Russian authorities on Saturday detained more than 700 people at protests against the partial mobilisation ordered by President Vladimir Putin this week, according to an independent monitoring group.
Police monitoring group OVD-Info counted at least 726 people detained in 32 cities across Russia, nearly half of them in Moscow, at rallies following the partial mobilisation designed to bolster Russia’s operation in Ukraine.
There was a large police presence in the central areas of Chistye Prudy in Moscow, an AFP journalist witnessed.
Most protestors walked by or were standing still — individually or in small groups — to avoid being spotted and detained by the police.
The ceremonial processions taking Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to London’s Westminster Abbey and then towards her burial place at Windsor reflect the ancient traditions of the British monarchy.
Hauled by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy sailors will use ropes to pull the queen’s lead-lined coffin mounted on a gun carriage from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Their comrades in a team of 142 sailors will walk alongside to act as a brake if necessary.
This tradition dates back to Queen Victoria’s funeral in February 1901.
The horses meant to haul the gun carriage weighing more than two tons panicked and began kicking, threatening to drop the coffin.
One of the queen’s relatives, Prince Louis of Battenberg, a Royal Navy captain, suggested to the new king, Edward VII, that this problem could be avoided by replacing horses with sailors.
Nine years later when Edward VII himself died, this idea was put into practice again and it has since become an unchanging tradition at state funerals.
Pallbearers in bearskins
Eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards will have the task of carrying the queen’s coffin from Westminster Hall to the gun carriage outside, and then into Westminster Abbey.
One of the most ancient in the British army, the regiment is among five infantry regiments that make up the Queen’s (now King’s) Life Guard.
The regiment’s soldiers normally wear tall bearskin hats, a uniform they copied from the grenadiers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, defeated at Waterloo in 1815.
The soldiers will be accompanied by Service Equerries to the Queen, attendants who assist the royals in carrying out public duties.
Guard of Honour
Three regiments will play a particularly important role in the procession, marching very close to the queen’s coffin.
The Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest military unit in the British Army created in 1485, and the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms are two former bodyguard units for the royals that now perform only a ceremonial role.
The Yeomen of the Guard always wear a red-and-gold uniform dating back to the Tudor era (16th century).
One of their best-known activities is searching the Palace of Westminster for gunpowder before the State Opening of Parliament.
This annual ritual commemorates the Gunpowder Plot, a failed attempt led by Guy Fawkes to blow up King James I and parliament in 1605.
They will be followed by members of the Royal Company of Archers, who acted as bodyguards for Elizabeth II whenever she was in Scotland.
Some detachments from other regiments in Britain and from the armed forces of the Commonwealth, a group of countries headed by the British monarch, will rejoin the funeral procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner near Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth II’s royal house
While members of the royal family led by the new King Charles III will follow the casket, following them will be members of the queen’s royal household, including the most senior officer of the royal household, the lord chamberlain.
In front of them will come the pipers and drummers of the Scottish and Irish regiments, and the Brigade of Gurkhas made up of soldiers from Nepal who are part of the armed forces. There will also be 200 Royal Air Force musicians.
Around 6,000 soldiers, sailors and air crew from the British armed forces will take part in the procession, Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Tony Radakin told the BBC on Sunday.
At several points along the route they will perform a royal salute, for example when they pass the Victoria Memorial commemorating the queen.
“For all of us, this is our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen and it’s our first prominent duty for His Majesty King Charles,” he said.
The military has outlined its recent successes against terrorists and other criminals across the country.
In a press briefing on Thursday, military spokesperson, Musa Danmadami, said scores of terrorists in Borno, Yobe, Abuja and other locations were neutralised between August 11 to 25.
