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Burundi Told To Cut Force In Somalia Under African Pullback

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African Leaders Meet For 'Last Push' On AU Reforms

The African Union has asked Burundi to reduce its contribution to an African peacekeeping force in Somalia by a thousand men under a progressive pullout from the country by the AU.

The AU made the request through a diplomatic document called a note verbale, requesting that the reduction be completed by February 28.

The AU has a 21 500-strong force, Amisom, to support Somalia’s fragile internationally-backed government and fight Shabaab jihadists blamed for scores of bloody attacks.

The force is to be gradually scaled back as Somalia’s embryonic armed forces are trained up and deployed to replace them.

The note verbale, seen by AFP Friday, summarises the conclusions of a November 30 meeting of Amisom’s military operations co-ordination committee in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

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“It has been decided that the Burundi National Defence Force should reduce (its contingent by) 1 000 troops by February 28,” the document says, quoting a United Nations Security Council resolution seeking UN funds to help Amisom’s pullout.

Somalia has the second-largest contingent in Amisom with 5 400 troops, after Uganda, which has 6 200 men. Other contributors are Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The note verbale takes place against a background of recent tension between Burundi and the AU.

The AU has called on Burundi – strongly criticised abroad for its record on human rights – to ease its hardline stance on dissent and talk with its exiled opposition.

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In return, Burundi has been staging anti-AU protests, targeting in particular the chairman of the organisation’s commission, Moussa Faki, whom it accuses of backing the opposition.

Participation in Amisom is a valuable source of hard currency, and the scaleback is likely to have a big impact on Burundi – every quarter, the AU pays it around $18 million.

The Amisom pullback was initially intended to be a gradual pro-rata reduction by each contingent to avoid financial shocks of these kind, the AU source said.

But as the Burundi troops are poorly equipped, it was then decided for operational reasons that the first phase of departures should be just the Burundi contingent, the source said.

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However, a senior Burundi government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the country viewed this decision with suspicion.

“We know that it’s a decision which was inspired by the EU in order to hurt Burundi, and unfortunately the AU had to accept it because it is a hostage of the Europeans, which are mainly financing (Amisom),” the official said.

The EU imposed a range of sanctions against Burundi in 2016, targeting individuals deemed to be undermining democracy, violating human rights and fomenting violence.

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African News

Omar Daf Extends Contract With Sochaux

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Sochaux Coach, Daf Extends Contract With Club

Forty one year-old former Senegal international defender Omar Daf has extended his contact as coach of French club Sochaux until June 2021.

Daf was appointed coach of the second division side last November.

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The former French champions are currently just two points above the relegation zone in Ligue 2 with 17 games left this season.

Earlier this week Sochaux signed former Liverpool and Mali midfielder, Momo Sissoko.

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Daf played 14 seasons for Sochaux across two spells, previously coached the club in an interim capacity in 2013 and 2015.

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African News

France Extradites CAR Football Official Wanted By ICC

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France Extradites CAR Football Official Wanted By ICC

France has extradited to the Hague, a senior Central African Republic football official wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in the C.A.R.

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A committee member of the Confederation of African Football  Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, was arrested in Paris last month for coordinating attacks on Muslims in his country. He has denied the allegations.

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Patrice had declared himself political co-ordinator of the Christian anti-Balaka militia. The group has been blamed for hundreds of killings.  The ICC says Patrice was responsible for murder, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers.

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Ethiopia Arrests Former Minister Over Corruption Allegations

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Ethiopia Arrests Former Minister For Corruption Allegations

Ethiopian Former Minister, Bereket Simon has been arrested at his residence on suspicion of mismanagement of public funds.

Simon was a former Communication Minister, and was also a former head of a regional public investment fund. Simon was a member of Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Zigale Gebeyehu, head of the regional anti-corruption bureau told local journalists that Bereket was detained on suspicion of corruption and now held in police custody in Bahir Dar city, the capital of the region.

Also arrested was a former civil servant, Tadesse Kassa, who was also a former board member of TIRET.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been pursuing a nationwide crackdown on graft in the public sector since taking office last year

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