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.
Troops of Forward Operation Base, Fika on routine patrol arrested a suspected fleeing Boko Haram terrorist, Bala Ibrahim, on Saturday.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the 30-year-old suspect is an indigene of Bulabulin village in Fika Local Government Area of Yobe State, North-East Nigeria.
A statement from the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sani Usman, said he is further being interrogated.
The statement added that following a tip off, troops deployed at Forward Operation Base, Yuga similarly ambushed and arrested four suspected kidnappers at Mundu village.
“The suspects, Yahaya Auta, aged 25; Salisu Lawal, aged 20 years; Umar Mohammed, aged 18 years; and Samaila Abubakar, were found to be in possession of one locally made six-loader single barrel gun, one empty cartridge, two machetes, a knife, two mobile telephone handsets, two packets of Tramol tablets and the sum of 360 naira, while on their way to commit crime,” the statement added.
Brigadier General Usman said they also currently being further investigated.
A suicide bomber has reportedly died in an attempt to wreak havoc on a popular mosque in Potiskum, Yobe State, north-east Nigeria.
Witnesses told Channels Television that the suicide bomber was conveying his Improvised Explosive Device (IED) to the popular Sakafa Mosque in Potiskum when it exploded.
“Yes the bomber was conveying the explosive devices and in an attempt to cross the last gutter to reach his target…the explosives went off on the spot,” an eyewitness said.
The source also told Channels Television that the bomber did not die on the spot as he was taken to the Potiskum General Hospital where he later died.
The Yobe State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Toyin Gbadegesin, who confirmed the incident, told Channels TV that the explosion occurred around 4:20pm at the popular Moscow line in the heart of Potiskum town.
He also said that apart from killing himself and injuring eight others, the explosion also damaged a nearby car.
Monday’s attempted suicide bomb attack on the commercial town was the first since the conclusion of both the presidential and the governorship elections.
The U.S. President, Barack Obama, on Wednesday commended President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, and current President, Goodluck Jonathan, following the outcome of the presidential election.
In a statement, the U.S. President, who praised Nigeria’s commitment to democracy said: “I urge President-elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition.”
In the message sent directly to Nigerians, President Obama reminded the nation about its struggle for independence from colonialism, the struggle against military dictatorship and the need to turn the country’s diversity into a source of strength.
He defeated Nigeria’s incumbent President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, by over 2 million votes, in a keenly contested election which held on Saturday, March 28, 2015.
This is the first time an opposition party is winning the presidential election in Nigeria.
Before handing over the certificate to General Buhari, the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, pledged that the commission would continue to do its best, under all circumstances, to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
U.S President, Barack Obama, has called on Nigerians to shun violence and express their views peacefully during the upcoming elections.
President Obama’s message to the people of Nigeria, as posted online by the White House, is to highlight the opportunity that the upcoming elections present for all Nigerians to stand together in rejecting violence and extremism and instead show their support for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be conducting Nigeria’s presidential election on Saturday March 28, after it was re-scheduled due to security reasons.
Full Text of President Obama’s Message to the Nigerian People
Hello, today I want to speak directly to you the people of Nigeria. Nigeria is a great nation and you can be proud of the progress you’ve made.
Together, you won your independence, emerged from military rule and strengthened democratic institutions. You’ve strived to overcome division and to turn Nigeria’s diversity into a source of strength. You’ve worked hard to improve the lives of your families and to build the largest economy in Africa.
Now you have a historic opportunity to help write the next chapter of Nigeria’s progress by voting in the upcoming elections.
For elections to be credible, they must be free, fair and peaceful. All Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear.
So, I call on all leaders and candidates to make it clear to their supporters that violence has no place in democratic elections—and that they will not incite, support or engage in any kind of violence before, during, or after the votes are counted.
I call on all Nigerians to peacefully express your views and to reject the voices of those who call for violence.
When elections are free and fair, it is the responsibility of all citizens to help keep the peace, no matter who wins. Successful elections and democratic progress will help Nigeria meet the urgent challenges you face today.
Boko Haram, a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children must be stopped. Hundreds of kidnapped children deserve to be returned to their families. Nigerians who have been forced to flee deserve to return to their homes.
Boko Haram wants to destroy Nigeria and all that you have worked to build. By casting your ballot, you can help secure your nation’s progress. I’m told that there is a saying in your country: to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.
Today, I urge all Nigerians, from all religions, all ethnic groups, and all regions, to come together and keep Nigeria one. And in this task of advancing the security, prosperity, and human rights of all Nigerians, you will continue to have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
Iraqi forces has reiterated its plans and hope to retake the city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) within a week, a commander disclosed to journalists.
The head of a Shia militia brigade, fighting alongside government forces, said that IS militants still held about 70% of Tikrit’s town centre.
The Shia leader expressed optimism that Tikrit would be “liberated,” even if it required street-to-street fighting.
Soldiers and militiamen have reportedly retaken key sites, including a Police headquarters and a hospital.
