Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – regional anti-Boko Haram force will cross borders to fight

BBC

Cameroon troops in the north of the country
Cameroon has had to increase its military presence in the north to fight Nigeria-based militants

Multinational troops fighting Boko Haram in West Africa will be able to pursue the militants across borders, Nigeria’s presidential spokesman says.

Garba Shehu told the BBC this was there was now trust between those contributing troops since the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in May.

He was speaking ahead of the Nigerian leader’s visit to Cameroon.

A boosted force with 8,700 troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria is to become fully operational next month.

Relations between Nigeria and Cameroon have been fraught for years because of territorial disputes, in particular over the Bakassi peninsula.

The oil-rich region was eventually awarded to Cameroon by an international court.

BBC Nigeria analyst Naziru Mikailu says Mr Buhari is trying to smooth over these diplomatic tensions as he meets President Paul Biya as both nations now face a new enemy threatening their territorial integrity.

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Security is reportedly tight in the Cameroonian capital for the visit

On Tuesday, Cameroon announced it would deploy an extra 2,000 troops along its northern border with Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.

It follows an upsurge in suicide attacks in northern Cameroon blamed on the Nigerian militants.

‘In disarray’

With the help of troops from Chad and Niger, earlier this year the Nigerian army managed to retake most of the areas taken over by the militants in north-eastern Nigeria.

Map

Although the militants have lost their strongholds, they are still active and there has been an upsurge in suicide attacks since Mr Buhari took office.

“Boko Haram is in disarray and it is doubtful they have any central command,” Mr Shehu told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

President Buhari has made the multinational force central to his government’s strategy in tackling the insurgency.

The force of soldiers, police and civilian personnel will be based in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, which has also been affected by the violence.

“All the countries agreed this operation will not recognise international boundaries – wherever terrorists are they will be chased to these locations and they will be fought until they are finished,” Mr Shehu said.

At least 17,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in northern Nigeria 2009, according to Amnesty International.

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Boko Haram at a glance

Boko Haram fighters
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined Islamic State, now calls itself “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year

Nigeria-Chad – 16 killed during Boko Haram attack on Lake Chad villages

Reuters

At least 16 killed in Boko Haram raids on Lake Chad villages

N’DJAMENA At least 13 suspected Boko Haram militants and three civilians were killed in separate attacks over the weekend after the insurgents raided several remote localities around Lake Chad, Chadian security sources said on Monday.

The insurgents are also suspected of kidnapping some 30 people in Katikine village, near the lake.

The hostages were taken onboard four speedboats to an unknown destination, one of the security source said, asking not to be named.

Boko Haram, which calls itself the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) since pledging allegiance to the militant group that controls large areas of Syria and Iraq, is fighting to establish an emirate in northeast Nigeria.

The group has stepped up attacks in countries around the lake in recent months in response to a regional offensive by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger to subdue the six-year-old insurgency.

“Medi was attacked by men on motorised boats,” the security source said. “The army returned fire and killed 13 assailants. Some soldiers were wounded.”

“The same day, three people in Blarigi village had their throats slit by suspected Boko Haram fighters,” he said, adding that some 2,000 inhabitants of Fitine island on the lake were forced to flee following attacks which razed the village.

Nigeria – female suicide bombers hit Damaturu

Reuters

A blast set off by a female suicide bomber tore through a crowded market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu on Sunday, killing 19 people and wounding 47, the emergency response agency said.

No one claimed responsibility for the explosion but it is the latest attack in the last few weeks that bear the hallmarks of militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Hundreds of people have been killed in bombings and shootings across northern Nigeria since Muhammadu Buhari, who has promised to crush the group, was inaugurated as president on May 29.

“The death toll has gone up to 19 dead and 47 injured,” National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Mohammed Kanar said.

The attack took place six days after a suicide bomber killed three policemen at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city.

And earlier this month at least nine people were killed in the city by a female suicide bomber as worshippers gathered to mark the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the end of 2014 but have been pushed out of most of that territory by Nigerian troops in the last few months, with military help from neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Since then the militants have carried out attacks in the north and neighbouring countries.

