Chile President Declares State Of Emergency After Violent Protests

Protesters gesture as the Macul Metro station burns during a mass fare-dodging protest in Santiago, on October 19, 2019. JAVIER TORRES / AFP

 

Chile’s president declared a state of emergency in Santiago Friday night and gave the military responsibility for security after a day of violent protests over an increase in the price of metro tickets.

Throughout Friday, protestors clashed with riot police in several parts of the capital and the subway system was shut after attacks on stations in some of the worst violence the city has seen in years.

At least 16 buses were torched and a dozen metro stations totally destroyed.

Around midnight President Sebastian Pinera declared a state of emergency and appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense.

“The objective of this state of emergency is very simple but very profound: to ensure public order and peace for the inhabitants of Santiago,” Pinera said in a statement.

The state of emergency is initially for 15 days and restricts freedom of movement and assembly. Due to the emergency, the National Football Association has suspended matches this weekend.

General Iturriaga said the military would patrol major trouble spots in the city of seven million but would not impose a curfew at present.

“We are not going to restrict any personal freedom for now,” he said.

Violent clashes escalated as night fell and the headquarters of the ENEL Chile power company and a Banco Chile branch, both in the city center, were set on fire and several metro stations hit with Molotov cocktails. The ENEL tower blaze was put out with no one injured, firefighters said.

Barricades were erected in several parts of the city and masked protestors armed with sticks and stones clashed with riot police, who repelled them with water cannon and tear gas.

Residents in many districts of Santiago banged their pots in a show of support for the protestors.

 

Attacks on Metro Stations

The unrest started as a fare-dodging protest mainly by students against the hike in metro ticket prices, which increased from 800 to 830 peso ($1.13 to $1.17) for peak-hour travel, following a 20 peso rise in January.

The fare hike was blamed on rising oil prices and a weaker peso.

There had been several fare-dodging actions in recent days, organized on social media, but the protests escalated Friday, tapping into general discontent among many Chileans amid an economic slowdown and calls for reforms to labor and tax laws and the pension system.

Attacks on metro stations forced the closure of the entire subway system — the key form of public transport in the congested and polluted city, carrying three million passengers a day.

“The entire network is closed due to riots and destruction that prevent the minimum security conditions for passengers and workers,” the metro operator said on Twitter, after attacks against nearly all the 164 stations where many gates and turnstiles were destroyed.

The Santiago Metro, at 140 kilometers (90 miles) the largest and most modern in South America, is expected to remain closed this weekend and could reopen gradually next week.

Closure of the metro forced many Santiago residents to walk home, sometimes long distances, resulting in scenes of chaos.

Pinera slammed the protestors as criminals.

“This desire to break everything is not a protest, it’s criminal,” he said in a radio interview.

On Thursday, 133 people had been arrested for causing damage to metro stations, estimated at up to 500 million peso ($700,000).

Two Killed As Spanish Military Plane Crashes

 

A light Spanish air force aircraft crashed Wednesday into the sea off the southeastern coast, killing its pilot and his student, the air force said.

The propeller plane was on a training flight when it crashed into the Mediterranean near the coastal town of San Javier in the region of Murcia, it said in a tweet. The plane belonged to military training academy.

San Javier city hall ordered area beaches to be closed until further notice in the wake of the accident.

Last month a military flight instructor died after his small jet crashed at sea in the same area.

He was able to eject before the plane hit the water but his remains were later found.

AFP

Security Threats: US Pledges More Support For Nigerian Air Force

 

 

The United States of America (USA) Government has again assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of its continued support in combating emerging security threats in the Country.

This assurance was given on Wednesday by the Adjutant General California National Guard, Major General David Baldwin, when he paid a courtesy call on the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at Headquarters NAF Abuja.

The Adjutant General reiterated the commitment of the US Military towards strengthening the existing Military-to-Military partnership as well as in ensuring the efficient execution of the contract between the Governments of Nigeria and the USA for the delivery of 12 Super Tucano aircraft to the NAF.

He added that the US Military would also be willing to further collaborate with the NAF in the areas of Air-Ground Integration, intelligence gathering, sharing and pilot training as well as capacity development for cyber warfare, amongst others.

READ ALSO: Three Killed As Troops Rid Borno Village Of Terrorists

He also noted that the story of the successes recorded in the counter insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast of Nigeria would not be complete without due mention of the support and contributions of the US Military and Government to Nigeria.

In his view, he said it was in the interest of the International Community to have a secure and stable Nigeria, given the devastating effects a destabilized Nigeria would have on West Africa and Africa as a whole.

Air Marshal Abubakar, who further solicited for the support of the US Military to achieve the establishment of an Air-Ground Integration School in Kaduna, also lauded the magnanimity of the US Military for training several NAF pilots, including the first Nigerian female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, who, he said, would be winged sometime in the month of October.

The CAS also solicited assistance for the provision of spares and technical support in maintenance of C-130 Hercules aircraft, noting that the NAF had conducted in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on 2 aircraft and would soon commence work on the third one.

He also stated that the US could still support with additional capability to enhance the process and CAS equally intimated the Adjutant General on the NAF’s preparedness to receive the Super Tucano aircraft.

However, as partners, Nigeria and the California National Guard have had over 100 Military-to-Military bilateral engagements including: Military Intelligence, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Training, Combat Medic, Military Aviation as well as Military Law and Disaster Response/Emergency Management.

US Military Probes Reported Downing Of Drone In Yemen

 

The US military said Wednesday it is investigating reports that one of its drones was destroyed by Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen, amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The US Central Command said in a statement the drone was operating “in authorized airspace over Yemen,” but did not confirm that it had been shot down.

“We have been clear that Iran’s provocative actions and support to militants and proxies, like the Iranian-backed Huthis, pose a serious threat to stability in the region and our partners,” it said.

The Huthis on Tuesday circulated images on Twitter showing a ball of fire in the night, which they said was a US drone shot down over Damar, a community southeast of Sanaa.

They said they destroyed the drone with a rebel-made missile. They also posted images of pieces of an aircraft with English lettering on it.

AFP

‘Don’t Spare Bandits’, President Buhari Orders Military

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military not to spare bandits in their efforts to restore peace and security in the country.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president said this while addressing 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport.

“This group was formed by the military to secure the geo-political zone from the activities of bandits. Fundamentally, it is your responsibility to secure the country.

“As the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I believe you are capable of doing it. I don’t think you should spare any bandit. Identify and eliminate them. Pursue them anywhere you can find them and eliminate them,’’ he said.

“Nigeria deserves peace. The rainy season is good and we are already achieving food security, but we need peace. The money saved from food importation will be used to purchase arms for operations”.

Read Also: Buhari Returns To Abuja From Daura

Flanked by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, the president assured the troops that the Federal Government will provide all the necessary support for the restoration of peace in the country.

 

“We will give you all the right equipment so that you can deal with them with despatch. I appreciate all your efforts but you can do more. I don’t want any bandit spared,” he said.

He, however, urged them to remain diligent in the discharge of their duties.

According to him, all those in office are being sustained by the ordinary people, and the security agencies owe the people a duty to protect their lives and property.

Two Dead In Explosion At Russian Military Base

A picture taken on November 9, 2011 shows buildings at a military base in the small town of Nyonoska in Arkhangelsk region. Photo: AFP

 

Two people were killed Thursday in an explosion at a military base used for missile tests in the far north of Russia, the defence ministry said in a statement to news agencies.

Authorities in the nearby city of Severodvinsk said radiation levels briefly rose after the blast, but the defence ministry said levels were “normal”.

“During the test of a liquid propellant jet engine, an explosion occurred and the equipment caught fire,” the ministry said of the incident in the small town of Nyonoska.

“As a result of the accident, six defence ministry employees and a developer were injured. Two specialists died of their wounds,” it said.

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“There’s no radioactive contamination,” a spokeswoman for the Arkhangelsk region where the base is located told AFP.

Severodvinsk authorities said on their website that automatic radiation detection sensors in the city “recorded a brief rise in radiation levels. Currently the levels have normalised” at 11:50 am (0850 GMT) .

The accident is the second to hit the Russian military in less than a week, after a fire broke out in an ammunition depot in Siberia on Monday, causing huge explosions.

At least one person was killed and eight injured while thousands were evacuated from their homes following the blaze at the depot in the Krasnoyarsk region.

US To Accelerate Missile Program After INF Treaty Exit

 

The United States is to accelerate its development of new cruise and ballistic missile systems following its withdrawal from a nuclear treaty with Russia, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Accusing Russia of “sustained and repeated violations” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the US had already begun work to develop “mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems.”

As the United States had “scrupulously complied” with its obligations to the 1987 treaty until its formal withdrawal, “these programs are in the early stages,” Esper said in a statement.

“Now that we have withdrawn, the Department of Defense will fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles as a prudent response to Russia’s actions.

