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Joint African force neutralises hundreds of insurgents, commanders in recent weeks

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In the wake of recent terrorist attacks across Sub-Saharan Africa, a joint military force from affected countries in the Lake Chad region, particularly Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon said it had executed more than 100 Islamist insurgents, including 10 commanders.

The joint force made the disclosure on Sunday, as it intensifies a ground and air offensive in the Lake Chad region.

Multinational Joint Task Force spokesman Colonel Muhammad Dole said troops had ventured deep into enclaves controlled by insurgents in the Lake Chad area and recovered several weapons, food, and illicit drugs.

“Within the period of this operation, well over a hundred terrorists have been neutralized, including over 10 top commanders … following intelligence-driven lethal airstrikes in the Lake Chad islands by the combined air task-forces,” Dole said.

Attacks for resupply and hostage-taking for ransom have persisted across the Lake Chad Basin, but assaults on military positions have intensified across the region since March 2020. These events are part of a trend since the last quarter of 2018 that show the resilience of Boko Haram factions, particularly ISWAP.

According to Statista, “between 2011 and 2021, Boko Haram was responsible for thousands of deaths in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Nigeria is the country most affected by the terrorist group’s attacks. States in the North-East register the highest number of deaths. Borno is by far the most threatened state, Boko Haram has caused over 34 thousand deaths in this area…”

Nigeria got a boost in its fight 0ver terrorism last week when the State Department announced the approval of the $997 million sales of 24 Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters and related equipment to Nigeria. The related equipment includes guidance, night vision, and targeting systems as well as engines and training support, the department said in a notice to Congress.

Boko Haram has been on the back foot since the death of its leader, Abubakar Shekau, last year in May during a battle with rival ISWAP. Nigeria says thousands of Boko Haram fighters and their families have surrendered since last year.

 

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Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will help resolve the country’s debt crisis.

Hichilema, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the agreement would also help pave the way for the country to negotiate with private creditors.

Before signing the agreement, Zambia had struggled to revive its debt restructuring process after a deal to rework $3 billion Eurobonds was rejected by its official creditors, with international media reporting that China and other creditors did not believe that it offered comparable debt relief to that of bondholders.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, had assured that the government was trying to clarify the meaning of a “comparable treatment” with bondholders.

However, while addressing a gathering during the Nc’wala ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province, President Hichilema confirmed the signing of the agreement with the two Asian nations.

“On the official creditors’ side, the last two countries that had not signed, China and India, have now signed,” Hichilema said.

The President added that Zambia was now turning to the private creditors in a bid to address the debt issue because the had defaulted on its foreign debts in November 2020 and that its restructuring had been beset by delays.

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Metro

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

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A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10 Nigerians are indebted to online loan sharks and are finding it difficult to come out of such debts.

The report noted that 26 per cent of average Nigerians were indebted to different loan apps spread across the country which is as a result of the harsh economic challenges brought about by different unfavourable government policies.

The report which was discussed at a Finance Roundtable in Lagos on Saturday by co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, lamented the widening wealth divide among Nigerians, saying it was inimical to economic growth as a vast majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

According to Eweniyi, the report ‘captures the attitude of different demographics in the country viz- a-viz their savings and spending habits, debt management, and future financial plans.’

As a panacea to solving the problems of indebtedness, Eweniyi advocated ‘savings before spending in order to avoid running into debt,’ adding that the option of savings was still elusive to Nigerians who live below the poverty line of $2 per day dollars per day.

“We must also know that while innovation is key, it cannot go far without social interventions for the people.”

She urged the government to focus on Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid in its conversation as well as simplify access to public credit facilities to improve income status of average Nigerians.

“This is why government must as much as possible explore collaboration with private sector to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and also drive financial literacy and inclusion,” Eweniyi emphasized.

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