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Libya seeks United Nations ‘security’ support

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After a month of militia clashes that left more than 100 people dead, Libya’s UN-backed foreign minister on Friday called for the country’s UN political mission to transform into a “security and stability” support role.

Mohamed Siala, foreign minister of the UN-backed Libyan unity government, did not specify if he had in mind a UN peacekeeping mission.

“Priority must be given to security, to stability,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.



“We call for conversion of UNSMIL, which is a special political mission, into a mission of support for Libya’s security and stability,” he said without providing further detail.

The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL), led by Ghassan Salame, was set up in 2011 to assist the country’s new authorities after the NATO-backed revolution which ousted Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

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UNSMIL has focused on fostering political dialogue to help the North African country’s transition to democracy.

Under a UN-brokered agreement, the unity government was set up in Tripoli but it is not recognized by a rival administration supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya’s east.

Tripoli itself has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups with shifting allegiances. A month of clashes left more than 100 dead south of the city before the unity government on Wednesday announced a ceasefire deal between rival militias.

Siala welcomed the efforts of UNSMIL which he said enabled the conclusion of the ceasefire.

“We ask concerned parties to respect it. National and international legal bodies will pursue the authors of these tragic attacks,” he said.

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Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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