“The Department of Defense will work closely with our allies as we move forward in implementing the National Defense Strategy, protecting our national defense and building partner capacity,” he added.

Moscow has said that Washington is making a “serious mistake” pulling out of the treaty, insisting that the US had abandoned the agreement for its own gain rather than because of alleged Russian violations.

AFP

NATO ‘Concerned’ By Turkey Receiving Russian Missiles

 

NATO said Friday it was “concerned” by Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system after Ankara took delivery of its first batch.

The alliance has repeatedly warned Turkey that the Russian system is incompatible with other NATO weapons systems, not least the F-35 fighter jet.

“We are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system,” a NATO official told AFP.

“Interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to NATO for the conduct of our operations and missions.”

The US fears that if NATO member Turkey integrates the S-400 into its defences, there is a risk that sensitive data about the F-35, a new generation multi-role stealth fighter, could leak back to the Russians.

President Donald Trump’s pick for Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, confronted the Turkish defence minister about the deal on the sidelines of a NATO meeting last month.

Washington has threatened to expel Turkey from its F-35 programme, giving Ankara until July 31 to cancel the S-400 purchase or have its pilots kicked off the training course and expelled from the US.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to back down and said he is confident Turkey will not face US sanctions.

Turkey Receives First Russian Missile Delivery, Risking US Ire

In this file photo taken on August 22, 2017 Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system is displayed at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017. ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP

 

Turkey received the first batch of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system on Friday in a move expected to raise tensions with the United States, which has repeatedly warned against the purchase.

The delivery at an air base in the Turkish capital Ankara comes after Washington warned this week that there would be “real and negative” consequences if Turkey bought the defence system.

“The delivery of the first shipment of parts of the S-400 long range regional air missile defence system began as of July 12, 2019 to Murted air base in Ankara,” Turkey’s defence ministry said in a statement.

It was not immediately known where the defence system would be deployed or when it would be operational.

“It will be operational in a manner determined by relevant authorities once the system is entirely ready,” Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) said in a statement, adding that the delivery of the system’s other parts would continue “in the coming days”.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed the delivery to the TASS news agency.

TASS also quoted a Russian military-diplomatic source as saying that another plane carrying S-400 parts will depart for Turkey “in the near future”, while a third delivery consisting of 120 guided missiles will be shipped by sea “most likely at the end of the summer”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday that “everything is happening in strict accordance with the agreements and signed contracts, all obligations are being carried out”.

Potential US sanctions

The US State Department has said Turkish officials are fully aware of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law passed by Congress in 2017 that mandates sanctions for any “significant” purchases of weapons from Russia.

Washington has threatened to remove Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet programme, giving Ankara until July 31 to cancel the S-400 purchase or have its pilots kicked off the training course and expelled from the US.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting US counterpart Donald Trump last month that he was confident Ankara would not face sanctions for buying the Russian missile system.

Erdogan told Trump during their meeting on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Japan last month that former US president Barack Obama did not allow Ankara to buy Patriot missiles — an equivalent of the S-400s.

Trump appeared to be convinced, saying: “You can’t do business that way. It’s not good.”

‘Game-changer’

The first parts of the Russian missile system arrived on two planes at Ankara’s Murted air base, Turkish media reported. Turkey’s air force changed the name of the base from Akinci to Murted after it was at the centre of a 2016 failed coup.

The delivery comes two days after US ambassador-designate to Turkey, David Satterfield, arrived in Ankara.

But despite the US threats, Turkish officials repeatedly insisted the agreement with Russia was a “done deal”.

“We say this each time. This is a done deal. The process continues. We are coordinating this work, whether permission for planes, personnel,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara on Friday.

“There are no problems, the process will continue in a healthy manner.”

The US and NATO have said that the S-400 is incompatible with equipment used by other members of the alliance.

Nick Heras, of the Center for a New American Security, said the S-400 system would be a “game changer” for Turkey’s air defence strategy in region surrounded by actors with well-developed air forces.

“It is no secret that Erdogan is positioning Turkey to be a ‘Eurasian’ power, which means that Turkey needs to balance its relationship with China and Russia as much as it does with the United States and NATO,” he told AFP.

“Turkey is not guaranteed to be in the American camp forever.”

AFP

Army Speaks About Recent Attacks On Military Bases In North East

Army Speaks About Recent Attacks On Military Bases In North East
A file photo of troops. Source: [email protected]

 

The Nigerian Army has reacted to the reports of recent attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on some communities and military bases in the north-eastern part of the country.

The General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Army, Brigadier General Abdulmalik Bulama, responded during an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Wednesday.

