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Boko Haram Insurgents Attack Military Base In Borno, Kill 17 |RN

At least 17 soldiers were killed in a fresh Boko Haram attack on a military base in the Borno, military sources told AFP Thursday, the third assault on three different bases in less than a month.

On Wednesday evening, heavily armed jihadists riding in trucks stormed and looted weapons and vehicles from a military base in Garunda village in Borno State, the epicentre of the Islamist insurgency that has been raging for nine years.

The attack is the latest of a series of bloody Boko Haram assaults on military bases in Nigeria, underscoring the continued threat the Islamists pose to the region and putting the spotlight on the Nigerian government’s claim that Boko Haram is “decimated”.

“Our troops came under attack from Boko Haram terrorists in Garunda last night,” a military officer told AFP.

“Unfortunately we lost 17 troops, 14 others were injured while an unspecified number is still unaccounted for,” said the military source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

The source added that the militants looted weapons and vehicles before fleeing.

In the past month, Boko Haram jihadists have launched two other major assaults on military bases in the remote northeast region.

On July 14, jihadists suspected to be loyal to Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, who is affiliated with the Islamic State group, attacked a base in Jilli village, in neighbouring Yobe state.

Dozens of troops were killed, wounded or missing, according to several security sources.

The army conceded the base was attacked but did not give a death toll, saying that the “troops reorganised and successfully repelled the attack and normalcy has since returned to the area”.

On July 26, the Islamists stormed a base on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno state.

The base attacked yesterday in Garunda village of Borno state had just been set up for troops from the 81 brigade who had been stationed in Jilli village and forced to move after the July 14 assault.

“The truth of the matter is that the troops in Jilli were relocated to Garunda where a new base was established,” said the second military source, who gave a similar death toll.

“Troops were just setting up and the excavator operator was working to fortify the base with trenches against attack from the terrorists when the attack happened,” said the officer.

The Nigerian army did not respond to requests for comment.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday confirmed in a statement that a staff member, an excavator operator attached to the military, “was killed by Boko Haram yesterday in Damasak, Borno state”.

Boko Haram no longer controls swathes of territory in northeast Nigeria as it did at the height of its insurgency in 2014, yet the Islamist militants still pose a threat to the impoverished region.               (AFP)

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Boko Haram Kills Seven In Borno |The Republican News

Boko Haram jihadists have killed seven villagers in a dawn raid in Nigeria’s restive northeast, local militia and a resident said Tuesday.

Gunmen in trucks and on motorcycles late Monday attacked Munduri, a village 13 kilometres (eight miles) north of Borno state capital Maiduguri, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades, according to resident Abdullahi Bunu.

“The attackers seized seven people and beheaded them before setting fire to the entire village,” militia leader Umar Ari told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri.

Those who were decapitated were the village chief and his wife, Bunu said.

“We returned this morning and found the entire village burnt along with all our food supplies and livestock”.

Boko Haram has intensified its armed campaign in recent weeks, including against military targets in which dozens of troops are believed to have been either killed or missing.

The rebels have split into two groups, and it was not immediately clear which was behind the latest attack.

A faction loyal to Abubakar Shekau is notorious for indiscriminate killings of civilians while the Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi faction — which is affiliated to the so-called Islamic State — largely focuses on attacking the military.

Five people were killed in a similar raid last week in Gasarwa village, near the garrison town of Monguno.

The attacks contrast with repeated claims by the military and the government that Boko Haram has been defeated and that it is safe for people displaced by Islamist violence to return home.

The jihadists’ nine-year campaign to establish a hardline Islamic state has killed an estimated 20,000 people and displaced over 2.6 million from their homes.

(AFP)

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FG Blames Insecurity On Poor Logistics, Insufficient Ammunition |RN

Dambazau1

Defence Minister,  Abdulrahman Dambazau 

Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Federal Government has blamed the spate of killings in the country on poor logistics, insufficient weapons and ammunition, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field.

Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), said this, on Thursday, in Abuja, while making opening remarks at an emergency one-day internal security summit to examine, the reality of the current security situation within the country.

