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Boko Haram attacks two military bases in northeast Nigeria | News

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Suspected Boko Haram fighters have attacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria, and briefly seized the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Nigerian authorities reported on Thursday that the fighters overran the multinational joint task force post (MNJTF) which lies in the fishing town of Baga, less than 10km from the Nigerian-Chad border, and sacked a naval base in Mile 3, some 5km from Baga.

A military source who asked not to be identified told the AFP news agency that Nigerian troops were “overpowered and forced to withdraw,” adding that “the terrorists carted away gun trucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.”

According to the source, the fighters from Boko Haram, who have repeatedly struck military outposts in the region in recent months, stormed Baga in several vehicles.

Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said, adding that they decided not to pursue them to avoid running into an ambush, a strategy Boko Haram often employs against the military.

Nigerian Army Spokesman Sani Usman confirmed the attack, adding that one navy officer was killed.

“The troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight” all night, he said, adding that “the Nigerian Air Force component has also been mobilised and are engaging the fleeing terrorists.”

Residents of the regional capital Maiduguri reported seeing six fighter jets flying towards Baga on Thursday.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Calabar, Nigeria, said that the fighting around Baga continued on Friday morning.

“The fighters have surrounded Baga town for a number of hours, some are talking about 24 hours, and the battle is ongoing in that area. The army can only confirm that ‘yes, there’s been some fighting, but it has not lost control of this town of Baga’, which is a fishing community.

“Some residents who have fled the town are saying that Boko Haram fighters were deep inside the town. One particular resident was saying that they even led morning prayers this morning in Baga town.

“But the military is not giving many details, only confirming that one personnel was killed, and that they are on a search and rescue in certain areas, an indication that probably some of their soldiers have been dispersed by Boko Haram.

“We were told by a military source that operations in that area are ongoing.”

Millions forced to flee 

In January 2015, Boko Haram overran the same MNJTF base and took control of Baga town.

Idris described those events as “one of the worst Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria.”

“Boko Haram fighters overran that same military base, the multinational joint task force,” he said.”They took over arms and ammunition from that area and massacred more than 1,000 civilians.”

Since Boko Haram launched its campaign in northeast Nigeria in 2009, the armed group has killed at least 27,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes.

Nigeria’s military has been fighting the group since then and despite the government’s insistence that it is near defeat, northern Nigeria is still beleaguered by heavy fighting.

Over the years, Boko Haram, which wants to form a breakaway state, has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.

Boko Haram attacks are a major issue for President Muhammadu Buhari as he seeks a second term in the upcoming election in February.

After a recent series of deadly attacks on Nigeria’s military, Buhari and other officials have warned that the group has begun using drones as part of a resurgence.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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