Egypt Braced For Renewed Protests

Poster of President Morsi lies on ground in Cairo. 15 Aug 2013The Egyptian capital, Cairo is poised for renewed protests by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Mursi. They are expected to take place two days after authorities broke up Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo with the loss of at least 638 lives.

Mr Morsi’s supporters plan to converge on central Ramses Square from city mosques after Friday prayers. A state of emergency is in force and police have been authorised to use live ammunition in self-defence.

The Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to gather in mosques for Friday prayers and then take to the streets of Cairo in a “march of anger”.The group’s leaders say they will hold marches under the slogan “the people want to topple the coup”.

Security in the capital is tight, with many armoured personnel carriers on the streets. Members of groups opposed to Mr Morsi – the National Salvation Front and Tamarod – are reported to have called for counter-demonstrations in response.

Egypt’s Coptic Christian community has been targeted by some Islamists who accuse the Church of backing the army’s overthrow of Mr Morsi last month.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an NGO, says 25 churches, along with private homes and businesses belonging to Copts and other Christian denominations, were attacked on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alexandria, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, appears largely quiet. The authorities in Egypt’s second city have cleared piles of sandbags, barricades and a tent camp set up by Mr Morsi’s followers and sympathizers in the past few weeks outside the main pro-Morsi rallying point, Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque.

Many shops and malls remain closed despite the end of the nightly 12-hour curfew imposed here and in 13 more cities. At night, the city’s streets look virtually empty as the authorities have further applied emergency laws and authorised the use of live ammunition if vital security and military posts come under attack.

Unlike other curfews in the past two and a half years, there is no defiance from the general public. However, vigilante groups have been formed in several neighbourhoods to protect private property including houses and cars.

The city has been at the heart of the political turmoil gripping the country since the removal of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

There are fears of renewed bloodshed after authorities said the police were authorised to use live ammunition to protect themselves and key state institutions from attack.

Reports say there were renewed attacks on security forces on Thursday, with at least seven soldiers and a policeman killed in the Sinai peninsula and another police officer killed in the central city of Assuit.

US Republican Senator John McCain said Newsnight that the ousting of President Morsi was a “coup” and President Obama should have cut off aid to Egypt as a result.

Yobe: JTF In Five Hour Gunfight With Boko Haram

Residents of Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, have reported what they believe to have been a gun battle between security forces and members of the Boko Haram, which lasted for over 5 hours on Sunday night.

The relative peace currently being enjoyed in Damaturu the Yobe state capital suffered a setback as sound of gunshots were heard throughout the night.

Sporadic gunshots were heard within the Damaturu metropolis from 9pm and lasted for over five hours.

Although an official statement is still being expected from either the Joint Task Force (JTF) or the police on the cause of the gunshots, residents believe it was a clash between security forces and the radical Islamic sect; the Boko Haram.

Yobe State government had four days ago reviewed the restriction of movement from 9pm to 6am in Damaturu, while curfew in other towns remained 6pm to 6am daily.

The last time gunshots were heard in Damaturu was 9 months ago when a field commander of the radical sect; Bakaka was killed in a gun duel with JTF at Khandahar area of Damaturu.

 

Former Head Of State Says Prayer Is The Solution To Boko Haram

Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar has called on Nigerians to pray for the members of the Boko Haram sect as Prayers is the only permanent way out of the insurgency.

General Abubakar in a statement noted that it is saddening that despite repeated calls from well-meaning Nigerians, the sect has refused to hearken to the voice of reasoning.

In his words “I implore Nigerians to pray for those people who on their own decided to take to violence as a means of achieving whatever their aim is  so that they can have a change of heart, come to the table, discuss peace and discuss their grievances”.

“In the name of their conscience, in the name of Allah which they claim they profess they should lay down their arms and embrace dialogue to end the circle of violence”.

Recently, the United States declared the leader of the extremist Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, wanted and placed a $7 million bounty on his head.

The U.S. Department of Justice Reward for Justice Programme said it would pay $7million to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the Boko Haram leader.

General Abubakar decried the “senseless killing” by the extremists which has turned a lot of children into orphans. He said this situation should not be allowed to continue.

518 Corps Members Pass Out In Yobe And Borno States

A total of 518 corps members have successfully completed their 2012 batch B service year in the troubled Borno and Yobe States north-east of Nigeria.

At a low key passing out in the two states, Borno recorded 308 corps members while Yobe had 138 members.

