Africa Brief - Compiled by situation room

Friday 12 February 2016
. by Dan Joseph February 12, 2016. The United Nations says suspected Islamist militants in Mali killed five peacekeeping troops Friday in an attack on a U.N. base. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the early-morning attack in the northern town of Kidal, which also injured about 30 other people. In a statement, the U.N. chief said the attack will not weaken United Nations support for the Malian government or efforts to establish peace in the country. The militants reportedly attacked the Kidal base with rockets and a van bomb around 7 a.m. At least three of the soldiers killed were from Guinea.

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Friday 12 February 2016
South Sudan’s president has appointed his rival, rebel leader Riek Machar, as first vice president in a possible government of national unity, a presidential spokesman said. President Salva Kiir expects Mr Machar to travel to Juba, the South Sudanese capital, soon, said Ateny Wek Ateny. “I don’t see any reason why he should not come to Juba. If there is a reason, then he should tell the world,” Mr Ateny said. It was not possible to talk to Mr Machar, who has been living in Ethiopia, but he has previously raised concerns about security arrangements as well as the creation of new states in South Sudan.

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Friday 12 February 2016
CAIRO (AP) — When a doctor at a Cairo hospital told a police officer that his cut didn't require stitches, the response was startling and brutal. Police beat up the doctor and a colleague and dragged them off into custody. The incident spiraled into protests by thousands of doctors in the Egyptian capital on Friday, a rare show of public outrage over police abuses that rights group say have escalated in the country. Such public demonstrations have become unusual in Egypt, where tens of thousands of political dissidents have been arrested and street protests without prior police permits have been banned since 2013.

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Friday 12 February 2016
ROME -- As Italians mourned, Italy's premier insisted Friday that his country's friendship with Egypt can only exist "if the truth emerges" about the death of an Italian doctoral student who was doing research in Cairo. Premier Matteo Renzi's remarks on Italian state radio came on the day of slain student Giulio Regeni's funeral and kept up the pressure on Egypt to find and bring to justice whoever tortured and killed the young man. Regeni had been living in Cairo to research Egyptian labor movements for his doctorate from Cambridge University. His body was found Feb. 3, nine days after he disappeared.

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Friday 12 February 2016
CAIRO Thousands of Egyptian doctors demonstrated in Cairo on Friday in a rare protest at what rights groups call police impunity after two doctors were alleged to have been assaulted in a hospital in the city last month. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate held an emergency meeting on Friday and called for the prosecution of police officers involved in the alleged assault in Matariya, a district of northern Cairo. The syndicate says the officers have not been held accountable. Protests involving thousands of people on the streets of Cairo have become rare since a strict law was passed allowing for....

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Friday 12 February 2016
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A senior commander with the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army has defected to villagers in Central African Republic, the U.S. Africa Command said Friday. The rebel commander defected near the community of Pangbayanga, and is being debriefed in the country by the African Union Regional Task Force and U.S. forces, the command said. No further details were given. The defecting commander has been a part of the rebel group for more than a decade, though he has not been indicted by the International Criminal Court nor designated under the State Department's War Crimes Rewards....

