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Somalia: 60 Shabab Fighters Die in U.S. Military Strike

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The Pentagon’s Africa Command said on Tuesday that it had carried out the deadliest attack against the Islamist extremist group Shabab in nearly a year, killing about 60 fighters in central Somalia.



The strike took place Friday in the vicinity of Harardhere, about 300 miles northeast of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, the military said in a statement. Africa Command officials offered no other details except to say it did not kill or injure any civilians, suggesting the militants were in a camp or massing for an attack.

The strike came after a recent spate of attacks that the Shabab have conducted against Somali security forces and their American advisers across the country.

On Sept. 21, Shabab fighters attacked American and Somalia troops 30 miles northwest of Kismayo. Ten days earlier, militants struck Somalia and American forces in Mubarak, in central Somalia, killing one Somali soldier.

“These sustained attacks demonstrate that Shabab retains the ability to launch conventional offensives, in addition to its terrorist attack capability,” said Bill Roggio, editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, a website run by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that tracks military strikes against militant groups.

In its statement, the Africa Command said last week’s strike was the deadliest against the Shabab since an airstrike against a Shabab camp northwest of Mogadishu on Nov. 21 killed about 100 militants.

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 So far this year in Somalia, the United States has conducted 27 strikes, including by drone attacks, mostly against small numbers of Shabab fighters. That is on pace to surpass last year’s attacks against the group.

In 2017, the military carried out 35 airstrikes in Somalia — 31 against Shabab fighters and four against Islamic State militants, according to Mr. Roggio.

The attacks by the Shabab, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in East Africa, underscore the resilience of regional arms of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in places like Yemen, Libya, West Africa and Afghanistan.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Hong kong train accident leaves eight injured.

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A rare train derailment disrupted services in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the rail operator said, threatening commuter chaos during rush hour.

The disruption to a usually seamless network used by nearly 6 million people every weekday happened after a train derailed while leaving a station in the Kowloon area, rail operator MTR Corp said.

The government’s information department said eight people were injured and five had been taken to hospital.

Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen, chairman of MTR Corp, told reporters that a derailment had not happened in many years and the cause was not immediately clear.

“We will work together with the government to find out the truth as soon as possible so as to continue to provide safe services,” he said. “We apologize that our passengers were injured in the accident.”

Hong Kong’s rail system has been a target of vandalism during recent pro-democracy protests, with activists angry that MTR has closed stations to stop protesters gathering.

Television footage showed hundreds of passengers trying to get off the derailed train. Public broadcaster RTHK said the train had suddenly swayed and a door had flown off before the train stopped.

Nearby stations were overcrowded, and intervals between trains were extended to 12 minutes from two.

MTR’s shares fell 1.1% in line with the broader Hang Seng Index, which was down 1%.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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