Nigeria Online Newspaper Develops Inclusive News App for Visually Impaired

In 2019, Nigeria enacted a disability law to promote inclusivity, but rights groups say the law hasn’t altered the status quo and many people still feel marginalized. One Nigerian newspaper has created a way to reach more visually impaired Nigerians. Timothy Obiezu reports from Abuja.

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Former New Jersey Governor Christie Expected to Join Republican Presidential Race

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to launch a Republican presidential campaign next week in New Hampshire.

Christie, who also ran in 2016, is planning to make the announcement at a town hall Tuesday evening at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, according to a person familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm Christie’s plans.

The timing, which was first reported by Axios, comes after several longtime Christie advisers started a super political action committee to support his expected candidacy.

The Associated Press had previously reported that Christie was expected to enter the race “imminently.”

Christie critical of Trump

Christie has cast himself as the only potential candidate willing to aggressively take on former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the nomination. Christie, a former federal prosecutor, was a longtime friend and adviser to Trump, but broke with Trump over his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election. Christie has since emerged as a leading and vocal critic of the former president.

Christie, who is currently polling at the bottom of the pack, dropped out of the 2016 presidential race a day after finishing sixth in New Hampshire’s primary.

In addition to Trump, Christie would be joining a GOP field that includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and biotech entrepreneur and “anti-woke” activist Vivek Ramaswamy.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is expected to announce his candidacy on June 7, according to two GOP operatives. And former Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to launch a campaign soon.

‘I’m not a paid assassin’

Allies believe that Christie, who has been working as an ABC News analyst, has a unique ability to communicate. They say his candidacy could help prevent a repeat of 2016, when Trump’s rivals largely refrained from directly attacking the New York businessman, wrongly assuming he would implode on his own.

Christie has also said repeatedly that he will not run if he does not see a path to victory. “I’m not a paid assassin,” he recently told Politico.

While Christie is expected to spend much of his time in early-voting New Hampshire, as he did in 2016, advisers believe the path to the nomination runs through Trump, and they envision an unconventional, national campaign for Christie with a focus on garnering media attention and directly engaging with Trump.

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Former US Vice President Pence to Launch Presidential Bid June 7

Former Vice President Mike Pence will officially launch his widely expected campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination for president in Iowa next week, adding another candidate to the growing Republican field and putting him in direct competition with his former boss. 

Pence will hold a kickoff event in Des Moines on June 7, his 64th birthday, according to two people familiar with his plans who spoke on condition of anonymity to share details ahead of the official announcement. He is also expected to release a video message as part of the launch. 

His team sees early voting Iowa as critical to his potential path to victory, and advisers say he plans to campaign aggressively for the conservative, evangelical Christian voters who make up a substantial portion of the state’s Republican electorate. Pence is an avowed social conservative and is staunchly opposed to abortion rights, favoring a national ban. 

The campaign is expected to lean heavily on town halls and retail stops aimed at showcasing Pence’s personality as he tries to emerge from former President Donald Trump’s shadow. 

Pence, who served in Congress and as Indiana’s governor before he was tapped as Trump’s running mate in 2016, had been an exceedingly loyal vice president until he broke with Trump over the 2020 election. 

Trump, desperate to overturn his loss and remain in power, had tried to convince Pence — and his supporters — that Pence could somehow reject voters’ will as he presided over the ceremonial counting of the Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021, even though the vice president has no such power. As the count was underway, a violent mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the building, smashing through windows, assailing police and sending Pence, his family and his staff racing for cover as members of the mob chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!” 

Pence has said Trump’s “reckless words” endangered his family and everyone else who was at the Capitol that day. He has said “history will hold Donald Trump accountable.” 

“For four years, we had a close working relationship. It did not end well,” Pence wrote in his book, So Help Me God. 

Pence has spent the 2-1/2 years since then strategically distancing himself from Trump as he has laid the groundwork for the campaign. While he consistently praises the record of the “Trump-Pence administration,” he has also stressed differences between the two men, on both policy and style. 

He has called on his party to move on from Trump’s election grievances and warned against the growing tide of populism in the Republican Party. He admonished “Putin apologists” unwilling to stand up to the Russian leader over his assault on Ukraine, distinguishing himself from Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running a distant second to Trump in the polls. 

He has also argued in favor of changes to programs such as Social Security and Medicare — which both Trump and DeSantis have vowed not to touch — and criticized DeSantis for his escalating feud with Disney. 

Pence also testified last month before a federal grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Pence has spent months visiting early voting states, delivering policy speeches, speaking at churches and courting donors. 

The week will be a busy one for Republican announcements. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is planning to launch his campaign Tuesday evening at a town hall event in New Hampshire, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum will announce his own bid on June 7 in Fargo. 

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Moldova Intensifies Push to Join EU

Moldova on Thursday hosts a symbolic summit of EU leaders where Moldovan leaders hope to push their country’s longstanding bid for integration into the European Union. That effort has fervent supporters and opponents, both internal and external. Marcus Harton narrates this report from Ricardo Marquina in Chisinau, Moldova.

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Diplomat: USAID to Continue Providing Aid to Zimbabwe Despite Protest Over Election Ads

A top USAID official in Zimbabwe says the agency will continue providing aid to people of the southern African nation, despite Harare summoning the top U.S. diplomat in the country.

The government called in Elaine French, chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, on Tuesday to protest advertisements posted on social media urging citizens to vote and cast their ballots peacefully. A Zimbabwean official said the ads bordered on illegal activism. 

Ramses Gauthier, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Zimbabwe, said his organization will not stop aiding people in the country despite the government’s actions. 

“Our commitment is toward Zimbabwean people, and it’s a longstanding one,” Gauthier said. “We have been standing by the Zimbabwean people since 1980, and we have invested billions of dollars. We may have disagreements, but we are not enemies, and Zimbabwean people are our friends. So, whatever we do, we do it with a sentiment of friendship toward the Zimbabwean people. And disagreement or not, we will continue to stand by the Zimbabwean people.” 

