Rebels attack French Uranium plant in Central African republic; US expands military aid and intelligence to Africa; Cairo court sentences ex-minister over Israel gas deal; UN Security Council endorses regional strategy to combat LRA threat; Egypt seizes w
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  • According to army and French diplomatic sources, rebels have attacked and looted a uranium plant operated by the French nuclear company Areva near a uranium mine in the southeast of the Central African Republic. No Areva employees were killed or wounded in the attack but one villager was killed by the gang near the Bakouma mine. These armed men were believed to be members of the Chadian rebel group Popular Front for Recovery (FPR) led by 'General' Baba Ladde. 1

    In another development, the Head of U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Carter Ham, said that the U.S. is expanding efforts to provide intelligence, training and also forces to African nations to help counter terrorist activities in the region. On Libya, Ham said that the U.S. is seeking a partnership with Libya as the nation takes steps to set up its own government. 2

    According to reports, the Cairo criminal court sentenced a former Mubarak-era oil minister Sameh Fahmi and a businessman Hussein Salem for 15 years each in prison for selling Israel natural gas below market value, thus undermining the interests of Egypt. Five former high ranking officials from the oil and gas authority received jail sentences raging from three to 10 years on similar charges. 3

    In another development, the UN Security Council endorsed the regional strategy developed by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) to tackle the threat posed by the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The strategy focuses on five key strategic objectives to address the threat from the LRA, which has been causing troubles in South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in addition to Uganda. The Security Council also called for the necessary support to ensure that it is carried out successfully. 4

    According to reports, Egypt's interior minister Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim said that the Egyptian security forces have seized large number of weapons, including rockets and automatic machine guns near the Mediterranean resort city of Marsa Matrouh. These weapons were smuggled into the country from neighbouring Libyan city of Sirte and allegedly bound for the Gaza Strip. Among the munitions confiscated were 138 grad rockets and some 7,000 rounds of ammunition, the "biggest" bust in the history of the Interior Ministry according to Ibrahim. 5

    Reports noted that the Egyptian government has signed an agreement with the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) that will provide $1 billion to finance energy and food imports. The agreement with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, part of the IDB, was signed in Cairo by Waleed Abdul Mohsen al-Wohaib, chief executive of the institution, and Egypt's international cooperation minister, Faiza Abu el-Naga. The finance was part of a previously announced agreement to provide Egypt with $2.5 billion. 6

    In other developments, according to reports, renewed tribal clashes in the Libyan city of Kufra have claimed at least 47 lives and left more than 100 others wounded in three days. Women and children were among more than half of the injured, with majority of them hurt by mortar fire. Toubou tribal leader Hussein Sake blamed the outbreak of violence on rival Zwai tribesmen and their allies, who he said include the Libya Shield brigade, This brigade is a force deployed by the interim Libyan government to act as a buffer between the conflicting camps. 7