ECOWAS, ICRC Present Report On International Humanitarian Law

ECOWAS Member States Meet Over Implementation Of IHLEleven out of 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are at different levels of domestication and implementation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The implementation of the law is aimed at reducing the effects of armed conflicts on persons not directly involved in such conflicts.

The resolve was made at a meeting on Friday in Abuja, where ECOWAS member states examined a report by the ECOWAS Commission and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on the implementation of the International Humanitarian Law in West Africa.

The head of the delegation of the ICRC, Mr Eloi Fillion, said efforts were ongoing to help national authorities domesticate the International Humanitarian Law treaties.

Statistics reveal that armed conflicts across the West African sub region have left millions of persons in need of humanitarian aid.

Also, according to the ICRC, at least nine million people are in need of different humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad Basin alone.

The ICRC and ECOWAS also noted that they have been working for over 15 years to see to the ratification, domestication and implementation of the International Humanitarian Law in the sub region.

The International Humanitarian Law is made up of a body of laws, including the Arms Trade Treaty and the African Union Convention on the protection of Internally Displaced Persons among others.

The ECOWAS Commission has stated its preparedness to adopt a new plan of action that will ensure full implementation and domestication of the International Humanitarian Law in the sub region.

Rann Bombing: At Least 50 Victims Undergo Operation

Rann Bombing, Victims, Air ForceAt least 50 out of the 89 injured persons evacuated from Rann in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno State have been operated upon.

The disclosure was made on Thursday by Dr. Laraba Bello who is the Medical Director of the Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri where 68 patients were admitted.

Other injured persons were split between Umaru Shehu Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, all in Borno State.

Responding to questions from the Air Force Investigative Board, led by Air Vice Marshal Sallau Bala-Ribah, Dr. Bello said that one of those brought to the hospital had died on admission.

He added that some of the children evacuated to Maiduguri for treatment were unaccompanied.

“They brought the patients in batches; we received a total of 68 patients and we lost one.

“Right now we have discharged some and we have 58 patients remaining and all of them are responding to treatment; they are doing well.

“Close to 50 have entered the theatre for one procedure or the other,” the Medical Director said.

The Air Force team has been to the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole headquarters, the scene of the misfire in Rann, and the 105 composite group offices in Maiduguri.

The board is gathering information on the circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as the extent of damage.

Local officials had claimed that about 236 persons were killed in the incidence while the Army said two of its personnel were affected.

The International Committee of the Red Cross also lost six of its members to the bombing.

Accidental Bombing: Governor Shettima Orders Emergency Medical Response

Air ForceThe government of Borno State has ordered the State Ministry of Health to set up an emergency with all medical hospitals under the State following accidental bombing of a settlement in Rann in Kala-Balge Local Government Area.

Air Force jet had bombed the location, killing unidentified number of persons in counter-insurgency operation. It said it got a tip-off that fleeing Boko Haram members had settled somewhere within the location.

After the accidental bombing, government hospitals located in Maiduguri which include the State Specialist Hospital, the Professor Umaru Shehu Hospital and General Muhammad Shuwa memorial hospital, were placed on standby in readiness to carry out emergency treatment.

Evacuation Of Victims

Isa Gusau, a spokesman for Governor Kashim Shettima, said in a statement emailed to reporters, that Governor Shettima received the news with very deep concern while he had channeled his focus on ensuring that all the victims, particularly those with severe injuries were provided with urgent medical treatment.

“As at this evening, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent have deployed a helicopter which is on ground at Rann to begin evacuation of victims, starting with those with the most critical health conditions.

“The MSF (Doctors without border) and other officials of the State Government are been first responders.

“Governor Shettima particularly commends the MSF for its rapid response in providing first aid treatment to victims at the scene,” the statement read.

Mr Gusau stated that Governor Shettima was working to ensure that ‎all victims were evacuated as soon as possible.

He said that the State Commissioner of Health had mobilised medical doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists ‎and other health officials in all hospitals owned by Borno State Government while ambulances have also been deployed.

“The medical experts are currently on standby with emergency consumables set for treatment of victims soon as they arrive Maiduguri.

“Casualty figures are yet to be ascertained but from information available to the Governor, there are records of deaths with many persons injured.

“The Governor’s heart is with families of all those affected and urges citizens to pray for the repose of the souls of those dead and the speedy recovery of the injured.

