TIME Nigeria

Boko Haram Kills 56 Villagers in Nigeria

Boko Haram
Jossy Ola—AP Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in the northeast of Nigeria arrive at the military office in Maiduguri on July 31, 2015

"We saw corpses in the streets of the village," said farmer Mustapha Alibe

(MAIDUGURI, Nigeria) — Islamic extremist group Boko Haram killed 56 villagers in a remote area, the governor of Borno State said Sunday, as the government warned that the extremists are trying to extend their violent campaign.

Gov. Kashim Shettima confirmed the attack in Baanu village during a meeting with the parents of the 219 girls abducted from a school in the region by the extremists last year. Thursday marked 500 days of captivity of the girls from a school in Chibok.

“I want us all to understand that the Boko Haram crisis is a calamity that has befallen us, as the insurgents do not discriminate whether somebody is Christian or Muslim, neither do they have any tribal sympathy or affiliations. Just yesterday they killed 56 people in Baanu village of Nganzai local government, as I am speaking to you their corpses are still littered on the street of the village because virtually everyone in the village had to run for their lives”.

He did not provide futher details of the attack.

Fleeing residents of Baanu village said they were attacked by Boko Haram on Friday night.

“We returned back to the village in the morning after spending the night in the bush, we saw corpses in the streets of the village,” said farmer Mustapha Alibe.

Boko Haram’s six-year-old uprising has left an estimated 20,000 people dead. At least 1,000 people have been killed by the militants since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in March with a pledge to wipe them out.

Chadian and Nigerian troops have driven the extremists out of some 25 towns held for months in an area Boko Haram had declared an Islamic caliphate. Since then, the insurgents, who in March pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have gone back to hit-and-run tactics and suicide bombings largely in the country’s north.

Separately, a government official said there has been a sudden influx of Boko Haram agents in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria outside the militants’ main area of activity in northeastern Nigeria.

Tony Opuiyo, spokesman of the Department of State Services — Nigeria’s intelligence agency — said in a statement Boko Haram is trying to extend their reach after being pushed out of the urban centers of northeastern Nigeria.

Security agencies had arrested 14 Boko Haram suspects in Lagos, the capital Abuja and other parts of the country outside the northeast in the past two months, said Opuiyo.

Those arrested include cell leaders, some of whom admitted to involvement in recent suicide attacks, he said. Authorities on Friday said they arrested a teenager who was spying on Abuja’s international airport for Boko Haram.

TIME Nigeria

Young Girl Suicide Bomber Kills 5 in Nigeria

41 people were wounded

(DAMATURU, Nigeria) — Two suicide bombers carried out separate attacks Tuesday that killed five people in Damaturu, a town in northeastern Nigeria, police and witnesses said.

In one attack, a girl bomber died in an explosion that killed five people at the crowded entrance to the main bus station, said Assistant Superintendent Toyin Gbagedesin. Witnesses said a young male suicide bomber killed only himself when his device exploded prematurely.

Gbagedesin says 41 people were wounded in the bus station explosion. The bomber appeared to be about 14 years old.

Nigeria’s Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, is suspected of being behind the attacks. It has used dozens of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, raising fears it is using kidnap victims.

More than 1,000 people have been killed since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in March with a pledge to annihilate the militants, whose 6-year-old uprising has killed a total of about 20,000 people. Nearly 2 million have been driven from their homes, some across borders.

Earlier this year, troops from Chad and Nigeria drove the extremists out of some 25 towns held for months in what they had declared an Islamic caliphate. The insurgents have returned to hit-and-run tactics and suicide bombings.

In old bold attack last week, the extremists ambushed the lead vehicle in a convoy carrying Nigeria’s new chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. One soldier was killed and two wounded in a firefight in which the troops killed five attackers and arrested five.

TIME

Boko Haram Has a New Leader Willing to Negotiate With Nigeria

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari
Afolabi Sotunde—Reuters Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during the opening ceremony for the Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria on June 11, 2015.

Rumors of the death of former leader Abubakar Shekau have grown since the leader has not appeared for months

(LAGOS, Nigeria) — Boko Haram has a new commander willing to negotiate with Nigeria’s new government, Chad’s President Idriss Deby announced Wednesday, fueling speculation the extremist group’s previous commander has been killed.

Rumors of the death of Abubakar Shekau have grown since the leader has not appeared for months in videos broadcast by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic militant group.

“There is somebody apparently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau, and he wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government,” Deby said in comments broadcast by Chad state radio. He did not say where the information came from.

“I would not advise negotiating with a terrorist,” said Deby, though he himself led one failed attempt last year. Other attempts under Nigeria’s previous government also failed, partly because the group is believed fractured into several factions.

Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari has said his government is open to talks, but also would pursue the military option.

Deby said a five-nation regional army based in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, would be deployed in days and predicted it would destroy Boko Haram by year’s end. He said the group already has been “decapitated.”

Chadian troops earlier this year helped drive the insurgents out of northeastern Nigerian towns where they had declared an “Islamic caliphate” and prosecuted strict Shariah law. But hundreds have died in suicide bombings and village attacks in recent months. The 6-year-old Islamic uprising has killed 20,000 people and spilled across Nigeria’s borders.

On Tuesday, a bomb blast in a northeastern Nigerian village killed at least 24 people and Cameroonian troops repelled an invasion on a border town by hundreds of Boko Haram fighters who crossed the border.

Suicide bombings in Chad killed dozens in three attacks in June and July on the capital, N’Djamena.

TIME Nigeria

Bomb Blast Kills At Least 47 in a Nigerian Market

The bomb exploded during peak trading hours, leaving dozens dead and injured

A bomb blast at a market in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 47 people and wounded dozens others on Tuesday, AFP reports.

The explosion occurred at around 1:15 p.m. local time in the mobile phone section of the market, located in the village of Sabon Gari in the state of Borno. The bomb had been hidden in a knapsack used for dispersing pesticides, which the perpetrator then abandoned, leaving it to detonate during peak trading hours.

A source at a hospital in the town of Biu told a local newspaper that 41 people had been admitted for injuries, and that many of those who had died were “mostly burnt or battered beyond recognition.”

Though no individual or group has claimed responsibility for the attack, witnesses noted that it resembled the work of Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group that frequently targets crowded public venues in Nigeria and nearby countries. The group, which has killed over 15,000 people since 2009, has ramped up its attacks since the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in late May of this year.

On Tuesday, President Idriss Deby of Chad said publicly that an ongoing multilateral military operation in western Africa had succeeded in “decapitating” Boko Haram, and that the group’s new leadership sought negotiations with the Nigerian government.

MONEY mutual funds

Dar es Salaam Is the New Brewery Hot Spot

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Tom Cockrem—Getty Images Street scene in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Roughly 45% of Tanzanians are between the ages of 15 and 45, prime ages for drinking beer.

Lagos and Dar es Salaam are the new brewery hot spots, according to U.S. mutual fund managers as they tap Africa’s emerging beer companies in pursuit of long-term returns on investment.

U.S. fund managers who originally entered the African market by investing in infrastructure said the continent’s youthful demographics – large swaths of the continent are at prime beer-drinking age – and favorable economics brought by local production are a recipe for a profitable outlook.

“It would cost four or five times more for Tanzanians to import beer than to make it domestically,” said Babatunde Ojo, portfolio manager for Harding Loevner’s $600 million Frontier Emerging Markets strategy.

His fund has added in recent months 730,000 shares of Tanzania Breweries Limited and 900,000 shares of East African Breweries, also a Tanzanian company, according to Lipper data.

The Templeton Frontier Markets Fund noted that it added $3.58 million to East African Breweries and $11.80 million to Nigerian Breweries.

Roughly 45% of Tanzanians are between the ages of 15 and 45, prime ages for drinking beer, said Ojo.

Those demographics are reflected elsewhere in the continent. Cities including Dar-es-Salaam and Lagos, hubs for young professionals, are expected to experience rapid growth of their young populations, according to a 2015 trends report by Ernst and Young.

Africa is expected to see the largest increase in the legal drinking age population by 2018, while in western Europe and North America, the cumulative decline in beer volumes since 1998 has been between 5% and 10%, according to Rabobank Research.

Mark Mobius, executive chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group, is particularly enthusiastic about Nigerian Breweries Plc, which is majority owned by Heineken Holding NV. Templeton Asset Management Ltd. holds 0.83% of the company.

“Relative to its competitors, the company (Nigerian Breweries) imports considerably fewer raw materials – reducing its exposure to the depreciating naira, and lessening the impact on profit margins and turnover – and also has the strongest distribution capability among its peers,” Mobius wrote in an email to Reuters last week.

To be sure, share prices in Nigerian Breweries and other African peers have been falling this year as some countries suffer from decreased revenue and other commodities and in part because of uncertainty among minority investors about how and whether large global liquor companies Heineken and Diageo PLC will take their interests in Africa.

Should they choose to deemphasize beer at the expense of spirits, that could hurt the brewers.

Furthermore, some of these stocks are thinly traded and investing in Africa is still considered risky by many.

“If you invest in Africa, it will be a rocky ride between the possibility of economic and political instability, but if you look at the long-term potential, the rewards you can reap are very interesting and worthwhile,” said Francois Sonneville, Director in Food and Agribusiness Research at Rabobank International, a Dutch banking company.

