Troops of Operation Handarin Daji have rescued 39 children in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, the rescue efforts followed a distress call the troops received on Saturday night from locals at Mahuta village.
The locals, Enenche stated, said the bandits were “moving with unconfirmed numbers of Islamiya children mostly girls and rustled cattle.”
According to the defence spokesman, the “troops quickly mobilized to the scene, laid ambush and blocked the bandits’ route along Daudawa-Kadisau and road Sheme Mairuwa and Unguwar Audu village.”
“Troops thereafter searched the general area and rescued the 39 kidnapped girls in addition to the recovery of 8 rustled cattle. The victims have been reunited with their families while the recovered cattle handed to the owners,” Enenche said.
“While patiently waiting for the bandits at the ambush and blocking position, troops established contact with bandits and engaged them.
“During the fierce battle, troops superior firepower forced bandits to abandon the children and the rustled cattle thereby forcing the bandits to flee in disarray into the forest.”
Rescuers pulled two children from the rubble in a town in Turkey on Monday, delivering hope nearly three days after a major earthquake hit the Aegean, killing 93 people and ruining dozens of buildings.
Three-year-old Elif Perincek was rescued 65 hours after the 7.0-magnitude quake left a trail of destruction in western Turkey and eastern Greece on Friday, Turkey’s AFAD emergency authority said.
Local media showed a video of a little girl wrapped up in a foil blanket quickly taken to safety in the coastal town of Bayrakli — the hardest hit by the disaster — as rescue workers broke into applause.
Hours later, Turkish state television showed images of the girl, her right eye closed by a purple bruise, waving to the camera from her hospital bed, a doll resting on her chest.
Muammer Celik, a fireman who found and saved Elif, told AFP he thought the toddler was dead when he saw her lying on her back, covered by white dust.
“I asked for a body bag. I wanted to wipe the dust from her face and put out my hand towards her — and then suddenly she grabbed my thumb,” he recalled.
“We froze. We were crying with joy,” Celik said. “We forgot everything in that moment!”
A photo of Elif holding Celik’s hand went viral in Turkey. The fireman said she did not let go until she was taken to a tent for safety nearby.
Elif was the 106th person pulled out alive from collapsed buildings in Bayrakli and surrounding towns and cities in western Turkey.
Her mother and three siblings were pulled out on Saturday night, although her rescued brother later died, the TRT state broadcaster said.
AFAD also reported the rescue of 14-year-old Idil Sirin in Bayrakli, 58 hours after the quake hit.
But the Sirin family’s joy was brief as the lifeless body of Idil’s sister, Ipek, was found, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.
“I can’t hear any sounds from my sister, she’s dead,” Idil told rescuers as she was being pulled out, Hurriyet said.
Turkey’s toll from the quake is continuing to rise, with AFAD reporting 91 dead.
Nearly 1,000 people were injured and more than 150 were still in hospital.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that 10 of the wounded were in intensive care, including three in a critical condition.
Two teenagers were also killed on their way home from school on the Greek island of Samos, near the epicentre of the quake.
‘Can anyone hear me?’
Racing against time, rescue workers were pressing ahead with their desperate search for survivers in western Turkey more than 72 hours after disaster struck.
“Can anyone hear me,” one rescue worker cried through a megaphone down into the rubble.
“If you can, hit something or scream,” he called as a drone hovered overhead scanning the rubble.
Thousands of residents, including those with destroyed homes, spent a third night outside in tents in Bayrakli and in nearby Bornova, many fearing the risk of aftershocks.
Turkish authorities registered 1,286 repeat tremors by Monday afternoon — including 43 above magnitude four — complicating the rescuers’ works and raising the threat of further damage.
Launching an investigation into why 58 buildings were either heavily damaged or completely destroyed, Turkish police detained nine people — including contractors — in connection with the quake, state news agency Anadolu said.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the spokesman State Police Command, Gambo Isah, said the rescued victims were handed over to the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Mustapha Inuwa.
According to him, the SSG ordered “their immediate treatment, welfare and subsequent reunion with their respective members of their families as an investigation is ongoing.”
