March 22nd, 2013
08:21 AM ET

Author Chinua Achebe dies at 82

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday. He was 82.

An author of more than 20 books, his honors included the 2007 Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.

Achebe is a major part of African literature, and is popular all over the continent for his novels, especially "Anthills of the Savannah," which was itself shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987, and "Things Fall Apart."

March 20th, 2013
02:29 PM ET

Saudi native charged with fighting for al Qaeda

A federal grand jury in New York has indicted a Saudi native on charges of joining al Qaeda in fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan and conspiring to bomb U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria.

Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," was extradited from Italy to the United States in October.

The six-count indictment accuses him of, among other things, joining al Qaeda after arriving in Afghanistan in 2001, fighting U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003, and traveling to Africa "with the intent to conduct attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria," according to the office of the U.S attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • New York • Nigeria • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
March 9th, 2013
11:28 AM ET

Militants: 7 hostages dead in Nigeria

A Nigerian militant group on Saturday announced the deaths of seven workers from a construction company who had been taken hostage last month.

The group, Ansar al-Muslimeen (widely known as Ansaru), released video stills of some of the bodies and blamed the deaths on a joint Nigerian-British military operation intended to free the hostages. There was no immediate word from those governments.

The militants on February 18 claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of the seven construction workers taken from their office in northeastern Nigeria.

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February 17th, 2013
08:09 AM ET

7 foreign citizens kidnapped in Nigeria

[Updated 9:03 a.m.] Seven people from other countries have been kidnapped in Jama'are, Nigeria, police said.

The kidnappings took place at offices of Setraco, an engineering  construction company, on Saturday night, police said.  There was no immediate word from the company.

A British citizen was among those taken, according to Nigerian police.  British authorities said they were "aware of reports" and were making inquiries.

Two Lebanese nationals were among those kidnapped, Lebanon's Minister of Foreign Affairs Adnan Mansour said Sunday.

[Posted 8:09 a.m.] At least two people from other countries have been kidnapped in Nigeria, their governments announced Sunday.

Italy's Foreign Ministry announced that an Italian citizen was kidnapped.  Greece's Foreign Ministry said a Greek citizen who works for construction company Setraco was kidnapped Saturday night.

Nigeria has been facing a rash of kidnappings blamed on criminal groups or the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Follow more news about Nigeria here.

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February 8th, 2013
08:30 AM ET

9 in vaccine team killed in Nigeria

Nine polio vaccinators were killed Friday morning in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, a police spokesman told CNN.

The victims, eight women and one man, were working for a government program established to vaccinate people across Nigeria. The killings are under investigation; police said they have no suspects.

According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world that have never stopped transmission of polio, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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December 25th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Gunmen kill 6 in attack on church in Nigeria

Gunmen in northern Nigeria attacked a church's Christmas Eve services, killing six people and setting the building on fire, police said.

A pastor was slain in the incident, police said.

It was the latest strike against Christians in the region. More than 30 people died in a wave of Christmas Day attacks in the north last year, blamed on Boko Haram, a militant group that has targeted Christians and Muslims it considered insufficiently Islamist.

"Suspected members of the group have bombed or opened fire on worshipers in at least 18 churches across eight northern and central states since 2010. In Maiduguri, the group also forced Christian men to convert to Islam on penalty of death," Human Rights Watch said in an October report.

It is not immediately known if the group was behind the latest attack.

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December 14th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

Kidnappers free mother of Nigerian finance minister

The mother of Nigeria's finance minister has been released by her kidnappers, five days after she was seized from her home, Nigerian police said Friday.

Kamene Okonjo is well and in good health, police spokesman Frank Mba told CNN.

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Filed under: Africa • Nigeria • World
November 25th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

At least 11 killed in suicide attacks on church at Nigerian military base

Two bombs killed at least 11 people and wounded 30 in a church inside the military barracks in Jaji, Nigeria, on Sunday.

Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Muhammad Dole said a suicide bomber drove a vehicle into the side of St. Andrew Military Protestant Church and exploded a bomb at about noon. A second vehicle exploded just outside the church several minutes later.

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Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids
A jury found Jessica Tata guilty of murder for a 2011 fire that killed four children at her home day care.
November 13th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids

A jury in Houston has found Jessica Tata guilty of murder in the deaths of four children in a fire.

Tata's carelessness led to the fire at her home day care in 2011 and she then fled – with seven children trapped inside, evidence showed.  Three children were injured but survived.

CNN affiliate KTRK reports that Tata could face up to 99 years in prison.

After the fire in February last year, Tata fled to Nigeria.  The U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives.  The service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."

She was arrested in Nigeria and brought back in less than a month.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Nigeria • Texas • U.S.
Suicide bombing at Nigerian church
Soldiers stand guard after a suicide attacker drove a car bomb into a church in Kaduna, Nigeria.
October 28th, 2012
05:58 AM ET

Suicide bombing at Nigerian church

[Updated 10:23 a.m.] The eight deaths in the attack at St. Rita Catholic church include the suicide bomber, an emergency official told CNN.

