UN humanitarian workers estimate that some 2.6 million people in the Central African Republic (CAR), or more than half of its total population, will need humanitarian assistance in 2020, a UN spokesman said Tuesday.
As of November, nearly 700,000 people were displaced throughout the country, and over 595,000 people have taken refuge in the neighboring countries, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Limited access to agricultural fields due to insecurity impacts three-quarters of the population, he told a daily press briefing.
More than 1 million girls and boys of school age will need humanitarian assistance in education in 2020 and approximately 178,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition, he said, adding that the humanitarian response plan for the CAR in 2020 requests 401 million U.S. dollars.
At least 31 Boko Haram militants were killed in a gunfight when the troops laid an ambush for them in Nigeria's northeastern state of Yobe, a spokesman for the army said on Monday.
Njoka Irabor, a spokesman for the army in the northeast region, said a commander of the Boko Haram group identified as Mukhtar was among those killed in the encounter late Sunday in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe.
Mukhtar was known to have coordinated most of the ambushes against the Nigerian troops along the fringes of Lake Chad, Irabor said.
According to the spokesman, the terror group had attempted to invade the city of Damaturu to wreak havoc on the residents but the troops thwarted the attack.
The gunfight, which prevented the Boko Haram militants from gaining entry into the city, lasted at least three hours, the spokesman said.
The northeast region in Nigeria has been destabilized for over a decade by Boko Haram, which most notoriously kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls in 2014.
Boko Haram is known for its agenda to maintain a virtual caliphate in the most populous African country.
Botswana said on Monday that it is fighting rhino poaching harder in the Okavango Delta in the northern part of the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in a statement that the government has stepped up its efforts to address rhino poaching and recovered some horns and hunting weapons in related operations.
Statistics show that nine rhinos were killed between April 1 and Oct. 4 this year.
"From October 2019 to date, 13 more rhinos have been poached," said the statement.
"During engagement with the poachers, seven casualties occurred amongst poachers who were resisting arrest. The government will continue to do all it can to ensure the protection of this iconic species," Alice Mmolawa, spokesperson of the ministry, said in the statement.
She appealed to stakeholders including communities and the private sector to support rhino protection efforts.
"We further call upon members of the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities in and around the Okavango Delta to the nearest security agents," Mmolawa said.
Authorities in Ivory Coast have issued an arrest warrant for Guillaume Soro, prompting the ex-rebel leader and presidential hopeful to divert his plane to another country instead of returning home.
The arrest warrant is certain to escalate political tensions ahead of the 2020 election in the West African nation. Soro's supporters took to the streets Monday to protest and police used tear gas on them.
Soro, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2012, had planned to return home after more than six months abroad.
Public Prosecutor Adou Richard announced on state television Monday night that Soro was accused of "presumption of an attack on state security," without giving details. Soro also is suspected of embezzling public funds and money laundering, Richard said.
The charges were announced hours after several of Soro's top associates were detained by security forces following a news conference in Abidjan.
"Arresting Soro won't resolve the problem, the crisis in Ivory Coast," said Soro supporter Bernard Koffi. "On the contrary, it makes the crisis worse because we don't know what wrong he is supposed to have done."
Ivory Coast erupted in civil war in 2002 and remained divided into a rebel-controlled north and loyalist south until a 2007 peace deal.
Soro and his allies helped President Alassane Ouattara come to power when then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down during the violent 2010-2011 election that left more than 3,000 people dead.
Soro later fell out of favor with Ouattara while serving as parliament speaker and ultimately stepped down.
He is the first candidate to publicly declare his intention to run for president under the banner of his party, Générations et Peuples Solidaires, or GPS.
Ouattara was believed to be serving his final term but recently indicated he might consider seeking a third term if Gbagbo decides to run.