At the ceremony in Maiduguri the Borno State capital,Governor Kashim Shettima  commended the “courage and dexterity” of members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for their desire to serve in the state despite the security challenges that forced most corps members to redeployed to other states of the country.

For the exhibition of such courage by the 380 corps members that passed out in Maiduguri, N2.35 million was doled out to the corps members as each of them got N10, 000.

Governor Shettima was represented at the ceremony by the chairman of NYSC governing board in the state, Hajiya Maryam Bukar Abba Ibrahim.

The Borno State coordinator of NYSC, Alhaji Suleiman Shiitu Morai reveals that there was a sharp drop in the total number of corps members to have served in the state from 1, 516 to only 380 passing out, indicating a decrease of 74.7 per cent in NYSC participation and Orientation.

The statistic according to him further reveals that number of females corps members have also surpassed their male counterparts, as a total of 253 of them served, as against only 127 male corps members.

In Yobe state, the NYSC discharge certificates were presented to corps members at the five major towns of the state an event that was supposed to take place in Damaturu the state capital while in Maiduguri, the low-key ceremony was performed at the federal secretariat instead of the usual Kano Road Orientation Camp that can accommodate up to 2, 000corps members at a time.

Corps members were given the option of either serving in the two states or seek redeployment because of the incessant attacks by the dreaded Islamists; the Boko Haram.

State Of Emergency: Adamawa Reduces Working Hours For Civil Servants

The Adamawa Government on Tuesday reduced official working hours in the state by one hour, to ease the difficulties civil servants face since it imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

The Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako

The 6pm-to-6am curfew was imposed last Wednesday to reinforce the current State of Emergency in the state.

The Secretary to the State Government, Kobis Aris,  said workers would now close at 3pm.

He explained in a statement: “Sequel to the declaration of state of emergency in the state by President, Commander-In-Chief and the imposition of 6am to 6pm curfew in the state, civil servants find it difficult to reach home before 6pm.

“Consequently, Governor Murtala Nyako has approved that the state civil service official working hours be adjusted from 8:00 am to 3:00 p.m during the time of the curfew,” it said.

The statement added that the governor was holding consultations with various stakeholders in the state to generate support on the current security situation and ensure the restoration of peace and stability.

JTF Set To Release Boko Haram Suspects From Detention

Consequent upon the directive of the President, the Defence Headquarters is to release from detention a number of persons being held in connection with terrorist activities in Nigeria.

The defence spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade

The move, according to the defence spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s position regarding the requests by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Reconciliation.

He said the measure which is in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s magnanimity to enhance peace efforts in the country, will result in freedom for suspects including all women in custody.

The army spokesman said the details of the directives and those to benefit from this gesture have been communicated to field units and the Joint Task Force.

He said the beneficiaries will be released to the state governors who will be involved in further rehabilitation before these suspects are released to their respective community leaders and relatives.

9 Killed As Suspected Islamists Strike In Yobe

Nine persons have been confirmed dead in a renewed clash between security forces and suspected extremist group, Boko Haram in Babbangida town of Yobe state.

Babbangida is the capital of Tarmuwa Local Government Area and is 50 kilometres north of Damaturu the state capital.

Witnesses said the gunmen stormed the Divisional Police Station of the area at the early hours of Thursday and opened fire at the policemen on duty in an encounter that lasted for almost an hour.

The State Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Rufai, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television in Damaturu, said the suspected Islamic terrorists attacked the Divisional Police Station around 1:00am in a shoot out that lasted for an hour.

Though the police repelled the attack, Mr Rufai confirmed that the commands lost four of its personnel in the encounter while two sustained injuries and are receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

He said the police however killed five of the insurgents and injured many but the hoodlums who were in high number went away with their casualties as the authentic number could not be ascertained.

He recalled that this week has being a challenging one for security men in the state; they will not rest on their oars in the search for a sustained peace in the state.

“We will continue to discharge our responsibility as security men by ensuring that law abiding citizen have a condusive atmosphere to go on with their legitimate business.”

The commissioner called for support from the public towards lasting peace in the state.

The attack is coming four days after the insurgents had attacked men of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Tumbulgi Village of Geidam local Government Area of the state.

It would also be recalled that the insurgents had in December 2001 attacked Babbangida town setting the local Government Secretariat and the Divisional Police Station ablaze.

