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CAIRO, July 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Mali defender Salif Coulibaly has joined Al-Ahly from TP Mazembe as a free agent on a two-year deal.

Having also been linked with South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns following the expiry of his TP Mazembe contract, Coulibaly settled for the Egyptian giants.

“Mohamed Fadl, the manager of the club's contracts, announced Al-Ahly’s contract with Salif Coulibaly, defender of Congolese club TP Mazembe and Mali, for two seasons,” said Al-Ahly in a statement.

“Fadl added that the player joined Al Ahly on a free transfer. However, the announcement of the deal was delayed until Coulibaly was in Cairo and underwent medical examination.

“Fadl confirmed that Coulibaly’s arrival came in line with the vision of French coach Patrice Carteron, especially that he was a TP Mazembe player during Carteron’s leadership of the Congolese team.”

Coulibaly will be the fifth foreign player at the Cairo giants and his arrival will force Carteron to sacrifice one player to satisfy the Egyptian Football Association quota rule of four foreigners per team.

South African midfielder Phakamani Mahlambi looks likely to be the player who could be used to free space following interest for his services in his home country.

Coulibaly arrives at Al-Ahly boasting some wealth of experience having won the 2015 Caf Champions League title with TP Mazembe.

Al-Ahly are preparing to resume their Champions League group stage campaign against Township Rollers of Botswana on July 17.

CAIRO, June 30, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt condemned on Saturday the terrorist attack that targeted headquarters of five-nation West African counter terrorism force in Mali, leaving two Malian soldiers dead and others injured.

A number of immigrants were killed during the attack as well.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, Egypt expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims and stressed siding with the Malian government and people in the face of terrorism.

The statement also underscored Egypt's support for G5 Sahel anti-terror force efforts to uproot terrorism that targets the stability and security of the region.

BAMAKO, June 30, 2018 (News Wires) - The headquarters of the G5 Sahel regional military force in central Mali was attacked late Friday by unknown assailants, UN peacekeeping mission source said.

The G5 is a taskforce of soldiers from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania created last year to root out jihadist violence in West Africa's semi-arid Sahel region.

BAMAKO, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Mamoudou Gassama, the Malian migrant “Spiderman” who saved a child hanging off a balcony by scaling a Paris apartment block with his bare hands, was hailed by Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

“At a moment when... only one person could make the decision, it was you who made it. Of that, we are very proud,” Keita told Gassama, who was accompanied by his father.

“We had a good talk. He congratulated me on what I had done,” Gassama said.

French President Emmanuel Macron awarded Gassama, who was in France illegally, with French residency - a first step to getting citizenship - and feted his extraordinary feat.

BAMAKO, June 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Thousands of people marched peacefully through Mali's capital on Friday to call for clean presidential elections next month.

The West African country's opposition, which organised the rally in the capital Bamako, said it had attracted up to 300,000 people, but local reports put the figure at 10,000 to 20,000, all of whom dispersed without incident afterwards.

Earlier this week the European Union urged the government to respect "freedom of expression" and "show restraint" after dozens of people were hurt in banned opposition protests.

The United Nations similarly called for calm. "We turned up to call for transparent elections and equal access to state media, and also to denounce current government policy," opposition leader Soumaila Cisse said.

Cisse, 68, who lost in 2013, is one of some 15 candidates running against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, who is seeking a second term in the July 29 election.

After the recent violence, the UN and the African Union brokered a deal with the government to allow Friday's march.

"No to fraud" and "Equal access to national radio and TV" read two banners at the rally.

"The march is not only to demand clean elections and equal media access. It is also to denounce the regime, the cost of living and corruption," one demonstrator, Mahamane Toure, 51, said.

Mali has been badly hit by an Islamist insurgency in the north which has spread south and into neighbouring countries Burkina Faso and Niger despite peace efforts.

France, the former colonial overseer, intervened militarily in Mali in 2013 to help government forces combat al-Qaeda-linked jihadists.

The election campaign is due to begin July 7.

 

BAMAKO, April 7, 2018 (Reuters) - Mali’s army said on Saturday it had killed 14 terrorist suspects who were trying to escape detention in its central region, the latest in a string of killings by the armed forces that have provoked condemnation from rights groups.

The military said in a statement that the suspects had been arrested in Dioura on April 5 and were killed the following day.

“Following an alleged attempt to escape, 14 terrorist suspects were killed on April 6 in Dioura,” the statement said. “The command has taken measures to shed light on this issue,” it said.

The statement is likely to draw the attention of human rights groups which have accused the security forces of carrying out summary executions in their campaign to secure central Mali, which has been plagued by violent Islamists and ethnic militias.

Amnesty International raised the alarm this week over reports that six people found dead in a mass grave in the central Mopti region in March had been arrested by the military three days earlier.

There has been a spate of killings and kidnappings ahead of a July presidential election which rights groups say are being conducted by the army against suspected sympathizers of jihadist groups. The government has rejected the allegations.

The violence has raised doubts about whether Mali will be able to hold credible elections in less than three months’ time.

Two Chadian peacekeepers were killed on Thursday and at least 10 others were wounded when a U.N. camp came under mortar fire in the northern Kidal region, the country’s most volatile.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said such acts “only reinforce the commitment of the United Nations to support the people and the Government of Mali in their quest for peace”.

On Friday evening, a peacekeeper was killed when two armed men in the northern city of Gao opened fire on his vehicle, the U.N. force said in a statement.

Unidentified gunmen killed one person and wounded at least two others last Wednesday in an attack on a hotel in the central town of Bandiagara regularly frequented by U.N. staff and humanitarian agency workers.

Some 65 people have been killed in 2018 by improvised explosive devices, Amnesty International estimated this week.

Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania launched a G5 Sahel taskforce last year to tackle Islamist militants in the region.

France, its main Western backer, hopes the force will enable them to start drawing down the 4,000 or so troops it has had stationed in Mali since intervening to prevent Islamists and allied Tuareg rebels taking over the country in 2013.

International donors have committed half a billion dollars to the force, but Mali remains heavily dependent on foreign firepower.

The French army said on Thursday that French and Malian troops had killed about 30 Islamist insurgents during a gun battle near the border with Niger, where Islamic State’s Saharan affiliate are known to be active.