January 24th, 2012
07:03 AM ET

Sources: 158 Islamist militants arrested in Nigeria bombings

Nigerian security forces arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, security sources told CNN Tuesday, three days after a spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria's second-largest city.

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Filed under: Nigeria • World
January 22nd, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Nigerian city on edge after bombings that killed at least 156

A northern Nigerian city targeted by bombs and a hail of gunfire remained on edge Sunday after blasts that killed at least 156 people and left the police headquarters and other government buildings in charred ruins.

Authorities lifted a daytime curfew imposed in Kano, the nation's second-largest city, after the bombings that hit eight government sites Friday.

But an overnight curfew remained between 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to residents

Shell-shocked residents wandered the streets, looking for loved ones. Others hid behind barricaded doors, too scared to leave for fear of more attacks.

"That's the scary part, not knowing," said Faruk Mohammed, 27, who lives near one of the bombed police stations. "We don't know what's going to happen next, no one thought this would ever happen here. There's a general sense of despair."

The attacks paired bomb blasts with shootings on eight government sites including police stations, passport office, state security headquarters and the immigration office.

During the attack, assailants entered a police station, freed detainees and bombed it, authorities said.

They later canvassed the area in a car led by motorcycles, spraying targets with gunfire.

"I counted at least 25 explosions ...," Mohammed said. "Then it went deathly quiet. Kano is a bustling city ... I've lived here for years and it has never been quiet, even at night. But after the bombings stopped, the only noise you could hear were dogs barking."

The number of deaths is expected to rise, a military official said.

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January 16th, 2012
01:25 AM ET

Nigeria cuts fuel prices after national strike

The Nigerian government has slashed fuel prices after a nationwide strike paralyzed the country last week.

President Goodluck Jonathan made the announcement Monday. Minutes later, the federal government ordered all civil servants to report to work, or risk losing their jobs.

It was not immediately clear whether labor unions would continue the strikes. Union leaders had earlier said they would resume protests Monday.

Throngs of protesters have taken to the streets to demand government accountability and a return of fuel subsidies that ended on January 1, a move that doubled gas prices and sent the costs of other goods skyrocketing.

Scattered protests escalated into a national strike that started a week ago, paralyzing the nation of more than 160 million people.

Talks between labor unions and the government ended without a compromise late Sunday night, despite the president's participation.

Last week, a major oil union, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, had threatened to halt production in solidarity with protesters if the two sides didn't reach an agreement.

A move to halt production would reverberate on the global market. Nigeria is the world's eighth-largest crude exporter.

Demonstrations started as an outcry against the removal of fuel subsidies and grew into anger against government corruption. Nigerians consider the subsidies one of the few benefits of living in an oil-producing nation that has little infrastructure, high unemployment and intermittent electricity.

The protests - dubbed "Occupy Nigeria" - have galvanized the continent's most populous nation.

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Filed under: Nigeria • World
January 15th, 2012
02:25 AM ET

Nigerian labor unions, government fail to reach deal to end strikes

Nigerian labor unions failed to reach a deal with the government on a nationwide strike over soaring fuel prices, sparking concerns of a potential oil production shutdown Sunday in Africa's largest crude producer.

Last week, a major oil union threatened to halt production Sunday in solidarity with protesters if the two sides don't reach an agreement.

It's unclear whether the union, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, will go ahead with the threat.

A decision to halt production would have an effect on the global market; Nigeria is the world's eighth-largest crude exporter.

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January 9th, 2012
09:53 AM ET

Nigerians protest end of fuel subsidy

Police and protesters clashed across Nigeria on Monday amid a nationwide strike and widespread protests over a government decision that more than doubled fuel prices in the largely impoverished country.

Among other incidents, police reportedly fired on protesters in the northern Nigerian state of Kano, injuring at least 13 people, according to a physician who was among the protesters.

Demonstrators were gathered listening to speeches when police "suddenly came and some were shooting and some were throwing tear gas," Shehi Ali, vice chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, told CNN.

Kano Police Commissioner Ibrahim Idris denied that officers fired on protesters. He said that officers were forced to use tear gas on a "miscreants and drug addicts" who had tried to storm the governor's residence.

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January 9th, 2012
04:06 AM ET

Nigerian unions to join protests over fuel prices

Nigerian trade unions planned to join angry protests Monday against the government's decision to remove fuel subsidies in the continent's largest oil producer.

The decision on January 1 more than doubled fuel prices in a country where most of the population of about 150 million lives on less than $2 per day.

Labor union leaders have called for national strikes, and are planning a mass shutdown in the country starting Monday.

Citizens of Africa's most populous nation have staged "Occupy Nigeria" mass demonstrations since the decision, with police responding forcefully in some cases.

"I am not an economist, but it is clear common sense that the removal of fuel subsidy, even if it seems to be the easiest solution, is not even an option," said Hadiza Halliru, an Abuja protester.