“Governor Shettima looks forward to formal communication from the military to ascertain what happened and would brief the press should there be the need to do so.

“For now, all focus should be on the evacuation of victims and the provision of emergency medical services to them with the hope that they quickly recover,” the statement added.

The Nigerian Air Force has issued a statement, saying it regrets the accidental air strike by its troops in the settlement in northeast Nigeria.

In the statement by Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, the force condoled with the families of the dead, stressing that the ill-fated occurrence was extremely regretted.

President Muhammadu Buhari had also consoled families of affected victims, assuring them of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that they get adequate medical care.

Red Cross Trains SARS Personnel On International Standards Of Law Enforcement

red cross trains policeThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) held a two-day training programme on humanitarian principles and international standards of law enforcement for personnel of the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

Also part of the training was the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Special Anti Robbery Squad. It held at the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, between December 20 to 21.

The Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police, Department of Training, Sani Mohammed, while declaring open the training session, stressed the need for Police personnel to exhibit professionalism while carrying out their official duties in line with the relevant provisions in the Force Order and other Administrative Instructions.

The AIG reminded the trainees of the pivotal role they play in the administration of criminal justice. He urged the trainees to concentrate, learn, assimilate and put to use what they would be taught during the workshop.

The Chief facilitator of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Pietro Tilli, emphasised the need to continue the existing cooperation between his organisation and the Nigeria Police Force, pointing out that the ICRC has been operating a mutual open door policy with the Force.

He further stated that the synergy had yielded positive results one of which was the training of 1,200 Police personnel in 2013 by the organisation.

The ICRC, according to him, is a humanitarian organisation which among other things provides succour to victims of armed conflicts and detainees across the world.

Chibok Girls Rescue: Buhari Commends Red Cross’ Role

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross-chibok-girlsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The President, however, urged the group to sustain its humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

He made the remarks on Monday at a meeting with the ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

Buhari said his administration was prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgents,” as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the President said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps, the issue of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

President Buhari also noted that there were over two million of them, “made up of over 60% women and children.

“About 60% of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from.

“It is weighing heavily on government,” he stated.

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross2

Difficult Time For Nigeria

President Buhari said rebuilding destroyed infrastructure was a priority of the government, adding that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed.

“We appreciate all your efforts.

“I am pleased you recognised that our military is cooperating with civil authorities and respecting humanitarian issues.

“It is a difficult time for Nigeria.

“About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year and we are still struggling with that.

“But we will get out of it,” the optimistic President said.

In his remarks, Mr Maurer said the ICRC’s operation in the Lake Chad region was the second largest in the world, after Syria.

He identified the nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the Northeast region, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure.

“We are ready to engage and play supportive role in responding to crisis in Nigeria.

“Security is a lot better than it was a year ago, but humanitarian problems are serious and don’t disappear so quickly,” Maurer pointed out.

The ICRC President commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He said the detention facilities had improved, citing the cases of better health conditions and fewer deaths recorded.

MSF Condemns Kunduz Hospital Air Strikes

 Kunduz MSF hospitalThe Medical Charity, Medecine San Frontieres (MSF),  has condemned “in the strongest possible terms” deadly air strikes on its hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz.

MSF said that air strikes which lasted for over 30 minutes were launched on its hospital in Kunduz.

US forces were carrying out air strikes at the time. The NATO alliance had admitted the clinic may have been hit.

At least 37 people were seriously injured, 19 of them were MSF staff.

More than 100 patients were in the hospital, along with relatives and carers; it is not known how many of them were killed.

MSF said that all parties to the conflict, including Kabul and Washington, had been told the precise GPS co-ordinates of the hospital in Kunduz on many occasions, including on September 29.

After staff at the hospital became aware of the aerial bombardment in the early hours of Saturday morning, US and Afghan military officials were again informed, MSF said.

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Col Brian Tribus, said: “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city at 02:15 against individuals threatening the force.

“The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

“The incident is being investigated, he added.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said that a group of 10 to 15 militants were found hiding in the hospital. The Taliban denied that any of its fighters were there.

“They were killed, all of the terrorists were killed, but we also lost doctors,” Ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqi said.

Head of the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, said “hospitals accommodating patients and medical personnel may never be the object of attack” and commended the work of MSF.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also strongly condemned the bombing.

