Police Arrest Boko Haram Commanders In Borno

 

Police authorities in Borno say they have arrested two “high profile’’ Boko haram commanders believed to have participated in attacks on security locations in Nigeria and Cameroon.

The commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Mohammed Aliyu, made this known in Maiduguri while briefing newsmen.

READ ALSO: One Dead, Eight Others Missing In Fresh Zamfara Attack

Mr. Aliyu said that while one of the suspects, Ali ibrahim, was arrested on January 6 in Maiduguri, the other suspect, Umar Abacha who had escaped to Lagos was arrested when he returned to Maiduguri on may 13.

The police chief said that during preliminary investigation conducted by men of the command, the suspects confessed to have been part of many attacks on security locations in which military weapons were carted away.

Journalist Killed In Northern Ireland ‘Terrorist Incident’

Police secure the area where a journalist was fatally shot amid rioting overnight in the Creggan area of Derry (Londonderry) in Northern Ireland on April 19, 2019. Paul Faith / AFP

 

A journalist was shot dead during riots in Northern Ireland in what police Friday were treating as a terrorist incident following the latest upsurge in violence to shake the troubled region.

“Lyra McKee was murdered during orchestrated violence in Creggan last night,” Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said in a statement.

McKee had earlier posted an image that appeared to be from the riots in the Creggan housing estate in the city of Londonderry, also known as Derry, accompanied by the words “Derry tonight. Absolute madness.”

READ ALSO: Trump Calls Russia Probe ‘A Witch-Hunt’

Images of the unrest posted on social media showed a car and van ablaze and hooded individuals throwing petrol bombs and fireworks at police vehicles.

“A single gunman fired shots in a residential area of the city and as a result wounded Ms McKee,” said Hamilton, adding that police believed the gunman was a “violent dissident republican.”

“We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder enquiry,” he added.

Journalist Matthew Hughes earlier identified the dead woman as one of his friends.

“I just received the heartbreaking news that my friend @LyraMcKee was murdered tonight in a terrorist incident in Derry,” he wrote on Twitter.

McKee had written for The Atlantic magazine and Buzzfeed News and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2016 as one of their “30 under 30” oustanding figures in media, according to her literary agent Janklow & Nesbit.

Leona O’Neill, a reporter with the Belfast Telegraph, said she had been next to McKee when she was shot.

“I was standing beside this young woman when she fell beside a police Land Rover tonight in Creggan #Derry. I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight,” she tweeted.

 Good Friday Agreement 

The violence came in the run-up to the Easter weekend, when Republicans opposed to the British presence in Northern Ireland mark the anniversary of a 1916 uprising against British rule.

A car-bombing and the hijacking of two vans in Londonderry earlier this year were also blamed on a dissident paramilitary group.

Michelle O’Neill, the deputy leader of Irish republican party Sinn Fein, condemned the killing.

“My heart goes out to the family of the young woman shot dead by so-called dissidents,” she wrote on Twitter.

“This was an attack on the community, an attack on the peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement,” the peace deal that largely brought an end to violence on the island exactly 21 years ago, she added, calling for calm.

Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Union Party, which is in favour of Britain’s presence in Northern Ireland, described the death as “heartbreaking news”.

“A senseless act. A family has been torn apart. Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 largely brought an end to three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles”.

Some 3,500 people were killed in the conflict — many at the hands of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Police have blamed a group called the New IRA for the flare-up in violence in recent months.

Some have expressed fears that recent attacks could be a sign that paramilitaries are seeking to exploit the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.

Londonderry was the scene of one of the darkest episodes in the Troubles in 1972, known as Bloody Sunday, when British troops opened fire on a civil rights demonstration and killed 13 people. A 14th victim later died of his wounds.

A former British soldier was charged with murder last month over the killings.

AFP

French Troops Kill Senior Islamist Militant In Mali

 

 

French forces have killed a top jihadist leader, Yahya Abou El Hamame, in an operation in Mali, Defence Minister Florence Parly said Friday.

The Algerian, a commander in Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was reputedly responsible for kidnapping a number of Westerners in North and West Africa.

A ministry statement issued in Paris said he was “the mastermind and financier of several attacks”.

El Hamame was killed Thursday when French land and air forces ambushed a column of vehicles he was travelling with north of Timbuktu, Parly said.

He reportedly served as AQIM’s “governor” in Timbuktu when the city was held by Islamist rebels from April 2012 to January 2013.

A number of other “terrorists” were “neutralised”, Parly added.

READ ALSO: Death Toll From South African Coal Mine Blast Rises To 18

El Hamame was believed to be second in command of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), also known as Nusrat al-Islam, led by Iyad Ag Ghali.

The group was formed by the merger of Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and El Hamame’s Saharan branch of AQIM.

The operation was announced as Parly, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian were due to visit Mali, where some 4,500 French troops have been deployed since 2014 to reconquer the north of the country after it fell to jihadist fighters.

AFP

Russia Accuses BBC Of Spreading ‘Terrorist’ Ideologies

Russia Flag

 

Russia’s media watchdog accused the BBC Thursday of spreading the ideologies of “terrorist groups” via online publications of its Russian service, the latest in a tit-for-tat row over media impartiality.

Roskomnadzor, the state communications and media watchdog, said it would investigate whether the BBC was breaking the law.

This was the latest volley in a wave of rhetoric against the BBC, after Britain’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom last year said the Moscow-funded RT channel had broken broadcasting standards.

“Currently we have discovered materials which transmit the ideologies of international terrorist groups (quotes of terrorist al-Baghdadi)” on the BBC’s Russian language website, Roskomnadzor said in a statement.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group, also known as ISIS.

Russian law does not forbid quoting individuals considered “terrorists”, however, any mention of such outlawed groups has to come with the disclaimer that the group is banned in Russia.

The watchdog said it would probe whether material broadcast by the BBC “corresponds with Russian anti-extremism legislation”.

The BBC said in a statement sent to AFP that it “fully complies with the legislation and regulations of every country” in which it operates.

The Russian statement did not cite any specific articles or dates.

Roskomnadzor also said it had requested documents from the BBC’s Russian services to investigate whether it was breaking a new law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media.

BBC’s Russian service is limited to the internet, but it has expanded in recent years and has many top reporters on the team dealing with often sensitive political subjects.

Britain’s Ofcom said in December it had found violations of impartiality rules in seven of RT’s shows broadcast after the Salisbury nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The statement was not followed by any sanctions.

Moscow said at the time that any proceedings against the BBC were a “mirror measure” for Britain’s “constant propaganda against RT”, a state-owned channel.

AFP

12 Killed, 14 Injured In Suspected Terrorist Attack In Mozambique

 

 

Twelve villagers were killed and 14 injured in an attack by suspected jihadists on a village in a gas-rich region of northern Mozambique, a local source told AFP on Friday.

Since October, the southeast African country’s golden vision to exploit its gas reserves has been thrown into doubt by an explosion of bloodthirsty assaults in the region where the industry plans to base its hub.

“Ten people killed were shot by firearms and two burnt (to death) after 55 houses were charred. A person was beheaded after being shot dead” in the northern village of Paqueue late Thursday, said the source.

A health official in the Cabo Delgado region, who declined to be named, said that an ambulance was dispatched to Paqueue to “rescue the 14 wounded”.

In a separate incident, a military convoy came under attack near the Tanzanian border north of Paqueue, killing a senior army officer, according to a police source.

“The attack occurred at night when defense and security forces routinely patrol. The attackers wore military uniforms and had large-caliber firearms,” said the source who declined to be named.

AFP

Israeli Strike Kills Seven ‘Terrorists’ In Syria

A fighter jet                                                                                                                                       Credit: AFP

 

An Israeli air strike has killed seven militants believed to be linked to the Islamic State group and seeking to infiltrate the country from the Syrian Golan Heights, the army said Thursday.

The rare incident came as Israel readied itself for Syria regaining complete control of the country’s south near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

A Syrian offensive, backed by Russia, has seen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces rout rebels and jihadists in the region, sending them fleeing.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said  Assad’s gains present advantages for Israel since it would provide a level of stability in the Golan even though the two countries remain technically at war.

Israel’s army said there had been no coordination with Assad’s government before the strike.

The strike was carried out late Wednesday after the militants crossed a ceasefire line and came within a few hundred metres (yards) of the fence in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said.

Later searches turned up the seven bodies, five AK-47 assault rifles, explosive vests and what appeared to be grenades, he added.

 ‘Moving in combat formation’

Israeli forces monitored the militants’ movements before carrying out the strike, Conricus said.

“Had they been able to continue, they would have come to the Israeli security fence,” he said.

Conricus said Israeli forces believed they were on a “terrorist mission” and “trying to infiltrate into Israel”.

“It did not seem as if they were fleeing, seeking refuge,” Conricus said. “It seems as if they were moving in a combat formation, with combat equipment.”

He declined to say specifically where they were located, but said it was in the southern Golan, near the Jordanian border.

Initial findings show they were linked to IS but it remains unconfirmed, said Conricus.

Jordan’s army also said Thursday it had killed a number of jihadists who tried to approach its northern border with Syria.

Conricus said he was not aware of any coordination with the Jordanians.

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Rare incident 

Conricus said there also had been no coordination with Syria or Russia before the strike, adding that Israel was within the bounds of a 1974 ceasefire agreement for the area in carrying it out.

Israel has sought to remain out of direct involvement in Syria’s civil war, but it admits carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are deliveries of advanced weaponry to its Lebanese enemy Hezbollah.

It has also pledged to prevent its arch foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria and a series of recent strikes that have killed Iranians in Syria have been attributed to Israel.

Confrontations with IS-linked fighters have been more rare.

The only other similar incident since the start of Syria’s seven-year civil war occurred in November 2016, when Israeli soldiers were targeted with machine gun fire and mortars and shot back.

The air force then bombed the vehicle carrying the gunmen, identified as members of the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade, a Syrian rebel group that pledged allegiance to IS.

Four of the militants were killed, with no Israeli soldiers injured.

Assad told his troops on Wednesday they were close to victory after inflicting a succession of defeats on rebels.

A series of blistering offensives backed by Moscow and Tehran has forced the rebels out of many of their strongholds, putting Assad’s government back in control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

Russia will now deploy “eight military police observation posts” in the region, Russian army general Sergei Rudskoy said on Thursday.

He added that “conditions have been created for the resumption of the activities of UN peacekeeping forces in the Golan Heights”.

Israel has been pressing Russia to keep Iranian forces or its proxies far away from the Golan.

Lieberman saw benefits in Assad consolidating his gains.

“In Syria, as far as we are concerned, the situation is returning to the previous one before the civil war, meaning there is a clear address, there is responsibility and there is a central government,” Lieberman said.

AFP

Killer Herdsmen More Dangerous Than Boko Haram, Says Akintoye

Historian, Professor Banji Akintoye, has supported the proposition that the Federal Government should declare killer herdsmen across the country as terrorists.

According to him, they appear to be more dangerous than Boko Haram terrorists and therefore, must be stopped before their activities get out of hand.

He addressed the issue when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Thursday.

“We can’t have a country in which people feel that they are free to move around, killing people at random and at will. We cannot have a country like that, obviously, these are terrorists and the government owes Nigeria the duty of getting them out of Nigeria.

“In any country in the world, people like the killer herdsmen would be terrorists and the government would be acting strongly against them, taking action against them the way we have taken action against Boko Haram or even worse.

“They are all over Nigeria, there is no state in the middle belt and the south that they have not killed people in so they are more dangerous than Boko Haram,” Akintoye said.

Read Also: Declare Herdsmen Terrorists, Soyinka Tells FG

This comes barely 24 hours after Nobel Laurette, Professor Wole Soyinka asked the Federal Government to declare the criminals as terrorists.

He also advised that the government should give a stern and final warning to perpetrators of the wanton killings across states in the country.

“We’re speaking of governance, will, and responsibility, the readiness to respond with massive punitive action when the fundamental security of a people is violated.

“We’re speaking of the courage to decree such monsters terrorists and enemies of humanity with the same dispatch as the declaration of fireless violent, far less destabilising movements, albeit disruptive, supernaturalism and sometimes nasty in their attestation and activities,” Soyinka said while delivering his keynote speech at the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue; an annual forum designed to broaden the conversation on issues troubling Nigeria.

Rating the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and what he thinks about a coalition against the government, Akintoye said: “ I think Buhari should not continue to rule us anymore”.

“Well I don’t know how it may work and I don’t really care how, all I want is that Nigerians should unite and get Buhari and his government out of the place of the Federal Government of Nigeria because Buhari is destroying our country.

“Look at what he is doing with people who are going around killing.

“You send your men to those places and the killings are going on there, it’s all kid gloves. There is nothing concrete happening,” he stressed.

When asked if he thinks a political coalition, especially with a major opposition party, might do ‘wonders’ in 2019, he said; “I hope so, I will desire so because I think that Buhari should not continue to rule us anymore.

A former FCT NBA Chairman, Victor Ekim who was also on the show, believes that with the dissatisfaction of many, the Buhari administration may need to take a break.

“The only constant thing is change, change brought in the APC and if the entire nation is dissatisfied with the state of affairs in the country, then the only thing necessary is change.

“I just hope this coalition will get its acts together and give the APC a run for its money,” he said

Declare Herdsmen Terrorists, Soyinka Tells FG

 

Professor Wole Soyinka has asked the Federal Government to declare as terrorists, herdsmen responsible for attacks in states across the country.

The Nobel Laurette said this on Thursday in Lagos, while delivering his keynote speech at the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue; an annual forum designed to broaden the conversation on issues troubling the nation.

He believes it is high time the Federal Government gives a stern warning against the carnage and utter destruction they inflict on the communities.

“We’re speaking of governance, will, and responsibility, the readiness to respond with massive punitive action when the fundamental security of a people is violated.

“We’re speaking here of a president showing up at the arena of human desecration, not to shed any anxious tears, but to read the riot act and give an order, right on the scene of violation.

“Order his forces into action against the arrogant, blood-thirsty renegades of society who wallow in the blood of others, having been assured one way or the other, of a cloak of impunity.

“We’re speaking of the courage to decree such monsters terrorists and enemies of humanity with the same dispatch as the declaration of fireless violent, far less destabilising movements, albeit disruptive, supernaturalism and sometimes nasty in their attestation and activities”.

Soyinka also talked about the need for Nigerians to wake up and stand against capital punishment being suggested in the proposed Hate Speech Bill.

“Life has become so trite, so cheap, that a group of supposedly rational, intelligent people in this world, especially a world that is trying to get rid of its degrading punishment called capital punishment and they come and decree hanging, No, they’re not going to hang anybody.

“They just want an instrument to silence people. It is ironic, of course, that I should call Nigerian’s to resist this law,” he said.

Also present were economist and management expert, Dr Pat Utomi; Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi; Human rights activist, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, and Dr Reuben Abati.

Nigerian Military Declares IPOB Terrorist Organisation

File Photo: Nnamdi kalu

The Defence Headquarters has declared the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a militant terrorist organisation.

Director, Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, in a statement on Friday, said parents should dissuade their wards from joining the group and that the Armed Forces will confront “all security challenges facing the country.’’

Enenche listed reasons for the declaration to include, the formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads; extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks, and militant possession and use of weapons (stones, molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles among others) on a military patrol on September 10, 2017.

“From the foregoing, the Armed Forces of Nigeria wishes to confirm to the general public that IPOB from all intent, plan and purpose as analysed, is a militant terrorist organisation,” it said.

Based on the declaration, the army warned Nigerians against joining the group.

“Therefore, parents and particularly unsuspecting residents of the South East and other Nigerians should advise their wards to desist from joining the group,” it said.

“The Defence Headquarters restates its commitment to handling all the security challenges in the Country and further assures all Nigerians of the protection of lives and property.”

See full reasons for the declaration below:

  • The Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) group which has posed to be a security challenge in the Country, has been metamorphosing from one stage to the other. After due professional analysis and recent developments, it has become expedient, to notify the general public that; the claim by IPOB actors that the organization is non-violent is not true. Hence, the need to bring to public awareness the true and current state of IPOB. In this regard, some of their actions, clandestinely and actively, that has been terrorising the general public among others include;
  • The formation of a Biafra Secret Service.
  • Claimed formation of Biafra National Guard.
  • Unauthorised blocking of public access roads.
  • Extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks.
  • Militant possession and use of weapons (stones, Molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles among others) on a military patrol on 10 September 2017.
  • Physical confrontation of troops by Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB actors at a checkpoint on 11 September 2017 and also attempts to snatch their rifles.
  • Attack by IPOB members, on a military checkpoint on 12 September 2017, at Isialangwa, where one IPOB actor attempted to snatch a female soldier’s rifle.

 

How We Foiled Terrorist Plot To Disrupt Sallah Festivities – DSS

Mai-Tangaran

The Department of State Service (DSS) says that it uncovered and foiled sinister plans by Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA) terrorists, to cause mayhem and destruction that would have disrupted the just concluded Eid-Kabir Sallah festivities.

The DSS in a statement signed by its spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, on Saturday said the plan was to conduct gun attacks and suicide bombing on selected targets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States.

According to the statement, the mastermind of the operation was one Husseini Mai-Tangaran, a well-known senior ISWA commander who has been on the radar of the Nigeria Army since 2012, when he spearheaded the armed attacks on the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone I, on 20th January, 2012, as well as other public places in Kano.

It was also noted that Mai-Tangaran was responsible for the deadly explosive attacks against worshippers at the Kano Central Mosque as well as an attack on a military formation in Yobe State in 2015, which claimed hundreds of lives.

Giving details of the foiled attacks the DSS said: “Under the banner of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) which he belongs, Mai-Tangaran, an IED expert had been prepping and priming others for the perpetration of suicide bombing attacks carried out by the group in the past within the North-East region.

“He was arrested in Kano, on 31st August, 2017, and further exploitation, led to the arrest of one Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed by the Service on September 2, 2017, at Kantin Kwari Market in Fagge LGA, Kano.”

The statement noted that Mohammed was a fighter of the sect who left the conclave of the group in the Sambisa forest, to join ranks with Ismaila towards carrying out the attacks being planned by the group.

“Also, another accomplice in the plot, one Muhammad Ali was arrested on 3rd September 2017, at Sheka area in Kumbotso LGA of the State. Prior to his arrest, ALI was the financial courier of the group in Kano. He was one of the conduits through which funds and other material logistics were channeled to the group from foreign extremist elements/sponsors.

“Like Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed, Ali was involved in the plot to perpetrate the planned attacks in Kano and other states in the north during the just concluded Eid-Kabir celebration.”

In a related tactical operation on September 3, 2017, the Service said it apprehended the duo of one Yahaya Mohammed Abatcha and Yusuf Mohammed, both fighters of the Habib Al-Barnawi-led group, along Top Medical Road, close to Mobile Quarters in Tunga area of Minna city, Niger State, among other successes recorded during its operations.

The agency expressed gratitude to Nigerians for providing useful information on criminal moves in the country and gave a reassurance that it would continue to play its part in ridding the nation of insurgents.

‘Terrorist’ Attacker In Brussels Shot Dead

Policemen stand guard the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the city centre of Brussels on August 25, 2017, where a man is alleged to have attacked soldiers with a knife and was shot. Aurore Belot / AFP

A knifeman who attacked two soldiers in Brussels on Friday has been shot dead, federal prosecutors told AFP.

“We believe that it is a terrorist attack,” said a prosecutors’ office spokeswoman, who added the attacker “is dead.”

The assailant “yelled twice ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest) while attacking the soldiers” in the Belgian capital, she said. Soldiers then opened fire on the man.

One of the two soldiers targeted was “slightly” wounded, according to federal prosecutors, who have opened a terror probe.

The attack took place around 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) on a street in central Brussels.

AFP

Singapore Detains First Woman Citizen Suspected Of Islamist Radicalism

Singapore said on Monday that it has detained an assistant child-care worker suspected of trying to join the Islamic State and finding a militant husband in Syria.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs said Izzah the suspect, Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, 22, is being held under a tough security law the Internal Security Act, a colonial-era law that allows authorities to detain anyone seen as a threat to security for up to two years.

The detention of the first Singaporean woman for suspected Islamist radicalism comes as concern is growing about the spread of Islamic State in the region.

Singapore and its neighbours recently began intelligence cooperation aimed at stemming the movement of militants across their borders.

The island city-state off southern Malaysia has reiterated over the past year that it is a target of Islamist groups and has urged the public to be alert.