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Boko Haram Fighters Are Paid $3000 Daily — Sidi Ali Mohammed |RN

File photo: Boko haram

by Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)

A member of the Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative (PCNI) Dr. Sidi Ali Mohammed has disclosed Boko Haram fighters were being paid $3,000 daily.

He made this disclosure at the Presentation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Sub-Sahara Africa’s Economic Outlook Report, in Abuja on Monday.

According to him, the payment dwarfs the N1, 000 daily allowance paid to Nigerian troops at the war front.

Mohammed, who is the Head of the Humanitarian Assistance and Rehabilitation arm of the PCNI, lamented that Boko Haram has been hijacked and operates like a cartel.

“I will give you an example. The Nigerian military for example, gets N1, 000 per day for being in the North East, at the war front, as an allowance.

Read also: Air Force strikes Boko Haram in Sambisa forest
“The same North East, where if you are a member of Boko Haram you get $3,000 per day as allowance. So it is lucrative.

“Sometimes they even give you money upfront. So we must do something about the youths from where they are recruiting.”

On how to tackle the insurgency, he said: “If it is amnesty that will guarantee that peace, then we have to think of it.

“Most importantly, we need to deplete the army of youths on the streets and take them away from the streets so that Boko Haram does not recruit them.

“Don’t forget, they (Boko Haram members) are being killed on daily basis but they are also recruiting on daily basis. They are getting people to recruit because it is lucrative.”

He went on: “Part of the reason why this problem has refused to go away is the abundant natural resources in the Lake Chad Region. We need to think outside the box. It is now more like a cartel.

“When you see the type of weapons they use, it is more sophisticated than the type of weapons that our military are using.”

He further stated the BoKo Haram menace “is like a guerilla warfare. As we are here discussing, if somebody here is a member of Boko Haram, he will not say anything.

“He goes out there to strategise and comes back. It, therefore, means the conventional ways of fighting warfare cannot work here. It, therefore, calls for thinking outside of the box.”

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Zamfara Traditional Rulers Arrested For Working As Informants To Bandits |RN

Nigerian Army said apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops apprehended 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.

Troops of the Nigerian Army attached to Operation Harbin Kunama 3 have arrested the traditional heads of Doka and Mutu villages in Gusau Local Government Area of the state, accusing them of serving as informants to bandits.

The Army confirmed the arrest in a statement issued on Monday.

Six bandits was shot dead in Kirsa and Sunke villages in the Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara State during a gun battle.

Two weeks ago, Mansur Dan-Ali, the Minister of Defence, had said some traditional rulers in Zamfara and the North-West region were helping some bandits to perpetuate criminal activities.

The Zamfara State Council of Chiefs denied the allegations.

Moreso, the Nigerian Army said apart from the arrests of the leaders of Doka and Mutu villages, whose names were not disclosed, the troops apprehended 16 other suspected informants and errand men to the bandits.

The Army said: “Troops on Operation Harbin Kunama 3, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in the Anka LGA, continued with a clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands.

“Consequently, the troops engaged the bandits in a shoot-out at the bushes of Kirsa and Sunke villages which resulted in the extermination of six criminals, the recovery of two AK-47 rifles and two motorcycles.

“In Doka and Mutu villages in the Gusau LGA, troops also had a serious encounter on Saturday with a group of bandits which lasted for about two hours.

“The brigands were armed with sophisticated automatic weapons, but they were overpowered by the troops, forcing them to flee from their hideouts. Eighteen suspected informants to the bandits were arrested, including the village heads of Doka and Mutu villages.

“The Force Commander, Major General Hakeem Otiki, said the troops would continue to go after bandits in Zamfara and the contiguous states of Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto.”       (Sahara Reporters)

 

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Sri Lanka Easter Bombing In Churches And Hotels: 156 Dead, 400 Wounded |The Republican News

 

Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has been hit by at least two new blasts, hours after the country
was struck by a series of six bombings on churches and hotels that killed at least 156 people
and wounded about 400.

The seventh explosion occurred at a hotel near the national zoo in the capital, killing at least two more people, police said, while an eighth blast hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of Colombo.
There were no further details on what was targeted, police said.

Most of the victims were killed in three churches where worshippers were attending Easter Sunday services. Three other bombings struck luxury hotels – the Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury and Shangri-La – located in the heart of Colombo, killing at least 35 foreigners.

The first explosion was reported in a church located in the capital. The other blasts followed within half an hour.

One of the churches targeted was St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo. The other two were St
Sebastian’s in Negombo, about 30km from the capital and another in Batticaloa, 250km east
of the capital.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold an emergency meeting with the country’s top military officials of the National Security Council. He has also called for an emergency convening of the nation’s parliament on Monday.

St Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit the site in Kochchikade, Colombo [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Several people were killed as worshippers attended Easter service [Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said the injured were being evacuated while security
forces have cordoned off the areas and search operations are under way.

Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been blown almost entirely off in the blast.

World leaders condemn Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka

The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood.

