of our colleagues in the Rann incident,” Liman told AFP.

“Our consolation is that several terrorists were killed in the fight, including their commander, and one of their trucks was recovered,” he said.

Rann is some 175 kilometres northeast of Maiduguri, where some 35,000 people displaced by the jihadist violence are sheltering.

The town has also come under repeated attack by ISWAP and Boko Haram militants.

On Tuesday, ISWAP issued a statement claiming responsibility for three attacks, including the ones in Tungushe and Rann, resulting in the “killing and wounding” of several troops and the burning of 20 public buildings.

The militants have recently stepped up deadly assaults in the restive northeast.

On Sunday, jihadists killed at least 30 people in an overnight raid on Auno village along the highway leading to Maiduguri where travellers had stopped to comply with a nighttime curfew.

The decade-long jihadist uprising has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria. 

The conflict has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

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Politics

Lesotho Prime Minister resigns, to leave office in July

While there’s speculation that his resignation follows mounting pressure over his former and late wife, Thabane attributes his decision to lack of energy.

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Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane./Yahoonews

Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Thabane has announced his resignation. He also failed to show up at a court on Friday for a trial that involved himself and the first lady over the death of his ex-wife.

In a televised speech in the capital in Thursday, Maseru, the 80-year old PM said the decision has been the hardest he’s made in his career and promised to step down in July despite pressure by members of his party.

“Today I wish to reiterate my announcement to retire from office. I might still have the necessary zeal and fervor to continue serving my people and country, but the truth is that at my age I have lost most of my energy. I’m not as energetic as I use to be a few years ago”, he said.

He appealed to all Basotho “not to intentionally misconstrue my announcement to retire from office,” as being linked to his ongoing trial.

While there’s speculation that his resignation follows mounting pressure over his former and late wife, Thabane attributes his decision to lack of energy.

“My fellow countrymen and women it is very unfortunate that some have deliberately decided to distort my decision to retire either motivated by hate or for political gain”, Thabane added in an AFP report.

The Prime Minister was on Friday charged with the murder of 58-year old Lilopelo Thabane, who was murdered in June 2017 by unknown assailants. But he was absent from court and his son said he had gone to South Africa to see a doctor.

“He’s not fled the country, he has gone to South Africa to see a doctor,” Potlako Thabane told Reuters by telephone.

The couple was embroiled in a bitter divorce. Months after assuming office. Thabane married Lesotho’s current first lady, Maesaiah Thabane.

The 48 year old is also facing trial over the murder. She returns to court on March 17.

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Politics

‘Nigeria too important to be on US travel ban’, seeks removal -Interior minister

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction,” Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola told the visiting US Ambassador.

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Nigeria's Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Mary Beth Leonard during a working visit to the minister's office in Abuja on Thursday Feb 20th, 2020 where they discussed issues on the Visa Reciprocity Policy vis-a-vis; Length of Visa Validity, Partial Refund for Rejected Visa Applications, Use of Dropbox amongst others./Twitter: @raufaregbesola/OgundiranDolapo

The Nigerian government has asked the United States to remove it from the list of countries whose citizens are banned from accessing certain categories of visas for long stay or permanent residency by the new policy which took effect on Friday, Feb. 21.

Nigeria’s interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola made the request to drop the ban to the U.S. ambassador in Abuja, a ministry statement said on Thursday.

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction,” Aregbesola said, according to the statement quoted by Reuters.

“We are positive that (the) visa restriction is a temporary one, it will soon be put behind us,” he said, adding that Nigeria had complied with most of the concerns raised by the United States.

The statement did not say how U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard responded to the request, but it said she assured Aregbesola of “her country’s determination to continue to collaborate with Nigeria”.

U.S. President Donald Trump included Nigeria and five other countries in an expanded version of his travel ban list early this month, sparking outrage from many of them.

U.S. officials have said the six countries failed to meet U.S. security and information-sharing standards, necessitating the new restrictions.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the biggest country on the list whose citizens will be suspended from U.S. visas that can lead to permanent residency.  

The original travel ban, issued in 2017, barred nearly all immigrants and travellers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations.

The policy was revised amid court challenges, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld it in 2018.   

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East Africa Politics News

President Kiir, Machar agree to form South Sudan unity government on Saturday

“We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 Feb,” Machar, First Vice President-nominee said.

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President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar pledge to power-sharing deal
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar in a previous reconciliation meeting in Kampala, Uganda brokered by President Yoweri Museveni. /AFP

Former rebel and opposition leader, Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to meet Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the Feb. 22 deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

“We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 Feb,” Machar said.

Kiir confirmed the agreement, a Reuters report said.

“We have agreed to form the government,” he said after the meeting, adding that he will appoint Machar as first vice president on Friday.

“We are going to discuss the security arrangement for the protection of all opposition forces and members,” Kiir added.

All the members of the opposition will be given protection, he added. “And if there are things we have not agreed upon, we had agreed to resolve them. We shall finalise them incoming days,” Kiir said.

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