Sunday 19 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
At least five people were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in northeastern Nigeria, a militia member assisting the military against Boko Haram jihadists said. The leader of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Ajiri Yala, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Maiduguri, said the attack happened at about 4:30 am (0330 GMT). "A male suicide bomber disguised as a worshipper entered the mosque while people were gathering for the morning prayers," he told AFP by telephone. "He detonated his explosives. He killed five people and injured several others." Boko Haram typically never claims responsibility but has used suicide bombing as a frequent tactic in its eight-year insurgency to establish a...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Seven more bodies have been found after a Boko Haram raid on a military camp in northeast Nigeria, a security source told AFP on Friday. Militant fighters stormed the base at Sasawa village, some 45 kilometres from the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, on Tuesday, in the third such attack on the military in two weeks. The Nigerian Army has confirmed the attack and said only there were "casualties on both sides". But a military source said: "So far, 15 bodies of soldiers killed in the attack at Sasawa have been recovered, including that of an officer. "Seven more bodies were found in the course of search and rescue operations by 27 Brigade and 233 Battalion. More (soldiers) are still missing...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Muhammadu Buhari was elected as Nigeria's president on a promise to root out rampant corruption in government that has seen billions of dollars of public money stolen over decades. But since his landmark election win in 2015 he has yet to secure a high-profile conviction for graft while the main opposition accuse him of mounting a political witch-hunt. Now, a growing scandal involving an indicted civil servant has engulfed the presidency, giving Buhari's detractors fresh ammunition and raising questions about his grip on power. Last weekend, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced that the interior ministry had reappointed Abdulrasheed Maina to the civil service. Maina headed a task force on pension reforms during the last administration but fled...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Ibrahim Aminu launched his first clothing line eight years ago when he designed a dress for his sister. Before he knew it, the orders began flooding in and House of Kaya became the first -- and so far only -- haute couture house in conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria. Lagos Fashion and Design Week, the annual festival which runs until Saturday, is in full swing. Champagne corks are popping, beer is flowing and Aminu's collection stands out. On the catwalk, where designers from across Africa are showcasing their latest collections, there are see-through dresses and models parading without bras. Necklines are sometimes so plunging, they fall below the chest. It's impossible to imagine such a sight in Aminu's home state...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
At least eight soldiers were killed in heavy fighting when Boko Haram raided a military camp and looted food from villagers in northeast Nigeria, a military source disclosed on Thursday. The attack in Sasawa village, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, happened at about 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday. It was the third Boko Haram attack on the military in the remote region in the last two weeks, after a relative lull during the rainy season, which ended last month. The spokesman for 3 Division Nigerian Army in Damaturu, Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya, on Wednesday confirmed the attack, saying only that there were "casualties on both sides". But a military commander in the city said...
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
The Nigerian military on Wednesday said it was investigating reports that a recent bombing raid killed one of the wives of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Fighter jets attacked what was said to be "a large gathering of Boko Haram terrorists" at the Durwawa settlement, near Urga in the Konduga area of Borno state on October 19. The bombing killed jihadists on the ground and triggered a fire, air force spokesman Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya said in an emailed statement. "Efforts are ongoing to confirm the reported killing of Shekau's wife, alongside other BHTs (Boko Haram terrorists)," he added.
