Aid Convoy Reaches Central Africa Capital After 50-Day Blockade

 

An aid convoy on Monday reached Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, after a 50-day blockade by rebels who had cut off the city’s lifeline, the UN said.

“Fourteen tracks, nine of them from the UN’s World Food Programme” arrived, said Lieutenant Colonel Abdulaziz Fall, spokesman for the MINUSCA peacekeeping mission.

Armed groups launched an offensive on the capital on December 19, cutting off a key highway that left more than 1,500 trucks stranded on the border with neighbouring Cameroon.

One of the world’s poorest countries, the CAR has been locked in violence since 2013, when its then-president, Francois Bozize, was overthrown.

The resulting war divided the country largely along religious and ethnic lines, causing thousands of deaths and prompting around a quarter of the population to flee their homes.

Militia groups that emerged during the conflict today control around two-thirds of the country and President Faustin Archange Touadera depends heavily on UN forces, as well as military personnel sent by Russia and Rwanda.

Anti-Touadera groups came together in an alliance in the run-up to presidential and legislative elections on December 27.

Their advance on Bangui was halted but they retained a chokehold on the key highway to Bangui, preventing trucks from bringing food and other supplies.

The road is essential for nearly all of CAR’s imports, and the price of some basic commodities rose by at least 50 percent in some places.

“The first trucks from Cameroon arrived in Bangui under MINUSCA escort,” said Fall, who speaks for MINUSCA’s military operations.

In addition to the nine food trucks, “the others are trucks containing equipment for MINUSCA,” he said.

Touadera last month was proclaimed victor after gaining 53.16 percent of the vote in the first round, an overall majority that obviated the need for a runoff.

But the country’s political opposition dismissed his win as a sham — turnout was just 35.25 percent of the electorate.

Hundreds of thousands of voters were unable to cast their ballot, especially in areas controlled by militia groups.

Equatorial Guinea Seeks To End Hire Of War Mercenaries In Central Africa

US Ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, chairs a UN Security Council meeting on “Non-proliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” December 11, 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York. Eskinder DEBEBE / UNITED NATIONS / AFP

 

Equatorial Guinea this week submitted a draft resolution to its fellow UN Security Council members on reinforcing efforts to combat mercenaries fighting in central Africa.

The draft, obtained Tuesday by AFP, does not name any specific countries, but instead calls on all member states to stamp out the practice of hiring foreign fighters.

It asks them to “introduce legislative measures to ensure that their nationals do not participate in the recruitment, gathering, financing, training, protection or transit of foreign mercenaries or combatants.”

It also asks that they refrain from the “planning of activities to destabilize the situation in a state or undermine or totally or partially compromise the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent states.”

Several UN missions were surprised at the filing of the draft, as Equatorial Guinea’s two-year term on the Security Council as a non-permanent member ends on December 31.

One diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity that a vote on the measure was not a sure thing.

The draft is focused on central Africa — a region that includes Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Chad and other countries.

Russian mercenaries have been active in the area in the past, and Moscow has recently been accused of involving itself in the deployment of armed fighters in Libya and Mali.

Russia denies the claims.

The draft resolution says that the United Nations is “alarmed by the danger that mercenary activities represent for international peace and security… especially for central African states.”

It “urges all central African states to take the necessary measures, cooperate with each other and exercise maximum vigilance against the threat posed by mercenaries.”

 

AFP

Top Key Facts On How Education Is Under Attack In West And Central Africa

 

About thirty years ago,  governments around the world adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, however, the right to an education is being violated in communities hit by conflict in West and Central Africa.

According to a report by UNICEF on the region in focus, right now, nearly two million children are being robbed of education in the region due to violence and insecurity in and around their schools.

The report titled ‘Education Under Threat In Central and West Africa’, reveals that in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, a surge in threats and attacks against students, teachers and schools – on education itself – is casting a foreboding shadow upon children, their families, their communities and society at large.

Below are more key facts as stated in the report by UNICEF.

1. The number of schools forced to close due to rising insecurity in conflict-affected areas of West and Central Africa tripled between the end of 2017 and June 2019.
As of June 2019, 9,272 schools were closed in the region, affecting more than 1.91 million children and nearly 44,000 teachers.

2. The increasing number of children forced out of school due to violence in West and Central Africa contributes to a total of 40.6 million primary and lower secondary school-aged children who are out of school in the region. About one in four children globally who need humanitarian support – including education and other services critical to learning – live in just 10 countries in West and Central Africa.

3. Nearly half of the schools closed across the region due to attacks, threats of attack and increasing violence are located in the northwest and southwest Cameroon; 4,437 schools there closed as of June 2019, pushing more than 609,000 children out of school.

4. More than 2,000 schools are closed in Burkina Faso, along with more than 900 in Mali, due to growing violence across both countries.

5. The number of schools closed due to violence in the four countries affected by crisis in the Lake Chad Basin – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – stayed at roughly the same high level, varying only from 981 to 1,054, between the end of 2017 and June 2019.

