Explosion Claims Bombers’ Lives In Kano

Two separate bomb attacks targeted at the Joint Task Force checkpoint at Maiduguri road and police check point at eastern bypass, both in Kano metropolis have claimed the lives of two of the suspected bombers.

According to the State police commissioner, Musa Daura, the explosive which targeted the JTF checkpoint was remote controlled and buried in the ground very close to the checkpoint.

Mr Daura added that the person that targeted the police checkpoint disguised as a water truck seller pushing a truck towards the checkpoint with one other person giving him cover on a motorcycle. However, on throwing the explosive, it hit the motorcycle rider and killed both of them on the spot.

The commissioner further disclosed that no police officer was killed or injured from the attacks, adding that four other people were arrested while attempting to attack the police after the explosion.

Meanwhile, three police officers and one local security officer attached to a local government secretariat were killed during an attack at Ganye local government area of Adamawa state.

Residents told Channels Television that gun men on a motorcycle numbering about ten staged a prison break, and set ablaze the local government police divisional headquarters and the local government secretariat, killing the four people in the two separate locations.

Kano Bombing: Senate Warns Of Military Takeover

As the death toll in Kano bombings continue to rise, one of the Senators representing Kano State, Kabiru Gaya has warned of a military takeover of government if solutions are not quickly found to the bloody terrorism ongoing in Nigeria.

Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya

He disclosed this while contributing at Wednesday’s Senate plenary on matters of urgent national importance.

Senator Gaya, a former Governor of Kano State said Nigeria has gradually become a failed state.

He notes how school teachers and kids in Kano no longer attend schools, like their Borno state counterparts, for fear of being bombed by Boko haram.

Warning of dire consequences if solutions are not found to the intimidating bombings and terror attacks on Nigerians, the Senator feared that the country may drift apart.

Uche Chukwumerije, who jointly moved the motion with Senator Gaya, claimed that about 100 to 120 persons had been confirmed dead in the Kano blast.

TheSsenate asked the executive arm of government to diversify its approach to tackling the problem of insecurity in the country.

Raising a point of order in the chamber, Senator Chukwumerije condemned Monday’s bomb attack on a motor park in Kano pointing out that 80 per cent of the victims were from a particular part of the country.

He also expressed concern over what he termed the perceived indifference of Kano state government to Monday’s bombing of the motor park.

He said it was sad that more than 24 hours after the destruction, the Kano state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, had not seen it fit to pay a visit to the motor park.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, condemned the attack and asked the executive to effectively tackle the insecurity challenges in the country.

 

 

Activist Protests Okah’s Prosecution

A prison rights activist, Golden Miles Bhudu on Monday protested the prosecution of Henry Okah at a South Africa court.

The activist  insisted that Mr Okah is not a terrorist and that the South African court prosecuted an innocent man.

On January 21, a Johannesburg Magistrate court in South African found Mr Okah guilty of terrorism charges levelled against him by the federal government of Nigeria.

However, Mr. Bhudu is of the opinion that South Africa should not be involved in the case.

“South Africa had no right to charge him,” He said.

“Mr. Henry Okah is a freedom fighter; He is not a terrorist,” Mr Bhudu said outside the High Court in Johannesburg.

“My brothers and sisters wake up and smell the coffee; an innocent man has been prosecuted. Mr Henry Okah is not a bloody terrorist.”

Mr. Bhudu appeared at the court dressed in orange prison overalls with chains wrapped around him whilst displaying two posters in his hands.

“Henry Okah is a political detainee and not a terrorist, says SAPOHR (The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights (SAPOHR))” and “Henry Okah’s trial re-enacts Rivonia trial of 1964, says SAPOHR,” the placards read.

Governor Vows To Arrest Perpetrators Of Kaduna Attack

The Kaduna State Governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero has visited Aduwan Gida village in Zango Kataf Local Government Area of the state where he promised to bring to book the culprits of last Saturday’s attack in which five members of a family were killed.

