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Nigerian president's convoy stoned

Youths angry at the Nigerian government's failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones at President Goodluck Jonathan's convoy in the eastern town of Jalingo, breaking windscreens and windows on several vehicles.

Police used tear gas and whips to disperse the mob.

From Jalingo, Mr Jonathan flew to Yola, capital of Adamawa state, where officials had declared the route of his motorcade a no-go area.

The presidential cavalcade already had been stoned in northern Katsina city and north-east Bauchi last week. Youths in Bauchi flung shoes and plastic bottles at Mr Jonathan's podium at a rally.

In Jalingo, soldiers guarded billboards and posters of Mr Jonathan, who is running for re-election on February 14. Protesters shouted that the troops should instead be fighting the Boko Haram insurgents blamed for the deaths of some 10,000 people in the past year.

"Why are they using soldiers and other security operatives? They should be deployed to Sambisa and fight with Boko Haram, not with innocent civilians," one youth yelled as he tore down a poster of a smiling Mr Jonathan.

Sambisa Forest is where the insurgents have camps and where they are believed to be holding some of the 276 schoolgirls abducted from a boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in April - a mass kidnapping that brought international outrage.

Dozens of the girls escaped on their own but 219 remain missing, a reminder of the failures of Nigeria's government and military.

Yola and Jalingo are housing tens of thousands of people driven from their homes in the five-year-old insurgency.

It is unclear if the more than one million people displaced by the insurgency will be able to vote. Hundreds of thousands have taken refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. And it is not known how many tens of thousands remain in more than 100 villages and towns in the north east held by the insurgents.

Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram group has been attacking Cameroonian villages and troops, broadening the conflict and raising fears among Nigeria's neighbours.

A summit of the African Union in Ethiopia this week will address the need for a multinational force to fight the Nigerian extremists.


From Belfast Telegraph