Author : Admin | Friday, January 20, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa Press, Special Analysis

NIGERIA 2017: THE BOKO HARAM LEGACY AND THE NIGER DELTA INSURGENCIES

(case study)

 

In the last days of 2016 it was announced that Nigeria’s army has captured Boko Haram’s last enclave in the Sambisa forest (Borno state, north-east of Nigeria). According to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, the capture marked the “final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest”. The enclave’s capture followed a several weeks offensive of the Nigerian military.

The Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has described the outgoing year as one that witnessed a major breakthrough in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency, saying 2016 has been the best in the last five years, especially with the fall of Sambisa to the Nigerian armed forces.

During its seven-year insurgency aiming to create, in northern Nigeria, an Islamic state governed by Sharia law, Boko Haram[1] has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million. On March 7, 2015, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to Daesh[2] leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who accepted Shekau’s allegiance and renamed the group as the Islamic State’s Wilayat West Africa.

While undoubtedly a victory for the Nigerian military, some analysts warn that the recent announcements about the defeat of Boko Haram might be over optimistic, due to the group’s resilience. Moreover, the successes against Boko Haram must not overshadow the fact that Nigeria is experiencing its most challenging period since its return to democracy in 1999. The West African country is in recession, confronted by the biggest humanitarian disaster since the Biafran war of 1967-1970, faced by terrorism and militancy, and challenged by internal clashes and protest movements at risk of escalating into destabilizing conflicts.

The resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta slashed oil production to its lowest level for 25 years, with losses of around 1 million barrels per day (and the corresponding revenue) for six months from March 2016, before rebounding slightly. Nigeria continues to face a crippling shortage of foreign exchange, and at mid-2016 the central bank allowed the currency to float freely. For Nigerians, the drop in revenue and foreign exchange restrictions have meant lost jobs, declining businesses, high inflation, worsening livelihoods, and lacking supplies of imported goods, including medicines. There have been difficulties and delays in paying public servant salaries since mid-2015. Nigeria is still a country where, according to the last statistics, around 117 million people are living on less than a dollar a day.

According to the local media, in 2017 and further on, Nigeria has to address several major actual or potential conflict situations:

- The post Boko Haram humanitarian crisis in the northeast: 480,000 children are suffering severe malnutrition, 800,000 people are severely food insecure and without interventions an estimated 67,000 children under the age of five might die: 184 every day in Borno and Yobe states.

-  The resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta: an economic and security threat from the Niger Delta militants, capable of attacks that have shut down production repeatedly in 2016. They currently have a strong bargaining position and the government can barely afford a redeployment of military resources from the northeast. Also, the clashes between settled farmers and nomadic herdsmen along Nigeria’s Middle Belt and northwards, if mismanaged and securitized, could escalate into a new destabilizing conflict.

- The persistence of the all-scale corruption phenomenon, in spite of the recent measures launched by the government. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria urges Malians to stick on peace process after suicide attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Algeria on Wednesday urged Malian warrant parties to stick on peace process as it condemned the suicide bombing attack that targeted the northern city of Gao.

“Algeria strongly condemns the murderous terrorist attack that took place today in Gao, in the north of Mali,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdelaziz Benali Cherif was quoted as saying by the Read the rest of this entry »

Algerian PM: Morocco Has Secured Enough Votes to Return to AU

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, acknowledged that Morocco has won the necessary votes to secure its return to the African Union (AU).

The Algerian Prime Minister has admitted that Morocco’s return to the AU has become inevitable, as it has secured the necessary votes from the majority of African countries.

The senior official said in a press conference during preparations for the Africa-France summit in Bamako last weekend, “Morocco has ensured its integration into the African Union, even Read the rest of this entry »

Mali: 80killed in attack on army camp in Gao

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

More than 80 people were killed Wednesday in an attack on a military camp in Gao, northern Mali, said a military source within the UN Mission to Mali (MINUSMA).

A suicide attack on the military camp in Gao left 80 killed, said a hospital source, quoted by media.

