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Mali needs other options if diplomacy fails: Rabat
by Staff Writers
Rabat (AFP) Aug 6, 2012

Morocco supports a political solution to the crisis in Mali but the regional community will have to consider "other options" if diplomacy fails, the foreign minister said in a newspaper interview.

The kingdom is encouraging its allies in the UN Security Council to find a political solution to the crisis in northern Mali, Youssef El Amrani told Le Matin in comments to be published on Tuesday.

But implementing any such solution will face "several difficulties," he said.

The minister said there was "an urgent need to act, to prevent the Sahel-Saharan region from becoming a safe haven for terrorists and a refuge for criminal networks."

"The exhaustion of all diplomatic means will force ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) and the Security Council to consider other options," the minister was quoted as saying in the French-language daily.

Hardline Islamists who occupied Mali's vast north in the chaos following a coup in Bamako in March have tightened control over the area, imposing a strict form of Islamic law.

Among those now in power in the north are the Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The Moroccan foreign minister said "the strategic, humanitarian and political nightmare of a 'Somalisation' of Mali" haunts the Maghreb and West Africa as much as Europe."

And he argued that those benefiting from the turmoil in the region were strengthened by "the absence of a proper regional strategy."

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Saturday that France would back an African military intervention in northern Mali, a strategy that he described as "desirable and inevitable."

ECOWAS wants to send a 3,000-strong military force to Mali, but is waiting for United Nations approval and a formal request from Bamako.

Amrani said that during his recent visit to Paris, where he met his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, he had noted "the strong convergence of views between Paris and Rabat especially on regional and international issues."

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Zambian police arrest 12 over Chinese mine boss killing
Lusaka (AFP) Aug 6, 2012 - Zambia's police arrested 12 people over the death of a Chinese manager in a wage riot at a Sino-owned coal mine known for sometimes violent tensions with workers, a spokesman said Monday.

"We have arrested 12 people in connection with the killing of a Chinese manager at Collum Coal mine, although we have not yet charged them," southern province police commissioner Fred Mutondo told AFP.

"Not all the 12 are employees of the mine. Some are villagers that joined in the riot."

Wu Shengzai, 50, died after being hit by a trolley which was pushed toward him as he fled underground. A Chinese colleague was also injured in the attack in Sinazongwe, 325 kilometres (200 miles) south of Lusaka.

Chinese investment in the world's biggest copper producer topped $1 billion (800,000 euro) in 2010 but tensions over working conditions have dogged the Asian giant's relations with locals.

The suspects who pushed the trolley towards Wu were not part of the group arrested.

"We have a clear lead of the people who released the trolley to kill their manager but these people are still on the run," Mutondo said.

The miners rioted during a strike at the Chinese-owned Collum Coal mine to protest delays in implementing a new minimum wage.

In 2010, two of the mine's managers were charged with attempted murder after allegedly opening fire on a group of protesting miners. The charges were later dropped.

Eleven Zambian workers were injured in the incident and the mine has since then been a source of controversy between Chinese investors and Zambians.


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Suicide bomber in Nigeria kills at least 6 soldiers
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Aug 5, 2012
A suicide bomber in a car rammed into a military patrol on Sunday in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu, killing himself, at least six soldiers and a civilian, the state police boss confirmed. "He detonated the bomb he was carrying in his car, killing himself. Six soldiers were also killed, nine others were injured and are in hospital," Patrick Egbuniwe, the Yobe state police commiss ... read more

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