Late Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s acting secretary for foreign affairs, Rofina Chikava, summoned French to protest several advertisements shared on social media this month by the U.S. Embassy.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Livit Mugejo singled out one Twitter message that said, “Register to vote and make sure your voice is heard.”

Mugejo said that in the meeting with French, Chikava expressed concern that the social media posts bordered “on activism and meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs” and were unacceptable, as they deviated from conventional diplomatic norms. 

Meg Riggs, the spokeswoman for the U S. Embassy, defended the ads.

“We stand by our recent social media posts calling for peace during the election season. These neutral apolitical messages feature the work of Zimbabwean artists who wanted to engage their fellow youths on the importance of peace during an electoral process,” Riggs said. “Elections are a fundamental part of a functioning democracy. All Zimbabweans deserve this chance to choose their future safely.”

Riggs added that the United States does not back any political candidate or party in Zimbabwe, but strongly supports a peaceful and transparent election process “that reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Alexander Rusero, who heads the International Relations Studies Department at Africa University in Zimbabwe, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa was justified in summoning the U.S. diplomat.

“At times, the United States of America and its embassy, they should desist from acting as if they are political actors,” Rusero said. “There is need for rationality in handling Zimbabwe issues, because what the United States did in terms of that tweet, it’s outside the parameters of what diplomacy and diplomats should do.”

But Lovemore Madhuku, a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, disagreed.

“The U.S. Embassy, whatever it is doing, cannot be said to be a serious interference with the electoral processes,” Madhuku said. “There is a lot of misunderstanding of the role of foreign embassies. If they encourage people to register to vote or encourage people to vote without saying, ‘Vote for so and so,’ it cannot be wrong.”

Madhuku said there is no reason Zimbabwe’s government should be uncomfortable with an open electoral playing field. 

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US House of Representatives to Vote on Debt Ceiling Deal

The U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward a Wednesday evening vote on legislation to suspend the government’s borrowing limit until early 2025, a Washington political showdown occurring just five days before the country could run out of money to pay its bills.

The measure suspending the government’s current $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is likely to be approved. But far-right Republican lawmakers are continuing to assail the deal negotiated by Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for not cutting enough in future government spending, while some progressive Democrats say it trims too much.

The contentious fight over the legislation is also turning into a test of McCarthy’s hold on the top leadership post in the House, which he won in January after 15 rounds of voting and after he promised archconservatives a greater say in attempting to rein in government budgets. The U.S. chronically records annual trillion-dollar deficits, adding to the long-term debt total.

Under informal Republican rules managing the House with a narrow majority, McCarthy has pledged to not bring up legislation for a full House vote without the support of at least 111 members of his 222-member Republican caucus. He has said he expects at least 150 Republicans will support the debt ceiling suspension, but the figure is uncertain, with the most vocal Republicans in the far-right Freedom Caucus attacking McCarthy for supposedly caving to Biden in the negotiations.

If McCarthy were to lose 111 Republicans on the debt ceiling vote, at least 107 of the 213 House Democrats would need to support it for the legislation to pass and be sent to the Senate for consideration later in the week, and eventually Biden’s signature at the White House.

“House Democrats are going to make sure the country doesn’t default. Period. Full stop,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters early Wednesday.

One Freedom Caucus member, Representative Ken Buck, acknowledged to NBC News that the conservative lawmakers do not have enough votes to kill the legislation.

“The nation will not default,” Buck said.


But he and other Republicans have voiced skepticism about the legitimacy of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s warning that the government will run out of money next Monday to meet all its financial obligations, including cash to pay interest on government bonds, pensions to older Americans and salaries to the military and government workers. 

The House Rules Committee sent the legislation to the full House on a 7-6 vote Tuesday night that showed some of that discontent, with two Republicans voting against advancing the bill.

The proposal before Congress includes waiving the existing borrowing limit until January 2025 and a two-year budget deal that keeps federal spending flat in 2024 and increases it by 1% in 2025. The measure does not raise taxes, nor will it stop the national debt total from continuing to increase, perhaps by another $3 trillion or more over the next year and a half.

Other pieces of the legislation include a reduction in the number of new agents hired by the country’s tax collection agency, a requirement that states return $30 billion in unspent coronavirus pandemic assistance to the federal government and extending from 50 to 54 the upper age bracket for those required to work in order to receive food aid.  

Some liberal Democratic lawmakers have objected to the deal, saying it cuts too much in social welfare spending or holds some programs at a flat spending level. Republicans say it allows for more spending than legislation they approved weeks ago calling for steeper cuts and a debt ceiling extension of less than a year totaling about $1.5 trillion.

Biden insisted on a new debt ceiling that extended beyond the November 2024 presidential election in which he is seeking a second four-year term, so the current contentious debate would not be repeated during the political campaign next year. 

One Republican critic of the debt ceiling legislation, Representative Dan Bishop, complained Tuesday about the length of the debt ceiling extension.

“It removes the issue from the national conversation during the presidential election to come,” Bishop said. “How could you more successfully kneecap any Republican [presidential candidate] than to take that issue out of his or her hands?”

Biden and McCarthy have both, respectively, been lobbying Democrats and Republicans to pass the measure.

“The agreement prevents the worst possible crisis — a default — for the first time in our nation’s history,” Biden said at the White House last weekend. It “takes the threat of a catastrophic default off the table.”    


“The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. But that’s the responsibility of governing,” Biden said in a statement.

McCarthy called the bill the “most conservative deal we’ve ever had.”