Sonneville also said governments could impose tough taxes on beer companies if economic growth remains low this year.

Furthermore, not all of Africa may be equally ripe for beer sales. North African countries with large Muslim populations have some of the highest abstention rates in the world, according to the World Health Organization’s 2014 global status report on alcohol and health.

TIME Nigeria

Nigerian Troops Rescue 178 People From Boko Haram

Boko Haram
Jossy Ola—AP Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists in the northeast of Nigeria arrive at the military office in Maiduguri on July 31, 2015

101 of those freed are children

(LAGOS, Nigeria) — Nigerian troops rescued 178 people from Boko Haram in attacks that destroyed several camps of the Islamic extremists in the northeast of the country, an army statement said Sunday.

Spokesman Col. Tukur Gusau said that 101 of those freed are children, along with 67 women and 10 men.

The Nigerian Air Force reported killing “a large number” of militants in repelling an attack on Bitta village, 50 kilometers (30 miles) southwest of the army operations that took place around Bama, 70 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Maiduguri city. Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram and the capital of northeastern Borno state.

Sunday’s statements did not specify when the attacks occurred.

Last week the army rescued 71 kidnapped people.

Hundreds have been freed from Boko Haram captivity this year but none of the 219 girls abducted in April 2014 from a school in Chibok were among the rescued.

The extremists distributed a new video on Twitter on Sunday purporting to show attacks on Nigerian army barracks in the states of Borno and Yobe. The video also shows the beheading of a man in military fatigues said to be a Nigerian soldier.

According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, an unidentified fighter, shown in the video with looted army weapons and ammunition, says the footage shows Nigeria’s military has not forcedBoko Haram from its positions and got them hemmed into the Sambisa Forest, as the military has claimed.

Some of those rescued last week said they had been held by Boko Haram for up to one year in villages just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Maiduguri.

TIME Nigeria

Nigerian Army Frees More than 50 People From Boko Haram

59 prisoners were freed, including women, children, and elderly men

Nigeria’s army announced Thursday that it had freed 59 women and children who had been captured by the extremist group Boko Haram.

The military raided two jihadist camps in Borno Wednesday as part of an ongoing offensive against the group, rescuing 29 women, 25 children and five elderly men from the camps, the AFP reports. A spokesperson for the Nigerian army also said that some Boko Haram members were killed in the process.

Boko Haram is responsible for the abductions and deaths of thousands in the region. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced in July that he would create a multinational African force to redouble efforts to fight the Islamic extremist group.

[AFP]

TIME India

India Will Become the World’s Most Populous Country by 2022, the U.N. Says

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Getty Images

That's much earlier than previously thought

India is on track to become the world’s most populous nation in less than a decade — or six years earlier than previously thought, according to the U.N.

With 1.38 billion people compared with India’s 1.31 billion, China is currently the world’s most populous country. Figures for both countries are expected to swell to around 1.4 billion by 2022, at which point India’s population is likely to expand beyond China’s.

At the end of the next decade, in 2030, India is projected to have 1.5 billion people, a figure that’s forecast to balloon to 1.7 billion by 2050. China’s population, on the other hand, is forecast to remain relatively stable until the 2030s, at which point the U.N. says it is likely to “slightly decrease.” In a forecast published two years ago, India had been expected to overtake China around the year 2028.

The projections from the population division of the U.N.’s economic and social affairs unit were published in a new report that also forecast an expansion in the world’s overall population to 8.5 billion by 2030. By the middle of the century, there are likely to be as many as 9.7 billion people worldwide, with six of the 10 largest countries — India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the U.S. — expected to have populations exceeding 300 million people.

“While the global projections should not be cause for alarm, we must recognize that the concentration of population growth in the poorest countries presents a distinct set of challenges, making it more difficult to eradicate poverty and inequality, to combat hunger and malnutrition, and to expand educational enrollment and health systems,” John Wilmoth, who heads the U.N. division that produced the report, told the Associated Press.

India’s population is not growing the fastest, however, with Nigeria growing at such a rapid pace that it is expected to have more people than the U.S. by 2050, at which point it is likely to become the third most populous country in the world.

TIME Nigeria

A 10-Year-Old Girl Has Killed 16 People by Blowing Herself Up in Northeast Nigeria

The city has already faced two other suicide bombings in July alone

A 10-year old girl killed 16 people in a suicide bombing in the northeastern Nigeria city of Damaturu on Sunday.

The girl detonated her explosives next to a crowded market as shoppers were being screened by security services. According to the BBC, around 50 people were injured.

