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Death toll in last week’s Nigeria attack doubles to 130 | Nigeria News

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The death toll from an attack last week by gunmen in northwestern Nigeria has doubled to more than 130, the Kaduna state governor has said.

The attack appeared to have been a deliberate plan to “wipe out certain communities”, Governor Nasir el-Rufai said on Tuesday, without elaborating.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Abuja, said the increase in death toll was “expected from the beginning” as 130 people had been marked as missing in the aftermath of the attack.

“The security forces have been combing the area, looking for survivors as well as bodies. They said they found most of the bodies burnt beyond recognition in a ravine,” he said.

“We met survivors who told us that hundreds of men armed with guns and other crude weapons had descended on the villages, killing and beheading anyone they saw. Some of them had their entire families killed in the attacks.”

“This part of Nigeria is prone to such attacks,” he said. “It is where mainly Muslim north meets the mainly Christian south.”

Fulani ethnic group

Those killed in last Friday’s attack were mainly from the Fulani ethnic group, who are predominantly Muslim and who have been involved in clashes in recent years with people from the Adara ethnic group, who are predominantly Christian.

Local residents, speaking to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, said last week that the attack was a reprisal for violence last October.

El-Rufai told reporters that police were still investigating the gunmen’s motive for the attack in Kajuru local government area in the south of the state, and there had been arrests.

He did not say how many people had been detained.





 

The attack took place the day before Nigeria was supposed to hold a presidential and legislative election, but electoral authorities delayed the vote by one week citing logistical challenges.

There was no indication that the attack was related to the election.

About 55 people were killed in October during what residents said were clashes between Muslims and Christians in the Kasuwan Magani area of Kajuru – the same local government area in which last week’s attack took place.

Security has become a key campaign issue ahead of the presidential election in which President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in 2015, and Atiku Abubakar, a businessman who served as vice president from 1999 to 2007, are the leading contenders.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with about 190 million inhabitants, is split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, and comprises about 250 different ethnic groups that mostly co-exist peacefully.

However, hundreds of people were killed last year in outbreaks of violence over land use and resources in the central states of Nigeria slightly to the south of Kaduna, with some clashes between religious and ethnic groups.






Religious unrest key concern in run-up to Nigeria election


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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