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Chad soldiers killed as Boko Haram loses Nigerian towns

Chadian soldiers stand next to what they say was a camp for insurgent group Boko Haram, which the Chadian military said they destroyed in battle, in Gambaru, Nigeria, February 26, 2015. Niger, Cameroon and Chad have launched a regional military campaign to help Nigeria defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to carve an Islamic emirate out of northeastern Nigeria. Chad deployed troops last month and is leading efforts to stop repeated cross-border raids by the Islamists, whose operations increasingly threaten Nigeria's neighbours. Picture taken February 26, 2015.

NIAMEY/N'DJAMENA (Reuters) – About 10 Chadian soldiers died in fighting to take control of two towns in northern Nigeria from Boko Haram, the first gains against the militants in a joint offensive launched with Niger at the weekend, military sources said on Monday.

About 30 Nigerian and Chadian soldiers were wounded in the clashes over Malam Fatouri and Damasak, a day after thousands of troops crossed the border to seize areas held by the Sunni Islamist group, whose insurgency has forced Nigeria to delay an election and neighbors to mobilize their armies.

A Chadian officer, who asked not to be named, said about 10 Chadian soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in fighting for the towns. There was no official comment from Chad's army.

"We have kicked the enemy out of these areas and they are now under our control," a Niger military source said.

The advancing troops had seized large quantities of arms and ammunition as well as vehicles, he said, and were undertaking a clean-up operation in the area. "The troops have taken dozens of Boko Haram elements prisoner," he added.

Damasak, the town furthest into Nigeria, is 10 km (6 miles) south of the Niger border, where Nigerian and Chadian troops had been massing in recent weeks before the offensive.

A medical source in Diffa, the capital of the Niger region which borders Boko Haram's heartland in northeastern Nigeria, said 30 wounded soldiers had been admitted to the town's hospital.

A second Niger military source said about 300 Boko Haram militants had been killed. There was no official confirmation of the toll and it was not possible to verify the figure.

"We had permission from Nigeria for this action," the source said.

There was no immediate comment from Nigeria, which has launched its own offensive against the militants. Their gains forced Nigeria to delay elections that were due in February.

"I can't tell you if there were deaths within our ranks. If there were, the families would be informed first," the second Niger military officer added.

Boko Haram's six-year insurgency, which aims to carve out a caliphate in Nigeria's northeast, has killed thousands. The group has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which rules a self-declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, according to an audio clip posted online on Saturday.

Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin have mobilized forces this year to help Nigeria defeat the group after it seized large amounts of territory and staged cross-border attacks.

Nigeria and its neighbors have been working to pull together plans and rules of engagement for a regional force of 8,700 troops but cooperation between the region's armies has been strained at times.

(REUTERS)

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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