Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Last Nine Months in Nigeria

I lost track after the coup:

"Mother pleads for Nigeria to swap Boko Haram militants for kidnapped schoolgirls" by Michelle Faul Associated Press  August 16, 2016

LAGOS, Nigeria — The mother of a kidnapped Chibok schoolgirl appealed Monday for Nigeria’s president to free detained Boko Haram militants in exchange for the more than 200 girls held captive, as the Islamic extremists have offered.

A Boko Haram video posted Sunday shows dozens of the 218 girls who were abducted from a remote school in April 2014, with one saying that ‘‘some’’ have died in military airstrikes.

Except the whole thing was a staged and scripted production.

Nigeria’s defense ministry disputed that Monday. ‘‘It is extremely difficult and rare to hit innocent people during airstrikes because the operation is done through precision attacks on identified and registered targets and locations,’’ a spokesman, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement.

The lying must be a job requirement regarding military command.

In the video, one of the kidnapped girls begs their parents to press Nigeria’s government to free detained Boko Haram members so the schoolgirls can be released in a prisoner swap.

‘‘The government should just release the militants,’’ her mother, Esther Yakubu, told The Associated Press. She wept when she watched the first proof of life of her daughter since her capture.

‘‘All the girls that have been rescued have rescued themselves. Not any government has rescued them, no army rescued them,’’ she said. Dozens escaped on their own within hours of a mass abduction of 276 students that shocked the worldIn May, a lone Chibok girl escaped from the Sambisa Forest stronghold of Boko Haram, saying she was led to freedom by her disillusioned Boko Haram ‘‘husband.’’

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign is also pressing for a prisoner exchange, saying President Muhammadu Buhari ‘‘rode to power’’ on the back of their cause but has done nothing tangible to free the girls. Buhari won March 2015 elections in part because of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to rescue the girls.

‘‘Mr. Buhari can absolutely afford to trade terrorists’ lives for schoolgirls,’’ said human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe, of the Education Must Continue campaign is paying to educate some of the escaped Chibok girls in the United States.

He questioned the president’s sincerity, noting that Buhari said in May that he had not watched a proof-of-life video sent by Boko Haram to encourage negotiations, apparently as early as January.

Officials are wary, noting previous negotiations have failed because officials have been duped into talks with the wrong people.

‘‘We are being extremely careful,’’ Information Minister Lai Mohammed said in a statement. ‘‘We want to be doubly sure that those we are in touch with are who they claim to be.’’

And who do you think they are?


Didn't realize I was a father!

"Boko Haram kidnap victim found with a 10-month-old baby" by Kristine Guerra Washington Post  November 05, 2016

The April 14, 2014, mass kidnapping prompted the creation of the Bring Back Our Girls movement. The international campaign, which pushes for more action from the Nigerian government, drew support from Michelle Obama.

Can't bring back all the dead ones from Obama's bombs.

In a brief statement, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, spokesman for the Nigerian army, said troops rescued the girl and her son at about 6 a.m. on Saturday while screening escapees in the Sambisa forest, where Boko Haram was believed to be holding hundreds of captives.

Although the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls drew international attention, thousands of other girls and women have been kidnapped by Boko Haram. The insurgent group, intent on creating an Islamic state, has been terrorizing Nigeria since 2009.

Captives were kept in tiny huts and raped almost daily by Boko Haram fighters as part of the group’s savage campaign of rape and sexual slavery, The Washington Post’s Kevin Sieff wrote in April. Many were forced into marriages. Others were indoctrinated and turned into suicide bombers, while those who resisted were killed.


"Twin explosions from female suicide bombers suspected to be with Boko Haram killed nine people and injured 24 in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday morning, officials and witnesses said. The first explosion came when two of the bombers tried to enter a camp holding more than 16,000 refugees from Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising, according to civilian self-defense fighter Dan Batta. The military said there was only one attacker. The second blast came a half-hour later and about a kilometer away when a tricycle taxi carrying two passengers exploded outside a gas station, military spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka said. Nine bodies, including those of two suicide bombers, were recovered and 24 people wounded in the explosions were evacuated to nearby hospitals, said Sani Datta, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (AP)."

It's always an individual -- except on 9/11.

Thousands of other captives were freed during a series of military operations that forced Boko Haram out of towns and cities the group controlled. The women who were rescued are shunned and labeled ‘‘Boko Haram Wives.’’ Many view them with suspicion, fearing they were brainwashed during their captivity....

Honestly, the pre$$ flogging of the propaganda and the desperate level displayed (that's when women and children are dragged out) has become rather distasteful.


