Putin Defends Russia’s Air Strikes In Syria

Russia-putinPresident Vladimir Putin has defended Russia’s military interventions in Syria, saying it would aid efforts to reach a political settlement and stabilise the “legitimate authority” of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.

Putin denied that Russian air strikes were hitting moderate opposition groups rather than Islamic State (IS) militants.

Syrian forces have made significant advances against rebels.

Government gains in Idlib, Hama and Latakia provinces were also reported both by Damascus and opposition activists.

The main battlefront is currently close to the key highway that links the capital with other major cities, including Aleppo, and Mr Assad’s forces are believed to be seeking to cut off rebels in Idlib.

Putin believes that without Moscow’s support for President Assad, there was a danger that “terrorist groups” could overrun Syria.

Kaduna Killings: Agwai Appointed Chairman Of Security Committee

kaduna governorKaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has appointed the former Chief of Defence Staff, LT General Martin Luther Agwai, as Chairman of a security committee set up by the state government to recommend ways to stamp out attacks on communities in the southern part of the state.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, the committee is part of the government’s multidimensional approach in finding lasting solutions to the killings in the area, which have continued since the post-election violence of 2011.

The committee’s terms of reference are to identify the socio-political and economic factors that promote existing conflicts in Southern Kaduna and advise on measures to be taken by the government to address them,

The committee will also explore ways of finding mutual solutions that engender reconciliation between communities in Southern Kaduna and also advise the government on how the villages and communities of Southern Kaduna would be free from attacks bedevilling it.

It has 30 days to complete its assignment and submit its report.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Agwai, is presently serving as a United Nations envoy in Sudan.

On Thursday, 13 people were killed and 15 others critically wounded in separate attacks at two local government areas of the state.

The governor had earlier disclosed that a security committee which would include traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders would soon be established by the state government in order to work out the specific roles for traditional rulers towards the maintenance of peace and security in the state.

Boko Haram Attacks Soldiers’ Checkpoint In Gombe

-Heavily armed members of the Boko Haram terrorist group attacked a military checkpoint in Gombe on Saturday, forcing residents and soldiers to flee the area.

Fleeing residents and security sources told reporters that explosions and gunfire were heard after the fighters overwhelmed the checkpoint at the edge of the city, which has been bombed before but has never had the insurgents attempt to take it over.

Reuters quoted a witness, Abdul Hassan, as saying that soldiers ran away after the checkpoint was overwhelmed. The militants then burned down a police station on the outskirts of town, he said.

“I crossed a river and ran into the hills,” he said. “I’m still there and I can hear the fighting.”

Other residents have been forced to stay indoors, with another witness, Hussaina Maji, saying she was unable to leave her house for fear of being caught in crossfire.

“There are gun shot sounds everywhere and heavy artillery fire. People are running down the streets from the area which under attack, The whole town is in a state of panic,” resident Godfret Obeate told Reuters by telephone.

Security authorities have not confirmed the attack and the number of casualties is unknown.

The Boko Haram sect has continued to attack communities in the north-east region of Nigeria, as it pushes for an Islamic state, posing a grave security threat to Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.

Thousands have been killed while hundreds have been kidnapped, with the group increasing its threats in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The countries have formed a Multinational Joint Force to battle the insurgents.

Nigeria’s general elections was last week postponed, with the electoral body citing security operative’s advice and request for a shift to enable them secure towns in the north-east before the elections.

The military had told the Independent National electoral Commission that it could not guarantee the safety of lives and property in the region during elections, demanding for six weeks to degrade the activities of the terrorist group.

On Thursday, the West African Allied Forces led by the Nigerian military, supported by Chad, Niger and Cameroon, stormed the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, killing a good number of insurgents.

A top military source told Channels Television that the air forces bombarded the insurgents, before ground forces moved in and incapacitated the insurgents.

Already the insurgents have been pushed out of Gamboru which lies on the Nigerian border with Cameroon.

Boko Haram attacked a village in Chad on Friday, the first known lethal attack in that country by the sect, which killed several people including a local chief according to residents and security forces.

FG Wants Boko Haram Insurgency To Continue – El Rufai

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai has accused the Federal Government  of wanting the Boko Haram insurgency to continue for selfish reasons.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr El-Rufai faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement suggesting that members of the Boko Haram group are ghosts.

He said, “over a thousand Boko Haram operatives are in the custody of the SSS here in Abuja,” hence the Government cannot claim to not know who the terrorists are. He added that he knows the government has a lot of information about the Islamist group.

“What is lacking is the will to address this issue. I think the government just wants this to continue because it is profitable for the security agencies to have huge budgets, most of which is stolen.” He said.

The former minister also said that the government which has over time requested the help of people such as himself, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Borno Elder’s Council, in talking to the extremist group has also accused them of being ‘Boko Haram Sympathisers.’

Watch the video below for the complete interview with Mr El-Rufai

Expect More Terrorist Groups – Security Expert

The security challenges the country has been experiencing in recent time might not cease soon despite the proposed ceasefire talks between the Federal Government and Boko Haram.

A security analyst, Bosun Abolarinwa maintains that the last of these insurgencies is yet to be seen as it is near impossible for terrorism to start and just fade away.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it so far; terrorism is not something that will come into the system and just go away like that,” he said.

The security expert who was a guest on our breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, said if terrorism can gain access into a system which also involves insurgencies, it will take almost 50 years to phase it out of Nigeria if the government is doing what it ought to be doing at the moment.

He said also that there will be more groups because of disagreements and differing ideologies over time, which will trigger the creation of several terrorist groups.