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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

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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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)