"New Doctors Without Borders survey: Thousands of kids dying in Nigeria" by MICHELLE FAUL Associated Press  November 16, 2016

LAGOS, Nigeria — Thousands of children have died of starvation and disease in Boko Haram-ravaged northeastern Nigeria, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday quoting a new survey that is forcing Nigerian officials to stop denying the crisis.

And all I got was this one lousy article.

The Paris-based organization hopes that official recognition of the calamity in which ‘‘thousands are dying’’ will help bring urgent aid before older children also start dying, Natalie Roberts, emergency program manager for northeast Nigeria, told The Associated Press.

A survey of two refugee camps in the northeastern city of Maiduguri shows a quarter of the expected population of under-5 children is missing, assumed dead, according to the organization. Under-5 mortality rates in the camps are more than double the threshold for declaring an emergency, Roberts said in a phone interview from Paris.

Speaking on her return from northeastern Borno state, the birthplace of Boko Haram’s uprising, she said the absence of young children was striking.

‘‘We only saw older brothers and sisters. No toddlers are straddling their big sisters’ hips. No babies strapped to their mums’ backs. It’s as if they have just vanished,’’ Roberts said.

Elite pedophile kidnap ring snatching them?

Doctors Without Borders first sounded the alarm in June but senior officials of the National Emergency Management Agency managing the camps as late as September denied any child was suffering malnutrition and accused the doctors of exaggerating the crisis to attract donations. That was after The Associated Press published images of matchstick-thin children fighting for their lives at a Doctors Without Borders intensive feeding center in Maiduguri.

The crisis is aggravated by alleged theft of food aid by emergency management officials.

‘‘The difference now is that our figures have been checked by the statistician general, and we have official recognition from the government that they believe this is happening,’’ Roberts said.

An estimated 75,000 children could die within a year because donors have provided only one-third of requested funding and twice as much, $1 billion, is needed for the rest of the year and into 2017, says the United Nations.

A vital funding conference in Geneva next month could save the day, otherwise ‘‘it won’t be long before we could be in the painful position of having to turn away sick and starving children,’’ says the U.S.-based Save the Children.

Some 2.6 million people including more than 1 million children have been driven from their homes by Nigeria’s 7-year-old insurgency that has killed more than 20,000 people, left food-producing fields fallow, disrupted trade routes and destroyed wells, bridges and entire towns.

President Muhammadu Buhari last month set up a presidential committee to coordinate aid and the rebuilding of the northeast, even as an end to the rainy season has brought a predictable upsurge in attacks on military outposts and urban suicide bombings by the Islamic extremists.

Buhari and Nigeria’s military have said aerial bombardments and a ground offensive that have forced the insurgents out of most towns has the extremists on the run. But aid agencies say they can barely venture outside Maiduguri for fear of attack and are using helicopters to reach dangerous areas.

At least they are winning the war.



21 Girls Kidnapped From Chibok School Released by Boko Haram, Nigeria Says

Nigeria, Boko Haram in talks to free 83 more schoolgirls

Nigeria finds Chibok girl kidnapped by Boko Haram, with baby

Every 7 seconds, a girl younger than 15 gets married

The gender gap starts early: Girls do far more chores than boys

I'm wondering what drone and missile strikes are doing to them.

Wonder Woman dumped as a special UN ambassador after uproar

Also see:

60 in Nigeria die as new roof of church collapses

Nigerian church collapse toll rises to 160

About those airstrikes:

"Nigeria says air raid kills Boko Haram leader" by Michelle Faul Associated Press  August 23, 2016

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s military said Tuesday that it believes an airstrike fatally wounded Abubakar Shekau, the head of the Boko Haram extremist group, and killed about 300 other militants, but there was no way to confirm the death of Nigeria’s Islamic insurgency leader.

A government statement did not say how the military got the information but identified other commanders killed in an air raid on Friday.

Nigerian security forces have at least three times in the past declared that they have killed or fatally wounded Shekau, only to have him resurface in video and audio recordings. The military has said that Boko Haram was using look-alike fighters to impersonate him.

CIA ghosts get yanked in and out of graves more than.... I dunno.

The Nigerian Air Force carried out the raid while Shekau was praying on Friday, Islam’s holy day, at Taye village in the extremists’ Sambisa Forest holdout in northeast Nigeria, according to the statement signed by an army spokesman, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.

‘‘Boko Haram terrorist commanders confirmed dead include Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu, and Malam Hamman, amongst others. While their leader, so-called ‘Abubakar Shekau,’ is believed to be fatally wounded on his shoulders. Several other terrorists were also wounded,’’ he said.