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Kenyan Workers Seek Opportunities Abroad Despite Safety, Rights Concerns

The Kenyan government says it has entered or plans to enter labor agreements with Canada, Germany, the United States, and certain Persian Gulf nations. The agreements aim to ease the path for Kenyans to work overseas. But advocates for workers’ rights say such agreements, especially with Gulf nations, leave workers vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Mohammed Yusuf reports.

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Cameroon Asks for More Border Troops after New Boko Haram Attacks

Officials in northern Cameroon have in a crisis meeting on Wednesday requested more troops from Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad to be deployed to their common border after fresh Boko Haran attacks killed at least 12 people including six soldiers on Tuesday. The officials say several hundred heavily armed Islamist extremists have infiltrated the volatile Lake Chad region attacking, looting and causing panic. 

Cameroon military and government officials in the central African state’s northern border with Nigeria say they held a crisis meeting on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after a fresh wave of deadly Boko Haram attacks were reported.

Midjiyawa Bakari is the governor of Cameroon’s Far North region that shares a border with Chad and Nigeria. Bakari spoke on Cameroon state broadcaster CRTV on Wednesday.

Bakari said Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered officials and troops in Cameroon’s Far North region to hold an emergency crisis meeting and make sure armed Islamist extremists who infiltrate the volatile Lake Chad region are stopped. He said Biya ordered the crisis meeting after several hundred militants killed three soldiers, two customs officers and two civilians in surprise attacks on Cameroon government troops stationed in the northern towns of Mora and Zigague on Tuesday.

Mora and Zigague are towns in Cameroon’s Far North region that share a border with Nigeria and Chad.

Bakari said Boko Haram is weakened but still very actively attacking communities to kill their opponents and to steal cattle, food and money.

The Cameroon military on Wednesday said troops found five other civilian corpses in the bush near Zigague and several dozen houses and government buildings were destroyed by the insurgents.

Military officials say soldiers killed several insurgents along the border with Nigeria and Chad but gave no details.

Government officials say villagers who escaped to the bush should return and be protected by the Cameroon military.

Bakari said civilians should help stop the new wave of attacks by reporting suspected militants to military officials. He said local chiefs and community leaders should reactivate militias to assist government troops in fighting the militants.

Hamidou Aladji is a community leader in Mora.

He said Tuesday’s attack on civilians and government troops in Mora indicate that Boko Haram is still a nuisance with an ability to create surprises. He said while the military is protecting civilians, it is imperative for community leaders and the clergy to assist in stopping or reducing terrorist attacks by reporting strangers in their communities to the military.

The Cameroon government says Boko Haram fighters crossed into the central African state from Nigeria in large numbers on Sunday and Monday evening before carrying out the attacks.

Military officials say the vast Lake Chad basin that stretches across the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad is infiltrated by the militants who want to reestablish bases on the lake’s many small islands.

In June 2022, the Multinational National Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin said 3,000 troops it deployed killed more than 800 extremists in about two months of fighting in the volatile Lake Chad region.

The force is made up of 11,000 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Officials at the crisis meeting ordered by President Paul Biya on Wednesday in Maroua, the capital of Cameroon’s Far North region, requested that troops from Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad be deployed to stop militants from reconstituting groups and advancing.

VOA could not independently verify if Chad and Nigeria have agreed to deploy troops to the three nations’ common border.

Boko Haram attacks escalated in northern Nigeria in 2009 before spreading to neighboring countries.

The United Nations says more than 36,000 people have been killed, mainly in Nigeria, and three million have fled their homes. 

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Sudanese Army Walks Away From Cease-Fire Talks with Paramilitary Forces 

The Sudanese military has broken off negotiations with the country’s paramilitary forces over a new cease-fire agreement.

Agence France Presse quotes an anonymous Sudanese official who said the government walked away from the talks “because the rebels have never implemented a single one of the provisions of a short-term ceasefire,” including the withdrawal from hospitals and residential buildings, and accused the paramilitary forces of repeatedly violating the truce.

In a statement late Tuesday reported by Reuters the paramilitary forces said they were committed to the cease-fire “despite repeated violations” by the army.

Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, has been mired in violence and chaos since April 15, when fighting broke out between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces after relations between military leader General Abdel Fattah Burhan and RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Degalo ended in rancor.

The two generals are former allies who together orchestrated an October 2021 military coup that derailed a transition to civilian rule following the 2019 ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Tensions between the generals have been growing over disagreements about how the RSF should be integrated in the army and who should oversee that process. The restructuring of the military was part of an effort to restore the country to civilian rule and end the political crisis sparked by the 2021 military coup.

The two sides have been involved in continuous cease-fire talks overseen by the United States and Saudi Arabia in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, but both sides have repeatedly violated every agreement. Mediators said Monday the army and the RSF had agreed to extend a cease-fire that would allow humanitarian aid into Sudan for five days.

The war has killed hundreds of civilians and left more than 1.4 million others internally displaced, with about 350,000 escaping into neighboring countries. Khartoum has been forced to endure frequent power cuts, with many areas totally without running water, and most of the hospitals out of service.

Some information for this report came from Reuters, Agence France-Presse.

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US Says Chinese Fighter Jet Conducted ‘Unnecessarily Aggressive Maneuver’ Near US Reconnaissance Plane

The U.S. military says a Chinese fighter jet flew close to one of its reconnaissance aircraft during a patrol mission over the South China Sea last week.   

A statement by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command says a Chinese J-16 fighter jet “flew directly in front of the nose” of the RC-135 plane “in an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver,” forcing the pilot to fly through the turbulence caused by the fighter jet. 

Video footage of the incident from the cockpit of the U.S. reconnaissance plane showed the plane shaking soon after the Chinese fighter jet flew across its flight path. 

The statement said the RC-135 reconnaissance plane was conducting “safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law.” 

Last week’s incident occurred six months after a similar incident in December, when the crew of another RC-135 plane was forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with a Chinese fighter jet.  