6. Between April 2017 and June 2019, the countries of the central Sahel – Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger – witnessed a six-fold increase in school closures due to violence, from 512 to 3,005.

Note: References to school closures include schools closed or non-operational.
Sources of data: Ministries of Education, humanitarian partners and UNICEF.

READ ALSO: Education, The Way To Overcome Poverty – Buhari

Cameroon. Fanta, 14, attends school near the refugee settlement where she landed after the Boko Haram armed group attacked her family, killing her father and brother, and kidnapping her sister. Kidnapped girls are often forced into child marriage – not what Fanta wants for her future. She hopes to study and become a dressmaker. Credit: UNICEF
Nigeria: On the outskirts of Banki, a town beset by violence and conflict, a row of old desks lies across the road. Beyond the desks, homes and shops are deserted because of the dangers nearby. © UNICEF/UN0322365/KOKIC
Northeast Nigeria. Mohammed,12, attends a school in Banki that was reopened after being attacked. With support from UNICEF, the school now includes a high-perimeter wall, gates, and teachers trained to provide psychosocial support to children affected by conflict.

UNICEF’S A Call To Action

More than ever, governments today must reaffirm their commitment to protecting education from attack and providing the resources needed to help their youngest citizens to keep learning.

Now is the time for renewed efforts to make sure the potential of a generation of young people is not wasted.

In a bid to stop attacks and threats against schools, students, teachers, and other school personnel in West and Central Africa – and to support quality learning for every child in the region, governments, armed forces, and other parties to conflict and the international community must take concerted action.

Some of such actions include:

Central Africa Holds Three Days’ Mourning Over Massacre

central african republic, violence

The leader of the Central African Republic proclaimed three days of mourning starting Thursday for more than 50 people killed this week in a massacre attributed to an armed group called 3R.

The public display of sorrow was to honour the victims of the killings that took place Tuesday in villages near the northwestern town of Paoua, close to the border with Chad, as well as the murder of a 77-year-old French-Spanish nun in the southwest of the country whose beheaded body was found Monday, according to the decree by President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

The slaughter near Paoua was the biggest single loss of life since the government and 14 militias signed a deal in February aimed at restoring peace to one of Africa’s most troubled countries.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, revised up its death toll from the northwest massacre to more than 50, from a previous count of more than 30.

According to one UN source, the 3R group — which gets its initials from “Return, Reclamation and Reconciliation” and claims to represent the Fulani, one of the country’s many ethnic groups — hosted a meeting with the villagers and then gunned them down indiscriminately.

MINUSCA and the country’s authorities on Wednesday gave the 3R group until the end of the week to hand over the suspected perpetrators of the massacre.

AFP

12 Killed In Clashes In Central Africa Capital

 

Twelve people were killed in clashes in a flashpoint Muslim-majority district in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital, after a grenade went off, the Red Cross said Thursday.

The UN peacekeeping mission in CAR said it had launched an investigation into the violence, which erupted on Wednesday.

The Red Cross’s account of the event was confirmed by Aouad Al Karim, imam of the Ali Babolo mosque in a business quarter of the volatile district.

Several wounded people were being treated at a Red Cross clinic.

The district, PK5, saw clashes between local militia and UN peacekeepers on April 10 that left 27 dead, including a UN soldier, and more than a hundred injured, according to hospital workers.

On May 1, religious-tinged violence spread when armed men stormed a Christian church in the middle of a service, killing worshippers and a priest.

In response, a mob burned a mosque and lynched two people believed to be Muslim.

Twenty-four people died and around 170 were injured.

The CAR is one of the world’s poorest and most volatile countries.

It plunged into bloodshed in 2013 after the country’s longtime leader Francois Bozize was ousted by a predominantly Muslim rebel alliance called the Seleka.

Nominally Christian militias called the anti-Balaka emerged in response, accelerating a cycle of sectarian violence.

The former colonial power France intervened militarily from 2013 to 2016 to expel the Seleka, winding down the operation after Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected president.

Touadera governs today thanks to the support of a large UN peacekeeping operation, and can only claim to control a fraction of the country.

The rest is controlled by former rebels and vigilante groups, many of them claiming to act in the name of the Muslim or Christian communities.

One Peacekeeper Killed, 11 Wounded In Central Africa Attack

central african republic, violence

 

A peacekeeper was killed and 11 others were wounded when a United Nations’ base came under attack on Tuesday in the Central African Republic, the UN spokesman said.

Anti-balaka fighters attacked the temporary base in Tagbara, near the southern city of Bambari, triggering “several hours of exchange of fire,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

AFP

House To Investigate Tambuwal’s Harassment By Security Operatives

house_of_repsThe House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Defence, Army, Police, Public Safety and Interior to investigate and report back within one week, the harassment of the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal by security operatives on Monday in Kaduna state.

