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African press review 9 March 2015

There is not a word in any Nigerian paper this Monday morning about the fact that neighbours Chad and Niger launched a joint army operation against Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria on Sunday.

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This is the first incursion deep into Nigeria by troops from Niger, who have so far fought Boko Haram in border areas. Chad has already sent troops to fight the Sunni jihadist group near the Nigeria-Cameroon border.

While the silence of the Nigerian media is hard to fathom, an article by the director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution in South African paper, BusinessDay, says Nigeria, often boasts of being a regional superpower, but is revealing itself to be a giant with clay feet, a regional Gulliver whose troubles are being resolved by soldiers from Lilliputian Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, who are now helping Abuja to guarantee security, the most fundamental task of any government.

The Reuters news agency reports that Boko Haram on Saturday pledged allegiance to Islamic State, saying that the move highlights increased co-ordination between jihadi movements across north Africa and the Middle East and prompted an appeal from Nigeria’s government for greater international help in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency.

In Abuja, the Daily Trust reports that the opposition All Progressives Congress has lodged a complaint against Nigeria’s First Lady at the International Criminal Court. They accuse the president's wife of encouraging violence against opposition supporters in the campaign for the general elections which are due to start on March 28.

Dame Patience, President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, during a rally in Calabar, Cross River State, last week allegedly called on supporters of the ruling party to “stone” members of the opposition when they come to the state campaigning for change.

Copies of the letter to the ICC will be sent to the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police and the National Human Rights Commission.

According to the top story in this morning's Egypt Independent, Cairo's criminal court has postponed the trial of ousted President Mohamed Morsy on charges of spying for Qatar.

The next session will be held today and will be a secret session.

Morsy, who was ousted in July 2013, stands trial alongside 10 others over accusations of leaking classified national intelligence to the Qatari intelligence services.

The prosecution claims that the accused delivered classified national security intelligence in exchange for a million dollars, adding that they were carrying out the instructions of the Muslim Brotherhood international organization, described by the prosecution as a terrorist group.

In Kenya, the main story in the Daily Nation says that close to two months after schools opened for the 2015 first term, 28 schools in Baringo County in the Rift Valley are still closed because of increased insecurity.

Villages and schools have been deserted with some areas remaining virtually inaccessible for the past two months.

Education officers say some headteachers have threatened to resign saying that they can not continue risking their lives.

According to the Baringo South Sub-County Administrator, 28 schools have been closed while over 16,400 people have been displaced since the onset of conflict in parts of Baringo late in 2014.

Conflict in the Baringo area has long been associated with cattle rustling. But, according to one local official, violence continues even when locals have lost almost all their livestock.

In Uganda, the Daily Monitor gives pride of place to a government request for an additional 800 billion shillings, that's getting on for 250 million euros.

The extra money is said to be required by the administration to cover what are called “unforeseen emergencies”.

According to the Monitor, most of the money will be wasted on special meals, welfare, workshops, foreign trips and allowances.

Opposition members have criticised the latest cash request as “political,” saying the budget supplement is intended to help the ruling party raise cash to finance its campaigns.

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