A vehicle packed with explosives detonated on Wednesday at 8:40 AM at a military camp in Mali’s northern city of Gao.

UN says ready for talks with Congolese rebels

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

img32The UN said on Wednesday it had no confirmation Congolese rebels sheltering in Uganda had crossed back into the Democratic Republic of Congo, but that it was ready for talks with the group if so.

The DRC government said on Sunday that at least 230 members of M23, a mostly ethnic Tutsi rebel group defeated by the Congolese army three years ago, had arrived from Uganda and taken over a village in North Kivu province. Read the rest of this entry »

Senegal troops heading for Gambia border, say residents

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Witnesses confirm that Senegalese troops are moving toward the Gambian border from two sides as pressure mounts for Gambia’s president to step down.

President Yahya Jammeh lost the December 1 election and initially conceded defeat but later said voting irregularities invalidated the ballot. Read the rest of this entry »

Senegal asks UN to back Ecowas action in Gambia

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Senegal on Wednesday presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council seeking support for Ecowas efforts to press Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to step down, diplomats have said.

But the text does not explicitly seek council authorisation to deploy troops to The Gambia to force Jammeh to cede power to president-elect Adama Barrow, diplomats said. Read the rest of this entry »

Africa-France summit to tackle security issues

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The ministerial meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers of France and Africa kicked on Friday in Bamako, one day prior to the 27th Summit Africa-France which will focus on issues on security, peace and economic opportunities in Africa.

During the summit, in which more than 40 heads of state and governments have confirmed their presence, security and peace keeping will clearly be the center of the discussions, French Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told journalists on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

Libya forces retake Benghazi district

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

img21General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army on Monday retook a district in Benghazi from Islamist militants after a clash that killed nine soldiers in two days, a military source said.
“We now control the district of Abu Sneib” in the southwest of the city, a commanding officer in Haftar’s army said.

“Our forces now completely surround the Qanfuda area” nearby, the same source reported. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt, Algeria FMs discuss Libya situation

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed during a meeting with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Conference on Sunday the importance of implementing the UN-brokered Skhirat agreement of 2015 as the cornerstone to restore stability in war-torn Libya, which shares borders with both countries.

The meeting between the two ministers tackled areas of mutual interest between Egypt and Algeria, in addition to the situation in Libya, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria reiterates support to Mali’s reconciliation

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Saturday in Bamako Algeria is willing to accompany Mali in the phase of the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.

“I would like to reiterate Algeria’s willingness to continue to support the timely implementation process of peace agreement,” said Sellal, who is representing President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika at the Africa-France Summit in Bamako. Read the rest of this entry »

Hollande in Mali: Africa, France face same threat

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgFrench President Francois Hollande said on Friday that those battling jihad in Africa and the Middle East were like France part of “the same fight” against extremism.

Hollande spoke ahead of a summit with African leaders in Mali with the fight against extremists, the struggle to improve governance and the migrant crisis high on the agenda.

Mali had called on France four years ago to help force jihadist fighters out of key northern cities. To this day, 4 000 French troops remain in the country and across the Sahel region. Read the rest of this entry »

South Sudan claims mandate has expired for more UN troops

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgSouth Sudan’s government is claiming that the UN Security Council mandate has expired to send a new contingent of 4 000 peacekeepers to boost the existing force.

Minister of Information Michael Makuei told the Associated Press that December 15 was the expiration date for the deployment of peacekeepers to bolster the existing 12 000 UN troops in South Sudan. Read the rest of this entry »

Burundi to withdraw troops from AU Somalia mission

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Burundi on Monday began the process of withdrawing its troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) due to a dispute with the EU over the payment of wages.

Amisom salaries are paid by the EU but have not been received in Bujumbura for months as European diplomats seek to avoid sending money directly to a government against which the bloc imposed sanctions in response to a nearly two-year-long political crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

US delivers two more patrols boats to Tunisia

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

unisia’s army on Monday received two American patrol boats as part of a deal concluded with the United States to help battle terrorism and illegal migration.

