Terrorism Inhibiting Development In Africa – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, Donald TrumpNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday called on African leaders to form a strong united front to defeat terrorism and violent extremism, which he said was inhibiting development in the continent.

At a meeting with Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, President Buhari expressed concern that the continent was still grappling with acts and effects of terrorism after a successful de-colonisation campaign.

Acknowledging the valued cooperation between Nigeria and Kenya in the fight against terrorism, the President commended the East African country for the recent successes recorded in tackling terrorism in the region.

“A situation in which insecurity continues to obstruct the process of national development should not be allowed to continue”, the President told Mr Ruto, a special envoy to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

On the forthcoming election of a new leadership for the African Union Commission (AUC), President Buhari said African States needed a very strong leadership at the AUC that would encourage member states to refocus their resources and energy toward human and national development.

On Kenya’s request for Nigeria’s support for the candidature of Ambassador Amina Mohammed, Kenya’s Foreign Minister who is vying for the AUC Chairperson, President Buhari said Nigeria would hold robust consultations with other African leaders on the need for strong and capable leadership that would respond to the current challenges facing the continent.

In his remarks, Deputy President Ruto commended President Buhari for his leadership, particularly on regional security and the fight against corruption.
Mr Ruto said President Buhari’s effort to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism had emboldened the continent’s resolve to achieve lasting peace and security.

Buhari Asks African Leaders To Join Forces Against Terrorism

buhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has asked African leaders to join him in ending terrorism in the continent.

Speaking at the African Union’s (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa on Sunday at the conclusion of the 26th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Governments, President Buhari reminded the leaders of the AU’s “vision to silence the guns and reduce preventable conflict related deaths on the continent by 2020”.

“Enough Is Enough”

He stressed that Africa was at a time that terrorism must be eliminated.

“We have all shed blood for Africa to be free but the irony is that today we are now killing each other rather than facing the developmental challenges confronting us.

“We are spending our scarce resources, killing our children and inflicting unspeakable horrors and unimaginable hardship on our brothers and sisters. That is truly a tragedy, it must stop, enough is enough,” the Nigerian leader said.

President Buhari’s statement came a day after terrorists attacked Dalori, a village in northeast Borno State, killing scores and destroying property.

At least 85 persons have been confirmed dead, with over 60 still receiving treatment in a hospital in the state’s capital, Maiduguri.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that bears the mark of the Boko Haram terrorists’ activities.

The terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS is attempting to establish an Islamic State and end Western education in the region.

The over five years campaign has displaced over two million people in the region and have led to the death of thousands.

The Boko Haram and Al Shabaab, with its stronghold in Somalia, are two terrorist groups that the continent is battling with

Buhari Seeks Complementary Regional Effort In War On Terror

Muhammadu-Buhari-In-South-Africa-for-AU-Summit-Peace-MeetingNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has sought complementary regional effort to end the activities of terrorists and tackle insecurity in Africa.

Addressing the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday, President Buhari said “the destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege”.

The Nigerian leader told the gathering that he had adopted an approach that would work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

“I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action. Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the members states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts,” he said.

“An Embarrassment To Us”

President Buhari acknowledge what it called a ‘positive role’ played by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, in averting the feared post-election crisis and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power.

He expressed concerns over the images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe.

“It is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.”

President Buhari urged all African leaders to reverse the ‘ugly trend’.

“We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure.

“We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.

“In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations,” the Nigerian leader said.

He further assured the gathering of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years.

Egypt Bombs IS After Be-Heading Video

egyptEgypt said it has bombed Islamic State targets in Libya, hours after the group published a video showing the apparent be-heading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

A Libyan air force commander said 40 to 50 militants were killed in Monday’s air strikes against Islamic State targets in Libya.

“There are casualties among the individuals, ammunition and the communication centers belonging to them,” Saqer al-Joroushi said “The number of deaths are not less than 40 or 50 for sure,” he said.

Libyan officials said Egypt had hit targets in the militant-held city of Derna in co-ordination with Libya.

Libya said it had joined and coordinate with Egypt on the strikes.

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

The kidnapped Egyptian workers, all Coptic Christians, were seized in December and January from the coastal town of Sirte in eastern Libya, under the control of Islamist groups.

A video emerged on Sunday showing militants forcing a group of men to the ground and decapitating them.

Niger Republic Forces Kill Over 100 Boko Haram Fighters

boko haramNiger’s forces killed 109 fighters from the Boko Haram group on Friday, as they repulsed attacks on border town of Bosso and Diffa, two Southeastern towns near the Nigerian border.

The group reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon on Wednesday.

Four Niger soldiers were killed, 13 were wounded and two were missing after the fighting in Bosso against Boko Haram, whose six-year insurgency is spreading from Nigeria to neighbouring States. In another fight in Diffa, four Niger soldiers were also wounded.

“At around 9 a.m. elements of the Boko Haram terrorist group launched two simultaneous attacks at Bosso and Diffa. At Bosso, Niger’s defence forces helped by Chadian troops neutralised the assailants,” Defence Minister, Karidio Mahamadou said.

There was no independent confirmation of the numbers killed.

