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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria

    *The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.

    Sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea, gari (fermented cassava starch), and rice are all found in Nigerian markets. Sorghum, millet and maize are widely consumed by most households, but especially in the north, and are used by various industries. Maize is mainly used by the poultry industry as a raw material for feed while sorghum is used by breweries for producing beverages. Sorghum and millet are important for households in the north, particularly the border markets where millet is also heavily traded with Niger. Gari is widely consumed by households in the south and some in the north. Rice is produced and consumed throughout the country. The north is a major production and consumption area for cowpea which flows to the south for use by households and food processing industries. Ilela, Maidua, and Damasak are all critical cross-border markets with Niger. Saminaka, Giwa,
    Dandume, and Kaura Namuda are important grain markets in the north, which are interconnected with the Dawanu market in Kano, the largest wholesale market in West Africa, and some southern markets such as the Bodija market in Ibadan. Millet, sorghum, maize, and cowpea are among the most important cereals traded at Dawanu, while cassava and some cereals are traded with Bodija.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Les récoltes moyennes permettent une situation alimentaire normale dans le pays

    Messages clés:

    Du fait de l’accès aux stocks constitués à partir des nouvelles récoltes, estimées moyennes au niveau national, la majorité des ménages pauvres a comme habituellement deux à trois repas par jour. Par conséquent la demande en céréales de base est faible sur les marchés et les niveaux de prix sont dans l’ensemble similaires à la moyenne quinquennale.

    Dans les principales zones agropastorales, les animaux présentent un bon état physique car l’eau et le fourrage, notamment les résidus de récoltes sont disponibles pour leur alimentation. Ainsi, avec la hausse de la demande pour les fêtes de fin d’année, les prix du bétail, en particulier les petits ruminants enregistrent des hausses de 6 à 8% comparé à la moyenne quinquennale.

    Les récoltes étant moyennes, la demande des ménages pauvres restera habituelle sur les marchés et les prix des céréales de base pourraient évoluer normalement suivant la tendance saisonnière moyenne. Par ailleurs, l’accès aux revenus normaux issus de la vente des produits maraichers et de la pratique du maraichage, permettra aux ménages de demeurer en insécurité alimentaire aigue Minimale (Phase 1 de l’IPC) jusqu’au mois mars.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Lagos, Nigeria | AFP | Wednesday 12/30/2015 - 23:33 GMT

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said he had no new intelligence on some 200 schoolgirls kidnapped almost two years ago, and that his government would negotiate with any "credible" Boko Haram leadership for their release.

    A total of 276 girls were taken from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014 by Boko Haram fighters, in a case that made global headlines.

    Several dozen girls managed to escape soon afterwards, but nothing has been seen or heard from around 200 of them since a video released in May 2014.

    "We are prepared to negotiate with them (Boko Haram's leadership) without precondition," Buhari said in his inaugural media chat broadcast on radio and television.

    "We wanted to make contact but we insist on identifying the bonafide so-called Boko Haram leadership," he said.

    The president said he had no firm intelligence on where the girls were or the state of their health, adding: "That is the honest truth."

    Before any negotiations can begin "we are looking for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will confirm that the girls are alive," Buhari added.

    "We want to be sure that they (the girls) are complete, safe" before holding any talks, he added.

    Over 17,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram's six-year quest to create an independent Islamic state in Nigeria.

    Last week Buhari said the Islamist group had been "technically" defeated, but a 48-wave of Boko Haram attacks in northeastern Nigeria that killed more than 50 people since then has undermined his claim.

    During two-hour chat with journalists on Wednesday, he hinted that he could ban the wearing of hijabs or other headwear by Muslim women if insurgents continue to use veiled women to carry out suicide attacks.

    "Hijab will have to be banned if this continues," said Buhari, himself a Muslim.

    Buhari also said that his government was doing "quite well" in its fight against corruption, one of the cornerstones of his administration.

    The 73-year-old former dictator, who took office in May, said his government has found documents "showing where public funds were diverted into personal pockets" and other forms of corruption.

    He vowed that nobody, including his cabinet ministers, would be spared in his anti-corruption crusade.

    Buhari also sought to justify his detention former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the founder of outlawed pirate 'Radio Biafra', Nnamdi Kanu, despite recent court orders granting them bail.

    He argued that the charges against both men were too weighty to allow them to enjoy bail or travel out of the country.


    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    Key messages

    • In six years of conflict with brutal attacks on the civilian population in north-eastern Nigeria, over 20 000 people have been killed and 2.1 million are displaced within the country.

