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Chan 2021: Explosions at Limbe stadium days before Tanzania opener – Reports



Several vehicles were photographed in flames in an assault that has been reportedly claimed by a group called The Fako Action Forces
Explosions were reported outside the Limbe Omnisport Stadium on Thursday, just two days before the highly anticipated African Nations Championship starts in Cameroon, in an attack apparently linked to a local separatist group.
Heading into the Chan tournament, Cameroon have faced criticism for using a host stadium in the South-West region against a backdrop of local instability.
Zambia, Tanzania, Guinea and Namibia, who are in Group D, are expected to play at the Omnisport Stadium during the tournament, which is reserved for home-based African players. The first game at the stadium is scheduled to be between Tanzania and Zambia next Tuesday.
Although the attack did not have any fatalities, several cars were destroyed, amidst ongoing concerns about the safety of the region due to separatist tensions.
The reported terrorist act was claimed by ‘Fako Action Forces’, according to local source Journal du Cameroon. The explosion reportedly took place on the ‘perimeter’ of the Limbe Stadium, just one of the venues designated to host Chan matches.
Referencing Radio Equinox, Camer Press Agency reported the explosion was caused by a homemade bomb, with the shadow government from the Ambazonia State in Cameroon having released the following reminder and warning in the days preceding the attack.
“There will be no Chan 2021 in Fako, and our populations are warned accordingly. There must not be victims. Limbe is dangerous ground,” the interim president of the virtual Republic of Ambazonia Samuel Ikome Sako had written.
Images circulating on social media have also appeared to show evidence of the explosion.
Apart from the Group D games, the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the tournament are expected to be held in the volatile region.
Cameroon’s security department has been battling reported insurgents in the region since 2016. Zambia, Uganda, Cameroon and Niger organised a mini-tournament in the host country between January 1 and 7 ahead of the actual competition.
The three visiting nations set up camps since then and are waiting to start their respective Chan campaigns.
Cameroon will start the event by playing Zimbabwe at the capital on January 16.
Apart from the Omnisport Stadium in Limbe, other stadiums that will be used are the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde which will host Group A games. Group B fixtures will be played at Japoma Stadium in Douala, while Group C participants will be playing at the Douala Reunification Stadium.
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UN offers to help catch Mali jihadists behind amputations




UN peacekeepers in Mali on Thursday offered to help bring to justice jihadists behind the amputation of suspected thieves’ hands and feet, an apparent revival of a practice that had all but vanished.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, local sources in Tin-Hama in eastern Mali said armed men drummed up a crowd on May 2, a market day, and cut the right hands and left feet off three men they paraded as thieves.

The gunmen are believed to have belonged to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), one of the main jihadist groups active in the Sahel region, the UN’s Minusma force said in a statement.

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“This kind of corporal punishment carried out by armed groups outside of any legal order is a serious infringement of human rights,” Minusma chief El-Ghassim Wade said.

UN forces stand ready to “support continuing enquiries by Malian authorities to fight impunity and ensure that the perpetrators of these acts are brought to justice,” he added.

Minusma also said it was deploying “significant security resources in the affected areas to step up protection of populations”.

The amputations “recall the horrors of the 2012 crisis” when jihadists and Touareg rebels took control of much of Mali’s north, the UN statement added.

At the time, various jihadist groups conducted public amputations, stonings, floggings and executions in major northern cities under their hardline interpretation of Islamic law.

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Since 2012, jihadist insurgents have spread across Mali’s centre and into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the violence.

UN, African and French forces have failed to put an end to the insurgency.

Unidentified men killed one soldier when they attacked a Malian anti-terrorist unit near Tominian in the country’s centre late Wednesday, while the troops killed three of the assailants, a security official said on condition of anonymity.


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IPOB backs new directive by Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader



PHOTO: Protesters with the flag of "Ambazonia"

Nigerian Biafra separatist group— Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has backed the May 20 directive to “stay at home” from Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader, Dr Cho Ayaba.

Ayaba, the leader of Ambazonia, ordered a lockdown on May 20, 2021 in the English-speaking region of Cameroon, saying it was to mark the day that Cameroonian government forces began killing civilians in the region.

“The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, under the global command of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby, directs all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to fully comply with the directive. Biafra and Ambazobia share a lot in common, and we are prepared to give them all the necessary support and solidarity in their struggle for independence,” said IPOB in a statement issued on Monday.

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The Biafra group, in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, further said, it “urge all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to close shop on May 20, and remain indoors in full compliance with the sit-at-home order by the leader of our sister country. We equally advise all Biafrans intending to travel to Ambazonia on that day to shelve the trip until after the exercise. Biafra and Ambazobia have enjoyed a robust relationship in our struggle for self determination.

“Ambazobia has adopted 20th of May every year in honour of the victims of the genocidal killings in Ambazonia by the terrorist Republic of Cameroun. This was the day the Paul Biya-led murderous regime in Camaroun launched military onslaught and occupation of Ambazonia.

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“The genocidal killing was however, challenged four years ago through stiff resistance and great sacrifices by patriotic Ambazonians. Consequently, the people of Ambazonia have decided to henceforth, observe 20th of May as a day to commemorate the Resistance and defeat of their enemy, the Cameroonian forces.

“We equally note with delight, the directive by the leadership of the Ambazonian liberation movement to all Ambazonians, to observe May 31 Biafra Remembrance Day sit-at-home order in honour of our fallen heroes. This show of solidarity between both countries is amazing, and will be sustained until and even after our independence is realised. Both countries shall continue to explore other opportunities to promote peaceful cooperation and regional security and economic advancement.”

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Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against insecurity



Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called on citizens to unite and pray against the insecurity ravaging the country.

The president made the appeal in a message to Muslims around the world as they marked Eid Al Fitr after the completion of a month of fasting.

According to Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, he said;“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

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“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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