As army fights Boko Haram, Maiduguri turns to ghost town


When Boko Haram launched a deadly attack on Maiduguri on Sunday, the usually bustling city of almost two million went eerily quiet… except for the sounds of artillery throughout the morning. Our Observers describe scenes from a city under attack. Read more…
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Foreign shopkeepers targeted in Soweto looting spree


Dozens of shops owned by foreigners were attacked and looted last week in Soweto, a neighbourhood in southwest Johannesburg. The violence broke out after a youngster was killed by a Somali shopkeeper during an attempted robbery. Read more...

The doctors working on Ukraine’s frontline without pay, supplies


Even the hospitals aren't safe in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, a shell smashed into a hospital in Donetsk, the latest salvo in a conflict that has gutted healthcare in rebel-held territory, where doctors work under constant threat of bombardment – and don’t even get paid. Read eyewitness testimony from on the ground.
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Cairo’s rubbish collectors under threat


The Egyptian authorities are planning to set up a new initiative to get poor residents of the capital to sort their own rubbish in exchange for credit used to buy food. But this programme could have disastrous consequences for Cairo’s rubbish collectors, the "zabalines ", an informal network who have kept the streets of the capital clean for the past 50 years. Read more...
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Vigilantes kill suspected Boko Haram militants in terrifying ‘jungle justice’


With the Nigerian government’s continuing failure to combat the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, many locals are forming their own vigilante groups. In one town in Adamawa state, these militias have taken justice into their own hands with a very bloody result. Read more... 

In pictures: DR Congo wracked by anti-govt protests


Thursday was a particularly tense day in the city of Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thousands of protesters angry with president Laurent-Désiré Kabila clashedwith security forces. See images…
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Video: Bahrain security forces shoot directly at protester’s face


A video has emerged showing Bahrain security forces appearing to shoot a protester in the face at close range, using birdshots. According to activists, the video was filmed Tuesday in the capital Manama's suburb of Bilad al-Qadeem, which has seen daily protests ever since opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman was arrested in late December. Read more...
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Algeria’s fracking deepens divide between population and govt

Since the beginning of the year, protests have been intensifying in In Salah, a town located in the Algerian Sahara where the government launched its first shale extraction – or “fracking” – operation at the end of December. The locals fear the environmental consequences of this controversial form of shale gas extraction and denounce the government’s failure to engage residents in any dialogue. Read more...

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Iran’s wetlands: a ‘real massacre’ for migratory birds


Every fall, millions of migratory birds from all over Europe head to Iran. One of their favoured destinations is the wetlands near Fereydunkenar, in the country’s north. Some of the birds stay there; for others, it’s just a pit stop on their way south. It is illegal to hunt them, but many locals do, and the latest reports are appalling: an estimated one million migratory birds were killed this past year in Fereydunkenar, which amounts to half of all those who sought refuge there. Read more…
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Cockroaches and blood on the floor: the worrying state of Algerian hospitals


When Kamel Mensari began going regularly to the Pierre and Marie Curie Centre (CPMC) in Algiers to visit a cousin with cancer, he was shocked by the hospital’s unsanitary conditions. Though it is one of the biggest cancer treatment centres in Algeria, Mensari reported that its walls are crumbling and that he saw blood on the floor of the toilets. Read more...
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