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan failed to show up in court on Wednesday, after a judge ruled that he should be called as a witness in a high-profile corruption trial. Judge Abang Okon, sitting at the Federal High Court in Abuja, signed a summons on Tuesday after lawyers for Olisa Metuh said they wanted to question him in court. Metuh is accused of having fraudulently received 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros) from Jonathan's former national security advisor, Sambo Dasuki. The money was allegedly diverted from funds meant to procure weapons and equipment for the fight against Boko Haram and was used to fund Jonathan's failed re-election bid in 2015. Judge Okon told the court that Jonathan was not...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
YAOUNDE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hundreds of thousands of people uprooted by Boko Haram violence in the Lake Chad region are too afraid to return home, as the Islamist group continues to target citizens, a top aid official said. Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who recently visited Nigeria’s Borno state, said attacks had been reported “every single day when we were there”. “It was always and uniformly against the civilian populations,” he told a London event on the crisis by video link. “They’re too scared to return to their ancestral lands.” The violence provoked by Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency makes it extremely difficult for those who have fled to consider going home, emphasized Egeland, a former...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/25/17)
BERLIN (Reuters) - Six crew from a German container vessel have been kidnapped in Nigerian waters, a shipping company said on Tuesday. Four of those taken are Filipino, and one is a Ukrainian national, according to the Philippines department of labor and Ukrainian foreign ministry. Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have, in the last few years, been kidnapped in the Niger Delta, source of most of the crude oil which is Nigeria’s economic mainstay. “The vessel was attacked by pirates on early Saturday morning when it was approaching...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
A German shipping company says pirates raided one of its vessels off the coast of Nigeria and took six crew members hostage. Cor Radings, a spokesman for Hamburg-based Peter Doehle Schiffahrts-KG, said Tuesday that the Liberia-flagged container ship MV Demeter was attacked early Saturday morning before entering the port of Onne, Nigeria. Radings says the attackers boarded the ship, seized the hostages and fled with them. He says the remaining crew was able to guide the ship to safer waters. Radings said: “Our top priority now is to try and establish contact with the kidnappers.” He described the crew members as being from Eastern Europe and Asia, but wouldn’t give more details for privacy reasons. The majority of pirate attacks...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
A judge on Tuesday ordered Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan to appear at the corruption trial of his party's former spokesman. The summons is a surprise development and will be keenly watched, as Jonathan has been cited in several corruption cases but is not thought to have been formally questioned. But whether he appears depends on when or if he is formally served the court papers in time. Olisa Metuh is on trial accused of having fraudulently received from 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros) from Jonathan's national security advisor, Sambo Dasuki. The former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman maintains he received the money on Jonathan's orders to fund his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2015. On Monday, Metuh's lawyers...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan has been asked to testify at the corruption trial of his party's former spokesman, a court was told on Monday. Olisa Metuh is being tried on charges of having fraudulently received some 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros) from the then-national security advisor Sambo Dasuki. The money was allegedly used to fund Jonathan's failed re-election campaign for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, which he lost to Muhammadu Buhari. Metuh's lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, has already successfully applied for Dasuki to appear as a defence witness and said he would do the same for Jonathan. "The other witness we want to subpoena is Goodluck Jonathan, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," he...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
LUBUMBASHI, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo on Monday condemned the arrest of about 30 opposition members amid a crackdown on dissent by President Joseph Kabila’s government. The arrests occurred in the eastern city of Lubumbashi on Sunday when police broke up a meeting by the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party on the eve of a return to the city of opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi after a long absence, party members told Reuters. Congo is struggling to deal with high political tension and security concerns are threatening to spiral out of control in Africa’s largest copper producer because of Kabila’s refusal to hold elections when his presidential mandate expired nearly a...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Fourteen people have now died in the latest suicide bomb attack in northeast Nigeria, an official said Monday, calling for greater protection for those made homeless by Boko Haram. Three bombers, all of them women, detonated their explosives near the sprawling Muna Garage camp on the outskirts of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Sunday evening. The blasts came after warnings of a build-up of jihadist fighters outside the strategic city, which has been the epicentre in the eight years of Islamist violence. Ahmed Satomi, from the Borno state emergency management agency, told AFP the death toll had risen since Sunday evening. "So far, we have 14 people killed and 18 injured in the triple suicide bombings last night," he...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday vowed to ramp up security and and economic cooperation between Ankara and Africa's most populous nation. Speaking after talks at Erdogan's palace, Buhari and the Turkish leader vowed to increase investment and cooperate in the fight against extremist groups including Boko Haram jihadists. "There are a lot of potentialities in terms of investment. Already a lot is being done in the education and the health sectors," said Buhari. "This will be strengthened and Nigeria is prepared to receive Turkish business people to come and explore more of Nigeria's potentialities," he added. Erdogan said he believed both sides would push trade volumes above $1.245 billion. "Turkish business people are...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Nigerian football bosses have promised to conclude talks on World Cup win bonuses by the end of the year, to avoid a repeat of protests that have dogged the team in previous finals. The Super Eagles deliberately missed a training session in Brazil in 2014 in protest at the non-payment of a bonus for qualifying. Coach Gernot Rohr has said a similar situation would "be bad for our preparation", with the team already through to the tournament in Russia next year. Now, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said it would "ensure that negotiations with the players... are firmly concluded and agreement signed before the end of the year". That would help "stable preparations and credible participation at the World Cup...

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