#AceWorldNews – NIGERIA:Jan.04: The militant group Boko Haram has seized a town and key multinational military base in north-eastern Nigeria, officials and eyewitnesses say.
A senator in Borno state said troops had abandoned the base in the town of Baga after it was attacked on Saturday.
Residents of Baga, who fled by boat to neighbouring Chad, said many people had been killed and the town set ablaze. Baga, scene of a Nigerian army massacre in 2013, was the last town in the Borno North area under government control.
It hosted the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), made up of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.Set up in 1998 to fight trans-border crime in the Lake Chad region, the force more recently took on Boko Haram.
Boko Haram attacks towns and villages on an almost daily basis, abducting people including young boys and girls, BBC Africa editor Mary Harper reports. The military, which includes Western advisers and surveillance, seems incapable of dealing with the problem, our editor adds.
#AceWorldNews – NIGERIA – Dec.07 – A cargo plane detained at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, in Nigeria, is Russian but its cargo is French, said the attaché of Russia’s embassy in Nigeria, Artyom Romanov.
“The plane detained in the airport of Nigerian town of Kano is Russian, but the cargo on board is military equipment and [it] belongs to the French peacekeeping mission,” he said.
The plane was bound for Chad when it made an emergency landing in Kano on Saturday.
#AceWorldNews – NIGERIA (Maiduguri) – November 01 – Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls have all been converted to Islam and married off, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremists claimed in a new video message.
The leader of Boko Haram also denied he had agreed to any cease-fire with the government.
Abubakar Shekau dashed hopes for a prisoner exchange to get the girls released in the new video released late Friday night.
“The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off,” he said, laughing.
Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls taking exams at a boarding school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April prompted international outrage and criticism of Nigeria’s government for not acting quickly to free them.
Unconfirmed reports have indicated that the girls have been broken up into several groups and that some may have been carried across borders into Cameroon and Chad.
#AceWorldNews – FRANCE (Paris) – July 19 – French President Francois Hollande on Friday promoted a new military operation being rolled out in West Africa to take on a multi-faceted menace from Islamist groups that he warned threatened France’s interests and citizens reported Reuters.
The military operation succeeded in scattering the Islamist groups in Mali, and Paris is in the process of reorganising its deployment in the region, with its 1,700 soldiers in Mali being folded into a broader counter-terrorism force.
Under the new plan, some 3,000 French troops will now operate out of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – countries straddling the vast arid Sahel band – with the aim of stamping out an Islamist threat across the region.
“There are threats, notably from Libya. Military hardware has accumulated there, and without a doubt, terrorists are seeking refuge there,” Hollande said in Niger during a three-day trip that will also take him to Ivory Coast and Chad.
“We have, therefore, decided to put in place structures and measures that will allow us to confront this threat of terrorism in the Sahel,” he said.
#AceNewsServices – NIGERIA – May 17 – Countries neighbouring Nigeria are ready to wage war against the Nigeria-based, al-Qaeda-linked group, Boko Haram, Chad’s president says.
Idriss Deby made the statement after a summit in Paris on Saturday that also included Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and representatives from West African countries Cameroon, Benin, Niger plus the United States, the European Union, Britain and France.
“There is determination to tackle this situation head on…to launch a war, a total war on Boko Haram,” Deby said after the meeting, which was aimed at finding a common strategy to fight the armed group.
The leaders who attended the meeting agreed on tightened border controls, shared intelligence and to take a collaborative approach when fighting the armed group.
Jonathan said Boko Haram had evolved from a small group to being part of the broader al-Qaeda organisation.
“Boko Haram is no longer the local terror group with some regional sentiment that started in Nigeria in 2002 to 2009,” Jonathan said.
“From 2009 to date, it has changed and is operating clearly as an al-Qaeda organisation. It can better be described as an al-Qaeda in West and Central Africa.”
Francois Hollande, the French president, said Boko Haram had clearly established ties with other “terror” groups in Africa, making it a problem throughout the continent and beyond.
“The message we want to send is that we know the threat. It is serious, it is serious for the region, for Africa and so for Europe. We have deployed our military and intelligence system to find these young girls,” Hollande said.
#AceWorldNews – PARIS – May 08 – France will deploy 3,000 soldiers to combat Islamist violence in the largely lawless Sahel region of Africa, AFP reported.
“Our role is to pursue counter-terrorism in north Mali, the north of Niger and in Chad,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview Thursday.
“We are reorganizing our contingent so that 3,000 French soldiers are in that zone.” France is “in the process of ending its frontal war phase” in Mali, Le Drian told BFMTV, adding that 1,000 French soldiers will remain based near the town of Gao in the insurgency-hit north-east of the country.
