Nigeria’s military on Sunday repelled a Boko Haram assault on the key city of Maiduguri as violence raged across the country’s northeast just two weeks before national elections.
The hours-long attack on the strategic capital of Borno state was the Islamists’ second attempt to take Maiduguri in a week.
As government forces were holding them off, the air force of neighboring Chad was pounding the militants’ positions in Gamboru, a town on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, 140km to the northeast.
With near-relentless violence plaguing much of the northeast, and Boko Haram still in control of large swathes of the region, fears are mounting over the prospect of organizing the Feb. 14 polls.
The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which claims to be gaining momentum in the campaign against Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has rejected calls for the vote to be postponed.
However, hundreds of thousands of voters in the northeast, an APC stronghold, could be disenfranchised by the unrest if the election goes ahead in two weeks.
Heavily armed gunmen attacked the southern edge of Maiduguri at about 3am on Sunday, setting off explosives as they tried to enter the city, several residents said.
Repelled in the south by troops backed by vigilantes, they regrouped and tried to take the city from the east, where they again met stiff resistance.
As the gunbattles raged, “the whole city [was] in fear,” resident Adam Krenuwa said.
Nigerian Ministry of Defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said the assault on the town, where the extremist group was founded more than a decade ago, was “contained” and that “the terrorists incurred massive casualties.”
“The situation is calm as mopping up operation in the affected area is ongoing,” he wrote in a text message, a claim consistent with witness reports.
In other attacks in the northeast on Sunday, a suicide bomber killed seven people in Potiskum, the economic capital of Yobe state, while two blasts killed five people in Gombe city to the south.
The bomber in Potiskum blew himself up shortly after midday outside the home of Sabo Garbu, who is running for a seat in the lower house of parliament on behalf of the People’s Democratic Party.
Seven people died in the blast and seven were wounded, a police officer at the scene who requested anonymity said.
Garbu and those attending his campaign meeting reportedly escaped unhurt.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged