The Trump administration plans to sell military planes to Nigeria despite concerns over rights abuses and a botched air strike that killed scores of civilians in January, US media say.
Up to a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft would be sold to Nigeria to help fight Islamist militant group Boko Haram, unnamed US officials said.
The deal, which is not yet official, will require approval from Congress.
Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency has displaced more than two million people.
The deal, said to be worth up to $600m (£490m), was agreed by the Obama administration, but was reportedly halted on the day it was due to be sent to Congress, after a catastrophic incident involving the Nigerian military.
About 90 people, mainly women and children, were killed in January when the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed a camp in the country’s north-east, which was hosting thousands of those who had fled Boko Haram.
An aid distribution was taking place at the time of the attack, according to medical charity MSF.
The Nigerian government indicated last month that the deal might be back on, following the first phone call between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump.
“President Trump assured the Nigerian president of US readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism,” Mr Buhari’s office said in a statement.
The US congressional source said human rights concerns remain, despite support for the sale from some lawmakers, Reuters news agency reports.
The US Air Force described the A-29 aircraft as a “game-changer” when they were deployed in Afghanistan in 2016.
They can be armed with two wing-mounted machine guns and can carry up to 1,550 kg of weapons.
But the aircraft that would be sold to Nigeria come with a “very basic armed configuration,” one of the unnamed US officials told Reuters.
Boko Haram at a glance:
Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
Launched military operations in 2009
Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
Regional force has retaken most territory in the last two years.
Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral
Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.
A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.
Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.
She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer.
Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.
The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.
This is the video! This woman’s family and husband needs to track this barbaric being down! @GhPoliceService after shooting, now this? When will we see action? When will u stop this bureaucratic gimmick and take action against irresponsible officers disgracing the uniform? When? pic.twitter.com/9Fmkys80BI
— Bridge-it O2 (@Bridget_Otoo) July 20, 2018
Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US
Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.
At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.
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