Government troops and local militias were reportedly in a consistent fight in Ethiopia’s restive Amhara region in the historic city of Gondar on Sunday, the government said.
Local militias known as the Fano entered the city, one of the largest in the region, prompting intense clashes with the army.
A statement published on the official Facebook page of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces or ENDF, confirmed the clashes, adding that government security forces thwarted militia attacks, killing more than 50.
Fighting is also reported in multiple other places throughout the region, with activists and media outlets linked to the militias claiming to have gained control of some areas and captured dozens of soldiers.
The BBChas not been able to confirm the claims independently. The outskirts of Lalibela, another city in the region that is home to the famous rock-hewn churches, saw violence last week, including heavy artillery. Multiple drone attacks have been reported in recent weeks in several areas.
An annual high-level peace conference scheduled in October in the region’s capital, Bahir Dar, has announced postponing its gathering until April next year, citing “unforeseen circumstances”.
The conference’s delay, which counts the African Union and the United Nations among its partners, could be related to regional insecurity.
Meanwhile, an independent rights watchdog, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, has accused the authorities of continuing arbitrary arrests in the capital, Addis Ababa, which began after a state of emergency was declared in August in response to the violence in Amhara.
Benin acts after dozens killed in fuel depot fire.
The Beninese government has ordered an assessment of all fuel storage facilities after the deadly explosion that killed dozens of people over the weekend.
At least 34 people were killed on Saturday after an explosion at a fuel depot in southern Benin.
A statement from the decentralisation and governance ministry said the order for an “exhaustive assessment” of all fuel depots was to prevent a similar incident from occurring in other areas.
“Despite raising awareness and measures taken by the government to limit smuggling activities, particularly those linked to the storage and sale of gasoline across the country, certain people continue to store gasoline in inappropriate places,” the BBC quoted.
Saturday’s incident happened at a depot in a densely populated market in the southern town of Seme Podji, near the border with Nigeria.
Benin’s Interior Minister, Alassane Seidou, told reporters that two babies were killed in the incident.
At least 20 more people were injured and were being treated in hospitals.
France to pull troops out of Niger following coup
France’s President Emmanuel Macron says it will pull its soldiers out of Niger following the July coup in the West African country. This gesture will deal a huge blow to French influence and counter-insurgency operations in the Sahel region.
According to Reuters, Macron said 1,500 troops would be withdrawn by the end of the year and that France, the former colonial power in Niger, refused tobe held hostage by the putschists.
France’s exit, which comes after weeks of pressure from the junta and popular demonstrations, is likely to exacerbate Western concerns over Russia’s expanding influence in Africa. The Russian mercenary force Wagner is already present in Niger’s neighbour, Mali.
The French president has refused to recognise the junta as Niger’s legitimate authority but said Paris would coordinate troop withdrawals with the coup leaders.
“France’s ambassador was also being pulled out and would return to the country in the next few hours,” Macron added.
French influence over its former colonies has waned in West Africa in recent years, just as popular vitriol has grown. Its forces have been kicked out of neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso since the coups in those countries, reducing its role in a region-wide fight against deadly Islamist insurgencies.
Until the coup, Niger had remained a key security partner of France and the United States, which had used it as a base to fight an Islamist insurgency in West and Central Africa’s wider Sahel region.
Suicide bomber kills dozens, injures scores in central Somalia
Authorities said an explosives-laden vehicle detonated at a security checkpoint in the central Somalia city of Beledweyne, killing at least 18 people and injuring 40 others.
Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiran region, is in Hirshabelle State and has been the centre of the Somali Government’s latest military offensive against extremists from East Africa’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab.
Ismail Ali, who witnessed the blast, told Agence France Presse that what happened was a national tragedy and that words cannot express their grief.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Al-Shabab, which often carries out such attacks and controls parts of Somalia.
The region’s governor denounced the heinous act as the death toll was still being established.
Fire guts section of Nigeria’s Supreme Court
A section of the Supreme Court of Nigeria was engulfed with fire on Monday morning, September 25, 2023.
The incident, according to some eyewitnesses, started at about 8 a.m. in the Justices’ Chambers, specifically from Chamber 5, which is occupied by Justice Mohammed Saulawa on the fourth floor of that angle of the Supreme Court.
According to reports, the fire also torched two additional offices. From the scene, Voice of Nigeria reports that the fire destroyed valuable documents and office furniture in the offices on the fourth floor of the Justices’ Chambers.
According to preliminary information, an electric spark caused the fire incident. At the time of filing this report, the Supreme Court Fire Service section had managed to put out the fire, and security personnel also swung into action to restore law and order.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer for the Court, Festus Akande, was not responding to calls at the time of the report.