    • Many internally displaced (IDPs) live in dire conditions in informal settlements. They need shelter, food, water and healthcare.
      Indiscriminate violence has forced over 190.000 people to flee to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

    • The European Commission is providing immediate assistance to cover the basic needs of the displaced and of refugees in neighbouring countries. However, more humanitarian support is needed.

    • In the far north of Nigeria, few international agencies and organisations are present due to the remoteness of the affected areas and the volatile security situation. The European Commission advocates for an increased presence of humanitarian organisations on the ground so that more people in need can be reached.

    • The conflict has had a negative impact on agriculture and trade, thus worsening the difficult food and nutrition situation in northern Nigeria. Many health facilities have shut down and thousands of malnourished children are not receiving the treatment they need to survive. In response to this emergency, the European Commission funds emergency food assistance and the community management of malnutrition

    ECHO Factsheet – Nigeria – November 2015

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/31/2015 - 02:10 GMT

    Mali has extended by three months a nationwide state of emergency initially imposed following a deadly jihadist attack on a hotel in the capital in November, officials said Wednesday.

    The government on Monday submitted a bill authorising the fresh extension to March 31 "because of serious threats to the security of persons and their property", according to an official statement.

    The National Assembly passed the bill unanimously in a vote on Tuesday, a parliamentary source told AFP.

    Mali initially declared a state of emergency after 20 people, 14 of them foreigners, were killed in an attack claimed by two jihadist groups on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20.

    It was extended twice, and the latest 10-day period was due to expire on Thursday.

    Northern Mali fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012.

    The Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation launched in January 2013, but large swathes of Mali remain lawless and prone to attacks.


    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Chad

    Le niveau des stocks paysans est globalement satisfaisant dans toutes les régions du Tchad

    Messages clés

    • La production céréalière prévisionnelle au niveau national est déficitaire de 10 pour cent comparée à la moyenne quinquennale selon la DPAS/Ministère de l’Agriculture. Les récoltes pluviales se poursuivent dans certaines zones augmentant les stocks des ménages qui améliorent leur consommation alimentaire. Les récoltes de sorgho de décrue (berbéré) commencent dans le département d’Aboudeia (région de Salamat) et débuteront fin janvier/début février dans les autres régions principales de berbéré (Salamat, Moyen-Chari, Mayo-Kebbi, Guera, Batha et Chari Baguirmi).

    • Les marchés sont bien approvisionnés en denrées alimentaires et les prix des céréales sont globalement en baisse par rapport aux mois précédents à cause des récoltes qui se poursuivent. Les flux commerciaux continuent à être perturbés en raison de l’insécurité dans la région du lac Tchad entrainant des hausses atypiques des prix des produits alimentaires sur les marchés affectés.

    • Grâce aux nouvelles récoltes, à la baisse des prix des céréales et à la disponibilité laitière et maraîchère, la situation alimentaire est calme; la plupart des ménages seront en insécurité alimentaire Minimale (Phase 1 de l’IPC) jusqu’en mars. Entre janvier et mars, la plupart des ménages pauvres dans le Sahel (régions de Kanem, BEG, Batha, Nord Guera, Wadi Fira, et Lac) accéderont difficilement à la nourriture à cause de l’épuisement de stock et seront en Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) jusqu’au moins en mars.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.

    Millet, maize, cowpea, and imported rice are the most important food commodities. Millet is consumed by both rural and poor urban households throughout the country. Maize and imported rice are most important for urban households, while cowpea is mainly consumed by poor households in rural and urban areas as a protein source. Niamey is the most important national market and an international trade center, and also supplies urban households. Tillaberi is also an urban center that supplies the surrounding area. Gaya market represents a main urban market for maize with cross-border connections. Maradi, Tounfafi, and Diffa are regional assembly and cross-border markets for Niger and other countries in the region. These are markets where households and herders coming from the northern cereal deficit areas regularly buy their food. Agadez and Zinder are also important national and regional markets. Nguigmi and Abalak are located in pastoral areas, where people are heavily dependent on cereal markets for their food supply. They are particularly important during the rainy season, when herders are confined to the pastoral zone.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Near-average harvests are resulting in normal food security across the country

    Key Messages

    • Newly harvested crops, which are estimated to be at near-average levels nationally, have reconstituted household stocks and are allowing most households to access two to three meals per day. As a result, demand for staple cereals on markets is low and prices are similar to the five-year average. In the major agropastoral areas, livestock are showing good body conditions due to the good availability of water and forage, especially from crop residues. Coupled with increases in demand for livestock due to end-of-year holidays, prices for livestock, especially small ruminants, are about six to eight percent above the five-year average.