Brigadier General Bulama, who did not deny the attacks, described them as mere publicity stunts of the insurgents to stay relevant by attacking targets to keep them in the news.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Receives Ghanas Akufo-Addo In Abuja

He, however, insisted that the military was winning the war against the terrorists, despite attacks targeted at soft targets and the military.

Brigadier General Abdulmalik Bulama

 

According to the GOC, this is evident by the reclaimed territories and offensive against the insurgents by the military in the last four years.

He said, The war against terrorism is not a war that you can clinically finish within a given minute or a week or a day; so it is that understanding that will tell you.

But like I always say, you need to weigh it against where we were especially from 2015 till today.

The pre-2015, virtually every part of Borno State was under the hold of the Boko Haram but today, can we say it is so? Bulama questioned.

Brigadier General Bulama also dismissed reports of dislodgement of military bases as fake news, propaganda and an exaggeration of the reality on the ground.

He spoke to Channels Television in Dikwa during a visit to the 22 Brigade where troops were hosted to a Sallah get together by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.

Buratai was represented at the event by the Head of Logistics of the Army Headquarters, Major General Enobong Okon.

In the last 72 hours, there had been reports of insurgents attacking local communities and two military bases at Delwa in Damboa Local Government Area (LGA), and another in Marte LGA of Borno State.

Military Dissociates Self From Call To Topple Buhari’s Administration

Military Dissociates Self From Call To Topple Buhari’s Administration
President Muhammadu Buhari presides over security meeting with service chiefs at the State House in Abuja on March 5, 2019.

 

The Defence Headquarters has distanced the military from a purported document in circulation, calling for the overthrow of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

It condemned the said document on Tuesday in a statement by the Deputy Director of Defence Information, Navy Captain Muhammed Wabi.

The DHQ stated that the document was sponsored by a group, Nigerian Continuity and Progress (NCP).

According to it, the NCP is calling for support of a revolution to oust the current democratically elected government and in its place establish an illegitimate interim government.

Insisting that it would not be misled into any action that can undermine the nation’s democracy, the DHQ reaffirmed the loyalty of the military to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

It also called on relevant government agencies to apprehend the sponsors of the document and bring them to book.

Read the full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS ON THE CIRCULATION OF SEDITIOUS PUBLICATIONS

The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) wishes to dissociate itself from the rascality and intentions as espoused in a document being circulated by a faceless group named Nigerian Continuity and Progress (NCP) calling for support of a revolution to oust the current democratically elected government and in its place establish an illegitimate interim government.

The AFN outrightly condemns the undemocratic and demonic actions of the author of the document. Accordingly, members of the public are enjoined to discountenance the content of the documents being circulated by NCP and equally condemned in totality, the call to derail our hard earned democracy.

It should be noted that the AFN is very mindful of its constitutional responsibilities and will not be misled into any act that will undermine democracy as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 as amended.

The AFN remains unflinchingly loyal to the Constitution, as well as to President Muhammadu Buhari, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, all relevant Law Enforcement Agency have been advised to unravel those behind the seditious document for appropriate actions.

Venezuelan General Calls For Military Uprising Against Maduro

President Maduro

 

A Venezuelan air force general has called on his country’s armed forces to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro, who remains in power with military support despite a sweeping economic crisis.

“It’s time to rise up, it’s time to fight … it’s time that the armed forces became aware,” General Ramon Rangel said in a video appeal issued Sunday on social media.

Rangel — who appeared in civilian clothes and whose location is unknown — is the latest of several military figures to call on Venezuela’s military to abandon Maduro.

Another Air Force general, Francisco Yanez, pledged his allegiance to opposition leader Juan Guaido on February 2.

READ ALSO: China To Impose $60bn Worth Of US Goods From June 1

Rangel did not however specifically call on the military to switch their allegiance to Guaido, who is recognized as interim president by much of the international community.

The 35-year-old National Assembly speaker, who organized a failed uprising on April 30, has repeatedly called on the armed forces to abandon Maduro.

A source close to Venezuela’s military told AFP that Rangel has not been on active duty “for years,” and at one point was the manager of a Venezuelan state company in Cuba.

The commander of the Air Force, General Pedro Juliac, denounced Rangel as a traitor on Twitter.

Juliac’s tweet carried a photo of Rangel with a cross over it, and the phrase: “Traitor of the people and of the Revolution.”

“Those without morals will never be able to damage the country, let alone the Bolivarian military aviation. We will win – Long Live the Revolution.”

AFP