Boko Haram attacks Niger Army base

Updated 26 April 2015
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Boko Haram attacks Niger Army base

NIAMEY, Niger: Suspected Boko Haram militants in motorized canoes attacked a Niger Army base on an island in Lake Chad, the body of water touching all four countries that have been targeted by Nigeria’s Islamic insurgency, Niger’s defense ministry said Saturday.
The army may have suffered “heavy losses” in the attack on Karamga Island, said a Niger military source in the region who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Casualty figures were not provided in a defense ministry statement broadcast Saturday night on state television.
A similar attack on Karamga Island in February killed seven Niger soldiers, and 14 Boko Haram fighters were also killed, military officials said at the time.
In the latest attack, the assailants approached at dawn on Saturday in about 10 motorized canoes, the defense ministry statement said.
“Operations are ongoing with the aid of allies” to put an end to the insurgent movement, the statement said.
Niger joined a regional offensive earlier this year that is credited with retaking large swaths of territory in Nigeria from Boko Haram. The original plans called for an 8,750-member regional force with troops also coming from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Benin.
In addition to the Lake Chad violence, Niger towns bordering Nigeria were targeted in the early weeks of the offensive.


Aung San Suu Kyi’s bid to reform charter sparks rival protests in Myanmar

Updated 18 min 52 sec ago
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Aung San Suu Kyi’s bid to reform charter sparks rival protests in Myanmar

  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy party is pushing for change despite objections from military lawmakers
  • Military lawmakers hold a veto over amendments

YANGON: Hundreds of people demonstrated in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, on Wednesday in support of proposed constitutional amendments that would reduce the power of the military.
A separate protest against the reforms was planned for later in the day.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party is pushing for change despite objections from military lawmakers, who hold a veto over amendments.
The demonstrators, led by activists not aligned to the party, wore red headbands printed with the words “Amend the 2008 Constitution.”
“The current government is trying to move forward, but they can’t because of the 2008 constitution,” said protest organizer Pyae Phyo Zaw, who also called for elected leaders to be given oversight of the security forces.
After decades of military rule, Nobel laureate Suu Kyi took the reins in 2016 after an electoral landslide, but is forced to share power with the generals.
Under the constitution drafted by the former junta, the military chief nominates a quarter of lawmakers and the ministers of defense, home affairs and border affairs.
It also blocks Suu Kyi from becoming president, with a prohibition on presidential candidates with foreign spouses or children. Suu Kyi had two sons with her late husband, Michael Aris, a British academic.
A flyer for Wednesday’s separate counter protest called on “those who love their race and religion” to turn out to help preserve that clause.
A nationalist movement led by Buddhist monks is critical of Suu Kyi and casts the military as protector of the Buddhist-majority nation.
A report containing thousands of amendments proposed by various political parties was submitted on Monday for debate at the parliament in the capital, Naypyitaw, but has not been made public.
Nay Phone Latt, an NLD lawmaker in Yangon’s regional parliament, told Reuters one of the party’s key proposals was to set a timeline for the gradual reduction of military seats in parliament, beginning with a move from 25 percent to 15 percent in 2021.
The NLD holds most seats in parliament, but the military lawmakers mean it lacks the 75 percent majority needed to amend the constitution.
“We need military men’s support, so it depends on the stance of the military,” Nay Phone Latt said. “But we hope that it can be accepted by the military as it would reduce bit by bit over time.”
Kyaw Khine Win, another demonstrator, said he rallied in favor of amending the charter because it was written to bar Suu Kyi from leading the country and imposed “forcefully.”
“We want a country which is commanded by the people,” he said.