Forty fighters ‘neutralised’ in drone strikes in Niger | Conflict News

The gunmen have been travelling on bikes close to Niger’s border with Burkina Faso, France’s navy says.

French drone strikes have killed almost 40 fighters earlier travelling on bikes close to Niger’s border with Burkina Faso, France’s navy mentioned on Thursday.

In an announcement, the French navy referred to as the strikes a “new tactical success” for France’s counterterrorism efforts in Africa’s Sahel area, named Operation Barkhane.

“Intelligence obtained from Nigerien items in touch with the column confirmed that the bikes belonged to an armed terrorist group transferring between Burkina Faso and Niger,” Barkhane mentioned within the assertion.

“In shut coordination with Niger’s Armed Forces, the Barkhane pressure performed a number of strikes towards the column. Almost 40 terrorists have been neutralised.”

Niger’s authorities additionally issued an announcement saying the fighters have been killed after an assault earlier this week killed eight safety forces in southwestern Niger.

The drone strikes in Niger come as France reorganises its navy efforts within the broader Sahel area, the huge space south of the Sahara Desert the place it was as soon as a colonial energy and nonetheless maintains sturdy financial ties.

Niger has turn out to be a extra dependable ally after navy coups overthrew the democratically elected presidents of neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso over the past two years.

“Our navy dedication within the Sahel-Sahara space to combat terrorism, alongside our African companions is complete,” Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu mentioned on Twitter.

Earlier this 12 months, France introduced it was withdrawing all its forces from Mali 9 years after the French navy led an effort that ousted armed teams from Timbuktu and different centres in northern Mali.

The choice to withdraw from Mali got here amid growing hostility in direction of the French armed presence and tensions with the nation’s chief, who led two coups 9 months aside to consolidate his energy.

France has mentioned it deliberate to reposition its forces from Mali to different nations within the Sahel area together with Niger. Violence is rising within the Sahel, together with in Niger’s southwest neighbour, Burkina Faso, which is battling rising armed-group assaults.

WHO to get monkeypox tests for Africa, as new cases reported | News

Preparations for vaccination in opposition to monkeypox start in Africa because it reported 1,597 circumstances and 66 deaths in 2022 to this point.

The World Well being Group (WHO) is within the means of procuring hundreds of monkeypox assessments for Africa however isn’t recommending mass vaccination at this stage, its Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti has mentioned.

She added that the continent needs to be ready for vaccination ought to the necessity come up.

The choice to start out preparations comes as new circumstances have been reported.

This 12 months, the continent has documented 1,597 suspected circumstances of monkeypox, with 66 deaths, the appearing director of Africa Centres for Illness Management and Prevention (Africa CDC), Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, mentioned on Thursday.

Monkeypox, a light viral an infection, is endemic in 11 African nations, together with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria.

There is no such thing as a recognized vaccine presently, however the smallpox vaccine has been proven to supply as much as 85 % safety in opposition to monkeypox.

Well being directors now consider that when a smallpox vaccination marketing campaign begins to comprise monkeypox worldwide, it ought to start in Africa.

INTERACTIVE- Map where has monkeypox been detected so far May 29
(Al Jazeera)

“Our place is that vaccination is a crucial device and wishes to start out right here in Africa,” Ouma mentioned throughout a weekly briefing by the Africa CDC.

“Right here … the burden is bigger, the danger increased and the geographical unfold can also be broader,” he mentioned.

The confirmed circumstances in Africa have been reported from Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, DRC, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ouma mentioned.

However Europe stays the epicentre of the worldwide monkeypox outbreak, in keeping with the WHO.

“Europe stays the epicentre of this escalating outbreak, with 25 nations reporting greater than 1,500 circumstances, or 85 % of the worldwide whole,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, advised a information convention on Wednesday.

The WHO is because of convene an emergency committee subsequent week to evaluate whether or not the monkeypox outbreak represents a public well being emergency of worldwide concern.

Romanian port becomes key transit hub for Ukrainian grain | Gallery News

Constanta, Romania – The Romanian Black Sea port within the metropolis of Constanta has turn into one of many primary transit hubs for Ukrainian grain export, with the war-torn nation in a race in opposition to time to export about 20 million tonnes of grain caught in its silos in time to accommodate the harvest of its new crops, which is about to start out subsequent month.

“Earlier than the struggle, there was completely no Ukrainian cereal transiting the Constanta port. Now, it quantities to roughly 30 p.c of our exercise,” mentioned Dan Dolghin, director of the cereal operation at Comvex, one of many primary grain operators within the Constanta port.

With a grain storage capability of 1.5 million tonnes and that includes the quickest cereal dealing with terminal within the European Union, the port of Constanta turned a viable various within the context of the maritime blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which was the principle export routes for cereal earlier than the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

For the reason that blockade, 616,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain have reached the Constanta port, with a further 166,500 tonnes set to reach within the following weeks, in accordance with the port’s administration.

The comparatively sluggish tempo of the Ukrainian grains transiting the Romanian port is about by difficulties in transporting excessive volumes of cereal from Ukraine to Constanta by land, or by barge by way of the Danube River from the small Ukrainian ports of Ismail and Reni.

“We initiated the event of a brand new funding aiming to extend the pace of unloading the barges, the transportation technique through which vital portions of cereal from Ukraine attain us. This funding, which will likely be operational by the top of June, will improve the unloading capability of barges to about 28,000 tonnes per day,” mentioned Viorel Panait, director of Comvex.

Sluggish tempo

Romania’s land border crossings with Ukraine and Moldova have been jammed within the current weeks by queues of vans longer than 10km (6 miles), ready for days for customs checks.

There are coordinated efforts being made by the Romanian and Moldovan governments to complement the variety of customs officers and open extra border transit lanes to be able to lower the ready time on the border.

By prepare, the principle issue is the distinction within the gauge of the Ukrainian and the EU railways, prepare wagons needing changes earlier than they will cross into Romania, leading to a sluggish transit pace, with trains ready for weeks to cross.

The Romanian transport ministry began the rehabilitation of 4.5km (2.8 miles) of broad gauge railway, which hyperlinks Ukraine and Moldova to the Romanian port of Galati, the principle regional port on the Danube River.

The railway, which has been out of operation for the final 20 years, proves to be important in reducing the transit time for cereal and different bulk items from Ukraine, as its gauge matches the one of many railways in Ukraine and Moldova.

The proximity of Constanta port each by land to Ukraine and by maritime routes to the Suez Canal “make Romania the very best candidate to deal with these provide routes, which this manner turn into shorter”, mentioned Panait.

“Contemplating the big grain volumes which might be in want of export from Ukraine, I consider this needs to be a conjugated effort of all of the European operators which have the capability to take part,” he mentioned. “There isn’t any place for ego right here.”