The commander of Chadian forces deployed north of Lake Chad, General Yaya Doud, was shot in the stomach in Bosso. He had been evacuated to hospital in N’Djamena for treatment.

The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced more than a million over the past six years.

The insurgency is the worst threat to Nigeria’s security as a Nation, and efforts by the military to contain the activities of the Boko Haram sect have continued.

The militants are also increasingly threatening neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, prompting regional leaders to come up with a joint plan to defeat them. One of such plans was the setting up of a multinational task force to launch counter terrorism attacks on the sect in the region.

Chad had deployed some 2,500 soldiers to neighbouring Cameroon and Niger as part of this effort. Niger’s parliament is due to vote on Monday on a proposal by the government to send its troops into Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.

Ukraine Crisis: EU Leaders Set For Putin Talks

ukraineFrench President, Francois Hollande and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel announced a new peace plan for Ukraine on Thursday, flying to Kiev with a proposal they would then take on to Moscow.

The coordinated trip by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande comes as rebels advanced on a railway hub held by Ukrainian troops after launching an offensive that scuppered a five-month-old ceasefire.

It comes as civilians in the key town of Debaltseve are being forced to hide underground as Ukrainian forces tried to hold out against rebel attacks.

Moscow is accused of arming pro-Russian separatists – a claim it denies.

Russia also rejects claims by Ukraine and the West that its regular troops are fighting alongside the rebels in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Clashes had left nearly 5,400 people dead since April.

Ukraine is also set to dominate an annual multilateral security conference in Munich and meetings between US Vice-President, Joe Biden and top EU officials in Brussels.

The importance of reaching a deal was demonstrated by a dramatic collapse in Ukraine’s hryvnia currency, which lost nearly a third of its value after the central bank halted daily auctions at which it sold hard currency to banks.

Moscow said it hoped talks with Merkel and Hollande would be “constructive”.

German government sources said the key problem for resuming peace talks was that the current front line no longer tallies with what was agreed at talks in Minsk, Belarus in 2014.

For talks to begin anew, Kiev would have to accept that the separatists now control several hundred square kilometers more than agreed in Minsk without Kiev having to give up its claim to these areas as part of the Ukrainian state.

In the end, the goal of the peace process should be the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, said that Kiev would not consider any peace plan that casts doubt on the nation’s territorial integrity, sovereignty or independence.

The Franco-German plan looks like an eleventh-hour bid to halt the escalation of the conflict ahead of diplomatic deadlines likely to make east-west confrontation even worse.

Peace talks collapsed on Saturday in Belarus and EU leaders are expected to consider new sanctions against Moscow next week.

Holland and Merkel met President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday and were expected to go to Moscow to see Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Friday.
Poroshenko said the talks “gave hope that there will be a result in a ceasefire”.

At Least 22 Killed In Guinea-Bissau After Vehicle Hits Landmine

landmineAt least 22 people were killed in Guinea-Bissau when a vehicle taking them to a funeral struck a landmine, a police source said on Saturday.

The incident happened on Friday afternoon near Mansoa, about 60 km (37 miles) north-east of the capital, Bissau.

The police source, who asked not to be named, said 19 people were killed on the spot when the blast tore the vehicle in two and a further three people died of their injuries overnight.

There was no immediate statement from the government.

Hundreds of people have been killed by landmines laid during Guinea-Bissau’s independence war with Portugal in the 1970s and the nation’s internal conflicts in the 1990s.

Guinea-Bissau held elections earlier this year meant to draw a line under the country’s last coup in 2012.

The new government is trying to push through a raft of reforms, including breathing life into the economy and asserting civilian authority over the military, which has a history of meddling in politics and cocaine trafficking.

Jonathan To Attend African Union’s Peace and Security Council Meeting

JonathanThe Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, will be among some African leaders that will participate in a meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council scheduled to hold in Kenya on Tuesday.

A statement by a spokesman for President Jonathan, Ruben Abati, said that the President would travel to Nairobi on Monday.

The Nairobi meeting is a follow-up to talks by President Jonathan and other African leaders at Pretoria, South Africa, in May on joint action against terrorism.

The meeting will receive and consider the report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa.

Deliberations at the Nairobi Summit and the adoption of the African Chairperson’s Report by President Jonathan, President Uhuru Kenyatta and other participating Heads of State are expected to lead to more collaborative actions by Nigeria and other African countries in the fight against terrorism.

It is aimed solely at riding the continent of acts of terrorism and violent extremism.

According to the statement, the Nigerian President will be accompanied to the Nairobi Summit by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed, the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and other advisers and aides.

The team will return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, at the conclusion of the meeting on Tuesday.

Nigerians Should Not Expect Insurgency To Disappear Overnight – Labaran Maku

Labaran MakuNigeria’s Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has asked Nigerians not to expect the Boko Haram insurgency to disappear overnight, despite the foreign assistance the country is receiving.

Over the weekend, the President of Nigeria alongside his Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and Cameroon counterparts were hosted by French President, Francois Hollande at the Africa Security Summit, in Paris.

“There is no warranty that because this cooperation has come, terror will disappear overnight,” he said, while on Sunrise Daily.

