Tag Archives: Boko Haram

U.S. restates support for Nigeria in fight against Boko Haram

The Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu in an audience with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle during a visit in the minister's office in Abuja

The United States said on Friday in Abuja that it remains committed to helping the Federal Government in tackling the threat of Boko Haram and other extremist organisations to the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Affairs Department embassy in Nigeria.

It said the U.S. government has also restated its commitment to support Nigeria’s efforts to

​ “​rescue the abducted Chibok girls and all others who have been abducted in various communities​”.
It particularly condemned the attack on Gumsuri village, Borno, which was reported to have been perpetrated by Boko Haram.

“We are aware of reports from persons who fled the scene of the attack that suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people.

“We abhor such violence, which continues to take a terrible toll on the people of Nigeria, and we extend our condolences to the victims and their families.

“Boko Haram has shown no regard for human life,” it said. 

It expressed concerns that this year alone, Boko Haram had murdered thousands of innocent people in vicious attacks on schools, churches, and mosques.

According to the statement, Boko Haram attacks have resulted in displacement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians. (NAN)

Yobe, Borno villages under Boko Haram attacks 

When Boko Haram attack villages, they raze it.

Hours after soldiers of  the 7th  Division of the Nigerian Army celebrated the killing of over 70 Boko Haram terrorists after repelling attack on a village near Maiduguri, the insurgents have launched fresh attacks on two towns near Potiskum, residents have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The attacks are still going on as the time of filing this report, witnesses said.

The two towns under attacks are Damagum in Fune local government area and Mamudo in Potiskum local government.

came under heavy attack of suspected Boko Haram terrorists when residents of the neighbouring towns were about to retire back to their homes on Friday.

Mallam Yahaya, a business merchant in Damagum, informed PREMIUM TIMES on telephone that he and other residents began to hear gunshots at about 6p.m.

“The shooting started at about 6p.m shortly after the late evening prayers; we didn’t know what was happening but when it became persistent as we continued to hear the shooting coming from the direction of the local government secretariat, we had to flee to our homes,” Mr. Yahaya said.

“We are still lying down on our bellies now as I speak and everywhere is quite but we continued to hear periodic shooting and many sounds of motorcycles moving around the streets; that makes us to fear that our town may have been taken over by Boko Haram because no one is allowed by the soldiers to ride motorcles once it’s 6pm.

Details of the ongoing attack is sketchy at this time as the police and the military cannot be reached for comments.

Meanwhile, soldiers of the Nigerian Army yesterday said they killed 75 members of the Boko Haram sect at  Bulabulin village near Damboa town of Borno state as the insurgents attacked the town.

An electricity company official, who witnessed the incident as he worked alongside some of his colleagues fixing some of the destroyed electric installations said “they were many in number when they came to  town, but it was as if the soldiers were aware of their coming, so they laid ambush and then opened fire on them, killing over 70 of them while many others abandoned their vehicles and fled.

A soldier in Maiduguri, who cannot be named in this report because he was not authorised to speak to the media, confirmed the incident.

In the seized town of Gwoza, reports coming through local hunters said the Boko Haram gunmen in charge of the area have begun serial massacre of old men and women who could not flee from the captured territories.

Muhammed Gava, an operative with the Nigeria Vigilante Group, who  is an indigene of Gwoza town and resident of Maiduguri, said “we heard that more than 50 old men and women have been forcefully taken to Government Day Secondary School, Gwoza, where they would assemble them and then open fire on some of them”.

He said a relative from Gwoza who spoke to him from the top of the mountains using phone lines tapped from Cameroonian networks said “more people are being forced to assemble in other areas like Dhimankara, Ville, Kuranabasa, Gudugum and some other nearby villages and being taken to Uvaghe Central Primary school“.

There has not been any official statement in regard of these attacks.

Defence Minister, Gusau, charges soldiers to show courage against Boko Haram

Defence Minister, Aliyu Gusau

The Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau, on Friday reassured the military of the federal government’s continued support in the ongoing war against Boko Haram and other terror organizations.

Mr. Gusau, who gave charge at the burial of two Air Force officers at the military cemetery in Abuja, charged soldiers to exhibit selflessness, courage and commitment in prosecuting the war.

The late officers, Ubong Akpan and Master Warrant Officer Zabesan Hosea, died when an air force helicopter crashed in Adamawa on November 13 during operational flight.

The minister urged the military to emulate the courage of the late officers, who he said, gallantly paid the supreme sacrifices by confronting the insurgents boldly while serving their fatherland.

