Sambo Tasks Muslim Leaders on Violent Free Elections

samboVice President Namadi Sambo has met with leaders of various Islamic organizations in the North West Zone, desirous to ensure a peaceful free and fair elections in Nigeria.

The meeting which took place in Kaduna on Sunday was organized by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Islamic Matters in collaboration with coalition of Islamic Organizations in Nigeria.

The meeting was aimed at sensitizing Muslims in the zone on how to ensure that peace reigns before, during and after the elections.

Addressing the gathering, Vice President Namadi Sambo appealed to religious leaders and the entire citizenry to desist from making inciting statements capable of disrupting the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming elections and also to ensure that peace reigns supreme in their respective domains, before, during and after the elections.

He also urged the Muslim leaders to lead their followers on the path of peace by preaching peace to them in their sermons always.

The seminar which had the theme,”Towards A Violent Free 2015 General Election in Nigeria; the Role of Religious Leaders and Parents”, attracted the presence of prominent Islamic preachers and scholars from Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kano states.

One by one, they made their presentations where they emphasised the need for all to embrace peace and shun acts capable of disrupting the forthcoming poll.

Vice President Sambo on his part urged youths not to take laws into their hands during the elections no matter the height of provocation.

Healso assured of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration bringing a positive development in the country> He also said the administration is working very hard to end Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern region of Nigeria.

The 2011 post election violence affected many States in the North where many lives and property were lost.

ISIS Kills 21 Egyptians In Libya

ISISISIS, in a video released on Sunday, claimed to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.

The video which has gone viral shows an apparent mass execution with jihadists in black, standing behind each of the victims, who were all are dressed in orange jumpsuits being forced to the ground and decapitated.

The five-minute video released by the terror group’s propaganda wing al-Hayat Media, includes a masked English-speaking jihadi who says, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”

A caption on the five-minute video read: “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church.” Before the killings, one of the militants stood with a knife in his hand and said: “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for.”

Then on cue, all the victims were pushed to the ground and beheaded.

ISIS had imposed its brutal rule on the large areas of Iraq and Syria that it controls, but the be-headings of the Egyptians appeared to have been carried out by an affiliate of the militant group in Libya.

ISIS militants claimed to have carried out several attacks in Libya, which is in effect without a government.

The beheadings could stiffen Sisi’s resolve in dealing with security threats from militants thriving in neighboring Libya’s chaos who want to topple his U.S.-backed government.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi confirmed in a statement that Egyptian “martyrs” had fallen victim to terrorism and expressed his condolences to the Egyptian people.

El-Sisi called for an urgent meeting of the Council of National Defense and declared seven days of official mourning.

Twenty-one Egyptian Christians were kidnapped in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte in two separate incidents in December and January. Officials said all of them had been killed.

El-Sisi said Egypt reserves the right to retaliate for the killings.

“Egypt and the whole world are in a fierce battle with extremist groups carrying extremist ideology and sharing the same goals.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Sunday after the grisly video emerged.

“The secretary offered his condolences on behalf of the American people and strongly condemned the despicable act of terror,” the State Department said. “Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Shoukry agreed to keep in close touch as Egyptians deliberated on a response.”

The White House also condemned the attack, saying ISIS’ “barbarity knows no bounds.”

Members of the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned what they called “the heinous and cowardly apparent murder” of the 21 Egyptians.

“This crime once again demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, which is responsible for thousands of crimes and abuses against people from all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities, and without regard to any basic value of humanity.”

Thousands of Egyptians desperate for work had traveled to Libya since an uprising at home in 2011, despite advice from their government not to go to a country sliding into lawlessness.

The Coptic Church said it was confident the Egyptian government would seek justice. Al Azhar, the center of Islamic learning in Egypt, said no religion would accept such “barbaric” acts.

Ukraine Crisis: Fierce Fighting Despite Minsk Peace Deal

ukraineUkraine and Russian-backed rebels fought fiercely across the east of the country on Friday despite a new peace deal brokered by Germany and France.

The deal, sealed by the leaders of Germany and France on Friday after 16 hours of all-night talks in Minsk, capital of Belarus, with the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, was soon overshadowed by the clashes.

The fiercest battles were over control of the town of Debaltseve, a strategic town in between rebel-held areas where separatists used rockets and artillery to attack government forces holding the town.

A ceasefire is due to come into effect from Sunday under the agreement, which also envisages a withdrawal of the heavy weapons responsible for many of the 5,000 casualties in the conflict that broke out almost a year ago.

Shelling was reported in Donetsk and Luhansk – rebel bastions near the front line where the pro-Russian rebels face government forces.

Two people were killed and six wounded when a shell hit a cafe in the Kiev-controlled town of Shchastya near rebel-held Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

“The town’s heating system is broken, power lines are damaged as well as the water supply … So this is how a comprehensive ceasefire is prepared for,” the head of the Kiev-controlled administration, Hennadiy Moskal, said online.

The rebels accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the separatist stronghold of Donetsk and the town of Horlivka, where they said on their website that three children had been killed.

A Ukrainian military spokesman said 11 soldiers had been killed and 40 wounded in the past 24 hours. “The enemy continues to build up forces in the main areas of the armed conflict.”

“Rebels are repeatedly storming the strongholds and base camp of Ukrainian forces,” in and around Debaltseve as well as firing artillery, mortars and rockets, Lysenko said, stressing that government troops had held their positions.

The United States and Europe have threatened further sanctions against Moscow if the rebels seize more territory.