Comoros Loses Both Goalkeepers as COVID Sweeps Through Squad

Comoros, the surprise package of the Africa Cup of Nations, is struggling to put a team together for their last-16 game against host nation Cameroon after 12 players and management tested positive for COVID-19, their federation announced Saturday.

The 12 positive tests include both of the Coelacanths’ fit goalkeepers, with the third goalkeeper, Salim Ben Boina already injured. Comoros is due to face Cameroon on Monday.

“The Coelacanths affected by COVID … include coach Amir Abdou, our only two goalkeepers, Moyadh Ousseini and Ali Ahamada,” the federation tweeted two days before a historic match for the Comoros who qualified for the last 16 in their first appearance at the tournament.

In a video posted on the account, general manager El Hadad Hamidi also named five outfield players who have tested positive: midfielders Nakibou Aboubakari, Yacine Bourhane, striker Mohamed M’Changama and defenders Kassim Abdallah and Alexis Souahy.

With no goalkeepers currently available for the game, the Comoros are in serious trouble.

Confederation of African Football rules for the tournament dictate that teams must play games as long as at least 11 players test negative for the coronavirus.

If no goalkeeper is available, an outfield player must stand in.

“We are trying to do everything in our power to find alternative solutions” but “without the coach, without major players and especially without our only two goalkeepers who remained, the situation is quite complicated,” admitted Hamidi.

The Comoros, representing a tiny island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, snatched their qualification to everyone’s surprise by beating Ghana 3-2 and advancing as one of the best third-placed sides.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

UN Appeals for $60 Million for Victims of Violence in Cameroon

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is appealing for nearly $60 million for tens of thousands of victims of intercommunal clashes over dwindling resources in Cameroon’s Far North region.

The United Nations Refugee Agency Friday released an appeal for just under $60 million for support for those fleeing intercommunal violence in Cameroon’s Far North region.

The appeal is aimed at helping UNHCR and its partners provide needed humanitarian aid for those displaced by the crisis during the next six months.

An ongoing dispute over diminishing water resources between herders on one side and fishermen and farmers on the other last month erupted into a violent confrontation. The U.N. refugee agency says 44 people were killed, more than 100 injured, and 112 villages burned to the ground.

In the space of two weeks, UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov said 100,000 people fled to neighboring Chad or elsewhere in Cameroon.

“This has become a severe crisis because of the climate emergency. And the surface waters of Lake Chad shrinking and the Logone river, which runs along the border between Cameroon and Chad. It demarks the border and this is where the tensions began,” he said.

This crisis follows a previous deadly encounter in August. Some 45 people reportedly were killed, dozens injured, and more than 30 villages set ablaze. An estimated 23,000 fled to Chad or elsewhere in Cameroon.

Cheshirkov said the appeal will provide critically needed relief over the next six months for both the displaced and those sheltering them in Chad and Cameroon.

Priority needs, he said include shelter, blankets, mats, and mosquito mats.

“The funds will also cover growing water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Child protection, prevention, and response to gender-based violence, documentation, education—all of these are urgent priorities. We estimate that 9 out of 10 of the Cameroonian refugees that are now in Chad as a result of this crisis are women and children,” he said.

Cheshirkov said the situation has calmed down in the last few weeks. He says security has been reinforced. He notes government-led reconciliation efforts, supported by the UNHCR are underway. He added urgent action is needed to address the root causes of the conflict.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

French Soldier Killed After Attack on Mali Military Base

A French soldier has died after a rocket attack on the French army base in Gao, Mali.

The French Armed Forces Ministry released a statement Sunday morning saying the attack occurred on the Gao, Mali, Operation Barkhane military base on Saturday.

The statement claimed the attack was carried out by “terrorists.”

Operation Barkhane, France’s counterinsugency military operation in the Sahel, has operated in Mali since 2014. It replaced Operation Serval, the French army’s operation to regain control of northern Mali, which had been taken over by Islamists in 2012.

This year, after what French President Emmanuel Macron called a drawdown of the French military presence in Mali, Barkhane forces were withdrawn from northern Mali’s Tessalit, Kidal and Timbuktu military bases. The Gao base continues to serve as the center of Operation Barkhane.

