Ivory Coast, Burkina offensive to flush out extremists

Troops from Ivory Coast and neighboring Burkina Faso have launched an operation in northern Ivory Coast to flush out extremists from their border. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Ivory Coast, Burkina offensive to flush out extremists

  • Extremist hideouts have been detected north of the Comoe National Park in northern Ivory Coast for over a year
  • Burkina Faso has faced repeated extremist attacks since 2015, which have claimed some 900 lives

KORHOGO, Ivory Coast: Troops from Ivory Coast and neighboring Burkina Faso have launched an operation in northern Ivory Coast to flush out extremists from their border, military officials said Saturday.
The offensive, named Comoe after a river that flows through the two West African countries, is underway and has “produced results,” an Ivorian source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“At the initiative of the Ivorian army, an anti-terrorist operation has been on for several days at the border and led to the seizure of weapons,” a Burkinabe security source said.
The sources did not give any figures.
“Burkina Faso is taking part with 30 men, most of whom have been posted along the border,” to prevent insurgents from fleeing Ivory Coast, where the operation is being conducted, the source said.
“There is no way of avoiding the two armies,” said Burkina Faso’s chief of army staff General Moise Miningou during a meeting with his Ivorian counterpart in Ivory Coast on Friday.
“It’s this which has produced tangible results. This is just a first step and I assure you it won’t be the last,” he added.
The operation was launched at the start of May in the northeastern region of Ferkessedougou, sources said.
A Burkinabe soldier was injured during the operation and has been hospitalized in the northern Ivorian town of Korhogo, a Burkinabe military source said.
Extremist hideouts have been detected north of the Comoe National Park in northern Ivory Coast for over a year.
Security sources say they are extremists operating in Burkina Faso who shelter in Ivory Coast when chased.
Burkina Faso has faced repeated extremist attacks since 2015, which have claimed some 900 lives.
An attack in March 13, 2016 attack near Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan killed 19 people.


“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

Updated 31 May 2020

“We were all outraged,” says Arab owner of store at center of US protest firestorm

  • Troops can go in ’very quickly,’ Trump says

CHICAGO: The firestorm of protest, arson and looting that has consumed the US for five days began at the counter of an Arab American grocery store.

Staff working for Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, the owner of Cup Foods, called Minneapolis police after George Floyd, 46, twice tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill to make a purchase.

Officers who arrested Floyd held him to the ground with a knee on his neck, as he pleaded that he could not breathe. He lost consciousness and died later in hospital. One officer has been charged with third-degree murder and further charges are expected.

“What took place outside … was not in our hands,” Abumayyaleh told US TV. “The murder and execution was something done by the police, and it was an abuse of power. The police brutality needs to stop.”

Abumayyaleh said he knew Floyd as a customer, and as someone who was always pleasant. He did not find out until the following morning that the man had died. “We were all outraged,” he said, and Floyd “may not have even known that the bill was counterfeit.”

The store owner and his sons, Samir, Adam and Mahmoud, have gone into hiding in the face of a wave of threats against them on social media. They took down their store’s Facebook page and its landline phone has been disconnected.

Minneapolis has more than 50 Arab- and Muslim-owned stores mostly north of where the incident occurred, all operating under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Arab store owners said they feared speaking out publicly about the incident.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at one Arab-owned store told Arab News that both the killing of Floyd and vandalism against businesses “is wrong.”

Since Floyd died last Tuesday, protesters have vandalized, looted and burned down more than 200 stores in Minneapolis. On Friday and Saturday, the violence spread to New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte North Carolina.

In Minnesota, protesters maintained a daily vigil in front of the Cup Foods store at 3759 Chicago Avenue, painting walls and the street with murals and graffiti in memory of Floyd. After four nights of confrontations in the city, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the state’s national guard on Saturday for the first time since the Second World War.

US President Donald Trump said troops could be deployed if local authorities requested their help. “We could have our military there very quickly,” he said.