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13:22, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 16:42, 19 March 2017 Sunday

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Four dead in NE Nigeria suicide bombing: police
Four dead in NE Nigeria suicide bombing: police

Borno state police spokesman Victor Isuku said the incident occurred when three bombers -- a man and two women -- tried to enter Umarari village just outside Maiduguri.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Four people were killed on Saturday evening when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri city in northeastern Nigeria, police said.

"They detonated the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) strapped to their bodies while running to different directions," Isuku said.

Among the dead was a local vigilante and a woman and her two children, he said. Another eight people were wounded.

Ibrahim Abdulkadir, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the vigilante had tried to prevent the bombers from entering the village.

"The vigilante was trying to stop them and that was when he was engulfed by the bomb and the woman was nearby," Abdulkadir explained.

The three bombers also died in the blasts, he said.

The Borno state capital of Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group that has killed over 20,000 people and forced 2.6 million from their homes since taking up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009.

The violence has triggered a dire humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region, which has also been hit by the conflict.

Nigerian troops, with the help of regional forces from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as well as Benin, have since early 2015 managed to claw back most of the territory lost to Boko Haram in 2014.

But despite claims from the Nigerian military that the group is on the verge of defeat, suicide bomb attacks remain a threat to civilians, particularly in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram's elusive leader Abubakar Shekau made his first appearance in months last week, claiming responsibility for a spate of suicide bombings.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.