U.S. Says Boko Haram May Be Sending Fighters To Islamic State In Libya

Boko-Haram-new-uniformA senior U.S. official said on Friday that there are signs that Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist group is sending fighters to join Islamic State in Libya to increase cooperation between the two groups.

Nigeria has asked the United States to sell it aircraft to fight Boko Haram, which has been waging a seven-year insurgency in the north and last year pledged loyalty to Islamic State, which is active in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Little is known about the extent of cooperation between the two radical Islamist groups.

But Western governments worry that Islamic State’s growing presence in north Africa and ties with Boko Haram could herald a push south into the vast, lawless Sahel region and create a springboard for wider attacks.

Longer Than Thought

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said there were “reports” that Boko Haram fighters were going to Libya, where Islamic State had established a large presence, taking advantage of security chaos.

“We’ve seen that Boko Haram’s ability to communicate has become more effective. They seem to have benefited from assistance from Daesh,” he said, using a derogatory name for Islamic State. There were also reports of material and logistical aid.

“So these are all elements that suggests that there are more contacts and more cooperation, and this is again something that we are looking at very carefully because we want to cut it off,” Blinken told reporters in Nigeria.

Blinken said the United States was helping Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram with armoured vehicles. But he declined to comment on a request by Nigeria to sell it aircraft.

U.S. officials told Reuters this month that Washington wanted to sell up to 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Nigeria in recognition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s army reforms. Congress needs to approve the deal.

President Muhammadu Buhari had said that the nation was “not bothered initially, of what intentional connection Boko Haram has until they claimed that they are loyal to ISIS”.

He associated the crisis with incidents in the Sahel region, saying that what happened in Libya in the Sahel, in terms of trained personnel and weapons, had compounded the problem, making it last longer than thought.

He also said that Nigeria’s border with neighbouring countries, mostly in the eastern region, was difficult to monitor.

“We have more than 1,500 kilometres neighbourhood in an area where donkeys, oxen, camels can cross any time of the day. It is not easy to guide such borders,” President Buhari added.

UN Demands Better Support For Women, Children Liberated From Boko Haram

idps liberated from Boko HaramThe United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has advised the National Human Rights Commission to ensure that measures are taken to support women and children who have been liberated from Boko Haram terrorists.

Speaking in Abuja at a meeting with the leadership of the commission on Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur, Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, said the absence of a holistic plan for integration and rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram and other Internally Displaced Persons portends danger for the future of Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Professor Bem Angwe, however assured the United Nations delegates of adequate re-integration measures put in place by the Federal Government.

He added that the Federal Government would continue to protect all Nigerians and residents.

Over two million persons have been displaced in Nigeria’s northeast as a result of the over six years of terror attacks of the Boko Haram sect.

The terrorist group is attempting to end Western education and establish an Islamic state in the region.

On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria had made very significant progress towards ending Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.

The President made the statement in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit.

Military Says It Will Ensure ‘One Indivisible Nigeria’

CDS_OlonisakinNigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has said the Nigerian military would continue to maintain one indivisible entity.

He spoke in Abuja on Thursday while receiving the Commander of the French forces in Senegal , Brigadier General Pascal Facon, at the defence headquarters.

General Olonisakin stressed that no matter the attempt of any group or persons to entrench disunity in some sections of the country, the Nigerian military “will fight to ensure one Nigeria and one destiny”.

Collaborate In Fighting Insurgency

His guest, Brigadier General Facon, had told the gathering that the French government was willing to collaborate in fighting insurgency in the north-east.

He further applauded the Nigerian military for their successes in containing the activities of Boko Haram.

Recently the Federal Government has faced several protests from pro-Biafra group in the south-east, the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Zaria and the Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed more than 10,000 lives and displaced over 2.2 million persons.

Nigeria Collaborates With Cameroon On Border Security

Boko Haram is living its very last days, Rene Sadi said 

Nigeria and Cameroon have reaffirmed their commitments to deepening relationship that will help end cross-border crimes including terrorism. 

