Police arrest Mubi murder suspects

Security experts have begun search for the gunmen who invaded Mubi, Adamawa State, on Monday night, killing about 26 students from three higher institutions in the state.

The search for the killers on Wednesday led to a house-to-house search in Mubi during which an unspecified number of suspects were arrested.
The state Police Commissioner, Mohammed Ibrahim, who confirmed the arrest to Reuters, declined to give further details.

The search began just as President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the security forces to intensify efforts to fish out the killers, widely believed to be members of dreaded sect, Boko Haram while Senate President David Mark called for capital punishment for the attackers.

The gunmen who had attacked students of the Federal Polytechnic, Adamawa State University and the School of Health Technology, all in Mubi, were said to have gone from room to room in a building in the town on Monday and killed the people they found there with guns and machetes.

The commissioner said the police were still keeping an open mind on whether the killing spree was carried out by militants or rival students, but there were signs of an “inside job”.

“Relatives of the slain students said the assailants called their names out before killing them. The majority were killed with gun shots or slaughtered like goats,” he added.

According to a local media, One possibility was that the killings were related to a dispute between rival groups at the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, following a student union election on Sunday,

“The second day after the election winners were declared, you have the killings … Really we cannot rule out the possibility that the attack may have been carried out by either the Boko Haram or a … gang,” the commissioner added

Mr Jonathan, who was briefed about the incident, along with other cabinet members, by the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday in Abuja, condemned the attack.

According to the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Reuben Abati, Mr Jonathan described the killings as tragic, sad, barbaric and shocking.

“The president has directed security agencies to investigate the matter and get to the root because this kind of incident, where people are called out and shot, is really shocking,” he said in a statement.

Senate president in reaction to the attack, advocated capital punishment for the killers to serve as a deterrent to others.

In his remarks while the Senate was considering a motion by Senator Bindowo Jibrilla, from Adamawa North Senatorial District, said the time has come for the country to test the capital punishment clause as enshrined in the statute books.

Before observing a one-minute silence for the victims of the attack, the Senate urged the Federal Government to swiftly bring the perpetrators to book.

He said: “The security challenges before us in this country are grievous and we have to tackle them headlong. On the specific issue of this are the Mubi killings.

“I think it is a pity that people will go from one room to the other calling names and slaughtering the people. It is totally unacceptable. Even if it is just attacking the symptoms now, those involved must be arrested and brought to book.

“I know that this is a democracy and with due respect to all of us, but capital punishment is still in our statutes.”

He said the time and opportunity had come for the country to apply the death clause in the statute books and use it as a deterrent to others.
While blaming government for its slow response to security emergencies, he said: “It is not that crimes don’t take place in other places; they do. But it is the reaction of government; the speed with which those involved in crimes in other countries are arrested, tried and punished accordingly that differs.

“However, when they happen in this country, after a week, we tend to forget it and wait for the next one to happen.

“I think we have gone beyond the point of singing these songs of lamentations over and over again. We should not be lamenting, we should be able to act. And government needs to act as swiftly as possible.”

Mr Mark urged both the Federal Government and states to live up to their responsibilities of providing security to the citizenry.
“I think this is a very serious issue and if we don’t tackle the real issues and begin to go on diversionary expeditions, we will be missing the point.

“Terrorists will succeed once they can stop you from doing what you want to do and once they can stop government from doing what they want to do, they want all Nigerians to be very scared of sending their children to polytechnics and universities. I think there are very serious challenges and we must address them,” he added.

Romney and Obama on a face-to-face debate

Republican candidate Mitt Romney is under pressure to produce a strong performance on Wednesday at his first face-to-face debate with President Barack Obama to try to turn around a race for the White House that has been edging away from him.

The 90-minute encounter offers the chance to reach more than 60 million people on television, a far greater audience than watched either candidate speak at the Democratic and Republican conventions.

While that has potential dividends in attracting undecided voters, there is also the risk that one or the other will make a major mistake that can overshadow the campaign in the last five weeks before the November 6 election.

Running behind in the polls, Romney is more in need of a victory than Obama at the University of Denver debate, the first of three such face-offs scheduled in the next four weeks.

“I think he’s got to have a pretty convincing win,” said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. “He’s had a bad few weeks and he needs to change the narrative of the campaign.”