The incidents come during a time of rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over a host of issues, including China’s aggressive expansion across the South China Sea and its increasing military and diplomatic pressure on self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province of China.  Along with the aerial reconnaissance missions, the U.S. has also sailed its naval warships through the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait under the concept of “freedom of navigation.” 

The Pentagon said that China has rejected an invitation for Defense Minister General Li Shangfu to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue regional security summit in Singapore this week. 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. 

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Ankara Could Get F16s but US–Turkey Ties Remain Fraught

Aiming to secure support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled a transactional approach in his engagement with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The newly reelected Turkish leader has been one of the most consequential yet complicated members of the transatlantic military alliance. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this report. Contributor: Anita Powell

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Nigeria Faces Possible Inflation Surge as New President Ends Petrol Subsidy

Nigeria’s National Petroleum Company NNPC Ltd. has backed the country’s new leader’s decision to stop paying long-standing petrol subsidies. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu made the announcement during his inauguration Monday in the capital, Abuja. Nigeria spends billions of dollars annually to keep fuel affordable at the pumps, and previous administrations’ efforts to stop the subsidies often led to street protests. Timothy Obiezu reports from Abuja.

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Clashes Flare in Sudan’s Capital After Cease-Fire Extended

Intense clashes could be heard in Sudan’s capital on Tuesday, residents said, after military factions battling for more than six weeks agreed to extend a cease-fire aimed at allowing aid to reach civilians.

The army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to extend a week-long cease-fire deal by five days just before it was due to expire late on Monday.

The truce was brokered and is being remotely monitored by Saudi Arabia and the United States, which say it has been violated by both sides but has still allowed for the delivery of aid to an estimated 2 million people.

“We hope this truce succeeds even if only to stop the war a little and that we can return to our normal lives. We have hope in the truce, and we don’t have other options,” said Hind Saber, a 53-year-old resident of Khartoum.

Hours before the cease-fire extension was signed, residents reported intensive fighting in all three of the adjoining cities that make up Sudan’s greater capital around the confluence of the Nile: Khartoum, Omdurman and Bahri.

Clashes resumed late on Tuesday on the outskirts of the cities.

In a statement, the RSF accused the army of violating the cease-fire, saying that it defended itself against an attack and took over an army base.

The war has caused nearly 1.4 million people to flee their homes, including more than 350,000 who have crossed into neighboring countries.

Areas of the capital have been hit by widespread looting and frequent cuts to power and water supplies. Most hospitals have been put out of service.

The United Nations, some aid agencies, embassies and parts of Sudan’s central government have moved operations to Port Sudan, in Sudan’s Red Sea state, the main shipping hub, which has seen little unrest.

Curfew declared in Port Sudan 

On Tuesday, the state’s security committee said it had caught several “rebellious” sleeper cells that it said had sneaked in from outside and warned that they were planning activities.

“We thank the citizens of Red Sea state for their total cooperation and for immediately reporting the presence of these rebellious elements and their agents within their neighborhoods,” it said, without specifying their identity.

The committee later extended a state of emergency and declared a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Port Sudan.

The conflict erupted on April 15 over internationally backed plans for a transition to elections under a civilian government.

Leaders of the army and the RSF had held the top positions on Sudan’s ruling council since former leader Omar al-Bashir was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019.

They staged a coup in 2021 as they were due to hand leadership of the council to civilians, before falling out over the chain of command and restructuring of the RSF under the planned transition.

Army leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan appeared in a video on Tuesday greeting troops. He said that the army had agreed to the cease-fire extension to ease citizens’ access to services.

“The army hasn’t used its full deadly power, but it will be forced to do so if the enemy does not obey or listen to the voice of reason,” he said in a statement.

Millions need humanitarian aid

The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said more than 13.6 million children in Sudan, a country of 49 million people, were in urgent need of lifesaving humanitarian support.

The U.N. World Food Program, which expects up to 2.5 million people in Sudan to slip into hunger in coming months, said that 17,000 metric tons of food had been looted since the conflict began.

WFP said on Monday that it had begun to distribute food in parts of the capital for the first time since the outbreak of fighting.

U.N. human rights chief Volker Türk warned on Tuesday that fighting in Khartoum, which has spread to the war-weary Darfur region, could take on an “inter-ethnic dimension, which would be terrible.”

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Ankara Could Get F16s but US-Turkey Ties Remain Fraught

Aiming to secure support for Sweden’s bid to join NATO, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled a transactional approach in his engagement with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The newly reelected Turkish leader has been one of the most consequential yet complicated members of the transatlantic military alliance.

Biden spoke with Erdogan on Monday to congratulate him on winning his third presidential term and said the two had discussed the issue of Sweden’s NATO accession and Turkey’s request to overhaul and expand its fleet of American-made F-16 fighter jets.

“He still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done. And so, we’ll be back in touch with one another,” Biden said, adding that they will talk more about it “next week.”

This is the first time Biden has linked the two issues together. Neither the White House nor the Turkish government mentioned the potential F-16 sale in their readout of the call.

U.S. administration officials have repeatedly rejected suggestions of a quid pro quo between the transatlantic military alliance’s expansion and a weapons sale.

“That’s not a condition,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated during her press briefing Tuesday. “President Biden has long been clear that he supports selling F-16s.”

On Tuesday, during a joint news conference with Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Lulea, Sweden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that both issues “should go forward as quickly as possible.”

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in May 2022. The bids, which must be approved by all NATO members, were held up by objections from Turkey and Hungary though Finland’s bid was finally approved in April.


Ankara has long sought to purchase 40 F-16 fighter jets made by U.S. company Lockheed Martin and nearly 80 modernization kits for its air force’s existing warplanes — a $20 billion transaction.

The F-16 jets make up the bulk of Turkey’s combat aircraft after the Trump administration in 2019 expelled Ankara from the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet program over its decision to acquire Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.

