Showing posts tagged as "Nigeria"

Showing posts tagged Nigeria

17 Sep
Why Liberians Thought Ebola Was a Government Scam to Attract Western Aid | Sara Jerving
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, has killed nearly 2,500 people since it was first identified in the region in December 2013. But when the Ebola virus hit the coastal city of Monrovia, Liberia, it sent crisis responders into a new level of panic. Ebola has never before hit as densely populated an area as Monrovia with such force. While Ebola was only first identified in the city in June, the county where the capital is located now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the deaths in the country.
Of all the countries now dealing with Ebola, Liberia is now in the worst condition. The virus first entered the country in March and three months later hit the capital city, spreading quickly and threatening to infect large numbers of people. Sierra Leone and Guinea have managed to keep cases mostly to the rural areas and Nigeria was able to quickly quarantine the small outbreak in Lagos. But in Monrovia, the virus is still uncontrolled. The city has become the “worry of the world,” says Andrew Hoskins, Medical Teams International country director. One of the reasons that Liberia is facing a more acute crisis than its neighbors is that high levels of corruption have created widespread distrust in the government—undermining its efforts to contain the virus.
FULL REPORT (The Nation)
Photo: EC/ECHO/Jean-Louis Mosser/flickr

Why Liberians Thought Ebola Was a Government Scam to Attract Western Aid | Sara Jerving

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which has swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, has killed nearly 2,500 people since it was first identified in the region in December 2013. But when the Ebola virus hit the coastal city of Monrovia, Liberia, it sent crisis responders into a new level of panic. Ebola has never before hit as densely populated an area as Monrovia with such force. While Ebola was only first identified in the city in June, the county where the capital is located now accounts for nearly 40 percent of the deaths in the country.

Of all the countries now dealing with Ebola, Liberia is now in the worst condition. The virus first entered the country in March and three months later hit the capital city, spreading quickly and threatening to infect large numbers of people. Sierra Leone and Guinea have managed to keep cases mostly to the rural areas and Nigeria was able to quickly quarantine the small outbreak in Lagos. But in Monrovia, the virus is still uncontrolled. The city has become the “worry of the world,” says Andrew Hoskins, Medical Teams International country director. One of the reasons that Liberia is facing a more acute crisis than its neighbors is that high levels of corruption have created widespread distrust in the government—undermining its efforts to contain the virus.

FULL REPORT (The Nation)

Photo: EC/ECHO/Jean-Louis Mosser/flickr

10 Sep
Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer
At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.
Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr

Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer

At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.

Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr

16 Jul
Nigerian Troops Say Corruption Saps Will to Fight Islamists | Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz and Dulue Mbachu
When Islamist militants raided the northeastern Nigerian village of Izghe, killing 90 people, some government troops dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms and fled in civilian clothes, according to two soldiers who were at the scene.
The soldiers said the troops were angry their monthly pay had been cut in half to 15,000 naira ($92) without explanation, heightening their belief that money meant for them and their front-line fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram was being siphoned off by officials in Abuja, the capital.
“Somebody is sitting comfortably in Abuja stealing our money, and we are here facing Boko Haram fire every day,” Shu’aibu, a lance corporal, said in a June 11 interview in Yola, capital of Adamawa state. He spoke on the condition that his surname wasn’t published because he’s not authorized to comment.
FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)
Photo: UNAMID/flickr

Nigerian Troops Say Corruption Saps Will to Fight Islamists | Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz and Dulue Mbachu

When Islamist militants raided the northeastern Nigerian village of Izghe, killing 90 people, some government troops dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms and fled in civilian clothes, according to two soldiers who were at the scene.

The soldiers said the troops were angry their monthly pay had been cut in half to 15,000 naira ($92) without explanation, heightening their belief that money meant for them and their front-line fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram was being siphoned off by officials in Abuja, the capital.

“Somebody is sitting comfortably in Abuja stealing our money, and we are here facing Boko Haram fire every day,” Shu’aibu, a lance corporal, said in a June 11 interview in Yola, capital of Adamawa state. He spoke on the condition that his surname wasn’t published because he’s not authorized to comment.

FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)

Photo: UNAMID/flickr

27 Jun
Fear Grips Nigeria Capital After Attack in City Centre | AFP
Abuja:  A bombing blamed on Boko Haram in the heart of Nigeria’s capital raised fears on Thursday of a worsening Islamist insurgency, with the security forces struggling to prevent attacks in remote villages and near the seat of government.
Wednesday’s blast, which killed at least 21 people, shook the crowded Emab Plaza in downtown Abuja during the afternoon rush as shoppers were buying groceries an hour ahead of the country’s World Cup match against Argentina.
The explosions struck “a very prominent street and it sends a very loud message”, said Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. “The message is that everywhere in the city is vulnerable.” cited as causes of the tragedy.
FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse)
Photo: theglobalpanorama/flickr

Fear Grips Nigeria Capital After Attack in City Centre | AFP

Abuja:  A bombing blamed on Boko Haram in the heart of Nigeria’s capital raised fears on Thursday of a worsening Islamist insurgency, with the security forces struggling to prevent attacks in remote villages and near the seat of government.