“We must remind ourselves that no sacrifice is too big to secure the future of our children,” he said. “Those gallant men lost their lives in the course of a noble duty; their sacrifice shall not be in vain. Good men will die but death cannot kill their name.”

The minister continued: “The name and memory of Ubong Akpan and Zabesan Hosea will not die in our heart. They shall be written in gold in the history of this nation and humanity at large.”

He assured the families of the late officers that the government would assist them.

“At a time like this, no word of comfort can sufficiently console or heal your grief, however, take solace in God, who is the greatest comforter,” he said.

The Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosun, assured that the military would do its best to win the war against terrorism.

Mr. Amosun said that the terrorists were against the nation’s sovereignty, adding that all resources must be mobilised to defeat them.

The Chaplain at Air Force headquarters, Okenwa Okoye, urged Nigerians to ask for God’s intervention to overcome the country’s challenge.

Mr. Okoye, quoting from 2 Timothy 3:1-5, said the people that the world is in its “last days” when many “dangerous things” like terrorism facing the nation were expected as prophesied.

(NAN)

Nigerian army’s death sentence on 54 soldiers “genocidal” — Falana

Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has condemned the death sentence passed on 54 soldiers by an army court-martial.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Falana said the convicted soldiers, the second batch to be condemned to death by a military court, had been sent on a suicide mission by army authorities ill-equipped and poorly motivated.

The soldiers, attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri include two Corporals, Cpl, nine Lance Corporals, LCpl and 49 Private soldiers.

They were found guilty Wednesday by a General Court-Martial in Abuja after facing a two count of criminal conspiracy and mutiny.

Of the 59 soldiers initially arraigned before the court, five were discharged and acquitted while 54 were sentenced to death.

Mr. Falana said that the acquittal was designed to give the false impression that the “dubious” verdict was fair and just.

“The soldiers were in the SF 111 Batallion which has 174 instead of 750 soldiers,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“The soldiers in the Batallion were neither equipped nor motivated. They are young men whose ages range between 21 and 25. Most of them joined the army in 2012.

“With little or no training whatsoever they were deployed to fight the dreaded Boko Haram sect.”

Mr. Falana also accused the army hierarchy of diverting funds allocated for payment of salaries and allowances of soldiers and for purchase of arms and ammunition.

“Instead of bringing such unpatriotic officers to book the military authorities have engaged in the diversionary tactics of wasting the lives of innocent soldiers by sentencing them to death without any legal justification,” Mr. Falana said.

On July 9, 2014 the Boko Haram sect launched a ferocious attack on the Batallion killing three officers and 23 soldiers and inflicting injuries on 82 others.

Despite assurances that adequate weapons would be provided to fight the terrorists, according to Mr. Falana, authorities failed to fulfil their promise.

On August 4th, and after the insurgents had annexed more territories in Borno State, the soldiers were ordered to recapture Delwa, Balubulin and Damboa from the Boko Haram terrorists.

“The soldiers demanded for weapons so as not to lose more officers and men in the circumstance. A few soldiers who embarked on the suicidal mission together with the Commanding Officer were ambushed by the Boko Haram troops,” said Mr. Falana.

“When some weapons were made available on August 8, 2014, the soldiers moved to the battlefront, dislodged the satanic Boko Haram sect and liberated their captured colleagues and officers.

“They were commended for their bravery and sacrifice. But for some inexplicable reasons, the army authorities ordered that the soldiers be charged with mutiny for allegedly exposing the armed forces to embarrassment by asking for weapons.

“Thus, 60 soldiers were charged before the court-martial led by Brigadier-General M. Yusuf. The charge was however withdrawn against one of them on health ground.”

Mr. Falana, who served as defence counsel to the convicted soldiers, said that midway into the trial, journalists were shut out of the military court to avoid further embarrassment to the army.

“It is public knowledge that it was when the trial of the soldiers was in progress that the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sought and obtained the approval of the National Assembly for a loan of USD$1 billion to purchase equipment for the prosecution of the war on terror,” he said.

“Up till now, the loan has not been utilized for the purchase of weapons.

Mr. Falana also faulted the judgment delivered on Wednesday, noting that the court-martial refused to consider the evidence led in court and convicted the 54 soldiers for having the temerity to ask for weapons to carry out their tasks.

“Apart from the fact that the Prosecution did not lead any scintilla of evidence to prove the 2-count charge of conspiracy and mutiny against any of the convicts the Court-martial did not consider the defence of the soldiers in any material particular,” said Mr. Falana.