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Friday 12 February 2016
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — For more than two years, even going to the cemetery to bury a loved one could get a mourner killed in Central African Republic. The threat of attacks from Christian militia fighters was once so high that Muslims here began burying their dead at home. Now the capital's largest Muslim cemetery has reopened just ahead of the country's landmark presidential runoff vote Sunday with imams, the archbishop and ambassadors all gathering together to watch as the reddish earth was broken to once again receive the dead with palm fronds.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Nigeria's army has freed 267 detainees found to have no links to Boko Haram Islamic extremists, including 72 children, some as young as preschoolers woman and children detained by Nigeria army who has no links to Boko Haram sits under a canopy before their release at the Military barracks in Maiduguri , Nigeria, Friday Feb. 12, 2016. Nigeria’s army freed 267 detainees Friday including dozens of minors, some looking no more than 3-years old, saying investigators said they had no links to the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola) By ISMAIL ALFA, Associated Press.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing rebels intent on overthrowing the government in Bujumbura. Kigali has fiercely denied the accusations. PHOTO | AFP UN experts told the Security Council that Rwanda has recruited and trained refugees from Burundi, among them children, who wanted to remove Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza from power. Some 75,000 Burundian refugees are in Rwanda, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which said on Friday it had not been informed in advance of the decision.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Deputy President William Ruto (left) with Joshua arap Sang at the ICC. Deputy President William Ruto yesterday edged closer to untangling himself from shackles of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The appeals chamber of the court, the highest authority in the hierarchy of the ICC, overturned an earlier decision of the trial chamber allowing use of prior-recorded testimony in the case. The decision made on August 19, last year, by Trial Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Robert Fremr and Olga Herrera Carbuccia had caused immense anguish to Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Initial reports from ISIS linked outlets claimed fighters were looking for any survivors from the crash, but al-Jaroush said that the pilot ejected and landed safely. It's not the first time ISIS has claimed to have shot down a plane in Libya, with A'maq Media releasing a video purportedly showing the attack on in early January. The news site also published a short six-second video showing the shooting down of the jet this evening. Al-Jazeera Arabic also reported that the jet was shot down by ISIS, although no official claims of responsibility have been made.

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Friday 12 February 2016
BANGUI Candidates for weekend elections in Central African Republic wrapped up campaigning on Friday with promises to put an end to years of religious and ethnic bloodshed in the impoverished nation. Voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in a presidential run-off between former prime ministers Anicet-Georges Dologuele and Faustin-Archange Touadera and vote in the re-run of a first round legislative poll which was cancelled over irregularities. Central African Republic has remained one of the world's most unstable nations since gaining independence from France more than five decades ago.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Syrian Arab Republic Damascus, Syria | AFP | Friday 2/12/2016 - 18:46 GMT In the following AFP interview with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, the questions were asked in French and he replied in Arabic. Question 1: How do you feel when you see tens of thousands of your citizens starving, running away from hunger, from their areas which are being shelled by your Russian allies, and trying to cross the borders to Turkey? And how do you feel when you see the pictures of them drowning in their attempt to cross the seas? President Assad: If we talk about....

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Friday 12 February 2016
, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday paid tribute to the first ever all-female Formed Police Unit (FPU), which will end its mission in Liberia after nine years, said a statement of Ban's spokesman. The secretary-general thanked all the women who served in the FPU for inspiring all Liberians, as well as current and future generations of female police officers, and becoming role models for gender equality, the statement said. The 125 women and supporting personnel of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will return to India this weekend.

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Friday 12 February 2016
Charl Schwartzel made a charge up the leaderboard at the European Tour's Tshwane Open on Friday, going 6 under in his second round to sit two shots off the lead. Schwartzel had four birdies and an eagle in his 64 to move to 5 under overall and second behind South African compatriot Anthony Michael. Michael carded a 1-under 69 to set the clubhouse target before a thunderstorm and then hail forced a suspension in play at Pretoria Country Club. Daniel Im of the United States (68) and Theunis Spangenberg (71) of South Africa were tied for third on 4 under alongside Haydn Porteous, who won the tour's Joburg Open last month.

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Friday 12 February 2016
JOHANNESBURG Feb 12 A swashbuckling half-century by Chris Morris hauled South Africa back from the brink of defeat as they scraped past England by one wicket on Friday to level the one-day series at 2-2 with one match left. Morris, going into bat at number eight, bludgeoned his way to 62 off 38 balls to help South Africa reach their target of 263 with 16 deliveries to spare after Joe Root had made his second successive century for the tourists. Leg-spinner Adil Rashed clean-bowled Morris with a googly with the scores level but number 11 Imran Tahir struck the next ball for four to the relief of a capacity crowd of 22,000.

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Friday 12 February 2016
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has increased efforts to root out doping ahead of the Rio Olympics, the Kenyan athletics federation chief said on Friday, rejecting concerns by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that it is failing to tackle drugs cheats. Isaac Mwangi, chief executive of Athletics Kenya (AK), said a new national anti-doping agency was carrying out more drugs testing and said Kenya would soon pass its first anti-doping laws. "Kenya is doing the best it can," Mwangi told Reuters. "For us, athletics is a national matter, it brings a lot of national pride.

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