• Kidnapped Swede Johan Gustafsson Freed After Six Years



    Hostage Johan Gustafsson, held by al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011, has been released, the Swedish government says.

    Mr. Gustafsson, 42, is being flown back to Sweden from Africa, Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström stated in a statement on Monday.

    He was seized by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) along with two other men, one of whom was freed in a dawn raid in 2015.

    Ms. Wallström said Mr. Gustafsson was "in good spirits," local media report.

    "It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Johan Gustafsson has been released," Ms. Wallström added.

    She said that the Swede's release was thanks to "extensive efforts" and co-operation between the Swedish foreign ministry, police and "foreign authorities."

    Ms. Wallström said she had spoken with Mr. Gustafsson, who she described as being "happy" and "overwhelmed" by Monday's events.

    "I cannot say more at the current time," she added.

    weden's former Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that Mr. Gustafsson's kidnapping weighed heavily on his mind during his time in the role, which ended in 2014.

    He tweeted on Monday: "Extremely gratifying that Johan Gustafsson is free. No single case concerned me more as foreign minister."

    A French soldier stands guard in an armored vehicle in northern Mali in March 2013.

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  • Clash at the Ethio-Kenya Border



    A conflict provoked last week at the Ethio-Kenyan border has claimed human lives and led to the destruction of properties, according to Reporter Amharic.

    But the number of the deceased and the amount of destruction of properties are still not disclosed.

    The reason of the conflict, which had also damaged a nearby areas is still to be known yet.

    Two years ago, Ethiopians who resides in the border killed three Kenyan securities, which instigated a sporadic clashes between the two countries, eyewitnesses told Reporter. That killing was a principal source of disagreement between the two governments.
    The border saw clashes between the two countries, and tensions still flare, but irregularly.

    Ethiopia and Kenya have been facing with problems to do with Al-Shabaab attacks, illegal immigration and water conflict at the border.

    In a bid to discuss the way outs to do away from these border tensions with Kenyan officials, Kassa Teklebirhan, Minister of Federal and Pastoral Development Affairs was in Kenya just five days before, and its fruits are expected more likely to be optimistic.

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  • Saudis Foil Attack on Grand Mosque in Mecca


    Saudi security forces on Friday prevented an imminent attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the country's Interior Ministry said on state-run TV.

    A suspect in the planned attack on the mosque blew himself up in a nearby neighborhood when security forces surrounded a home where the man was hiding, according to the ministry.

    The suspect refused to comply with demands to surrender, opened fire on the safety forces and then killed himself, officials said.

    The explosion caused the partial collapse of the building in which the suspect was hiding. Six expatriates were injured and taken to a hospital, and five security personnel received minor injuries, a Saudi Press official in London told CNN.

    Five people, including one woman, suspected of involvement in the plot arrested. Three groups, two based in Mecca and one in Jeddah, planned the attack, the Interior Ministry said.

    The Grand Mosque, or the Masjid al-Haram, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba -- a cube-shaped shrine that worshipers circle during the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage that brings millions of people to Mecca.

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  • Breaking News — Finally, Getachew Released from Qilinto after a Year and a Half in Jail


    (DireTube News, Addis Ababa) — Ethiopian Journalist Getachew Shiferaw, who imprisoned for a year and six months, has been freed, his colleague Belay Manaye, told DireTube.

    He has released just before some half an hour from the Qilinto Kality Prison.

    Getachew accompanied by Belay and his family when he released from the prison.

    Getachew Shiferaw was arrested in late December 2015 and charged in May the following year with involvement in the operations of the outlawed anti-government group Ginbot 7.

    Getachew spent a one-and-half year jail term on charges of public provocation to commit “crimes against the external security and defensive power” of the state.

    Earlier, he had accused of terrorism, but a court struck out the charge and downgraded it to inciting violence which qualified him to get bail under the law, which he later denied.

    Getachew, an ex-freelance journalist, was Editor-in-Chief of the Amharic media outlet ‘‘Negere Ethiopia” had arrested on Christmas day in 2015.

    International rights groups have continually said, “the Ethiopian authorities are always cracking down not only on opponents but media persons as a means of trying to silence critics.”


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  • EU Members Abstains as Britain Defeated in UN Votes to Win Chagos Islands



    The UK has suffered a humiliating defeat at the United Nations general assembly in a vote over decolonisation and its residual holdover disputed territory in the Indian Ocean.

    By a margin of 94 to 15 countries, delegates supported a Mauritian-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.

    A further 65 countries abstained on Thursday, including many EU states who might have been expected to vote in support of another bloc member.

    Among EU members who refused were France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Greece, and Finland. Canada and Switzerland also remained neutral.

    Uttered after the vote Jagdish Koonjul, the Mauritian representative at the UN, expressed his happiness: “I’m elated.

    The results are beyond my expectations. It’s interesting that the EU didn’t support the UK. Even some of the countries that supported the UK agreed that this was an issue of decolonisation. Now we wait to see what the UK will do as a result of the vote. We have given the US full comfort of a long-term lease [for the Diego Garcia base] that would be renewable [if sovereignty passed to Mauritius].”

    The resolution, though only in favor of obtaining a non-binding legal opinion, is a blow to the UK’s international prestige and demonstrates the limited diplomatic influence wielded by the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, at the UN.

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  • South Africa Court Allows Secret Zuma No-Confidence Vote



    South Africa's highest court has ruled that a vote of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma could be held in secret.

    The constitutional court said that the Speaker of Parliament had the right to order such a move. She had previously stated she did not have the power.

    Opposition parties believe that under a secret ballot, MPs from Mr. Zuma's ANC party would vote against him.

    He has survived several previous votes of no-confidence.

    Mr. Zuma has been under constant pressure over everything from corruption allegations to a controversial cabinet reshuffle that saw his widely respected finance minister fired.

    Delivering his verdict, Chief Justice Mgoeng Mgoeng said that under South Africa's separation of powers, it was up to the Speaker of Parliament to decide how the vote conducted.

    The Speaker, Baleka Mbete, is a top ANC official and had argued that the rules of parliament did not allow for a secret ballot. She is yet to say if she will order such a vote.

    Mr. Zuma said the ruling was unfair, telling parliament "you are trying to get a majority you don't have by saying 'secret ballot.'"

    This decision certainly puts more pressure on President Zuma. But it does not seal his fate.

    The ball is back in Baleka Mbete's court. As the Speaker of the national assembly, she has been President Zuma's protector-in-chief in parliament.

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