Several people could be seen covered in blood, some trying to help those with more serious
injuries.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Government response

The Sri Lankan government has declared a nationwide curfew with immediate effect, junior
defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said.
“A curfew will be imposed until things settle down,” he told reporters in Colombo.

Government officials also said major social media networks and messaging apps, including
Facebook and WhatsApp, have been blocked inside the country to prevent misinformation and
rumours.

“The government has decided to block all social media platforms in order to prevent incorrect
and wrong information being spread. This is only a temporary measure” Udaya R Seneviratne,

secretary to the president, said in a statement.
Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez, reporting from Colombo, said the crisis was still unfolding.
“We’re hearing that Colombo national hospital is still receiving casualties brought in from the multiple locations.

In Pictures: Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings
“In terms of law enforcement, we’ve been hearing that all festivities have been canceled, that
security in and around the city has been tightened,” Fernandez reported.

“It’s still very open-ended … it’s too early [to speculate who is behind the attack] but security
in the capital and the airport has been stepped up following the attacks,” she added.

Coordinated attacks

Rajiva Wijesinha, a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament, told Al Jazeera the
coordinated nature of the attacks has shocked the country.

“It’s actually extremely chilling. We’ve never had anything of this sort before. Sri Lanka had a
terrible time under Tamil Tiger terrorism for about 25 years and then there was a great sense of relief, which I am afraid the West has been fighting with us about, when we got rid of the tiger terrorists,” Rajiva said.

“But the tiger terrorists were never as well organised never and never quite as brilliant in synchronisation and this is obviously something on a much larger scale which is frankly quite terrifying and you know the reactions I’ve heard suggest people are moving into panic mode again,” he said.

“And that is understandable because of the range of these attacks and the concentration on the Christian churches and then the hotels as well suggest we are dealing with something really quite horrible,” Rajiva added.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Colombo, Ashwin Hemmathagama, a reporter with the Daily FT,
said the attacks were a blow to the country’s tourism sector.

“At the moment, police have cordoned off the areas and cautioned the public to remain vigilant. They have asked the public to stay indoors and avoid hasty decisions because investigations are under way.”

“After the civil war ended, almost a decade ago, the tourism industry was picking up.

Basically, everything was back to its current perspective, but unfortunately this kind of attack
will definitely cripple the tourism sector.”

Source: aljazeera.com

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Almost 2 Years After Ozubulu Church Mass Killing, Suspects Freed | The Republican News

Tony Okafor, Awka

An Anambra State High Court sitting in Awka has discharge and acquitted the suspects in the killing of 13 worshipers at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the state.

The mass killing happened on August 6, 2017.

In a three-hour judgement, Justice Fidelis Aniukwu said the prosecution counsel was unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt the culpability of the defendants, Chinedu Akpunonu and Onyebuchi Mbanefo, concerning the crime.

The court had, in December 2018, discharged two out of the four suspects arraigned before it on the matter.

Justice Aniukwu said the prosecution witnesses could not “provide any evidence linking the defendants to the murder as alleged.”

Reacting, the defence counsel, Mr. Festus Kayemo, SAN, described the judgement as “a landmark” in view of the accelerated hearing accorded to it.

Keyamo said, “It’s the prosecution’s right to appeal the judgement. But from what I witnessed in the court today, it will be very difficult for the appeal court to upturn the judgement.”

Speaking to newsmen, one of the freed suspects, Chinedu Akpunonu, who was full of gratitude, thanked God for vindicating him from what he called “an attempt by some persons to smear” his reputation.

He said he had forgiven his traducers, urging them to join hands to ensure that peace returns to the Ozubulu community.

He said, “From the beginning, I told my people that I was not involved in the killing. But the Lord has given me victory as a proof that I’m very innocent.

“I didn’t know I was very important to my people until I saw excitement in the faces of the crowd that came to court. I’ve already forgiven all the hands that put me in prison.

“I thank those that stood by me throughout my travail. I also thank my lawyer and the judge for delivering a fair and sound judgement.”

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Jay Jay Ezeuko, SAN, in his reaction said he would determine the next step after he might have received a copy of the judgement.

 

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Some Traditional Rulers Aid Banditry, Killings In Zamfara, Others – Defence Minister |RN

                                            Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

 

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, has said that some highly placed traditional rulers in restive communities aid bandits to perpetuate criminal activities.

He said the Federal Government was working with the military to tackle the banditry and killings in Zamfara State and the entire North-West region.

The minister added that the traditional rulers also “compromise military operations,” warning that the armed forces would go after “any person or group of persons who choose to connive or sympathisise with bandits to perpetuate crime against law abiding citizens.”

Dan-Ali stated this in a release on Tuesday signed by his Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, saying the military had been directed to deal decisively with anybody identified to be helping the bandits under whatever guise, “no matter how highly placed the person or persons may be.”

The minister said, “The ministry is very concerned about the security challenges in the North-West region and particularly, in states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna states.

“Due to the recent prevailing security situation in the states, the Army is already conducting Exercise Harbin Kunama IV in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto states.