The U.S. Congress, which has authority to block major weapons sales, objects to F-16 sales for reasons beyond NATO enlargement. It wants Ankara to ease tensions with Greece, refrain from invading northern Syria and enforce sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine.

In April, about two weeks after Turkey ratified its support for Finland joining NATO, Washington approved a $259 million sale of avionics software upgrades for Ankara’s current fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft. But Sweden’s bid is still held up because Ankara believes that Stockholm is harboring “terrorists” — militants from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

Swedish lawmakers have passed legislation tightening the country’s anti-terrorism laws, a move expected to help persuade Turkey. U.S. and Swedish officials have expressed hope that Sweden’s membership will be confirmed by the time NATO leaders meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, in mid-July.

While Erdogan is likely to leverage his support for Sweden, he is also a pragmatist, said Asli Aydintaşbaş, a Turkish journalist and visiting fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings.

“What we are going to see is a bit of a last-minute drama heading up to the Vilnius summit,” Aydıntaşbaş told VOA. “At the end, it’s possible that this will be resolved on the night of the summit.”

Fraught relations

F-16s aside, U.S.-Turkish ties will remain fraught, said James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, who now chairs the Middle East program at the Wilson Center.

“It’s a complicated, transactional relationship,” Jeffrey told VOA. “It’s never 100% on our side. We’re hoping it won’t be more than 50% away from us, but a lot depends on the personal relationship between Biden and Erdogan. It’s been frosty; the call is a good first step.”

Solid ties with Ankara will be “dramatically strategic in terms of containing Russia,” as well as containing Iran and terrorist movements in the region — all key goals for Washington, Jeffrey added.

However, Erdogan’s friendly ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin while NATO helps Ukraine to fend off a Russian invasion have made Western officials uneasy.

“We are not bound by the West’s sanctions,” Erdogan said in a CNN interview earlier this month. “We are a strong state, and we have a positive relationship with Russia.”

Ankara has calibrated its response to the war in Ukraine consistent with its own strategic interests, condemning the invasion and restricting Russian warships and military flights across its territory while refusing to join Western sanctions on Russia and expanding its trade ties with Moscow.

At the same time Erdogan has maintained good ties with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. His government has provided aid and drones to Ukraine and was instrumental in the U.N.-backed deal allowing Ukrainian grain ships access to global markets via the Black Sea.


The Turkish decision to acquire S-400 air defense systems remains the thorniest issue for the U.S., said Howard Eissenstat, a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute.

“That one’s going to be really difficult to solve,” he told VOA.

Washington insists it won’t allow Ankara back into its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program until Ankara abandons the Russian-made weapons. Earlier this month, Turkish media reported that Ankara rejected the Biden administration’s request for Turkey to send its S-400 air defense systems to Ukraine.

Next week, Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. The leaders are expected to discuss the issue of NATO enlargement, including how to get Ankara on board.

“Those are good interlocutors for the president,” Jeffrey said. “Those are people who understand the geostrategic situation in Europe.”

Anita Powell contributed to this report.

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European Leaders Head to Moldova for Symbolic Summit on Ukraine’s Doorstep

More than 40 European leaders plan to meet in Moldova on Thursday in a show of support for the former Soviet republic and neighboring Ukraine as Kyiv prepares to launch a counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces. 

The gathering of the EU’s 27 member states and 20 other European countries at a castle deep in Moldovan wine country will touch on a range of strategic issues and launch a new EU partnership mission in the country. But the focus will be on a symbolic show of unity on Ukraine’s doorstep. 

“If you sit in Moscow and see 47 countries in your immediate or close neighborhood meeting together, that’s an important message,” an EU official told reporters ahead of the summit, which takes place 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the capital Chisinau. 

A country of 2.5 million lodged between Ukraine and NATO member Romania, Moldova has taken in more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other country just as food and energy prices soared as a result of the conflict. 

The government has accused Moscow of trying to destabilize the mainly Romanian-speaking country using its influence over the separatist movement in mainly Russian-speaking Transnistria. 

SEE ALSO: A related video by Ricardo Marquina

The summit, the second meeting of the European Political Community, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, will discuss issues from cyber-security to migration and energy security. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss tensions in the continent ranging from Azerbaijan and Armenia to recent clashes in northern Kosovo. 

It comes as Kyiv is preparing for a counteroffensive using recently acquired Western weapons to try to drive Russian occupiers from territory seized in what Moscow calls a special military operation to protect Russian speakers. 

EU ambitions 

Moldova, like Ukraine, applied to join the European Union last year shortly after the Russian invasion, and Chisinau is planning to use the summit to showcase reforms and convince leaders to open accession talks as soon as possible. 

“For us, the presence of 50 leaders in Moldova is a milestone … it’s the biggest foreign policy event Moldova has ever hosted,” said Olga Rosca, President Maia Sandu’s foreign policy adviser. 

“It’s our way of anchoring our future in Europe and in the EU. It’s our way of accelerating the EU accession process.” 

Moldova’s aim, she added, is for a decision to be taken at the European Council Summit in December so that accession talks can begin at the start of 2024. 

Some fear differing expectations among participating countries and the sheer size of the summit, for which France has provided logistical and security support, will be an obstacle to delivering concrete policy wins. 

The political diversity and traditional rivalries between some of participants, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey, may also complicate matters. 

“With events in Ukraine it’s useful, as is the discussion on energy supplies and migration. So I think for now it’s suck it and see,” one senior European diplomat said. 

At its inaugural summit in Prague last year, an EU-led effort to mediate between Azerbaijan and Armenia did make some progress. On Thursday, their leaders will hold talks with the EU, Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.  

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Analyst: Regional Politics Slowing Abidjan-Lagos Corridor

The construction of a road network to connect five West African countries and boost trading has not yet started because of regional politics. From Accra, Ghana, Senanu Tord reports on the corridor project stretching from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Lagos, Nigeria, and the people whose livelihoods will be affected by it.

