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24 police officers wounded in Algeria protest

A quarter of Algerians under 30 are unemployed and there have been regular protests in resource-rich centres.

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24 police officers wounded in Algeria protest
Algerian riot police. (Photo credit: RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

At least 24 police officers have been wounded in clashes with protesters rallying against unemployment in central Algeria, state media reported Wednesday.

Demonstrators in the central Tinerkouk area have been blocking access to an oil company since mid-April, demanding jobs in the industry.

The ongoing rally has largely paralysed work at the site, prompting police to move in and disperse it on Tuesday.

Demonstrators blocked access to the local government offices, setting fire to the buildings and looting them when the police intervened, according to reports.

Private television channel, Dzair News broadcast images of a government building in flames and protesters blocking the road with burning tyres.

A number of demonstrators were hurt in the clashes, during which police responded to stone-throwing with tear gas.

Four of the 24 officers wounded sustained serious injuries.

A quarter of Algerians under 30 are unemployed and there have been regular protests in the resource-rich centre and south of the country over a lack of development and jobs.

The clashes in Tinerkouk follow months of protests in Algeria against the ruling elite that have prompted the departure of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Algerians are scheduled to elect a new leader on July 4.

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East Africa News & Stories

Al Shabaab-linked car bombing kills at least 5 in Mogadishu

Monday’s attack was the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Al Shabaab terrorist group

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Al Shabaab-linked car bombing kills at least 5 in Mogadishu
(File photo)

At least five people were killed and several wounded when a car bomb was detonated Monday outside a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, a security officer and witnesses said.

The explosion near a checkpoint outside the Afrik Hotel reverberated throughout the city, and sent a massive plume of black smoke into the air.

Abdullahi Ahmed, a security officer who witnessed the blast, said at least five people were killed in the attack, which appeared to be targeting the hotel.

“I can confirm the death of five people: three civilians and two government security officers at the checkpoint,” he told reporters.

“The area was relatively dense with bystanders and some were killed and wounded in the blast, but we don’t have the exact number of casualties.”

Other witnesses describing being knocked to the ground by the force of the blast, which damaged nearby buildings.

“I was not very far away from where the blast occurred, and I could see several people lying (on the ground), some of them dead with a pool of blood,” said one, Abdikarim Mohamed.

“The blast was huge. It did damage to several nearby buildings.”

Suado Ali was walking out of a travel agency when the shockwave knocked her flat.

“I was forced to the ground by the shockwave. I saw nearly ten people lying on the ground, some motionless and others screaming for help”, he told reporters.

The attack comes just over a week after 26 people were killed and 56 injured in a 12-hour attack by Al-Shabaab jihadists on a popular hotel in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo.

A suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel on Friday before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, shooting as they went.

The attack was the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

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Gunmen kidnap 4 Turkish nationals in Nigeria

Local media said the Turks were working for a construction firm in the state

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Gunmen kidnap 4 Turkish nationals in Nigeria
Nigeria's police spokesman Frank Mba. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Four Turkish nationals have been kidnapped at gunpoint in central Nigeria, police said on Monday, in the latest such incident in the country.

Gunmen stormed a bar in the village of Gbale in the state of Kwara and seized the men on Saturday, national police spokesman Frank Mba told reporters.

“We are working frantically to secure their release,” he added.

Mba did not say if any ransom demands have been made.

Local media said the Turks were working for a construction firm in the state.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially in the oil-rich south and the northwest.

The victims are usually released after a ransom is paid although police rarely confirm if money changes hands.

Earlier this month, two Chinese nationals were kidnapped in the southern state of Edo.

Nigerian police could not confirm if they are still being held.

There have also been many abductions in the northeast, where an insurgency led by Boko Haram jihadists has killed 27,000 people and forced some two million to flee their homes since 2009.

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Egypt slams British Airways for ‘unilateral decision’ to halt flights

The British carrier recently said it had halted flights for a week following a security review, without giving further details

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Egypt slams British Airways for 'unilateral decision' to halt flights
A British Airways aircraft. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI / AFP)

Egypt’s civil aviation minister criticised British Airways on Sunday, a day after it suspended flights to Cairo citing security concerns.

In a meeting with UK ambassador Geoffrey Adams, Younes al-Masri voiced his “displeasure” that the airline’s “unilateral decision” had been taken “without consulting Egyptian authorities”, according to a ministry statement.

The British carrier said Saturday it had halted flights for a week following a security review, without giving further details.

German carrier, Lufthansa, which had also suspended flights to Cairo from Munich and Frankfurt on Saturday without giving a reason, resumed operations Sunday.

Adams apologised to Masri for the fact that Egyptian authorities had not been notified, the ministry said.

The ambassador said BA’s decision had “nothing to do with the security measures of Egyptian airports”, adding that both sides were working to “solve this problem as soon as possible”, the statement added.

The ministry said on Saturday it was “co-ordinating” with the British embassy in Cairo and BA’s local representative, as well as running extra EgyptAir flights to London to carry stranded passengers. 

In its travel advice for British nationals heading to Egypt, the UK Foreign Office warns of “a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation”.

Tourism is a vital source of revenue and jobs for Egypt, but has been battered by deadly attacks targeting foreigners and security forces since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler, Hosni Mubarak.

Britain cancelled flights to Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in 2015 after jihadists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort, killing more than 220 people on board.

But the sector has partly recovered since, with an estimated 415,000 British nationals visiting Egypt in 2018.

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