Tunisia has suffered from a wave of jihadist violence since the 2011 revolt that ousted longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, which has killed dozens of soldiers, police officers and civilians. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt reiterates support for Libyan parties dialogue

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi asserted Thursday on his country’s position and support for the unity and stability of Libya, including respect to the will of its people who has close ties with the Egyptian people throughout history. Read the rest of this entry »

Egyptian FM, German vice chancellor discuss regional issues

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry discussed on Thursday with Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel the latest economic and social developments in Egypt and the region, according to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Shoukry, who started a two-day visit to Germany on Wednesday, shared with Sigmar updates on economic reforms recently adopted by the Egyptian government, the statement read.

Shoukri also discussed with Sigmar Egypt’s controversial new law regulating the work of NGO in the country, which has been passed by parliament but not yet ratified by the president, stressing that Cairo supports a strong role for non-governmental organisations in social and economic development. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Libya envoy ‘satisfied’ by Tunisian summit proposal

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgN special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler said he is satisfied by the initiative launched by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi to hold a summit between Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis, in a statement to Russian news agency Sputnik reported by local media. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria, Iraq discuss bilateral relations

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The longstanding relations between Algeria and Iraq were at the centre of discussions between Speaker of the Council of the Nation (Upper House of Parliament) Abdelkader Bensalah and Iraq’s Ambassador to Algeria Abderrahmane Hamed Mohamed Husseini, said the Upper House in a statement.

The two sides underlined “the willingness of the two countries to build fruitful cooperation,” said the statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Cameroon claims progress in fight against Boko Haram

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgCameroon said on Wednesday its military offensive against Boko Haram across the Nigerian border has made major progress, with scores of jihadists killed and hundreds of hostages freed since December.

But in a sign of continuing jihadist trouble, four would-be human bombs – two young boys and two teenaged girls – tried to strike in Cameroon’s Far North province on Wednesday.

Only the bombers died in the attempted attacks which were foiled by security forces and local vigilantes. Read the rest of this entry »

Clashes in Tunisia town over Libya border trade

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Clashes erupted on Wednesday in Tunisia’s border town of Ben Guerdane between police and protesters demanding the free flow of vital trade with neighbouring Libya, witnesses said.

Protesters set fire to tyres and blocked the road between Ben Guerdane and the border crossing of Ras Jedir about 30km away, they said.

They gathered outside official buildings in Ben Guerdane and security forces intervened after they were targeted by stone-throwers, witnesses said. Read the rest of this entry »

EU presidency calls for urgent migrant deal with Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The leader of the European Union’s presidency says that record numbers of migrants will try to cross the Mediterranean this spring and he wants the EU to work with Libya now to stem the flow.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Thursday that “we will have a crisis.” Read the rest of this entry »

AU to hold summit on Libya in Congo on Jan 25

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, January 12, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The crisis in Libya is to be the focus of the upcoming African Union summit in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, on January 25, Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui Read the rest of this entry »

East Libyan jet strikes rival military plane as tensions escalate

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgForces allied to Libya’s eastern government carried out an airstrike against a military transport aircraft on Tuesday, wounding the head of the military council from the rival city of Misrata, Reuters reports.

The airstrike and preceding clashes between the two military forces has raised fears of an escalation of violence in Libya’s central desert region.

There have been mounting tensions between forces linked to the western port city of Misrata and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). Read the rest of this entry »

Chad to close its borders with Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Chad has officially closed its borders with Libya and has opted to deploy troops along the long boundaries in an extensive effort to prevent the big influx of militant fighters who have fled the country because of the prolonged conflict.

Even though Daesh has been defeated in its former stronghold in the city of Sirte, there are still some remnants of the terrorist organization; Chad fears they will head south and enter Chad. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia welcomes agreement on total ceasefire in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Tunisia has welcomed the agreement on a total ceasefire in Syria, which entered into force on Thursday, and called on all parties to the conflict to respect it in order to allow humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian conflict.

