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Africa Brief - Compiled by situation room

Sunday 01 February 2015
Nigerian troops on Sunday repelled Islamic extremists who attacked from four fronts on Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria, with several civilians killed by aerial bombs and grenades and mortar shells on the ground. Soldiers said hundreds of insurgents died. Terrified residents fled homes shaking from five hours of heavy artillery fire and streamed in from the outskirts of the besieged city of 2 million, already crowded with another 2,00,000 refugees from the fighting. For weeks Boko Haram has been closing in on Maiduguri, the groups spiritual birthplace, said Jacob Zenn, author of a book about the insurgents.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
CAIRO - Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was released from a Cairo jail on Sunday and left Egypt for his native Australia after 400 days in prison on charges that included aiding a terrorist group, security officials said. There was no official word on the fate of his two Al Jazeera colleagues - Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohamed - who were also jailed in the case that provoked an international outcry. The three were sentenced to seven to 10 years on charges including spreading lies to help a terrorist organisation - a reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
"Desiring to enhance and elevate the structured bilateral co-operation between South Africa and Sudan, we took an important decision to elevate the joint bilateral commission for co-operation to a ministerial level," Zuma said in a statement containing remarks he made at a media briefing in the Sudanese city. "The main objective of the commission will be to promote political, economic and social relations between our two sister republics." Speaking at the end of a visit to Sudan where talks were held with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Zuma said the relevant ministers had been directed "to....

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Sunday 01 February 2015
Rights group Amnesty International on Sunday accused Egyptian authorities of intimidating witnesses and whitewashing evidence to cover up the role of security forces in the killing of more than two dozen people during protests last week. The London-based Amnesty said at least 27 people were killed over three days during protests commemorating the fourth anniversary of the uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. It said police used excessive force or failed to break up clashes between protesters and residents. Those killed included a female protester, Shaimaa el-Sabbagh, whose....

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Sunday 01 February 2015
Sofia--Six Bulgarian contractors for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) who were held for a week by Sudan rebels were freed on Sunday, the Bulgarian foreign ministry said. "The operation for liberating them ended. The six are in a safe place," ministry spokeswoman Betina Zhoteva told AFP. "The operation was performed in coordination between the Bulgarian government and the WFP. No ransom was paid and the case was not considered a kidnapping," she added. The three crew and three Heli Air Services company officials were flying their UN-marked helicopter from South Sudan to the Sudanese capital....

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Sunday 01 February 2015
BAMAKO — Malian rebels fought pro-government militia in the northern village of Kano overnight, three security sources said, firing rockets and briefly kidnapping at least 20 people in the latest spike of violence between armed groups. Two years after a French military intervention to drive out al Qaeda-linked Islamists from the desert north, sporadic attacks carried out by a medley of armed groups continue. Tit-for-tat fighting between pro-government militia and Tuareg-led groups seeking greater freedom for a region they called Azawad has intensified in recent weeks.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
"The president invites inputs and suggestions through social media on issues people consider important for their well-being and those of their communities that should be included in the speech," the presidency said in a statement. Comments could be submitted on Twitter @PresidencyZa or on the Facebook page for the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa. Submissions would be accepted from Sunday until next week Friday. The Presidency declared that preparations were "at an advanced stage" for the speech that will be delivered by Zuma in Parliament on February 12.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
Lunder ... GTH will continue to exercise operational control over Djezzy. GTH to sell majority stake in Algeria telco for $2.6bn CAIRO, 4 hours, 32 minutes ago Egypt's Global Telecom (GTH), formerly known as Orascom Telecom, will sell a 51 per cent stake in Djezzy for $2.6 billion while keeping operational control of the Algerian mobile operator, Global said in a statement on Sunday. The sale to the Algerian National Investment Fund (FNI) is the result of a deal reached last April between GTH's Russian parent firm Vimpelcom and Algeria to end a dispute over the country's moves to nationalise Djezzy.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
"When we found out it was us, there was a great explosion of joy. But, of course, I had a thought for the Malians," said Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer of the surreal manner in which his side went through. "It is tough, because they also deserved to go through. They missed a penalty against us and then they go out on a drawing of lots. Luck was on our side. But if we have got to the quarter-finals it is because we deserved to somewhere." The sides met in qualifying, with the Black Stars having the edge thanks to a 1-1 draw and then a 3-1 victory. And Avram Grant's Ghana then finished top of a....

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Sunday 01 February 2015
MONROVIA - Liberia said on Friday it would delay reopening schools for two weeks in order to better prepare safety measures against the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 3,650 people in the country but now appears to be receding. Liberian schools, shut since August due to the outbreak, had initially been scheduled to reopen on Feb. 2, but the education ministry said it had pushed back that date to allow parents and students more time to prepare. A ministry statement said it wanted to "raise awareness about safety protocols, logistics and training requirements", adding: "Actual teaching will begin on Monday, Feb.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
Embattled Zimbabwe Football Association president Cuthbert Dube says only football stakeholders who voted him into office can vote him out of office and not people from the streets. A defiant Dube emerged from the marathon meeting held at the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) offices and vowed to continue his tenure of office despite intensified calls for him and his board to step down from office. Flanked by his despondent vice Omega Sibanda, Dube refused to discuss what the indaba with the SRC board centred on. "All they want is my money but they do not want me...only the people who voted me into office can remove me.

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Sunday 01 February 2015
Shrien Dewani ‘could face questions from British coroner’ over South Africa honeymoon death The 35-year-old Bristol businessman was cleared of involvement in his wife Anni’s death but north London coroner now indicates he might look again at the case in an inquest ....

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