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Six provisional candidates cleared for Mauritania polls

While campaign is expected to commence on the June 7, Mauritanians will take to the polls on the June 22 to elect a president

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Six provisional candidates cleared for Mauritania polls

Six aspirants have been cleared on provisional basis by Mauritania’s constitutional court for the presidential polls holding in the country on June 22, less than three weeks from now.

The six aspirants cleared by the court are: Mohamed Ould Cheikh Mohamed Ahmed (Ould El Ghazouani) of the ruling party and current Defence Minister; Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar of the National Rally for Reform and Development, a former head of transitional government; and Biram Dah Abeid, a rights activist.

Others are Mohamed Ould Mouloud, a long-standing opposition figure; Kane Hamidou Baba; and Mohamed Lemine al-Mourtaji al-Wafi.

While campaign is expected to commence on June 7, Mauritanians will take to the polls on June 22 to elect a president who will lead the country for the next five years.

After spending two constitutionally-guaranteed terms in office, 62-year-old incumbent president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz steps down, and if after the first round of elections, there is no outright winner, there will be a runoff election to be held on the July 6, according to presidential decree.

President Abdel Aziz, a former military general, played a major role in a successful coup in 2005 that toppled a government that deposed President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya. In 2008, he led another coup that toppled the government of Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

Following the 2008 coup, Abdel Aziz became President of the High Council of State as part of what was described as a political transition leading to a new election. He later won the election conducted in 2009 and went on to secure a second term in 2014.

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North Africa Politics

President declares state of emergency in 2 provinces due to ethnic violence in Chad

The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions

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Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces

Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces on Sunday after violent intercommunal clashes left dozens dead earlier this month.

The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions bordering Sudan where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers, the president’s office said.

“From now, we will deploy military forces who are going to ensure the security of the population in the region,” Deby said while on a trip to Sila. “We must disarm all the civilians who have weapons in their hands,” he continued.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community. Herders have for decades moved their livestock through the Ouaddai region in rotations between summer and winter pastures.

Most of the herders’ animals belong to the president’s Zaghawa ethnic group, and the farmers say they often escape censure when unrest breaks out between the two sides. Similar conflicts between herders and farmers erupt in other African countries, notably Nigeria.

Drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict, while an influx of weapons from conflict-stricken neighbours have made it even more deadly. Deby earlier this month blamed the surge in violence partly fon an influx of guns to the former French colony from conflict zones in neighbouring Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan, where a protest movement ousted the president in April.

“The government has created special disarmament units. We take away the weapons, but the next day more arrives,” he said. The president described the violence as a “national concern”, adding: “We are witnessing a terrible phenomenon.”

“Those with guns are not hesitating to shoot the police. We must wage a total war against those who carry weapons and are killing people,” he said at the time. Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year. They have been postponed several times since 2015 as Deby, who got into power in 1990, looks to maintain his rule of the country.

Deby hinted in June that military courts may be reintroduced in a bid to curb unrest, a suggestion denounced by the country’s opposition. Military justice, applied to civilians as well as the armed forces, was abolished in Chad in 1993. In 2016, the country also scrapped the death penalty, except for “terrorism”

Deby said the decades-long conflict over land in Ouaddai had spread since the start of this year to other regions where previously the communities lived side by side in an “exemplary” manner. He cited Sila where he said more than 40 people had been killed since January.

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Libyan National Army attack Mitiga airport and Zuwara airfield

Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

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(FILES) This file photo taken on April 08, 2019, shows the Mitiga International Airport in Libya's capital Tripoli. - Rocket fire on August 11 hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport, violating a temporary truce between the unity government and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Tripoli’s sole functioning airport Mitiga and Zuwara airfield were targeted for the second time in less than 48 hours – the former hit overnight Thursday and the latter on Friday morning.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) reported that three people were wounded in the raids by forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar against the two airports under its control.

Airport management at Mitiga reported rocket fire against the runway “as planes took off and landed”. 

The UN-recognised GNA said on Facebook that Haftar’s forces “targeted employees of the airport services company” at Mitiga with Grad missiles, causing shrapnel wounds to two workers and damaging a bus.

Flights were temporarily suspended or rerouted to Misrata, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

In the attack against Zuwara airfield, Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

The Tripoli-based GNA said a member of civil protection was wounded in that attack.

Pro-Haftar forces also “targeted other hangars… located 1.5 kilometres to the east of Abu Kamach”, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said on Facebook.

The country’s biggest petrochemical complex is located there, near the Tunisian border.

Forces loyal to the GNA and the LNA are embroiled in a stalemate in Tripoli’s southern outskirts after Haftar launched an offensive against the capital in April.

Fighting over the last four months has killed 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, according to the World Health Organization. 

Some 120,000 have been displaced over the same period.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

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Libya’s Mitiga International airport reopens after rocket fire attack

Flights from Mitiga airport were suspended for several hours Sunday after rocket fire hit the airport

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Grounded air-planes sit on the tarmac at Mitiga International Airport as Flights have resumed

Flights have resumed from the Libyan capital’s sole functioning airport as calm returned Monday to the outskirts of Tripoli after a temporary truce was violated the previous day. “Reopening airspace at Mitiga International airport after maintenance and cleaning… so that airlines can renew their flights,” the facility’s management said late Sunday on Facebook.

The Government of National Accord and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar had agreed on a truce for the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that began on Sunday. Haftar launched an offensive to take Libya’s capital in early April, but encountered stiff resistance, resulting in months of stalemate in southern Tripoli’s outskirts. 

Flights from Mitiga airport were suspended for several hours Sunday after rocket fire hit the airport, a few metres from the runway where planes were parked. Located east of Tripoli, Mitiga is a former military airbase that has been used by civilian traffic since Tripoli international airport suffered severe damage during fighting in 2014.

Pay Attention: Rocket fire hits airport, breaking Eid truce in Libya

Mitiga is in a zone under the control of forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and has often been targeted. Haftar’s Libyan National Army and the GNA had Saturday agreed to a UN-sponsored humanitarian truce for Al-Adha, although the GNA listed conditions, including a cessation of troop movements.

The GNA blamed Haftar’s forces for the attack on the airport, in which no casualties or serious damage were reported, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug al-Jomaa district of Tripoli. Over the past four months, 1,093 people have been killed in the fighting and 5,752 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while more than 120,000 people have been displaced.

Pay Attention: Libya’s Mitiga airport reopens after missile attack

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

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