News in brief

Libya: French embassy bombed

A car bomb detonated outside the French embassy building in Tripoli on Tuesday has injured two French guards, one severely, as well as several local residents.

The bomb destroyed parts of the building, as well as other buildings in the area. French President Francois Hollande branded the attack “unacceptable,” adding that, more than a strike against France, the bombing represented an assault on “all countries in the international community engaged in the fight against terrorism”.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Nigeria: “Over 180” killed in Boko Haram fighting

Pitched battles between the Nigerian military and the Boko Haram insurgency have left over 180 people dead this week, according to reports.

Heavy-duty weaponry, including grenade launchers and machine guns, have been used as both sides have fought to gain the upper hand in a bloody conflict in the border town of Baga. The Nigerian military says that it has successfully seized some of the weaponry.

Nigeria denies the death toll, saying that the actual number is closer to 40, but one aid worker spoke of huge destruction in the remote area, with almost half the town said to have been destroyed.

Isa Lawan, a local member of parliament, told the BBC that “What happened is Baga is sad and beyond description. We have already started despatching relief materials, including building materials and food stuff. We want to make sure that people get the necessary assistance to start rebuilding their homes.”

The Boko Haram militants are said to have caused the deaths of thousands of people in Nigeria over the last four years. Last year a series of bombings linked to the group killed 160 people in the city of Kano.

DR Congo: Brazilian general to head up UN mission

General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz has been appointed as the lead officer in the UN’s peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gen Santos Cruz is known for his work in Haiti, where he is credited with restoring order to the Cite Soleil slum in Port au Prince after violent gangs took control.

Santos Cruz will take control of a force of 20,000 soldiers, including a special brigade tasked with “neutralising” armed groups in the east of the country.

Speaking on his appointment, Santos Cruz said: “I am ready to face the most difficult of scenarios. The main objective is to relieve the suffering of the people. The most critical area is nowadays the eastern part of the country.”

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