Muain al-Khmdy, a commander of the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade, said that pro-government forces would surround IS-held areas of the city and then attack, aiming to drive IS fighters from their location.
Several hundred militants are believed to be operating in Tikrit, research revealed.
The pro-government force ranged against them includes about 3,000 Iraqi troops with 20,000 Shia militiamen and a much smaller force of Sunni tribesmen.
Earlier, Iraqi Defence Minister, Khaled al-Obedi stated that recapturing Tikrit could be a turning point in the battle against IS.
The Defence minister described the city as a stepping stone to other IS-held territory, including Mosul – the country’s second largest city.
“The liberation of this city [Tikrit] and province will serve as a launch pad for reclaiming the north and the west of Iraq,” Khaled said.
Tikrit was the home town of ousted former leader Saddam Hussein.
Anti-government Sunnis loyal to Saddam’s Baath party collaborated with the militants when they overran a huge swathe of Iraq, including Tikrit, last June.
The large role of Iranian-backed Shia fighters in the battle for Tikrit has raised fears of reprisals against the mainly Sunni population.
US officials are said to be concerned at reports that Shia militias have been setting fire to buildings as they advance.
The Defense Headquarters has refute reports of frustrating the efforts of troops from neighboring countries, who are part of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) undertaking counter-terrorism operations in the north-east.
A spokesman for the Military, Major General Chris Olukolade, said on Wednesday that the current tide of events in the fight against the insurgents was conceived and being driven by the Nigerian Military but enjoys the backing of the reinvigorated MNJTF with troops from Chad,Cameroon and Niger.
Major General Olukolade said such claims were aimed at driving a wedge between the Nigerian Military and Allied Forces, which could be detrimental to the operations and relationships.
“The Defense Headquarters is concerned that its operations are being undermined by a false report of discord between the Nigerian Military and its allies,” he said.
General Olukolade explained that “outside the latitudes allowed by the operational guidelines of the MNJTF, the sovereignty of Nigeria has not been compromised”.
The spokesman promised that the Nigeria Military would not be deterred, as its operations would continue on all fronts, including aerial bombardment of identified hideouts and ground operations of terrorists.
However, the Nigerian Military and the Allied Forces have successfully reclaimed territories that have been captured by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The National Information Centre (NIC) said the Nigerian Army has reclaimed more territories from the insurgents in the ongoing counter terrorism in the north east.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Director General of the National Information Centre, Mr Mike Omeri, said the Army is now in full control of these recovered territories in Borno and Adamawa states.
Over ten communities are said to have been recovered by the military including Mubi, Gamboru-Ngala, Hong, Monguno, Baga and Gombi.
Mr Omeri, however raised an alarm over what he described as ”continuous radicalization” and recruitment of Nigerian youths abroad into terrorist organisations.
In recent times, the military had said that it has recovered various territories that was taken by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Maj General Olukolade, the spokesman for the military had said that truck loads of rice, beans and other logistics meant for the terrorists operating around Baga were also captured.
He also said that the air and land operations had continued, with aggressive advance towards other designated communities and locations meant to be cleared in the ongoing offensive against the Boko Haram members.
About 158 abductees held hostage by the Boko Haram militants in Yobe State have reunited with their family members.
The abductees, comprising women and children, were abducted in Katarko town of Gujba Local Government Area of the state.
After their release, the abductees have gone through some psychological and trauma reforms in the hands of security agents before they were eventually released to the state government.
Presenting the victims to their family members, the Chairman of the State Committee on Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Insurgency Victims, Barrister Ahmed Goneri, said that the 158 victims include 62 adults while the remaining 96 are children and were abducted late last year after the attack carried out by the insurgents in Katarko town.
According to Barrister Ahmed, 15 of the 62 adults had become widows because of the attack on the town.
The Chairman said that the adults would be given two bags of rice, sugar, cartons of noodles and a bag of salt as well.
Mr Ahmed also revealed that those identified as widows in the attack would be given N50,000 support, while others would be given N30,000 stressing that such money would help them start up life after the attack.
He praised the Yobe State Government for the gesture and thanked security agents for all the measures taken towards ensuring the abductees are healthy.
The Chairman of Gujba Local Government, Kyari Batarama, also appreciated support from various quarters towards the recovery of those abducted. He called for sustained security measures towards capturing the towns still under the control of insurgents.
Abdulrahaman Dauda, who discovered the released detainees in Kasaisa village, outskirts of Damaturu, said that they were in a serious state of trauma when he saw them, thanking God that he had seen his abducted family members.
He expressed hope that the remaining people being held captive would also be released by the abductors.
One of the victims, Hauwa Mohammed, said, ”They did not maltreat us since whisking us away for three weeks. We had enough food and drinks all through our stay in captivity.
“Any time they enter our apartment to preach their ideologies to us, they ask us to avoid looking at them. They will always criticise us as pagans. When they were releasing us, they asked us to prepare and join those pagans in the town.
“We thank God that we have reunited with our family members after three weeks of being in captivity.”