Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

4 killed in suspected Boko Haram extremist attack in Nigeria

June 23, 2018

Police say four people have been killed in an attack by suspected Boko Haram extremists in northern Nigeria.

A member of a civilian self-defense group, Maina Shettima, tells The Associated Press that the bodies were found Saturday morning in Tungushe village just outside Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the birthplace of Boko Haram. He says six people were injured and homes and vehicles were burned.

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File Photo

The Borno State police spokesman says gunmen attacked, but resident Umar Ibrahim says a suicide bomber detonated his explosives shortly after midnight near people sleeping outside their homes in the heat.

Nigeria more than once has claimed victory over Boko Haram but the group continues to carry out suicide bombings and kidnappings in the region.

The Associated Press

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Five migrants die, nearly 200 rescued off Libya

June 23, 2018

Five migrants died and nearly 200 were rescued off the coast of Libya while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in two boats, the Libyan navy said Saturday.

Three children and nine women were among 94 migrants rescued on Friday when their inflatable dinghy sank 12 nautical miles from Garabulli, east of the capital Tripoli.

© AFP/File | African migrants rescued by the Libyan coast guard arrive at a naval base in Tripoli on June 21, 2018

Five migrants — from Sudan, Nigeria, Chad and Egypt — aboard the same vessel lost their lives, said navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem.

Another 91 migrants travelling in another boat were rescued in the same area, the spokesman said.

A total of 900 migrants have been intercepted or rescued by the Libyan navy since Wednesday as departures pick up due to favourable weather.

Usually in such cases the migrants are taken to detention centres pending repatriation.

Libya is a key departure point for thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe, although hundreds drown each year attempting the crossing.

AFP

Saudi Arabia pushing Iran closer to Opec deal

June 22, 2018
Oil cartel seeks to cool a price rally that has taken crude prices to highest level since 2014
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Anjli Raval and David Sheppard in Vienna


Saudi Arabia on Friday led Opec in pushing Iran closer to a deal to unwind supply curbs by up to 1m barrels per day, as the cartel and its allies tried to find a way to cool a price rally that has taken crude to the highest level since 2014.

Khalid Al Falih, the kingdom’s energy minister, said on Friday he was hopeful producers could reach an agreement, with Saudi Arabia engaging in private talks with Iran and Russia to bring on more barrels amid pressure from consumers including the US.

Bijan Zanganeh, Iran’s oil minister, said producers were “cooking something” but it was unclear if the main sticking point — how to distribute any raises — had been resolved.

Oil prices have risen above $80 a barrel in recent weeks as Opec and Russia-led supply cuts coincided with robust demand and unplanned outages from countries such as Venezuela.

Iran had opposed any change in the original agreement in the lead up to the meeting, arguing crude prices received an additional boost after the US reimposed sanctions on its oil exports and any new deal would mean Opec was acting on behalf of President Donald Trump.

“There was a lot of discussion about listening to consumers, but clearly the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is overweight in influence and cannot be easily ignored, “ said Helima Croft at RBC Capital Markets.

Mr Falih said that while a headline figure of 1m barrels per day was being proposed by most ministers — to be shared among Opec and non-Opec producers — he said the actual level of increases could be lower as some countries were unable to boost output.

Before the meeting, Saudi Arabia was said to seek an outcome that would return 600,000-800,000 barrels per day of real crude to the market.

The existing cuts, which have been in place between Opec and its allies since January 2017, have far exceeded the original target of 1.8m barrels per day due to unplanned outages in countries including Venezuela, Angola and Libya.

Mr Falih said the proposal on the table would bring compliance within Opec back to 100 per cent. By sticking broadly within the limits of the existing deal, this might placate Iran.

Still, Raad Alkadiri of the Boston Consulting Group said: “The Iranians and other producers who can’t raise output are understandably concerned about what is in it for them. There’s been a lot of focus on the politics but the economics are arguably even more important.”

Iran’s oil minister said before the meeting that he agreed that raising production would be a “responsible” outcome for consumers but emphasised that he saw $70 a barrel as a “good” price for oil.

That is a level Saudi Arabia is also said to be loath to see prices fall below, illustrating part of the delicate balancing act Opec and its allies are trying to achieve.

While Iran’s oil minister reiterated on Friday that Opec is not an organisation to “take instructions from President Trump”, Saudi Arabia — a key ally of Washington — has felt pressure from the US and other big oil consumers, including China and India, to stop prices rising further.