These commitments were reaffirmed on Wednesday at a joint security meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital between representatives of both countries.

On behalf of the Nigerian government, the National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno, pledge that the Nigerian government would sustain any relationship that would help bring an end to the activities of Boko Haram in the region.

Major General Monguno said Nigeria attached much importance to the collaboration between the two countries with a view to ending trans-border crimes.

“Immediately President Buhari was sworn in, he underlined the significance of tackling insecurity with the collaboration of our immediate neighbours and indeed the international community,” he said.

This is the fourth security session with the Cameroonian government on trans-border security matters since President Muhammadu Buhari came to office in May this year.

The head of the Cameroonian Delegation, Mr Rene Sadi, said the collaborations had boosted joint efforts toward ending Boko Haram activities in the northern part of Nigeria.

“Our various defence and security forces have obtained for the satisfaction of all of us very positive results in the field. Their laudable efforts have greatly contributed to continuous weakening of the operation capacities of Boko Haram whom, as we all know, has suffered enormous setback.

“But we will not relent our efforts till the complete victory is won over the barbaric sect, whose capacities to change strategies and adopt new operational methods are well known,” Mr Sadi told the gathering.

Also at the meeting, the Nigerian government further promised to continue to work with the Cameroonian government to stamp out terrorism.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba Ibrahim, gave the government’s promise.

Since the Multi-National Task Force started operation in June, the frequency of attacks from the Boko Haram sect in the north-east region and along the borders have reduced.

Security experts say this multi-national collaboration could further reduce criminality across the border.

The joint security meeting took place on the same day that two suicide bombers killed 11 persons in a market in Kano, north-west Nigeria.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, it resembles the kind that had been carried out in the past by Boko Haram terrorists.

Analysts say the suicide attacks are strategies by the Boko Haram to create fear in the minds of people, as the military lunch more attacks on their strongholds.

Gaidam Tasks Federal Government On Improved Police Welfare

Ibrahim-Gaidam on police welfareThe Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise the welfare of police personnel working in the troubled north eastern part of Nigeria.

The Governor made the appeal on Wednesday in Damaturu, the capital of the state, when the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of zone 12 comprising Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States, Mr Tunde Ogunsakin, met with him at the Government House.

Governor Gaidam said that the motivation of the officers and men currently serving within the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe must be effectively sustained by the highest police command so as to stimulate hard work and commitment to the restoration of peace in the troubled north-east region.

The Governor, who praised the role of the police in the current fight against insurgency, also recalled that his administration had since inception, provided over 140 patrol vehicles to police.

He, however, assured them that he would continue to give his support towards restoring peace in the state and beyond.

Mr Ogunsakin, applauded the continuous support to the police by Gaidam’s administration and assured him that the current police highest authority was committed to improving the welfare of the police force.

His visit to the Yobe Command, according to him, has given him first-hand information.

After the interaction, Mr Ogunsakin told reporters that the Inspector General of Police would be adequately informed, assuring the Governor that more men would also be deployed to fortified security in the state.

The AIG had, during his tour of the Command, interacted with officers and men of the Command where he appreciated their role in the fight against the Boko Haram militants.

He assured them of the proposed plans by the present IG to improve their welfare package towards discharging their duties more effectively.

During the tour, Mr Ogunsakin visited some police formations destroyed by the insurgents and promised that the structures would soon be put in place to provide enabling environment for the officers and men in the discharge of their duties.

Security: Buhari Seeks Greater Support From France, Others

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Francois-HollandeNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed his commitment to ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, saying his administration is ready to accept greater support from France and other friendly nations.

At a meeting with the President of France, Francois Hollande, on Monday in Elmau, Germany, the Nigerian leader was optimistic the insurgency would end in the shortest possible time.

The meeting was held after his participation in Monday’s G7 Outreach Programme.

“We are already taking concrete action to build a more efficient and effective coalition of Nigeria and neighbouring countries against Boko Haram,” President Buhari said, referring to his meeting last week with the leaders of neighbouring Niger Republic and Chad.