See the full text of the military briefing below:
PRESS BRIEFING BY DIRECTORATE OF DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS ON ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS HELD AT DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS NEW CONFERENCE ROOM ON 25 AUGUST 2022 1. Bi-weekly press briefing on the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security agencies from the various operational theatres in the 6 geopolitical zones of the Country. It is my pleasure also to welcome you today being my first briefing as the new Director Defence Media Operations. The highlights of today’s brief will cover the period from 11 – 25 August 2022. NORTH EAST ZONE 2. Troops in the North East theatre of operation conducted several operations in Gwashiri, Pulka-Kirawa axis, Amanwa village, Tungushe,, Bama town, Mulgwai village, Kwatara, Gubio, Kekeno, Dogon Chuku, Miringa Market and Monguno town all in Borno State as well as, Buni Yadi – Jauro Bashin in Yobe State. During the operations, troops neutralized 12 terrorists, recovered 18 AK47 rifles, 1 RGP, 2 FN rifles, 83 rounds of 7.62mm special, 13 bicycles, 1 golf car, large quantity of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa, bags of maize, 3 grenade, 4 mobile phones, 47 rustled cattle, 6 donkeys, 20 cartons of super cereal, 51 Jerricans of groundnut oil, 2 cartons of cigarettes, medical suppliers, food stuffs and 40 pairs of male and female clothing. Troops also arrested 8 suspected terrorists, 4 logistic suppliers, rescued 4 civilians and the sum of N1,005,360.00 cash. Also as troops of Operation HADIN KAI continue to consolidates on their success against the terrorists more of them surrendered to own troops within the period under review, a total of 1,652 BHT members and their families have surrendered to own troops at different location. The number comprises of 320 adult males, 442 women and 890 children. 3. In a related development, the air component of Operation HADIN KAI on 20August 2022 carried out strikes on terrorists enclaves in Sambisa forest and the Tumbuns in Borno State with various degree of success recorded. Acting on credible intelligence about the gathering of terrorists at a location revealed to be the enclave of a notorious terrorist being hosted by a top ranking commander, believed to be the Islamic State of West Africa Province leader of Sambisa forest who took over the leadership after the demise of Abubakar Shekau. Consequently, the air strikes was carried out on the enclave. Feedback revealed that 25 of the terrorists were neutralized in the strikes with 18 serious wounded. Among those neutralize was a high profile commander known as Uzaifa, who was the ‘MINZIR’, which connotes the fourth in line of the terrorist leadership structure. 4. A similar air strikes was also conducted in the Tumbuns near Lake Chad at a location revealed to be the training camp of the terrorists. Report gathered revealed that scores of the terrorists were neutralized in the strikes. All recovered items and rescued civilians were handed over to the relevant authorities while the surrendered Boko Haram Terrorist members and their families were profiled for further action. NORTH CENTRAL ZONE 5. Troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH have sustained the momentum to deny terrorists freedom of action in their Joint Operation Area. Consequently, between 13 – 18 August 2022 the air component of Operation WHIRL PUNCH conducted air interdiction operations at a terrorists enclaved in Kurebe in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. The air strike was on the terrorists who had assembled for a meeting hosted by a notorious terrorist leader Aminu Duniya, Report revealed that the air strikes resulted in the neutralization of several of the terrorists. 6. In a related development, on 13 August 2022 troops of Guards Brigade raided some suspected terrorist hideout at Deidei Abattoir in Abuja Municipal Area Council and Dupka village in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. During the raid operation 8 suspected terrorist were arrested, 5 AK47 rifles and 3 pump action gun were recovered, while large quantities of items suspected to be cannabis sativa, 3 machetes, knives among other items were also recovered. Similarly, between 14 – 17 August 2022, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in conjunction with vigilantes and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp conducted operational activities at Mum village, Garga District, in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State, as well as Mariri Town, Kauru Local Government Area and Zango Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. During the operations, 21 suspected terrorist, 7 suspected kidnappers and 3 suspected vandals were arrested at different locations, while 7 terrorists were neutralized with 12 civilians rescued from the kidnappers den. Items recovered from the suspects include 3 motorcycles, 8 mobile phones, some quantity of illicit drugs and the sum of N60,000.00 7. Furthermore, between 14 – 18 August 2022 troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE in conjunction with the Department of State Service conducted raid operation at bandits camps at Ankya Village, ZakiBiam town in Ukum Local Government Area, Mahaga Community in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, as well as Jamata in KotonKarfe Local Government Area of Kogi State. During the operation a notorious bandit identified as Timothy Nwagaga (aka Ambiju) was arrested at Zaki Biam town in Benue State. It was revealed that the suspect is a gang member of a notorious bandit know as Anhie (aka short man) who has been on troops wanted list. In the same vein, a wanted gun runner known as Naziru Mohammed was arrested at Murtala Mohammed Bridge, in Koton Karfe Local Government Area of Kogi State. items recovered during the operation include 1,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, large sum of money, 2 mobile phones, 1 tricycle and 1 motorcycle. All recovered items have been handed over to the relevant authorities for further action. NORTH WEST ZONE 8. Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI recorded a major success in the ongoing fight against terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in this zone. On 13 August 2022, in a coordinated joint operation by the land and air component, terrorist enclaves around Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State were engaged. Intelligence revealed that the terrorists had planned to attack villages within the vicinity where there were operating. Consequently, own troops leveraged on the report and conducted clearance operation against the terrorists that resulted in the neutralization of several of the terrorists while other fled with severe gunshot wound. Items recovered include 2 GPMGs, 3 AK47 rifles and 7 motorcycles. Furthermore, troops raided terrorist hideout at Bida village market in Chikun Local Government Area, Zaria-Ikara road around Kwari village in Ikara Local Government Area, Kaya-Giwa in Giwa Local Government Area, Kabode forest in Kachia Local Government Area all in Kaduna State. During the operations, troops arrested 37 suspected terrorists, recovered 11 motorcycles, 8 cutlasses, 3 mobile phones and rescued 8 civilians. 9. In a related development between 16 – 18 August 2022, the air component of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted air interdiction operations at Rugu Forest in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State and within Zamfara State as well as Dukura, Ungushi and Umbutu villages in Kebbi Local Government Area of Sokoto State on terrorist hideouts and enclaves. The air interdiction operation was in response to intelligence report on the gathering of terrorists in the forest. Consequently, the hideouts and enclaves were bombarded and several of the terrorists were neutralized. While troops on patrol engaged terrorist along Magani road within of Zamfara State and neutralized a notorious terrorists commander identified as Sojan Madagwal who was responsible for various attacks and road blocks along Gusau road and also on the wanted list of security agencies with members of his gang. During the operation troops recovered large quantity of different calibres of ammunitions and 2 motorcycles. Similarly, on 18 August 2022, the air component conducted another air interdiction operation on terrorist hideouts around Damba at Kaso Hills, Kajuru, and various locations within its environs in Kaduna State. During the operation troops sighted terrorist’s with large herds of cattle trying to escape on sighting own troop. Subsequently, they were struck with scores of the terrorists neutralized. Also, the air component responded to a distress call on the activities of several terrorists on motorcycles convoy moving from Udawa to Kurebe in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The terrorists were engaged in an airstrike while those who fled to near by bushes were mopped up by the land component. All recovered items were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action. SOUTH SOUTH ZONE 10. Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued the war against oil theft and illegal bunkering and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta to sustain a conducive environment for economic activities to thrive in the South South region of the Country. Consequently, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE in the conduct of operations, OCTOPUS GRIP and Operation DAKAR DA BARAWO conducted operational activities in creeks, villages, communities and towns. During the operation troops also discovered and destroyed several illegal refining sites, which includes, 493 dugout pits, 512 storage tanks, 413 cooking ovens and 59 wooden boats. Also, troops recovered 4 tankers, 2 speed boats, one generator, one outboard engine, 14 pumping machines, 3 AK47 rifles, Twenty Five Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy Seven and Fifteen (25,977.15) Barrel of crude oil, Three Million Two Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand One Hundred and Thirty (3,236,130) litres of Automotive Gas Oil, Twenty Six Thousand Five Hundred and Seventy Five (26,575) litres of Premium Motor Spirit and Two Thousand (2,000) litres of Dual Purpose Kerosine. Troops also arrested 21 pipelines vandals. All recovered items and apprehended oil thieves were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action. 