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Nigeria’s rescheduled March 28 presidential elections should be able to take place despite disruption threats made Tuesday by Boko Haram. But the country’s security services, such as the military, the Service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser, will have to “guarantee the sanctity of the rescheduled polls in view of the security challenges facing the country,” the Nigerian daily Vanguard reports on its front page Thursday.

The newspaper quotes the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, who addressed the Senate Wednesday on the country’s preparedness for the elections: “I kept saying consistently that INEC is not a security organization. We are an election management body. So, we rely a lot on security to be able to ensure that things are done well and that there is no disruption of the electoral process.”

According to Jega, the postponement of the elections offered the commission precious additional preparation and the hope for “significant improvement in the security situation” in the next six weeks.

In a video released Tuesday by Boko Haram, the terrorist group’s leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to disrupt Nigeria’s March 28 presidential election, which had already been postponed for security reasons from its original Feb. 8 date. “We say that these elections that you are planning to do will not happen in peace,” he said.

The video appeared as two suicide bombings killed at least 38 people and injured 20 others in northeastern Nigeria Tuesday.

But Vanguardalso reported Thursday that the Islamist group suffered heavy casualties this week, as Chadian troops launched a series of assaults in northeastern Nigeria. “The offensive deep inside Nigerian territory was a first and suggested a strategy to tackle other rebel-controlled areas in northeastern Borno state, which is the group’s stronghold,” the Nigerian daily wrote.

The INEC is set to hold additional meetings on Feb. 24 and March 4 to finalize arrangements for the March 28 vote, which would be followed by the second round of voting on April 11.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: Vanguard is a leading daily newspapers in Nigeria independent of political control. It was founded in 1983.

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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