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Three soldiers die, many missing as Boko Haram attacks military base in Borno

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…Severe cyclone kills 10 in southern India; 80,000 evacuated***

At least three soldiers were killed and several missing after a Boko Haram attack on a military base in Borno state, military and militia sources have said.

Boko Haram fighters believed to be from the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province late Wednesday attacked the base in the town of Kareto, 150 kilometres (about 90 miles) north of the state capital Maiduguri, AFP reports.

The militants temporarily dislodged troops from the base before being repelled with aerial support, the sources said.

“We lost three soldiers in the fight and several others are still missing,” a military officer in Maiduguri told AFP.

“The terrorists were smoked out of the base by a fighter jet which deployed to the scene,” said the officer who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

Troop reinforcements were sent to the base, the officer said. It was not clear if the jihadists took away weapons.

A civilian militia fighting Boko Haram in the area said troops withdrew to the town of Gubio, 60 km away, while Kareto residents fled across the border into Niger.

“The bodies of three soldiers were recovered after the attack,” said the militia who preferred not to be identified.

“More troops have arrived in Kareto but most residents have not returned,” he said.

It was the second attack on the military base in two years.

In April 2016, a Boko raid left 24 soldiers wounded, according to military authorities.

Boko Haram jihadists late Wednesday also attacked Mammanti village, just outside Maiduguri, killing one person and burning the entire village before stealing hundreds of cattle, the local chief of the village and residents said.

“The insurgents came around 11:00 pm (2200 GMT) and opened indiscriminate fire,” Muhammad Mammanti, a resident, said.

“They killed one person and burnt the whole village and stole our cattle,” Mammanti said.

Earlier in the day a group of jihadists abducted seven women while working on a farm near the town of Bama, 70 km from Maiduguri, after killing their male escort, militia sources said.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on farmers and loggers in recent years, accusing them of passing information on the group to the military.

Despite the government’s insistence that the group is near defeat, Boko Haram has recently carried out major attacks on military and civilian targets, killing scores.

More than 27,000 people have died since the start of the insurgency in the remote northeast in 2009 and 1.8 million are still homeless.

In the meantime, a cyclone blew ashore Friday in a southern India coastal region, killing at least 10 people and damaging homes after more than 80,000 residents were evacuated.

Cyclone Gaja hit coastal areas of Tamil Nadu state with heavy rains and winds of 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour, said Narendra Kumar, an official of the National Disaster Response Force. The storm was weakening after coming onshore.

People living in low-lying areas had been moved into more than 470 relief centers in six districts, and fishermen were warned to stay away from the sea.

The initial reports indicate the deaths counted so far were caused by wall collapses and electrocution, said NDRF official Umesh, who uses one name.

The storm felled trees and power lines, and authorities preventively disconnected the electric supply to the worst-hit areas to avoid electrocutions. Schools were closed in places, and vehicles remained off the roads in most parts of Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Tamil Nadu state is prone to cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a cyclone killed more than 15,000 people in eastern Orissa.

The Citizen with additional report from ABC

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29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

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29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

Four consecutive days of intense rainfall, floods, and mudslides that hit Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sulworst released the worst storms that killed 29 people and left 60 others missing, Governor Eduardo Leite said.

“Unfortunately, we know that these numbers will rise,” said Leite, describing the storms as the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, a top agricultural and livestock producer.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited Santa Maria, one of the state’s worst-hit cities, and met with Leite on Thursday.

Lula offered federal funding and aid to address the emergency in the state bordering Uruguay and Argentina.

“There will be no shortage of help from the federal government to take care of health, no shortage of money to take care of transportation and food, everything that is within reach.

“Whether through ministers, civil society, or our military, we’ll dedicate round-the-clock effort to satisfy the basic needs of the people stranded by the rains,” said the president.

With more rain forecast, the governor called on residents, to head for higher ground and stay away from flood-prone areas identified by the civil defence agency.