11. Cumulatively, a total value of products denied oil thieves from the period in review are One Billion Three Hundred and Thirteen Million Twenty Thousand Two Hundred Forty Two Naira (N1,313,020,242.00) only of crude oil, Two Billion Three Hundred Seventy Four Million Six Hundred and Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Seventy One Naira (N2,374,607,471.00) only of AGO, Four Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty Five Naira (N4,650,625.00) only of PMS and Fifteen Million Nine Hundred and Eighty One Thousand Naira (N15,981,000.00) only of DPK. Consequently, a grand total of Three Billion Seven Hundred and Eight Million Two Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand Three Hundred and Thirty Eight Naira (N3,708,259,338.00) only was denied the oil thieves. SOUTH EAST ZONE 12. Troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies have sustained their operation to curb the illegal activities of the Proscribe Indigenous People of Biafra in the South East zone and restore normalcy to the region. Consequently, between 15 – 21 August 2022, the joint security patrol carried out raid and clearance operations in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Anambra State and Abia State and suspected Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network militia camps. During the operations troops arrested one member of the group and recovered one AK42 assault rifle, 6 pump action guns, 1 locally made barretta gun, 5 locally fabricated doubled barrel guns, 98 live cartridges, 2 machetes, 2 axe, 20 motorcycles, a pair of police camouflage uniform, 1 military camouflage uniform and a ballistics vest. SOUTH WEST ZON 13. Troops of Operation ATWASE in the conduct of Operation SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to clamp down on smugglers of contraband in the borders area, bushes and waterside in Ogun State and Kwara State. Items recovered during the raid operations include 1,542 jerricans of Premium Motor Spirit, 311 bags of 50kg foreign rice and a truck loaded with substances suspected to be cannabis sativa. All recovered items were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service in Ogun State and Kwara State for further necessary action. 14. On a final note, I wish to convey the military high command commendations on the efforts of troops in the various theatres of operation across the Country. The media community is also acknowledged for their partnership and continued cooperation with the military and other security agencies in our quest to return peace to our dear Country. Also, the entire populace is hereby appreciated for the support given to the Armed Forces and security agencies in the conduct of their operations while also urging them to continue to provide creditable information on enemies of the state in their locality. MUSA DANMADAMI Major General Director Defence Media Operations 25 August 2022
China staged fresh military drills around Taiwan on Monday, slamming a new visit by United States lawmakers to the island days after a similar trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi triggered a furious response from Beijing.
The unannounced two-day trip by senior members of Congress prompted China to renew its rhetoric that it would “prepare for war” over Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that Beijing’s leaders claim and have vowed to one day seize.
The five-member congressional delegation — led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts — met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to Washington’s de facto embassy in Taipei.
“The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” it said.
Tsai told the lawmakers she wants “to maintain a stable status quo across the Taiwan Strait” and “jointly maintain the prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”, her office said in a statement.
She said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated “the threat that authoritarian states pose to the world order”, according to her office, and also thanked Washington for its support in the face of Chinese military threats.
The bipartisan trip sparked another bellicose response from Beijing, which said it had carried out a fresh round of “combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island” on Monday.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference attempts,” Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s defense ministry, said.
“We warn the US and the DPP authorities: ‘Using Taiwan to contain China’ is doomed to failure,” he added, referring to Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
In a defiant response, Taiwan’s defence ministry vowed to face the latest drills “calmly and seriously and defend national security”.
“Apart from expressing condemnation (of China’s drills), the Ministry of National Defence will comprehensively grasp the movements in the sea and airspace around the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said.
It added that its forces had detected 30 Chinese planes and five ships operating around the strait on Monday. Of those, 15 planes crossed the median line — an unofficial demarcation that Beijing does not recognise.
Monday’s drills followed days of huge exercises around Taiwan in the wake of Pelosi’s visit, which saw Beijing send warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies near the island.
Taipei condemned those drills and missile tests as preparation for an invasion.
China’s Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan but says it will use force if necessary to take the island and bristles at any perceived treatment of it as a sovereign nation state.
That decades-old threat was reiterated in a white paper published last week, when China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.
Taipei has remained defiant throughout the standoff with Beijing, with Premier Su Tseng-chang saying the island welcomed “all countries and friends across the world” who want to support it.
“We shouldn’t be too afraid to do anything, afraid to let visitors come and afraid to let our friends come, just because we have an evil neighbour next door,” he said.
Foreign minister Joseph Wu struck a similar tone after meeting the US delegation on Monday.
“Authoritarian China can’t dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient and shines like a beacon of freedom,” Wu said in a tweet.