The Republican was damaged by a secretly taped video from a private fundraiser in which he said 47 percent of voters are dependent on government and unlikely to support him. It was only one of several recent stumbles by the former Massachusetts governor in his second presidential bid.

At the Denver debate, Romney needs not only to repair some of the damage from the video. He must raise questions about Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy and explain how his own plan would create more jobs and cut the budget deficit.

Romney must get through the debate without losing his cool and without appearing to be disrespectful to Obama, who many Americans like personally despite his struggle to create jobs. And the often robotic Republican could do with showing some personality to make voters feel more comfortable with him.

REUTERS

Colombian president suffers Prostrate Cancer

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday he would undergo surgery for a non-aggressive prostate cancer in a health scare that seemed unlikely to derail his government’s imminent talks with Marxist rebels to end decades of war. 

The 61 year old president said the tumor was discovered as part of a routine checkup and will be removed on Wednesday.

“It’s a small tumor located on the prostate gland and it’s a good prognosis. It’s not aggressive,” he said at the presidential palace in Bogota, flanked by his doctor and his wife. “There’s a 97 percent chance of being totally cured.”

The cancer was detected “very much in time” and his doctor expected the president to be able to make a quick recovery, Santos said. The surgery will be conducted with a local anesthetic at a hospital in Bogota.

The Harvard-educated economist, who took office two years ago, is about to embark on negotiations in coming weeks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose insurgency has led to the deaths of tens of thousands in half a century.

A successful end to the peace negotiations would help secure Santos a place in history and allow him to further build on the economic and security advances that began under President Alvaro Uribe a decade ago.

Colombia, a nation of about 46 million, has attracted record foreign direct investment over the last few years as a U.S.-backed military offensive against drug traffickers and FARC rebels improved business confidence.

Santos, who as Uribe’s defense minister dealt some of the harshest blows against the FARC, said he would not be handing over presidential duties.

REUTERS

Nigeria Muslim anti-film protests continues

Muslims protested in Nigeria on Sunday to show anti-Western anger against a film and cartoons insulting Islam had not dissipated.

As delegates from around the world gathered in New York for a U.N. General Assembly where the clash between free speech and blasphemy is bound to be raised, U.S. flags were once again burning in parts of the Muslim world.

Shi’ite Muslims in Katsina burned U.S, French and Israeli flags and a religious leader called for protests to continue until the makers of the film and cartoons are punished.

In Pakistan, where fifteen people were killed in protests on Friday, a government minister has offered $100,000 to anyone who kills the maker of the short, amateurish video “The Innocence of Muslims”. Calls have increased for a U.N. measure outlawing insults to Islam and blasphemy in general.

In Athens, some protesters hurled bottles of water, stones and shoes at police who responded with teargas. Calm returned when demonstrators interrupted the protest to pray.

Hours later, dozens of Muslim inmates in Athens’ main prison set mattresses and bed sheets on fire in protest. Firemen with four engines battled the flames in some cells but police and government officials said late at night the situation was under control.


Libyan Islamist militia swept out of Benghazi bases

The powerful Islamist militia Washington blames the attack on its Benghazi consulate which was swept from its heavily fortified bases in Libya’s second city in a mass popular uprising in support of the government early on Saturday.

The action against Ansar al-Sharia appeared to be part of a coordinated sweep of militia headquarters buildings by police, government troops and activists following a mass public demonstration against militia units on Friday.

At least four people were killed and 34 wounded, hospital sources said, as militants fought demonstrators. Gunfire could be heard in the area before the fighters were forced out.

Looters carried weapons out of the vacated Ansar al-Sharia military base compound as men clapped and chanted: “Say to Ansar al-Sharia, Benghazi will be your inferno.”

Ansar al-Sharia has been linked to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans died. It denies involvement.

Chanting “Libya, Libya”, “No more al Qaeda!” and “The blood we shed for freedom shall not go in vain!” hundreds of men waving swords and even a meat cleaver, stormed Ansar al-Sharia’s headquarters in Benghazi.

“After what happened at the American consulate, the people of Benghazi had enough of the extremists,” demonstrator Hassan Ahmed said. “They did not give allegiance to the army. So the people broke in and they fled.”

