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Côte d’Ivoire government retires over 2,168 soldiers from army

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Côte d’Ivoire on Friday reduced the size of its army by 2,168 soldiers as part of a plan to cut costs and bring under control a force that in 2017 launched two mutinies.

Government spokesman Bruno Kone said after a cabinet meeting that 2,168 soldiers had accepted voluntary retirement in an initiative to conform to “accepted standards”, partly by reducing the ratio of non-commissioned officers to lower ranks.

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The army’s size is confidential but security sources estimate there are more than 25,000 troops in a country with a population of about 24 million.

Francophone West Africa’s biggest economy suffered successive waves of army mutinies in 2017 that damaged its reputation among investors and forced the government to agree to costly pay rises.

Côte d’Ivoire cut its armed forces by about 1,000 troops in 2017.

Kone told newsmen that the latest group includes three officers, 1,460 non-commissioned officers and 705 regular foot soldiers.

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UN reports about 900 fatalities in DR Congo’s ethnic violence.

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The united nations report that at least 890 people were killed in over just 3 days in ethnic violence in western DRC in mid-december.

The UN Human Rights Office reports the violence took place in four villages between Banunu and Batende communities.



The UN however warns the death toll could be higher. But there seems to be conflicting death tolls for the violence.

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A local priest and a civil society activist earlier in the week said at least 400 people had died in bloodshed that even led to the government canceling voting in last month’s presidential polls.

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The UN insists that 890 is the number of people known to have been buried.

The recent attack from the ethnic clashes in Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe Province allegedly started when members of the Banunu tribe wanted to bury one of their traditional chiefs on Batende land.

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Britain, UN worry over Internet shutdown in Zimbabwe.

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In the wake of deadly protests against a fuel price hike, and an ongoing internet shutdown in Zimbabwe, the United Nations has urged the government to stop “excessive use of force” by security forces including firing live ammunition.

The government has said three people died during demonstrations that broke out on Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa raised fuel prices by 150 percent.

Lawyers and activists say the toll was much higher and that security forces used violence and carried out mass arrests to quell the unrest.



The internet was cut off earlier this week, with critics saying the government sought to prevent images of its heavy-handedness in dealing with protesters from being broadcast around the world.

Leading mobile operator Econet Wireless said the government had ordered it to shut down services.

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“We were served with another directive for total shutdown of the internet until further notice,” Econet said in a statement.

“Our lawyers advised that we are required to comply with the directive pending the court’s decision on its legality.”

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Friday’s fuller internet shutdown also affected emails.

Due to the shutdown, Harare banks were providing only partial services and no cash machines were working, a witness said, while long queues formed at petrol stations and shops.

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