The resolution of the House was reached after a two hour closed door session by members as requested by the speaker after the adoption of a prayer brought on the floor by a lawmaker, Ogbuehi Ozomgbachi.

Tambuwal said while no lawmaker is above the law, he as the speaker of the National Assembly expects to enjoy some level of privilege as provided by law.

The speaker maintained that no lawmaker is above the law but said it is important to protect the institution of the legislature and not the individuals that are constituted in the Nigerian Legislature.

Soldiers, had  on Monday, at the Hotel 17, Kaduna, venue of International Conference  on Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralism in West and Central Africa, subjected the Speaker and his official car to a search, forcing the security details of the number four citizen to protest.

Security Summit Agrees On Action Plan To Rescue Chibok Girls, End Boko Haram

Presidents:  Hollande, Jonathan
Presidents: Hollande, Jonathan

Governments of the countries present at the security summit on Nigeria and Boko Haram, in France, have agreed on an action plan to share intelligence and surveillance “in order to find those young girls,” according to French President François Hollande, host of the summit.

The summit has led partnering countries “to take stronger measures to eradicate” the terrorist group accused of abducting nearly 300 girls in Nigeria.

Cameroon President, Paul Biya said Saturday at the summit, “We’re here to declare war on Boko Haram.”

President Goodluck Jonathan had left the country to France on Friday to discuss fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in West and Central Africa.

This trip is part of President Jonathan’s attempts at securing assistance from the international community to rescue the girls and end the Boko Haram insurgency, with United States, UK, France, China  and Israel already offering a helping hand.

Speaking at the Summit, President Hollande had confirmed that the sect is a threat to West and Central Africa and alleged that the group has links to other militants including al-Qaeda’s North African arm.

A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati yesterday said “Britain, United States of America and the European Union will be represented at the talks, which will give special attention to the coordination and intensification of efforts to curtail the destabilizing activities of Boko Haram and neighbouring countries in the wake of the recent abduction of college girls from Chibok, Borno state.”

President Jonathan while giving a brief background of the insurgents at the Summit, noted that what “started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria has now evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against our civilization, our way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in our region. This is not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone; it is a threat to each and every one of us in this room”.

“This unconventional war has so far claimed over 12,000 lives, with more than 8, 000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians” and was quick to add that “we have developed intelligence, which indicates clearly that global terrorist networks are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram, which has now turned into an integral part of the al-Qaeda network as the West African Branch”.

He noted that “the group runs an international network of training and incubation centres in such places as Gao and Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad, the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some cells in the Central African Republic”.

President Jonathan also told the gathering that he “had (last year) ordered the release from detention of women and under-aged persons who had been involved with terrorists and also, persons against whom prima facie cases could not be established”

“In addition to military operation, our administration has adopted what we have termed “a soft approach” to combatting the insurgency, adding that this includes “short, medium and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on the people and the entire country,” he said.

President Jonathan further berated the deluge of misinformation about the whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances of their disappearance.

He also said that the federal government has deployed about 20,000 troops to the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and strengthened local intelligence resources.

“We shall spare no effort, we shall explore every avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure the return of the girls to their families and that the terrorists are defeated” he added.

While all the participants at the Paris Summit have reaffirmed their commitment to human rights & protection of girls who are victims of violence, several decisions that will strengthen regional co-operation have also been agreed upon.

 

1. It gives me great pleasure to attend this Special Summit to deliberate on the current security situation in Nigeria.

2. Let me start by first expressing my deep thanks and appreciation to the President of the French Republic, His Excellency, Mr Francois Hollande, for convening this Summit. This is the second time within a year that we have come to Paris to discuss what are essentially African security issues. This present Summit further underscores President Hollande’s commitment to Africa’s stability, peace and development.

3. I also wish to thank my colleagues and brothers from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, namely, His Excellency President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, His Excellency President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, for their solidarity and friendly disposition in attending this Summit at a very short notice. Let me also thank the European Union, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, and the Rt. Hon. William Hague, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom for honouring this invitation. You have borne with my country, the huge burden of our counter-insurgency operations, sometimes with collateral damage. I thank you for your support and cooperation.

4. Without doubt, your concern and empathy with the government and people of Nigeria is a clear demonstration of true solidarity and brotherhood in ensuring that the current security challenges facing our country are addressed in a definitive and conclusive manner.

5. But let me state clearly from the outset that what started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria has now evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against our civilization, our way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in our region. This is not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone; it is a threat to each and every one of us in this room.

6. The Boko Haram Sect emerged in 2002 while its insurgency phase started as far back as 2009. Officially known as the Jamaa’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’wati Wal Jihad, which in English means “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, the group is more commonly identified with its motivating principle, and referred to as Boko Haram which literally means, Western or non-Islamic education is prohibited.

7. The group is hostile to democracy; it uses every means to indoctrinate its members; its ultimate objective is to destabilize the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of operation in West Africa and the entire continent.

8. Since 2009, we have had to contend with many attacks and killings, which have now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of our Nation. Boko Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and social life of our people.

