Burkina Junta Chief Sacks Defence Minister As Jihadist Violence Rages

This grab of a handout video released by Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina” on January 27, 2022 shows the leader of Burkina Faso’s new military junta Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba speaking during a televised address, three days after the overthrow of Burkina Faso’s president. Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina / AFP

 

Burkina Faso junta chief Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who took power in a January coup, has sacked his defence minister and assumed the role himself after a series of jihadist attacks, according to decrees published Monday.

The first decree, read on national television, removed General Barthelemy Simpore as defence minister, while the second said the “president has taken over the duties of the minister of national defence and veterans”.

Damiba headed a group of officers who mounted a coup on January 24, toppling elected leader Roch Marc Christian Kabore, who had failed to stem the jihadist insurgency that first emerged in Mali in 2012.

Much of the Sahel region is now battling the insurgency after it spread to Burkina Faso in 2015, then to Niger. In recent years, the violence has also begun to spill over into West African coastal states Ivory Coast and Togo.

The mini-shuffle in Burkina Faso is the first since the appointment of a transitional government in March. At that time, Damiba chose to retain Simpore, who had been appointed by Kabore.

In another change, Colonel-Major Silas Keita was named minister delegate in charge of national defence and promoted to brigadier general. He was the only new minister introduced.

The shuffle follows a string of deadly jihadist attacks this month in the landlocked West African country, where the insurgency has claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced about 1.4 million people to leave their homes.

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Attacks have increased since the start of the year, despite the junta’s vow to make security its top priority.

September has been particularly bloody.

Two soldiers died and a dozen “terrorists” were killed Monday during an attack against a military detachment in Burkina Faso’s jihadist-hit north, the army said.

Less than a week earlier, security sources said separate attacks by suspected jihadists had killed nine people, mostly civilians, in the north.

On September 5, at least 35 civilians were killed and 37 wounded when an improvised explosive device blast struck a convoy carrying supplies between Djibo and Bourzanga.

In early September, Damiba had welcomed a “relative calm” in several locations. He said “offensive actions” by the army had been intensified and asserted that a dialogue process with certain armed groups had led “dozens of youth” to lay down their arms.

But the attacks remain numerous.

More than 40 percent of the country is outside government control.

AFP

Military Threatens To Deal With Impersonators Of Personnel

Military Threatens To Deal With Impersonators Of Personnel
A file photo of Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

 

The Defence Headquarters says that intelligence report has revealed plans by some persons to impersonate military men to disrupt the elections on Saturday.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, stated this on Thursday while briefing journalists following a meeting of the Armed Forces and security and intelligence agencies in Abuja.

As the nation prepares for the polls, he warned that the military will not tolerate any act capable of disrupting a peaceful electioneering process.

General Olonisakin said the military was prepared to support the security services to ensure violence-free 2019 general elections, in line with the constitutional responsibilities of the various security bodies.

He also asked Nigerians to disregard the sit-at-home order by some criminal elements in some parts of the country.

“The stay-at-home leaflets being circulated, and similar online messages are part of the handiwork of mischief makers who are bent on scuttling the process and should be ignored.

“I want to assure the general public that the security services are prepared to support the Police to ensure the safe conduct of the elections,” he stated.

READ ALSO: IGP Orders Restriction Of Vehicular Movement On Election Day

According to the Defence Chief, the military will remain apolitical and abide by the code of conduct of the Nigerian Armed Forces in carrying out its duties during the elections.

He, however, warned Nigerians against flouting the order on vehicular movement on Saturday.

“Violators of the restriction on movement, no matter how highly placed, will be arrested and detained,” General Olonisakin cautioned.

He explained that the restriction does not apply to those on election security duties, observers and monitors, as well as emergency and security services personnel on authorised duties.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, had announced the restriction of vehicular movement from 6 am to 6 pm on Saturday, as part of the measures to ensure hitch-free Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Ex-Defence Chief, Alex Badeh, Killed

BREAKING: Ex-Defence Chief, Alex Badeh, Is Dead
A file photo of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh

 

Former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has been shot dead by gunmen.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, confirmed this to Channels Television on Tuesday night.

According to him, the former Defence Chief died from gunshot wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked while he was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.

The Air Force spokesperson also confirmed the incident in a series of tweets.

He said, “It is with a heavy heart that I regretfully announce the unfortunate demise of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who died today, 18 Dec 18, from gunshot wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.”

“On behalf officers, airmen and airwomen of the Nigerian Air Force, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar, commiserates with the family of the late former Chief of Defence Staff over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants his soul eternal rest.”

Badeh was born on January 10, 1957, in Vimtim, a small town in Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State.

He had his early education at Vimtim Primary School and Villanova Secondary School.

Thereafter, he gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1977 as a member of the 21 Regular Course.

