Death Toll In Blast Near Afghan Presidential Rally Rises To 26

 

A Taliban suicide bomber killed at least 26 people and wounded dozens near a campaign rally for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, with the insurgents warning of more violence ahead of elections.

About an hour after the attack, another blast also claimed by the Taliban rocked central Kabul near the US embassy.

It was not immediately clear if the second blast claimed any lives, but an AFP journalist at nearby Wazir Akbar Khan hospital saw around a dozen wounded victims, and a witness told AFP he had seen bodies in the street.

The explosions came after US President Donald Trump abruptly ended talks with the Taliban on September 10 over a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war.

In a statement sent to media claiming responsibility for both blasts, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack near Ghani’s rally was deliberately aimed at disrupting the September 28 elections.

“We already warned people not to attend election rallies, if they suffer any losses that is their own responsibility,” the statement said.

The bomber near Ghani’s rally — in Parwan province, about an hour’s drive north of Kabul — had been on a motorbike and had detonated his device at a checkpoint leading to the event, according to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.

An AFP image from the scene showed the remains of a burnt motorcycle, with a body on top covered by a blanket, next to a badly damaged police car.

Women and children were among the causalities, Parwan hospital director Abdul Qasim Sangin told AFP, adding 42 people were injured as well as the 26 dead.

The president, who was speaking to his supporters at the time of the blast, was unhurt but later condemned the attack, saying the incident proved the Taliban had no real interest in reconciliation.

“As the Taliban continue their crimes, they once again prove that they are not interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan,” said Ghani in a statement.

The UN offices in Afghanistan also slammed the Taliban, accusing the insurgents of showing “despicable disregard for civilian life & fundamental human right to participate in democratic process”.

– Talks ‘dead’ –
Sixty kilometres (40 miles) away in Kabul, a shopkeeper, Rahimullah, said he had been sitting inside his shop when the second blast came.

“The wave broke all the windows,” he told AFP.

“I rushed outside and saw several bodies just across the street. This is the second time in less than a month that a blast has broken our windows. I just fixed them a week ago.”

The elections will see Ghani face off against his own Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, and more than a dozen other candidates, including former warlords, ex-spies, and onetime members of the country’s former communist regime.

For weeks, the election had been sidelined by the US-Taliban talks, with many Afghans and observers expecting the vote to be cancelled if a deal was agreed. Even candidates did little in the way of campaigning.

But with the deal off, Ghani and his rivals have begun the race.

Ghani is seeking a clear mandate they can use to negotiate with the insurgents on a lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Trump’s declaration that the US-Taliban talks were “dead” spurred the insurgents to declare last week that the only other option was more fighting.

“We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,” Mujahid told AFP last week.

“If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it.”

Observers had warned the Taliban, who hope to weaken the future president, will do anything they can to upend the election.

On the first day of campaigning in July, suicide attackers and gunmen targeted the Kabul office of Ghani’s running mate, Amrullah Saleh. At least 20 people died in those attacks.

Turnout in the elections is set to be low, with experts citing fear of violence and a loss of hope among voters following widespread fraud allegations during the 2014 election.

Nine Soldiers Reported Killed, 20 Missing After Clash With Insurgents

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

At least 20 soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole are reportedly missing, while the bodies of nine others have been recovered in Gudumbali town of Borno State.

This followed a fierce battle between the troops and Boko Haram insurgents who were said to have planned a massive attack in the axis.

Channels Television gathered that the soldiers were ambushed by the terrorists in a village called Granda, engaging them overnight from Monday until the early hours of Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram: 22,000 Missing In Northeast Insurgency – ICRC

The troops were said to be closely supported with air warfare by the Air Component of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Sources, however, said some of the soldiers later fled, leading to the overpowering of the military base during which nine soldiers got killed in battle.

They added that seven out of the fallen soldiers were slaughtered as the insurgents beat a retreat.

The bodies of the slain soldiers have since been evacuated and deposited at the military hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

According to eyewitnesses, the insurgents carted away with a fuel tanker and other vehicles of different brands.

But it is not clear if the terrorists abducted some of the missing soldiers as claimed, as only the outcome of a search party and a headcount would determine that.