    • Due to near-average harvests, market demand from poor households will remain at normal levels and staple food prices will follow their normal seasonal trends. Market-gardening activities and the sale of market-gardening crops will further contribute to household income, which should allow most poor households to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through March 2016.

    About this Update

    This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.

    Local rice and sorghum are the most consumed food products by poor households in Mauritania followed by imported wheat which is a substitute that these households turn to the most. Local rice is grown in the river valley (in the southern regions of Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimakha). Sorghum is produced in all areas of production (rainfed) and in flood-recession areas. However, a significant portion is imported from Mali and Senegal. Mauritania depends greatly on food imports (70% in a good agricultural year and 85% in a bad year) than on internal production. Nouakchott is the principal collection market for imported products and also the distribution market where traders acquire supplies for the secondary markets referenced below.
    Cooking oil is consumed mainly in urban areas. The sale of animals is a lifestyle in all areas and an important source of income and food.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal

    La production agricole en hausse améliore la disponibilité et l’accès alimentaires


    • La production céréalière 2015/16 est en hausse de 65 pour cent par rapport à la moyenne quinquennale et de 81 pour cent par rapport à 2014 selon la Direction des Analyses et de Productions des Statistiques Agricoles.
      Cette hausse augure des perspectives bonnes de disponibilités céréalières. Par conséquent, la plupart des ménages seront en insécurité alimentaire Minimale (Phase 1 de l’IPC) entre décembre 2015 et mars 2016.

    • La disponibilité de céréales locales sur les marchés et au niveau des ménages est en hausse grâce à l’arrivée des nouvelles récoltes et contribuent à la baisse de la demande du riz importé ; ce qui permet une chute de prix et permet l’accès des ménages pauvres aux marchés.

    • La campagne de commercialisation de l’arachide a démarré avec un prix officiel en hausse de 6 pour cent par rapport à la moyenne et stable par rapport à la campagne passée ; ce qui permet des revenus moyens à supérieurs à la moyenne pour les producteurs dans le bassin arachidier.

    • Les ménages pauvres de Matam, Kanel, Raneyrou, Linguère et Louga victimes de la baisse de production agricole à cause de la mauvaise répartition des pluies connaitront une soudure précoce en 2016 suite à l’épuisement précoce de leur stock. Ils seront par conséquent en insécurité alimentaire de Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) à partir de juin. Il en sera de même dès mars pour les victimes des inondations en besoins de reconstitution des moyens d’existence à travers le pays.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, REACH Initiative
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    I. Introduction

    1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2227 (2015), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) until June 2016 and requested me to report every three mon ths on the situation in Mali, focusing on progress in the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali and the efforts of MINUSMA to support it. The present report covers the period from 23 September to 16 December 2015.

    II. Major political developments

    2. The reporting period was characterized by a new momentum in the peace process, with positive steps in the implementation of the peace agreement, including an improved relationship between the Coordination des mouvements de l ’ Azawad (CMA) and the Platform coalition of armed groups following their bilateral talks in Anéfis (Kidal region). Those positive developments also included a series of intercommunal and intracommunal reconciliation dialogues and the nomination of the membe rs of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. Meanwhile, all signatory parties participated constructively in the Comité de suivi de l ’ accord and contributed to sustaining a positive momentum for the implementation of the peace agreement, in spit e of outstanding challenges related to the inclusivity and transparency of the process.

    3. On 23 September, my Special Representative convened a meeting between the military leadership of CMA and the Platform in Bamako. Under his auspices, the parties reso lved to immediately cease hostilities, end all incursions into the areas under the other party ’ s control, ensure the free circulation of civilians and goods and resume the participation of CMA in the Comité de suivi de l ’ accord and its subsidiary organs. T he parties also agreed to initiate dialogue in Anéfis, with a view to solving the long - standing intercommunal and intracommunal tensions at the root of the conflict between them. On 27 and 28 September, a CMA delegation held meetings with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the leaders of the Platform in Bamako. Following the meetings, CMA announced that it would order its combatants to refrain from using force against the troops of the Government forces and of the Platform.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Nigeria

    Elevated levels of food insecurity persist in the northeast despite the end of harvests

    Key Messages

    • Households in conflict-affected Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through at least March 2016 due to the effects of reduced market functioning, limited seasonal incomes, and little to no harvests this year.

