Daily Archives: March 8, 2015

Boko Haram announces it is now allied with Islamic State

African securityBoko Haram announces it is now allied with Islamic State
Published 9 March 2015

Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram has declared its allegiance to Islamic State. The leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, announced the move in in a Saturday online Arabic audio message with English subtitles. Earlier on Saturday, five bomb explosions killed at least fifty people in the northeastern Nigerian cities of Maiduguri, Baga, and Borno. Boko Haram used five teenagers – four girls and one boy – to carry out the suicide attacks. The Nigerian military proved no match for Boko Haram, but since early February, when Chadian and Cameroonian forces joined the fight, Boko Haram has been losing ground. Security analysts noted that Boko haram fighters are massing at a headquarters in the northeastern town of Gwoza, in what appears as a preparation for a showdown with the multinational forces.

Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram has declared its allegiance to Islamic State. In a video posted online Saturday, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in an Arabic audio message with English subtitles, said: “We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims … and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity regarding that which there is a proof from Allah.”
According to the SITE Intelligence monitoring service, the video script identified the caliph as Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Awad al-Qurashi, who is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State and self-proclaimed caliph of the Muslim world.
Islamic State has already received vows of support from other jihadist groups in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and north Africa.
The Guardian reports that earlier on Saturday, four bomb explosions killed at least fifty people in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in the worst attacks there since Boko Haram militants tried to seize the town in two major assaults earlier this year (see “Boko Haram’s deadliest massacre yet: 2,000 dead,” HSNW, 12 January 2015). Four female suicide bombers were responsible for a series of explosions in markets, while a fifth incident occurred at a bus station. In a sixth attack, a car bomb exploded at a military checkpoint seventy-five kilometers outside the city.
In all, fifty-eight people have been killed in the five incidents and 143 wounded, but official say both figures were likely to rise.
Maiduguri was the birth place of Boko Haram, and the launching pad for its campaign of terror which began in 2009, killing more than 13,000 and displacing about 1.5 million Nigerians.
The Nigerian military, weakened by endemic corruption, has been unable to deal with the Islamist insurgency, and officials in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan made brave speeches about the need to defeat Boko Haram, but did little else.
Things have begun to change earlier this year, however. Boko Haram launched a series of attacks against Nigeria’s neighbors Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. In response, these countries pressed Nigeria to allow their own militaries to contribute to the fighting and Nigeria, finally admitting that its own military was too weak and lacking in motivation to fight the Islamists, agreed (see “Nigeria’s neighbors joining war on Boko Haram,” HSNW, 4 February 2015; and “Boko Haram expands attacks as Chad’s military joins fighting,” HSNW, 2 February 2015).
The Guardian notes that last month security experts warned that Boko Haram was likely to intensify its attacks against civilian targets in response to the successful campaign by Chadian and Nigerian forces to retake several of the group’s strongholds.
The first attack on Saturday occurred at the city’s Baga fish market at around 11.20 a.m., when a female suicide bomber exploded as soon as she stepped out of a motorized rickshaw, killing eighteen people.
About an hour later a second explosion destroyed the Post Office shopping area near the market, leaving dozens of casualties. Two more female suicide bombers exploded the bombs they were carrying – one in a vest around her waist, the other carrying the bomb in a shopping bag — in what is known locally as the Monday market, the biggest in Maiduguri, killing at least fifteen people. The girl who carried the explosives on her body exploded her bomb when she was being scanned by security officers at the entrance to the market. Her friend exploded the bomb she was carrying in a bag a few seconds later.
The fifth suicide attack, at the nearby busy Borno Express bus terminal, was carried out by a 15-year old boy. The boy exploded his bomb s security officials were about to stop him.
Security forces have ordered the closure of all businesses in Borno and Baga.
President Goodluck Jonathan last week said that the tide has “definitely turned” against the Islamists as Nigerian troops and their regional allies recapture territory.
Cameroon, Chad, and Niger agreed to create a special force of about 8,000 fighters for fighting Boko Haram. The Chadian air force, regarded as the best in the region, has already conducted several successful attacks on Boko Haram’s camps and troop concentrations.
Chad’s president Idris Déby last week said that Chad’s military knew the whereabouts of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. He warned Shekau to surrender or face death.
Security analysts noted that Boko haram fighters are massing at a headquarters in the northeastern town of Gwoza, in what appears as a preparation for a showdown with the multinational forces.
 according to witnesses who escaped the town.
Nigeria presidential and parliamentary elections have been postponed by six weeks and will be held on 28 March. Boko Haram has vowed to disrupt the vote.

More Stories:

Leave a comment
Register for your own account so you may participate in comment discussion. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to abide by our Comment Guidelines, our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use. Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief. Names are displayed with all comments. Learn more about Joining our Web Community.