Wednesday’s blast, which killed at least 21 people, shook the crowded Emab Plaza in downtown Abuja during the afternoon rush as shoppers were buying groceries an hour ahead of the country’s World Cup match against Argentina.

The explosions struck “a very prominent street and it sends a very loud message”, said Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. “The message is that everywhere in the city is vulnerable.” cited as causes of the tragedy.

FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse)

Photo: theglobalpanorama/flickr

3 Jun
How Obama Thinks About Counterterrorism | David Rohde
In a foreign-policy address last week, President Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al-Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.
“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat—one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”
But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding, and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully. In Libya, training by U.S. Special Forces soldiers was suspended after a local militia stole a cache of American-provided weapons. In Mali, American-trained military officers carried out a coup. And in Afghanistan, the United States failed to mount a major training effort until nine years after the fall of the Taliban.
FULL ARTICLE (The Atlantic)
Photo: cmccain202dc/flickr

How Obama Thinks About Counterterrorism | David Rohde

In a foreign-policy address last week, President Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al-Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.

“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat—one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”

But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding, and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully. In Libya, training by U.S. Special Forces soldiers was suspended after a local militia stole a cache of American-provided weapons. In Mali, American-trained military officers carried out a coup. And in Afghanistan, the United States failed to mount a major training effort until nine years after the fall of the Taliban.

FULL ARTICLE (The Atlantic)

Photo: cmccain202dc/flickr

30 May
Nigeria President Vows Full Scale Offensive Against Boko Haram | Philip J. Victor
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued strong words for the armed group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls last month, vowing on Thursday that the government would do everything possible to bring the girls home.
"I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism," he said, later adding that "the menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end."
Despite the declarations of strength, Jonathan’s speech was short on specifics. He failed to mention how his government would work to rescue the abducted girls. And he did not mention how the military plans to tackle Boko Haram, even as 35 people were reportedly killed Thursday in the northeastern state of Borno, which is seen as the heart of the five-year insurgency that has killed thousands, including over 2,000 so far this year. 
“It is now 45 days since the horrifying abduction of the college girls of Chibok,” Jonathan said. “I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents and guardians, and I assure them once again that government will continue to do everything possible to bring our daughters home.”
Some experts, however, say it’s not entirely clear what can be done. Jonathan’s speech, they say, was meant to simply assuage the public. 
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)
Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr

Nigeria President Vows Full Scale Offensive Against Boko Haram | Philip J. Victor

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan issued strong words for the armed group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls last month, vowing on Thursday that the government would do everything possible to bring the girls home.

"I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism," he said, later adding that "the menace of Boko Haram will surely come to an end."

Despite the declarations of strength, Jonathan’s speech was short on specifics. He failed to mention how his government would work to rescue the abducted girls. And he did not mention how the military plans to tackle Boko Haram, even as 35 people were reportedly killed Thursday in the northeastern state of Borno, which is seen as the heart of the five-year insurgency that has killed thousands, including over 2,000 so far this year. 

“It is now 45 days since the horrifying abduction of the college girls of Chibok,” Jonathan said. “I share the deep pain and anxiety of their parents and guardians, and I assure them once again that government will continue to do everything possible to bring our daughters home.”

Some experts, however, say it’s not entirely clear what can be done. Jonathan’s speech, they say, was meant to simply assuage the public. 

FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)

Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr

15 May
Nigeria’s insurgency has to be tackled at the roots | Comfort Ero
Comfort Ero is Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. The full version of this article can be read at Financial Times.
The kidnapping nearly a month ago of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state is not only a tragedy in itself but also a timely reminder of a growing threat.
Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the abductions, is in the fifth year of an insurgency that has cost at least 4,000 lives and displaced half a million people. About 1,500 have been killed this year alone; the group has also started popping up in neighbouring countries.
In the early days Boko Haram eschewed violence, and aimed to create a strict Islamic state in the north. After years of increasing hostility towards the government, the sect launched an armed insurgency in 2009. To begin with it targeted state security services to avenge, it said, the killings of its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, and other comrades in an uprising in December 2009. In parallel, the group has assassinated politicians whom it accused of corruption and bad governance.
FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times)
Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

Nigeria’s insurgency has to be tackled at the roots | Comfort Ero

Comfort Ero is Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. The full version of this article can be read at Financial Times.