As the meeting got under way late on Friday morning, Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 1.7 per cent at $74.31 a barrel.

Mr Falih said the vast majority of members backed an increase and he hoped “reason will ultimately prevail.”

Saudi Arabia has allied with Russia — who is not an Opec member — since 2016 and are looking to formalise an arrangement between the cartel and Moscow.

Alexander Novak, the Russian energy minister, has backed an output increase with the country’s energy companies keen to raise production. Non-Opec countries, led by Russia, will meet with the cartel on Saturday and will probably rubber stamp any agreement reached between Opec producers on Friday.

“The last few days have seen at least a certain degree of tentative alignment in terms of opinions and have increased chances for a consensus-driven supply increase,” analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna said.

“In particular, the acknowledgment — crucially also by Iran — that dealing with the unintended over-compliance is a feasible and acceptable approach towards effectively getting more oil to the market, is encouraging.”

https://www.ft.com/content/c2d4232a-7606-11e8-b326-75a27d27ea5f

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Saudi and Iranian energy ministers meet privately ahead of Opec meeting

June 22, 2018

The energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran held last-minute talks ahead of the Opec meeting on Friday

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Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih floated a plan Thursday to raise oil production by about one million barrels a day. PHOTO:STEFAN WERMUTH/BLOOMBERG NEWS

By David Sheppard 


The energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran held last-minute talks ahead of the Opec meeting on Friday, Iran’s Shana news agency reported.

The talks will be seen as a last-ditch attempt by Saudi’s Khalid al Falih to have Iran’s Bijan Zanganeh back an Opec and Russia-led proposal to agree an oil output increase of 1m barrels a day.

Image result for Bijan Zanganeh, photos

Iran’s Bijan Zanganeh

Iran has opposed the increase, arguing it is a response to US pressure to lower oil prices, which jumped after Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran’s crude exports.

Mr Zanganeh left a technical meeting of the producer group last night saying talks were not going well.

The start of the Opec meeting in Vienna has been delayed while the talks are ongoing.

https://www.ft.com/content/3631e596-75f8-11e8-b326-75a27d27ea5f

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Iran Throws Wrench Into OPEC Plan to Lift Production

Saudi minister says there is broad support for proposal to raise crude output by one million barrels a day

VIENNA—Iran said late Thursday it was still opposed to a deal to lift oil output, fraying a sense of consensus among OPEC members and putting it at loggerheads with Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s de facto leader.

The surprise move—after signals throughout the day that Iran was warming to an agreement—heightens uncertainty about whether Saudi Arabia can maintain discipline among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as it seeks to dole out more oil to thirsty global markets. Riyadh has led OPEC in a pact with Russia and a handful of other non-OPEC members in whittling down a large surplus of crude that has kept prices low for years.

That deal, reached in 2016, displayed an uncommon level of compliance among global producers. Now, with Iran openly rebelling, that sense of discipline is threatened.

Saudi Arabia, its Persian Gulf allies and Russia can move ahead with an increase without Tehran. But OPEC decisions are usually unanimous. Disarray inside the group could signal to markets the tightly coordinated oil policy among the Riyadh- and Moscow-led group is coming apart.

Representatives of other influential OPEC members, including Nigeria and Iraq, in comments to reporters after a late-night technical meeting Thursday, said they backed a plan pushed by Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al Falih to boost output by one million barrels day. Mr. Falih said he had support from an “overwhelming majority” for the one-million-barrel increase.

Mr. Falih also said a working group of OPEC members and nonmembers had agreed to back the proposal. OPEC meets Friday to make a final decision.

Iran can’t raise output on its own, partly because new U.S. sanctions are likely to keep buyers away. But Iran’s intransigence would challenge Riyadh’s authority in the group. Analysts and officials have worried that could lead to a free-for-all among other producers, who might be tempted to open the taps to compete for market share—driving down prices.

“There still some time left to negotiate until the meeting starts on Friday, ‎but (it) is likely to be a tough one,” said Giovanni Staunovo, commodity strategist at UBS.

OPEC meetings are often contentious right down to the last minute, and Iran in particular has frequently clashed with Saudi Arabia over output decisions. Tehran has used this OPEC meeting to accuse Riyadh of bowing to U.S. demands to pump more oil. Washington has asked Saudi Arabia to provide more oil amid the new sanctions on Iran, according to people familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump has tweeted that prices are too high and has blamed OPEC.