"The fuel hike, which has doubled and even tripled in some states, would affect not only transportation but the price of food stuff, clothing, any form of direct labor, construction costs. But salaries still remain the same, which means everyone who directly pays bills will be affected, especially the middle class and the poor."

Many Nigerians view the subsidy as the only benefit of living in an oil producing country that has little infrastructure, poor roads, high unemployment and intermittent electric power.

"Though we know that in the long run, removal of subsidy will help the economy, for now it is a high profile lifestyle that is unbearable for most Nigerians and soon the poorer ones will die out," said protester Diane Awunah, who lives in Abuja.

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January 6th, 2012
08:20 AM ET

Nigeria church shooting kills at least 8, pastor says

At least eight people have been killed in a shooting at a church in northeastern Nigeria, a pastor at the church said Friday.

Gunmen attacked the Deeper Life church in Gombe, the capital of Gombe state, on Thursday evening as worshipers held a revival meeting, according to the Venerable Joseph Ninyo, a pastor with the Anglican Diocese of Gombe.

He said 20 people were being treated in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care.

"Many tried to run but were gunned down," eyewitness Konson Danladi said. "I was just outside the church when the men came and started shooting and I ran."

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Filed under: Africa • Nigeria • World
January 2nd, 2012
08:47 AM ET

Islamist militants in Nigeria warn Christians to leave north within 3 days

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area amid a rising tide of violence there.

A Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, also said late Sunday that Boko Haram fighters are ready to confront soldiers sent to the area under a state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday.

"We will confront them squarely to protect our brothers," Abul Qaqa said during a telephone call with local media. He also called on Muslims living in southern Nigeria to "come back to the north because we have evidence they will be attacked."

Recent weeks have seen an escalation in clashes between Boko Haram and security forces in the north-eastern states of Borno and Yobe, as well as attacks on churches and assassinations. Nearly 30 people were killed on Christmas Day at a Catholic church near the federal capital, Abuja - a sign that Boko Haram is prepared to strike beyond its heartland.

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Filed under: Africa • Nigeria
December 25th, 2011
05:21 AM ET

Christmas Day bomb blast strikes church in Nigeria, agency says

A bomb blast struck a Catholic church west of the Nigerian capital of Abuja on Sunday, the National Emergency Management Agency said, stirring memories of strikes against Nigerian churches during last year's Christmas season.

The explosion struck a Catholic church in Madala, the agency said.

The agency did not immediately provide other details. Casualties were not immediately known.

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November 30th, 2011
04:33 AM ET

Nigerian senate passes anti-gay bill, defying British aid threat

The Nigerian senate has passed a bill banning same-sex marriages, defying a threat from Britain to withhold aid from nations violating gay rights.

The bill by Africa's most populous nation calls for a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexuality. Anyone who aids or "abets" same-sex unions faces 10 years in prison, a provision that could target rights groups.

It goes to the nation's House of Representatives for a vote before President Goodluck Jonathan can sign it into law.

"It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else - including friends, families and colleagues - who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria," Amnesty International said in a statement.

The bill passed Tuesday comes nearly a month after British prime minister, David Cameron, threatened to withhold aid from nations violating gays rights, sparking outrage in Africa where leaders interpreted it as "colonial" display of power.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries based on remnants of sodomy laws introduced during the British colonial era and perpetuated by cultural beliefs.

Punishments across the continent range from fines to years in prison.

"This is something we raise continually and ... we're also saying that British aid should have more strings attached in terms of 'do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity or do you persecute people for their sexuality?" Cameron said in a statement.

"We don't think that's acceptable. So look, this is an issue where we want movement, we're pushing for movement, we're prepared to put some money behind what we believe."

Soon after his remarks earlier this month, a flurry of African governments released defiant statements accusing him of undermining their sovereignty and culture.

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Filed under: Africa • David Cameron • Nigeria • United Kingdom • World
August 31st, 2011
01:11 PM ET

U.N. bombing suspect tied to al Qaeda, Nigerians say

Nigerian authorities said Wednesday that a man with ties to al Qaeda plotted last  week's car bombing at the United Nations' headquarters in the Nigerian capital that killed 23 people.

The Nigerian State Security Service said Mamman Nur recently returned from Somalia and was "working in concert" with two other suspects who have been arrested. The militant Somali group Al-Shabaab has been linked to al Qaeda.
The secret service described Nur as a "notorious Boko Haram element." Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group, aims to enforce a strict version of Islamic law in Nigeria.

The militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack in which a Honda packed with explosives rammed into the U.N. building, shattering windows and setting the place afire.

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Filed under: Africa • Al Qaeda • Nigeria • Terrorism • United Nations • World
August 30th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

Officials: Floods kill at least 25 in southwest Nigeria

At least 25 people were killed in flooding that hit the city of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria over the weekend, the Nigerian Red Cross said Tuesday.

