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13 Nigerian troops, policeman killed in Boko Haram attack

ABUJA: Boko Haram militants ambushed a military convoy in northeastern Nigeria, killing 13 soldiers and a policeman, the army said Wednesday. But an officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the militants had overrun an army base, and put the death toll at 18. An army statement said the attackers ambushed a military convoy late Monday on a highway linking Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, with Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe state. "Sadly, 13 military and a police personnel... paid the supreme price while…

Nigerian president denies dying and being replaced by lookalike

ABUJA: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday denied claims that he had died and been replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumor that has circulated on social media for months. Buhari, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness. One theory widely aired on social media - and by some political opponents - was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril. No evidence has been presented, but…

Boko Haram attacks leave 53 dead in pre-election show of force

ABUJA: Booko Haram have killed 53 soldiers and farmers in three days of attacks in northeastern Nigeria, security sources said Tuesday, in a new show of force ahead of February elections in the West African country. Despite the government's insistence that Boko Haram is near defeat, the group has recently carried out a string of major attacks on military and civilian targets. President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking re-election in February, faces widespread criticism over his security record as soldiers based in the northeast…

Niger kicks out aid worker over ‘false’ malaria toll

NIAMEY: An employee of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was kicked out of Niger on Wednesday, accused of exaggerating the death toll from a malaria epidemic in the south of the West African country. A video by Anne Pittet, an MSF paediatrist, said 10 children were dying each day in the southern town of Magaria from malaria or malnutrition. Health Minister Idi Illiassou, who talked to a French wire service in Magaria, said "everything (Pittet) said was false." MSF said on September 25 that its…

Two Pakistanis detained in Nigeria seek help from PM, CJP

ISLAMABAD: Two Pakistanis locked up in a Nigerian prison for the last 16 months have requested the prime minister, the chief justice of Pakistan and the foreign minister in a letter to get them free from illegal detention. Giving detailed account of how they got trapped in the dilemma, the Pakistanis, Naseer Khan and Mohammed Ejaz wrote that they got a job in 'Aqleem Shipping Company' in March 2017 and the company first sent them to Greece and then to Nigeria.  "We were made hostage at a ship for seeking permission…

Young, rich and ambitious: Nigeria’s ‘gentleman farmers’

"Come, I'll show you what a potential billion dollars looks like," said P.J. Okocha, opening the door of a small, modern house in southern Nigeria to reveal a thousand yam seedlings. "These thousand plants can make three million seeds," he said, with a broad smile. At just 34, Peter Okocha Junior -- also known as P.J. -- is a high achiever. Okocha cut his teeth in his family's shipping and logistics business, then decided to forge his own path. He identified Nigeria's agricultural sector as one of enormous potential…

Nigeria’s amputee football team prepares for World Cup debut

LAGOS: Sixteen years after Emmanuel Ibeawuchi lost a leg in a road accident, his dream of playing soccer in a World Cup is about to become a reality. He will captain Nigeria’s team when it makes its debut at the Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico in October. The team hopes to follow in the footsteps of Nigeria’s disabled athletes who won eight gold medals at the 2016 Paralympics, along with two silver and two bronze medals, to finish 17th in the medal table and top among African countries. “We are the best all…

World Cup: Messi delivers as Argentina strike late against Nigeria

ST PETERSBURG: Argentina and Lionel Messi scraped into the knockout stages of the World Cup by the skin of their teeth on Tuesday after an 86th-minute strike from defender Marcos Rojo gave them a barely deserved 2-1 win over Nigeria, eliminating the African side. The twice World Cup champions will face France in the last 16 while Croatia, who advance as winners of Group D with the maximum nine points after beating Iceland 2-1, will take on Denmark. Nigeria was just minutes away from progressing before central defender…

No mercy for misfiring Messi, says Nigeria coach

ST PETERSBURG: Nigeria have no sympathy for the struggles of Argentina striker Lionel Messi at the World Cup and will do everything they can to bring his tournament to a premature end when the teams meet in St Petersburg on Tuesday. Argentina, bottom of Group D, need victory to progress to the knockout stages and must also hope Iceland do not beat Croatia, because that could send them out anyway, depending on goal difference. Nigeria, second in the group, will advance if they beat Argentina, while a draw may also prove…