Funding of Agricultural Colleges Must Be Investigated Amid Funding Discrepancies [press release]

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Senzeni Zokwana, stated that DAFF had allocated a total of R35.74 million to Fort Cox College, as part of the College Revitalisation Programme, over a four year period and specifically allocated R13.44 million in the 2014/15 year.
Fort Cox Manager, Colin Painter, has recently been quoted saying “very little re-investment in the farm has taken place until this 2014/2015 financial year when DAFF allocated R3 million from its budget to fund upgrades.”
The Minister’s response is therefore in direct contradiction to the actual state of Fort Cox due to chronic under funding which I personally witnessed during an oversight visit with DA leader in the Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip MPL, at the end of January. During our visit some of the most upsetting discoveries included a carcass of a pig lying around unattended on the farm yard and cattle in the feedlot standing knee-deep in manure. This farm has obviously been neglected over the years and no practical experience can be provided to students under the current conditions.
I will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Machwene Semenya, asking that she summon the Minister to appear before the Committee and explain the discrepancy in the funding and account for the missing funds allocated to Fort Cox.
It is imperative that the Department properly fund and support Agricultural Colleges as their mandate is the educating and training of students to create South Africa’s future farmers.
According to a report by Deloitte, South Africa is facing the prospect of looming food shortages in the next 10 years as the country struggles to attract new talent to its ageing crop of commercial farmers.
With the average age of a commercial farmer in this country at around 62, South Africa is simply not attracting enough new farmers to the sector to fill the gap they are going to leave as they start to retire over the next decade, the Deloitte report found.
AgriSA data indicates that South Africa had 120 000 farmers in 1994 compared to 37 000 at present. This dwindling population of commercial farmers supports a population of over 50 million people, of which only 45.6% are considered food secure.
Minister Zokwana – if he is at all serious about maintaining our nation’s food security – must ensure that Agricultural Colleges such as Fort Cox receive all of their allocated funding and should there be a discrepancy between allocated and received funding these claims must be thoroughly investigated and implicated parties dealt with according to due process.

China to cooperate with Africa on industrialization, sanitation, security (China Daily)

BEIJING – China will enhance cooperation with African nations on three pressing issues, namely industrialization, sanitation and safeguarding security and peace, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.
“We will consolidate cooperation with Africa in traditional fields, while focusing on helping Africa deal with the three most pressing issues,” he said.
China and Africa have always been in a community of common destiny, Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.
“We are willing to work with African brothers and convert traditional Sino-African friendship into fruit of mutual benefit and cooperation, and help African nations turn their development potential into real strength,” Wang said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in his visit to Africa last year, had raised such initiatives as six major cooperation projects and three major transport networks, which won extensive endorsement from African nations, Wang told reporters.
Last month, China appointed the first head of its permanent mission to the African Union (AU), which Wang said was an example of China’s support to African integration.
The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in South Africa later this year, he said.
Wang also expressed his respect and gratitude to Chinese epidemic control experts and medical workers helping fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa.
In the face of the Ebola epidemic, China had sent more than 1,000 epidemic control experts and medical workers to Africa and built in a timely fashion treatment centers in the affected areas, he said.
Two days ago, the last Ebola patient in Liberia was discharged from a treatment center which China helped to build, Wang said.
China had also provided four batches of assistance worth a total of 750 million yuan ($122 million) to the affected countries and their neighbors in Africa, Wang added.

China to cooperate with Africa on industrialization, sanitation, security: FM (China Daily)

BEIJING — China will enhance cooperation with African nations on three pressing issues, namely industrialization, sanitation and safeguarding security and peace, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.
“We will consolidate cooperation with Africa in traditional fields, while focusing on helping Africa deal with the three most pressing issues,” he said.
China and Africa have always been in a community of common destiny, Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.
“We are willing to work with African brothers and convert traditional Sino-African friendship into fruit of mutual benefit and cooperation, and help African nations turn their development potential into real strength,” Wang said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, in his visit to Africa last year, had raised such initiatives as six major cooperation projects and three major transport networks, which won extensive endorsement from African nations, Wang told reporters.
Last month, China appointed the first head of its permanent mission to the African Union (AU), which Wang said was an example of China’s support to African integration.
The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in South Africa later this year, he said.
Wang also expressed his respect and gratitude to Chinese epidemic control experts and medical workers helping fight the Ebola epidemic in Africa.
In the face of the Ebola epidemic, China had sent more than 1,000 epidemic control experts and medical workers to Africa and built in a timely fashion treatment centers in the affected areas, he said.
Two days ago, the last Ebola patient in Liberia was discharged from a treatment center which China helped to build, Wang said.
China had also provided four batches of assistance worth a total of 750 million yuan (122 million U.S. dollars) to the affected countries and their neighbors in Africa, Wang added.