More victims could still be found in remote areas that rescue teams have not reached, the government's National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement released Monday.

Visiting the area, the agency's chief, Alhaji Muhammad Sidi, was shocked by the devastation and said the flooding was some of the worst the country had seen in recent times, the statement said.

The government is delivering aid to people displaced by the flooding in Ibadan and surrounding areas in Oyo state, the agency said.

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August 26th, 2011
07:16 AM ET

Bomb blast rocks U.N. building in Nigeria

The U.N. building was bombed Friday in the central area of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a U.N. official told CNN. A journalist at the scene reported that at least seven people had been killed in the blast.

Bomb squad officers and other security teams are headed to the scene, deputy police spokesman Yemi Ajayi said.

Alessandra Vellucci at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland confirmed that the "U.N. premises in Abuja have been bombed" but was unable to give more details.

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Incumbent won Nigerian presidential election, commission says
April 18th, 2011
03:53 PM ET

Incumbent won Nigerian presidential election, commission says

Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is the winner of the presidential election in Nigeria, the chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission declared Monday.

"Goodluck E. Jonathan of PDP, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner," Chairman Attahiru Jega said.

He said the ruling Peoples Democratic Party won 22,495,187 of the 39,469,484 votes cast Sunday, far outstripping the Congress for Progressive Change, the main opposition party, which won 12,214,853.

In addition, Jonathan won the needed 25% of the vote in two-thirds of the states plus Abuja, the capital.

Only the PDP certified the results by signing them; representatives of the other parties refused to do so.

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April 9th, 2011
05:14 PM ET

'Serious casualties' from blast at Nigerian voting station

A bomb blast ripped through a voting station in northeastern Nigeria Saturday evening, causing "serious casualties," a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency said.

It was the third such explosion in the country since Friday.

Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 85 people have been killed in political violence in the run-up to the delayed national elections, being held over three days:  Saturday, April 16 and April 26.

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Gotta Watch: Vintage Sheen; women mechanics; Witherspoon on Avon
Charlie Sheen talks to Larry King in 1988 about "Platoon."
March 8th, 2011
09:45 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Vintage Sheen; women mechanics; Witherspoon on Avon

Sheen before the chaos- With all the buzz around Charlie Sheen’s recent media-documented meltdown, we thought we’d bring out some vintage Sheen to illustrate how his popularity rose in the first place. In this 1988 interview with Larry King, Sheen talks about his breakout role in the hit war movie “Platoon.”

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Former president's fingerprints trip up Nigerian voter registration machines
Nigeria's voter registration machines reportedly wouldn't recognize ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo's fingerprints.
January 17th, 2011
01:37 PM ET

Former president's fingerprints trip up Nigerian voter registration machines

Voter registration kicked off in Nigeria this weekend, and observers are hoping it's not a harbinger of things to come in April.

According to newspaper reports, former President Olusegun Obasanjo experienced the concerns of many Nigerians when “direct data-capturing machines” rejected his fingerprints.

The Nigerian Compass reported that after the first machine failed to register the ex-president, officials with the Independent National Electoral Commission tried two other scanners, which also malfunctioned.

Worried that Obasanjo’s inability to register could send an ugly message to an already frustrated nation, commission officials pleaded for more time and found an expert who figured out how to register Obasanjo, the Punch, another newspaper, reported.

Obasanjo described the hitches as a “hiccup in the process” and asked Nigerians not to castigate the election commission or electoral process because problems should be expected with any new program.

Senate President David Mark had harsher words after he and his wife, Helen, could not be registered. The newspaper Next reported that he spent three hours trying to register, left, returned hours later and found that the machines were still malfunctioning.

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Bomb blast in Nigeria kills 4
December 31st, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Bomb blast in Nigeria kills 4

At least four people were killed and another 13 wounded Friday in a bomb blast at an army barracks in Abuja, Nigeria, the deputy police commissioner said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan condemns the attacks, a spokesman said.

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Halliburton says it settled bribe allegations to secure natural gas contracts
December 21st, 2010
06:13 PM ET

Halliburton says it settled bribe allegations to secure natural gas contracts

Halliburton said on Tuesday it had agreed to pay $32.5 million to the government of Nigeria to settle allegations of bribes paid to officials to secure $6 billion worth of contracts for a liquefied natural gas project in the Niger Delta.

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September 28th, 2010
08:39 AM ET

Children on school bus abducted in Nigeria

About 15 children have been kidnapped in southeastern Nigeria when gunmen hijacked a school bus, police said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred on Monday in Abia state, said Emmanuel Ojuku, National Police spokesman.

Kidnapping has been rampant in the region for years. In this case, the abductors are asking for ransom money.
Police don't know the whereabouts of the children, and they can't confirm their nationalities.


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