9. This unconventional war has so far claimed over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8, 000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians.

10. We have developed intelligence, which indicates clearly that global terrorist networks are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram, which has now turned into an integral part of the Al Qaeda network as the West African Branch. More tellingly, the group runs an international network of training and incubation centres in such places as Gao and Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad, the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some cells in the Central African Republic.

11. As a responsible Government, we felt compelled to declare a State of Emergency in three of Nigeria’s North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This became necessary to give the security forces the required scope and authority, to enable them operate more efficiently in the affected areas in order to gain victory.

12. They were directed to adhere strictly to clearly spelt out rules of engagement and avoid any excesses that may amount to a violation of human rights. Careful regard for human rights has always been central to our counter-terrorism strategies, resulting in the adoption of rules and procedures to protect the civilian population from excessive collateral damage.

13. Last year, I had ordered the release from detention of women and under-aged persons who had been involved with terrorists and also, persons against whomprima facie cases could not be established. Proven incidents of human rights violation which may have involved our security forces are always promptly investigated and dealt with in accordance with our laws.

14. In addition to military operation, our administration has adopted what we have termed “a soft approach” to combatting the insurgency. This includes short, medium and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on the people and the entire country. Our focus along this line, has been mainly in form of the introduction of a robust educational programme in the Northern states, to reduce the number of out-of-school children and empower the youths.

15. We have launched economic recovery programmes to create jobs, while also providing infrastructure, which unfortunately is heavily threatened by the terror attacks. Other measures include the introduction of de-radicalization programmes for convicted terrorists and suspects awaiting trial, and the promotion of opportunities for dialogue and collaboration with critical stakeholders from the region.

16. Nonetheless, Boko Haram has continued to attack innocent Nigerians without regard to religion, ethnicity and gender. Christians have been killed; churches have been destroyed, Muslims have also been murdered and mosques destroyed.

17. The reprehensible abduction of innocent school girls in Chibok, Borno State is another manifestation of this criminality.

18. We believe that it is the success of our administration’s Transformation Agenda, evident in the growth of our economy and increasing opportunities for our people, that has prompted the terrorists to intensify the war against Nigeria, because our success is their failure.

19. The activities of the terrorists have also been felt across Nigerian borders particularly in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Border and cross-border attacks have taken place with Boko Haram terrorists seeking refuge in our neighbouring countries. So many Nigerians, fleeing from terror attacks, have also become refugees in our neighbouring countries creating additional burden (security and financial) in those countries.

20. It is the regional and global character of the terrorists’ campaign that makes it imperative that we explore and adopt a regional and global approach to addressing this insurgency and menace. Indeed, in the spirit of collective regional security, it is important that we accept that an attack on one country is an attack on all of us, and our common humanity.

21. It is equally important that we accept the principle of hot pursuit of terrorists in the context of joint border patrols and cooperation in order to deny them sanctuaries and make it impossible for them to take refuge in each other’s territory. I note with satisfaction that some mechanisms for joint border patrols including customs and immigration administration have commenced.

22. But we need to do more to restore security along our common borders, focussing especially on the actualisation of the mandate of the Multinational Task Force on the Lake Chad Basin.

23. In addition, we have intensified the exchange of intelligence and information on cross-border movements of goods and services of illicit origin, especially small arms and light weapons as well as human trafficking.

24. At the multi-lateral level, we are developing a regional strategy to win the war against terror within the region. The importance we attach to combating terrorism informed our decision to invite African leaders during our Centenary celebrations to deliberate on ‘Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa.’

25. We have signed bilateral agreements with our neighbouring countries on security and are engaged in Joint Operations with Benin Republic, Chad and Niger. In this regard, we welcome the support and assistance of all our partners from the region, the continent and around the world in providing technical expertise, training programmes and support for border-area management programmes.

26. At the international level, we should take concrete steps to designate the Al Qaeda in West Africa, alias Boko Haram, as a Terrorist Organisation on the basis of the Proscription Order that my government has already imposed on the organisation.

27. We should also accelerate the implementation of other international sanctions, particularly under the auspices of the United Nations, on Boko Haram, Ansaru and their principal leaders.

28. We are already making thorough intelligence efforts to identify their sponsors and their sources of funding and arms supply. I have no doubt that with the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours, it would be possible to rein in these organisations until this scourge is ultimately eliminated and defeated. We will not succumb to terrorists and their dangerous tactics. Terrorists will not be allowed to define who we are or instil fear in our people and cause destruction and mayhem. The time has therefore come for all peace-loving peoples of the world to unite against this new threat to global peace and stability.

29. The abduction of young innocent school girls in Chibok represents a watershed, and a turning point, in the global terrorist war against human civilization. The escalation by the terrorists should not go unanswered by us. The world is entering a new stage and we must stand firm to protect our civilization.