The ambushed battalion had just been deployed to Gudumbali to commence a new operational strategy codenamed “Super Camp”.

It was gathered that the insurgents had sent out spies around the military base who pretended to be farmers, only for the attack to happen.

The Nigerian Army authorities have yet to confirm the incident and the casualty figure.

Channels Television could not reach the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, as his phone was switched off as at the time of filling this report.

Insurgents Are Bandits, We Will ‘Treat Them As Such’ – Buhari

We Will Surely Leave A Better Nigeria For Future Generations – Buhari
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari at an event in Abuja.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east region of the country as bandits.

He stated that his administration would continue to treat the insurgents as such as the Federal Government steps up efforts the fight against insurgency in the region.

“Boko Haram has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President, who received the President of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Maurer, on Tuesday in Abuja, added, “That is why we are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries.

“We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits, and we will continue to treat them as such.”

Terrorist Recruitment?

President Buhari explained that the government was concentrating on repairing damaged infrastructure, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, and securing their communities so that they could return home.

He applauded the support of the ICRC and other humanitarian organisations, saying, “The situation of the displaced persons is very pathetic. Some children don’t know where their parents are, neither do they know where they come from.

“We are focusing on education and healthcare, along with rebuilding of infrastructure. The agency formerly under the leadership of General Theophilus Danjuma (retd) and now headed by Major General Paul Tarfa (retd) is quietly making an impression. We are dedicating lots of resources to the area.”

The President stressed that great progress has equally been made in disabusing the minds of people that the insurgency was religious.

He said, “How can you kill people, and say ‘God is great’? It’s either you don’t know that God, or you don’t know what you are talking about.

“God is God of justice. And the people have understood the message well, so recruiting is now difficult for the insurgents.”

In his remarks, Mr Maurer said Nigeria was the fifth largest operation of ICRC worldwide, and the organisation would continue to render humanitarian action to people affected by violence.

He, however, condemned the recent killing of two officials of the organisation in the north-east.

“We are shaken by the killing of our staff, but not discouraged. Humanitarian assistance should continue, and we applaud the hospitality of Nigeria,” the ICRC President said.

He gave assurance that relationship would be further strengthened with Nigeria, adding, “The more we see activity from Nigerian authorities, the easier it is for us to add here and there.”

Army Burns Vehicles Containing Fish Allegedly Belonging To Boko Haram

 

The army has intercepted and burnt down four vehicles conveying smoked fish allegedly belonging to Boko Haram insurgents on the outskirt of Maiduguri, Borno State.

Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi, who confirmed the report, said the insurgents are making money from the sale of fish.

 

Read Also: Several Boko Haram Terrorists Killed As NAF Destroys Hideout In Sambisa

Having discovered that they use proceeds from the sale of fish to sustain their activities, Adeniyi said one of the military’s strategies for fighting the insurgents is to cripple their economy.

The Borno State government and the military had banned fishing activities around the Lake Chad, based on the intelligence that the business has been hijacked by the insurgents.

One Killed, Many Injured As Troops Clash With Insurgents – Army

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ

 

The Nigerian Army has confirmed the death of a local vigilante member as troops clashed with insurgents in Borno State.

According to a statement on Thursday from the Director of Army Public Relations, 7 Division, Colonel Ado Isa, many other villagers sustained various degrees of injuries.

Colonel Isa, however, said the attack which was targeted at troops was successfully repelled.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Ransacks Borno Villages As Army Withdraws

“The Theatre Command wishes to state that the attack was targeted at Nigerian Army troops deployed in the areas to enable the terrorists to gain access to shops in the markets in the towns to loot food items and other logistics,” the statement read.

Isa also explained in the statement that “due to fierce fire exchange, the terrorists were forced to withdraw in disarray from the town, resulting to damages on buildings and property along their route of withdrawal.”

He said there was no casualty on the troops and no loss or damage of equipment as reported.

The army colonel noted that peace has since been restored in the communities with residents going about their lawful businesses.

He sought the support of the public for the military and other security agencies in the area of information sharing.

Isa also asked them to report suspicious movement in their communities to proactively deal with criminal activities.

Three Injured As Masked Men Attack Farmers In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Three farmers have survived an attack carried out by masked men, believed to be insurgents.

They were attacked with matchets in their farms near Dalori IDP camp on Friday evening.

The injured farmers were later rushed to the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital where they are currently receiving treatment.

The Director Rescue Operations of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency Bello Dambatta confirmed the attack but assured that all three farmers are in stable condition.

READ ALSO: Two Feared Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Borno IDP Camp

The attack is a sequel to another right inside the Dalori IDP camp on Thursday night after the insurgents sacked and set ablaze military outposts around the camp.

They reportedly rode freely on bikes inside the camp where they looted food shooting sporadically throwing displaced persons and residents of the area including the University of Maiduguri community in panic.

Dambatta confirms that two persons were killed in the ensuing panic and pandemonium with many of the IDPs fleeing the camp.

It took a reenforcement from the 7 Division supported by the police Special Anti Robbery Squad to push the insurgents back.

Insurgents Again Attack Borno, Loot Military Base

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Insurgents who attacked a military base in Gajiram, the local government headquarters of Nganzai in Borno State on Monday night, reportedly looted the armoury.

Spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa confirmed that the troops in Gajiram had an encounter with insurgents, however, he was yet to provide details at the time of this report.

Sources say the insurgents who came in no fewer than 10 trucks and many motorcycles dislodged troops and looted the armoury, before setting ablaze part of the base.

They were also reported to have stolen drugs from an ambulance and food items from villagers before escaping.

Read Also: Ganduje Gives Details Of N6.8m Allegedly Swallowed By Gorilla In Kano Zoo

While it is still not clear if there were any casualties on the side of the military, only one civilian is said to be injured as a result of a stray bullet.

The military has, however, returned to base and fortified the general area.

The attack comes barely 24 hours after a multiple suicide attack in the state, which left at least 30 people killed and nearly fifty others injured.

Gajiram is the Local Government Headquarters of Nganzai local government, where displaced people from all the wards in the council area are currently taking refuge.

It is located in the northern axis of Borno state, where insurgents have intensified attacks in recent times.

Two Soldiers Injured As Troops Kill Several Insurgents In Borno

Two Soldiers Injured As Troops Kill Several Insurgents In Borno
A file photo of troops. Source: [email protected]

 

The Nigerian Army says own troops have killed several suspected Boko Haram fighters in various operations at different locations in Borno State, north-east Nigeria.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, disclosed this in a statement sent to Channels Television on Sunday.

He said some insurgents attempting to infiltrate Gajigana town were ambushed by troops of 212 Tank Battalion deployed at the Forward Operation Base Gajigana on Friday.

The army spokesman confirmed that the soldiers under the operational command of 7 Division Garrison acted based on credible intelligence and killed “unconfirmed number of terrorists”.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Invade Katsina Village, Set Houses Ablaze

He, however, noted that two soldiers were wounded during the encounter but were already stable and receiving treatment in a military hospital.

Colonel Musa added that troops of 121 and 192 Battalions of Operation Lafiya Dole in collaboration with Civilian JTF and local vigilantes also embarked on clearance operations to end Boko Haram terrorism on Friday.

He explained that the troops effectively cleared Surdewalla, Ranwa, Baladayo, Sabon Gari and Shetimeri villages of Borno State in a simultaneous operation code-named ‘Operation Hard Strike’.

“At Ranwa 11, contact was made with the terrorists, three of them were neutralised, while many were obviously wounded and others escaped,” the army spokesman revealed.

He added, “Troops of 192 Battalion advanced along Sabon Gari and Shetimeri villages where they cleared a scout of Boko Haram terrorists. A make-up shift shelter for suspected insurgents was destroyed.”

Similarly, troops of 177 Task Force Battalion in collaboration with the Civilian JTF cleared Mboa, Mboa-Kura, Yarchida, Bombula, Tshata, and Bamzir villages.

At Furfur village, the soldiers exchanged fire with the insurgents, leading to the death of one suspected terrorist.

Items recovered include one AK47 Rifle, three magazines, 50 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, and one magazine bandolier

While on an assessment visit to FOB Gajigana, the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Major General Abdulmalik Biu, urged the troops to remain decisive and intensify efforts in eliminating the remnants of the Insurgents.

