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Guinea’s Junta Government Releases Sacked President, Alpha Conde From Prison



The Guinea’s junta government has released former president of the country, Alpha Conde from prison and placed him under house custody.

DW on Monday posted on its Facebook page that their correspondent in Guinea had confirmed that Conde was released on Sunday night.

“Guinea’s junta government has released former president Alpha Conde from prison and placed him under house custody. DW’s correspondent in Guinea has confirmed that the deposed leader was released last night. Mr. Conde’s release comes three months after the military overthrew him.

“Are there any lessons to be learnt from the rise and fall of Alpha Conde?” the post read.

On 5 September 2021, Condé was captured by the country’s armed forces in a coup d’état after gunfire in the capital, Conakry.

Special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya released a broadcast on state television announcing the dissolution of the constitution and government.

The junta leader, a 41-year-old colonel and former ally of the deposed Condé, was later sworn in at a ceremony held at the Mohamed V Palace in the capital, Conakry, an event boycotted by most West African heads of state.

The coalition of the regional leaders under the auspices of ECOWAS, imposed sanctions on the junta members and their relatives, froze their assets and imposed travel bans on them.

But this has not deterred the putschists’ resolve to take their pound of flesh by ousting Condé – whom they accused of corruption, disregarding human rights and economic mismanagement – barely a year into his controversial third term reelection.

Regional powers would now hope that the new interim government propped by the country’s military will be for a short while and transition to civilian rule will return quickly.

According to DW, the deposed leader was released last night.

Conde’s release comes three months after the military overthrew him.

The political upheaval in the bauxite-rich West African country has raised concerns over the rising cases of coups in West and Central Africa regions.

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Military Announces Takeover On Live TV In Burkina Faso, Suspends Constitution



Soldiers in Burkina Faso on Monday announced on state television that they have seized power in the West African country following a mutiny over the civilian president’s failure to contain an Islamist insurgency.

A junior officer announced the suspension of the constitution, the dissolution of the government and parliament, and the closure of the country’s borders from midnight Monday, reading from a statement signed by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba.

He said the new Patriotic Movement for Preservation and Restoration (MPSR) would re-establish “constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”, adding that a nationwide nightly curfew would be enforced.

Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the military coup in Ouagadougou, welcoming soldiers, honking car horns, and waving the national flag.

Earlier Monday, African and Western powers denounced what they called an “attempted coup” and the EU demanded the “immediate” release of President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

The United States also called for Kabore’s release and urged “members of the security forces to respect Burkina Faso’s constitution and civilian leadership.”

UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement he “strongly condemns any attempted takeover of government by the force of arms”, calling events a “coup”.

Following contradictory reports over Kabore’s whereabouts EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement: “We now know that President Kabore is under the control of the military.”

He called the situation “extremely worrying”.

A government source had said Kabore was “exfiltrated” from his home late Sunday by his presidential guard “before the arrival of armed elements who fired on the vehicles of his convoy”.

An AFP correspondent early Monday saw three bullet-ridden vehicles outside Kabore’s residence, with traces of blood visible on one.

On Sunday, soldiers rose up at several army bases across Burkina Faso, which has been fighting the Islamist insurgency since 2015.

They demanded the removal of the military top brass and more resources to fight insurgents but made no mention of seeking Kabore’s ouster.

The president, in power since 2015 and re-elected in 2020, has faced rising public anger about the failure to stop the bloodshed in the poor, landlocked country.

On Monday, the People’s Movement for Progress ruling party said Kabore was the victim of an “aborted assassination attempt”.

A government minister, who was not named, also survived an attempt on his life and the president’s home was ransacked, it added.

The party said the presidential palace had been “encircled” by “a group of armed and masked men” and the national radio and television “occupied”.

Around 10 hooded troops were deployed in front of the headquarters of the national broadcaster RTB on Monday, an AFP journalist said.

The government source said Kabore had been “exfiltrated” from his home late Sunday by his presidential guard “before the arrival of armed elements who fired on the vehicles of his convoy”.

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Omicron Wave Of Covid-19 To End After Mid-February, US Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Fauci Predicts



The omicron wave of Coronavirus cases will peak in the US by mid-February and end afterwards, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci has predicted.

The number of COVID-19 infections in the US has been sharply declining in the Northeast and upper Midwest, following an alarming rise in cases since the highly contagious omicron variant was first reported in the U.S. in December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief White House medical adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Things are looking good. We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now,” Fauci said.

Some states in the South and West still have rising numbers of cases, “but if the pattern follows the trend that we’re seeing in other places such as the Northeast, I believe that you will start to see a turnaround throughout the entire country,” he said.

“There may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalizations in those areas of the countries that have not been fully vaccinated or have not gotten boosters,” Fauci added.

The US has had more than 700,000 new COVID cases per day, with a daily death toll of about 2,000. More than 865,000 people have died of COVID since the outbreak began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said once the omicron wave peaks, the level of infection should get below “what I call the area of control.”

He said the the virus hasn’t been eliminated but is no longer so widespread and disruptive, he said.

“We’d like it to get down to that level where it doesn’t disrupt us, in the sense of getting back to a degree of normality,” Fauci said. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

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Stay Away From Ukraine, France Advises Nationals Against Non-Essential Travel



…As UK Withdraws Diplomats From Ukraine

French nationals should avoid travelling to Ukraine unless they have an essential reason, the foreign ministry said Monday.

Due to the Russian military build-up on the border with its neighbour, “it is recommended to exercise heightened vigilance”, the ministry said in a statement.

“It is strongly recommended to avoid border areas in the north and the east of the country,” the statement said.

“As far as possible it is recommended to postpone any travel to Ukraine that is not essential or urgent,” the ministry said.

On Sunday, the US State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans not to travel to Russia “due to ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine”.

For its part, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the US move was “premature”, calling it “a display of excessive caution”.

The European Union said it would not follow Washington’s lead, top European diplomat Josep Borrell adding that there was no need to “dramatise” the situation while talks with Russia continue.

However Britain’s foreign ministry said Monday it was withdrawing some staff and their relatives from its embassy in Ukraine in response to the “growing threat from Russia”.

Australia’s foreign ministry has also advised citizens not to travel to Ukraine, directing dependents of Australian embassy staff in Kyiv to leave the country.

The NATO alliance said Monday it was sending jets and ships to bolster its eastern European defences, as the US and EU looked to coordinate a tough response to Russia if it invades Ukraine.

The Kremlin meanwhile accused the US and NATO of ramping up tensions.

The West accuses Moscow of threatening to invade Ukraine by massing over 100,000 troops on its border. Russia denies it is planning any incursion.

Meanwhile, the government of the United Kingdom has ordered the withdrawal of some of its diplomats and their families from Ukraine. 
This is a result of growing expectations that Russia could stage an attack. 
It was gathered that half of diplomatic staff and their families stationed at the UK’s outpost in Kyiv are expected to leave the country.

This was after the US ordered families of American diplomats out of the country for the same reason, and offered non-essential embassy staff flights home.

The EU said that it had no plans to withdraw its own diplomatic staff, with top diplomat Josep Borrell saying there is no need to ‘dramatise’ the situation.

According to Daily Mail, Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border and issued a list of security demands to the US and its NATO allies.

The alliance has described most of the list including a ban on Ukraine joining and the withdrawal of troops from ex-Soviet states as ‘non-starters’.

However, high-level talks are ongoing with the US due to provide written responses this week.

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