30. I will like to seize this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Government and the people of Nigeria to all countries who are actively participating, side by side, with our country, in seeking the rescue of these school girls. I must commend the efforts of countries like France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, among other partners who have offered technical assistance to my Government in our joint efforts to rescue these innocent children.

31. The major challenge that we have faced in our search and rescue operation so far has been the deluge of misinformation about the whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances of their disappearance.

32. We have deployed about 20,000 troops to the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and strengthened local intelligence resources. We shall spare no effort, we shall explore every avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure the return of the girls to their families and that the terrorists are defeated.

33. Once again, I wish to thank all participants for your attendance at this Conference.

34. I am confident that the outcome of our deliberations will go a long way in assisting us to address both the immediate challenges and root causes of Boko Haram insurgency in order to restore enduring peace and stability, not just to Nigeria but also to our sub-region.

35. This latest attack is a wake up call for all of us. A line has been drawn in the sand; a test is put to each one of us. Nigeria will rise up to this challenge and will prevail. I call upon each one of you to stand up and be counted with us in this fight.

36. I thank you all.

– See more at: http://www.reubenabati.com.ng/PARIS-SUMMIT-Address-BY-President-Jonathan.html#sthash.zegxK7yo.dpuf

1. It gives me great pleasure to attend this Special Summit to deliberate on the current security situation in Nigeria.

2. Let me start by first expressing my deep thanks and appreciation to the President of the French Republic, His Excellency, Mr Francois Hollande, for convening this Summit. This is the second time within a year that we have come to Paris to discuss what are essentially African security issues. This present Summit further underscores President Hollande’s commitment to Africa’s stability, peace and development.

3. I also wish to thank my colleagues and brothers from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, namely, His Excellency President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, His Excellency President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, for their solidarity and friendly disposition in attending this Summit at a very short notice. Let me also thank the European Union, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, and the Rt. Hon. William Hague, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom for honouring this invitation. You have borne with my country, the huge burden of our counter-insurgency operations, sometimes with collateral damage. I thank you for your support and cooperation.

4. Without doubt, your concern and empathy with the government and people of Nigeria is a clear demonstration of true solidarity and brotherhood in ensuring that the current security challenges facing our country are addressed in a definitive and conclusive manner.

5. But let me state clearly from the outset that what started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria has now evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against our civilization, our way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in our region. This is not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone; it is a threat to each and every one of us in this room.

6. The Boko Haram Sect emerged in 2002 while its insurgency phase started as far back as 2009. Officially known as the Jamaa’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’wati Wal Jihad, which in English means “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, the group is more commonly identified with its motivating principle, and referred to as Boko Haram which literally means, Western or non-Islamic education is prohibited.

7. The group is hostile to democracy; it uses every means to indoctrinate its members; its ultimate objective is to destabilize the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of operation in West Africa and the entire continent.

8. Since 2009, we have had to contend with many attacks and killings, which have now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of our Nation. Boko Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and social life of our people.

9. This unconventional war has so far claimed over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8, 000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians.

10. We have developed intelligence, which indicates clearly that global terrorist networks are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram, which has now turned into an integral part of the Al Qaeda network as the West African Branch. More tellingly, the group runs an international network of training and incubation centres in such places as Gao and Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad, the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some cells in the Central African Republic.

11. As a responsible Government, we felt compelled to declare a State of Emergency in three of Nigeria’s North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This became necessary to give the security forces the required scope and authority, to enable them operate more efficiently in the affected areas in order to gain victory.

12. They were directed to adhere strictly to clearly spelt out rules of engagement and avoid any excesses that may amount to a violation of human rights. Careful regard for human rights has always been central to our counter-terrorism strategies, resulting in the adoption of rules and procedures to protect the civilian population from excessive collateral damage.

13. Last year, I had ordered the release from detention of women and under-aged persons who had been involved with terrorists and also, persons against whomprima facie cases could not be established. Proven incidents of human rights violation which may have involved our security forces are always promptly investigated and dealt with in accordance with our laws.

14. In addition to military operation, our administration has adopted what we have termed “a soft approach” to combatting the insurgency. This includes short, medium and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on the people and the entire country. Our focus along this line, has been mainly in form of the introduction of a robust educational programme in the Northern states, to reduce the number of out-of-school children and empower the youths.

15. We have launched economic recovery programmes to create jobs, while also providing infrastructure, which unfortunately is heavily threatened by the terror attacks. Other measures include the introduction of de-radicalization programmes for convicted terrorists and suspects awaiting trial, and the promotion of opportunities for dialogue and collaboration with critical stakeholders from the region.

16. Nonetheless, Boko Haram has continued to attack innocent Nigerians without regard to religion, ethnicity and gender. Christians have been killed; churches have been destroyed, Muslims have also been murdered and mosques destroyed.

17. The reprehensible abduction of innocent school girls in Chibok, Borno State is another manifestation of this criminality.

18. We believe that it is the success of our administration’s Transformation Agenda, evident in the growth of our economy and increasing opportunities for our people, that has prompted the terrorists to intensify the war against Nigeria, because our success is their failure.

