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Nigerians Freed From Boko Haram Terrorist Group in Borno State live in Fear and Deprivation

Boko Haram is blamed for about 20,000 deaths since beginning its insurgency in northern Nigeria in 2009

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Security officers are called to control some of the internally displaced people at the Bakkasi camp. The people were upset at camp authorities for what they say is poor distribution of food rations, in Borno, Nigeria, on August 29, 2016. VOA

Boko Haram militants have largely been routed by the Nigerian army, but they have not disappeared and still pose a threat in the northern part of Borno State.

Boko Haram controlled some of northeast Nigeria at the start of last year, but it has been pushed out of most of that territory by the Nigerian army, aided by troops from neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad, Reuters reported in September.

Geneva-based officials representing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) say security in northern Nigeria remains fragile and that people who have suffered for years at the hands of Boko Haram are living in fear of renewed attacks from the militant group.

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Over the past two weeks, U.N. aid workers have been interviewing community leaders and individuals in a number of newly accessible areas of Borno State to learn their needs and concerns.

Borno State and Sambisa Forest. VOA
Borno State and Sambisa Forest. VOA

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says they have assessed the situation in towns like Monguno, Bama, Damboa and Shani.

“They have found similar patterns in these places of a high level of vulnerability among people displaced by Boko Haram,” he said, “with nearly every family affected by very worrying protection issues and that some of these people live in fear that the insurgency group could attack them again.”

Spindler says the displaced people are living in desperate conditions.

For example, he said more than 60,000 people who fled to Monguno largely from the Marte local government area, are living in dilapidated school buildings and makeshift shelters in nine sites.

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They are suffering food shortages, he said, yet they continue to arrive in Monguno to escape the Nigerian military’s ongoing operations to dislodge Boko Haram from the northern part of Borno State.

Spindler says women and children are particularly vulnerable. Many families are headed by women, he said, because their husbands were killed by Boko Haram, were forced to join the insurgents or disappeared.

He tells VOA these people have lived under the brutal rule of Boko Haram for a long time and are having difficulty recovering from the experience.

“They are traumatised,” he said. “They are in need of help. Some of the problems that we see are related to the fact that they do not have the necessary aid or livelihoods. So, that is why we see some of these negative coping mechanisms like survival sex and other practices.”

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Spindler says women are forced to send their children, some as young as 5, to sell small items or beg in the street so they can buy food and medicine. Others, he says, send children to collect firewood to sell. This puts the girls at risk of sexual attack.

Few of the refugees are likely to return to their home villages soon because of continuing insecurity and the presence of landmines in their villages and fields, Spindler said.

Boko Haram is blamed for about 20,000 deaths since beginning its insurgency in northern Nigeria in 2009. The Islamist extremist group says it wants to create a strict Islamic state in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. (VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?