    • In parts of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states that have been less affected by conflict, households were able to participate in the recent growing season, although at below-average levels. These agricultural activities provided low levels of food stocks and seasonal incomes, which have helped improve food availability and access. However, these households are still unable to meet their essential non-food needs without atypical coping and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity through March 2016.

    • Preparations for off-season cropping (vegetables, sugar cane, rice, and wheat) on major floodplains are underway in most areas. During this year’s off-season, farmers are expected to increase production as the government is providing substantial assistance (ex. credit and inputs) and water levels in local ponds and rivers are above average. Harvests of these crops, beginning in April, will likely be above average in most areas, increasing income and food diversity.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Niger

    La disponibilité et l’accès alimentaires restent globalement bons pendant la période post-récolte


    • Avec une production nationale estimée à plus de 4 650 000 tonnes de céréales, les disponibilités alimentaires nationales sont suffisantes pour les besoins locaux de consommation évalués à 4 560 000 tonnes, soit plus de 88 000 tonnes de surplus céréaliers commercialisables.

    • Toutefois, les ressources fourragères estimées par les services du ministère de l’élevage, sont jugées largement inférieures aux besoins du cheptel dont l’embonpoint et la valeur marchande pourraient diminuer et affecter négativement les revenus des ménages éleveurs à partir de février/mars 2016 dans certains zones pastorales.

    • En plus de l’amplification des mouvements de populations et de leurs besoins de consommation, la crise sécuritaire dans la région de Diffa a provoqué une forte réduction des flux commerciaux et de la production agricole suite à une baisse des superficies consécutives aux problèmes d’accès aux champs.

    • A l’exception de la région de Diffa, où la situation d’insécurité civile limite les résultats de la sécurité alimentaire, l’insécurité alimentaire aiguë est globalement Minimale (Phase 1 de l’IPC) dans le pays. Dans certaines zones pastorales de Tillabéri à Zinder, la sévérité de l’insécurité alimentaire aiguë va atteindre le Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) entre janvier et mars 2016 dû aux faibles termes d’échange bétails-céréales.

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mauritania

    Les bonnes récoltes et propices conditions pastorales atténuent l’insécurité alimentaire


    • De bons pâturages et un abreuvement régulier par les eaux de surface fixent la grande partie des éleveurs et agropasteurs dans leurs zones de moyens d’existence et améliorent l’embonpoint des animaux. Par conséquence, les transhumances internes s’inscrivent dans leurs axes saisonniers. La reprise de mise-bas renforce les effectifs des cheptels et améliore la production laitière qui reste néanmoins inférieure à celle d’une année moyenne.

    • Les bonnes productions des cultures pluviales diversifient les opportunités de travail accroissant ainsi les revenus des ménages. Epaulées par la dynamique des marchés bien approvisionnés en aliments importées, ces récoltes ont baissé les prix des céréales locales et amélioré l’accessibilité des ménages pauvres à une nourriture plus régulière. Vu ces conditions, l’insécurité alimentaire restera, dans la majorité du pays, Minimale (Phase 1 de l’IPC) jusqu’au moins mars.

    • Malgré des bonnes conditions pastorales, une situation de Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) persistera dans les zones agropastorales de Gorgol, Inchiri, Brakna, Assaba, Tangant, et Adrar (Ouadane, Aoujeft) jusqu’au mois de mars. La récupération graduelle des effectifs du cheptel et l’amélioration de la production laitière ne seront pas assez importantes pour permettre aux ménages pauvres endettés pendant les difficiles soudures précédentes de faire face à la soudure prolongée par le retard du développement des cultures dont la productivité est fortement affectée, dans toutes les zones, par une invasion aviaire d’une grande ampleur.

    • Dans le centre de la zone de cultures pluviales (les moughataa d’Amourj et de Djigueni), l’arrivée retardée de bonnes récoltes principales ainsi que les bonnes perspectives de récoltes de derrière barrage en février amélioreront la situation alimentaire mais ne couvriront pas le remboursement des dettes de difficiles annexes précédentes. Ces ménages restent en situation de Stress (Phase 2 de l’IPC) jusqu’au moins mars.

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Saturday 1/2/2016 - 02:24 GMT |

    by Aminu ABUBAKAR

    One year after a massive attack ranked among the worst in Boko Haram's six-year insurgency, the residents of Baga in northeast Nigeria say their home is a ghost town.

    The jihadists razed the fishing hub on the shores of Lake Chad in a four-day assault beginning January 3 last year, forcing thousands from their homes and killing hundreds of others.