19. The activities of the terrorists have also been felt across Nigerian borders particularly in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Border and cross-border attacks have taken place with Boko Haram terrorists seeking refuge in our neighbouring countries. So many Nigerians, fleeing from terror attacks, have also become refugees in our neighbouring countries creating additional burden (security and financial) in those countries.

20. It is the regional and global character of the terrorists’ campaign that makes it imperative that we explore and adopt a regional and global approach to addressing this insurgency and menace. Indeed, in the spirit of collective regional security, it is important that we accept that an attack on one country is an attack on all of us, and our common humanity.

21. It is equally important that we accept the principle of hot pursuit of terrorists in the context of joint border patrols and cooperation in order to deny them sanctuaries and make it impossible for them to take refuge in each other’s territory. I note with satisfaction that some mechanisms for joint border patrols including customs and immigration administration have commenced.

22. But we need to do more to restore security along our common borders, focussing especially on the actualisation of the mandate of the Multinational Task Force on the Lake Chad Basin.

23. In addition, we have intensified the exchange of intelligence and information on cross-border movements of goods and services of illicit origin, especially small arms and light weapons as well as human trafficking.

24. At the multi-lateral level, we are developing a regional strategy to win the war against terror within the region. The importance we attach to combating terrorism informed our decision to invite African leaders during our Centenary celebrations to deliberate on ‘Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa.’

25. We have signed bilateral agreements with our neighbouring countries on security and are engaged in Joint Operations with Benin Republic, Chad and Niger. In this regard, we welcome the support and assistance of all our partners from the region, the continent and around the world in providing technical expertise, training programmes and support for border-area management programmes.

26. At the international level, we should take concrete steps to designate the Al Qaeda in West Africa, alias Boko Haram, as a Terrorist Organisation on the basis of the Proscription Order that my government has already imposed on the organisation.

27. We should also accelerate the implementation of other international sanctions, particularly under the auspices of the United Nations, on Boko Haram, Ansaru and their principal leaders.

28. We are already making thorough intelligence efforts to identify their sponsors and their sources of funding and arms supply. I have no doubt that with the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours, it would be possible to rein in these organisations until this scourge is ultimately eliminated and defeated. We will not succumb to terrorists and their dangerous tactics. Terrorists will not be allowed to define who we are or instil fear in our people and cause destruction and mayhem. The time has therefore come for all peace-loving peoples of the world to unite against this new threat to global peace and stability.

29. The abduction of young innocent school girls in Chibok represents a watershed, and a turning point, in the global terrorist war against human civilization. The escalation by the terrorists should not go unanswered by us. The world is entering a new stage and we must stand firm to protect our civilization.

30. I will like to seize this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Government and the people of Nigeria to all countries who are actively participating, side by side, with our country, in seeking the rescue of these school girls. I must commend the efforts of countries like France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, among other partners who have offered technical assistance to my Government in our joint efforts to rescue these innocent children.

31. The major challenge that we have faced in our search and rescue operation so far has been the deluge of misinformation about the whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances of their disappearance.

32. We have deployed about 20,000 troops to the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and strengthened local intelligence resources. We shall spare no effort, we shall explore every avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure the return of the girls to their families and that the terrorists are defeated.

33. Once again, I wish to thank all participants for your attendance at this Conference.

34. I am confident that the outcome of our deliberations will go a long way in assisting us to address both the immediate challenges and root causes of Boko Haram insurgency in order to restore enduring peace and stability, not just to Nigeria but also to our sub-region.

35. This latest attack is a wake up call for all of us. A line has been drawn in the sand; a test is put to each one of us. Nigeria will rise up to this challenge and will prevail. I call upon each one of you to stand up and be counted with us in this fight.

36. I thank you all.

– See more at: http://www.reubenabati.com.ng/PARIS-SUMMIT-Address-BY-President-Jonathan.html#sthash.zegxK7yo.dpuf

1. It gives me great pleasure to attend this Special Summit to deliberate on the current security situation in Nigeria.

2. Let me start by first expressing my deep thanks and appreciation to the President of the French Republic, His Excellency, Mr Francois Hollande, for convening this Summit. This is the second time within a year that we have come to Paris to discuss what are essentially African security issues. This present Summit further underscores President Hollande’s commitment to Africa’s stability, peace and development.

3. I also wish to thank my colleagues and brothers from Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, namely, His Excellency President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, His Excellency President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, His Excellency President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, for their solidarity and friendly disposition in attending this Summit at a very short notice. Let me also thank the European Union, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, and the Rt. Hon. William Hague, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom for honouring this invitation. You have borne with my country, the huge burden of our counter-insurgency operations, sometimes with collateral damage. I thank you for your support and cooperation.

4. Without doubt, your concern and empathy with the government and people of Nigeria is a clear demonstration of true solidarity and brotherhood in ensuring that the current security challenges facing our country are addressed in a definitive and conclusive manner.