They beheaded him?

A separate Air Force statement said the raid killed 300 militants and was a result of human intelligence and reconnaissance indicating key Boko Haram commanders were gathering for a meeting.

The statements came the same day Secretary of State John Kerry met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss Islamic extremism and regional security. Kerry, speaking Tuesday morning in northern Sokoto city, made no reference to the army’s report.

Oh, this military action was a gift.

Kerry praised the Sultan of Sokoto, spiritual leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, for his work preaching tolerance and bringing together interfaith groups ‘‘to do the hard work of pushing back against extremism.’’ He called also for empathy even for former Boko Haram fighters.

That figures, seeing as CIA is helping them.

‘‘Breaking the cycle of violence requires treating those who escape or defect from Boko Haram, and particularly those who were abducted against their will, with sensitivity as they return to their old communities,’’ Kerry said. Many rescued captives, especially pregnant girls, are being shunned.

Kerry noted that Boko Haram fighters Saturday attacked a village near Chibok, killing 10 people and taking 13 girls and women hostage.

Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria, is where nearly 300 schoolgirls were abducted from a school in April 2014. Dozens of the kidnapped girls escaped, but 218 remain missing.

A video showing dozens of the girls on Sunday said Shekau is willing to negotiate a prisoner swap for detained Boko Haram commanders.

Buhari is under increasing pressure to rescue or negotiate the girls’ release, but his spokesman has said officials are wary since previous negotiations failed because they were duped into talks with the wrong people.

 So a week before Kerry shows up a mother makes an urgent plea? 



"Boko Haram attacks signal resilience of ISIS and its branches" by Dionne Searcey and Eric Schmitt New York Times  October 27, 2016

Whack-a-mole propaganda.

DIFFA, Niger — The military convoy was rumbling across a river near the border last month when soldiers suddenly realized they were surrounded. More than 100 Boko Haram fighters, some on horseback, had encircled the vehicles, ready to strike.

The 300 soldiers from Niger and the handful of US Special Operations forces accompanying them called for help. Soldiers from Chad rushed to the area, and fighter planes from Niger buzzed overhead, bombing the militants, killing some and sending others fleeing. This time, at least, the quick international teamwork averted what could have been a deadly militant ambush.

Defeating Boko Haram was a flagship campaign promise of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, the former general who took office a year and a half ago. Since then, the Nigerian military, aided by neighboring countries — along with training from the United States, Britain, and France — has made huge advances. Buhari has claimed for months that Boko Haram has been defeated, and this month he reveled in the release of 21 of the nearly 300 girls kidnapped from a school by Boko Haram more than two years ago.

Yet a troubling new series of attacks in Nigeria and the neighboring country of Niger, including one that killed dozens of soldiers, highlights how Boko Haram is far from eliminated. With the rainy season ending and roads becoming passable again, officials are bracing for more ambushes.

Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and Western intelligence officials believe the recent strikes were carried out by a group that splintered off with the Islamic State’s blessing to focus on Western and strategic military targets. Now, the group is unleashing the kinds of military attacks that had been on the wane in past months.

The splinter group has stated its intent to focus its attacks “away from local Sunni civilians and toward military and Western targets,” said Commander William J. Marks, a spokesman for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington. 

Believe them? 


The renewed violence offers insight into the reach of the Islamic State. As it loses ground in Iraq and Syria, the group is relying on affiliates like this Boko Haram faction to hold its ground. Other affiliates are also trying to keep up the fight, even under increasing pressure from the West. The Libya faction, for instance, has taken a pounding in Sirte, but many of its fighters have simply scattered to the south and other places, where US counterterrorism officials fear they will regroup to fight another day.

The recent Boko Haram developments illustrate the very adaptive and resilient nature of the Islamic State, often called ISIS or ISIL, and its branches.

All this propaganda to cover total fiction or false flag agents.

“Both ISIL and its regional affiliates are under increasing pressure, and both sides have increasing incentive to deepen the center-affiliate bond,” said Jennifer G. Cooke, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. 

Boko Haram has ravaged Nigeria and other sub-Saharan nations along Lake Chad, killing civilians, kidnapping people, and seizing entire villages. At its peak, the group pummeled major military targets and even controlled large swaths of territory.

But in the past year or so, as Nigeria’s president launched another military offensive against the group, Boko Haram’s operations became less organized and more opportunistic. Led by Abubakar Shekau, notorious for his wild YouTube rants with a Kalashnikov slung across his chest, Boko Haram uses a battleground [Its] strategy that often consisted of sending men, women, and children strapped with explosives into markets and mosques to blow up citizens.