According to him,  “There are many challenges contributing to insecurity and impeding the optimum performance of security agencies.

“I will mention a few of them. Notably, there is poor logistics, including weapons and ammunition.

While expressing sadness over the development, Dambazau further noted: “There is also a general problem of command and control, indiscipline, poor attitude to duty, and poor welfare among the personnel of the security agencies in the field which ultimately impacts negatively on operational efficiency and corporate image of our services.

“So much has been happening in terms of criminal violence, specifically rural banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, communal violence, herders-farmers conflict, etc, and of course the number of victims has been increasing.

“It is the responsibility of government to protect the lives and properties of its citizens, and we are the very people entrusted with that responsibility by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Of course. we all know that successes have been achieved regarding the degrading and dismantling the activities and structures of Boko Harem in the country, especially in the North East.

“But we also know that part of the frustration is that the leadership of this terrorist group has been unleashing suicide missions using particularly the girl-child against soft targets.

“We are also aware that post-conflict peace-building is of greater challenge, especially as regards rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced persons, who are mostly women and children.

“The success of our post-conflict peace-building efforts will largely depend on our ability to coordinate and execute reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconciliation efforts, including de-radicalisation and counter-narrative programmes.

“There are indications, according to the minister; “that some of the threats are politically motivated from within the country. Some are induced from outside the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials.”

Dambazau further noted that government is currently pursuing the implementation of a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.

Nigeria, he said, is also in the process of entering such agreement with Niger and Chad, respectively where there are also thousands of Nigerian refugees.

The take-off point for tackling insecurity in Nigeria, the minister said, is actionable intelligence, stressing that: “for that matter. We are not dealing with conventional threats, but peculiar threats that are laced with terrorism, sabotage, and efforts to manipulate our society’s fault lines of religion and ethnicity.

“There are indications that some of these threats are politically-motivated from within the country: some are induced from the outside of the country by those who are not comfortable with Nigeria’s potentials; while others are as a result of outright criminal acts or violent extremism or both.

“Whatever the source of these threats, security agencies must articulate their plans to contain, control and prevent them.

“These threats not only undermine democracy but also slow down our development and growth, thereby impacting on the peace, security and stability of our dear nation,” he said.

Dambazau said ethnic identity, politics contribute to conflicts in Nigeria especially through manipulation of ethnic demographics to cause disunity and promote rebellion against the government.

“Currently, there are very large swathes of ungoverned forests that are inter-connected, covering Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe Borno and the Adamowa States. serving as sanctuaries for armed bandits and violent criminals.

“Over time, these bandits and other violent groups have perfected a pattern of launching indiscriminate attacks on hitherto peaceful communities killing, maiming, abducting, raping and traumatizing scores of defenceless citizens under several guises.

“The areas worst hit by these attacks include Birnin Gwari and the adjoining communities, southern parts of Kaduna, large parts of Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Adamawa states. In the last few years, the entire Zamfara state has been reduced to a killing field to our collective shame.

“Other adjoin states such as Katsina, Kogi and Sokoto states have experienced similar carnage from armed bandits. A few other sanctuaries exist, albeit to a lesser degree, across the geopolitical zones from where criminal organisation unleash violence on hapless citizens in isolated communities and unsuspecting commuters of our’ vast national road networks.

“Particularly, Abuja-Kaduna road and Jos-Riyom axis have acquired notoriety for wanton premeditated killings of innocent wayfarers.

“This situation is exacerbated by the inability of vulnerable communities to promptly call for help in the event of attacks,” he said.

The representative of the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Umar Ibrahim, advised security operative not to take sides, urging them to do their job professionally.

In the words of the defence minister, “This emergency meeting has been long overdue. The truth has been said and it is left for all the security agencies to wear our thinking cap go back to the drawing board and do what we are expected to do.

“There is nowhere in the world that this kind of senseless killings will be going on and security forces will go to sleep. I want us to check this act of killings going on in most part of the country. Please, we should not take a side, we must do our job accordingly,” he warned.