Earlier in the day, a relatively smooth meeting looked possible. Iran’s oil minister arrived early in the week vowing to reject any output increase. But by Thursday officials familiar with the Iranian delegation’s thinking expected a compromise. Mr. Falih floated the plan to lift daily output by one million barrels.

That was more than Riyadh had originally wanted but far less than the 1.5 million barrels a day Moscow was seeking. The plan was enough to convince traders more oil was coming to market and sent crude prices down.

Hours later, though, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said he was still far from convinced a deal was close. “I don’t think there will be an agreement,” he told reporters.

Mr. Falih and Russian counterpart Alexander Novak have said they are willing to ease up on the 2016 output cut the two countries orchestrated. That pact reduced output by about 2% of global production at the time—or about 1.8 million barrels a day.

More recently, though, it has led to sharply higher crude prices and complaints from consumer countries like the U.S. and Asian buyers. OPEC has traditionally worried that too-high oil prices could curb demand.

On paper, the plan circulated by Mr. Falih on Thursday is bigger than what he and other OPEC allies have floated recently in response to Russia’s entreaties. As recently as Wednesday, he was pushing a plan to increase the group’s output by 500,000 barrels a day, according to people familiar with the matter.

But behind the scenes, people familiar with the matter say, Thursday’s proposal is more in line with what the Saudis and allies have been advocating all along. Because of output constraints, the current proposal would eventually amount to just 600,000 barrels a day of additional crude, they say.

The Saudi plan, officials have previously said, would consist of a first boost by OPEC’s 14 member states and a group of 10 Russia-led allies amounting to about 500,000 barrels a day in the third quarter. This would then be followed by the same amount in the fourth quarter.

But many members of the group are limited in how much they can lift output. Several are pumping flat out, while a few OPEC members, including Libya, Venezuela and Iran, are dealing with output constraints. Rebels have attacked Libyan ports, reducing exports. An acute economic crisis has hit Venezuelan production. U.S. sanctions threaten to bottle up Iranian crude.

That all means the OPEC and non-OPEC group would only really be adding about 600,000 barrels a day in new crude output, people familiar with the matter said.

Write to Summer Said at summer.said@wsj.com, Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@wsj.comand Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

Appeared in the June 22, 2018, print edition as ‘Iran Threatens To Sink OPEC Deal On Output Boost.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/opec-nears-deal-to-lift-oil-production-1529580187

 

Boko Haram: Suicide Bombs Kill 31 in Nigeria

June 17, 2018

Suspected Boko Haram jihadists killed at least 31 people in a twin suicide bomb attack on a town in northeast Nigeria, a local official and a militia leader told AFP on Sunday.

Two blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

Following the suicide bombings, the jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the attacks, driving the number of casualties higher.

“There were two suicide attacks and rocket-propelled grenade explosions in Damboa last night which killed 31 people and left several others injured,” said local militia leader Babakura Kolo.

Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Shuwari and nearby Abachari neighbourhoods in the town around 10:45 pm (2145GMT), killing six residents, said Kolo, speaking from the state capital Maiduguri, which is 88 kilometres (55 miles) from the town.

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FILE photo

“No one needs to be told this is the work of Boko Haram,” Kolo said.

A local government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the death toll.

“The latest death toll is now 31 but it may increase because many among the injured may not survive,” said the official.

“Most of the casualties were from the rocket projectiles fired from outside the town minutes after two suicide bombers attacked,” he said.

The attack is the latest example of Boko Haram’s continued threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, said Ryan Cummings, Africa analyst at the Signal Risk consultancy in South Africa.

“Boko Haram still maintains both the intent and operational capacity to launch mass casualty attacks in parts of northeastern Nigeria,” Cummings said, despite the government’s repeated claims that the group is on the back foot.

The use of the rockets is “particularly conspicuous,” Cummings said, as it “indicates that the sect continues to have access to military-grade weaponry.”

“The Boko Haram insurgency is not showing any immediate signs of” easing, said Cummings.

– Suicide bombings –

The jihadist group has regularly deployed suicide bombers — many of them young girls — in mosques, markets and camps housing people displaced by the nine-year insurgency.

On May 1 at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide blasts targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in neighbouring Adamawa state.

The attacks have devastated Nigeria’s northeast, one of the country’s poorest regions where illiteracy and unemployment are rampant.

Seeking purpose and money, disillusioned and jobless young men have turned to the radical Islam of Boko Haram, which decries Western colonialism and the modern Nigerian state.