“Convinced that soldiers who made a legitimate demand for equipment to fight the insurgents cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be properly convicted for mutiny we shall take all necessary legal measures to prevent the army authorities from giving effect to the genocidal verdict of the court-martial.

“We submit that the oath of allegiance taken by the accused soldiers is not a license to commit suicide. It is a solemn undertaking to defend the nation based on the expectation that the Federal Government would have complied with Section 217 of the Constitution on the mandatory requirement to equip the armed forces adequately.

“It is important to state that when equipment was made available on 18 August 2014, the accused soldiers fought gallantly.”

Boko Haram Threat: Muslim group wants “impregnable security” for Emir Sanusi

Muhammad Sanusi II

A Muslim group has called on the Nigerian government to seriously treat the threat by extremist group, Boko Haram, to attack the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.

The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, on Thursday warned that the open threat issued by the terror group is not an empty one.

The group in a statement signed by its Director, Ishaq Akintola asked security authorities to step up security around the Emir.

“We invite Nigerian security agencies to take the threat seriously. The Emir’s palace should be made impregnable,” Mr. Akintola said.

Mr. Akintola said there is need for security agencies to be more proactive by providing adequate security for all top religious leaders including presidents and secretaries of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA.

He also said the threat is a challenge to Nigerian security operatives in the counter – terrorism campaign.
He also called on Nigerians to be at alert and to help the security agencies with real time information on the terrorist’s activities.

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a new video threatened to attack the Emir of Kano in retaliation for the Emir’s call on Kano residents and other Nigerians to arm and defend themselves against the terror organization.

Mr. Shekau said his group does not consider Mr. Sanusi a true Muslim, and will attack him whenever an opportunity presents itself.

The Emir had earlier issued a call to arms after a series of deadly attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in Kano.

Speaking at Kano’s central Mosque in October, the Emir charged the people of Kano to arm and defend themselves against the sect, which is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths.

Boko Haram kills dozens, abducts several more near Chibok

chibok

Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed dozens and kidnapped about 100 people in Gumsere, a community near Chibok, Borno State, survivors of the attack have said.

At least 30 people were killed, they said.

The attack came more than eight months after Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok itself.

Chibok became the focus of international outrage after the kidnapping on April 14.

While about 57 of the girls managed to escape, more than 200 have remained in captivity.

Sources said militants arrived Gumsere at about 4p.m. on Friday and attacked the community overnight, killing “many people” and burning “several houses”.

The military responded early Saturday after the attackers had left, they said.

A pastor in neighbouring Chibok, Mark Enoch, confirmed the attack.

He said he could not be precise with the number of people killed. But he said he travelled to the area on Monday and there were still bodies everywhere.

Residents said the militants descended on the community targeting a powerful leader of a local vigilante who has acted as the security chief of the area, and had succeeded wading off previous Boko Haram attacks on the community.

The residents said the man was killed finally and all members of his family, including his wife and daughters, taken away by the terrorists.

Mr. Enoch and other sources said the attack could not have happened in Chibok itself as the town has a heavy military presence.
They said Gumsere is about 20 kilometers away and lies between Chibok and Damboa.

“The soldiers are really trying their best. If it was Chibok I know they would have responded early enough. But Gumsere is far in the bush,” one source said.

News of the attack took days to emerge due to poor communication network in the area, they said.

Police spokesperson for Borno State, Gideon Jibrin, could not be reached.

Nigerian military sentences 54 soldiers to death for mutiny

Soldiers

A military court in Nigeria has sentenced 54 soldiers to death after they were found guilty of mutiny.

The soldiers were convicted Wednesday in Abuja on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy to commit mutiny.

Four other soldiers were acquitted.

The convicted soldiers, mostly officers involved in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in Northeast Nigeria, are to die on stakes, by firing squad.

The soldiers, attached to the 7 Division, Nigerian Army in Maiduguri include two Corporals, Cpl, nine Lance Corporals, LCpl and 49 Private soldiers.

The charge sheet said the soldiers conspired to commit mutiny against the authorities of the 7 Division on August 4, at the Mulai Primary School camp, opposite AIT Maiduguri, Borno State.

The soldiers are the second batch of Nigerian soldiers condemned to death by Nigerian Military courts for mutiny.
The trial of the soldiers began on October 15 on allegations they disobeyed orders to join operations against the extremist group, Boko Haram.

