World Tour: Violence in Nigeria, and an attack targets Afghan elections

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Mindy Belz.

MINDY BELZ, REPORTER: Violence in Nigeria—We start today in Africa.

AUDIO: [Sound of Nigeria crowd and people talking]

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a weekend attack in northeast Nigeria that killed at least 65 people. It was the deadliest assault on civilians in the region this year.

The militants attacked villagers as they left a funeral, killing several dozen people. The rest of the victims reportedly died in a gunbattle with the militants after chasing them out of the village.

Last week marked 10 years since the start of Boko Haram’s insurgency in the country. An estimated 27,000 people have died. Two million others have fled their communities to escape the violence.

Meanwhile, clashes between government forces and minority Shiite Muslims are raising fears of a new source of instability. Violent protests in Abuja last week left eight people dead.

AUDIO: We came out to protest today but unfortunately, you witnessed  it, armed to the teeth, armed forces were there to prevent the protest. But it was enough that people witnessed that we came out, and so also we shall continue coming out until our aim is achieved.

Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria want the government to release their leader. He’s called for an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in Nigeria.

Following the protests, the government declared the group a terror organization. Its leaders say that won’t stop them from continuing to demand their rights.

AUDIO: You can never stop an idea, you can never stop a religion, you may persecute the Shiite but you can never kill the Shiite.

Half of Nigerians are Muslim, and a majority of them identify as Sunni. The Shiite minority maintains strong ties to Iran but denies it gets any funding from Tehran.

Ebola limits Hajj pilgrimages—Next we go to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Health officials there are urging other countries not to restrict travel to and from the country despite the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

John Nkengasong directs the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He says travel restrictions would hamper efforts to control the virus.

NKENGASONG: It’s a strong call to action that we cannot and should not attempt to impose anything or do anything that would affect the normal functioning both in the movement of people or trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some Muslims from Congo planned to travel to Saudi Arabia next month for the annual hajj pilgrimage. But Saudi officials say the risk of spreading the deadly disease is too high. Last week they announced they would stop issuing visas to anyone from Congo.

The World Health Organization has declared Congo’s Ebola outbreak a global health emergency. More than 1,700 people have died. It is the second worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Attack targets Afghan elections—Next we go to Afghanistan.

AUDIO: [Sound of Afghan election attack]

Crews in Kabul are working to clear massive piles of debris left by a suicide bombing that killed 20 people. Fifty others sustained injuries.

The attack happened on the first day of the country’s presidential election campaign. The bombing and gunbattle targeted the offices of President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate. He escaped unharmed.

No one has claimed responsibility. But both the Taliban and Islamic State militants have staged recent attacks in Kabul. The Taliban continues near daily attacks across the country despite ongoing peace talks with U.S. representatives.

Christian journalist freed in Cuba—And finally, we end today in Cuba.

Officials in the communist country freed a Christian journalist earlier this month after detaining him for seven days. Ricardo Fernandez Izaguirre was documenting religious freedom violations when police arrested him.

But they gave no explanation for his detention.

After his release, Izaguirre called the ordeal an opportunity to experience a reality he’d previously only heard about.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Mindy Belz.

(Getty/Photo by Kola Sulaimon/AFP) Nigerian soldiers parade the streets of Abuja on July 22.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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