Security Consultant Insists Chibok Girls’ Release Was An ‘Exchange’ Deal

sunday-adobaSecurity consultant, Sunday Adoba, has expressed belief that the Nigerian government made an exchange deal with members of the Boko Haram group for the release of the 21 Chibok girls.

The Federal government has insisted that there was no exchange agreement reached prior to the girls’ release but the statement has been greeted with varying opinions from Nigerians.

Mr Adoba holds the belief that the government “works in a mysterious way” and explained why he had this belief.

He said that it was a surprise to him that “there were other rescue operations ongoing somewhere else while the Chibok girls were released at another angle, within that same period”.

“I don’t think the entire actors within the operational area were carried along,” he said, and this, to him, shows that there was a special arrangement involved.

He insisted that the known face of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau had gone broke and would not miss the chance of using the Chibok girls’ release to raise funds.

‘Money Has Changed Hands’

Mr Adoba opined that since there has been no record of prisoners released, then the exchange would have involved cash.

He further questioned: “Can any right thinking man sit down and say the Chibok girls were released by Shekau of all people, without a price?”

“There was a conflict between Shekau and Mahmoud Mamman, which was as a result of money.

“Shekau had given him money to go and procure equipment and they took off. So definitely he is in need of hard currency.

“Money has definitely changed hands because nobody was returned to the Boko Haram group,” he insisted.

‘Hope For Others’

He, however, stated that the most important thing was the successful release of the girls, which he believes the government has made significant progress with.

“For me the girls are out, no matter what procedure was carried out to get them, all I am interested in is that we have saved lives.

“For the girls to come out of the bondage, it means at least there is hope for others. And I believe with the efforts of the government, more of them will be rescued,” he stated.

On April 14, 2014, over 270 school girls were abducted from their hostel, in Chibok town, Maiduguri borno state.

While some of them have managed to escape, and the additional 21 were recently released on October 14, 2016, a larger number still remain in the terrorists’ captivity.

The insurgence brought Boko Haram into international spotlight, with many using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to raise awareness for the campaign to find the abductees.

Convener of the movement, Oby Ezekwesili, however praised the military for its efforts so far, while also promising to join efforts with government to help in the quick recuperation and rehabilitation of the girls.

Army Vows Boko Haram Will Be Punished For Killing Chibok Girls

Army, Boko Haram, Chibok girlsThe Nigerian Army says the outlawed Boko Haram group will be punished for killing 40 of the Chibok girls in their custody.

The Theatre Commander of the counter-insurgency war, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, who made the vow, told a news conference that the days of the Boko Haram insurgents were numbered.

General Irabor was reacting to claims by a faction of the terrorist group in a recent video that 40 out of the over 200 girls they seized from a school in Chibok community of Borno State had died from airstrikes in the Lafiya Dole Operations.

“Airstrikes are not AK47 rifles. It’s only a matter of common sense that those dead bodies shown on the ground there do not even give indication as to the claim which Boko Haram gave,” he said.

In continuance of clearance operations in liberated towns around Borno State in northeast Nigeria, the Theatre Commander said that the command had taken delivery of three mine sweepers.

He said the ammunition was part of the equipment the command had received lately and hinted that more sophisticated machines were still being expected.

General Irabor explained that they would detect remnants of improvised explosive devices left in farmlands and towns by the fleeing insurgents.

The Commander also asked the remaining Boko Haram members to surrender, as the army would not relent in its operations to totally rid Nigeria of criminals.

“Their future is going to be very disastrous if they fail to surrender and lay down their arms.

“I wish to encourage them to take advantage of this window of opportunity to surrender, as failure to do so will be hugely regretted,” General Irabor stated.

Nigerian Army Clears Terrorist Camps In Chuogori, Shantumari

ArmyFifty-nine civilians held captive by the Boko Haram group in Borno State, have been rescued by troops of 21 brigade and elements of Nigerian Army Engineers. 

The troops also cleared the terrorist camp at Chuogori and Shantumari, as part of efforts to rid Nigeria of insurgents in the north-east.

According a spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sanni Usman, during the offensive operations, the fleeing terrorists left underground silos.

He also added that “troops of 151 Task Force battalion, conducted operations on Kashingeri, Wale and Kushingari, Boko Haram terrorist camps, killing a number of the terrorists and recovering vehicles”.

Earlier, the Nigerian troops had successfully cleared all terrorists’ camps in Alagarno, Borno State.

Peace Game Summit Focuses On Terrorism Impact On Nigeria’s Economy

Peace_Game_SummitExperts at the Peace Game Summit held in the US have discussed the terrorism in Nigeria and the economic impact and consequences of the challenge to neighbouring countries and the world as a whole.

Although citizens of Nigeria are directly at the receiving end of the on-going acts of terror in the north-east, the discussion at the summit showed that it had become an issue of concern to the world.

At the meeting, experts stressed the need for more efforts to be put in the fight against the terrorist group, Boko Haram that had carried out series of attacks on villages, towns, mosques, churches, schools and public places.

A visiting scholar at the summit, Mohammed Barkindo, demanded for more support from the American government.

