NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); 17 November;

A coalition of soldiers and civilian self-protection groups reportedly recaptured at least two towns in north eastern Nigeria which had earlier been seized by the Boko Haram Islamist extremist sect. The towns of Mubi and Chibok, located in the respective insurgent-embattled states of Adamawa and Borno, were allegedly liberated on 13 and 16 November, respectively. However, unconfirmed reports indicate that Boko Haram militants may have captured the Adamawa settlements of Hong and Gombi in recent days. Boko Haram’s capture of these locales has raised concerns that the sect may be planning a large-scale offensive on Adamawa’s state capital, Yola, which is located less than 100km from the aforementioned settlements. In other developments, at least 26 people were killed and scores more wounded in two separate bombings in northern Nigeria. In the first incident, a suspected suicide bomber attacked the Nagarshiku petrol station in the Hotoro area of Kano, Kano state, killing six people and wounding five others. A suicide bomber also similarly killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens at Kasuwan Jagol market in the town of Azare, Bauchi state. Although there were no claims of responsibility, authorities have attributed the attacks to Boko Haram. Due to various security concerns, all non-essential travel to Nigeria continues to be advised against. In light of the Boko Haram insurgency, clients are further advised against all travel to the northern and central Adamawa, Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Yobe states, which have all been significantly affected by insurgent-related violence. Persons travelling to the region despite this advisory should implement robust personal and residential security precautions at all times; these should include coordinating all movements within the presence of a security escort and ensuring that all accommodation is sought within secured compounds. – Information from Red24

Anti-homosexuality laws

News/Travel Alert – Please take note if you are considering travelling or relocating to these countries

Washington Post – 24 February 2014

In the latest setback for gay people across Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri ­Museveni signed a law Monday that imposes tough penalties for homosexual acts, a move that drew condemnation from around the world and that could jeopardize Uganda’s relationship with the Obama administration and Western donors.

Homosexuality was already ­illegal in Uganda, but the new legislation threatens to usher in an era of harsh treatment of offenders and could lead to widespread oppression of gay men and lesbians, human rights activists say. The legislation imposes a 14-year prison sentence for first-time offenders and life sentences for repeat offenders found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”

Over the past few years, the persecution of gays has escalated across Africa. Same-sex relationships are widely prohibited in the continent’s conservative societies, and politicians and fundamentalist preachers have increasingly targeted homosexuals. From Senegal to Zimbabwe, gays have been detained, attacked by police, tortured and even killed. They have been denied access to health care. In some nations, their graves have been desecrated. In others, gays have faced expulsion.

Uganda’s legislation comes six weeks after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a ban on homosexuality that imposes 14-year prison terms for anyone entering a same-sex union. It also sets 10-year prison sentences for those who run gay clubs or organizations. The legislation triggered an outbreak of anti-gay attacks in parts of Nigeria.

The Ugandan law is considered to be more repressive than Nigeria’s.