Pelosi has stood by her visit which, combined with Beijing’s response, sent tensions in the Taiwan Strait soaring to their highest in decades.
President Joe Biden said the US military was opposed to the trip by his fellow Democrat, who is second in line to the presidency after the vice president.
Congress is constitutionally an equal branch of government in the United States, with lawmakers free to travel where they wish, and Taiwan enjoys bipartisan backing in divided Washington.
The United States switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. But it remains a key ally of Taiwan and maintains de facto diplomatic relations with Taipei.
Washington’s official policy opposes both Taiwan declaring independence and China forcibly changing the island’s status.
It remains deliberately ambiguous about whether it would come to Taiwan’s aid militarily if China invaded.
Visits by senior US officials to Taiwan have happened for decades and even Pelosi’s trip was not without precedent — then-speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich visited in 1997.
But the frequency and profile of US visits has increased both under former president Donald Trump and Biden.
Taiwan has also seen a flurry of delegations visit from Europe and other Western allies in recent years, partly in response to Beijing’s more aggressive stance under Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Taiwan’s army held another live-fire drill Thursday after Beijing ended its largest-ever military exercises around the island and repeated threats to bring the self-ruled democracy under its control.
Beijing has raged at a trip to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected American official to visit in decades — staging days of air and sea drills that raised tensions to their highest level in years.
Taiwan has accused China of using the Pelosi visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion.
Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, told AFP its forces fired howitzers and target flares as part of the defensive drill on Thursday.
The exercise in Taiwan’s southernmost county Pingtung began at 08:30 am (0030 GMT) and lasted about an hour, he said.
Artillery tucked in from the coast was lined up side by side, with armed soldiers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other, a live stream showed.
Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung. Both involved hundreds of troops, the military said.
The military has played down the exercises’ significance, saying they were already scheduled and were not in response to China’s war games.
“We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year,” Lou said, referring to annual drills.
Taiwan routinely stages military drills simulating defence against a Chinese invasion.
On Thursday, Taipei’s army said it detected 21 Chinese planes and six ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, without specifying if they were conducting operations.
Of those, 11 planes crossed the median line, an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that Beijing does not recognise.
‘Prepare For War’
Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen thanked troops in a visit to an air force command headquarters on Thursday.
“Right now, China’s military threat has not lessened,” she said in a statement posted on her Facebook page.
“I will reiterate, we will not escalate the conflict or cause disputes, we will firmly defend our sovereignty and national security, and defend the front line of democracy and freedom.”
Taiwan’s latest exercise came after China’s military indicated its own drills had come to an end Wednesday, saying its forces “successfully completed various tasks” in the Taiwan Strait while vowing to continue patrolling its waters.
But in the same announcement, China said that it would “continue to carry out military training and prepare for war”.
In a white paper published the same day, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.
“We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form,” it said in the paper.
China last issued a white paper on Taiwan in 2000.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the island’s top policymaking body on China, rejected the paper and said the document was “full of lies that are ‘wishful thinking and disregarding the facts'”.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday joined the council in rebuffing the “one country, two systems” model that Beijing has proposed for the island.
“China’s whole statement absolutely goes against the cross-strait status quo and its reality,” ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou told a press conference.
“China is using US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to destroy the status quo and taking the opportunity to make trouble, attempting to create a new normal to intimidate the Taiwanese people.”
The Chinese Communist Party’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement Thursday that Taipei’s “rebellious actions are just a slap in the face and cannot stop the historical trend of reunification” with mainland China.
Pelosi has stood by her visit, saying Wednesday she was “very proud” of her delegation and believed China had used her visit as a “pretext” to launch its military exercises.
“We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan,” Pelosi told reporters in Washington.
In response to the Chinese military revealing it was bringing drills to an end, Taiwan’s army said it would “adjust how we deploy our forces… without letting our guard down”.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Nigerian government needs to take steps that will put them ahead of terrorists and bandits wreaking havoc across the country.
He said the nation’s current security challenges and emerging threats require the military and other relevant stakeholders to be on the alert while also stepping up local production of armaments.