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Trade Talks in Detroit Yield Supply Chain Coordination Agreement

A year after U.S. President Joe Biden first launched what’s known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, negotiations have yielded what Washington is calling a landmark agreement. VOA’s Chris Casquejo reports.

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‘Nothing Left’: Refugees Describe City Demolished by Fighting in West Darfur

Intercommunal violence and fighting between Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in West Darfur state have intensified in recent days, according to reports. Witnesses who escaped the city of Geneina say their hometown is being ripped apart. Henry Wilkins reports from Adre, Chad.

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China Declines US Offer for Defense Talks in Singapore this Week

The Pentagon says China has declined a request by the U.S. for a meeting between their defense chiefs at an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the U.S. in early May had offered for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to meet with the People’s Republic of China Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu, but that invitation was turned down this week.

Both defense leaders are slated to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, with Austin speaking on Saturday and his Chinese counterpart scheduled to speak on Sunday. The annual dialogue is an informal gathering of defense officials and analysts in Singapore that also creates opportunities for side meetings among defense leaders.

“The PRC’s concerning unwillingness to engage in meaningful military-to-military discussions will not diminish DoD’s commitment to seeking open lines of communication with the People’s Liberation Army [PLA] at multiple levels as part of responsibly managing the relationship,” Ryder said.

He added that open lines of communication are important “to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”

A senior defense official told VOA on Tuesday that since 2021, the PRC has declined or failed to respond to more than a dozen requests from the Department of Defense for key leader engagements, along with multiple requests for standing dialogues and nearly 10 working-level engagements.

“Frankly, it’s just the latest in a litany of excuses,” the senior defense official said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning confirmed the two defense leaders will not meet this week, saying Tuesday at a news briefing that the U.S. should “earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and security interests and concerns … and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries.”

Li, who assumed his current post in March, has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia’s main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

‘Unprofessional’ intercept

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Tuesday a People’s Republic of China J-16 fighter pilot “performed an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” during an intercept of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft.

The incident occurred Friday over international airspace above the South China Sea, according to a statement by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“The PRC pilot flew directly in front of the nose of the RC-135, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through its wake turbulence. The RC-135 was conducting safe and routine operations over the South China Sea in international airspace, in accordance with international law,” Indo-PACOM said.

In the statement, Indo-PACOM called on all countries to use international airspace safely in accordance with international law, adding that the United States “will continue to fly, sail, and operate — safely and responsibly — wherever international law allows.”

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Taliban Call for Stop to Afghan Brain Drain

The Taliban have called on Western countries to stop evacuating and resettling educated and skilled Afghans abroad, saying the practice hurts Afghanistan.

Boasting about improved security in the war-ravaged country, Taliban leaders say all Afghans, including those who had worked for the previous Afghan government, are safe at home and can live and work freely.

“The world should also listen to this message that they should not open [immigration] cases for Afghans under the impression that their lives are at risk here,” Amir Khan Muttaqi, Taliban acting foreign minister, said on Tuesday.

“They should not hurt Afghanistan’s talents, Afghanistan’s scientific cadres and Afghanistan’s prides, and should not take them out of this country.”

Tens of thousands of Afghans, mostly educated individuals who worked under the previous U.S.-backed government, have fled their country over the past two years fearing Taliban persecution.

The United Nations and other human rights groups have accused the Taliban of extrajudicial detention, torture and execution of some members of the former Afghan security personnel — charges the Taliban deny.

The United States, Canada and several European countries have admitted more than 150,000 Afghan refugees and asylum-seekers since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

Last week, Khairullah Khairkhwa, Taliban acting minister for information and culture, alleged that Kabul University lecturers were receiving invitations from abroad to apply for migration.

The remarks were made in response to media reports that more than half of Kabul University lecturers, about 400 individuals, have migrated out of Afghanistan largely because of security concerns, Taliban restrictions, and other social and economic hardships.

Hundreds of media professionals have also left Afghanistan, leading to significant setbacks to free media, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Risky migration

Last week, the bodies of 18 Afghan emigrants, who died in February while being smuggled to Europe, were brought to Kabul.

It took several months to transfer the bodies from Bulgaria to Afghanistan, for which Taliban officials blame “unjust” Western sanctions.

The Taliban regime is not recognized by any country, and the United States has imposed terrorism-related economic and travel sanctions on Taliban leaders and institutions.

Dozens of Afghans, including women and children, reportedly perished in a shipwreck off the southern coast of Italy in February.

At least 1,645 Afghan migrants were reported missing or dead from 2014 to 2022, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Millions of Afghans are scattered around the world as refugees, asylum-seekers and emigrants, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency, which has ranked Afghanistan as the fourth-largest refugee exporting country in the world after Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine.

Insecurity, poverty, unemployment and expectations of better living conditions are considered the main drivers of migration from Afghanistan.

In public statements, Taliban officials offer immediate employment to Afghans with specific technical expertise.

“Send me anyone with a Ph.D. or master’s degree in geodesy, exploration or probing of fuel, and I will employ him the next day,” Shahabuddin Delawar, Taliban minister for mines, said last week.

The Islamist regime has defied widespread international calls to form an inclusive government.

The Taliban have strictly monopolized the government, refusing to share power with any group or non-Taliban individual. Women are particularly excluded for all political and senior positions.

Suspending the constitution, the Taliban have dissolved Afghanistan’s national assembly, election bodies and the national human rights commission, and have centered all powers in the hands of their unseen supreme leader.

