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Gunmen kill 4 people at checkpoint in western Libya – Official

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…As Two killed, one injured in knife attack near Paris***

A Local Official on Thursday said that four people were killed in a gun attack by suspected militants on a checkpoint east of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Zliten mayor, Miftah Hamadi said, the attack took place between the towns of Zliten and Khoms on the coastal road leading from Tripoli to the port city of Misrata.

He said that Islamic State militants, who are active in the area, were thought to be behind the attack.

Also, a local resident of the area, told Reuters that security personnel at the checkpoint were among the dead.

Libya has seen occasional attacks by Islamist militants who have benefited from the turmoil that followed a Nato-backed uprising in 2011.

Islamic State has said it was behind a deadly attack by gunmen on the offices of the electoral commission in Tripoli in May and an attack on a court complex in Misrata in 2017.

Local forces drove the militant group from its former stronghold in Sirte, southeast of Misrata, in 2016, but Libyan and Western officials say militants have sought to regroup through mobile desert units and sleeper cells in northern towns.

The UN is leading efforts to prepare for national elections in Libya, which it hopes will reunify rival factions based in Tripoli and the east of the country.

In the meantime, a man stabbed his mother and sister to death and seriously injured another person in a town near Paris on Thursday before being shot dead by police.

The killer had serious mental health problems and had been on a terror watch list since 2016, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters after visiting the scene in the town of Trappes.

The motive for the violence remained unclear despite a claim by the Islamic State group that it was an attack by one of its fighters responding to the terror organisation’s propaganda.

Collomb said the attacker was “mentally unstable, rather than someone who was committed, who would respond to orders from a terrorist organisation, in particular Daesh,” another name for IS.

Regular French criminal prosecutors are investigating the case rather than anti-terror specialists, Collomb stressed, although checks on the knifeman’s phone and computer were under way.

Experts have urged caution about recent IS announcements because it has lost credibility after claiming responsibility for seemingly unrelated violence as it faces defeat on the battlefield in the Middle East.

Social problems
The killing spree began early on Thursday in Trappes, a poor town with a large Muslim population about 30 kilometres (20 miles) southwest of the capital.

Armed police responded to reports of violence and were threatened by the man who stabbed his mother to death in her home, Collomb added.

“He walked towards the police with his knife,” he said. “Police then opened fire.”

The assailant has not yet been named.

Only a short drive from the wealthy area of Versailles, home to a world-famous palace, Trappes is known for its social problems linked to poverty, drugs and hardline interpretations of Islam.

About 50 locals are suspected of having left France to fight for the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, French security sources have previously told AFP.

The knifeman had been on the terror watch list since 2016 after expressing extremist views, a security source told AFP.

BFM television reported that he had serious alcohol and drug problems.

France remains on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks since 2015 that have claimed the lives of more than 240 victims.

IS claimed the Trappes attacker was one of its fighters.

“He carried out the attack in response to calls to target subjects of the countries of the coalition” fighting IS, said a statement on its propaganda channel Amaq.

The leader of the extremist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had called on Muslims to wage “jihad” in a purported new audio recording released on Wednesday.

The group claimed responsibility for a massacre in Las Vegas last year that saw a wealthy accountant open fire on a crowd in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history.

US investigators concluded that there was “no evidence of radicalisation or ideology to support any theory that (Stephen) Paddock supported or followed any hate group or any domestic or foreign terrorist organisation”.

French terror expert Jean-Charles Brisard, head of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT), said it was “too soon to say” if IS had a hand in the violence in Trappes.

“But remember that in 2017 we had three claims of responsibility that were outlandish by Islamic State… above all the massacre in Las Vegas,” he told AFP.

Additional report from AFP

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Sri Lankan President Thanks Seychelles Defence Forces For Rescuing Sri Lankan Vessel From Somali Pirates

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President Ramkalawan says Seychellois military boarded boat with utmost courage to take complete control

 The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) Special Forces and Seychelles Coast Guards on board Coast Guards vessel Topaz led a successful operation to regain control of a Sri Lankan vessel hijacked by armed Somali pirates.

Seychellois special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers.

The Commander in Chief of the Seychelles, President Wavel Ramkalawan has spoken to the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette to congratulate the Special Forces and Coast Guards team on a well-executed and successful mission.

“This is the spirit of the Seychelles Defence Forces. Professionalism, courage, and bravery are the tenets of the new spirit in the force. Though small, we will make our contribution to attaining maritime security, peace, and determination in the fight against terrorism to ensure that the world, especially in our part of the Indian Ocean remains a safe and peaceful region. Once again, I reiterate the  pride and confidence of the Seychellois nation in the Seychelles Defence Forces.”

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GoG: Promoting Trans-boundary Management For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

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…Mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of the Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23, 2024/ — From January 21st to 27th, 2024, AU-IBAR is on a mission in the republics of Benin and Togo. The mission is dedicated to supporting the implementation of a Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative between the two nations. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), under the project “Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity within the Framework of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy,” this initiative holds the promise of fostering socio-economic development through the judicious use of marine resources.

Collaborative Efforts: AU-IBAR is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) body, the Abidjan Convention, and the World Bank-funded West African Coastal Area Management (WACA) Project. The SIDA-funded project, implemented by AU-IBAR, involves an assessment to map the extent of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) usage in Africa as a management tool for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa.

Mission Objectives: This mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME). The current objective is to secure joint expert validation of the SoME report and obtain high-level political endorsement for the provisions of the jointly validated report, demonstrating the commitment of both countries to the cause. Participants in the joint validation workshop include WACA project-nominated committee members from Benin and Togo, representatives from the Abidjan Convention, and government authorities from both nations, alongside relevant AU-IBAR staff.

Political Commitment: The opening statements during the joint meeting saw representatives from the Governments of Benin and Togo, the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, and the representative of the Director of AU-IBAR express unwavering commitment to the transboundary marine management process. Both the Director of AU-IBAR and the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention reiterated their support for the Governments of Benin and Togo in realizing their shared vision for the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the designated shared maritime boundary.

Key Outcomes: The pinnacle achievement of the joint meeting is the validation of the study report on the state of the marine environment between Benin and Togo. This validation marks a significant milestone towards establishing the transboundary MSP between the two countries. AU-IBAR Director, DR Huyam Salih, emphasized that this accomplishment is a crucial step forward in enhancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the Gulf of Guinea.

Conclusion: The joint expert consultation workshop serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at promoting transboundary management of shared marine aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea. The validated report and political commitment from Benin and Togo are integral to realizing the socio-economic development potential inherent in the sustainable use of marine resources. As AU-IBAR continues its mission, the hope is that this initiative will serve as a model for other regions seeking to harmonize efforts for the conservation and management of their shared marine ecosystems.
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U.S.-British Strikes In Yemen Left 5 Dead, Say Houthi Rebels

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The U.S. and British military strikes in Yemen have left five Houthi fighters dead and six others injured, the Iran-aligned rebels said on Friday, vowing retaliation.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression,’’ the Houthi military spokesman Yehya Saree said in a statement.

Saree said the massive attack had targeted several Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

“It will not pass unanswered and without punishment.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on the ground and in the sea,’’ he said. 

  • dpa
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