At least 19 people were killed in a suicide bombing in the northern Cameroonian town of Maroua on Saturday.

Since becoming president, Buhari has made a number of changes aimed at tackling the insurgency, including the replacement of his defence chiefs.

He moved Nigeria’s defence command centre to Maiduguri, the birthplace of the jihadi sect, and has worked with counterparts in neighbouring countries to set up a multinational force with headquarters in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.

Nineteen killed in Boko Haram attack on Cameroon

BBC

  
Security forces use blanket to transport victims of Wednesday’s attacks in Maroua 22/07/2015

Wednesday’s attacks in Maroua were said to have been carried out by two young girls.

A suicide attack in the northern Cameroon town of Maroua is reported to have left at least 19 people dead, including the bomber.
Many others are thought to have been injured in the blast near a popular bar late on Saturday.

It comes three days after a double suicide blast in Maroua that killed at least 13 people.

Officials suspect that the militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram is behind the attacks.

Military sources said the latest attack took place in the Pont Vert district of Maroua.

The Cameroonian army uses the town of Maroua as the headquarters for its operations against the group, as part of a multinational force battling the militants in neighbouring parts of Nigeria.


Nigeria borrows $2.1bn from World Bank to rebuild north-east

Premium Times

 

President Muhammadu Buhari at the Blair House

President Muhammadu Buhari at the Blair House

The Federal Government has obtained a $2.1 billion credit from the World Bank to rebuild the North-East zone devastated by the jihadist group, Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari announced this in Washington DC, United States, Wednesday.

Mr. Buhari is currently in the U.S. on a four-day official visit where he has discussed bilateral issues with President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials.

Speaking after meeting with representatives of the World Bank and other donor agencies, Mr. Buhari hailed the decision to invest $2.1 billion in rebuilding the troubled region.

The representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, WHO, also attended the meeting.

Apart from rebuilding the North-East in terms of infrastructure, Mr. Buhari said priority would be given to the resettlement of internally displaced persons, who now number over 1 million.

He appealed to the World Bank to send a team to work with the Federal Government in carrying out proper needs assessment of people of the zone.

“The World Bank will spend the 2.1 billion dollars through its (International Development Agency), which gives low interest rates loans to government,” Mr. Buhari said.

“The first 10 years will be interest free, while an additional 30 years will be at lower than capital market rate. The World Bank is eager to move in quickly, give out the loans, and give succor to the people of North-east, long at the mercy of an insurgency that has claimed over 20,000 souls.

“WHO is also to invest 300 million dollars on immunization against malaria in Nigeria, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will collaborate with Dangote Foundation to ensure that the country maintains its zero polio case record of the past one year,” the statement said.

The president said if the effort is sustained for another two years, Nigeria will be declared fully free of polio by the WHO.

Nigeria – US to help trace stolen funds

Punch

US to trace Nigeria’s stolen funds

Buhari, Obama

The United States will offer to help Nigeria’s new leader track down billions of dollars in stolen assets and increase US military assistance to fight Islamic militants, US officials said, as Washington seeks to “reset” ties with Africa’s biggest economy.

The visit to Washington by President Muhammadu Buhari is viewed by the US administration as a chance to set the seal on improving ties since he won a March election, hailed as Nigeria’s first democratic power transition in decades.

US cooperation with Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, had virtually ground to a halt over issues, including his refusal to investigate corruption and human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

“President (Barack Obama) has long seen Nigeria as arguably the most important strategic country in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The question is: would there be an opportunity to deepen our engagement? That opportunity is now,” US Deputy Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, told Reuters.

The improving ties with Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, came as US relations have cooled with two other traditional African powers – Egypt and South Africa.

US officials have said they were willing to send military trainers to help Nigeria counter a six-year-old northern insurgency by the Boko Haram Islamist movement.

Since Buhari’s election, Washington has committed $5m in new support to a multi-national task force set up to fight the group. This is in addition to at least $34m it is providing for Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger for equipment and logistics.

Buhari’s move on July 13 to fire military chiefs appointed by Jonathan cleared the way for more military cooperation, US officials said.