The kidnapping nearly a month ago of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state is not only a tragedy in itself but also a timely reminder of a growing threat.

Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the abductions, is in the fifth year of an insurgency that has cost at least 4,000 lives and displaced half a million people. About 1,500 have been killed this year alone; the group has also started popping up in neighbouring countries.

In the early days Boko Haram eschewed violence, and aimed to create a strict Islamic state in the north. After years of increasing hostility towards the government, the sect launched an armed insurgency in 2009. To begin with it targeted state security services to avenge, it said, the killings of its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, and other comrades in an uprising in December 2009. In parallel, the group has assassinated politicians whom it accused of corruption and bad governance.

FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times)

Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

13 May
#BringBackOurGirls Wields Power, But for Good or Bad? | Lisa De Bode
A Nigerian lawyer with fewer than 1,000 followers on Twitter kickstarted #BringBackOurGirls, the social media campaign urging the safe return of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. That one tweet has since morphed into a global rallying cry — unifying voices as diverse as the Washington elite, Nigerian activists and a girlfriend-beating celebrity.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama have called on the Nigerian government to bring the girls home. A few U.S. senators have, again, urged the U.S. government to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, and Nigerian activists decried the failure of their nation-state. The hashtag even found its way to the Twitter feed of singer Chris Brown, who was found guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna.
At best, these individuals and groups are taking ownership of the well-being of the missing girls, whose fates now lie in the hands of violent rebel group Boko Haram. At worst, experts say, they may be bolstering political motives — and advocating for a military intervention — that would exacerbate the situation that led to the crisis in the first place.
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)
Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

#BringBackOurGirls Wields Power, But for Good or Bad? | Lisa De Bode

A Nigerian lawyer with fewer than 1,000 followers on Twitter kickstarted #BringBackOurGirls, the social media campaign urging the safe return of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. That one tweet has since morphed into a global rallying cry — unifying voices as diverse as the Washington elite, Nigerian activists and a girlfriend-beating celebrity.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama have called on the Nigerian government to bring the girls home. A few U.S. senators have, again, urged the U.S. government to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, and Nigerian activists decried the failure of their nation-state. The hashtag even found its way to the Twitter feed of singer Chris Brown, who was found guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna.

At best, these individuals and groups are taking ownership of the well-being of the missing girls, whose fates now lie in the hands of violent rebel group Boko Haram. At worst, experts say, they may be bolstering political motives — and advocating for a military intervention — that would exacerbate the situation that led to the crisis in the first place.

FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera)

Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

12 May
Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection | Eli Lake
Some intelligence analysts believe that Osama bin Laden provided everything from seed money to strategic direction to the now-infamous Nigerian terror group.
In 2002, Osama bin Laden dispatched an aide to Nigeria to hand out $3 million in local currency to a wide array of Salafist political organizations there that shared al Qaeda’s goal of imposing Islamic rule.
According to an overlooked report from a well-respected international watchdog, one of those organizations was Boko Haram, the terrorist outfit that’s become globally infamous for its threat to sell girls into slavery. In other words, bin Laden helped provide Boko Haram’s seed money, this report maintains.
Officially, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the group has only tangential links to al Qaeda’s north African affiliate, and that reports of bin Laden backing the Nigerian outfit are off-base. But inside the secret state, many analysts believe that the ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda global leadership go much deeper—and are about more than a little seed money.
FULL ARTICLE (The Daily Beast)
Photo: ManilaRyce/flickr

Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection | Eli Lake

Some intelligence analysts believe that Osama bin Laden provided everything from seed money to strategic direction to the now-infamous Nigerian terror group.

In 2002, Osama bin Laden dispatched an aide to Nigeria to hand out $3 million in local currency to a wide array of Salafist political organizations there that shared al Qaeda’s goal of imposing Islamic rule.

According to an overlooked report from a well-respected international watchdog, one of those organizations was Boko Haram, the terrorist outfit that’s become globally infamous for its threat to sell girls into slavery. In other words, bin Laden helped provide Boko Haram’s seed money, this report maintains.

Officially, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the group has only tangential links to al Qaeda’s north African affiliate, and that reports of bin Laden backing the Nigerian outfit are off-base. But inside the secret state, many analysts believe that the ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda global leadership go much deeper—and are about more than a little seed money.

FULL ARTICLE (The Daily Beast)

Photo: ManilaRyce/flickr

7 May

Africa director Comfort Ero appeared on MSNBC last night to discuss Nigeria, Boko Haram and the hundreds of abducted schoolgirls.