The bombing of a church in Kaduna State on 25 November and attacks on a police station in Abuja on the following day seemed designed, at least in part, to show that the Boko Haram militia can keep up the pressure despite the army’s scorched earth policy against it. Senior Nigerian security officials insist that scores of top Boko Haram commanders have fled to Mali and Somalia since mid-September after crackdowns in northern Nigeria. Such claims of success have to be balanced against the government’s continuing lack of political strategy in dealing with the militia and it winning back some credibility in the north-east. Government soldiers and police, in many cases, are feared as much as Boko Haram.
The federal government has played politics with the Boko Haram insurgency, using it to silence opposition from northern politicians who claim that President Goodluck Jonathan has broken the rotation of power between north and south. Many in the north feel that it is its turn to rule and that the government, led by the south, chooses not to combat the violence because the north is at the receiving end.
SUDAN | ANALYSIS
Sudan’s economy is in a bad way since it lost 75% of its oil revenue in its quarrel with South Sudan. This week, it refused to implement September’s agreement to get oil flowing again. As economic conditions decline further – annualised inflation was over 45% last month – and rumours spread that President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir is fatally ill, fissures are opening up in the regime.
EGYPT | SUDAN
Last August, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Onsi Sawiris, 58, bought La Mancha Resources, owner of 40% of Sudan’s Ariab Mining Company. Naguib is a Coptic Christian and telecommunications captain of his huge Orascom empire with his younger brothers Samih (property) and Nassef (construction and fertilisers). He is not known for his mining expertise.