Top jihadist leader 'killed in Mali'; Fire breaks out on Greek passenger ferry, sails back to Pirae - SyCtRenDs

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Top jihadist leader 'killed in Mali'; Fire breaks out on Greek passenger ferry, sails back to Pirae

1.Top jihadist leader 'killed in Mali'

A top jihadist leader from the Islamic State group’s West Africa affiliate has been killed in an airstrike in Mali, France’s military has said.

Commandos deployed to the ground after the airstrike confirmed the death of Mohamed Ag Almouner and one of his bodyguards, the army statement said.

It regretted that a woman and a teenager had also been killed in the strike that took place overnight on Sunday into Monday, it said.

Almouner belonged to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, the army said.

Military spokesman Col Patrik Steiger told the AFP news agency that Almouner had been "a lieutenant to the ISGS chief".

According to AFP, ISGS is based on Mali's border with Burkina Faso and is also active in Niger.

It is led by Adnan Abu Walid Sahrawi, who was formerly a member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and also co-led Mujao, a Malian Islamist group, AFP said.

French troops are currently in Mali leading counter-terrorism operations.

France has encouraged five regional countries to contribute troops to the 5,000-strong G5 Sahel Joint Force to take on terror groups, drug smuggling and human trafficking across the Sahara.

2.Fire breaks out on Greek passenger ferry, sails back to Piraeus port
A passenger ferry with 1,016 people onboard is sailing back to the port of Piraeus after a fire broke out while the vessel was en route to Chania, on the island of Crete, the Greek coast guard said on Wednesday.

There were not immediate reports of injuries, a coast guard official told.

The Eleftherios Venizelos ship with 875 passengers and 141 crew was sailing off the island of Hydra, when it notified the coast guard that a car parking compartment caught fire around midnight.

The situation is not worrying and the ferry is expected to dock at Piraeus in about 10 minutes, the official added.

3. Kenyan top judge granted bail
Kenya's Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has been granted a bail of five million shillings ($50,000;£38,000) and ordered to appear in court on Wednesday to face charges of abuse of office and tax evasion.

The court released Justice Mwilu on a personal bond because it is beyond official working hours in Kenya - the court registry and banks are closed. A bond with surety could therefore not be processed, the BBC's Anne Soy in Nairobi reports.

4. South Sudan rebel leader refuses to sign latest peace deal: Sudan minister
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar refused to sign the latest draft of a peace deal with the Juba government that would end a years-long conflict, Sudan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.

“The main opposition party, led by Machar, as well as another group, refused to sign, demanding guarantees over their reservations” about the deal, Al-Dirdiri Mohamed told reporters in Khartoum.

Sudan has helped broker talks between the rebels and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir which appeared to achieve a breakthrough in recent months, with the sides signing up to a ceasefire on Aug. 5.

Previous peace agreements have held for only a matter of months before fighting resumed, which Kiir has blamed on foreign influence.

5. May's African charm offensive
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is on a charm offensive. Addressing a forum of business leaders in Cape Town, she announced plans for a new partnership with many African countries - one which would be strongly focused on growth.

She gave assurances that it would not be a “lopsided dependence”.

This is the first visit by a UK prime minister to South Africa in five years - the last visit was by David Cameron when he came for Nelson Mandela’s memorial.

This visit was prompted by Brexit - with the UK leaving the European Union next year it needs to strengthen its trade agreements around the world, and Africa is a growing market.

Mrs May’s address was peppered with flattery about the continent’s potential as well as noting concerns about challenges around security and poverty. She promised a mutually beneficial relationship.

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