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Nigeria's Boko Haram on the rise
by Staff Writers
Abuja, Nigeria (UPI) Feb 21, 2012

Lion kills two people in northern Nigeria: official
Kano, Nigeria (AFP) Feb 21, 2012 - A lion has killed two herders and 30 livestock in a settlement in northeastern Nigeria's Yobe State, the environment commissioner said Tuesday.

"We have a lion on the rampage which has so far killed two people and around 30 herd", Ahmed Wakil Sarki told AFP.

He said the lion attacked the settlement on the edge of a forest in Gujba district, 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the state capital Damaturu on Monday.

"We are trying to mobilise our rangers from the wildlife department to capture the predator alive or hunt it down to avert further destruction," he said.

Sarki said the lion was believed to be holed up near Damaturu as residents in nearby villages reported seeing the devoured remains of animals they suspected to have been killed by the big cat.

He added that it was not clear whether the lion lived nearby or came from afar.

Nigeria's Joint Task Force in Borno state said it killed eight Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram fighters in a shootout in northeastern Nigeria.

Officials said the battle took place Monday at the Baga Fish Market in Maiduguri.

The incident highlights a threat to the Nigerian government even greater than the guerrillas involved in the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, who have been battling the Nigerian government for years over its policies in Nigeria's coastal oil producing states.

"Boko Haram" was the name given to Islamic militants by residents of Maiduguri where the movement had its headquarters, after its formation in 2002 by Muslim zealot Muhammadu Marwa, Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper reported Tuesday.

The group's official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, which in English means, "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad."

The Hausa term "Boko Haram" translates as "Western Education is Forbidden." The militants say they are against what they term as Western influences, including voting in elections or receiving a secular education.

Boko Haram adherents are reportedly influenced by the Koranic phrase which says, "Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors."

Although Boko Haram's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed by Nigerian security forces in Maiduguri in 2009, the movement has continued to flourish.

In the last three years Boko Haram has attacked police stations, military barracks and Christian churches. Hundreds civilians have been killed as Boko Haram attempts to establish an Islamic state with all of Nigeria governed by Shariah.

Boko Haram has instigated a number of brazen attacks in different parts of northern Nigeria to increase its presence across the region. The assaults have heighted tensions between Muslims and Christians.

These attacks include the 2011 Christmas Day bombings on the outskirts of the capital Abuja and in the northeastern Nigeria city of Damaturu, a 2010 New Year's Eve attack on a military barracks in Abuja and several explosions timed to coincide with the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan last May, which were followed by the bombing of the police headquarters and the U.N. headquarters in Abuja.

Washington has grown increasingly concerned with Boko Haram's assaults on Nigeria's government and a U.S. congressional report last November warned that Boko Haram was a direct "emerging threat" to the U.S. and its interests, concluding that the militant group could be forging ties with al-Qaida affiliates in Africa, even as Boko Haram denied such a connection.

Analysts observing the movement say that the Boko Haram threat will disappear only if the Nigerian government addresses the chronic poverty of its citizens and constructs an educational system local Muslims can support.

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G.Bissau police mistakenly tear gas army
Bissau (AFP) Feb 21, 2012 - Police officers in Guinea-Bissau were arrested by soldiers after they accidentally fired tear gas on senior military personnel while trying to break up a rally, officials told AFP Tuesday.

Young activists staged a demonstration on Monday outside the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (CNI) to demand their names be put on candidates list for the country's March 18 presidential vote.

A military source said the demonstrators set fire to tyres and started throwing projectiles at the CNI headquarters, prompting police to charge, armed with batons and firing teargas.

"The charge was violent" and the fumes from the teargas affected "military chiefs" who were at the scene, the source explained. The army bosses then "gave the order to clear out the police from there," the source added.

Four police were beaten and taken to the army chief's headquarters, a government source said.

"Our comrades were violently charged by the soldiers," said an officer from the unit deployed to break up the rally.

The four officers were later released, he added.

Roughly 100 political activists took part in the rally which was "peaceful", according to Braima Alfa Djalo of African National Congress (CNI), a presidential candidate who helped organise the march.

The Human Rights League of Guinea-Bissau (LGDH) "strongly condemned" the incident in a statement on Tuesday.

It said clashes between different security organs ignite fear in a country that has been plagued by repeated instances of army brutality since independence from Portugal in 1974.

Guinea-Bissau's March 18 elections follow death of former president Malam Bacai Sanha in Paris on January 9 at the age of 64 after a long illness.

Over the past 17 years, none of the presidents elected in Guinea-Bissau have been able to finish their five-year terms, as all three of Bacai Sanha's predecessors fell prey to coups or assassinations.


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Jonas Savimbi's charisma, brutality still haunt 10 years on
Johannesburg (AFP) Feb 21, 2012
Jonas Savimbi, the vicious, charismatic rebel who fought Angola's socialist government in a 27-year civil war, died 10 years ago Wednesday, leaving behind a haunting legacy of violence. Savimbi was killed in a firefight with government forces on February 22, 2002, the denouement of a brutal conflict that grew out of Angola's messy independence from Portugal in 1975 and lasted until the signi ... read more

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