“The purpose of the exercise is to effectively flush out the activities of criminal elements in the North-West.

“The Nigerian Air Force has also intensified air strikes against the bandits in Zamfara. So far, the combined efforts have yielded a lot of successes, leading to the killing of many bandits, rescue of many persons including a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Suleiman.

“The government is also addressing the remote and immediate causes that gave room to high spate of banditry in the states.”

Continuing, the release stated, “Recently, the government acted on the advice of the Ministry of Defence to suspend all mining activities in Zamfara State and environs following intelligence report that suggested close collaboration between the activities of the bandits and illegal miners.

“However, in spite of the concerted efforts of the armed forces and other security agencies, some unpatriotic persons, including highly placed traditional rulers in the areas, were identified as helping the bandits with intelligence to perpetuate their nefarious actions or to compromise military operations.

“The Ministry of Defence, therefore, wishes to warn any person or group of persons who choose to connive or sympathise with the bandits to perpetuate crime against the law abiding citizens to henceforth retrace their steps or face the full wrath of the law.”  (Punch)

 

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Fresh Attack: Suspected Bandits Kill 29 In Kwari, Zamfara |The Republican News

Olaseni Durojaiye

 

The police in Zamfara State disclosed yesterday, that 29 people were killed by suspected armed bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state.

According to the police spokesperson, Muhammad Shehu, the victims, in a convoy of vehicles conveying traders from Shinkafi market on their way back to Kwari village in Shinkafi Local Government Area on February 28, were ambushed by the armed bandits.

“On 28 February, 2019 at about 23.45hrs, a divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of Shinkafi received a distress call that on the same date that vehicles conveying traders from Shinkafi to Kwari village were ambushed by suspected armed bandits while coming back from Shinkafi Market.

“The police quickly responded by leading a joint team of PMF/CTU and military to the scene of the incident with a view to ascertaining the authenticity of the report and take action that will restore normalcy in the area and its environs and further arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act.”

He stated further that, on getting to the scene, 13 corpses were found, while 16 other corpses, mostly members of civilian JTF were later discovered littered as the surrounding bush was combed by the joint security operatives.
He however assured normalcy had been restored in the area, following an improved deployment of Joint police and military personnel to the area, to complement the existing security emplacement.

“The state Commissioner of Police, Celestine Okoye, while condoling the government and people of the state over the unfortunate incident assures all residents of the state that, the police will continue to collaborate and partner with other security agencies and all relevant stakeholder to ensure security, safety and peace of Zamfara State at all times.
“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to support the security agencies in their efforts to rid the state of criminal elements,” Shehu said.    (ThisDay)

 

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Kajuru Killings: Kaduna PDP Guber Candidate Charges El-Rufai To Fish Out Killers

Noah Ebije, Kaduna

 

Kaduna State governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Isa, Mohammed Ashiru, has called on the state governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, to fish out the perpetrators of the latest killings in Kajuru Local Government Area of the state.

Governor El-rufai had on the eve of the postponed presidential election, announced that 66 persons were killed in a reappraisal attack in the area.

This has since generated a lot of reactions from various quarters, blaming the governor for allegedly reopening old wounds at such a critical time in the nation’s history.

Ashiru in a statement which he personally signed and made available to journalists on Monday condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the crisis.

“It is with an absolute shock that I received the news, broken by the Kaduna State governor, of the murder of many people in some settlements in Kajuru Local Government Area of our dear Kaduna State.

“This unfortunate incident is not only an unwanted addition to the list of the past similar ones but is also a clear indication that insecurity still remains a huge challenge in some parts of Kaduna State.

“I urge the Kaduna State government and all the relevant security agencies to ensure that the criminals who carried out the killings are fished out and brought to justice. This will require a tremendous determination and demonstration of a sense of justice and fairness on the part of the authorities whose responsibility is to not only deal appropriately with the perpetrators of such acts but to also forestall their recurrence.

“The fact that the loss of human lives has been confirmed makes the whole issue terribly shocking. The act clearly smacks of callousness and a descent into barbarism.

“I, therefore, wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, people of Kajuru Local Government Area as well as the government and the entire people of Kaduna State over this unfortunate incident. It is my fervent prayer that Almighty God who created those souls will expose the perpetrators of the heinous act.

“Let me quickly remind my dear good people of Kaduna State of the need to embrace peace and eschew violence so that the diversity with which Almighty God has endowed us can be harnessed for the good of all of us. Our state is big, bountiful and rich enough to accommodate all of us; all we need to do is to continuously remind ourselves of the fact that resort to violence has never benefitted us as a people. In fact, such an act which results in the loss of human lives diminishes us as a people.

“We should, therefore, endeavour to come together, regardless of political, religious or ethnic differences, to let the world know that we are committed to ridding our state of violence and at the same time willing to live as the true brothers and sisters that we have always been.

“While I once again condole with the bereaved families, I also wish to reassure everyone again that my bid to clinch the governorship of Kaduna State is driven by both an immense concern for our people and a total determination to rescue the state from misrule.”  (The Sun)

 

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