Also the representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Vice Marshal Olusoji Awomodu said, “the Military is doing a lot and we are at the peak of the situation. We will continue to do our best.

“It has been very tough but I can assure you as military men we are ready and always ready to put our lives on the line to ensure that everything is peaceful in this country.” (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings Worse Than Boko Haram, Says United Nations |RN

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security Council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in favour of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the U.S. allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

The Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has expressed concern over the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria.

According to him, the conflicts, which are more pronounced in the Middle Belt region, were becoming “more sophisticated and deadlier.”

Mr Chambas, who is Head, UN Office for West African and the Sahel (UNOWAS), in a report presented to the UN Security Council, said the violence was a major security threat in the region, warning that it risks changing into terrorist attacks.

“Violence between farmers and herders is increasingly a major security threat in the region and risks morphing into the terrorist attacks that have defined the security landscape.

“Farmer-herder conflicts are becoming more sophisticated and deadlier, especially in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

“During four days in June, new spates of attacks and retribution killings between herders and farmers in this region resulted in scores of deaths,’’ the UN envoy said.

In the Lake Chad Basin, Mr Chambas said in spite of gains made by the Nigerian armed forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force, Boko Haram remained active.

According to the UN envoy for West Africa and the Sahel: “The trend of Boko Haram, using female suicide bombers continue, and reportedly almost one in five suicide bombers is a child. The most recent attacks on a Nigerian military garrison in Yobe and the ambush of a military convoy in Borno are the latest manifestations of the threats still posed by Boko Haram.

“There is a need for increased support to diplomatic, security and humanitarian responses to Boko Haram, in a holistic manner.

“To this end, UNOWAS is providing technical support for a joint summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), on July 30, as called for by Security Council resolution 2349 (2017).”

He explained that the severe depletion of Lake Chad had led to environmental degradation, socioeconomic marginalisation and insecurity for 45 million people.

According to him, an estimated 2.3 million people remain displaced by the aggregate effects of insecurity and climate change.

He appealed to member states to support the humanitarian response to the Lake Chad crisis, which remains critically underfunded and revitalisation of the Lake Chad Basin.

“Let me stress that any military response to security challenges in the region needs to be matched by the implementation of comprehensive strategies linking security and humanitarian interventions to development and human rights initiatives.

“There is also need to increase our collective efforts to address the challenges facing the Sahel region with actions that combine politics, security and development,’’ Chambas stressed.

He said the period under review saw an upsurge in popular discontent in the region manifested through often violent demonstrations calling for political and economic reforms.

“The sometimes violent conduct of security forces, notably in dealing with popular demonstrations, has also fuelled political tensions.

“Commitment by countries of the region and support from the international community will be key to ensuring the effectiveness and accountability of security sector institutions as part of broader security sector reform efforts. Several countries continue to struggle with justice, national reconciliation and human rights challenges. Among those is the concerning number of high-profile arrests, judicial prosecutions and convictions against political and civil society actors,’’ he said.  (The Sun)

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Nigerian Army Denies Report On Missing Soldiers After Attack By Boko Haram

By Abisola Olasupo

Nigeria Army Monday said the reports that many soldiers went missing after their post was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents were not true.

An AFP reports Sunday said hundreds of soldiers after the attack, a second in days, on a remote military base which held about 734 troops in northeast Nigeria.

The base is reported to be new and the troops arrived there only recently from Lagos.

The reports quoted an unnamed military source.

“Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops of the 81st Division Forward Brigade at Jilli village in Geidam district. The terrorists came in huge numbers around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) and overran the base after a fierce battle that lasted until 9:10 pm,” the unnamed military source told AFP.

“The base had 734 troops. Currently, the commander of the base and 63 soldiers have made it to Geidam (60 kilometres away) while the remaining 670 are being expected,” he said, without elaborating on their possible fate.

“We don’t know if there were any casualties among the troops. That will be known later.”

Although it acknowledged that there was a gun battle between the insurgents and troops and that the soldiers had an initial difficulty, the Army said none of its troops was captured, calling the reports “misleading”.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to state categorically that the report is not only untrue but misleading as the said report is blown out of proportion by the media,” Army spokesman Texas Chukwu said in a statement.

“The Nigeria Army wishes to state that there was an attempted attack on troops at Kwakwa and Chingori communities in Bama area of Borno State by suspected Boko Haram Terrorists as a result of difficult terrain where our vehicles bogged down.

“The terrorists also attempted to cart away troops operational vehicles but were successfully repelled by our gallant troops with the support of the Nigerian Air Force. About 22 members of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised while several others escaped with gunshot wounds.   (The Guardian)

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Court Jails 113 Boko Haram Members |The Republican News

Boko-Haram-Suspects

File Photo: Boko Haram suspects

Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The special courts for the trial of terrorism-related cases has convicted and sentenced 113 Boko Haram members to jail over their involvement in acts of terrorism.

The convicts, who were sentenced to various jail terms, were arraigned before the special court sitting at the Wawa Military Cantonment, in Kainji, Niger State, by the Federal Government.

They were charged for various offences ranging from membership of the proscribed Boko Haram group, concealing information vital to security agencies, providing support to the sect, participating in acts of terrorism which resulted in the deaths of many persons and murder.

Those sentenced included one Kabiru Mohammed from Kaban-Magadan, in Funtua, Katsina State. He was accused of receiving training in the use of explosives and other terrorism items. He was also accused of participating in series of attacks in Bama, Kunduga, Baga in Borno State and Damaturu in Yobe State which resulted to lots of deaths in the two states.

According to him, he joined the sect in 2013 and rose to become a leader. He was said to have led others in carrying out attacks as well as instructing them to carry out attack on people and communities.

Mohammed, who disclosed that he voluntarily joined Boko Haram, said at a time, he became tired of the kind of life he was leading and threw away his gun and ran to Katsina State, his home town.

He was arrested in 2015 at a motor park in Katsina.

He pleaded guilty to all the 7-count charge and was consequently sentenced to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour on each of the counts which are to run concurrently from the day of his arrest.

Next was one Adamu Mohammed, 22 years from Gombe State, who was charged with the murder of six people as well as throwing a bomb at a market place.

While he admitted to killing six persons through the use of a short gun, he, however, claimed he threw the bomb in a river and not in a market place.

He was sentenced to 25 full calendar years with hard labour in a maximum prison and without an option of fine.

Banzana Yusuf, from Kano State, on his part bagged 20 years for his role in the planning and kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.

So also was 25 year-old Shetima Modu, who was arraigned on a 4-count charge of engaging in terrorism activities.

He admitted to participating in attacks on a church in Mala village as well as another attack in Gonuri village where seven people were killed.

One Sabo Kyari Mohammed, who was described by the Department of State Service (DSS) as a “strong member of Boko Haram”, however, bagged a jail term of five full calendar years.

Part of his charges included providing surveillance for the group and  participating in the attack known as ‘operation point and kill’ at his Musa village in Borno State.

He was arrested by men of the Nigerian Army in Jos, Plateau State along with his wife and two children.

In handing down the sentence, the trial judge stated that, though the defendant being a 1st time offender, the court ordinarily ought to have showed him mercy in the judgment, but, “due to the carnage and wanton destruction of lives their action caused society, he is to serve a five full calendar years imprisonment.

“This is to serve as a deterrent to himself and others like him “, the judge held.

Also sentenced was Zainab Idris, wife of Boko Haram commander, Babawo Idris.

Zainab was arrested in 2014 with her two children, while on her way to join her husband in Sambisa forest.

Her husband, popularly known as Idoko or Nagada was numbered 156 on the military’s wanted list before his arrest last September.

The court sentenced her to four years imprisonment for being a member of a proscribed group.

However, the court held that haven been in custody since 2014, it is possible that she has served her jail term and consequently ordered that she be released.

The judge, in addition ordered that she be taking to a rehabilitation center, ” for de-radicalization, and monitored under strict surveillance to avoid going back to Boko Haram”.