He also conveyed the commendation of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, to the soldiers and the entire troops of the Theatre Command for the recent progress recorded in the fight against terrorism.

The army thanked those who provided the information that led to the successes achieved so far.

It also urged members of the public to continue to be more forthcoming with useful information about the terrorists in their respective localities to the nearest location of the army or other security agencies for necessary action.

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN

 

UNICEF has raised concern over the number of children recruited and killed by non-state armed groups in Nigeria’s north-east region.

The United Nations children’s agency said this in a statement on Friday, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Chibok abduction.

“More than 3,500 children, most of whom were aged 13 to 17, were recruited by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017 and have been used in the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria,” it said.

READ ALSO: Killings: Reps Give Buhari 48 Hours To Address Nigerians

The agency affirmed that the numbers were only those that have been verified, while the true figures were likely to be higher.

It disclosed that in addition to the children, 432 children were killed and maimed, 180 were abducted, and 43 girls were sexually abused in the region in 2018.

UNICEF noted further that more than 100 of the schoolgirls abducted Chibok community of Borno State were still missing.

It said the anniversary of the abduction, marked on April 14, was a grim reminder that widespread abductions of children and grave violations of children’s rights have continued to take place in the North-east.

“Children should feel safe at home, in schools and on their playgrounds at all times,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.

“We are calling on the parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under international law to end violations against children and to stop targeting civilian infrastructure, including schools.

“This is the only way we can begin to make lasting improvements in the lives of children in this devastated part of Nigeria,” he added.

According to the statement, non-state armed groups in the North-east have recruited and used children as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry, and committed other grave violations against children since 2012.

It added that some of the girls became pregnant in captivity and gave birth without any medical care or attention.

UNICEF, however, promised to continue to offer its support to the Nigerian Government in its strong efforts to protect children across the country.

It also pledged to continuously work with the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and other partners to support children who have been rescued or escaped from captivity.

The UN agency said it provided community-based reintegration services to more than 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities in collaboration with partners in 2017 and 2018.

These services, it noted, helped to trace children’s families, return them to their communities, and offer psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

Taliban Kill Nine Police In Checkpoint Assault

File photo

 

Nine Afghan policemen were killed when Taliban fighters stormed their checkpoints and launched a follow-up ambush in the eastern Afghanistan city of Ghazni, officials said Saturday.

The assault began early Friday when the Taliban attacked two adjacent checkpoints, Ghazni police spokesman Ahmad Khan Seerat told AFP.

The Taliban then ambushed a group of police rushing to the scene, killing the head of the local police, Seerat added.

In all, nine officers were killed and six were wounded, he said.

The toll was confirmed by Arif Noori, spokesman for the Ghazni governor.

In August, Taliban fighters briefly held the city of Ghazni before they were pushed out by US air strikes and Afghan forces.

Friday’s attack highlights the ongoing fragility of Afghanistan’s security and the risks faced by local security forces as they man vulnerable checkpoints.

President Ashraf Ghani in January said 45,000 security forces have been killed since he took office in September 2014.

On its Twitter account, the Taliban claimed to have killed 12 “soldiers,” though the group frequently exaggerates numbers.

Meanwhile, in Zabul in southern Afghanistan late Friday, Gul Islam Seyal, spokesman for the local governor, told AFP that four policemen were killed and two wounded after a “Taliban infiltrator” opened fire at a checkpoint.

The attacks come as the United States seeks to broker a peace accord with the Taliban and the Kabul government, more than 17 years since the US-led invasion that ousted the Islamist fighters.

Troops Kill Over 30 Insurgents In Lake Chad Area, Recover Assorted Weapons

 

The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) says its troops have killed several terrorists and recovered their weapons in the Lake Chad region.

In a statement on Thursday, the Chief of Military Public Information of MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, stated that the troops intercepted the Boko Haram members in Tunbum Rego.

According to him, the operation was made possible following collaboration with the Cameroonian, Niger and Nigerian Air Forces.