“On 22/03/2020 at about 21:00hrs, a group of bandits armed with AK 47 rifles, blocked the road between Yantumaki to Burunkuza and attacked a commercial motor vehicle, a bus belonging to Niger State Government with registration number NIGER_14B_50NG driven by one Shu’aibu Muhammed, M, aged 45 years of Niger state and kidnapped the passengers,” he said.
Three notorious syndicates of bandits/ kidnappers, drug dealers and armed robbers were also paraded by the police.
Exhibits recovered from the suspects were 96 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition and the sum of N708,000.
Others include 679 bottles of codeine syrup worth over N2million, 2,000 tablets of tramadol worth over N500,000, one HP laptop computer, one Pup Two GSM handset, recharge cards of different networks and the sum of N200,000 naira cash including some household items.
Rescue workers raced against time Saturday to find survivors under the rubble after a powerful earthquake claimed 22 lives and left more than 1,000 injured in eastern Turkey.
The magnitude 6.8 quake struck on Friday evening, with its epicentre in the small lakeside town of Sivrice in Elazig province, and was felt in neighbouring countries.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 39 people have been rescued alive from collapsed buildings in Elazig province, with a further 22 people estimated to be trapped under the rubble. He said the death toll had risen to 22.
Among those found alive was a pregnant woman who was rescued 12 hours after the quake hit, state news agency Anadolu said, while an AFP correspondent saw an individual saved 17 hours later.
Nearly 2,000 search and rescue personnel were sent to the region while thousands of beds, blankets and tents have been provided, the Turkish presidency said.
The rescue efforts have been taking place in freezing temperatures as wood and plastic were burned to keep crowds warm.
Hundreds of people were anxiously waiting on the other side of police barriers including a man who gave his name as Mustafa.
“I have three relatives in that building: one man, his wife and her mother. They are still under the rubble,” the 40-year-old told AFP.
“May God help us, we can do nothing but pray.
“I was home during the earthquake. It lasted for so long, it was like a nightmare. I froze in the living room when it happened, my wife and our two children were screaming and running around,” he said.
He added that some neighbours jumped out of the windows because they panicked as families including his were forced to spend Friday night on the streets.
Some 20 rescuers were on top of the remains of one collapsed building, slowly clearing the rubble one bucket at a time surrounded by broken wooden beams and concrete.
Nearby Ayse Sonmez, 48, wept in silence at the barrier. She was only able to point to one of the heavily damaged buildings and say, “My older sister.”
‘Screaming in terror’
Sivrice — a town with a population of about 4,000 — is situated south of Elazig city on the shores of Hazar lake — one of the most popular tourist spots in the region and the source of the Tigris river.
The lake is home to a “Sunken City”, with archaeological traces dating back 4,000 years in its waters.
The interior minister said 18 people were killed in Elazig while four died in Malatya.
Among the 1,031 people injured were residents in other provinces in the southeast including Diyarbakir, Batman, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaras, the Turkish government’s disaster and emergency management agency (AFAD) said.
Health minister Fahrettin Koca said 128 people were still receiving treatment including 34 in intensive care but added that no one was in a critical condition.
Tensions were high as one resident accused the government of lying.
“They (the government) claim that only four people are trapped under the rubble. It is not true. I have five relatives in that building,” Suat, a 45-year-old butcher, said.
“There are four floors and three flats per floor. If there were five people per flat, do the math. Why are they lying?”
Suat described the moment when the quake struck as he was at home in another Elazig neighbourhood and his children “were screaming in terror.”
The Ankara public prosecutor’s office later on Saturday said it had begun an investigation into “provocative” social media posts but did not give further details.
Tremors felt elsewhere
The tremor was felt in several parts of eastern Turkey near the Iraqi and Syrian borders as well as in Iran, Lebanon and Syria, local media reported.
Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum told reporters in Elazig that five buildings collapsed following the quake while others were badly or lightly damaged.
The US Geological Survey assessed the magnitude as 6.7, slightly lower than AFAD, adding that it struck near the East Anatolian Fault in an area that has suffered no documented large ruptures since an earthquake in 1875.
According to AFAD, there have been nearly 400 aftershocks following Friday’s quake including 12 that were above four in magnitude.