The judge advised her to learn a trade at the center so as to become useful to herself, her children and society in future.

However, the case of a notorious member of the sect, Mohammed Zakariya, also known as “Butcher”, could not be taken on the grounds that he was mentally sick.

The court consequently ordered that he be taken to a psychiatric for treatment and adjourned till November 14 for his arraignment.

The special sitting of the court, which held between Monday and Tuesday heard over a hundred cases.

A total of 111 persons were discharged / acquitted or had their cases struck out for lack of evidence to support the charges, while 9 others were adjourned to Abuja. (The Sun)

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Sultan Cautions Religious Leaders, Journalists Over Provocative Utterances, Actions |RN

By Michael Abimboye

SultanofSokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Tuesday cautioned religious groups and leaders against comments that would mislead their followers into war.

Mr Abubakar gave the warning while addressing some Sokoto residents, heads of security agencies, religious leaders and journalists during a Ramadan breakfast dinner held at his palace on Monday night

The monarch cited a publication credited to some Christian leaders titled, “if Leah Sharibu dies in the hand of Boko Haram, there will be a religious war in the country”, saying such utterances were irresponsible.

He reminded such religious leaders that “terrorism has no connection to religion or ethnicity.’’

Mr Abubakar added that in the event the girl was killed by the terrorists, the Christian leaders that made the comment must be held for complicity.

“How can a leader make such comment,’’ he queried and stressed that Muslims did not in any way connive with Boko Haram to abduct the girl or get others released.

The Sultan reminded such Christian leaders that more Muslims have been killed by Boko Haram than Christians “which even the former President Goodluck Jonathan testified to.’’

“For some section to make that comment that if she dies in the hand of Boko Haram there will be a religious war is very unfair.

“How can someone begin to attack Muslims because this innocent girl happened to be a victim of murderous terrorists?

“It means the Boko Haram group are winning the war because that is exactly what they want.

“If they hear about this and went and kill the innocent girl that means you are part and parcel of what makes them do that because they want to cause confusion in the country,” Mr Abubakar stressed.

He urged all Nigerians of goodwill to join in prayers for the safe return of the girl, and for peace and harmony across the country.

The monarch insisted that he reacted on behalf of the entire Nigerian Muslims, and urged the media to save Nigeria from war, as some media reports were inimical to peace and unity of the country.

Mr Abubakar accused the core and social media of using unverified stories and gory pictures just to raise tension and spread falsehood in the country.

The monarch cited a picture of herdsmen with guns from the Central Africa Republic which media organisations in the country always use to portray the Fulani herdsmen.

“There is no G4 rifle because it has been wiped away for long and that picture used particularly by a TV station was that of herders in Central Africa who were being terrorised by rustlers because cattle rustling started in their country long before coming to Nigeria,” he noted.

He threatened to disown the award of fellowship on him by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in protest against continued misleading and unverified stories aired or published by members of the union.

Mr Abubakar, who is the President General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, however, stressed that the crises between Fulani and farmers were purely economic, now hijacked by a few criminal elements.

He reiterated that the criminals killing innocent people especially in the Middle Belt must be arrested and punished.

“But don’t arrest or kill innocent Fulani men just like what happened in Benue state when innocent Fulani people who were on transit, were stopped and killed by some residents of the state,” he cautioned.

The Sultan expressed fear that the killings could continue because some politicians were using it to edge out their political opponents.

“Nigerians should expose criminals in their midst, even if they are their parents or relations.

“Let’s not leave them alone, don’t hide criminal even if they are your fathers, because too much blood had been shed and this is why God is angry with us.

“I believe there are more good people than the bad ones, let the good come together and defeat the bad ones, we have done that while fighting malaria and we can do it again,” he said

He also advocated for more effective tools and welfare for security agents working round the clock to restore peace in the country.

Mr Abubakar commended the federal government for banning codeine and advocated for a law that would make illicit drug dealers and peddlers serve a life sentence.

(NAN)

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