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Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Starts 11-year Sentence for Blood-Testing Hoax

Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is in custody at a Texas prison where she could spend the next 11 years for overseeing a blood-testing hoax that became a parable about greed and hubris in Silicon Valley, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Holmes, 39, on Tuesday entered a federal women’s prison camp located in Bryan, Texas — where the federal judge who sentenced Holmes in November recommended she be incarcerated. The minimum-security facility is about 152 kilometers (about 94 miles) northwest of Houston, where Holmes grew up aspiring to become a technology visionary along the lines of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

As she begins her sentence, Holmes is leaving behind two young children — a son born in July 2021 a few weeks before the start of her trial and a 3-month old daughter who was conceived after a jury convicted her on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy in January 2022.

Holmes has been free on bail since then, most recently living in the San Diego, California, area with the children’s father, William “Billy” Evans. The couple met in 2017 around the same time Holmes was under investigation for the collapse of Theranos, a startup she founded after dropping out of Stanford University when she was just 19.

Build up to startup

While she was building up Theranos, Holmes grew closer to Ramesh, “Sunny” Balwani, who would become her romantic partner as well as an investor and fellow executive in the Palo Alto, California, company.

Together, Holmes and Balwani promised Theranos would revolutionize health care with a technology that could quickly scan for diseases and other problems with a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick.

The hype surrounding that purported breakthrough helped Theranos raise nearly $1 billion from enthralled investors, assemble an influential board of directors that include former Presidential cabinet members George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and James Mattis and turned Holmes into a Silicon Valley sensation with a fortune valued at $4.5 billion on paper in 2014.

But it all blew up after serious dangerous flaws in Theranos’ technology were exposed in a series of explosive articles in The Wall Street Journal that Holmes and Balwani tried to thwart. Holmes and Balwani, who had been secretly living together while running Theranos, broke up after the revelations in the Journal and the company collapsed. In 2018, the U.S. Justice Department charged both with a litany of white-collar crimes in a case aimed at putting a stop to the Silicon Valley practice of overselling the capabilities of a still-developing technology — a technique that became known as “fake it ’til you make it.”

Holmes admitted making mistakes at Theranos, but steadfastly denied committing crimes during seven often-fascinating days of testimony on the witness stand during her trial. At one point, she told the jury about being sexually and emotionally abused by Balwani while he controlled her in ways that she said clouded her thinking. Balwani’s attorney steadfastly denied Holmes allegations, which was one of the key reasons they were tried separately.

Balwani, 57, was convicted on 12 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy in a trial that began two months after Holmes’ ended. He is serving a nearly 13-year sentence in a Southern California prison.

Maintaining she was treated unfairly during the trial, Holmes sought to remain free while she appeals her conviction. But that bid was rejected by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who presided over her trial, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving her no other avenue left to follow but the one that will take her to prison nearly 20 years after she founded Theranos.

Attorneys representing Holmes did not immediately respond when contacted by The Associated Press for statement on Tuesday.

650 women on 37 acres

Federal Prison Camp Bryan, a minimum-security prison camp encompasses about 37 acres of land and houses about 650 women — including “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jennifer Shah, who was sentenced earlier this year to 6 1/2 years in prison for defrauding thousands of people in a yearslong telemarketing scam.

Most federal prison camps don’t even have fences and house those the Bureau of Prisons considers to be the lowest security risk. The prison camps also often have minimal staffing and many of the incarcerated people work at prison jobs.

According to a 2016 FPC Bryan inmate handbook, those in the Texas facility who are eligible to work can earn between 12 cents and $1.15 per hour in their job assignments, which include food service roles and factory employment operated by Federal Prison Industries.

Federal prison camps were originally designed with low security to make operations easier and allow inmates tasked with performing work at the prison, such as landscaping and maintenance, to avoid repeatedly checking in and out of a main prison facility. But the lax security opened a gateway for contraband, such as drugs, cellphones and weapons. The limited security also led to a number of escapes from prison camps.

In November, a man incarcerated at another federal prison camp in Arizona pulled out a smuggled gun in a visitation area and tried to shoot his wife in the head. The gun jammed and no one was injured. But the incident exposed major security flaws at the facility and the agency’s director ordered a review of security at all federal prison camps around the U.S.

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 Turkey to Investigate Media Outlets Over Election Coverage 

Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog on Tuesday announced it is investigating six opposition TV channels for “insulting the public” through coverage of Sunday’s presidential election runoff.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTUK, said viewers had complained about election coverage, but did not provide specific examples. 

One of the channels under investigation —Tele 1— said on its website that the action shows the “government’s censorship device is at work.”

The inquiry comes two days after President Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, won the second round of the presidential election on Sunday.  

Assaults on press freedom bookended this election. Ahead of the vote, several journalists were arrested, detained, sentenced to jail time and assaulted — often over coverage about the election, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  

Freedom of expression both online and offline has sharply declined in Turkey over the past decade, according to Cathryn Grothe, a research analyst at Freedom House.  

“President Erdogan and the AKP have increasingly exerted control over the media environment by censoring independent news outlets and silencing those who criticize the government or its policies,” Grothe told VOA.  

“The RTUK’s recent investigation into six opposition television channels on politically motivated charges of ‘insulting the public’ is just another example of how Turkish authorities will go to extensive lengths to control the narrative and silence the opposition,” Grothe said.  

The investigation was also of little surprise to Erol Onderoglu, the Turkey representative for media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, or RSF. 

“We now know that the ultimate goal of those who say, ‘death to criticism’ is to completely silence those who make different voices arbitrarily,” Onderoglu said. 

Turkey’s Washington embassy did not immediately reply to VOA’s email requesting comment. 

The media outlets under RTUK investigation are Halk TV, Tele 1, KRT TV, TV 5, Flash Haber TV and Szc TV. 

In April, RTUK fined three of those channels over coverage, including for reports that were critical of earthquake rescue efforts or that included opposition voices criticizing the AKP policy.

In 2022, RTUK issued 54 penalties to five independent broadcasters, compared to just four against pro-government channels, according to the free expression group Article 19.

“RTUK has long been an apparatus of [authorities],” said Faruk Eren, the head of the press union of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey.

“More difficult days await journalists,” he told VOA. 

RTUK has previously dismissed criticism of how it operates, saying it acts in accordance with Turkish law and “stands up for pluralism, press freedom and free news.”

Media and rights analysts have raised concerns over what another Erdogan term will mean for civil society after a presidency marked by a crackdown on media, internet censorship and hostility to minority groups, the Associated Press reported.

Overall, Turkey ranks poorly on the World Press Freedom Index, coming in at 165 out of 180 countries, where 1 denotes the best environment for media, says RSF.

“One part of me thinks that it’s par for the course. We’ve become accustomed to this,” said Sinan Ciddi, a fellow on Turkey at the Washington think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. But, Ciddi told VOA, there are concerns that Erdogan will use his new term to crack down even harder on press freedom. 

“I’m of the opinion he basically lets things continue as they are,” Ciddi said, “simply because that’s his way of demonstrating to the world, ‘Hey, look, we have press freedom. There are channels and outlets which hate me.’”  

The timing of the inquiry just two days after the election is concerning said Suay Boulougouris, who researches Turkish digital rights at the free expression group Article 19.  

No one was under the impression that another Erdogan term would bring about advancements to human rights and press freedom in Turkey, Boulougouris said, but this inquiry sets the tone for the next five years in a distressing way.  

“It’s known that RTUK is weaponized to challenge or suppress these TV channels,” Boulougouris told VOA. “Launching this inquiry so quickly, right after the elections, to me indicates that chances are really low for political change and democratic reforms in Turkey.”  

To Ciddi, critical voices “will want to keep the fight going.”  

“Going forward, we can expect a rallying cry for media and independence,” he said.  

Hilmi Hacaloglu contributed to this report.

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Deadly Battle Underway in Central Somalia After Al-Shabab Attack

Heavy fighting has been reported in central Somalia after al-Shabab militants stormed a government military camp in the town of Masagaway on Tuesday, the second attack in days.

Security sources who are following the situation say deadly fighting ensued between government forces and al-Shabab following the militant attack.

According to one security official involved in the efforts against al-Shabab, the militants raided a military camp at dawn. The camp is manned by troops trained in Eritrea and local fighters. He said the militants managed to enter the camp and remove three vehicles.

As the militants exited the town, reinforcements from the town of el-Dheer just north of Masagaway ambushed al-Shabab militants sparking a fierce gun battle.

The two officials who requested anonymity because they do not have authorization to speak to the media said reinforcement forces inflicted heavy losses on al-Shabab and recovered some of the vehicles and weapons taken by the militants.

Dozens of fatalities have been reported on both sides.

In a press statement, the Somali government said government troops and local fighters have repulsed militants who attempted to storm the town. The statement said that 30 were killed in the attack and three vehicles were captured and three soldiers were injured.

Al-Shabab meanwhile, said its fighters overran the base and killed 73 soldiers and seized vehicles. Both specific claims have not been independently verified.

Masagaway, about 270 km northeast of Mogadishu, was captured by government forces and local fighters in January of this year. In April, al-Shabab raided the town, killing three elders who have been involved in the local mobilization against the group.

The attack comes as military campaigns against al-Shabab appear to have paused in the central regions.

It also comes just four days after militants carried out another deadly attack on a military base manned by Ugandan forces serving as part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Both the AU and Uganda are still assessing the number of fatalities as a result of the attack as the militants are still present in the vicinity of the base in the town of Bulo Marer, which is 110 km south of Mogadishu.

The Ugandan military has confirmed to VOA Somali that a company of 221 soldiers was stationed at the base.

Al-Shabab initially claimed killing 137 soldiers in the attack before one of the group’s most senior commanders, Mahad Karate, increased the number to over 200 killed, a figure that has not been independently verified.

But a spokesperson for the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF), Brigadier General Felix Kulaigye, said the group is exaggerating the death toll.

“Certainly, they are exaggerating,” he said.

Kulaigye said details of the casualties will come after an investigation as UPDF sent a team to Mogadishu.

Kulaigye confirmed that some of their soldiers were captured by al-Shabab following the May 26 complex attack.

“I don’t just believe, I know some were,” he responded when asked if he believes some of their soldiers may have been captured by al-Shabab as claimed by the militant group.

He said it would be speculation to give the number of soldiers who were captured by al-Shabab.

On Tuesday, ATMIS said “a substantial number of the terrorists have been eliminated,” and multiple weapons looted from the Bulo Marer base retrieved following a joint operation by the AU and Somali forces.


The United States military also said it had carried out an airstrike against the group on the day of the attack.

“The strike destroyed weapons and equipment unlawfully taken by al-Shabaab fighters,” AFRICOM said in a statement.

Asked about how the Bulo Marer attack might impact UPDF operations in Somalia, Kulaigye said it makes the soldiers more determined to fight al-Shabab.

“It gives us more determination to deal with this enemy of peace in Somalia,” he said.

“They will pay for that attack. No one attacks UPDF and goes scot-free.”

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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Has Dementia, Carter Center Says

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia and remains at home, her family has announced.

Carter, 95, remains at home with former President Jimmy Carter, who has been at home receiving hospice care since early this year.

“She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones,” the family said via The Carter Center, the global humanitarian organization the couple founded in 1982 after leaving the White House.

Married nearly 77 years, the Carter are the longest-married first couple in U.S. history.

The family noted in its statement that Rosalynn Carter spent her long public life advocating for individuals and families affected by mental illness and for those in caregiving relationships with loved ones.

“Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers,” the statement reads. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey. We do not expect to comment further and ask for understanding for our family and for everyone across the country serving in a caregiver role.”

The Carters have been visiting only with family and close friends in recent months, after the former president’s announcement that he would forgo further medical intervention after a series of short hospital stays.

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