Portugal Interior Minister Resigns After Wildfires Kill Over 100 People

 

Portugal’s Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa resigned Wednesday as criticism mounts over the government’s handling of a series of deadly forest fires that killed more than 100 people in four months.

Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa accepted her resignation, his office said.

On Sunday, a series of deadly wildfires broke out in the centre and north of the country which killed 41 people and injured another 71, the civil protection agency said.

Similar huge blazes in June killed 64 people and injured 250 near the central Pedrogao Grande region, in what were the deadliest wildfires in the country’s history.

As the toll mounted on Monday, a small rightwing party had called for the minister to step down. Costa initially resisted the demand but by Wednesday appeared to have backed down.

After the tragedy in June, the government came under mounting criticism for failing to develop a coherent strategy to fight forest fires, which has further sharpened over its inability to prevent another devastating disaster this weekend.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds gathered in Lisbon under the pouring rain to demonstrate their anger over the government’s failings, shouting “Shame!” and “Resign!” in a protest organised through Facebook.

“A hundred people are dead and nobody is taking responsibility… We need answers!” one demonstrator said on national television.

On Monday, Costa reaffirmed his pledge to prevent new tragedies by carrying out “fundamental reforms” in forest management and firefighting.

But a day later, conservative President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called on the socialist government to “bear all the consequences of this tragedy”.

The CDS-PP, which had called for the minister’s resignation, has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government over its failure to prevent the fires, but it looks set to be easily overcome by the Socialist majority.

No date has been set for the vote.

“The Assembly needs to clarify whether or not it wishes to keep the government in place,” he said, noting that if the motion failed, the government would have a more solid base from which to carry out the necessary reforms.

Portugal on Tuesday began three days of national mourning for the victims.

AFP

Gunmen Kill 10 In Port Harcourt

Residents Cry Out Over Insecurity In Calabar

Residents of Mgbosimiri and AGIP axis in Port-Harcourt the Rivers State capital were jolted from their sleep in the early hours of today following the invasion of their community by gunmen.

The gunmen during the invasion killed 10 people, including a couple.

The incident, which happened at about 4:00 a.m, caused panic in the community as residents scampered for safety.

The police public relations officer in the state, Mr Nnamdi Omoni who confirmed the incident said that the gunmen stormed a slaughter market in the community in the wee hours of the morning and opened fire on persons most of whom were market women.

The traders were said to have slept over at the market to enable them to rise up early for the day’s business.

He said the motive for the killings is not clear yet adding that some of those killed may not have been the target of the gunmen.

Omoni also assured that the police will do everything possible to get the perpetrators.

The Police Command has however deployed officers and men to the area.

Gunmen Kill UNIBEN Professor

Suspected Militants Kill Army Captain, Six Others In Ikorodu
File photo

A Professor of Engineering at the University of Benin, Professor Paul Otasowie, has been reportedly killed by some gunmen.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Michael Osasuyi, confirmed the development to journalists.

According to him, the senior lecturer was shot dead by the armed men in front of his residence on Ekehuan road in Oredo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday evening.

Although Channels Television cannot authoritatively tell if the incident is a failed kidnap attempt, an armed robbery or assassination.

But eyewitnesses say that the death of the learned scholar arose following a failed attempt kidnap before he was allegedly shot.

It was however gathered that the news of his death threw the university community in a state of mourning.
Sources say the deceased was until his death, a former director of the university’s Industrial Training and Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme.

It will be recalled that Otasowie’s gruesome murder comes a week the abduction of a popular musician, Mr. Joseph Osayomore and the head of Ogba Zoo and Nature Park, Mr. Andrew Ehanire, and a Catholic priest, Fr. Lawrence Adorolo, three weeks ago respectively.

While Mr. Osayomore was kidnapped in Egor Local Government, Fr. Adorolo was abducted along Auchi-Okene highway at about 6pm while returning from Igarra in Akoko-Edo local government where he attended the ‘Month Mind’ of the oldest Priest of the Auchi Diocese, late Fr. Lawrence Balogun at St. John Apostolic Church, Igarra areas of the state.

Osayomore was said to have been whisked away by the abductors at Orovie village, off Upper Ekehuan road, at about 10pm on last Tuesday.

The Catholic Priest was reportedly said to have been released by his captors on Wednesday without the payment of any ransom.

The Edo State Police Command spokesman, DSP Moses Nkombe, confirmed the release and said the police was on the trail of the kidnappers.

Mr. Ehanire, who is a brother to the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, is yet to be released, as it was gathered that his family members had begun special prayers for the speedy release.

 

President Buhari Condemns Terrorist Attack In Florida

buhari-sadPresident Muhammadu Buhari has condemned Sunday’s terrorist attack on the Pulse Night Club, Orlando, Florida, describing it as ‘‘criminal’’ and ‘‘cowardly’’. 

In a letter to the Ambassador of the United States in Nigeria, James Entwistle, President Buhari conveyed Nigeria’s heartfelt sympathy to President Barrack Obama and the people of United States of America.

The President also assured the United States of Nigeria’s continued support and cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

‘‘President Buhari extends his most sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims.

‘‘The President condemns such criminal, cowardly attack, wherever it might occur, as an attack on all decent, democratic, peaceful people.

“Every terrorist attack only strengthens Nigeria’s resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States and other countries in the frontline of the war on terror,’’ the letter, which was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari read.

President Buhari also called ‘‘on all peace-loving nations to commit themselves whole-heartedly to multilateral cooperation and collaborative actions aimed at eradicating the scourge of international terrorism.’’

Various Americans on Monday made statements in connection to the killings that took place in Orlando, central Florida in the United States.

A rampage had occurred on Sunday at a gay nightclub, with at least 50 people killed and 53 more wounded.

In his White House briefing, President Barack Obama said Americans were bonded in grief, outrage and “resolve to defend our people”, after “an act of terror and an act of hate”.Orlando Shooting

He described the incident as the ‘worst mass shooting in U.S. history’ and ordered that the American flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the attack.

Obama, Biden Others React To Orlando Killings

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, OrlandoVarious Americans on Monday made statements in connection to the killings that took place in Orlando, central Florida in the United States.

A rampage had occurred on Sunday at a gay nightclub, with at least 50 people killed and 53 more wounded.

In his White House briefing, President Barack Obama said Americans were bonded in grief, outrage and “resolve to defend our people”, after “an act of terror and an act of hate”.Orlando Shooting

He described the incident as the ‘worst mass shooting in U.S. history’ and ordered that the American flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the attack.

In a statement by his spokesman, Vice President Joe Biden “offered his prayers for all those killed and injured in the shooting and sends his condolences to all the families and loved ones of the victims”.

“Grudge In His Heart”

US presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, on her part said the attack was a tragedy that required a serious response.

Also reacting to the shooting was the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus who issued a statement saying they were “horrified by the tragic shooting”.

Seddique Mateen, the father of the attacker, Omar Mateen, said he did not know that his son had a “grudge in his heart”.

Omar was shot dead by the police.

Mr Mateen said he did not understand why his son carried out the shooting at the Pulse nightclub.

He had earlier said his son was angered after seeing two men kissing in Miami.

According to the BBC, in a statement posted online and addressed to people in his native Afghanistan, Seddique Mateen said his son was “a very good boy”, who had a wife and a child.

“I don’t know what caused it,” he said. “I never figured out that he had a grudge in his heart….I am grief-stricken.”