The Kaduna State Governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero

The attackers reportedly stormed a compound and opened fire on the family members observing the anniversary of the death of the leader of the family. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kaduna State has seen similar shootings where gunmen raided villages, killing scores in what police often describe as armed robbery attacks.

At the home of the family of the deceased, Mr. Yero condemned the attack, describing it as unwarranted, while giving the assurance that the perpetrators of the act will be apprehended and prosecuted accordingly.

Also at the residence of the traditional ruler of the village, Nuhu Bature, the governor restated government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives and property of the entire people of the state.

The governor also visited the surviving victims of the attack at the Saint Louis hospital where he directed that they should be transferred to the 44 Nigerian Army reference hospital for proper medical attention.

While reiterating his administration’s commitment to ensuring genuine peaceful co-existence in Kaduna State, Mr. Yero vowed to deal with any person or group found attempting to cause a breach of the peace.

 

Group Claims Kidnap Of Seven Expatriate In Bauchi

An Islamist group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Monday for kidnapping seven foreigners during a night time raid in a remote town in Bauchi State at the weekend.

Gunmen killed a security guard and abducted a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers after storming the housing compound of Lebanese construction firm Setraco in Jama’are in Bauchi state late on Saturday.

“By Allah’s grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco,” read a statement from Ansaru, a group that has kidnapped other foreigners in Nigeria in the past.

The kidnapping was “based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali,” the statement said.

Attacks by fractured Islamist groups in northern Nigeria have become the biggest threat to stability in the country.

Ansaru’s full name is Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan, which roughly translates as “Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa”.

The group has risen to prominence only in recent months.

It has claimed responsibility for kidnapping a Frenchman last year and a raid on a major police station, where it said hundreds of prisoners were released. Britain said the group was behind the kidnap of a British and an Italian killed last year during a failed rescue attempt.

Media chat: You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.
He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.

“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi

“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.

“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”

The former Aviation minister also said Mr Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”

JTF kills four suspected Boko Haram members, arrests four others in Yobe

Sequel to a ride at a Boko Haram hideout in Gashua town of Yobe state, the military Joint Task Force on Tuesday killed four suspected members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram and arrested four others.

Gashua, a major town in Yobe the state is 187 Kilometers North of Damaturu the state capital.

The spokesman of the JTF in the state, Eli Lazarus in a statement said security forces at about 5am raided the terrorists hideout located at Abuja-Amare area of the town, killing four of the suspects and arresting four others.

Mr Lazarus said: “JTF acted on available information which indicated that some of the terrorists that operated in Potiskum and Fika have relocated to the town.”

The raid according to the statement was initially faced with resistance from the terrorists but with superior fire power, the JTF was able to overpower the sect member.

Items recovered from the suspected terrorists according to Mr Lazarus included Four AK47 and 42 rounds of ammunition.

Also recovers are, two computer laptop, one Thuraya phone, 13 different GSM handsets, 21 assorted wrist watches, a CD plate and 18 different sim cards.

JTF also reiterates its commitment to rid the state of terrorist activities and appeals to the public to provide information that would enable it arrest the terrorists attack in the state and the nation as a whole.

Sniffer dogs

Meanwhile, the JTF in Yobe State has introduced the use of sniffer dogs in its operation in Damaturu the state Capital.

Mr Eli in an earlier statement said the introduction of sniffer dogs at various check points in the state capital is aim at detecting specifically concealed arms and nitrate base materials use in the production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by Boko Haram members.

The statement added that the terrorists groups are planning to smuggle arms into the state capital by all means to cause mayhem.

It also said security forces will continue to evolve new methods aim at countering the nefarious activities of the terrorists who are head bend on causing insecurity in the state and the country at large.

Stop violence now, Northern governors beg terrorists

The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has appealed to terrorist groups in the country to give peace a chance, saying reverting to attacks and other acts of violence after weeks of reprieve will not advance the course of peace.