In 1999, a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Izmit in western Turkey, leaving more than 17,000 people dead including about 1,000 in Istanbul.
Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate the city of 15 million people, which has allowed widespread building without safety precautions.
Such fears were acutely awakened in September last year when a 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Istanbul, causing residents to flee buildings in the economic capital.
Indonesian rescue teams flew helicopters stuffed with food to remote flood-hit communities on Saturday as the death toll from the disaster jumped to 53 and fears grew about the possibility of more torrential rain.
Tens of thousands in Jakarta were still unable to return to their waterlogged homes after some of the deadliest flooding in years hit the enormous capital region, home to about 30 million.
In neighbouring Lebak, where half a dozen people died, police and military personnel dropped boxes of instant noodles and other supplies into remote communities inaccessible by road after bridges were destroyed.
“It’s tough to get supplies in there… and there are about a dozen places hit by landslides,” Banten police chief Tomsi Tohir told AFP.
“That is why we’re using helicopters although there aren’t any landing spots.”
Local health centre chief Suripto, who goes by one name, said injured residents were flowing into his clinic.
“Some of them were wounded after they were swept away by floods and hit with wood and rocks,” he said.
Around Jakarta, more than 170,000 people took refuge in shelters across the massive urban conglomeration after whole neighbourhoods were submerged.
Torrential rains that started on New Year’s Eve unleashed flash floods and landslides in the region and Lebak at the south end of Java island.
On Saturday, Indonesia’s disaster agency said the death toll had climbed to 53 with one person still missing.
“We’ve discovered more dead bodies,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Agus Wibowo.
Jakarta shelters filled up with refugees, including infants, resting on thin mats as food and drinking water ran low.
Some had been reduced to using floodwater for cleaning.
“We’re cleaning ourselves in a nearby church but the timing has been limited since it uses an electric generator for power,” said Trima Kanti, 39, from one refuge in Jakarta’s western edges.
In hard-hit Bekasi, on the eastern outskirts of Jakarta, swampy streets were littered with debris and crushed cars lying on top of each other — with waterline marks reaching as high as the second floors of buildings.
On Friday, the government said would start cloud seeding to the west of the capital — inducing rain using chemicals sprayed from planes — to prevent approaching rainfall from pounding the region.
Waters had receded in many areas and power was being restored in hundreds of districts.
The health ministry has said it had deployed some 11,000 health workers and soldiers to distribute medicine, disinfectant hygiene kits and food in a bid to stave off outbreaks of Hepatitis A, mosquito-borne Dengue fever and other illnesses, including infections linked to contact with dead animals.
Visiting hard-hit Lebak, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said the government would help rebuild destroyed schools and construct temporary bridges, while offering assistance to victims.
“We’re also asking for NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to help with trauma healing,” Muhadjir told reporters on Saturday.
Around Jakarta, a family — including a four- and nine-year-old — died of suspected gas poisoning from a portable power generator, while an eight-year-old boy was killed in a landslide.
Others died from drowning or hypothermia, while one 16-year-old boy was electrocuted by a power line.
Jakarta is regularly hit by floods during the rainy season, which started in late November. But this week marked Jakarta’s deadliest flooding since 2013 when dozens were killed after the city was inundated by monsoon rains.
Urban planning experts said the disaster was partly due to record rainfall.
But Jakarta’s myriad infrastructure problems, including poor drainage and rampant overdevelopment, worsened the situation, they said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced a plan to move the country’s capital to Borneo island to take pressure off Jakarta, which suffers from some of the world’s worst traffic jams and is fast sinking due to excessive groundwater extraction.
Rescuers in Japan were working around the clock Tuesday in an increasingly desperate search for survivors of a powerful weekend typhoon that killed more than 70 people and caused widespread destruction.
Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday, unleashing fierce winds and unprecedented rain that triggered landslides and caused dozens of rivers to burst their banks.
By Tuesday night, public broadcaster NHK put the toll at 72, with around a dozen people missing. The government’s tally was lower, but it said it was still updating information.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there was no plan to slow rescue operations, with around 110,000 police, coast guard, firefighters and military troops involved.
“Rescue work and searches for the missing are continuing around the clock,” Abe told parliament.