In their quest to carve out a caliphate, the jihadists have razed towns to the ground, kidnapped women and children and slaughtered thousands of others, putting many more on the brink of starvation.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came into power in 2015 vowing to stamp out Boko Haram but the jihadists continue to stage frequent attacks, targeting both civilians and security forces.

The militants stormed the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, seizing over 100 schoolgirls in a carbon copy of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outrage.

The deadly violence has put Buhari under pressure as elections approach in February next year.

Along with Boko Haram, Buhari faces the continued threat of militants in the oil-rich south, separatists in the southeast and an upsurge in communal violence in the country’s central region.

Injured men in hospital after a suicide bomber attack in northeastern Nigeria last month, with another 31 killed late Saturday in a similar attack suspected to be the work of Boko Haram jihadists.

AFP
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Air Force fighter jets kill many Boko Haram terrorists in Borno

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/06/air-force-fighter-jets-kill-many-boko-haram-terrorists-borno/

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Boko Haram Terrorist’s Mom expresses sadness that her son “brought many problems to many people”

June 17, 2018

he mother of Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader, the most wanted terrorist in the west African nation, Abubakar Shekau, has reportedly criticised her son saying he has “brought many problems to many people” and she has not seen him in at least 15 years.

According to Voice of America, villagers of Shekau – the insurgent group leader’s home town – in Yobe state confirmed that Falmata Abubakar was the mother of Nigeria’s most wanted man.

Shekau’s father was a local district imam before passing away a few years ago.

Falmata had never spoken to reporters before, and said she was praying to God to show her notorious son the good way.

A screengrab from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau delivering a speech. (Boko Haram, AFP)

A screengrab from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau delivering a speech. (Boko Haram, AFP)

She said her son left the village as a young man to study Islam in Maiduguri – the epicentre of the group’s insurgent – where he met Boko Haram’s founding leader Muhammed Yusuf, who ensured that he did not return home.

‘For 15 years I haven’t seen him’

“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead. I don’t know. It’s only God who knows. For 15 years I haven’t seen him. Since Shekau met with Mohammed Yusuf, I didn’t see him again. Yes, he’s my son and every mother loves her son, but we have different characters,” Falmata was quoted as saying.

“He brought a lot of problem too many people. Where can I meet him to tell him that these things he is doing are very bad? He brought many problems to many people, but I am praying for God to show him the good way,”

According to BBC, Boko Haram was one of the most deadly terror groups that was formed to fight against Nigeria’s government in 2009, with the aim of establishing an Islamic caliphate in west Africa.

The group was mainly focused in north-eastern Nigeria, the Lake Chad region and has reportedly left more than 20 000 people dead, with some two million displaced.

Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group (ISIS) in March 2015.

In August 2016, the group apparently split, with an ISIS video announcing that Shekau had been replaced by Abu Musab al-Barnawi the son of Boko Haram’s founder.

Nigeria wants to stop being lax about tax

May 27, 2018

Paying income tax used to be a joke in Nigeria which, no wonder, has the worst tax to GDP ratio in sub-Saharan Africa.

As one banking executive put it: “In Nigeria, the government pretends to tax people and people pretend to pay. That’s the Nigerian social contract.”

But these days it’s no laughing matter, as an ambitious government scheme designed to make the executive class pay up draws to a close.

Millions of people for the first time are now coughing up taxes as President Muhammadu Buhari’s government conducts one of the country’s most vigorous collection drives in years.

The money is desperately needed. Widening Nigeria’s tax base will help boost non-oil revenue in Africa’s largest economy, which is limping out of its worst recession in 25 years.

© AFP / by Stephanie FINDLAY | A man wearing a t-shirt that says “Pay Your Tax” in Nigeria, where tax is no longer a laughing matter

And Nigeria has a long way to go. Its current tax-to-gross domestic product ratio is just 5.9 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

In Lagos alone, there are 6,800 millionaires and 360 multi-millionaires, according to a 2017 report by AfrAsia Bank. But top earners hardly lead by example.

In 2016, just 241 people paid more than 20 million naira ($55,600, 47,400 euros) in personal income taxes, the Nigerian finance ministry reported.

– Plug leaks –

It’s not hard to see why Nigerians would be reluctant to pay tax to fund public services, when there has been no visible return.

Infrastructure in most cities is disintegrating. Roads between states are crumbling. People pay for their own electricity and water.

Endemic corruption is partly to blame, said the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II, one of Nigeria’s leading Islamic figures who served as central bank governor in the previous administration.

“Improving transparency and public financial management is critical to improving revenues,” he said this week at a meeting of the African Development Bank Group in South Korea.