He commenced his flying career at the 301 Flying Training School on the Bulldog Primary Trainer aircraft in 1979.

Between 1981 and 1982 he attended the Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base of the United States Air Force.

During the Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency, Badeh was Commander of the Presidential Fleet which flew around the world frequently.

By 2002, he had logged over 6000 flying hours shuttling VIPs, dignitaries, top government officials and Heads of State.

He rose through the ranks to become Air Vice Marshal in 2008.

Thereafter, he became the 18th Chief of Air Staff in October 2012 and was appointed Chief of Defence Staff in January 2014, up until July 13, 2015, when he retired.

In 2016, the deceased was accused of financial misappropriation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during his tenure as service chief.

He, however, denied the allegations.

I Have No Records Of Money Given To Badeh – Witness

alex BadehThe first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Nigeria’s former Chief of Defence Staff, retired Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, Air Commodore Salihu Ibrahim, on Tuesday told a Federal High Court that he kept no personal records as prove to all the cash transactions between himself and the former Defence Chief.

The witness was a Director of Finance, at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters.

He was cross examined by the defence counsel Mr Akin Olujimi.

Air Commodore Ibrahim, however, told the court in Abuja that the command’s finance officer, whose duty it was to keep record, had all the records of the amount of the dollar equivalent he handed to the former Defence Chief at his official residence on a monthly basis.

During cross examination, He also said that he could not remember the exact amount of money he gave to Mr Badeh during the course of their transaction.

The witness, however, maintained that the sum of 90 million Naira was used for the purpose of furnishing a property belonging to Mr Alex Badeh junior, the son of the former Defence Chief.

He also said he did not include it in the statement he made at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

After two hours of answering questions from the defence, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned till April 19 for continuation of cross examination and trial.

The former defence chief is standing trial on a 10-count criminal charge bordering on corruption money laundering and breach of trust.

Navy Promises To Ensure Safe Waters During Yuletide

navyThe Nigerian Navy says it remains committed to the safety of the nation’s waters during and after the Yuletide.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-ete Ibas, said this at the end of the annual inspection exercise usually organized by the Navy, code-named ‘Operation Treasure Guard’, to make officers fit and combat ready for its operations.

The 3-day rigorous exercise on sea and the shores was witnessed by the Chief of Defence Staff, observers from the Defence Headquarters, as well as all Flag Officers leading their various ships.

The exercise kicked off from the Nigerian Naval base in Onne, after being declared open by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, with participating ships on guard and covered from the Calabar Waters East to the Delta regions in the central, the Gulf of Guinea waters towards the Atlantic in the Western Region.

The Chief of Defence staff urged the Nigerian Navy to be more vigilant and committed to securing the wealth of the nation on the sea and shores.

He commended the Navy for the acquisition of more ships, especially for the 30 most recent ones already in Nigeria from Sri Lanka.

The Naval Chief said that the Nigerian Navy in 2016 would not relent in policing the nation’s common wealth along the maritime domain, as presently, 139 illegal bunkeries have been destroyed between July 2015 till date.

While commending the government for its contributions, the Naval Chief made a case for more funding for the Navy in the coming year.

The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, said that the annual end of the year Navy sea exercise is ‎designed to work up the ships and personnel, in line with the Nigerian Navy doctrine of operations.

A total of 14 ships, covering the Eastern, Western and Central Naval Command, participated in the exercise.

Military Alone Cannot Win Boko Haram War – Akinrinade

MilitaryA former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alani Akinrinade, says the military alone cannot win the war against the Boko Haram terrorists, as it requires the support of the political class, businessmen and indeed all citizens.

The former Defence Chief, who spoke at a security seminar organised by non governmental organization, Gusau Institute in Kaduna North-West Nigeria, maintained that for Nigeria to rout out the insurgents from the north-east, every citizen must assist the military in one form or another through information sharing and intelligence gathering.

The keynote speaker and the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies based in South Africa, Dr. Jakkie Cilliers, was of the opinion that Nigeria and indeed Africa have the potentials of controlling at least 20% of global power by the year 2040 if its present and upcoming leaders would enthrone good governance and transparent leadership.

According to him, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and Algeria have made significant progress over the years in terms of infrastructural and economic development, but lamented that some other countries in the continent that are being ravaged by war and other economic challenges have made this success insignificant.

Serving state governors, technocrats, serving and retired military officers as well as members of the diplomatic corps, converged on Kaduna for the security seminar with the theme; “Power and Influence in Africa”.

Some of the state governors gave the assurance that the Nigerian Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to enthrone good governance by tackling corruption which many consider the major cause of the country’s underdevelopment.

The governors include that of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-rufai.

The Gusau Institute, established by a former Minister of Defence, General Aliyu Gusau, offers training and research on good governance and enhancement of peace and security in Africa.