India Evacuates 312 Citizens From Nigeria

The evacuated India citizens inside the aircraft set to depart Nigeria. Photo credit: @india_nigeria/Twitter


The Indian government on Sunday commenced the evacuation of its citizens stranded in Nigeria as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to a tweet by the High Commission of India in Abuja, the repatriation exercise was conducted in the early hours of Sunday with the airlifting of 312 Indian nationals.

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The Commission revealed that the aircraft conveying the evacuees departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

It noted that the flight, operated by a Nigerian airline Air Peace, was the first indigenous airline to fly directly to India.

The Indian authorities appreciated the Nigerian government for its support in ensuring that the first phase of the evacuation was successful.

The evacuated India citizens at the airport set to depart Nigeria. Photo credit: @india_nigeria/Twitter


“Repatriation of Indian nationals from Nigeria began today with the Lagos-Kochi Air Peace flight. With 312 passengers, it is also the first-ever Nigerian airline to fly directly to India. Thank @MEAIndia @MoCA_GoI @PIBHomeAffairs @NigeriaGov and team @india_nigeria for support,” the Commission’s tweet read.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has also made successful efforts in evacuating many of its citizens from various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.

The most recent is the repatriation of 268 Nigerians from China.

The evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said they would be quarantined for 14 days, as stipulated by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Indians Pay Tributes To Religious Leader Who Died At 111

Crowds gather around the body of Indian spiritual leader Shivakumara Swami after his death at the age of 111 in Tumakuru, some 75km northwest of Bangalore, on January 21, 2019. STR / AFP


Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of an Indian town on Monday to pay their last respects to the 111-year-old head of a Hindu religious sect known as “the walking god” to his followers.

Shivakumara Swami was the head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt, a highly influential monastery which runs hundreds of schools across southern Karnataka state.

His body, wrapped in saffron robes and flower garlands, was held aloft and paraded through crowds in Tumakuru, an industrial town near Bangalore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those to pay tribute to Swami, who died on Monday in a local hospital.

“(Swami) lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice,” Modi said on Twitter.

“He represents the best of our traditions of compassionate service, spirituality and protecting the rights of the underprivileged.”

Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi offered his own condolences, describing the religious leader’s death as leaving “a deep spiritual void” in the country.

Swami remained a revered figure in the region even though his advanced age kept him from public appearances for several years.

The many educational institutions established by Swami’s monastery provided free shelter, food and education for poor students in Karnataka.

The state government announced three days of mourning to mark his death.


Indians Protest After Rape, Killing Of Minor


The body of a seven-year-old girl who had been raped and strangled was found in India Tuesday, compounding outrage over a series of horrific sexual attacks on women or girls.

Nationwide protests have been held in the past week over the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir state.

In the latest case, the child’s body was found on a building site early Tuesday, hours after she went missing from a wedding in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh state.

Police said a neighbour who was putting up tents for the wedding had been detained on suspicion of luring the girl to the secluded building.

Etah superintendent of police Akhilesh Chaurasia told AFP the man fled but was arrested within hours.

“We have charged him with the rape and murder of the child. We are awaiting the post-mortem reports but prima facie it looks she was strangled to death,” Chaurasia said.

The authorities and police face mounting pressure over a series of sexual assaults, including the Jammu and Kashmir case.

That killing was in January but outrage has mounted as details of the rape emerged. Police say she was drugged and raped for days at a Hindu temple before being beaten to death

Eight men, all Hindus, have been arrested for the crime.

Police said the accused targeted the girl because they wanted to drive her nomadic Muslim tribe out of the Hindu-dominated region.

Two Jammu and Kashmir state ministers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resigned after they attended rallies organised to defend the accused.

Some activists have accused the party of siding with Hindu groups demanding the release of the arrested men.

The BJP government has also faced criticism after one of its legislators in Uttar Pradesh state was arrested last week for the alleged rape of a 17-year-old woman.

The woman’s father died in police custody as he agitated for the authorities to take up the case.

A 2014 UN report said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. Nearly 11,000 cases of child rape were reported in India in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s latest figures.


Three Kidnapped Indians Rescued By Nigerian Security Agents

The three Indians kidnapped off the coast of Equatorial Guinea have been rescued by Nigerian security agents in Bonny Channel in Rivers State where there were held hostage.

Five members of the kidnap gang were arrested in the operation while the leader of the group and others are still at large.

The spokesman for the Department of State Services (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, said that the Indians, Kanishik Jhorar, Mhinder Singh Saini and Balwinder Singh, were rescued on January 30 by the DSS in collaboration with the military.

Ogar, in a statement, explained that they were kidnapped on January 3 while on board a cargo ship, MV SAN MIGUEL belonging to Martinez Hermanos Limitada, an Equatorial Guinea Company.

According to the statement, no ransom was paid for their release.

The Indians have been handed over to the Indian High Commission and the country of their employers, Equatorial Guinea Embassy, respectively on Friday.

Due to the increasing kidnap cases along the West African coast, military presence and surveillance is increasing in the area to ward off kidnappers who usually demand huge sum of money as ransom.

Gunmen kill two Indians in Maiduguri

Suspected member of the Islamic sect Boko Haram shot dead two Indians after storming their factory in Maiduguri.

According to Sagir Musa spokesman for the military Joint Task Force, the suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a gum Arabic factory operated by Indians located at Bayan Quarters in Maiduguri.

“The incident led to the death of two Indians with one wounded, who is receiving treatment at the hospital.”
The attackers stole 90,000 naira ($560), he said.

Due to the recent violence in Nigeria, President Jonathan recently sacked the National Security Adviser and Minister of Defence.

He also promised new tactics in fighting terrorism