This was one of the highlights of Osinbajo’s response after receiving a presentation on “Defence Transformation and National Security: Strategic Options for Nigeria of the Future”, by the National Defence College Course 30 participants, late Wednesday during a virtual interaction.
“If you look at the challenges that we are facing and the nature of those challenges, it is evident that we need to be many steps ahead of non-state actors in particular who are perpetrators of this asymmetric warfare that we are experiencing,” the Vice President was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Thursday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
“It is clear that given current realities in our security situation, there is absolutely every need for us to fast-forward all our plans for the future so that we can be much more effective in dealing with the current threats and the threats that we will experience as we go into the future.
“One of the most critical areas is the question of local production of military hardware and I think it is low-hanging fruit when it comes to manufacturing some of the hardware that we will need. I think that there is a need, especially now to really look very closely at local production of our hardware, beginning with armament.”
While making a case for improved investment in Defence Industries Corporation (DICON), the Vice President is of the opinion that every country in the world takes advantage of the crisis situation that it faces.
Commending the course participants for their efforts in proposing innovations in the defence sector, Prof. Osinbajo emphasized the urgency of the local production of arms.
The Vice President also spoke about the need for transparency in the management of resources meant for the acquisition of hardware for the defence and security agencies.
Other officials present at the event included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, and representative of the Inspector General of Police, among other senior officers from the college.
Research report presentation by course participants to the Vice President is a prominent feature in the annual academic calendar of the National Defence College. Every year since 2016, participants of the college have presented reports of research conducted in key areas to the Vice President.
In 2019, Course 27 participants presented a paper on “Water Resource Management and Regional Security: Lake Chad in perspective”; in 2020, Course 28 presented a paper on “Border Management & National Development, in Nigeria: The ECOWAS Protocol Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Residence & Establishment in Perspective”, while Course 29’s paper, in 2021 was titled “Creating Jobs & Opportunities for Africa’s Largest Youth Population”.
A top US official on Wednesday called China’s military drills in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan irresponsible and warned of the danger of the situation spiraling out of control.
“We believe that what China is doing here is not responsible,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in an interview with National Public Radio.
Beijing on Wednesday geared up for military exercises encircling Taiwan in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to the democratic self-ruling island that China considers part of its territory.
“Whenever a military engages in a series of activities that include the possibility of missile tests, of live fire exercises, of fighter jets buzzing around the skies and ships moving around on the seas, the possibility of some kind of incident is real,” Sullivan said.
He urged Beijing to de-escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
“What we are hopeful for is that the PRC acts responsibly and avoids the kind of escalation that could lead to a mistake or miscalculation in the air or on the seas,” Sullivan said, using China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.
Pelosi, the second in line to the US presidency, departed Taiwan Wednesday morning, having defied a series of increasingly stark threats from Beijing, which considers her visit a major provocation.
China reacted with fury, announcing what it said were “necessary and just” military drills in the seas just off Taiwan’s coast — some of the world’s busiest waterways.
After Pelosi’s departure, Taiwan’s defense ministry announced late Wednesday that 27 Chinese warplanes had entered the island’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
Over the last two years, Beijing has ramped up military incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ — which is not the same as the island’s territorial airspace, but includes a far greater area — but that is still a relatively rare occurrence.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, has honoured four soldiers serving in the Division for their diligence while performing their duties.
The honoured soldiers, Staff Seargent Amodu Simon, Seargeant Oyinbo Emmanuel, Corporal Mbanaso Isaac and Private Ibrahim Lawal, who were honoured during an event held on Tuesday 2 August at Abakpa Cantonment Enugu, each recieved a brand new motorcycles in addition to Letters of Commendation from the GOC.
While making the presentation to the soldiers, Maj Gen Lagbaja described their conduct as commendable and examplary and noted that the soldiers’ assiduousness in ensuring the hygiene of the various portions of the cantonment assigned to them was impressive. He charged other soldiers of the Division to emulate the examplary conduct of the honourees.
The General Officer Commanding disclosed that the four motorcycles pesented to the soldiers was a symbol of appreciation for their outstanding conduct. He therefore enjoined them not to relent in their duties even if they thought nobody is observing.
Each of the four awarded soldiers were drawn from various units of the Division and were picked after a careful observation of their conducts over a period.
