Boko Haram kills three aid workers in Nigeria

In this file photo taken on July 29, 2017 a woman walks through the Internally-Displaced Peoples’ camp of Rann, northeast of Nigeria, close to the Cameroonian border. (AFP)
Updated 03 March 2018
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Boko Haram kills three aid workers in Nigeria

KANO: Three aid workers were confirmed killed in a Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, the UN said on Friday, in the latest violence to underscore the militants’ enduring threat.
The world body and two security sources initially said four people were killed in the attack in the remote town of Rann on Thursday evening but later revised the death toll.
Rann is located some 175 km east of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, near the border with Cameroon and communications are difficult.
A UN spokeswoman in Abuja, Samantha Newport, said the attack happened “after dark” outside a camp housing some 55,000 people displaced by the conflict.
“Of the aid workers that were killed, two worked for the IOM (International Organization for Migration) in camp management; and one was a medical doctor working as a third party consultant for UNICEF,” the UN children’s agency, she added.
Three aid workers were injured and a female nurse was missing, feared abducted. All those killed, injured or missing were Nigerian.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said: “Aid workers put their lives on the line every single day to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable women, children and men.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims and our brave colleagues and we call on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice and account.”
There was no immediate confirmation of deaths or injuries among internally displaced people (IDP) but a civilian militia source in Rann and a senior military figure in Maiduguri said eight soldiers were killed.
Thursday’s attack in Rann comes nearly two weeks after Boko Haram kidnapped 110 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi in neighboring Yobe state.
The government in Abuja said Friday the hunt for the missing students had been “extended to neighboring countries,” after reports some may have been taken into Niger.
The kidnapping and continued attacks in the region have raised questions about the extent of the Nigerian government’s claims to have virtually defeated Boko Haram.
Early on Friday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up near a mosque in Buni Yadi, Yobe state, civilian vigilante leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP from Maiduguri.
“From all indications it was a premature explosion... She died and she injured two worshippers who were heading to the mosque,” he said.
Buni Yadi is 45 km south of the Yobe state capital Damaturu. It was the scene of another Boko Haram school attack in February 2014, when at least 40 boys were killed.
The town was cleared of Boko Haram in March 2016.
Boko Haram’s quest to establish a hard-line Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 20,000 dead and made more than 2.6 million others homeless since 2009.
The military has regained the upper hand but the militants have increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom as a way to finance their operations and win back key commanders in prisoner swaps with the Nigerian government.
In Rann, Boko Haram fighters “in large numbers” were said to have targeted troops protecting the IDP camp.


Eritrea responds to Ethiopia PM’s olive branch

Updated 3 min 7 sec ago
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Eritrea responds to Ethiopia PM’s olive branch

  • Eritrea and Ethiopia remain bitter foes after a 1998-2000 conflict that drew comparisons to the First World War
  • Even after the end of the war, the border remains heavily militarised and disputed

ADDIS ABABA: Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is dispatching a delegation to Addis Ababa for “constructive engagement” with arch-foe Ethiopia after peace overtures this month from its new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, a senior Eritrean diplomat said on Wednesday.
Isais made the annoucement — a potentially significant breakthrough in one of Africa’s most protracted conflicts — earlier on Wednesday, Eritrea’s ambassador to Japan, Estifanos Afeworki, said on Twitter. He gave no further details.
Eritrean information minister Yemane Ghebremeskel did not respond to requests for comment.
Eritrea and Ethiopia remain bitter foes after a 1998-2000 conflict that drew comparisons to the First World War, with waves of conscripts forced to march through minefields toward Eritrean trenches, where they were cut down by machine gun fire.
Casuality figures are disputed in both countries although most estimates suggest 50,000 Ethiopian soldiers died, against 20,000 on the Eritrean side.
Even after the end of the war, the border remains heavily militarised and disputed, most notably the town of Badme which was part of Eritrea, according to a 2002 international arbitration ruling.
Since then, Addis has ignored the ruling and refused to pull out troops or officials, to the fury of Asmara.
However, Abiy, a 41-year-old former soldier who has embarked on a radical economic and political reform drive since taking over in March, stunned Ethiopians this month when he said Addis would honor all the terms of the settlement between the two countries, suggesting he was prepared to cede Badme.
In parliament this week, Abiy also acknoewledged the tensions continued to inflict a heavy economic cost on both countries and said Addis should no longer hide this price tag from the Ethiopian people, another stunning departure with the past.
There has so far been no official response to Abiy’s overtures from Eritrea, one of the Africa’s most closed states.