He stressed the need for more assistant for the immediate support for the communities in the north-east where many had been displaced.

“We expected them to also devote equal or more time immediate measures that need to be taken particularly on the security side, strengthening our military and security in order to tackle the insurgents,” he said.

While these demands are made, the Nigerian government had few weeks ago ended a military training agreement with the US, a decision suspected to have  been triggered by the refusal of the American government to sell military arms to the Nigerian government.

 

 

Network Africa: S.Sudan, CAR Search For Funds As Nigeria Searches For Missing Girls

Network AfricaNetwork Africa looks at how far things have gone concerning bringing back the missing schoolgirls in Nigeria, amidst claims by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, that the military had located the girls.

Demonstrators in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, however, have vowed to carry on with their protests.

South Sudan is relying heavily on the international community as more funds are also needed to save the people of Central African Republic.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says more assistance is needed in an overcrowded and flooded South Sudanese Refugee Camp where almost 100,000 people are sheltered in tents.

Illegal immigration is also on the rise, as migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa penetrate the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures at all cost.

We bring you interviews and reports.

 

Indian Consulate In Herat, Afghanistan Attacked

Afghanistan_2415914bThe Afghan city of Herat has witnessed another round of violence after heavily-armed gunmen launched a pre-dawn attack on the Indian Consulate.

Police say the attackers stormed nearby houses to fire on the compound with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The gunmen were killed in a firefight with security forces that lasted several hours on Friday in Afghanistan’s third-largest city.

The attackers began their assault on the Indian consulate in Herat hours before dawn, firing guns and rocket propelled grenades from their vantage point in a neighbouring building.

Indian staff at the mission escaped soon after the shooting began at around 3 a.m. Police say Afghan security forces had killed the attackers, who were holed up in buildings overlooking the consulate.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack and no one claimed responsibility, though suspicion would inevitably fall on the Taliban and other loosely associated groups.

The attack has underscored a worrying security picture for Afghanistan as it prepares to take over from foreign combat troops after more than 12 years of war against a Taliban insurgency, and hold a presidential election run-off in June.

The small consulate in Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities, is guarded by a team of commandos from the indo-Tibetan border police, with Afghan security forces forming an outer ring.

The Herat mission was considered one of India’s safest in Afghanistan compared with Jalalabad in the East, which was attacked in 2013, and Kandahar in the South.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in attacks in recent weeks as foreign troops begin to withdraw from the country.

Thailand’s Coup Leaders Detain Former PM Yingluck

yingluck-shinawatraAs the army seeks to tighten its grip on power, Thailand’s ex-Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her family have been detained.

Ms Yingluck and scores of politicians from the deposed government had been told to report to a Bangkok army base.

She was kept for several hours and then driven to an undisclosed location.

Army Chief General, Prayuth Chanocha also met key officials, telling them reform must come before any elections.

Senior government officials and the caretaker prime minister arrived at an army facility in Bangkok on Friday; after Thailand’s military leaders summoned them to a meeting.

Military leaders also summoned ousted Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to the meeting; a day after Army Chief, Prayuth Chanocha seized power in a bloodless coup and said he wanted to restore order following months of turmoil.

Prayuth launched his coup after the various factions refused to give ground in a struggle for power between the royalist establishment and a populist government that had raised fears of serious violence and damaged Thailand’s economy.

Soldiers detained politicians from both sides when Prayuth announced the military takeover, which drew swift international condemnation, after talks he was presiding over broke down.

The U.S. Department of State Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, in his condemnation said: “At this point what we are doing is we are reviewing our military and other assistance to the government of Thailand. We’ve taken preliminary steps to suspend military engagement and assistance while we consider the facts on the ground.

“This is a standard part of the process that would take place. So right now there is a comprehensive review of that going on. The State Department and USAID provide approximately 10 million dollars annually in bilateral assistance to Thailand only a portion of which is assistance to the Thai government.”

The military censored the media, dispersed rival protesters in Bangkok and imposed a nationwide 10P.M. to 5A.M. curfew.

ICC Sentences Congo Warlord Germain Katanga

Germain KatangaIt’s judgment day for ex-Congolese militia leader, Germain Katanga, as the International Criminal Court has sentenced him to 12 years in prison for aiding and abetting war crimes.

Katanga who was found guilty in March is only the second person to be convicted by the Netherlands-based court.

He was behind the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fighting escalated into an inter-ethnic conflict that is estimated to have killed 50,000 people.

The Congolese warlord was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of being an accessory to war crimes including murder and pillage during an attack on a village more than a decade ago. But he was also cleared of a number of other charges.

The trial has been seen as a test of the ability of prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which had handed down only one conviction and one acquittal in 12 years, to bring solid cases.

Judges found that Katanga had made a significant contribution to a February 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro, in a diamond-rich region of north-east Congo, in particular by procuring guns to speed the massacre of some 200 ethnic Hema civilians.

Bogoro is a village in Ituri province which saw violent conflict between various ethnic groups between 1999 and 2003.

Much of the conflict centered on the province’s municipal capital, Bunia and original ICC documents said Katanga’s Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI) was involved in fighting for control of the city in the spring of 2003.