“Make sure the taxes actually get into the government’s pockets and you don’t have all these leakages.”

Though difficult, tax reform isn’t impossible in Nigeria.

Lagos state, home to the country’s commercial capital, has successfully mobilised a tax base whose contributions represent over a third of internally generated revenue collected in all Nigeria’s 36 states, said transparency organisation BudgIT.

That has allowed it to finance a growing number of projects, including a cable-stayed bridge linking the upmarket neighbourhoods of Ikoyi and Lekki that is now a city landmark.

– Tax awareness –

Buhari, who is seeking re-election at polls next February, wants to double the tax-to-GDP ratio by 2020.

To do that, his finance minister Kemi Adeosun has followed in the footsteps of Turkey and Indonesia and launched a tax amnesty programme.

The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) has a two-part strategy.

First, it offers Nigerians a period of grace to regularise their tax affairs or else face a prison term of up to five years, financial penalties and possible forfeiture of assets.

Second, it uses data to link land registry records and tax receipts to root out defaulters.

The government enlisted the help of international asset recovery firm Kroll to troll bureau de change networks, WikiLeaks and even the Panama Papers to identify negligent high net worth individuals.

The programme was launched in June last year, with the government declaring every Thursday “tax awareness day”.

Tax officers were stationed at airports and a massive digital billboard advertising of the scheme flashed over the Lekki bridge toll gate in Lagos — a not-so-subtle threat to the denizens of the affluent suburb.

In May, Adeosun — a former chartered accountant and auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London — said Nigeria’s tax base had risen from 14 million people in 2016 to 19 million in 2018.

– ‘Name and shame’ –

But Adeosun’s promise to “name, shame and prosecute” defaulters lost some bite after the government pushed back the closing date by three months, from March 31 to June 30.

Still, those familiar with the programme say that it is well on track to deliver on its target of more than one billion dollars.

That amount may be modest but it’s a step in the right direction, said Yomi Olugbenro, West Africa tax specialist at Deloitte in Lagos.

There’s something to be said for launching the scheme, which “definitely has more people talking about taxation”, he said.

The key is to make sure the amnesty programme is built upon in the future and isn’t just a once-off windfall. Otherwise Nigerians will revert to old habits.

“It’s a chicken and egg thing,” Olugbenro said. “The government will tell you, ‘We need the money to provide all things that aren’t there’.

“Taxpayers are saying, ‘I need to be convinced’.”

by Stephanie FINDLAY
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AFP
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Amnesty accuses Nigerian troops of raping women rescued from Boko Haram

May 26, 2018

Displaced women in a camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria's Borno State on 22 February 2018.

Story highlights

  • Amnesty International: Five women allegedly raped by soldiers in Bama displacement camp between 2014 and 2015
  • Nigerian military says it hasn’t deployed troops to displacement camps

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Women and girls who have fled terrorist group Boko Haram are being raped by Nigerian soldiers, starved and forced to exchange food for sex, according to claims in a new report by human rights group Amnesty International.

Thousands of these women have died because of lack of food in camps for internally displaced people in Nigeria’s northeast after they were rescued from Boko Haram, Amnesty says.
In the report titled “They betrayed us,” it is alleged that five women said they were raped by soldiers in late 2015 and early 2016 in a displacement camp in Bama, Borno state.

‘Boko Haram wives’

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Women interviewed by Amnesty said they were beaten and called “Boko Haram wives” by security officials whenever they complained about their treatment.
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The report says that members of the Nigerian military and a local vigilante group Civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian JTF) “separated women from their husbands and confined them in remote ‘satellite camps’ where they were raped, sometimes in exchange for food.”
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Muhammadu Buhari — Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari was the first president from sub-Saharan Africa to visit Donald Trump’s White House

Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

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Ten women in the Bama camp told Amnesty they were forced to date security officials to get food. One woman said a member of the JTF vigilante group raped her after he brought her food, telling her: “I gave you these things, if you want them, we have to be husband and wife.”
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“Sex in these highly coercive circumstances is always rape, even when physical force is not used, and Nigerian soldiers and civilian JTF members have been getting away it,” Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said.
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“They act like they don’t risk sanction, but the perpetrators and their superiors who have allowed this to go unchallenged have committed crimes under international law and must be held to account.”
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Deadly terror group