The wounded had critical injuries and were taken to four hospitals in Kaduna, said Musa Ilallah, regional coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency said.

As NEMA responded, angry Christian youth began "beating our staff and as a result broke the side glass of our ambulance that was on the scene to provide service," said Ilallah, who spoke to CNN from the scene of the attack.

[Updated 9:10 a.m.] At least eight people were killed and 100 were injured in the attack, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency said.  One man was also burned alive in a reprisal attack.

Scores of people have been killed in church bombings in the country in recent years.

The Boko Haram militant Islamist group has previously claimed responsibility for church bombings that killed dozens.

[Posted 5:58 a.m.] A suicide bomber drove an explosive filled car into a church in Kaduna, Nigeria, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.  First responders are on the scene, but the number of casualties is not known yet.

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Farmers sue oil giant Shell over Niger Delta pollution
Four Nigerian farmers sit in the law courts in The Hague on October 11, 2012.
October 11th, 2012
08:59 AM ET

Farmers sue oil giant Shell over Niger Delta pollution

Four Nigerian farmers and the environmental group Friends of the Earth took oil giant Shell to court Thursday in the Netherlands to demand a proper cleanup and compensation for pollution in the Niger Delta.

The farmers want the Anglo-Dutch multinational to "clean up the oil pollution in their fields and fishponds" and make sure their pipelines are maintained and kept secure to prevent leaks in the future.

The civil case has been filed against the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), and its international headquarters in the Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell.

Based on "years of oil pollution in three villages in the Niger Delta," it could have "major legal consequences internationally," the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, known locally as Milieudefensie, said in a statement ahead of the first hearing.

The three villages concerned are Goi, hit by a spill in 2004, Oruma, affected by a spill a year later, and Ikot Ada Udo, hit by various spills in 2007, according to Friends of the Earth.

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October 2nd, 2012
08:56 AM ET

Gunmen attack student facility in Nigeria

Gunmen in Mubi, Nigeria, on Tuesday attacked a student facility at the Federal Polytechnic University, leaving several casualties, according to Yuhau Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.

Shuaib said the exact number of casualties is unknown.

CNN will provide more details as they become available.

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August 7th, 2012
10:44 AM ET

19 killed in Nigeria church attack

Gunmen attacked a church in the central Nigerian state of Kogi, killing at least 19 people, a military official said Tuesday.

Among the dead was the pastor of the Deeper Life church in Okene, Lt. Col. Gabriel Olorunyomi said.

No one has claimed responsibility, but immediate suspicion fell on the militant Islamic group Boko Haram, which has carried out similar church attacks in the past.

An eyewitness told CNN that the attackers were carrying sophisticated firearms and shot randomly at the members of the congregation gathered for Bible study Monday night. Blood flowed through the church as bodies fell limp, the witness said.

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Filed under: Nigeria • Uncategorized • World
June 18th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Boko Haram claims responsibility for Nigeria church bombings

A militant Islamist group claimed responsibility Monday for bombings the day before that the Nigerian Red Cross said left 50 people at three Christian churches in Nigeria.

Boko Haram said the attacks Sunday in the Nigerian cities of Zaria and Kaduna were retaliation on Christians for destroying mosques and, according to the group, turning others into "beer parlour and prostitution joints."

"Let them know that now it's the time for revenge God willing," the group said in a statement. "From now on, they either follow the right religion or there will be no peace for them."

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June 5th, 2012
05:14 AM ET

Data, cockpit voice recorders found in Nigeria crash

Nigerian authorities found the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder from the deadly weekend plane crash, emergency officials said Tuesday.

The devices will help investigators piece together what caused the crash.

Meanwhile, heavy rains have prompted a suspension of recovery efforts, officials said.

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Deadly plane crash in Nigeria
June 3rd, 2012
12:20 PM ET

Live blog: Passenger plane crashes in Nigeria

[Updated 10:29 p.m. ET] Mohammed Sani Sidi, director general of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said more than 80 bodies had been recovered from the crash site by 1 a.m. (8 p.m. Sunday ET), 10 of which belonged to people who were on the ground. He added that, if there are people still buried under the rubble, he doubts that they are still alive.

[Updated 5:39 p.m. ET] iReport: CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Ilori says he was not at the scene when the plane crashed, but he lives a few streets away from the crash site. He says that when he was traveling back home he came across really bad traffic. 'I saw a lot of people staring at some houses. I was agitated, but then someone told me there was a crash, and the crash happened to be a few streets away from my house.' Read the full story and see images.

[Updated 4:34 p.m. ET] – (CNN) - There were no survivors in the crash Sunday of an airliner carrying 153 people that went down into a residential neighborhood of Lagos, said Mohammed Sani Sidi, director of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. Authorities have not released any information on casualties on the ground.