Tunisia has expressed the wish to see this agreement lead to a global solution that will put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

UN envoy meets with Libyan PM, FM

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler, on Sunday met with Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister, Fayez Serraj, and Foreign Minister, Mohamed Sayala, in the capital Tripoli to discuss political issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Eight dead in attack on Egyptian police checkpoint in Sinai

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgAt least seven Egyptian policemen and a civilian were killed on Monday when suspected ISIL militants attacked a checkpoint in the northern Sinai peninsula with a lorry bomb.

Security forces killed five of the attackers. Six police officers, six civilians and three militants were injured in the attack in the city of El Arish.

The militants tried to ram the checkpoint with a rubbish lorry filled with explosives, but security forces killed the driver and safely detonated the lorry bomb. Read the rest of this entry »

Third UN peacekeeper killed by attackers in CAR

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

A UN peacekeeper from Bangladesh was fatally shot by attackers in Central African Republic, UN spokesman Stephan Dujarric said Friday.

The peacekeepers of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on patrol were returning from the town of Koui in the Ouham-Pende Prefecture when they were attacked by some 50 assailants, Dujarric told a regular briefing here. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria reaffirms support for restoring peace in Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Algeria reaffirmed on Saturday its commitment to supporting peace and stability in Libya through political dialogues.

“We are for inclusive political dialogue bringing together the real Libyan players who decide for the future of their country as part of the political Agreement signed on Dec. 17, 2015 between the different Libyan parties,” Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian minister for Maghreb, African Union and Arab League, told reporters after talks with visiting UN special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler. Read the rest of this entry »

Boko Haram attacks Nigeria military base

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least five soldiers were killed in a surprise weekend attack by Boko Haram Islamists on a military base in northeast Nigeria, senior officers told AFP on Monday.

A group of Boko Haram fighters launched an attack on the army facility in the town of Buni Yadi at dusk on Saturday, leading to an “intense battle”, one officer said on condition of anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »

Libyan MPs meet in Cairo to seek solutions to Libyan political turmoil

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgMembers of the Libyan parliament met on Saturday in Cairo with the head of the Egyptian Committee on Libya Mahmoud Hegazy, to discuss possible solutions to the Libyan turmoil, according to state-owned media.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met last week with the speaker of the Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh Issa, in which the former emphasised Egypt’s support for the sovereignty of Libya and the unity and integration of its lands. Read the rest of this entry »

Nigerian army destroys Boko Haram stronghold

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgNigerian President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday claimed the military had routed Boko Haram in a key northeastern stronghold, a year after saying the Islamist militants had been “technically” defeated. A campaign lasting for months in the 1,300 square-kilometer forest in northeastern Borno state led to the “final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa Forest” on Thursday, Buhari said in a statement.

The government in Abuja and the military have frequently claimed victories against the Islamic State group affiliate but access to the epi-centre of the conflict in Borno state is strictly controlled. That has made independent verification of official statements about victories virtually impossible. Attacks have meanwhile continued, making claims of defeating Boko Haram Read the rest of this entry »

Niger – At least 31 Boko Haram fighters surrender

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least 31 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered to authorities in Niger, the West African country’s interior minister Bazoum Mohamed announced on Tuesday.

Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency began in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria but has since spread beyond its borders to Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

The 31 fighters gave up their arms in Diffa, a southeast region, Mohamed said on Twitter, the first time Niger authorities have reported such surrenders. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia says 800 returning jihadists jailed or tracked

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Tunisia said on Friday it has jailed or closely monitored 800 jihadists who have returned from foreign battlefields in the past decade.

“Some are in prison, some are under house arrest and others are under close surveillance”, government spokesperson Iyed Dahmani said of the fighters who have returned since 2007.

A little under 3 000 Tunisians have joined the ranks of jihadist groups fighting in neighbouring Libya, as well as in Syria and Iraq, Dahmani said.

The United Nations puts this figure at 5 000. Read the rest of this entry »