Yeah, that'll win 'em over to your side!

Evidence of a weakened Boko Haram had begun to emerge. Fighters retreated into the Sambisa Forest as Nigerian forces aided by a multinational military coalition squeezed the group’s supply linesThroughout the region, Word of divisions within Boko Haram and defections has spread. Some fighters have been turning themselves in to the Nigerian military, which has offered amnesty if they agree to take part in a “deradicalization” program. Some officials also think the release of the schoolgirls from Nigeria is a sign of defections in Shekau’s group.

The biggest sign of trouble in Shekau’s ranks came In August when news of a factional split was announced in an online newsletter for the Islamic State. Boko Haram appeared to be divided along theological lines, with a new faction disavowing the random killing of Muslims. This new wing has [With its] pledged to focus on Western and strategic military targets. Led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, thought to be the son of the founder of Boko Haram, the new faction appears to be concentrated along the northern edge of Nigeria and into Niger. The new attacks suggest that the splinter group has found new ground to operate in and a new sense of purpose, emboldened by its Islamic State endorsement.


Amazing how the New York Times and America's intelligence agencies know so much about the inner workings of the terrorists, 'eh?


"Gunmen stormed the house of a longtime American aid worker in Niger, killing two people before fleeing with the man toward the border with Mali, authorities said Saturday. It is believed to be the first time an American citizen has been abducted in the vast Sahel region, where Al Qaeda and criminal gangs have targeted French nationals and other Europeans for more than a decade, demanding millions of dollars for their release. The US Embassy in Niger on Saturday warned citizens that ‘‘the threat of kidnapping and hostage taking continues to be very high’’ and encouraged people to take precautions. There was no claim of responsibility (AP)." 

And I didn't see another word in the Globe.

Here is a Boko Harem Christmas present:

"Boko Haram’s seven-year Islamic uprising has killed more than 20,000 people, spread across Nigeria’s borders, driven some 2.3 million people from their homes, and created a massive humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has warned that 5.1 million people are in danger of starving in northeast Nigeria, including in areas too dangerous to reach because of Boko Haram ambushes. Nigeria is unlikely to see an end soon to the deadly suicide bombings, village attacks, and assaults on remote military outposts in northeastern Nigeria carried out by the country’s homegrown Islamic extremist group...." 

Happy New Year, Nigeria!

"Lawyer: 3 Nigerian death row inmates secretly executed" by MICHELLE FAUL Associated Press  December 29, 2016

ABRAKA, Nigeria — Three convicted criminals on death row for about two decades have been secretly executed in the first hangings in Nigeria since 2013, human rights lawyers and a fellow inmate said Thursday.

The executions breach a seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in this West African country. The hangings went ahead despite outstanding appeals, making them ‘‘unlawful killings,’’ Chino Obiagwu of the Legal Defense and Assistance Project said.

Debate about the death penalty has revived recently in Nigeria, with some calling for people convicted of gross corruption to get a death sentence.

It might be the only way tom stop it these days.

Obiagwu said the three inmates were hanged in Benin City Prison in southern Edo state on Dec. 23. All had been convicted of armed robbery by military tribunals in the 1990s, when Nigeria was under military dictatorship, security forces and prison officials regularly tortured confessions from suspects, and there was no right of appeal.

That's a good U.S. ally.

Nigeria has more than 1,000 prisoners on death row.

Human rights lawyers were alerted when Nigeria’s sole remaining executioner was summoned from northern Sokoto city to Benin, Obiagwu said.

Obiagwu said his organization wrote to Edo state Governor Godwin Obaseki on Dec. 21 warning the men had outstanding appeals.

Officials in Edo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


So what did Nigeria do wrong to call down such wrath?

"Official: Nigeria mistakenly bombs camp, kills more than 100" by HARUNA UMAR and BASHIR ADIGUN Associated Press  January 17, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — A Nigerian air force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed a refugee camp on Tuesday, killing more than 100 refugees and aid workers, a Borno state official said.


Military commander Major General Lucky Irabor confirmed an accidental bombardment in the northeastern town of Rann, near the border with Cameroon, saying ‘‘some’’ civilians were killed.

It was believed to be the first time Nigeria’s military has admitted to making such a mistake in a region where villagers have in the past reported civilian casualties in the near-daily bombings targeting the Islamic militants.

The Borno state official, who was helping to coordinate the evacuation of wounded from the remote area by helicopters, said more than 100 refugees and aid workers were among the dead.


