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Russian mercenaries coming to fight Jihadists

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A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into the West African nation of Mali, to help wage war against Jihadists.

The deal permits Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said.

The deal permits Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said.

A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved.

Two other sources believed the number was lower, but did not provide figures.

Four sources said the Wagner Group would be paid about 6 billion CFA francs ($10.8 million) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would train Malian military and provide protection for senior officials.

The impending deal has angered France, Mali’s former colonialists and are making moves to frustrate it.

France’s diplomatic offensive, the diplomatic sources said, includes enlisting the help of partners including the United States to persuade Mali’s junta not to press ahead with the deal, and sending senior diplomats to Moscow and Mali for talks.

France is worried the arrival of Russian mercenaries would undermine its decade-old counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa at a time when it is seeking to draw down its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to reshape it with more European partners, the diplomatic sources said.

“An intervention by this actor would therefore be incompatible with the efforts carried out by Mali’s Sahelian and international partners engaged in the Coalition for the Sahel for security and development of the region,” the source said.

A spokesperson for the leader of Mali’s junta, which took power in a military coup in August 2020, said he had no information about such a deal.

“These are rumours. Officials don’t comment on rumours,” said the spokesperson, Baba Cisse, who declined further comment.

Mali’s defence ministry spokesperson said: “Public opinion in Mali is in favour of more cooperation with Russia given the ongoing security situation. But no decision (on the nature of that cooperation) has been made.”

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PHOTOS: Fani-Kayode dines at residence of another Buhari’s Minister

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Since Thursday when his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was made public, Femi Fan-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has been under fire.

From Social media to traditional media, the former critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party, has been lampooned.

But FFK has waved critics aside, sharing pictures of his visit to the residences of key APC figures.

On Saturday, he released pictures of his visit to Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, whom he had labelled a terrorist and asked Buhari to sack a few months ago.

While the dust raised by the post is yet to settle, Fani-Kayode released fresh pictures of his visit to the residence of George Akume, Minister of Special Duties.

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Armed gang invade Lagos streets, injure many, loot shops

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Mushin area of Lagos State was yesterday, thrown into commotion as some armed gang invaded some streets, inflicting injuries on residents and destroying property worth millions of naira.

It was gathered one person died in the mayhem that forced churches within the affected communities to close for fear of being attacked.

Information had it that a notorious armed robber was arrested sometime by the police and was transferred to Abuja. But his release was allegedly facilitated by some big shots he worked for.

After his release, his loyalists from the Idi-Araba area of the state reportedly invaded some areas of Mushin to attack some persons whom they accused of being the cause of his arrest. The areas affected were Alafia, Daniel and Morgan.

A resident, who simply gave his name as Mitchy, explained that “the fight has been going on since midnight (Saturday)and the perpetrators came from Idi-Araba. This has been happening for almost six months. But last night and today’s(Sunday) were the most violent.

“Surprisingly, the armed thugs were teenagers between 16 and 19 years. They looted people’s shops and carted away goods. They were armed with machetes, guns and bottles.

“Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Alafia junction and Christ Gospel Apostolic Church on Da-Silva street could not conduct Sunday service.”

It was gathered teams of policemen from the Tactical Unit of the Lagos State Police Command were ordered by the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu to contain the situation.

When contacted, the command spokesman, CSP Ade Ajisebutu, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the clash. He said axes, cutlasses and expended cartridges were recovered in the process.

According to Ajisebutu, “Normalcy has returned to the area. CP Odumosu has assured residents to go about their lawful businesses. At the end of an investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.”

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Ondo Govt seals off Shoprite, popular market

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The Ondo State Government has sealed off Shoprite and the neighborhood market in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The popular facilities were sealed on Monday by the Ondo State Waste Management Authority, ODSWMA, over what was described as unsanitary and unhygienic practices.

A few days ago, the agency had taken similar action against five notable buildings in the state for flouting the environmental laws of the state.

Shoprite, which is located on Igbatoro road in Akure and the Neighborhood market at NEPA axis of the State capital, were accused of ignoring a series of warnings from the agency.

The General Manager of the Authority Mrs Ayo Adeyemo, who disclosed this, said the owners of the affected facilities violated environmental laws and failed to comply with the laid down hygienic practices.

Adeyemo, who maintained that further sanctions would be taken, warned that anyone found culpable will not be spared

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