He said 4,400 residents have been evacuated but thousands more are waiting to be rescued from their flooded homes.

According to a civil defence bulletin, 154 cities have been affected by natural disasters.

– Xinhua

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Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

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Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

The Israeli government was taken aback that Hamas accepted the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal, formed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, as the country was only briefed on the Palestinian movement’s response an hour after its release.

The Axios news outlet reported this on Tuesday, citing three Israeli officials.

On Monday, Hamas informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it agreed to the terms of the ceasefire deal they had drafted.

The proposal provides for three stages of 42 days, during which a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners are expected to be concluded.

In addition to allegedly being briefed on Hamas’ decision belatedly, the Israeli officials told Axios they had been outraged by the fact that the proposal accepted by the Palestinian movement allegedly contained “many new elements,” which had not been discussed with the Jewish state.

“It looked like a whole new proposal,” one of the Israeli officials was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

That “new” proposal, which allegedly was not negotiated with Israel, had been presented by the mediators to Hamas’ delegation during the latter’s visit to Cairo last weekend, the Israeli officials told Axios.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the negotiations said Israeli representatives had also been invited by the United States to visit Cairo along with Hamas but had refused to do so.

The Israeli authorities have been seriously disappointed with Washington’s mediating role in the talks with Hamas, Axios reported.

CIA Director Bill Burns participated in the recent round of the negotiations in Cairo and Doha and was aware of that “new” proposal, but allegedly did not inform Israel about it, sources familiar with the matter were cited by the news outlet as saying.

Meanwhile, a senior US official told Axios that “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts,” adding there were “no surprises.”

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces started a military operation in the eastern parts of Rafah, after urging residents to evacuate.

Palestinian movement Hamas said that it had agreed to the provisions of the Gaza ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal unacceptable.

More than a million people are believed to be sheltering in the city.

On Oct. 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases.

Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted during the attack.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

Over 34,700 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. 

– Sputnik

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East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

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East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

UN humanitarians said about 750,000 people were affected by flooding in eastern Africa, with 234,000 displaced and more than 236 killed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said local authorities in Kenya reported more than 285,000 people were affected nationwide.

“The United Nations and our partners are supporting the government-led response and have reached more than 126,000 people with water and sanitation assistance.

“About 31,000 people were assisted with food and cash, more than 5,000 assisted with health services, and nearly 26,000 people with emergency shelter support,” OCHA said.

The office said that in Somalia, more than 160,000 people were affected by flooding, with more than 37,000 displaced or relocated.

Flooding has killed seven children since April 19, with the states of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Southwest the worst affected.

Humanitarian agencies said local authorities provided more than 70,000 people with food, cash, water, sanitation, shelter and health assistance.

Some 50 boats were deployed to deliver supplies or evacuate people who may have been marooned by flood waters.

“Our partners estimate that the rains and floods could affect at least 770,000 people in Somalia,” OCHA said.

“The rains are also likely to worsen the ongoing cholera epidemic in the country.”

The humanitarians said that in Burundi, torrential rains and the rising water level of Lake Tanganyika have affected nearly 180,000 people since January.

The agriculture sector is heavily impacted, with national authorities estimating that 40,000 hectares or 10 per cent of the country’s crop area have been affected.

“A flood response plan seeking 25 million U.S. dollars is being finalised to support more than 300,000 people,” OCHA said.

“Our partners are providing health care support, drinking water, tarpaulins and psychosocial support.”

According to humanitarians, in Tanzania, the government and partners deployed search and rescue teams and distributed emergency aid, including food, mattresses, mosquito nets and tents to assist flood-affected people.

The office said that in Rwanda, heavy rains and floods killed and injured dozens of people and damaged roads, bridges and hundreds of homes.

Local authorities reported that several hectares of rice and banana plantations were also damaged.

“The governments and humanitarian partners are supporting evacuation efforts and the response,” OCHA said.  

– Xinhua

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