“Nigeria will appreciate more intelligence on the terrorist group’s links with ISIS, movements, training and sources of its arms and ammunition to facilitate the perfection of fresh tactics and strategies being evolved to overcome terrorism and insurgency in the country and its sub-region,” he said.

A spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari reiterated at the talks with the French President that there was absolutely no link between religion and the atrocities of Boko Haram.

“There is clearly no religious basis for the actions of the group. Their atrocities show that members of the group either do not know God at all or they don’t believe in him,” President Buhari said.

Support Against Terrorism

President Hollande commended President Buhari’s concerted efforts to galvanise Nigeria’s armed forces, security agencies and neighouring countries for more decisive action to eradicate Boko Haram.

The French leader assured President Buhari that France would give Nigeria and its coalition partners’ greater support against terrorism and insecurity, including military and intelligence cooperation, to help them overcome the security challenge posed by Boko Haram and its global terrorist allies as quickly as possible.

He also called for greater bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and France in other areas, including trade, economic and cultural relations.

President Buhari also received similar pledges of enhanced support from Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and Chancellor Angela Merkel who he also held talks with before departing from the venue of the G7 2015 Summit.

The President is due back in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, early on Tuesday.

Nigerian Military Says Amnesty International Report Is A Blackmail

Chris-OlukoladeThe Nigerian military says the claims of military involvement in extra-judicial killings by an international human rights group, Amnesty International, is a continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy.

The group had asked the new President, Muhammadu Buhari, to investigate Senior Military officials for complicity in the extra judicial killing of over 8,000 people in the north-east.

But the Defence Headquarters in a statement on Wednesday denied the allegation, expressing disappointment in what it called gruesome allegations made by the Amnesty International against some senior officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces both serving and retired.

Continuation Of Blackmail

“It is unfortunate that all effort made in the allegation was geared towards continuation of blackmail against the military hierarchy in which the organisation had embarked upon as far back as the inception of military’s action against terrorist in the North East.

“The officers mentioned in the report have no reason, whatsoever, to indulge in the allegation made against them.

“It is unfortunate that the organisation just went out to gather names of specified senior officers, in a calculated attempt to rubbish their reputation as well as the image of the military,” the statement issued by military spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade read.

The military said the action, no doubt, depicts more of a premeditated indictment aimed at discrediting the country for whatever purpose.

Each of the previous allegations by the rights group had been responded to by the military, with outright denial of the claims.

“The title down to the body of the allegation smacks of the extreme bias, which is disturbing coming from an otherwise reputable organisation that is expected to be Just and fair to all.

“Unfortunately in this case, has taken a premeditated position, which is far from noble.

“It is curious that a body that has never been able to seriously condemn terror in Nigeria now claims to have done an extensive research with the aim of discrediting the nation’s effort at curtailing terror.

“It is clear that Amnesty International (AI) becomes more active in presenting distractive allegations whenever the terrorists are losing ground in the battle.

“It is very unfortunate that Amnesty International has used this report to further confirm its questionable interest in the counter-terrorism effort in Nigeria,” the military stated.

After such claims were made months ago, a Joint Investigation Team was set up by the Defence Headquarters as part of efforts to ensure that no detainee suffered unjustly.

According to the military, the detention facilities were thrown open for visits and inspections by independent bodies such as International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international organisations and personalities.

“Biased And Concocted Report”

The Defence Headquarters further urged Amnesty International to stop playing “the role of an irritant coming up loudly only when the terrorists are losing out and remaining silent or complacent whenever the terrorist heightens its atrocities”.

“It is unfair to persist in effort to discredit Nigerian military by seeking all avenues to stigmatise individual officers of the nation’s military purely to satisfy an agenda against the security agencies and image of Nigeria before the international community.

“The Nigerian Armed Forces is quite conscious of the fact that the operation has prompted the need to save citizens from abuse of their rights by mindless terrorists,” the statement further read.

The military also described as unfortunate the decision by Amnesty International to ignore all the responses and clarifications provided to its enquires by the authorities and rejected what it called “the biased and concocted report provided by Amnesty International”.