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Boko Haram, described as the third deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index, has unleashed waves of brutal attacks across parts of northern Nigeria, bombing schools, churches and mosques and kidnapping women and children in a conflict that spans nearly a decade.
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The conflict has killed thousands of people and also internally displaced two million people, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
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However, the Nigerian army claims it has technically defeated Boko Haram and retaken territories seized by the militant group in the northeast.
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Members of its troops recently rescued 1,000 hostages, mostly women and children, from the militant’s camps in Borno State, it said.
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Hundreds of women along with their children have been held in overcrowded centers in northern Nigeria since 2015.
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Amnesty said it had collected evidence that thousands of people have starved to death in displacement camps since 2015.
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In the report, the women alleged that 15 to 30 people died each day between 2015 and 2016 due to lack of food in these camps.
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The human rights group said satellite images of an expanding graveyard in one of the camps during the time confirmed their testimonies.
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In a 2016 report, another rights group, Human Rights Watch, said it had documented 43 cases of sexual violence against women by soldiers in displacement camps in northern Nigeria, forcing the Nigeria government to investigate.
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Propaganda

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Nigerian army spokesman John Agim denied the allegations in the Amnesty report, branding them “propaganda.”
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He said the army hasn’t been deployed to displacement camps, which he said are run by the police, local vigilante groups and NGOs. “I wonder where Amnesty interviewed women who said they saw soldiers in these camps hoarding food and raping women?” Agim asked.
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Agim accused the human rights group of republishing claims that had been investigated by the Nigerian government and had been found to be false.
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“Amnesty wrote the same allegations in a report in 2015 and it was investigated then and found not to be true. Why are they presenting them in 2018 after investigations? It is all propaganda and when they continue to propagate these reports, it assumes the property of truth when its not refuted,” Agim told CNN.
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“Amnesty does not want our war against terrorism to finish; the Nigerian military maintains this position,” he said. “Their reports on human right violations is to stop the selling of weapons to the Nigerian military by the American government and others and that approach is not working.”
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“The Nigerian army just rescued 1,000 Boko Haram captives, that is a good development, why is it not reflected in the report if they are being fair?” Agim added.
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Broken promises

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For it’s part, Amnesty said there has been “no tangible action to address the problem and no one appeared to have been brought to justice,” despite promises by the Nigerian government to investigate reports of alleged abuse in these camps since 2015.
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“It is absolutely shocking that people who had already suffered so much under Boko Haram have been condemned to further horrendous abuse by the Nigerian military,” Amnesty’s Ojigho, said.
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The organization called on the Nigerian government to make public the findings from a panel investigating the military’s compliance with human rights provisions set up by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.
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Many women had testified before the panel whose report was submitted to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in February, the human rights group said.
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“Now is the time for President Buhari to demonstrate his frequently expressed commitment to protect the human rights of displaced people in north-east Nigeria. The only way to end these horrific violations is by ending the climate of impunity in the region and ensuring that no one can get away with rape or murder,” Ojigho added.
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“The Nigerian authorities must investigate or make public their previous investigations on war crimes and crimes against humanity in the northeast,” she added.
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‘Lacking credibility’

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The Nigerian government told CNN the military had found cases of abuse in these camps during the period mentioned in Amnesty’s report in 2015, countering the army spokesman’s claims that the allegations were investigated and found not to be true.
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“Over this period of time, the Nigerian military had indeed established cases of abuse and punishments meted out from orderly room trials and court martials that included the losses of rank, dismissals, and trials and convictions by civil courts,” Garba Shehu, a spokesman for the president, told CNN.
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However, Shehu echoed the Army spokesman’s claims and accused Amnesty of “recycling” claims from a previous report.
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Amnesty’s report lacked “credibility, falling vehemently short of evidential narration,” from victims by failing to address mechanisms put in place by the military and the president’s panel after similar allegations were published in 2015, he said.
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The Nigerian government was committed to investigating “all documented cases of human rights abuses,” Shehu added.
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BBC News
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How Trump stirred controversy in Nigeria

  • 1 May 2018

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari became the first president from sub-Saharan Africa to visit Donald Trump’s White House on Monday. But even after they neatly avoided Mr Trump’s alleged comments about “shithole” African countries, the US president managed to stir controversy in Nigeria, writes the BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty from Lagos.

Perhaps warning bells rang when Mr Trump started off asking Mr Buhari how he was getting on with “that Boca Haram”, a reference to militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

But then again, maybe that slip of the tongue was predictable.

Less so was what he said next, as the former reality television star weighed in on the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt – or the way in which he would frame it.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria,” Mr Trump said. “We are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen.”