“We’ve made it clear. There are additional things that can be done, especially now that there is a new military leadership in place,” a senior US official said.

Another senior US official said Washington was urging Buhari, a Muslim from the country’s North, to step up regional cooperation against the militants and to provide more aid to afflicted communities to reduce the group’s recruiting power.

Buhari has said his priorities were strengthening Nigeria’s economy, which has been hard-hit by the fall in oil prices, boosting investment and tackling ‘the biggest monster of all’ – corruption.

“Here too, he is looking to deepen collaboration and one of the things he is focused on is asset recovery. He is hopeful we can help them recover some of that,” the official said. “

In 2014, the US took control of more than $480m siphoned away by former Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, and his associates into banks around the world.

Washington has broad powers to track suspicious funds and enforce sanctions against individuals.

Copyright PUNCH.

Nigeria – Boko Haram’s Eid al-Fitr attack in Yobe

Punch

 

MUSLIM FAITHFUL  DURING THE EID EL-FITR PRAYER  AT THE ALIKAZAURE CENTRAL EID PRAYING GROUND IN JOS... ON FRIDAY. PHOTO: NAN

Fifty persons were killed in two bomb explosions in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital on Friday.

A military source told one of our correspondents that 43 persons died in the first explosion which occurred at 7.40am and seven others in the second explosion, suspected to have been caused by Boko Haram insurgents.

Several other people were also said to have sustained various degrees of injuries from the explosions.

The source said the attacks were carried out by two female suicide bombers- an elderly woman and a ten-year-old girl- who were said to have detonated the explosive devices.

Also, residents confirmed that at least 50 persons were killed in the blasts.

The residents said the twin blasts occurred close to prayer grounds and at a time when Muslim faithful were gathering for the congregational prayer to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The incidents occurred at Layin Gwange and ‘Phase 1’, opposite the former state secretariat in Damaturu.

A resident, Musa Yusuf, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, said the explosions had heightened the level of apprehension in the city.

He said, “There is apprehension in Damaturu as I’m talking to you; we are celebrating Sallah in fear with this morning explosions.”

It will be recalled that a ban on vehicular movements was announced in the state before the end of the Ramadan to forestall any breach in security.

An aid worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said as of that time, his team had evacuated “ten corpses from Phase I area.”

He said the bomb was targeted at the praying ground in the area and that several persons who were injured had been taken to a general hospital.

The aid worker also said that some aid workers had been dispatched to assess the situation at the scene of the second explosion, which he said occurred on the outskirts of the town.

However, the acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, in an official statement, said nine persons were killed in the attacks.

He said, “Four persons died in the first explosion and seven people (were) injured, while five people lost their lives in the second explosion and 11 wounded.”

Following the attack, the streets of Damaturu were deserted.

But the blasts did not affect Eid-el-Fitr prayers as hundreds of Muslim worshippers attended prayer grounds to thank Allah for the success of the Ramadan fast.

The Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. T. Y. Buratai, joined Governor Ibrahim Geidam Yobe State, some government officials and military personnel to pray at the state mosque and Islamic centre.

Buratai sympathised with the victims of the attacks and the people of the state, urging them to “stay calm and be security conscious.”

He said, “No amount of terrorist act would deter our resolve to stamp out terrorism and insurgency.”

In a related development, the Catholic Church in Borno State has said that Boko Haram has in the last one year bombed all the major bridges on four of the five highways linking Maiduguri with the rest of the country.

Lamenting that residents of the city were going through untold hardship and pain, the Social Communications Director of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Borno State, Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie, claimed that the insurgent group had also planted landmines on roads, killing several travellers continually.

He added that commuting along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway had become deadly.

He said, “Our people are still being massacred daily. Travelling from one part of the diocese to another has become dangerous. Commuting along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway was halted again for the fourth time in a week, as security operatives battle to prevent travellers from driving into an ambush by the bloodthirsty insurgents.”

Meanwhile, the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has described Boko Haram as a shame to the nation.

He said this at the Muslims praying ground in Abeokuta, shortly after the Eid-el-Fitr prayer.

Copyright PUNCH.