Popular opposition to the French military presence in Mali has increased dramatically in recent years. France has backed recent sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States that were imposed following a 2026 presidential election plan proposed by Mali’s current military government.

Thousands of Malians took to the streets in cities across the country this month to denounce the sanctions, with most also denouncing France’s presence in Mali.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

Shots Near Burkina President’s Home as Soldiers Mutiny Over Anti-Jihadist Strategy

Shots were heard late Sunday near the home of Burkina Faso’s president after soldiers staged mutinies at several barracks to demand the sacking of the country’s military top brass and more resources for the battle against Islamist insurgents.

Residents also reported they saw a helicopter above the private residence of President Roch Marc Kabore in the capital Ouagadougou.

It followed gunfire earlier Sunday at several army bases, prompting fears of yet another coup in a volatile West African country prone to military takeovers.

Meanwhile, demonstrators protesting over the government’s handling of the jihadist threat set fire to the headquarters of the ruling party.

But the government quickly denied rumors of a putsch, and a list of demands presented by the rebellious troops made no mention of trying to oust Kabore, while emphasizing the need for a better anti-jihadist strategy.

“We want adequate resources for the battle” against Islamist extremists, a soldier from the Sangoule Lamizana base in Ouagadougou said in a voice recording received by AFP.

The disaffected soldiers also wanted top generals to be “replaced,” better care for wounded troops and more support for the families of soldiers killed in battle, the spokesman for the mutinous troops added in the anonymous recording.

The authorities declared an overnight curfew from 8 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) Sunday “until further notice” and the education ministry said schools would be closed Monday and Tuesday across the poor, landlocked country.

The unrest comes a little over a week after 12 people, including a senior army officer, were arrested on suspicion of planning to “destabilize” Burkina’s institutions.

It also comes a day after police used tear gas to disperse banned rallies, arresting dozens.

Residents in the Gounghin district, where the Sangoule Lamizana base is situated, reported seeing soldiers firing in the air and sealing off the area around the barracks.

Shots were also heard at the Baby Sy barracks in the south of the capital, as well as at an air base near the airport, which was also surrounded by soldiers wearing balaclavas, witnesses said.

There was also gunfire at bases in the northern towns of Kaya and Ouahigouya, residents there told AFP, and mobile internet services were cut.

The government moved quickly to try to restore control.

“Information on social media would have people believe there was an army takeover,” government spokesman Alkassoum Maiga said in a statement. “The government, while acknowledging that there was gunfire in some barracks, denies this information and calls on the public to remain calm.”

Defense Minister General Barthelemy Simpore said on nationwide TV that “none of the republic’s institutions has been troubled” by the revolt.

He added that there were “localized, limited” incidents “in a few barracks,” and that he was investigating.

Police fired tear gas to break up a rally by around 100 people who gathered at a square in central Ouagadougou to show support for the mutiny, an AFP correspondent reported.

Sangoule Lamizana camp houses a military prison where General Gilbert Diendere — a former right-hand man to deposed President Blaise Compaore — is serving a 20-year term for an attempted coup in 2015.

He is also on trial for his alleged part in the 1987 assassination of the country’s revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara, during a putsch that brought Compaore to power.

Compaore, overthrown by a popular uprising in 2014, fled to Ivory Coast, and is being tried in absentia for the assassination.

The latest turbulence coincides with a jihadist insurgency that swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015, overwhelming Burkina’s poorly trained and badly equipped armed forces.

Around 2,000 people have died, according to an AFP tally, while around 1.5 million people are internally displaced, according to the national emergency agency CONASUR.

Anger at Kabore’s failure to stem the bloodshed has risen, spilling over into clashes with the security forces.

On November 27, dozens were injured when hundreds turned out to protest.

Among the soldiers arrested this month over the plot to “destabilize institutions” was Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Zoungrana, who had been commanding anti-jihadist operations in the former French colony’s badly hit western region.

In a statement, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it was very concerned at the situation and expressed its solidarity with Kabore, the government and its people.

 

 

Source: Voice of America

Sujimoto Residences: The Prime Shortlet Apartment To Enjoy The African Cup of Nations

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