19:24 GMT27 July 2021
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    Boko Haram Violence in Central Africa (77)
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    A car bomb exploded outside of a Goodluck Jonathan campaign rally as rhetoric heats up ahead of the election, and the ICC issues a warning to Nigerian political leaders.

    MOSCOW, February 2 (Sputnik) — A car bomb in Gombe, a state capital in northern Nigeria, killed one and wounded 18 just moments after President Goodluck Jonathan left a nearby campaign rally; Boko Haram is believed to be the perpertrator, Reuters reports.

    "We have evacuated two bodies of females we believe were suicide bombers behind the blast," a rescue worker told the agency.

    President Goodluck Jonathan had already canceled a campaign stop in Damatore, in Nigeria's northern Yobe state, citing security concerns, but nevertheless spoke at the Gombe rally, according to Nigeria's Punch newspaper.

    The upcoming election has also been marked by tensions as the opposition's candidate, Muhammadu Buhari has not shown up to debates with President Jonathan despite doing so at previous elections, according to Nigerian news website This Day Live.

    The opposition's All Progressives Congress' (APC) contender is Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from northern Nigeria, while the ruling People's Democratic Party's (PDP) President Goodluck Jonathan is a Christian from the south.

    In addition, International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Monday that Nigerian politicians must not provoke violence as the February 14 general election is less than two weeks away.

    "Any person who incites or engages in acts of violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging … crimes within ICC’s jurisdiction is liable to prosecution," an ICC official told Reuters.

    The agency reports that rhetoric has also been heating up as a governor belonging to the ruling PDP urged his supporters to crush APC "cockroaches." In addition, the APC announced that it would set up a parallel government if it decides that the election is not fair.

    The electoral commission is struggling as over a million internally displaced people have to be allowed to vote, according to Reuters. In addition, foreign observers announced that they will not be able to monitor elections in the area because of the unrest, according to AFP.

    Multinational Offensive Against Boko Haram Continues

    Meanwhile, two Chadian Su-25 jets and one Mi-24 attack helicopter pounded Boko Haram positions in Gamboru, on Nigeria's border with Cameroon, according to AFP. Chad has about 2,000 soldiers deployed at Fokotol, across the border from Gamboru, where they are preparing a joint offensive against Boko Haram together with Cameroonian forces, according to the agency.

    "Through these bombings, we seek to neutralize the enemy, and pave the way to the liberation of Gamboru" through a land operation, a Chadian officer told AFP on Sunday.

    On Sunday, Boko Haram struck the city of Maiduguri, capital of Nigeria's Borno state, as suicide bombings rocked cities in bordering states. The same day, the Chadian and Cameroonian joint forces struck Boko Haram targets in Gamboru and secured cross-border bridges while bringing in more troops.

    On Saturday, African leaders meeting for the African Union' Peace and Security Council, announced the creation of a 7,500-strong multinational force to combat Boko Haram, AP reported. The same day, the Chadian army launched air strikes against Boko Haram positions in Gamboru.

    Boko Haram is a militant group, which aims at establishing an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Large swathes of land in the Borno State, as well as in neighboring Adamawa and Yobe are believed to be under control of the Islamists. The Boko Haram insurgency has left over 13,000 people dead since 2009.

    In October 2014, the leaders of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon announced plans to step up the fight against Boko Haram with an additional battalion and a command center to tackle the group, and Chad began its operation in mid-January. Chad is considered impacted by this conflict not only because it is harmed by Boko Haram, but also because it faces a dire humanitarian situation as refugees flee to the country as Boko Haram's influence spreads in Nigeria.

    On January 4, Boko Haram militants captured the town of Baga in Borno State, reportedly killing hundreds. "The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous," Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for a local defense group that fights militants, told the Associated Press. Reports emerged that approximately 2,000 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, were killed, according to Amnesty International.

    Boko Haram Violence in Central Africa (77)


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    suicide attack, elections, Su-25, Mi-24, 2015 Nigerian General Election, All Progressives Congress, People's Democratic Party (Nigeria), Boko Haram, International Criminal Court, Muhammadu Buhari, Goodluck Jonathan, Fokotol, Gombe, Nigeria
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