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Four dead in southern Ivory Coast clashes: officials
by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Dec 26, 2011

Four people were killed in inter-ethnic clashes in Sikensi, a town near the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan, local authorities said Monday.

The clashes on Sunday and Monday pitting indigenous Abidji against ethnic Malinke hailing from the north also left 13 people injured, an official told AFP.

The wounded were hospitalised in Sikensi or taken to Abidjan some 60 kilometres (35 miles) away, the source said.

Residents said a fight broke out on Saturday between a young Abidji and an army soldier, leaving the Abidji injured.

Simmering tensions between the Abidji and Malinke then boiled over into clashes, some involving machetes, witnesses said.

Calm had returned by Monday afternoon, a local security source said.

Junior defence minister Paul Koffi Koffi went to the scene and met local officials and community leaders, members of his entourage said.

"The Abidji say the Malinke and the FRCI (army) are the same," a young Malinke woman said.

"The people rose up because they've had it. It's not the first incident with the FRCI. We don't want them here anymore," an Abidji said.

"There was a lot of damage. Some diners went up in flames," an official said.

Clashes, some deadly, involving the rebels-turned-government forces of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) have become common in the country since the end of the 2010-11 post-election crisis that left more than 3,000 people dead.

Six people were killed two weekends ago in clashes between soldiers and residents of the central-western town of Vavoua.

The government of new President Alassane Ouattara announced steps to restore "discipline" in the FRCI, whose main operatives are former rebels of the northern New Forces who backed him during the crisis.

Ivory Coast was plunged into bloody chaos when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 poll.

Ouattara has vowed to unite the country, once a beacon of stability in west Africa, after a near decade of civil war.

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Algeria names general as counter-terror chief: report
Algiers (AFP) Dec 26, 2011 - Algeria has named retired general Athman Tartag to head up the country's fight against armed extremists, the daily El Watan reported Monday.

Tartag, who is also known as General Bachir, is in his 60s and has previously run the country's internal security service, the DSI, on an interim basis after the death of its chief in 2007.

The paper said the general had been named to "eradicate the last groups of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb still surviving in the north of the country and to prevent any proliferation of terrorism on the borders with Libya, Niger and Mali."


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Bongo party wins landslide in Gabon vote: official
Libreville (AFP) Dec 22, 2011
President Ali Bongo's party scored a landslide victory in Gabon's parliamentary elections but turnout was low given an opposition boycott, it was announced Wednesday. Bongo's Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) secured 114 out of parliament's 120 seats, its best score since the end of the single party system in 1991, the electoral commission said. Turnout was only 34.28 percent, it added. ... read more

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