AP – RT – AFP – BFMTV
#AceNewsServices – LAGOS – Nigeria – (AP) Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamic extremist abductors, a civic organization reported Wednesday.
At the same time, the Boko Haram terrorist network is negotiating over the students’ fate and is demanding an unspecified ransom for their release, a Borno state community leader told The Associated Press.
He said the Wednesday night message from the abductors also claimed that two of the girls have died from snake bites.
The message was sent to a member of a presidential committee mandated last year to mediate a ceasefire with the Islamic extremists, said the civic leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the talks.
The news of negotiations comes as parents say the girls are being sold into marriage to Boko Haram militants. The students are being paid 2,000 naira ($12) to marry the fighters, Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People’s Forum told The Associated Press.
She said the parents’ information about mass weddings is coming from villagers in the Sambisa Forest, on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, where Boko Haram is known to have hideouts.
“The latest reports are that they have been taken across the borders, some to Cameroon and Chad,” Aliyu said. It was not possible to verify the reports about more than 200 missing girls kidnapped in the northeast by the Boko Haram terrorist network two weeks ago.
“Some of them have been married off to insurgents. A medieval kind of slavery. You go and capture women and then sell them off,” community elder Pogu Bitrus of Chibok, the town where the girls were abducted, told the BBC Hausa Service.
BBC (Africa) April 30 – Hundreds of mainly women protesters have marched through the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to press for the release of 230 schoolgirls abducted by militants two weeks ago.
The government should, if necessary, negotiate with their captors to secure their release, a protester said.
The Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for abducting the girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state.
Boko Haram has not yet made any response to the accusation.
The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language, has staged a wave of attacks in northern Nigeria in recent years, with an estimated 1,500 killed in the violence and subsequent security crackdown this year alone.
AP – BBC HAUSA – BBC AFRICA – YAHOO
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Ace World News –
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced today they are teaming up for a trip to the Sahel next week to address pressing issues in the vast African region such as pervasive poverty, food insecurity and conflict.
“The Sahel is one of the most impoverished and fragile places on the planet,” said Mr. Ban in a “http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=3155” joint press conference in New York. “We are going together to listen and act. We are convinced the cycle of crises in the Sahel can be broken. The region can move from fragility to sustainability.”
Earlier this year, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim travelled together to Africa’s long troubled Great Lakes region in support of a new peace framework agreed by leaders there. It was the first joint visit by a UN Secretary-General and a President of the World Bank. The new trip seeks to build on joint efforts, foster international support, and spotlight the challenges currently facing the Sahel.
“Our message on this critical visit and around the world is that peace and development must go hand-in-hand,” Mr. Ban said. “At this time last year, Mali was in crisis. Since then, our collective efforts have helped not only improve the political and security situation in Mali but also address some of the broader challenges in the Sahel. The time is ripe to build on these gains.”
The Sahel has suffered three major droughts in less than a decade. More than 11 million people are at risk of hunger and 5 million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition. In addition, political instability and unconstitutional changes in Governments have had significant economic and social consequences in the region and terrorist acts, as well as organized crime, have threatened the region’s stability.
“These challenges cannot be overcome by any Government or organization alone,” Mr. Ban said. “The issues are connected and we need an approach that connects our efforts.”
“Many of these countries have chronically low economic growth which lags behind the urgent need for job creation,” Mr. Kim told reporters via teleconference from Washington D.C. “We need to work together so that people of the Sahel can have peace and development.”
He stressed that the World Bank’s new approach to the Sahel will entail working side by side with the region’s Governments, the UN and other development partners and will promote greater stability, resilience and sustainable development in the five core countries of the region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
“Our aim is to address the root causes of poverty, conflict and helplessness. As a part of this new approach, the World Bank will mobilize substantial public and private sources in support. We’ll help strengthen social safety nets for people, lower the cost of energy and increase support for irrigation and pastoralism, as well transform the state of agriculture in the region,” Mr. Kim said.
The Sahel stretches from Mauritania to Eritrea, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, a belt dividing the Sahara desert and the savannahs to the south. The joint visit will start from Mali and continue to Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
Mr. Ban and Mr. Kim will be joined by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy to the region, Romano Prodi, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, and Commissioner for Development of the European Union Andris Piebalgs.
Courtesy of :UN News Room
- Billions of dollars for Sahel region in Africa announced (worldbulletin.net)
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to Make Joint Visit to Africa’s Sahel Region (weinformers.net)
- Ban pleads for women’s rights to curb Sahel fertility (modernghana.com)
- UN, World Bank chiefs on Sahel anti-poverty mission (modernghana.com)
- EU, World Bank pledge over $8 bn in fresh aid for Sahel (modernghana.com)
- UN, EU pledge $8.25 billion to Africa’s Sahel (boston.com)