Demonstrators pulled down militia flags and set a vehicle on fire inside what was once the base of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces who tried to put down the first protests that sparked last year’s uprising

 

REUTERS

Nigeria plans 60b naira in 5-7 year bond auctions

Nigeria plans to issue N60 billion ($379.75 million) in local bonds, with maturities of between five and seven years at its regular auction on September 19, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Thursday.

The debt office said it would sell N30 billion  each in re-openings of existing five- and seven-year bonds, which will have terms to maturity of four years and six months, and six years and eight months, respectively.

Yields on local debt have fallen over the past month on news, JP Morgan will include it in its Government Bond Index – Emerging Markets (GBI-EM) from October. The bank says this could potentially bring up to $1 billion into one of Africa’s most developed debt markets.

Nigeria  issues sovereign bonds monthly to support the local bond market, create a benchmark for corporate issuance and fund its budget deficit.

Suicide bomber kills top official, 22 more at Afghan wedding

A suicide bomber killed a prominent anti-Taliban politician and 22 other guests at a wedding reception in the northern Afghan province of Samangan on Saturday, officials said.

The bomber blew himself up as he hugged lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani, who was celebrating his daughter’s marriage, police said. The blast also killed the provincial intelligence chief and a senior police commander.

Samangani was close to Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, and commanded thousands of men in the area. The Uzbeks are part of an uneasy coalition of minority tribes that fight the Taliban in their area.

The attack, among the most lethal in recent months, raises the risk of greater insecurity in the relatively peaceful province, analysts said.

At least 23 people were killed and 60 others wounded, said a statement from President Hamid Karzai condemning the attack.

“The enemies of Afghanistan once again targeted mujahideen figures who strive for national unity,” Karzai said.

The wounded were in critical condition and the death toll could rise, said regional police spokesman Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai.

Samangani had told guards at the party not to inconvenience guests with security searches, said provincial police chief Khalil Andarabi.
The Taliban, which has been behind a series of suicide attacks this year, denied responsibility. The group often distances itself from attacks with high civilian death tolls.

“We don’t have a hand in this,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “Ahmad Khan (Samangani) was a former commander of the mujahideen, he was notorious and many people could have had problems with him.”

Samangani, an ethnic Uzbek, fought against the Soviets in the 1980s, and against the Taliban during their 1996-2001 rule. He may have had enemies other than the Taliban, said Kabul-based political analyst Waheed Mujhda.

“Former warlords have frequently been targeted in the past,” he said. “Ahmad Khan Samangani was a strongman in terms of security for Samangan province. His loss will certainly affect security in that region.”

Witnesses described scenes of carnage.

“I saw parts of bodies, blood all over the reception,” said Ahmad Jawed, a guest at the wedding. “Many wounded people were crying for help.”

Another witness, Barat Khan, said: “It took some 15 minutes for the smoke to clear, then I saw bodies and pools of blood.”

Afghanistan is experiencing some of the worst violence since the Taliban government was toppled by U.S.-led Afghan forces more than a decade ago.

In a separate incident on Saturday, a police official was gunned down in the southern city of Kandahar, the governor’s spokesman said.

On Friday, a car bomb killed a leading female politician, Hanifa Safi. No one has claimed responsibility.

REUTERS

Israeli troops kill man crossing illegally from Egypt

Israeli troops shot dead a man trying to infiltrate the Sinai border with Egypt and wounded another on Friday, the Israeli military said, in the latest in a series of deadly incidents along a once quiet frontier.

Both men, who crossed the desert border under cover of darkness, turned out to be unarmed when Israeli medics found them after dawn, a military spokeswoman said.

She would not divulge the identities or nationalities of the infiltrators though Israeli media said they were Palestinians from the nearby Gaza Strip.

“Israeli border police identified two suspects infiltrating Israel through the Israel-Egypt border,” the spokeswoman said. When they failed to heed orders to stop, the troops “fired at the suspects,” she added.

Last month armed men shot and killed an Israeli who was working on a fence being put up along the border, where tensions have risen since former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, an Israeli ally, was overthrown a year ago in a popular revolt.

Israel says the Egyptian authorities have lost control of the vast Sinai desert, with Bedouin bandits, jihadists and Palestinian militants from Gaza filling the vacuum.

African migrants have also poured across the porous border in the past two years, with the Israeli government under growing pressure from public opinion to halt the influx.

REUTERS