Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Video - Nigeria rescues 41 girls being trafficked through Mali to Europe

Authorities in Nigeria have rescued 41 girls from human trafficking. They were being smuggled through Mali to Europe. The teenagers returned to Nigeria on Monday night. Authorities say they were rescued after the Nigerian Embassy in Bamako received distress calls. Nigeria has a long history of human trafficking. Hundreds of girls are smuggled into Europe every year. Authorities say the alleged traffickers in this case have been arrested.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Video - Nigerian students say they will expel South Africans

But those talks with African Ambassadors have done little to assuage angry Nigerians. The National Association of Nigerian Students say they will begin expelling South African nationals and business from Nigeria on Tuesday.

Kidnapped German archaeologists rescued in Nigeria

Nigerian security forces have freed two German archaeologists kidnapped by gunmen at a remote dig site.

The two academics were at the German embassy in Abuja on Sunday, and were doing well considering the circumstances, according to the German foreign ministry.

Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, the governor of northern Kaduna state, commended the security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Germans, a statement said. It did not say whether anyone had been arrested for the kidnapping.

Gunmen had been demanding a ransom of 60 million naira (about £150,000) for the release of Prof Peter Breunig, and his assistant, Johannes Behringer, who were abducted at gunpoint on Wednesday and walked into the bush from an archaeological dig near Janjala village in Kaduna state. Two villagers who tried to help the Germans were shot and killed by the kidnappers, the police said.

Breunig, 65, and Behringer, in his 20s, are part of a four-person team from Frankfurt’s Goethe University. The other two members, women, were not touched by the kidnappers. The Germans were collaborating with Nigeria’s national commission for museum and monuments to recover relics of the Nok culture. The early iron age people, considered the earliest ancient civilisation of the west African region that is now Nigeria, are famous for their terracotta sculptures.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, with ordinary residents and even schoolchildren targeted as well as foreigners. Victims are usually released unharmed after a ransom is paid.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Video - U.S. praises Nigeria's progress, pledges ongoing security support

In an effort to crush Boko Haram, the United States has pledged to continue to provide security assistance to the West African country. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of the U.S Africa Command, AFRICOM, says enormous progress has been made in the fight against the insurgency. He had been speaking at a ceremony at the National Defence College in Abuja. Waldhauserof says America will continue to offer advice and assistance to Nigeria. Over the past two years, Nigerian and regional security forces from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger have made gains in pushing Boko Haram out of the towns and villages in the north-eastern parts of the country and the broader Lake Chad Basin region. The U.S. has praised Nigeria for this progress.

Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa prompts backlash

A series of xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa have provoked an angry response in Nigeria, where protesters ransacked the offices of a South African telecoms giant Thursday.

A spokesman for South African mobile phone firm MTN said that protesters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja had “vandalized equipment, stole customer phones and iPads” and attacked MTN customers at the firm’s customer care center, Reuters reported. The MTN spokesman said that the protesters were motivated by the xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Over the past week, residential buildings occupied by African immigrants, including Nigerians, and Nigerian-owned businesses in the South African capital Pretoria have been attacked and looted by demonstrators, who accuse foreigners of taking local jobs. Protesters also burnt buildings alleged to be brothels or drug dens in a Johannesburg suburb earlier in February; the buildings were reportedly owned by Nigerians.

Nigeria and South Africa, the continent’s two largest economies, have endured rocky relations before. Xenophobic violence flares up periodically in South Africa, and Nigeria recalled its ambassador to the country in 2015 after seven people were killed in a spate of anti-immigrant attacks in Johannesburg and Durban.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Wednesday that the government had summoned South Africa’s high commissioner in the West African country to discuss the response to the attacks.

In a statement to South Africa’s parliament Thursday, the country’s interior minister, Malusi Gigaba, said that local businesses were inflaming anti-immigrant sentiment by disrespecting local employment laws. South African labor law requires that 60 percent of a company’s employees be either South African citizens or permanent residents of the country.

“[Businesses] should not fuel tensions playing locals against foreigners but should be on the side of the law,” Gigaba said. The interior minister added that more than 33,000 people were deported from South Africa during the last financial year and urged South Africans to desist from xenophobic violence.

Tensions remain high in parts of the country, however. A citizen group calling itself the Mamelodi Concerned Residents has organized an anti-immigrant march in Pretoria Friday, according to South African newspaper The Citizen. The group’s spokesman, Makgoka Lekganyane, said they were tired of jobs going to Nigerians, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans, among other foreign nationals, ahead of South Africans. Police have reportedly denied an application for the protest to go ahead, according to South Africa’s Eyewitness News.

South Africa’s unemployment rate remains high at around 26 percent and the country recorded slow economic growth of 0.2 percent in the last quarter.

Unemployment is often linked to outbreaks of xenophobic violence in South Africa. According to the 2011 census, 2.1 million foreign nationals were living in South Africa, while the U.N. Refugee Agency estimated in 2015 that a further 600,000 asylum seekers and refugees were also living in the country, according to fact-checking site Africa Check.