Daily Watch – Nigeria & Niger lose soldiers in Borno, Kenya & Somalia to reopen border

16th May 2023

Three soldiers from Nigeria and Niger were killed and at least 12 others were injured after attacks by Islamist fighters in northeastern Nigeria, two military sources said. The troops were part of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) made up of forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, seeking to end an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced millions more. A Nigerian military source said that two Nigerian soldiers of the MNJTF were killed when their vehicle set off an improvised explosive device while they were pursuing insurgents in the Arege area in northeastern Borno. 10 troops, including the commanding officer, were injured and another two civilians working with the troops were also wounded, the source added. A Nigerien soldier was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in detonated another explosive device in a separate part of Arege, while the number of wounded was not immediately known, a Nigerien army source said. An MNJTF situation report seen by Reuters confirmed the attacks.

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose for the fourth straight month to 22.22 percent in April 2023 from 22.04 percent in March, according to the National Bureau Statistics (NBS). Food inflation rate quickened to 24.61 percent in April from 24.46 percent in the previous month. On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 5.40 percent higher compared to the rate recorded in April 2022, which was 16.82 percent.  The contributions of items to the increase in the headline index are food & non-alcoholic beverages (11.51 percent), housing water, electricity, gas & other fuel (3.72 percent), clothing & footwear (1.70 percent), transport (1.45 percent), furnishings & household equipment & maintenance (1.12 percent), and education (0.88 percent). Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Kogi (29.50 percent), Kwara (29.48 percent), and Bayelsa (29.38 percent), while Sokoto (19.55 percent), Taraba (20.20 percent) and Jigawa (20.68 percent ) recorded the slowest rise.

Ghana expects the International Monetary Fund to approve a first loan tranche of $600 million as soon as Wednesday, paving the way for disbursement within a week, Minister of State for Finance Mohammed Amin Adam told Reuters by phone. He said a second tranche of $600 million is expected to be approved after a successful first review of the programme, sometime in November or December, with the rest disbursed in equal tranches of $360 million after semi-annual reviews. Two sources familiar with the thinking of the Fund confirmed that the lender’s executive board was expected to meet on Wednesday in Ghana.

Kenya and Somalia announced an agreement to reopen their land border at three points by 1 July, which had been officially closed since 2011 due to the insurrection of radical Islamists al-Shabaab. The announcement was made after a meeting in Nairobi between delegations of ministers from the two countries on issues of cooperation in security, trade and the movement of people. “We are looking into the possibility of reopening the border and we have decided that the border between Somalia and Kenya will be reopened in a phased manner over the next 90 days” via three border crossings, Kenya’s interior minister, Kithure Kindiki, said at a joint press conference. The Mandera-Bulahawa border post “must be opened within the next 30 days,” he detailed, followed by that of Liboi-Harhar “in 60 days from today,” and then that of Kiunga-Ras Kamboni on 1 July.