Head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, Jean-Nicolas Marti, said, “Such attacks against health workers and facilities undermine the capacity of humanitarian organisations to assist the Afghan people at a time when they most urgently need it” .

Boko Haram Insurgency: ICRC Increases Aid In Lake Chad Region

Boko HaramThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stepped up its aid in the Lake Chad region, where at least a million people have been forced out of their homes by the Boko Haram insurgency.

ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, revealed that the Red Cross programmes in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, the countries adjoining the Lake Chad, would be expanded.

He was quoted on Reuters as saying that “whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering … even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, it will take years of investment and painstaking work to rebuild livelihoods and services”.

“The combined volume of those activities in Lake Chad are today 110 million Swiss francs ($118 million), which makes this region the third most important humanitarian activity of the ICRC worldwide. Just after Syria and South Sudan,” Mr Maurer said.

The six-year insurgency, waged by Boko Haram to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north-east, has displaced around 1.5 million people.

Rescued From Boko Haram

In the meantime, some 260 women and children rescued from the Boko Haram terrorists’ stronghold, Sambisa Forest, have been relocated from a camp in the North-eastern city of Yola the Adamawa State capital, to an unspecified military facility.

Their movement on Thursday, came after camp officials said they suspected that some of the captives had been communicating with the militants.

The Nigerian troops fighting terrorists in the north-east region of the country, had earlier inflicted another crushing defeat on the Boko Haram militants at the Sambisa Forest, in a major offensive against insurgency.

Military authorities, however, revealed that a large number of the terrorists were killed by ground troops and fighter pilots in an operation described as ‘merciless’.

ICRC Set To Make Emergency Aid Flights To Yemen

yemenThe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is set to make emergency aid flights into Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

The ICRC has been given permission to land planes carrying staff and medical supplies in Yemen, which it said was facing a humanitarian emergency.

Fighting had intensified in the southern port of Aden, as government troops battle the Houthis.

About 500 people had been killed over the past two weeks in Yemen.

However, the ICRC is sending a cargo plane carrying vital medical supplies, and a small passenger plane of aid workers.

Eight Houthi fighters were killed in an air strike before dawn in the suburbs of the northern city of Saadah, home of the Shi’ite Muslim movement which spread from its mountain stronghold to take over the capital Sanaa six months ago.

Local officials said strikes also hit air defense and coastal military units near the Red Sea port of Hodaida, and targets on the outskirts of Aden. They also hit a bridge on the road south to Aden, apparently trying to block the Houthis from sending reinforcements to their fighters in the city.

Meanwhile, the cargo plane is still awaiting approval to send a surgical team by boat to Aden.

The ICRC has, however, called for a 24-hour ceasefire in Aden, while Russia has also urged the UN Security Council to support a “humanitarian pause” in the air strikes.

Pakistan’s parliament is debating whether to join the Saudi-led coalition after a Pakistani aircraft rescued 170 people from Sanaa on Sunday.

South Sudan Attack Leaves Over 100 Dead

More than 100 people have been killed in South Sudan in an attack by rebels and ethnic allies on a convoy of families from a rival tribe and their cattle, an official said on Sunday.

Since breaking from Sudan in 2011, oil-producing South Sudan has struggled to assert control over remote territories awash with weapons after a 1983-2005 war with the north and torn by ethnic rivalries.

The attack on Friday was the worst violence in Jonglei State since 900 people were killed there in tribal attacks linked to cattle rustling in 2011, the United Nations said.

Rebels loyal to former theology student David Yau Yau and members of the Murle community had killed 103 people, most of them women and children, in the ambush on ethnic Lou Nuer families, state governor Kuol Manyang said.

“They came under attack from people in a huge force,” he told Reuters. “There are many children and women missing. Their fate is not yet known.”

Fourteen soldiers escorting the convoy were also killed, he said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it had sent a medical team to treat the wounded.

Yau Yau rebelled in July last year. He recruited armed youths antagonized by a government campaign to end tribal violence in Jonglei, which human rights groups say was marked by abuses by soldiers.

More than 1,500 people have been killed in Jonglei since independence, according to the United Nations.

South Sudan accuses Sudan of dropping weapons and ammunition to Yau Yau’s rebels, an allegation denied by Khartoum.

The violence in Jonglei is hindering government plans to explore a major oil concession with the help of France’s Total.

 

 

South Sudan Attack Leaves More Than 100 Dead