French and Malian armed forces killed at least a dozen Islamic extremists who attacked an army camp in northern Mali on Tuesday, killing at least four soldiers and wounding another, according to a statement by the French Operation Barkhane.
The attack on the army camp in Gourma-Rharous, about 120km east of Timbuktu, also destroyed a half-dozen vehicles, army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Diarran Kone said.
French air forces, alerted by Mali’s army, responded as the assailants fled in two pick-ups, according to the Operation Barkhane statement.
The town has been targeted regularly by Islamic extremists.
The recently formed extremist group Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen claimed responsibility for an attack on Malian forces in Tagharost, about 150km south of Timbuktu, according to SITE Intelligence Group which monitors online extremist activities.
The extremist group said it staged a similar attack there, storming elite force barracks and taking vehicles.
Also on Tuesday, a United Nations peacekeeping mission vehicle was escorting a logistics convoy when it hit a land mine about 30km south of Tessalit in the Kidal region, the UN mission said.
Two peacekeepers and one civilian were wounded, it said.
The Mali-based al-Qaeda affiliate Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen claimed responsibility for the attack and for another one on UN forces in the Kidal region, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
The extremist group said it destroyed two UN vehicles on the road between Aguelhok and Tessalit on Monday and hit the same convoy on Tuesday.
Ansar Dine, Al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in March declared they had merged into Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen.
A French-led intervention drove Islamic extremists from strongholds in northern Mali in 2013, but attacks continue.
Nigeria: Boko Haram leader exposes rest Chibok girls whereabouts
One of the arrested Boko Haram leaders and kidnappers of the Chibok schoolgirls, Mallam Mayinta Modu, alias Abor has revealed that each of them received N60,000 as ransom before they freed one batch of the abducted girls.
Modu, who hails from Bama Local Government Area, Borno State had confessed to being one of the Boko Haram Commanders that coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, including several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.
This was following the arrest of 22 suspected Boko Haram members who participated in the kidnapping of the girls.
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They were paraded at the Borno Police Command, Wednesday, by Deputy Commissioner-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.Modu revealed that one Mallam Chingori, is in custody of the remaining Chibok girls at Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.
Upon interrogation, he said: “I cannot ascertain the number of people I slaughtered or killed before my arrest. All I can say is that as a member of the sect and with the roles I played in the course of our fighting against infidels, government and security agencies, I was promoted as one of the sub-commanders.
“I actively participated and coordinated the kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in April, 2014.
“After we abducted the girls, we separated them and put them in different locations in Sambisa Forest under the care of our top commanders.
“The name of my top Commander is Mallam Chingori. He kept some of the girls in his custody in Sambisa hideout before relocating to Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.
“At a point, when we released some of the girls, we were given N60,000 each for escorting the girls to one undisclosed location, before we went back to base, Sambisa.
“I may not know whether our Commander who gave us the ransom money also took his share of the money; all I can say is that we were many that collected such amount.
“As it is, the remaining girls are in the custody of our top Commander (Chingori) who later relocated from Sambisa to Gulumba village of Bama town.”
Modu could, however, not state who paid the ransom, but admitted that some of the girls were still in the custody of the sect in different locations in the forest.
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Egypt: Human rights activists criticises new social media law
Human rights activists have criticised the adoption of a new law that gives the state powers to block social media accounts and penalise journalists held to be publishing fake news.
Under the law passed on Monday, social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, headed by an official appointed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will supervise the law and take action against violations.
The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors.
The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by Sisi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited, but does not explain further.
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