The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Babangida Muazu Aliyu in a statement noted that the senseless killing of innocent citizens in the last two weeks in various parts of the country has negated all efforts by the forum to restore peace to the country.

The forum while expressing serious concern at the renewed attacks on citizens, following the killing of 34 people in Yobe state noted that the overall implication of the rising wave of murders of Nigerians is that the security situation is worsening and that people are increasingly willing to resort to violence to settle their differences.

“We are worried that the security nightmare currently confronting the nation is capable of scaring off investors from Nigeria and putting the country on the travel advisory list of many countries around the world, thus dimming the country’s economic prospects,”

The forum however commended security agencies for the success recorded so far in the fight against terrorism in some parts of the north but urged them not to relent, saying the little success recorded should motivate them to do more.

JTF kills 2 Boko Haram commanders

The military Joint Task Force (JTF) on Friday said that it has killed two commanders of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

In a press statement issued by the JTF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa and made available to newsmen in Maiduguri said “at about 2:20pm on Wednesday, a combine team of the JTF acted on intelligence had killed two members of the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram top terrorists commander along Maiduguri- Kano road as they were escaping arrest from security forces.”

Col Sagir said that the killed Boko Haram commanders were believed to be coordinating the activities of the sect in Mubi and Yola of Adamawa and Yobe states adding that the two sect members were traveling in a Honda accord 2000 model with registration number BAM 214 AA.

The JTF Spokesman also said that the terrorists were on their way to Damaturu for a planned special operation to attack civilians and military locations on Thursday 20 September, 2012 pointing out that intelligence equally revealed that they were planning to launch attack in Maiduguri soon.

Items recovered from the terrorists according to Col Sagir include a Honda Car and 5 GSM handsets and weapons.

The statement also stated that a total of eight terrorists were equally arrested in Nganaram, GRA and Lawanti areas of Maiduguri metropolis in earlier operations within the troubled city.

Those arrested according to Col Sagir were confirmed to have travelled into Maiduguri from neighbouring states, pointing out that items recovered during the arrests include a Silver coloured Camry car of 1988 model with Yobe Registration number AE 74 DTR suspected to have been stolen for possible suicide mission and weapons for the dastard act.

Boko Haram has managed large-scale, damaging assaults, including one in January where at least 186 people died in coordinated attacks in Kano, the biggest city in Northern Nigeria.

This week, authorities said they had killed the sect’s spokesman Abu Qaqa and another senior commander while members of Boko Haram were suspected of killing a former Comptroller of prison and the Commission for Justice in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital.

 

JTF kills senior Boko Haram member, arrest two others

The Joint Security Task Force (JTF) on Monday killed one person suspected to be a “top member of a terrorist group” and arrested two others during an early morning operation in Kano.

The JTF spokesman, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, who confirmed the incident to journalists, said the operation was carried out in Hotoro area in Kano metropolis.

“During the early morning operation, one member of the terrorist group was killed and two other members were arrested.

“I have been hearing different names, I cannot confirm to you the identity of the suspects arrested yet, because I don’t have the nominal role of the terrorist group,” he said.

Lt. Iweha said investigation was still going on with a view to ascertaining the identity of the suspects.

He said as soon as investigation was completed, the identity of the suspects would be made public.

“Investigation has to be completed before I can tell you the identity of the suspects,’’ he said.

Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, to be buried today

The funeral of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is due to take place in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, later today.  Megrahi, the only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing above Scotland which killed 270 people, died at his home in Libya on Sunday. He was convicted by a special court in the Netherlands in 2001.
He was freed from Scottish jail in 2009 on compassionate grounds as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Our previous report: 

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie, died of cancer on Sunday at age 60, leaving many questions on the attack and its aftermath unanswered.

File photo of convicted Lockerbie bomber Megrahi speaking during an exclusive interview with Reuters TV at his home in Tripoli

Megrahi who said he was not responsible for bringing the jumbo jet down on the Scottish town and killing 270 people, was found guilty in 2001 but released in 2009 and returned to Libya because he had terminal cancer and not expected to live long.