“Where rivers flooded, work is ongoing to fix spots where banks broke, and water is being pumped out where floods occurred,” he added.
His office said more than 3,000 people were rescued in the wake of the disaster, which affected 36 of the country’s 47 prefectures.
The defence ministry has called up several hundred reserve troops — in addition to active duty soldiers — for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako were “deeply grieving for so many people affected”, an Imperial Household Agency official said.
The royal couple “expressed their sincere condolences for those who lost their lives… and heartily hope that those who are unaccounted for will be found as soon as possible,” the official said.
Despite the scale of the disaster, the government has no plan to delay a palace ceremony and parade to celebrate Naruhito’s enthronement on October 22.
– Rain prompts new warnings –
Government officials warned that more rain was expected throughout Tuesday in several parts of the country affected by the typhoon.
“We ask people not to drop their guard and to remain fully alert,” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
Hagibis crashed into land packing gusts up to 216 kilometres (134 miles) per hour, but it was the storm’s heavy rain that caused the most damage.
Deaths were reported across many prefectures and included a man whose apartment was flooded, a municipal worker whose car was caught in rising waters and at least seven crew aboard a cargo ship that sank in Tokyo bay on Saturday night.
By Tuesday evening, some 24,000 households were still without power, and 128,000 homes had no water.
Tens of thousands of people spent Monday night in government shelters, with many unsure when they would be able to return home.
“My frightened daughter can’t stop shaking. We want to go home quickly,” Rie Nishioka, 39, told Kyodo News agency in Miyagi prefecture.
– Government pledges aid –
The government pledged financial support to affected regions without specifying how much aid it would set aside.
“Support for the victims of the disaster is an urgent task,” Abe said.
“There are concerns that the impact on daily life and economic activities may be long-lasting.”
Another area affected by the storm was Fukushima, where several bags containing soil and plants collected during nuclear decontamination efforts were washed away.
“Ten bags out of 2,667 were swept into a river during the typhoon, but six of them were recovered yesterday,” environment ministry official Keisuke Takagi told AFP, adding that the remaining four bags had been found and would be collected soon.
“Residents must be worried about the environment, but there are no reports that the bags were broken, so there will be nothing to worry about once they have been recovered safely,” he said.
By Tuesday, transport was largely back to normal, though some flights were cancelled and train services partially disrupted where tracks or train stock were damaged by the storm.
The typhoon also caused disruption to sporting events, delaying Japanese Grand Prix qualifiers and forcing Rugby World Cup organisers to cancel three matches.
A crunch fixture pitting the hosts against Scotland went ahead on Sunday night, with Japan winning its first-ever quarter final spot.
“There was a dead body near me. I didn’t have water to drink,” the forty-one-year-old said from his hospital bed.
“I am so lucky to survive.”
Sitha’s wife earlier told AFP she had “no hope” her husband and nephew would be found alive. The two men said they are both bruised and weak but have no serious injuries.
The seven-storey Chinese-owned building folded in on itself before dawn on Saturday as scores of workers slept within the under-construction building in Sihanoukville.
A grim-faced Cambodian premier Hun Sen visited the scene of the collapse in Sihanoukville before daybreak on Monday.
He watched the rescue of the two survivors, climbing into their ambulances to see them before they were taken to hospital.
The prime minister has ordered inspections of all building sites in the beach town, which is undergoing a Chinese-bankrolled development boom. Condos and hotels are springing up to cash in on the surge in Chinese visitors to its dozens of casinos.
The governor of Preah Sihanouk province, meanwhile, resigned on Monday.
Yun Min accepted he had made a managerial “mistake”, according to a post on Hun Sen’s Facebook page.
Three Chinese nationals and a Cambodian landowner have been held for questioning over the building collapse.
Residents near the disaster scene said they had long feared tragedy was imminent.
“These buildings are coming up in just a year,” said Sock Dara, 45.
“We have been concerned for a long time about the quality of these Chinese buildings.”
Authorities on Monday put the death toll at 25 shortly before an AFP reporter witnessed rescuers pulling out three more bodies from the debris, bringing the total to 28.
Distraught relatives at a local hospital said around a dozen people were believed to still be entombed in the concertinaed floors.
