Nigeria's military has banned the use of Thuraya satellite phones in northeastern Borno state, a step it said was designed to stop Islamist militants communicating. Authorities cut the mobile network in Borno state in the same week to disrupt Boko Haram's operations. A military spokesman said the ban was imposed after evidence emerged that Boko Haram used satellite phones to coordinate attacks on civilians, including in two school attacks in the past week. The move will make it even more difficult for journalists to report from the conflict zone, something press freedom groups say Nigeria's military has been trying to do anyway.
Islamist militants have carried out a deadly assault on a U.N. compound in the Somali capital, dealing a blow to fragile security gains that have allowed a slow return of foreign aid workers and diplomats. The assault, claimed by Islamist al Shabaab, began before midday when a car bomb exploded outside the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) base. Rebel gunmen then forced their way into the compound and battled with security guards. South African state weapons firm Denel said two of its staff were killed in the attack. Providing details on the death toll, Somali Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled told reporters fifteen people were killed, including four foreign security staff, local guards and seven insurgent fighters.
Pirates in speedboats have attacked an oil supply vessel and kidnapped four Indian and Polish crew members in increasingly dangerous waters off Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta coast. The gunmen launched their assault on the Singapore-flagged tugboat MDPL Continental One around 30 nautical miles from land on June 13. Pirate attacks threaten to jeopardize the shipping of commodities from the region. They have already jacked up insurance costs. Meanwhile, a French sailor has been freed after being captured by pirates last week from his ship off the coast of Togo and taken to Nigeria. Nigerian navy and French marines stormed the vessel after the hijackers seized it, but they took Benjamin Elan hostage to enable them to escape.
The head of the African Union commission says Zimbabweans themselves must resolve a row over President Robert Mugabe's decision to call an election on July 31. Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court ordered Mugabe two weeks ago to hold the poll by the end of July, but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected his rival's declaration, saying it was too early and accusing him of creating a political crisis.
Mali has reached a deal with Tuareg separatist rebels paving the way for Malian government troops to return to the rebel-held northern town of Kidal ahead of planned elections in July. Mali's chief negotiator Tiebile Drame told Reuters in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, where talks have been taking place for over a week, that the interim accord was expected to be signed on Tuesday afternoon.
Ethiopia and Egypt have cooled talk of war and agreed to more dialogue to resolve a row over a giant dam that the Horn of Africa nation is building on the Nile, on which Egyptians depend on for almost all their water. Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador this month after politicians in Cairo were shown on television suggesting they supported Ethiopian rebels and military action. An Ethiopian diplomat said another round of talks would be held between ministers and experts in a few weeks.
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