China’s largest-ever military exercises encircling Taiwan kicked off Thursday, in a show of force straddling vital international shipping lanes after a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi left Taiwan Wednesday after a trip that defied a series of stark threats from Beijing, which views the self-ruled island as its territory.
Pelosi was the highest-profile elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and said her trip made it “unequivocally clear” that the United States would not abandon a democratic ally.
It sparked a furious reaction from Beijing, which vowed “punishment” and announced military drills in the seas around Taiwan — some of the world’s busiest waterways.
The exercises, which began around 12 pm (0400 GMT), involve “live-firing”, according to state media.
“Six major areas around the island have been selected for this actual combat exercise and during this period, relevant ships and aircraft should not enter the relevant waters and airspaces,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.
AFP journalists in the border island of Pingtan saw several small projectiles flying into the sky followed by plumes of white smoke and loud booming sounds.
AFP was not in a position to identify the projectiles, which were fired from the proximity of nearby military installations, nor their precise direction.
The exercises are taking place in multiple zones around Taiwan — at some points within just 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the shore — and will conclude at midday on Sunday.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it was closely watching the drills.
“The Ministry of National Defence stresses that it will uphold the principle of preparing for war without seeking war, and with an attitude of not escalating conflict and causing disputes,” it said in a statement.
Beijing’s nationalist state-run tabloid Global Times said, citing military analysts, that the exercises were “unprecedented” and that missiles would fly over Taiwan for the first time.
“This is the first time the PLA will launch live long-range artillery across” the Taiwan Strait, the newspaper said using the Chinese military’s formal name, the People’s Liberation Army.
The Group of Seven industrialised nations has condemned the drills, saying in a statement there was “no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait”.
‘Preparation For Actual Combat’
Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau issued warnings on Wednesday to ships to avoid the areas being used for the Chinese drills.
The Taiwanese cabinet said the drills would disrupt 18 international routes passing through its flight information region (FIR).
Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said it had ordered its aircraft to “avoid going through the designated airspace zones around the Taiwan region”.
The manoeuvres will take place along some of the busiest shipping routes on the planet, used to supply vital semiconductors and electronic equipment produced in East Asian factory hubs to global markets.
Beijing has defended the drills as “necessary and just”, pinning the blame for the escalation on the United States and its allies.
“In the current struggle surrounding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, the United States are the provocateurs, China is the victim,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing Wednesday.
A Chinese military source also told AFP the exercises would be staged “in preparation for actual combat”.
“If the Taiwanese forces come into contact with the PLA on purpose and accidentally fire a gun, the PLA will take stern countermeasures, and all the consequences will be borne by the Taiwanese side,” the source said.
Taiwan’s 23 million people have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but that threat has intensified under President Xi Jinping, China’s most assertive ruler in a generation.
The island is once again a flashpoint between the United States and a Chinese leadership keen to project strength ahead of a crucial ruling party meeting this autumn at which Xi is expected to be given an unprecedented third term.
On the mainland, at what is said to be China’s closest point to Taiwan, AFP saw a batch of five military helicopters flying at a relatively low altitude near a popular tourist spot.
“China’s announced military exercises represent a clear escalation from the existing baseline of Chinese military activities around Taiwan and from the last Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-1996,” said Amanda Hsiao, senior analyst for China at the International Crisis Group.
“Beijing is signalling that it rejects Taiwan’s sovereignty.”
Nevertheless, analysts have told AFP that China is not aiming to escalate the situation beyond its control — at least for now.
Titus Chen, an associate professor of political science at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, said: “The last thing Xi wants is an accidental war.”
The Senate has asked the military to carry out a comprehensive onslaught on bandits and criminal elements within Kainji Lake National Park and other identified terrorists’ enclaves in communities within three local government areas of Kwara and Niger States.
This call was part of the Upper Chamber’s resolve reached during plenary on Tuesday, June 21, when a motion on the worsening insecurity in Kainji Lake National Park and threat to communities in Kaima, Baruten and Borgu Local Governments, was considered.
The sponsor of the motion Senator Sadiq Umar said kidnapping and other forms of criminality have now become prevalent in communities close to Kainji Lake National Park and this has led to palpable fear in the communities.