    Unlike other Boko Haram attacks, which often go virtually unnoticed outside Nigeria, the Baga massacre made headlines around the world after it was reported 2,000 people lost their lives in the raid and Amnesty International released satellite images showing the ravaged town.

    With its charred houses and shuttered businesses, it is hard to believe Baga used to be a lively trading centre of 200,000 people, where merchants would travel to sell cattle, leather goods and trade fresh produce.

    "Baga is still deserted, we are all living in camps and homes of friends and relatives in Maiduguri because we are scared of returning home," Muhammad Alhaji Bukar, a displaced Baga resident, told AFP.

    The Nigerian military reclaimed Baga in March and troops patrol its dusty streets today.

    But the town's enduring emptiness -- under 1,000 people are living there now -- highlights how difficult it is to get people back home and restore peace to the battered northeast region.

    In June, destitute residents of Baga and surrounding villages started trickling back to fish, encouraged by military victories winning territory back from the jihadists.

    The fisherman would sell their catch of catfish and African bonytongue in the key northeast city of Maiduguri, the spiritual home of the insurgency and the restive capital of Borno state.

    In the window of calm, about 5,000 residents returned to Baga. But the peace did not last long.

    In July, Boko Haram ambushed a lorry carrying people returning home, killing eight Baga residents.

    In the days that followed, the militants slit the throats of several fishermen and killed farmers who had returned to harvest their melons.

    - 'We can't return' -

    The Nigerian army and forces from neighbouring countries, have over the past year been able to flush Boko Haram out from captured towns, but is not able to stop the jihadists from regrouping in the surrounding villages and bush.

    Spurned not crushed, the militants had found cover near Baga in the little islands lined with tall grass that dot the freshwater lake.

    As Bukar Kori, head of the Baga's traders union, put it: "We can't return to Baga yet, it is still not safe, especially with Boko Haram lurking on nearby islands."

    Today, an estimated 700 people are living in Baga, with the majority the town's former residents staying in Maiduguri.

    Its population has almost doubled from two million since 2009, when Boko Haram embarked on its bloody quest to establish an independent Islamic state in Nigeria.

    The extremist insurgency has forced over 2.5 million people -- just over the population of Paris -- living in the Lake Chad Basin to flee from their homes, according to a December report issued by USAID, a United States government humanitarian agency.

    While the Nigerian government insists that Boko Haram has been "largely" defeated going into 2016, the jihadist group continues to wreak havoc by sending out suicide bombers, sometimes in droves.

    Last Sunday in an attack lasting 48 hours, the militants invaded Maiduguri unleashing "dozens" of suicide bombers, killing 22 people.

    The Nigerian government has acknowledged the monumental task of getting displaced people like those in Baga back home, but has not yet given a concrete plan on how to tackle the issue.

    "There is still a lot of work to be done in the area of security," President Muhammadu Buhari said in a New Year's statement.

    "This government will not consider the matter concluded until the terrorists have been completely routed and normalcy restored to all parts of the country."

    Boko Haram's insurgency has killed 17,000 people in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, damaging millions of dollars of infrastructure at a time when the country is facing a cash crush as a result of the plunging price of oil.


    © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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    Source: HART
    Country: Nigeria


    For six years, Boko Haram, an extremist jihadist insurgency group which opposes traditionally Western systems of governance and education, has inflicted its reign of terror on the people of Northern Nigeria. The magnitude of the devastation in northeastern states has not been fully reported due to a lack of access. Recently, the military and civilian vigilantes have regained much territory that was previously held by Boko Haram. This is triggering the return of displaced communities to situations of insecurity and shortage. Deep divisions exist between religious communities due to the climate of fear and mistrust fostered by constant insecurity.

    The Boko Haram Insurgency

    • This year, Boko Haram was named as the deadliest terrorist group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index, calculated on the total number of deaths caused by terrorist activity2 .

    • In recent months, the Nigerian Security Forces and Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) have had some success in forcing Boko Haram out of occupied areas. This is revealing the sheer scale of the devastation left behind. As of early December 2015, the most accurate data available, a conservative estimate based on press coverage, assesses that there have been 43,101 deaths as a result of the insurgency3 .

    • In 2015, Boko Haram has increasingly used suicide bombers – particularly young women and girls – to attack crowds of people.
      There are fears that these girls may be those abducted and forcibly converted.

