Senegal’s Opening Mosques During Pandemic Divides Muslim Community

DAKAR – Senegal’s controversial decision to reopen mosques as the Muslim-majority country is still battling the coronavirus pandemic has split the religious community. Senegal has about 2,500 confirmed infections and at least 25 deaths from COVID-19. While some Muslims have welcomed being able to pray at the mosque during the last week of the holy month of Ramadan, others worry it’s too soon and the decision may put worshippers at greater risk of infection. Senegal’s allowing mosques to reopen for the final week of Ramadan was welcomed by thousands of…

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UN-Backed Forces in Libya Seize Major Airbase

Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government have seized a major airbase south of Tripoli from rival forces who have been trying to take over Libya for more than a year. A top military commander says the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has complete control of al-Watiya airbase. Observers call this a huge setback for commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA). The commander says GNA forces captured a Russian-made Pantsir air defense system mounted on a truck and posted video of what he says is the…

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Report: Jihadist Influence Growing in Northwest Nigeria

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Nigerian jihadist groups are gaining sway in the restive northwest and the region could become a “land bridge” to Islamists across the Sahel, the International Crisis Group warned Monday. Northwestern Nigeria has been wracked by years of insecurity involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs and reprisal killings by vigilante groups. The violence has left an estimated 8,000 people dead since 2011 and displaced over 200,000, the Brussels-based research group said in a report released Monday. “As security has deteriorated, the region…

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Cameroon Doctors Ask for Protection as Attacks by COVID Carriers Increase

YAOUNDE – Medical staff in Cameroon are asking for additional security at hospitals following a series of attacks by people upset that they or their loved ones were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Cameroon so far has 3,300 confirmed cases of the virus with 147 deaths. Gervais Gabriel Atedjoe, secretary general of Cameroon’s National Medical Council, said attacks on hospitals, especially health care workers, are increasing by the day. Speaking by phone from the coastal city of Douala, Atedjoe said health workers are being attacked by people who either contest tests…

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ICC Rules Against Compensation for Congo’s Bemba

The International Criminal Court ruled Monday that ex-Congolese vice president and militia leader Jean-Pierre Bemba is not entitled to damages after his successful appeal of a war crimes conviction. Bemba’s lawyers failed to convince the court that their client must be compensated for the nearly $75 million they claimed he lost because of his imprisonment, including legal fees and what they say was the court’s mismanagement of his seized assets. The judges acknowledged Monday that the 10 years Bemba spent in jail awaiting trial is a “significant amount of time…

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