Saturday Links: Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Somalia

During Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebrations yesterday, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta detonated a bomb in Abuja, killing at least eight people. Jeremy Weate gives a first-person account.

A raid by Cameroonian security forces has freed six hostages seized two weeks ago off Cameroon’s coast.

In Sudan, Al Jazeera English reports on the South’s preparations for the referendum. Meanwhile, the US prepares to participate in North-South negotiations over the Abyei border region, scheduled to take place tomorrow in Ethiopia.

The UN reports on Somalia’s refugees. The numbers are staggering:

An estimated 410,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Somalia’s violence-wracked capital, Mogadishu, have sought refuge in the Afgooye corridor, a 20-kilometre strip of land north-west of the city, up from 366,000 in September last year, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

The rise in the number of people fleeing Mogadishu is a reflection of the deteriorating security in the city since 2007, according to the latest assessment by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We were able to identify and map every individual building and temporary shelter. Overall there are 91,397 temporary shelters and 15,495 permanent ones in the area,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.

In addition to the 410,000 IDPs living in Afgooye, there are another 55,000 displaced people in Dayniile, north of Mogadishu, 15,200 in the Bal’cad corridor in the northern periphery of city, and 7,260 others in Kax Shiiqaal in the western outskirts, according to the UNHCR survey. The agency also estimated that Mogadishu itself has an estimated 372,000 IDPs.

Malaria funding is down.

And finally, a little bit off-topic but relevant to readers here who study terrorism in Africa and elsewhere, is this op-ed by RAND Corporation’s Brian Jenkins:

It is highly likely that the United States will be the target of further terrorist attacks, abroad and at home. It is not an underestimation of this threat or evidence of substandard zeal in addressing it to say that these attacks will not bring down the republic. We have come through wars, depressions, natural and man-made disasters, indeed higher levels of domestic terrorist violence than that we face today. Our foes cannot destroy this nation. That capability is ours alone.

Have a good weekend. I’ll try to pop back in tomorrow with a blog roundup.

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