    • Amnesty International reported that between November 2014 and February 2015, more than 500 women and 1,000 children were abducted from Gwoza Local Government Area (LGA) alone4 . We were told, “Chibok is just the tip of the iceberg. Wherever Boko Haram is present there are abductions”. On 28th November, four women were abducted in Bauchi State. Abducted women are likely married off to Boko Haram members, entrapped in domestic slavery or used as fighters. Women who escape or are released may face stigma from their communities; there is a need for trauma healing and rehabilitative care for these women.

    • Overall, due to the population demographics in the northern states, more Muslims have now been killed by Boko Haram than Christians. 13 of 64 District Heads in the Borno Emirate have been killed by Boko Haram5 .

    • A combination of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy may contribute to making young men vulnerable to radicalisation6 . The insurgent group are able to offer significance in the way of money, loot, power and women to encourage membership.
      Alternatively, they also forcibly recruit with the threat of death.
      Persecution and Inter-faith Relations

    • The threat to freedom of religion and belief is a serious concern in Northern Nigeria. In addition to the direct targeting of Christian populations by Boko Haram, Christians are under-represented in politics in many northern states and have unequal access to services, including education. We also heard of multiple instances where Christians were coerced into having criminal trials heard in sharia courts instead of courts of common law. This is against the Constitution of Nigeria. However, Christians in the North often do not have access to a lawyer who would be willing to fight against the hegemony of the sharia legal system.

    • In rural communities surrounding Jos, further tensions exist between predominantly Christian farming communities and the Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Increased cultivation, combined with growing herd sizes, has put added pressure on grazing land available, resulting in the closing of many legal cattle herding routes and reserves available to the Fulani. 2015 has seen a sharp increase in violence. We visited Sho District in Barkin Ladi LGA, a village that is completely isolated at the end of a road that is impassable without military escort as there have been such frequent violent attacks by Fulani. These villagers are unable to farm the land surrounding their village and their church and school have been destroyed. On 17th July 2015, 14 civilians were killed whilst travelling in military escort but not a single perpetrator was arrested (the Sho Development Association report of this attack is available upon request).

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    Source: HART
    Country: India, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Uganda, World

    Featured in this issue:

    • Refl ections on our visit to Northern Nigeria

    • Updates from our partners in Nigeria, Sudan,
      South Sudan, Uganda, India, Timor-Leste and Burma

    • News from HART

    Refl ection and Celebration

    At HART, we love to celebrate the courage, commitment and achievements of our partners who dedicate themselves to serving their communities in very challenging situations. They truly represent the spirit of Christmas – ‘love in action’.

    This December, three HART staff visited Boko Haramaffl icted areas of Nigeria where we witnessed the ’love in action’ of our partners there, including the Mai Adiko Peace Project in Jos. There, Christian and Muslim women share hope, healing, joy and fi nancial empowerment in communities torn asunder by confl ict, killings and destruction.

    In eastern Burma, we support SWAN (Shan Women’s Action Network). They are Buddhists who always inspire us with their professionalism and commitment, risking their lives to bring maternal and child health to internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in Shan State.

    In Sudan, HART partners, Benjamin and Nagwa, risk their lives to take life-saving food, medicines and education to the people of Blue Nile State and the Nuba Mountains who are suffering constant aerial bombardment by the Government of Sudan. Benjamin and Nagwa are Christians, manifesting ‘love in action’ for victims of oppression: Muslims, Christians and traditional believers. Their unconditional love is manifest in their courageous, high risk work.

    This year is the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. In Nagorno-Karabakh, our partner Vardan brings healing for people with disabilities, demonstrating the spirit of the Armenian people, who not only survive but create beauty from the ashes of destruction.

    We thank all our supporters who help our HART partners to enact the Christmas message of ‘love in action’.

    Caroline Cox

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Western Sahara, World, Yemen

    General Situation during December 2015
    Forecast until mid-February 2016

    A Desert Locust outbreak continued in western Mauritania and extended further north into northern Mauritania and Western Sahara where hoppers and adults formed small groups during December. Ground control operations were carried out in both areas. As ecological conditions remain favourable, breeding is likely to continue during the forecast period, which may cause a further increase in locust numbers and the formation of hopper and adult groups. Small-scale breeding occurred in northern Mali and Niger where a few small groups may form in December. Only low numbers of locusts were present in parts of the winter breeding areas along both sides of the Red Sea in Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. During the forecast period, small-scale breeding will occur in these areas as well as in Eritrea and northern Somalia but no significant developments are likely. The situation remained calm in southwest Asia.

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