How's the economy over there?

"Africa’s biggest economy is officially in recession. Nigeria released data on Wednesday showing its gross domestic product declined by 2.06 percent in the second quarter of the year. The oil- and import-dependent economy also declined by 0.36 percent in the first quarter. It is the West African country’s first recession since 1991, according to Central Bank data. Nigeria has been slammed by low petroleum prices, attacks by oil militants, and foreign currency shortages."

What are they doing wrong vis-a-vis the Ma$ters of the Univer$e?

"Nigeria sues over $12B in ‘illegal’ oil exports" by Michelle Faul Associated Press  September 20, 2016

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria is suing several major oil companies for $12.7 billion of oil that allegedly was exported illegally to the United States between 2011 and 2014, officials said Tuesday.


Now I $ee who$e toe$ they $tepped on!

The Federal High Court in Lagos begins hearings next week in cases filed against Nigerian subsidiaries of US multinational Chevron, British-Dutch Shell, Italian ENI’s Agip, France’s Total, and Brasoil of Brazilian Petrobas, according to the court register.

Oil companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Officials familiar with the cases said Nigeria’s government alleges that the companies did not declare more than 57 million barrels of crude oil shipments. That was deduced from audits of declared exports and what was unloaded in the United States.

Some shiploads registered less when they left Nigeria and more on reaching the United States, while some entire shiploads were undeclared in Nigeria, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the cases still are in court.

The U.S. companies STOLE Nigerian oil?

Michael Kanko confirmed that his US-based ImportGenius database was used by attorneys to confirm declarations made to US customs by shippers and importers.

Law professor Fabian Ajogwu is representing the Nigerian government in the case against Chevron, which comes up first on Sept. 30.


Would have been better off dumping it:

"Shell and Nigerian partner are sued in Britain over spills" By Stanley Reed New York Times   March 02, 2016

LONDON — Nigerian communities from the oil-rich Niger Delta initiated court action on Wednesday in London against the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, in a case that may have far-reaching implications for whether companies can be sued in Britain for pollution and damages caused by their activities in other countries.

The case is based on accusations by farming and fishing communities that say they have suffered years of damage because of repeated large spills from oil pipelines in their home areas.

The law firm Leigh Day is bringing the claims against Shell and its Nigerian joint venture, the Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria, in London on behalf of two communities in the swampy, oil-rich Niger Delta: the Ogale and the Bille.

On Wednesday, the claimants won a small victory when a judge ruled that the Nigerian venture could be included in the case, along with its parent company.

Daniel Leader, a partner at Leigh Day, said in an interview that the outcome of what are likely to be lengthy proceedings “will set an important precedent as to whether the courts here are going to be willing to hear cases relating to multinational enterprises and their subsidiaries in the developing world.”

If the case is ultimately successful, he added, “cleanup costs could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Jonathan French, a Shell spokesman in London, said in an e-mail that the company was “at an early stage of assessing the Bille and Ogale claims.”

Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary said in a statement that “both Bille and Ogale are areas heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage, and illegal refining, which remain the main sources of pollution across the Niger Delta.”

The Nigerian joint venture is 55 percent owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Co., with Shell holding a 30 percent stake. The French energy company Total holds 10 percent, and Eni of Italy owns the remaining 5 percent. Shell has said that cleanup costs from spills are shared on the basis of holdings.

The company says it is committed to cleaning up oil spills, which it is obliged to do under Nigerian law no matter what the cause, but the company said it was not liable to pay compensation for damage caused by oil thieves and saboteurs.

In January of last year, the energy company settled a claim brought by Leigh Day on behalf of another Nigerian community, the Bodo, for 55 million pounds, or $77 million at current exchange rates, in a development that analysts say has encouraged new lawsuits. French said the Bodo case differed from the ones now being brought because the company acknowledged that the spills in the settled case had been “caused by operational failure.” All of the money paid in that case was listed as compensation.

Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary said that it would fight having the case tried in Britain.

“We believe that allegations concerning Nigerian plaintiffs in dispute with a Nigerian company, over issues which took place within Nigeria, should be heard in Nigeria,” the company said.

Leader, however, said that bringing cases against oil companies in Nigeria was futile. “The Nigerian legal system cannot deal with these cases and there is complete regulatory failure,” he said.

Nigeria remains one of the most important countries for Shell production, but because of the theft of oil from its pipelines and other difficulties, the company is gradually withdrawing from onshore areas and is focusing on offshore facilities, where it is easier to maintain security.

No pirates over there?


Globe's run dry, sorry.