The city has already faced two other suicide bombings in July alone.

Although Boko Haram hasn’t claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Islamist group has carried out a string of similar bombings recently. The renewed violence comes after Nigerian forces successfully pushed the group back earlier this year in a concerted offensive.

Cameroon has also seen an uptick in violence; more than 60 have been left dead in a spate of recent Boko Haram–style suicide bombings. On Saturday, a suicide bomb killed at least 10 people in the north of the country close to the Nigerian border, the Associated Press reports.

Boko Haram has promised to attack Cameroon because of its support of Nigeria’s fight against the jihadist group. According to the AP, Cameroon has since closed many mosques in the north in an attempt to control the violence.

[BBC]

TIME vaccines

Seattle Flunks Vaccine Science

Northwest nonsense: Vaccine rates in Seattle are dangerously low
Edmund Lowe Photography; Getty Images/Moment RF Northwest nonsense: Vaccine rates in Seattle are dangerously low

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

In the same week Nigeria frees itself from polio, vaccine rates continue to fall in the Pacific northwest

Nothing says First World city like Seattle does. Come for the cachet, stay for the Seahawks, and give a nod to the Starbucks and the Amazon and the mothership that is Microsoft just to the east. There’s nothing this so-hip-it-hurts town lacks, it seems—except perhaps for common sense. If you’re looking for that, the developing world is a far better bet.

That’s the inescapable conclusion on what should be a very good week for public health—and childhood health in particular—with the World Health Organization and other groups announcing on July 24 that Nigeria has gone a full year without a single reported case of polio. Pending further certification, the country will be removed from the dwindling list of countries in which the disease is endemic, leaving just Pakistan and Afghanistan. If Nigeria’s caseload remains at zero for two more years, it will be officially declared polio free.

How did the country that as recently as 1988 saw 30,000 children—a stadium’s worth—paralyzed or killed by polio every year achieve such a stunning turnaround? No surprise: vaccines—the same vaccines that have saved the lives and health of millions of children around the world, and the same vaccines that saw polio eradicated entirely in the U.S. in 1979.

So it came as a head-slapping development that earlier this month, Seattle news outlets reported that polio vaccination rates in their city have hit a low of just 81.4%, or worse than the rates in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Yemen, according to the WHO. Why? Because Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Yemen may have a lot of problems, but they don’t have the anti-vaccine crazies.

Vaccine denialism is a perverse affliction of people who should be smarter than they act—the well-educated, high-income folks who know just enough to know too much, and to assume that simply because they haven’t seen a disease in a long time it’s gone away. And hey, if it does turn up, they’ve surely got the resources to deal with it.

That’s the reason that in the U.S., anti-vaxxers tend to cluster in wealthy, blue-state communities like Silicon Valley, New York City, Columbus, Seattle and it’s down-coast little sister Portland. It’s the reason too that the nonsense that animates the anti-vaxxers—the idea that vaccines are toxic or overprescribed or nothing more than a cash grab by big pharma and big government—is a lot likelier to gain traction in other wealthy countries around the world than in ones that have only recently done away with scourges like polio or are still struggling with them, and either way have images of sick or dying children still fresh in their minds.

“Polio is nonexistent in the states, so if you’re going to travel, it makes sense to do it,” said one Washington State resident interviewed by Seattle’s KUOW radio station on July 14. “We are doing vaccines based on our family’s needs, not based on what doctors say we need to follow.”

Never mind how abjectly ridiculous that thinking sounds if you shift its frame even a little: “We are fire-proofing our home based on our family’s needs, not based on what the fire department say we need to follow,” or “We are fastening our seat belts during turbulence based on our family’s needs, not based on what flight attendants say we need to follow.”

Never mind, too, that that the very reason polio is non-existent in the states is because people have been good about getting vaccinated and that, as an outbreak in an unvaccinated Amish community in 2003 showed, there is no virus in the world that isn’t just an incoming airline flight away. If it lands in a community where vaccine rates are low, it will find plenty of people to infect.

What’s more, while polio may indeed have been KO’ed in the states years ago, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough and more are all very much still at large, and outbreaks of those diseases have been on the rise thanks to the anti-vaxxers. The vaccination rate for measles, mumps and rubella specifically is below 90% among Seattle kindergarteners, dangerously short of the 95% rate needed to keep communities as a whole protected.

For most people, living in the developed world is a mere accident of birth and geography—a demographic freebie that gets you started in life far ahead of people born in less lucky places. Privilege can be part of that first world birthright, as can wealth and freedom and the opportunity for good heath. But smarts, it seems, have to be earned. That, clearly, is something Nigeria and Rwanda could teach Seattle.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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