Warzone News February 10, 2016

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In Afghanistan, two suicide bombers targeting Afghan government and military employees killed at least nine people and wounded 23. The United States Army will deploy hundreds of soldiers to the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where government forces have been “pushed to the brink by Taliban militants.”

In Burundi, 4 people, including a child, have been killed and 10 others are wounded in a grenade attack in Bujumbura. Rwandan officials have dismissed allegations in a leaked UN report that it is training Burundian refugees to overthrow President Nkurunziza.

In Central African Republic, further allegations of rape by peacekeepers have surfaced and Amnesty International reports that peacekeeping troops in the country are not fully equipped to protect civilians. The Security Council has subsequently boosted the number of corrections officers for the UN mission in the country.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least 21 people were killed and 40 wounded in weekend attacks aimed at Hutus in the eastern part of the country. The attacks were the latest in a series of deadly skirmishes between Hutus and other local groups. These have intensified since last month when the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia operating in eastern Congo, was accused by authorities of killing at least 14 ethnic Nande in North Kivu province.  Days earlier, villagers from the province clashed with machetes and batons before dispersing when army troops and UN peacekeepers intervened and fired shots into the air.

In Iraq, the army entered last remaining ISIS stronghold in Ramadi and, although the city has now been completely retaken from ISIS, the government now faces the enormous challenges of removing bombs, reestablishing basic services and rebuilding the shattered city.

In Israel and Palestine, a controversial bill that would compel NGOs receiving most of their funding from foreign governments to declare it in official reports passed its first reading in the Israeli parliament.

In Libya, a new unity government has yet to be established, but Egypt’s Foreign Minister argues that Libya needs to form a unified government before the United States and European allies opt for any military intervention against thousands of ISIS fighters.

In Myanmar, parliament has announced it will begin electing a new president on March 17th. Although no official reason has been given, this has fueled speculation that Aung San Suu Kyi is in talks over taking the job.

In Somalia, up to 20 people were killed as a popular hotel and restaurant in Mogadishu was attacked by al-Shabaab suicide bombers and gunmen. According to the UN, 58,000 children are at risk of starving to death due to severe drought exacerbated by a strong El Nino.

In South Sudan, nearly 25% of the country’s population remains in urgent need of food assistance, and at least 40,000 people are “on the brink of catastrophe.” Mass hunger in the country is sparked mainly by war but drought across the Horn of Africa is also putting millions at risk.

In Syria, government forces, backed by Russian airstrikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, have launched a major offensive in the countryside near Aleppo, which would cut off up to 300,000 people still residing in the city from humanitarian aid. Experts worry that the government advance could cut off the last link for civilians in rebel-held parts of Aleppo with the main Turkish border crossing, which has long served as the lifeline for insurgent-controlled territory.

In Yemen, the recapture of Aden by Gulf Arab coalition troops in the summer of 2015 has failed to provide any respite from Yemen’s civil war, with residents facing a wave of bomb and gun attacks that is crippling efforts to stabilize the city. Read the latest report from International Crisis Group on the prospect of peace in Yemen here.

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