‘Genocide’?

The US president showed little understanding of a very complicated and intensely politicised crisis – one which has a battle between nomadic cattle herders and settled farmer over access to land and grazing rights at its centre.

But perhaps it should not come as any surprise. Mr Trump has always been quick to jump to the defence of Christians in conflicts such as Syria and Iraq and comments like this play well to his base among Evangelical Christians in the US.

But his point of view also plays into popular feeling among some Nigerian Christian groups.

Coffins arrive at Ibrahim Babanginda Square in the Benue State capital Makurdi, on January 11, 2018Image copyright AFP
Deadly clashes between herdsmen and farmers have raised tensions in Nigeria

It is a widely touted refrain that the conflict between farmers and herdsmen constitutes a “genocide against Christians”.

It is hard to support this claim with any fact: there have been many killings on both sides in this conflict.

But the recent attack on a Catholic church by suspected Fulani herdsmen and the murder of 17 people, including two priests, have added fuel to the flames of those who want to frame the conflict in this way.

After that attack a priest in the area told the BBC he was doing what he could do prevent young Christian men from his parish launching random reprisal attacks on Muslims. Clearly then, Mr Trump’s words then make for dangerous rhetoric.

But many Christian leaders have taken to mainstream and social media to push this narrative, jumping upon Mr Trump’s comments as a kind of vindication of their own claims.

In response, Nigerian Muslim advocacy groups have criticised his comments.

In a statement, the director of the Muslim Rights Concern, Ishaq Akintola, said they were “prejudiced, parochial and unpresidential” and claimed that Mr Trump “is luring Nigerian Christians into bolder confrontation with Muslims”.

With elections due in February 2019, there is an intensely political side to all of this. President Buhari has announced his intention to re-run for office. He is a Muslim and a Hausa-Fulani.

Much of the conversation on this crisis falls along these ethnic and political lines – Christian vs Muslim; Hausa-Fulani vs everyone else. In reality, the conflict falls along lines that are much less easily defined.

US President Donald Trump and Nigeria"s President Muhammadu Buhari take part in a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.Image copyright  AFP
President Muhammadu Buhari thanked Mr Trump for inviting him to the White House

During the press conference, Mr Buhari was quick to deflect the Christian comment.

He immediately reframed the question to address a conflict between farmers and herdsmen, saying: “The problem of cattle herders is a very long historical problem. Before now, cattle herders were known to carry sticks and machetes… but these ones are carrying AK-47s.”

As he has in the past, he went on to explain what is happening as a consequence of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s arming of “mercenaries”.

Mr Buhari claimed they are now returning to West Africa and causing trouble.

Whether Gaddafi’s former soldiers are responsible for this crisis or not, there is a point to be made here. Since the crisis in Libya began, guns have been flooding into West Africa through the Sahel – just as migrants have been rushing in the other direction.

Last year, the Director of UN’s Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Africa said 70% of the illegal small arms imported to West Africa end up in Nigeria, according to PRI Nigeria.

But if Mr Buhari felt any exasperation at Mr Trump’s unexpected comments, it was quickly brushed under the carpet.

Despite the rhetoric which does little to promote peace in Nigeria’s central region, the two leaders came across as firm friends.

Instead, in true Trump style, the two men patted each other on the back over a recent “deal”: the sale of 12 US military aircraft to Nigeria.

And another bone of contention was artfully avoided – Mr Trump’s allegedly ungracious comments in January comparing African countries to a toilet.

While many Nigerians had hoped their president would take Mr Trump to task, Mr Buhari admitted he did not bring it up.

Instead, Mr Buhari, standing in the Rose Garden, reiterated his deep appreciation for the invitation. He seemed to shrink into the background as Mr Trump took centre stage, complimenting Nigeria as a beautiful country and professing his desire to visit Africa’s most populous state.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43964932

Boko Haram: Security fears keep kidnapped schoolgirls at home

May 22, 2018

Hundreds of girls have refused to return to their school in northeast Nigeria because of security fears following a mass kidnapping by Boko Haram jihadists, parents and teachers said on Tuesday.

Jihadists stormed the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, seizing 111 schoolgirls in a carbon copy of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outrage.

All but six of the Dapchi girls were returned to the school just over a month later. Five died in captivity while the only Christian among them is still being held.

Image result for Boko Haram girls, photos

The school re-opened on April 30 but one teacher, who asked not to be identified for fear of official sanctions, said most pupils have stayed away because they were still afraid.