“In a recent engagement, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, as well as ground attack aircraft from a coalition of Cameroonian, Niger and Nigerian Air Forces, intercepted and destroyed Boko Haram Terrorists in Tunbum Rego, a prominent island in Lake Chad, believed to harbour High Valued Boko Haram Targets.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram: MNJTF Commences Operation Yancin Tafki

“In a related development, MNJTF troops from Sector 4 attacked Boko Haram assets in Arege, killing scores of terrorists in the process,” he stated.

The MNJTF spokesperson explained that at least 33 terrorists lost their lives with several weapons recovered during the two-day aerial bombardment.

According to the MNJTF spokesperson, items recovered include two gun trucks, one armoured personnel carrier, two motor cycles, one 120MM motar tube, 12 AK-47 Riffles, and two 60MM motar bombs recovered.

Others are 3,736 rounds of assorted ammunition, one binocular, and two hand grenades recovered.

.

Boko Haram: PDP Berates FG As APC Insists Insurgents ‘Have Been Caged’

Boko Haram: PDP Berates FG For Inefficiency As APC Insists Insurgents 'Have Been Caged'
Sanni Umar                                                                                                                                 Sulaiman Abba

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government for the security situation of the country, especially the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Monday, a chieftain of the party Sanni Umar wondered how the government would continue to insist that the insurgents have been technically defeated amid the recent attacks.

“The issue before the coming of the APC, we are very clear that we were about ending the Boko Haram when the APC came in with their new style which is to mobilise the military department to the borders and yet, it has not even generated any effect,” he said during his appearance on Sunrise Daily.

Umar, a spokesperson for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council added, “Let me say clearly that the strategies of the Boko Haram have continually changed.

“Initially, the Boko Haram (insurgents) are more or less interested in soft targets; now that they realised that the best way to win the war is to attack the military, they have now restrategised and they are attacking our military.”

READ ALSOSupreme Court Commences Hearing Of Appeals By Rivers APC Factions

 

According to him, the inefficiency of the government led to the attacks in the northeast which claimed that the lives of some civilians and troops deployed in the war against insurgency.

The PDP chieftain said the military is poorly equipped and not adequately trained in modern warfare, adding that they lack the required experience to fight the terrorists.

He revealed some of the approaches used by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in containing the activities of the insurgents.

“What he (Jonathan) was doing was that for every country where we were buying arms, they must come and operate the arms along with the military,” Umar said.

He explained that this was to ensure that the military was well equipped and informed about how to use the weapons to overcome the insurgents in the theatre of war.

The PDP disclosed that should the PDP regain power at the centre, their task would be to provide the military all the support they need to win the war against insurgency.

“Once your military is being killed, the strength of the sovereignty of the nation is under threat and once the sovereignty of the nation is under threat, people are vulnerable,” Umar warned.

In a swift reaction, a member of the APC Advisory Council, Sulaiman Abba, condemned the comments of the PDP chieftain.

Abba, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP) under former President Jonathan, noted that while it was true that Boko Haram has carried out a series of attacks recently, the situation has improved compared to the previous administration.

He said, “It is not surprising really to say that insurgency has resurged, and the state of insecurity has returned to what it was maybe prior to 2015; let’s not forget that Boko Haram attacks were not just for the Northeast, remember the Northwest was affected; even Abuja was also affected.”

According to the former police boss, for one to recommend bringing machinery to fight the insurgents is like “taking us back to the colonial era”.

He insisted that the nation is blessed with a military that is well trained, stressing that it has been able to cage the terrorist group.

Abba also said the military has done its best in the war against insurgency since 2015, adding that the description of the military as untrained and unequipped was an indication of ignorance.

He stated, “They (military) have caged Boko Haram to restricted or to certain areas, and that is why they are the ones suffering most now because they hardly can get to the soft targets we are talking about.

“So, it means the military has achieved one of its greatest purposes to protect the soft targets.”

Asked whether there has been an achievement in the war against insurgency since the APC came into power, the former IGP said, “Remember in 2015, because of insurgency elections had to be postponed for six months.”

“Are there any talks about postponing elections now? Are there any talks about not holding elections in Borno, or Yobe, or Gombe? So, there is no basis for the comparison,” he said.