Events in Bunia did not play a significant role in the ICC case.

Presiding judge, Bruno Cotte, said that during the trial that the timing of the attack on Bogoro and the methods used – encircling the village while its inhabitants were still asleep, the use of machetes to attack them, and shooting indiscriminately – led the chamber to find that combatants intended to target the civilian population.

The judge said attackers had fired indiscriminately as villagers sought shelter in the bush, adding that without a supply of weapons commanders would not have been able to carry out the attack with such efficiency.

The conviction, at the end of a 6-year trial, was controversial.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Christine Van Den Wyngaert, said that the decision to convict Katanga as an accessory, when he had originally been charged with playing an essential role in the attack, meant his trial was unfair.

Network Africa: Quest For Justice In C.A.R, S. Africa, As Nigerians Cry ‘Bring Back Our Girls

Chibok Girls NAThis edition of Network Africa focuses on ‘Bring Back Our Girls’, getting justice for Nigerians, conflict resolution and more brow raising details concerning the trial of the decade.

While protests continue both in Nigeria and many parts of the world, the dastardly Boko Haram group which is responsible for the abduction conveniently made a video which was released by the French news agency, the AFP, on Monday may 12.

The video supposedly showed images of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by them.

The terror group claims many of the girls have been converted from Christianity to Islam while being held and all those in the footage could be seen wearing headscarves. The group’s leader said that it will release them in exchange for militant prisoners being freed.

Another issue generating a buzz is the death of Oluwatoba Falode; his grieving mother suspects foul play in the murder of her son, who was a 19 year old student in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Her speculation contradicts the report of the Dubai Police, which recorded that the boy fell off the balcony of his 17th floor apartment in Manchester Towers, Dubai Marina.

Outside of Nigerian shores, the U.S President, Barack Obama, has imposed sanctions on Central African Republic’s former president, François Bozizé, and four other men linked to violence and human rights abuses in the country.

The country has been plagued by sectarian violence for a year after Seleka rebels, who are mostly Muslim, seized power, and “anti-Balaka” militias, mainly Christian, fought back.

Thousands have been killed and about a million people displaced. The Interim President, Catherine Samba Panza is, however, determined to bring a change to the conflict ridden country.

The trial of the decade continues, a judge in the trial of South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius has ordered that he should undergo a mental evaluation.

She took that step based on the fact that psychiatric evidence before the court could not replace “a proper enquiry” into his mental health. Network Africa speaks to a clinical psychologist to find out his view on the matter.

Band members of Basi Na Mizik rehearsed for an upcoming festival, an event that many hope will become an important fixture on the Congolese music calendar. Founders of Basi Na Mizik – which means “women in music” in the local Lingala language – hope to create a movement that will give Congolese female artistes more prominence in the industry.

Military Discovers Hidden Weapons Of Terrorists In Church

Discovered-Boko-haram-ARMSThe arrest of a suspected terrorist has led to the discovery of a large cache of arms and ammunition hidden in the premises of a burnt church in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno State.

The suspect claims to be a Cameroonian and an arms courier for the group.

A statement by the spokesman for the Military, Major General Chris Olukolade, said that the weapons, which were recovered by troops include, anti-aircraft guns, rocket propelled guns as well as the general purpose and other brands of machine guns. They were found buried in the premises of one of the churches earlier burnt by terrorists.

“Also recovered from the location were thousands of various calibres of rounds of ammunition and links.The middle aged man who led troops on the cordon and search operation was one of the terrorists captured in recent raids,” the statement read.

Pending Attack

The suspect also disclosed that the weapons were stockpiled to be used in a pending attack on some communities around the Nigeria-Cameroon border.

The weapons have all been evacuated while guard locations and patrols are being maintained in the general area and the surrounding localities.

Meanwhile, troops have continued with various operations assigned to the formations involved in the counter terrorist campaign.

They carried out thorough search for terrorists in caves of a particular mountain where they believed some terrorists had fled to in the wake of the ongoing offensive on various terrorist’s enclaves.

Arms are also the object of the cordon and search.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Kenneth Minima, has been checking on deployment and troops disposition in various locations of the counter terrorist operations in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.  

The army chief in company of his Airforce counterpart, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, also visited troops wounded in the course of the operation so far who are at the Military Hospital in Maiduguri.  

The commander of the Hospital, Brig General Okeke, assured the Chiefs that most of the wounded soldiers were in stable condition and that some, who had recovered very well, had expressed their desire to re-join their units and colleagues in the operation. Lt Gen Minima, however, directed that the hospital should not hesitate to let him know the requirement for any case requiring referral or further treatment anywhere. 

The Service Chiefs are also undertaking a comprehensive air surveillance of the entire mission area, in addition to the direct inspection of some key locations, where operations are being conducted.

They told reporters in Maiduguri  that they were satisfied  with the state and performance of the deployment so far, noting that substantial expectations of the counter-terrorist campaign was being achieved.

Last week, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, had asked the military to rid the forest of terrorists and restore peace to the north east, where the Boko Haram sect had carried out several attacks on villages in Nigeria’s north east.