5. But let me state clearly from the outset that what started as a local insurgency in North Eastern Nigeria has now evolved into the new frontier of the global war of terrorism against our civilization, our way of life, and against the many prospects of stability in our region. This is not anymore a challenge to Nigeria alone; it is a threat to each and every one of us in this room.

6. The Boko Haram Sect emerged in 2002 while its insurgency phase started as far back as 2009. Officially known as the Jamaa’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’wati Wal Jihad, which in English means “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”, the group is more commonly identified with its motivating principle, and referred to as Boko Haram which literally means, Western or non-Islamic education is prohibited.

7. The group is hostile to democracy; it uses every means to indoctrinate its members; its ultimate objective is to destabilize the country, and take over Nigeria in order to turn it into a base of operation in West Africa and the entire continent.

8. Since 2009, we have had to contend with many attacks and killings, which have now developed into a full-scale war targeting the stability and integrity of our Nation. Boko Haram has launched a vicious guerrilla-style campaign against the government and the people of Nigeria. It has attacked schools, slaughtered students in their dormitories, destroyed villages, communities and government infrastructure and has wreaked havoc on the economic and social life of our people.

9. This unconventional war has so far claimed over twelve thousand lives, with more than 8, 000 persons injured or maimed, not to mention the displacement of thousands of innocent Nigerians.

10. We have developed intelligence, which indicates clearly that global terrorist networks are deeply involved in the recent activities of Boko Haram, which has now turned into an integral part of the Al Qaeda network as the West African Branch. More tellingly, the group runs an international network of training and incubation centres in such places as Gao and Kidal areas of Mali, the Diffa, Maradi and Maina Soro areas of Niger Republic, Maroua and Garoua areas of Republic of Cameroun, the Zango and Ridina quarters in Ndjamena, Chad, the Ranky-Kotsy area of Sudan, and also some cells in the Central African Republic.

11. As a responsible Government, we felt compelled to declare a State of Emergency in three of Nigeria’s North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This became necessary to give the security forces the required scope and authority, to enable them operate more efficiently in the affected areas in order to gain victory.

12. They were directed to adhere strictly to clearly spelt out rules of engagement and avoid any excesses that may amount to a violation of human rights. Careful regard for human rights has always been central to our counter-terrorism strategies, resulting in the adoption of rules and procedures to protect the civilian population from excessive collateral damage.

13. Last year, I had ordered the release from detention of women and under-aged persons who had been involved with terrorists and also, persons against whomprima facie cases could not be established. Proven incidents of human rights violation which may have involved our security forces are always promptly investigated and dealt with in accordance with our laws.

14. In addition to military operation, our administration has adopted what we have termed “a soft approach” to combatting the insurgency. This includes short, medium and long-term measures to mitigate the impact on the people and the entire country. Our focus along this line, has been mainly in form of the introduction of a robust educational programme in the Northern states, to reduce the number of out-of-school children and empower the youths.

15. We have launched economic recovery programmes to create jobs, while also providing infrastructure, which unfortunately is heavily threatened by the terror attacks. Other measures include the introduction of de-radicalization programmes for convicted terrorists and suspects awaiting trial, and the promotion of opportunities for dialogue and collaboration with critical stakeholders from the region.

16. Nonetheless, Boko Haram has continued to attack innocent Nigerians without regard to religion, ethnicity and gender. Christians have been killed; churches have been destroyed, Muslims have also been murdered and mosques destroyed.

17. The reprehensible abduction of innocent school girls in Chibok, Borno State is another manifestation of this criminality.

18. We believe that it is the success of our administration’s Transformation Agenda, evident in the growth of our economy and increasing opportunities for our people, that has prompted the terrorists to intensify the war against Nigeria, because our success is their failure.

19. The activities of the terrorists have also been felt across Nigerian borders particularly in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Border and cross-border attacks have taken place with Boko Haram terrorists seeking refuge in our neighbouring countries. So many Nigerians, fleeing from terror attacks, have also become refugees in our neighbouring countries creating additional burden (security and financial) in those countries.

20. It is the regional and global character of the terrorists’ campaign that makes it imperative that we explore and adopt a regional and global approach to addressing this insurgency and menace. Indeed, in the spirit of collective regional security, it is important that we accept that an attack on one country is an attack on all of us, and our common humanity.

21. It is equally important that we accept the principle of hot pursuit of terrorists in the context of joint border patrols and cooperation in order to deny them sanctuaries and make it impossible for them to take refuge in each other’s territory. I note with satisfaction that some mechanisms for joint border patrols including customs and immigration administration have commenced.

22. But we need to do more to restore security along our common borders, focussing especially on the actualisation of the mandate of the Multinational Task Force on the Lake Chad Basin.

23. In addition, we have intensified the exchange of intelligence and information on cross-border movements of goods and services of illicit origin, especially small arms and light weapons as well as human trafficking.