Oyo Youths Show Support For Troops Fighting Boko Haram

oyo-stateYouth in their thousands trooped out in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to show support for Nigerian troops, as they continue in their onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the north-east.

The current efforts of Nigerian troops in north-east Nigeria must be constantly appreciated by every sector of the Nigerian nation to encourage them to do more. That is the reason behind the youth rally in Oyo State in south-west Nigeria.

The coordinator of the group, Mr Olatunde Martins, explained that the rally was meant to re-awaken the spirit of camaraderie among Nigerian youth and national institutions across the country.

A cross section of the youth who spoke to newsmen said they volunteered to show the troops that they were not alone in the war against terror.

The young men and women, drawn from various parts of Oyo State, converged on the ever busy Mokola and  marched on distributing flags to passers by and explaining their mission which is to encourage the gallant soldiers fighting terror that their labour is not in vain.

Mr Martins said that the support initiative would continue in other parts of the south-west in the coming days.

600 Nigerian Army Officers Receive Specialist Courses Training Abroad

Nigeria_Army The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Kenneth Minimah, on Tuesday said over 600 army officers have so far been trained from a range of specialist courses at different military institutions abroad, while new military equipment have been acquired to boost the fighting capacity of security forces in line with current trend.

He also assured Nigerians that the military will soon recapture all territories in the north east which were under the control of the Boko Haram sect.

He gave the assurance during a training seminar for army officers held at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.

The training in collaboration with the British Military Advisory and Training Team is part of the ongoing war against the Boko Haram terrorists in the north east.

Addressing the officers at the event, Lt. Gen. Minimah, stressed the need for continuous training and re-training of army personnel for them to be able to tackle the current security challenges facing the nation.

He disclosed that the Nigerian Army had in the last one year embarked on intensive individual and group training of personnel within and outside the country, adding that such initiative is already yielding positive result with the recent onslaught against the Boko Haram insurgents in the north east.

Over 100 officers, including Commanding and Brigade Officers, were drawn from the various army divisions and units to attend the seminar, which will last for five days.

The training will focus on capacity building development in three areas; intelligence and analysis, operational capacity building and force sustainment. These areas, according to the organizers of the seminar, are critical in the effort by the Nigerian Army to defeat the current security challenges.

The Army chief who noted that the British Military Advisory and Training Team have been assisting Nigeria in the capacity building of its military forces in the areas of tactics for over thirty five years, maintained that this particular seminar will focus on operation development of the officers aim at making the Nigerian Army a professional force, adding that such collaboration is already yielding good result.

Head of the British Military Advisory Council, Brig. Gen. Jonny Bourne, gave an sight of the contributions of his country in capacity building of Nigerian military personnel.

He also expressed confidence that such training and collaboration in some key areas will assist Nigeria to overcome the current security challenges.

Channels Television’s correspondent in the north-wetern state, Chmezie Onyeocha, reports that trainings such as this will go a long way in strengthening the capacity of military officers and also develop their mental and physical well being.

Massive Search Of Boko Haram Members In Damaturu Yields Results

BOKO-Haram_Members2A mop up operation has continued in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe, after the attack on the town by the dreaded Islamists, the Boko Haram, with Security operatives recording huge progress by arresting some insurgents trapped in the town.

The Yobe State government had on Tuesday morning issued a statement imposing 24 hour curfew in the state capital.

“The imposition of the curfew will offer security operatives ample opportunity to mop up the town and free it from any further attack,” the state government said.

Residents said security operatives in conjunction with other volunteers had been walking round the town to arrest some of the sect members an effort witnesses said had been fruitful.

“Isolated and pocket of them have been arrested and handed over to the security forces,” the eyewitnesses said.

Meanwhile, as Damaturu town continues to be under 24 hour curfew, all streets remained deserted except movement of security forces and the volunteer youths hunting the leftover sect members.

Hospital sources told Channels Television that 13 corps of Mobile policemen were brought to the hospital morgue while 40 bodies of the insurgents and two of the civilians were also brought to the same specialist hospital.