[Updated 4:32 p.m. ET] iReport: Images from Lagos, Nigeria

[Updated 3:45 p.m. ET] By the CNN Wire Staff LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) - An airliner carrying 153 people crashed Sunday in a residential neighborhood in Nigeria's most populated city, setting off fires and causing pandemonium at the scene.

Mohammed Sani Sidi, director general of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said Sunday evening that authorities are not yet detailing how many people on the plane or on the ground in Lagos died in the crash.

"They're still going through the wreckage," added Patrick Abbah, the general manager for search and rescue from the same agency, at 8:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. ET). "We haven't had any survivors yet."
The Dana Air flight destined for Lagos from Abuja crashed in the early afternoon into a building, said Akande Iyiola, zone coordinator with the emergency management agency. The neighborhood was about five miles from the city's airport, said Abbah.

The crash triggered three house fires, said Labaran Ahmed, a rescue officer with the agency.

Speaking to CNN around 6:15 p.m., Sidi described the scene as "devastation."

"All efforts are being put together to make sure that a rescue is carried out now," he said.

Hundreds upon hundreds of civilians were gathered around the crash site Sunday afternoon and evening, along with rescue workers and security personnel. Yet at that point, there were no lights on and the area hadn't been cordoned off.

"Everybody is present," said Abbah, referring to firefighters, security and more. "It's all hands on deck."

While the emergency management director said around 6:15 p.m. that "the fire has been stopped now," a CNN reporter on the scene about 45 minutes later could still see "orange flames."

[Updated 3:27 p.m. ET] More details emerge from Lagos.

[Updated 1:52 p.m. ET] CNN spoke to a Nigerian official about today's Dana Air plan crash.

[Updated 12:20 p.m. ET] A passenger plane carrying 153 people has crashed in Lagos, Nigeria, state rescue officials confirmed Sunday. The Dana Air flight attempted to take off from Lagos and went down in a residential neighborhood, resulting in three house fires, said Labaran Ahmed, a rescue officer with the national emergency management agency.

Dana Airlines Limited has run commercial flights since 2008, according to the company's website. Dana says its "fleet currently consists of Boeing MD83 aircrafts which have a higher number of passenger seats and a larger cargo capacity than currently available in the country."

Read the full story

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Pirate attacks down off Somalia, up off Nigeria
The guided missile destroyer USS Kidd rescued an Iranian fishing vessel from pirates in January.
April 23rd, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Pirate attacks down off Somalia, up off Nigeria

Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have decreased dramatically this year, but the number of incidents off Africa's west coast is increasing, and piracy is becoming more violent there, the International Maritime Bureau reported Monday.

There were 102 incidents of piracy and armed robbery during the first quarter of 2012, according to the agency, part of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Forty-three of those were attributed to Somali pirates, a decrease from 97 in the first quarter of 2011. Nine vessels were hijacked in the area, a decrease from 16 in the period a year earlier. Pirates took 144 crew members hostage off Somalia during the quarter, according to the report.

The bureau credited international navies, which have staged both reactive and pre-emptive strikes against pirates in the region, for the decrease in piracy off Somalia. It hoped for continued progress.

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Filed under: Nigeria • Pirates • Somalia
February 26th, 2012
03:50 AM ET

Latest attack on Nigerian church kills at least 3

At least three people were killed Sunday in the latest attack on Christian churches in Nigeria.

Police said a car packed with explosives rammed into the compound of the Cocin (Church of Christ) headquarters in Jos, police said.

Some church members emerged from the scene covered in dust.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.

Nigeria has suffered a rash of attacks on churches in the past year.

In December, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in several northern states following a series of Christmas Day attacks on Christian churches.

Eighteen people were killed in the bombing of a church in Madalla, according to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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January 30th, 2012
05:24 AM ET

Militants hit police station in Nigeria's north

Militants launched a fresh attack Monday in Nigeria's second largest city, Kano, which is already reeling from a series of bombings and shootings that killed more than 200 people earlier this month.

A police station in Mandawari was attacked at 6 a.m., just after the dusk-to-dawn curfew was lifted, police said. No one was hurt.

Hours earlier, gunmen on motorbikes hit a police station in Naibowa, killing two people. The Sunday evening attack lasted about 40 minutes, said Sani Abdu, a resident who lives close to the station.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but suspicion fell on the militant group Boko Haram, which has carried out multiple bombings and shootings across the north in recent days.

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January 25th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Nigeria's inspector general of police fired amid spate of attacks

The inspector general of police in Nigeria, Hafiz Abubakar Ringim, has been fired, aides to the Nigerian president said Wednesday.

His firing comes amid a wave of violence linked to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The violence includes Friday's bombings and shootings that left more than 200 people dead in Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city.

The group has been blamed for months of widespread bloodshed, with churches and police stations among the targets. Depending on the faction, Boko Haram's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia law to the total destruction of the government.

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