“We have a total student population of 989, and out of that number only 314 have resumed after we reopened. Of the 314 that returned, 299 are writing their final examinations and will be leaving school in July,” he said.

“So, technically, we can say only 15 students have resumed, who will be continuing their education here.”

Bashir Manzo, who headed the abducted girls’ parents association, said children were being kept at home because of a lack of security personnel.

“There are only a handful of soldiers and vigilantes guarding the school, not more than 25 in all, a number grossly inadequate to protect our daughters,” he told AFP.

“We believe even the 15 girls that returned will go back home once their seniors finish their examinations and leave.”

The education commissioner for Yobe state, Mohammed Lamin, angrily dismissed parents’ concerns and said “everything humanly possible” had been done to make the school safe.

“We deployed soldiers, police, civil defence paramilitary and vigilantes to the school providing security 24 hours,” he said.

“How can they say security is inadequate? Do they have such level of security in their homes?”

– Lax security –

Security has been an issue in Dapchi since it emerged that soldiers had been withdrawn before the kidnapping and claims that warnings about Boko Haram’s arrival went unheeded.

Some children who escaped the abduction vowed never to return.

Another parent, Kachalla Bukar, said there were now even fewer troops in the remote town, which lies some 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) north of the state capital, Damaturu.

“The route through which the kidnappers came in and out of the town is still without military or police presence,” he said. “This route leads up to Chad.”

The state government’s failure to show sympathy and provide moral support to families of the abducted schoolgirls had not inspired confidence, he added.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the town but as yet, there had been no condolences sent from the state government to the families of the girls who died or support for the remaining girl in captivity, he alleged.

Parents had expected improved security measures, including raising the school’s low perimeter wall, said Bukar.

– Married off –

The Boko Haram conflict has destroyed schools across northeast Nigeria, which had poor levels of education even before the conflict began in 2009, particularly among girls.

Last September, the UN children’s charity UNICEF said more than 2,295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 displaced while nearly 1,4000 schools have been destroyed.

Manzo said UNICEF secured admission for 20 of the abducted girls into Tulip International College, a Turkish-run private school.

Parents of the other girls were left to try to get them admission into other public secondary schools in the state but without success.

Bukar said parents were losing faith with the authorities.

“This leaves many parents with no option but to marry off their daughters because they have no means of taking them to schools outside the state,” he said

“From reports at our disposal six girls have so far being married off because their parents have lost interest in sending them to school,” Manzo said.

Four of the students writing their final examinations who refused to return to the school could also be joining them, he indicated.

(AFP)

Nigeria military rescues 1,000 Boko Haram hostages

May 8, 2018

More than 1,000 people held captive by the militant group Boko Haram have been freed, according to Nigeria’s military. Most were women and children, although some men who were forced to be fighters were also rescued.

    
Nigerian soldiers man a checkpoint in Gwoza, Nigeria in April 2015 (picture-alliance/dpa)

Over 1,000 Boko Haram hostages in northeastern Nigeria have been freed, military spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu said on Monday.

Although Nigeria’s military has attempted to rescue captives of the jihadist group before, many remain missing — including some of the school girls abducted from Chibok in 2014.

Read moreBoko Haram has abducted over 1,000 kids since 2013: UN

What we know

  • Mostly women and children were rescued, but some men who had been forced to fight for Boko Haram were rescued as well.
  • The rescues were carried out in four villages in the Bama area of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.
  • The military spokesman did not say when the rescues took place or over what period of time.
  • Nigeria’s military and the Multinational Joint Task Force — comprised of troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin — took part in the rescues.

Read moreNigeria fails to protect schools from Boko Haram’s attacks

What is Boko Haram? The extremist group’s name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden.” They are mostly active in northeastern Nigeria where they carry out kidnappings and suicide bomb attacks. Over 20,000 people have been killed during the group’s nine-year insurgency and 2.5 million people have fled the region.

Missing schoolgirls: In 2014,Boko Haram militants kidnapped 200 school girls from the town of Chibok, prompting international condemnation. Although some of the girls have been rescued, other victims remain missing. In February, around 110 girls in the town of Dapchi were kidnapped by Boko Haram but most were later released. The Nigerian government denies paying a ransom in exchange for the missing girls.

President under pressure: Despite repeatedly declaring that Boko Haram has been defeated, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is facing increasing pressure over the group’s ongoing attacks and abductions. Buhari vowed to combat the Islamic extremist group prior to his 2015 election win. He’s up for re-election next year.

rs/kms (AP, dpa)