After deliberations on the issue raised, the Senate resolved to mandate its Committees on Defence; Finance and National Planning to jointly inter-face with the Ministry of Defence to determine status of the establishment of Army Barrack in Kaiama.
The Red Chamber also urged the military authorities to execute an exhaustive attack on bandits and other criminal elements within Kainji Lake National Park, especially Kaiama, Karonzi –Yashikira in Baruten local government, and Wawa and Babanna areas in Niger State.
Lawmakers also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to send relief materials to victims within the affected communities.
A military personnel has shot to death a fuel attendant of AYM Shafa filling station along Bosso road of Chanchaga local government area in Minna.
According to reports, the incident occurred around 1:30 pm on Monday when crisis erupted between the military official who came into the station with a Hilux vehicle to buy fuel after the attendant had stopped selling.
It was gathered that Yusuf Sa’ad, the fuel attendant who was killed, confronted the military officers when their manager was being harassed to give them fuel from their military reserve.
It was revealed that the deceased attempted to stop one of the military personnel for harassing the manager hence he was shot and was confirmed dead before reaching the general hospital, Minna.
A fuel attendant in the station Aliyu Umar confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
When contacted, the Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the incident on telephone and said investigation into the unfortunate incident has commenced while tactical teams have been deployed to the area to ensure normalcy.
“We get information as quickly as things are happening,” the commander said. “Sometimes, the challenge might probably be the way to communicate because we do not have network everywhere; but as soon as they get to where they can send messages across to us, they let us know.
“That has assisted us greatly in subduing the insurgents to such an extent that we have so much peace. We have over 51,000 insurgents and their family members that have surrendered to us.”
Nothing To Fear
While many individuals and groups perceive the laying down of weapons by insurgents as a sign that the security forces are winning the war, others remain skeptical about the intention of such persons.
General Musa, on his part, believes Nigerians, especially residents in the North East have nothing to fear as the military will continue to ensure they are well protected from criminally-minded persons.
According to him, the Nigerian Armed Forces has managed situations as such in the past in other countries, and replicating the same approach will be no different this time.
The Operation Hadin Kai chief in his words, “Normally there will be some concerns and I don’t blame the public for that, but I just want to assure them that we are professionals and we have done this before … in other countries where we had issues of disarmament.
“What goes on here now is that as soon as any of them is willing to surrender, he reports straight to the closest military location. The commander on the ground has his troops ready to disarm them, take over their arms, search them and profile them.
“Then the state government provides buses to move them to the camps already provided. The state government takes care of the management and administration, what we do is ensure that the perimeter is secure. So, we want to assure members of the communities that they are well secured and that they (repentant terrorists) will not pose any threat to anybody.
Why Surrender Now?
Musa, who revealed that the population of repentant terrorists and their families in the military’s custody was recorded in less than a year, gave an insight into what could have prompted the decision to surrender at this time.
A lot of them, according to him, were tired of the fight and wanted to come out to lay their arms but could not do so because of the fear of being killed for disloyalty.
He added that the leadership tussle within the terrorists’ camp following the death of their leader – Shekau, also created an avenue for willing insurgents to surrender to troops.
“I know everybody is asking why are they even surrendering now? For us, the surrendering started since July 2021 and for them to have been there (in the camps) to date shows you some level of commitment and why are they surrendering,” the senior military officer explained.
“The death of Shekau has opened a lot of opportunities because while he (Shekau) was there, he was very brutal; anybody who attempts to escape will be killed. They were scared of him (Shekau).
“But they knew we would treat them professionally; by the laws of war, once your enemies surrender, you are duty-bound to receive him and treat him humanely until the process of the legal system takes its course, and that is what we are doing.”
General Musa also faulted the claims that the military was pampering the repentant persons who played various roles in the over-decade-long insurgency that claimed thousands of lives.
Rather, he said, “We are not pampering them; we are just being in line with the statutory laws on the ground and that is why we ensure that all those ones that have been profiled are brought in and kept secure. Out of the over 51,000, 11,000 are males but not all of them are combatants.
“Among the males, we have some that were enslaved, those that were born there, and those that were conscripted. Gradually, those are going to be sorted out, and then the legal system will take its course.”