The minister further stated that a lot of information in fighting terror will come from Nigerians and that only a united front will win the war.

He called for cooperation between the State governments and the Federal Government, between all members of the different political groups and between Nigerians, in order to ensure early victory against the Boko Haram insurgents.

“Whatever differences there may be, our country must come first,” he said.

While shedding light on the importance of the meeting, Maku said the cooperation by all the countries signified international coordination against the terrorists, who had become a threat to both West and Central Africa.

“Boko Haram is an international network; fighting it needs international cooperation” he said, insisting that the Nigerian Armed Forces is well equipped to fight the war but needed help as terrorism is an international war.

“There are no better trained Armed Forces in Africa than Nigeria’s Army,” he said.

He also stated that the meeting was necessary to reduce the restriction placed by boundaries as the Nigerian Army cannot chase the insurgents across any border, where they (insurgents) retreat to.

On the alleged lack of cooperation by the Cameroonian government, Maku explained that the International Task Force set up by Nigeria with Niger and Chad did not include Cameroon, because Cameroon is not a part of ECOWAS.

Member countries of ECOWAS had formed regional alliance on security but since Cameroon was not a part of ECOWAS, it was not included as part of the International Task Force.

This perhaps explains why “cooperation has been coming from Cameroon but not as much as that from Niger and Chad.”

Terrorism is now an international movement, it flows from country to country, he said, adding that cooperation by 5 African countries would break boundaries to allow their Forces chase terrorists across borders.

On the level of information sharing, Maku said discussions were on-going with the Defence Headquarters to integrate journalists in missions but raised concerns over their safety.

Identify Boko Haram Sponsors, Jonathan Tells World Leaders

Goodluck-Jonathan-World-economic-forumNigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has called on world leaders to assist Nigeria identify sponsors of the Boko Haram terrorists organisation, emphasising that the world has the responsibility of holding the sponsors of the deadly sect responsible and accountable for their atrocities.

At the European Union-African Union Summit on Peace and Security holding in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, President Jonathan reiterated that there could be no development in Africa if the issue of insecurity was not holistically tackled, stressing that “peace and development are two sides of the same coin”.

While expressing appreciation of the government of Nigeria to the European Union for its support to Nigeria and other African countries in tackling the threat of terrorism from groups like Boko Haram and in the Sahel, President Jonathan maintained that a terror attack on one nation was an attack on all,” stressing that everything must be done to expose and defeat the terrorists.

Stronger Impetus To Capacity-Building

He said: “Given the importance Nigeria attaches to the subject of peace and security in Africa, he organised a summit on “Human Security, Peace and Development: an Agenda for The 21st Century” which attracted over 20 heads of state and governments and heads of international organisations, where it was resolved that leaders must continue to strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for co-operation within and between the people”.

“In the face of these new threats and challenges, the peace and security architecture of Africa needs to be strengthened and the African standby force needs to be fully operationalised,” the president of Africa’s most populous nation said.

He said that the African Union needed to “give stronger impetus to capacity-building and logistical support to boost Africa’s capability and preparedness to take pre-emptive steps to contain conflict situations, quell violence and deal with the scourges of terrorism”.

The president said in demonstration of its desire for the development of collective security arrangement among its member states and its regional economic communities, the African Union established a security management system and the codification of standards within Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

The 4th EU-Africa Summit of the Heads of State and Government of European Union and African Union kicked-off on Wednesday, with the participation of more than 60  African European statesmen, as well as representatives of international organisations.

Under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”, the summit will taking place on April 2-3 and will also discuss investment, climate change and migration.

Some European countries have come under criticism over their immigration policies, as scores of African migrants have lost their lives in attempts to enter Europe through the sea.

U.S Assistant Secretary of State Visits Nigeria On Bilateral Mission

The United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in the Department of State, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has spoken about her first visit to Nigeria following her appointment during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise.

Mrs Greenfield said that her visit was to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and follow-up on the meeting President Goodluck Jonathan held with President Barak Obama in New York, in September. “Nigeria is one of our largest partners in Africa,” she said.

“I came with my team to talk about issues that came up during those discussions.”

The discussions centred on improving the bi-lateral relationship between the two nations, security concerns involving the Boko Haram sect, oil theft and other issues.

“More particularly, we spoke about the issues related to Boko Haram and how to address the issues of terrorism being faced by Nigeria. Our view is that terrorism anywhere is terrorism everywhere and so what is happening here in Nigeria has an impact on its neighbours and other countries in the world and we want the government of Nigeria to succeed in its efforts to do away with terrorism in the North of Nigeria.”

She further disclosed that the United States government had made commitments to the federal government when the meeting held in September.

The commitments include providing training and assistance to the military on how they can address counter insurgencies as well as providing advice based on their good and bad experiences.

She also mentioned that they would pay special attention to ensure that the Nigerian military is sensitive to the impact of its anti-terrorism activities on communities and to ensure that human rights violations are not committed.

She added that the discussion between the two presidents held in New York was good and very productive.

Issues of oil bunkering were also part of the discussions and another team from the United States’ government is expected to arrive in Port Harcourt, on Saturday. The team will also hold meetings with government on how to address the problem.