Be Extra Vigilant

Channels Television was also informed that over 30 cars and official vehicles were burnt at the Mopol 41 base located along Biu road of Damaturu the state capital.

Structures at the base, according to the source, were also touched by the sect members in the attack.

The Mobile base was the first to be attacked by the insurgents as it was located along the area the insurgents had access to the town.

Meanwhile, the the Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, has advised Nigerians to be extra vigilant in controls of the goings on  in their environment.

Mr Omeri told a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday that prompt information from citizens to appropriate security agencies would help check the activities of terrorists.

He commiserated with the victims of the attacks in Kano, Maiduguri, Damaturu  and all other Nigerians who have lost loved ones in the attacks.

“We have restated that government has not lost focus and it is continuing with facing the challenges and every efforts is directed at making sure that issues of insecurity threatening our peace is stopped in its track,” he said.

Anyaoku, Soyinka Ask Nigerian Leaders To Tackle Boko Haram Decisively

Anyaokwu and Soyinka.Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and elder statesman, Emeka Anyaoku, have described the on-going Boko Haram violence crusade as a threat that must not be handled with kid gloves.

At the third Zik’s Lecture series held on Saturday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Professor Soyinka, who was the guest lecturer, lambasted the idea of any human being describing knowledge as forbidden.

“New boundaries are springing up, not even virtual but physical. We have one next door. You know it. Sambisa forest.

“From within that mind enclave they make all efforts to extend such boundaries and swallow up institutions such as this. They proscribe this very gathering. Call it Haram.

“They close down citadels of knowledge brutally. For them, age is no barrier to inflicting sudden death.

“They kill not many children but childhood,” he said.

In Serious Trouble

Mr Anyaoku in a speech pointed out that “Nigeria is in serious trouble just now” and urged Nigerian leaders to tackle the situation decisively.

“Our leaders in the government, in the legislature and the political parties, and I mean all political parties, must acknowledge the seriousness of the situation we face on the issue of insecurity in Nigeria and tackle it.

He called on all leaders to support the government of the day in dealing with the situation.

“We read and hear everyday in the media that the Boko Haram has killed yet more people, irrespective of where they are, the leaders should join hands to see that we can deal with this grave threat to our nation,” the former Commonwealth Secretary-General said.

The Boko Haram sect, for over five years, has kicked against western education and are demanding for an Islamic state.

On Friday evening a suicide bomber suspected to be a member of the sect detonated a bomb near a fuel station in Kano killing seven persons.

Senate Summons Service Chiefs Over Potiskum School Bombing

Senate_NigeriaThe Nigerian Senate has summoned Service Chiefs over Monday’s bomb blast at the Government Technical Science College in Potiskum, Yobe State.

Issuing the summon on Wednesday, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Senator George Sekibo said that the Service Chiefs were expected to give the committee an inventory of the military hardware procured to fight the insurgents.

The summon is coming two days after the attack that had left the people of the area in fear. Over 30 persons were killed in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Schools in the area have been closed down as a result of the attack and as a measure to prevent further attacks.

Some of the children have already been buried, leaving loved ones with thoughts of why their children became victims of a senseless killing.

The government has offered no answers, but the Senate President, David Mark, said the government needed to declare total war on the Boko Haram terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Attacks continue

The military chiefs are expected to brief the Senate Committee on why senseless killings had continued in states under emergency rule – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

Senator Sekibo said the Senate was worried that members of the Boko Haram group, suspected to have carried out the Potiskum attack, were targeting schools in the north.

In less than a month, the extension of emergency rule would expire in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States and its not clear at the moment if President Goodluck Jonathan would ask for further extension of the emergency rule.

But what is obvious is that despite the state of emergency in the three north eastern states, killings, bombings and terrorists activities have showed no signs of abating.

The attacks have continued even after the Nigerian government said it had reached a ceasefire deal with the Boko Haram group, a truce some Elders in Borno State expressed doubts that it was reached with the right leadership of the terrorist group.