24. At the multi-lateral level, we are developing a regional strategy to win the war against terror within the region. The importance we attach to combating terrorism informed our decision to invite African leaders during our Centenary celebrations to deliberate on ‘Human Security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa.’

25. We have signed bilateral agreements with our neighbouring countries on security and are engaged in Joint Operations with Benin Republic, Chad and Niger. In this regard, we welcome the support and assistance of all our partners from the region, the continent and around the world in providing technical expertise, training programmes and support for border-area management programmes.

26. At the international level, we should take concrete steps to designate the Al Qaeda in West Africa, alias Boko Haram, as a Terrorist Organisation on the basis of the Proscription Order that my government has already imposed on the organisation.

27. We should also accelerate the implementation of other international sanctions, particularly under the auspices of the United Nations, on Boko Haram, Ansaru and their principal leaders.

28. We are already making thorough intelligence efforts to identify their sponsors and their sources of funding and arms supply. I have no doubt that with the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours, it would be possible to rein in these organisations until this scourge is ultimately eliminated and defeated. We will not succumb to terrorists and their dangerous tactics. Terrorists will not be allowed to define who we are or instil fear in our people and cause destruction and mayhem. The time has therefore come for all peace-loving peoples of the world to unite against this new threat to global peace and stability.

29. The abduction of young innocent school girls in Chibok represents a watershed, and a turning point, in the global terrorist war against human civilization. The escalation by the terrorists should not go unanswered by us. The world is entering a new stage and we must stand firm to protect our civilization.

30. I will like to seize this opportunity to express the gratitude of the Government and the people of Nigeria to all countries who are actively participating, side by side, with our country, in seeking the rescue of these school girls. I must commend the efforts of countries like France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, among other partners who have offered technical assistance to my Government in our joint efforts to rescue these innocent children.

31. The major challenge that we have faced in our search and rescue operation so far has been the deluge of misinformation about the whereabouts of the girls and the circumstances of their disappearance.

32. We have deployed about 20,000 troops to the area, intensified aerial surveillance, and strengthened local intelligence resources. We shall spare no effort, we shall explore every avenue; we shall turn every stone, to ensure the return of the girls to their families and that the terrorists are defeated.

33. Once again, I wish to thank all participants for your attendance at this Conference.

34. I am confident that the outcome of our deliberations will go a long way in assisting us to address both the immediate challenges and root causes of Boko Haram insurgency in order to restore enduring peace and stability, not just to Nigeria but also to our sub-region.

35. This latest attack is a wake up call for all of us. A line has been drawn in the sand; a test is put to each one of us. Nigeria will rise up to this challenge and will prevail. I call upon each one of you to stand up and be counted with us in this fight.

36. I thank you all.

– See more at: http://www.reubenabati.com.ng/PARIS-SUMMIT-Address-BY-President-Jonathan.html#sthash.zegxK7yo.dpuf

President Jonathan To Discuss Boko Haram In Paris

jonathan_goodluckPresident Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday participate in a summit convened by President Francois Hollande in Paris, France, to discuss fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haran and other terrorist groups in West and Central Africa.

This is contrary to an earlier report that the President would visit Chibok, the community in Borno State, where over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect.

Reuters had on Thursday reported that the President would visit the North Eastern State, quoting senior government officials.

President Jonathan would be joined at the summit in Paris by Heads of State and Government of Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, it said that “Britain, United States of America and the European Union will be represented at the talks, which will give special attention to the coordination and intensification of efforts to curtail the destabilizing activities of Boko Haram and neigbouring countries in the wake of the recent abduction of college girls from Chibok, Borno state.”

President Jonathan, would be accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (Rtd.), the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.) as well as other principal aides and advisers and would return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit on Saturday.

 

Boko Haram Threatens Africa – Jonathan

West Africa, Central Africa and North Africa are all at risk if the threat of the radical sect, Boko Haram is not contained.

This is according to President Goodluck Jonathan who in a CNN interview on Wednesday stated that the sect has linked up with some of Al Qaeda terrorists in northern Mali and other North African countries.

The President had earlier stated in his presentation at the World Economic Forum holding in Davos, Switzerland  that terrorism in the African continent is being fuelled by the attractive rewards it offers terrorists, from hostage-taking to drug trafficking and instigating crises in different countries.

He added that Africa needs the cooperation and support of the international community to deal with the problem on the continent.

President Jonathan also pointed out that the deployment of Nigerian troops to troubled Mali is to prevent it from spilling over into other West African countries.

In the interview with CNN, President Jonathan admitted that initially Boko Haram caught Nigeria off guard but that the country is now making progress to contain the sect.

The President also denied suggestions from the US State Department that the officers of the Nigerian military and the Joint Task Force, battling the sect members have carried out indiscriminate killing in their counter insurgency.

He warned that unless the crisis is properly handled, Africa risks being overrun by terrorists who have the potential of destabilizing investments on the continent.

At the end of his interview on CNN, the President promised that power supply will improve reasonably by the end of 2013.