That decision by officials in Scotland angered relatives of many victims, 189 of whom were American, and was criticised by Washington as Megrahi returned to a hero’s welcome from Muammar Gaddafi. That he survived for nearly three more years, outliving Gaddafi himself, who was overthrown last year, caused discomfort in Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting the United States on Sunday, said Megrahi should never have been freed.

Megrahi’s brother Mohammed told Reuters he had died at his home in the Libyan capital from complications from prostate cancer. “He was too sick to utter anything on his deathbed,” another brother, Abdulhakim, said outside Megrahi’s house.

“Just because Abdul Basset is dead doesn’t mean the past is now erased,” he said. “We will always tell the world that my brother was innocent.”

Megrahi, the only person convicted for the bombing, was found guilty under Scots law of secretly loading a suitcase bomb onto a plane at Malta’s Luqa Airport, where he was head of operations for Libyan Arab Airlines in December 1988.

The suitcase was transferred at Frankfurt to another flight and then onto New York-bound PanAm Flight 103 at London’s Heathrow airport, concluded Scottish judges sitting at a converted Dutch military base selected as a neutral trial venue.

All 259 people aboard the aircraft were killed when it exploded and 11 people in the small town of Lockerbie died when homes and vehicles were obliterated by falling debris.

Megrahi, handed over by Gaddafi under a U.N.-brokered deal, always insisted he was merely an airline executive, not a Libyan intelligence agent as prosecutors charged.

His trial was part of a process of rapprochement by which Gaddafi distanced himself from association with groups regarded as terrorists in the West and secured renewed cooperation with Western firms keen to exploit Libya’s oil and gas reserves.

CONTROVERSIES

Reaction to Megrahi’s death reflected the controversies that have raged for years over his role.

Many people in Britain say they believe he was a scapegoat, while many in the United States have accused Britain of releasing him to help secure oil deals in Gaddafi’s Libya. Britain has denied the charge.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who wanted the Libyan government that took over after Gaddafi’s ouster and killing by rebels to take Megrahi into custody, said his return to Libya was a major injustice.

“The whole deal smelled of a deal for oil for this man’s freedom and that was almost blasphemy given what a horrible person he was and the terrible destruction and tragedy that he caused,” Schumer told CNN.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the bottom of it now.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was in opposition when Megrahi was freed, said in Chicago: “I’ve always been clear he should never have been released from prison.

“Today is a day to remember the 270 people who lost their lives in what was an appalling terrorist act. Our thoughts should be with them and their families for the suffering they’ve had.”

Jim Swire, the father of one of the British Lockerbie victims, said he was convinced Megrahi was innocent.

“I’ve been satisfied for some years that this man had nothing to do with the murder of my daughter and I grit my teeth every time I hear newscasters say ‘Lockerbie bomber has died'” he told BBC News television. “This is a sad day.”

Megrahi told Reuters in October the West had exaggerated his role and the truth about what happened would emerge soon.

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), which ousted Gaddafi last year, has said it would work with the Scottish government over the possible involvement of others in the 1988 bombing, an attack the country’s new rulers are eager to distance themselves from.

It declined immediate comment on the death, saying it was preparing a statement for later on Sunday.

Gaddafi’s Libya emerged from isolation after it scrapped a banned weapons programme and paid compensation for the Lockerbie bombing.

Megrahi was handed over by Libya with fellow suspect Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima under a U.N.-brokered deal. Fahima was acquitted by the Scottish judges at Camp Zeist in January 2001.

Megrahi was jailed in the town of Greenock, near Glasgow.

On Sunday, his neighbours in the Libyan capital rolled out a carpet and set up chairs in the courtyard outside his house in preparation for condolence visits by family and friends.

“My brother was surrounded by his wife, children and his mother as he took his last breath,” his brother Abdulhakim said.

REUTERS