– Billion dollar town – The once-quiet fishing village of Sihanoukville has seen a remarkable Chinese construction boom driven by the need for rooms for tourists flocking from the mainland to its dozens of casinos.
The Chinese embassy in Cambodia, a strategically important ally to Beijing with ports and borders to other Mekong countries, expressed their condolences and backed a “thorough investigation” of the role of the three Chinese nationals and the cause of the accident.
There are an estimated 200,000 construction workers in Cambodia, most unskilled, reliant on day wages and not protected by union rules, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).
There are also thousands of Chinese workers employed on Beijing-funded projects, fuelling tension with local labourers who envy their better pay and conditions.
Beijing is pouring investment into Cambodia as part of its behemoth Belt and Road initiative, a sweeping trillion-dollar infrastructure programme across Asia, Africa and Europe.
Around $1 billion was invested in the Preah Sihanouk province between 2016 and 2018 alone, and there are around 50 Chinese-owned casinos and dozens of hotel complexes under construction in Sihanoukville.
Troops of 112 Task Force Battalion have destroyed Boko Haram camps along Kajeri village in Borno State.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, said the operation was made possible following a collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
According to Musa, two women and three children suspected to have been kidnapped by the terrorists were also rescued in the process, around the bushes of Kajeri and Saleri villages.
He further stated that the rescued victims will be handed over to the appropriate agency for further action.
The Katsina State Police Command has rescued 26 people from being burnt alive in Dandume Local Govt Area.
While addressing journalists in the state capital, the spokesperson for the Police Command, Mr Gambo Isah, said the would-be victims were saved from outlawed vigilantes known as Yansakai, in Rugar Kindi village.
According to him, the members of the group had stormed the village on motorcycles last Friday, burning houses.
The police spokesman described those targeted by the group as young males aged between 14 and 18 years, whom the Yansakai had claimed were bandits and had intended to burn alive.
“The police in synergy with other security agencies like the military and our friends, the local vigilante group in the area responded and rescued these young men who are between the ages of 14 years to 18 years.
“Two more survivors — Dilip and his wife Sangeetha, rescued by our Fire Force rescuers just now! This takes the total rescued so far to 59. Kudos to the Rescue team!,” Reddi said in a tweet.
Another man was rescued early Friday morning after being trapped for more than 62 hours. The man had no visible injuries and was hugged by the rescue team before he walked away from the debris and was taken to a nearby hospital.
As many as 54 people have been rescued alive by the team of around 400 who have been scouring through tonnes of concrete and steel.
“Those rescued have been shifted to the hospital and five persons have been arrested in the matter,” emergency official Srikant, who goes by one name, told AFP.
Police have charged the owner of the construction company — one of the five arrested — with manslaughter.
Heavy earth-movers and rescuers with specialised equipment and sniffer dogs were deployed in the increasingly desperate operation.
The victims were mostly from northern Indian states who had come to the region for work.
Building collapses are frequent in India. Many firms use cheap materials and bribe officials to evade regulations, while on-site safety is lax.
Many Indian cities have seen rapid growth in the last few decades with new buildings often built without proper quality supervision, and the older ones poorly maintained.
Last September, five people were killed after a Delhi apartment block collapsed. Months earlier, a six-storey building in the capital gave way, killing nine.
One was seen in a clip posted on Twitter telling journalists that the water rose to neck level, forcing them to stand for days until it receded.
On Friday the government said that between 60-70 “artisanal” miners were trapped in two shafts.
It launched an appeal for $200,000 to be used “to pump out water, feeding the bereaved families and the (rescue) teams on the ground, transportation and burial of the victims”, local minister July Moyo said in a statement.
“Given the magnitude of this disaster, we kindly appeal to individuals, development partners and the corporate world for assistance in cash and kind,” he said.
Zimbabwe is the throws of a deep economic crisis, the worst in a decade.
The number of people killed by the collapse of a dam at a Brazilian mining complex rose to 58, with those still missing rising to 305, civil defense officials said Sunday.
After search operations, “the number has increased to 305 people missing and 58 dead,” Minas Gerais state civil defense spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Flavio Godinho told reporters. He said rescuers had found a bus filled with human bodies.