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Read our 17 Dec. pick of African news from the news agencies

South Sudan said on Tuesday it had arrested 10 senior political figures and was hunting for its ex-vice president, accusing him of leading a "foiled coup" in the oil-producing nation's capital, where gunfire rang out for a second day. Earlier on Tuesday, doctors at a military hospital said more than 60 soldiers have been killed in two days of clashes in the capital Juba. Fresh violence broke out on Tuesday, a day after the government said it had quashed an attempted coup. On Monday, President Salva Kiir blamed soldiers loyal to his former deputy Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July for the violence.
(Photo: Civilians arrive to a shelter at the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) compound on the outskirts of the capital Juba in South Sudan, in this December 17, 2013 handout from the UNMISS.)

The United Nations has vowed to punish those responsible for the killing of 21 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Martin Kobler, the special representative of the United Nations in Congo, said the massacre in the Beni area will ``not go unpunished.'' The victims, including women and children, were found hacked to death and some were mutilated. The 21 bodies were found in the villages of Musuku and Mwenda, in the eastern territory of Beni, an area that has been infested by armed groups for years. Kobler said they were killed by unknown assailants between Dec. 13 and 14. He said at least three young girls were raped, before being decapitated. The dismembered body of a child was found in a tree.

Some 200 African migrants and Israeli activists ended a two-day protest with a rally on Tuesday denouncing Israel's policy of detaining those living in the country illegally. The symbolic march began Sunday when about 150 migrants left an ``open'' detention facility in a remote area of southern Israel to make the two-day trip on foot and by bus that concluded with the protest outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. The migrants want the state to end its policy of detentions and recognize them as refugees. Under a law amended last week, Israel can detain African migrants without trial for a year, after which they are moved to the new ``open'' detention facility known as Holot. Critics say the action is an attempt to push the migrants to voluntarily leave Israel. Some 500 migrants now reside in the new facility. They are allowed to leave the facility but are required to report back three times a day and may remain there indefinitely. Most of the African migrants who made it to Israel over the past decade claim they were escaping forced conscription in Eritrea or war in Sudan.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the world body will establish a commission to investigate reports of atrocities in Central African Republic. The U.N. chief told reporters Monday he is ``gravely concerned about the imminent danger of mass atrocities'' in the country which ``descended into chaos'' this year. Mainly Muslim rebels overthrew the Christian-led government in March. Mr. Ban said the entire population of 4.6 million people, half of them children, is affected, and the U.N. is scaling up its humanitarian response and sending in human rights monitors. He said African and French troops are already making a difference but that more needs to be done to meet this test of global solidarity.''

A strike by lecturers which closed all public universities in Nigeria was called off on Tuesday after the government paid for the renovation of badly maintained public universities. Lecturers are returning to work, after the five-month old strike because the government had deposited money into a development fund for campuses, union leaders said. Education Minister Ezenwo Nyeso had threatened to dismiss lecturers who failed to return to work by 4 December.


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