Editor's note

Boko Haram’s activities normally dominate conversations around insecurity and violence in northern Nigeria. But the terror group is not the only rogue element that people in this region must contend with: roaming bandits are a huge threat, too. Chukwuma Okoli explains why it is time to for the federal government to get a handle on the situation.

Also today:

Godfred Boafo

Commissioning Editor: Ghana

Top Story

Nigerians rescued from a Boko Haram camp in the north. The terrorist group is just one element of insecurity in the region. EPA

What can be done to fight rural banditry in northern Nigeria

Chukwuma Al Okoli, Federal University Lafia

Banditry in northern Nigeria is making an already precarious security situation in the region worse.

Business + Economy

What some entrepreneurial welfare beneficiaries do to improve their lives

Chibuikem Nnaeme, University of Johannesburg; Leila Patel, University of Johannesburg; Sophie Plagerson, University of Johannesburg

Government policies need to acknowledge individual agency as a mechanism for change, while reducing barriers to income-producing activities.

South Africa’s informal sector creates jobs, but shouldn’t be romanticised

Mike Rogan, Rhodes University; Caroline Skinner, University of Cape Town

The informal sector represents an opportunity to improve the lives of a large part of the workforce. Government should desist from harming livelihoods and broaden the scope of policy measures.

Health + Medicine

Why knowing what black mamba venom does to the human body is crucial

Ryan Blumenthal, University of Pretoria

Not much is known about the pathology of trauma of black mamba bites -- that is, what the black mamba's toxin does, physically, inside a victim's system.

Bad habits drive health risks among Kenya’s urban poor

Frederick Wekesah, African Population and Health Research Center

Societal pressures make it hard for people living in low-income areas to change their ways.

From our international editions

As the US rolls back its climate change policies, China is positioned to lead

Kelly Sims Gallagher, Tufts University; Fang Zhang, Tufts University

The United Nations is calling on world governments to step up action against climate change. Can China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, fulfill its pledges?

The Amazon’s tallest tree just got 50% taller – and scientists don’t know how

Tobias Jackson, University of Cambridge; Sami Rifai, University of Oxford

The monster trees are almost 90m tall, and may make the Amazon's northeast a much greater carbon sink than previously thought.

How we detected water on a potentially habitable exoplanet for the first time

Angelos Tsiaras, UCL

K2-18 b is now the exoplanet most likely to be habitable.

Bruce Springsteen: an Aristotle for our times

Ron Beadle, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Bruce Springsteen is The Boss, Aristotle is The Philosopher. And they have a great deal in common, if you know where to look.

En español

MRD: El cráneo que está cambiando lo que creíamos saber sobre la evolución

Hester Hanegraef, Natural History Museum

El homínido conocido como Lucy puede no ser el antepasado directo de los humanos.

Por qué los bosques no son el pulmón del planeta

Manuel Peinado Lorca, Universidad de Alcalá

Los incendios forestales de la Amazonía son lamentables por múltiples razones, pero no están destruyendo el suministro de oxígeno de la Tierra.


Would you like to republish any of these articles?

It’s free to republish, here are the guidelines. Contact us on africa-republish@theconversation.com in case you need assistance.