Christian Youths Oppose Amnesty For Boko Haram

The youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the proposed amnesty for members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, describing the offer as potentially dangerous to Nigeria and Nigerians as it is a clarion call to more terrorism in the country.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, President of the association, Simon Dolly said amnesty for members of Boko Haram amounts to pampering the same people who have terrorised the nation and calling the bluff of those who are victims of the sect members.

He alleged that Christian youths in the north have been marginalised by the advocates of amnesty to the terrorists.

The association has now demanded an unconditional return of all missionary schools to their rightful owners in addition to building Christian vocational centres in the 36 states of the federation.

 

Abuja Bus Park Operatives Beef Up Security

The recent suicide bomb attack which claimed the lives of several individuals in Sabon Gari, Kano state has prompted bus park operatives in and around Abuja to beef up security in a bid to prevent any form of reoccurrence.

Chairman of the Task Force, Jabi Park, Joseph Onu revealed that extra measures have been taken to safeguard lives and properties of their customers.

He also stated that they have secured the assistance of security operatives who conduct thorough searches on buses and passengers.

Kano Blast: Death Toll Rises To 70

The number of casualties from Monday’s bomb blast in a luxurious bus park in Kano state, has risen to 70.

Tobias Idika, the President of the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and a witness to the blast told Channels Television that 70 people have been confirmed dead and residents are still trying to identify their relatives.

According to Mr. Idika, five buses were fully loaded with passengers ready to take off when a golf vehicle suspected to be laden with explosives drove into the park and exploded.

According to Mr Idika, many people died instantly while a yet to be known number of the people were admitted in hospitals across the state for various injuries.

Suicide Bombers

The state’s Commissioner of Police, Musa Daura, while addressing a news conference on Tuesday, claimed that only 22 people were so far discovered dead from the blast while 65 others sustained injuries.

The Police boss revealed that two suicide bombers drove a blue coloured car into luxurious bus park along New Road in Sabon Gari of the city.

He added that investigation is on-going to further ascertain the extent of the casualties.

The affected area has been cordoned off and search operation by the Joint Security Forces is on-going.

The Police commission has called on residents to keep calm and continue their normal businesses as the command will continue to protect their lives and property.

Meanwhile a police woman Hajiya Maimuna who was attached to Zone One police headquarters in the state was shot dead along farm center within the metropolis this morning.

 

 

 

Al Qaeda Calls for New Recruits To Fight France

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has appealed for new recruits from North African Arab countries in its fight against what it said was France’s Crusader campaign in Mali, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring website reported on Sunday.

SITE said the appeal was posted on websites used by AQIM on Saturday, urging Islamist militants being pursued by their governments to join its fighters battling French-led forces in Mali or Algeria.

France launched a ground and air operation in Mali in January to break Islamist rebels’ hold on the region, saying the militants posed a risk to the security of West Africa and Europe.

“The front of the Islamic Maghreb today is in direst need of the support of the sons of Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Mauritania, to thwart the attack of Crusader France and defeat its agents in the region, and empower the Islamic project,” AQIM said, according to a translation of the statement emailed by SITE.

However, AQIM also said that if Islamist youths in North Africa could have a greater impact in their own countries, they should stay to fight secularism and push for the imposition of sharia-based rule.

France’s offensive has wrested northern Mali from Islamist occupation and killed scores of fighters. Other rebels have retreated into mountain caves and desert hiding places stocked with arms and supplies.

The Algerian army in January killed at least 32 al-Qaeda- linked militants in an assault to end a siege at a desert gas plant in which 23 hostages were killed, many of them foreigners.

FG Wants Boko Haram Insurgency To Continue – El Rufai

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai has accused the Federal Government  of wanting the Boko Haram insurgency to continue for selfish reasons.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr El-Rufai faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement suggesting that members of the Boko Haram group are ghosts.

He said, “over a thousand Boko Haram operatives are in the custody of the SSS here in Abuja,” hence the Government cannot claim to not know who the terrorists are. He added that he knows the government has a lot of information about the Islamist group.

“What is lacking is the will to address this issue. I think the government just wants this to continue because it is profitable for the security agencies to have huge budgets, most of which is stolen.” He said.

The former minister also said that the government which has over time requested the help of people such as himself, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Borno Elder’s Council, in talking to the extremist group has also accused them of being ‘Boko Haram Sympathisers.’

Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr El-Rufai