All the accused soldiers pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecutor, J.E. Nwosu, an army Captain, alleged that the accused soldiers had on August 4, in Maiduguri, refused to join the 111 Special Forces Battalion troops, commanded by Timothy Opurum, a Lieutenant Colonel for an operation.

Mr. Nwosu said the operation was meant to recapture Delwa, Bulabulin and Damboa in Borno State from the Boko Haram terrorists.

According to him, the offence is punishable under Section 52(1) (a) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The prosecution called the commander of the 111 Special Forces, Lt.-Col. Opurum, as one of the witnesses.
The statement of the commander was admitted by the court and marked Exhibit P1.

Mr. Opurum, in his testimony in October, said the Special Forces were tasked with advancing to recapture Delwa to clear the way for other battalions to pass through to recapture Babulin and Damboa from the insurgents.

He said he took off for the operation with only four officers and 29 soldiers as “tasked” after majority of the 174 soldiers in the unit refused to join the operation.

The witness said after he took charge of the Special Forces, he addressed and assured them that they could achieve the task given to them.

He, however, said the soldiers were “hesitant to partake in the operation” in spite of the assurances.

Under cross examination by Femi Falana, who represented the accused soldiers, Mr. Opurum said 47 of the soldiers who initially refused, later re-joined the forces for another operation.

Mr. Opurum said the 47 soldiers joined, after he called for reinforcement, as they came under attack from terrorists, who out-numbered them and had superior weapons.

Asked if the soldiers refused to fight or refused to join the operation because of lack of superior weapons, he said all units in the North-East had requested for weapons.

On the disciplinary measure taken against the 47 soldiers, who initially refused, he said the process for that was to begin when they were court-martialled.

Mr. Falana in an oral application asked to the court for the record of weapons recovered from the 47 soldiers, when they initially refused to join the operations.

The President of the Court, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yusuf, said the application had been noted “for action’’.
The General Court Martial was inaugurated on October 2 to try 97 soldiers, including 15 senior officers for mutiny.

Nigeria will defeat Boko Haram, Defence Chief vows

Alex Badeh

The Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the military will win the war against Boko Haram terrorists.

Speaking at the Presidential Villa after a breakfast meeting between service Chiefs and President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Badeh promised that elections will hold in all part of the country.

“We are certainly not losing it. We are winning the war. Don’t worry, Nigerians should have faith in their military. The nation will win this war. Elections will hold there. Don’t worry,” Mr. Badeh said.

He said the purpose of the meeting with the president was to brief him on the security situation in the country.

“Of course, you are aware of the security situation in the country, the president thought it fit to call us this morning for us to come and brief him about the current situation of things. We have told the president exactly where we are and our future plans. As you know, we can’t talk about our future plans here, that will mean us telling the enemy what we are doing,” he said.

Mr. Badeh said he would rather not discuss the intrigues of the arrest of fake Boko Haram members by the State Security Service, SSS, and the government’s botched ceasefire.

“It is better not to discuss those things. SSS is on it, they are doing their own investigation. They did
a briefing yesterday and they have told you exactly what they are doing. It is better we leave the SSS to handle that one.”

Also speaking on fifth columnists jeopardising their efforts in the Armed Forces, he said: “Don’t worry, the military is handling fifth columnists in its own way”.

Mr. Badeh spoke about the victory of reclaiming Mubi town.

“Normal life is back in Mubi and around that place. We are liberating more and more communities. People are moving in, life is returning back to normal gradually.”

His assurance came as Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, released a new video promising to kill the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, for calling on Kano people to defend themselves against the group.

Boko Haram leader, Shekau, releases new video; vows to attack Emir Sanusi of Kano

SANUSI-LAMIDO-SA

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to attack the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in retaliation for the Emir’s call on Kano residents and other Nigerians to arm and defend themselves against the terror organization.

In a new video released weekend, Mr. Shekau said his group does not consider Mr. Sanusi a true Muslim, and will attack him whenever an opportunity presents itself.

The Emir had earlier issued a call to arms after a series of deadly attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in Kano.

Speaking at Kano’s central Mosque in October, the Emir charged the people of Kano to arm and defend themselves against the sect, which is responsible for more than 13,000 deaths.

The militants later launched a deadly assault on the Mosque on Friday, November 28, detonating multiple bombs and shooting worshippers to death.

Over 100 people died in the attack which was believed to have been targeted at Mr. Sanusi.

The Emir, who had travelled out of Nigeria at the time, visited the Mosque on his return, and re-affirmed his vow that the Kano people will not cower in the face of Boko Haram’s threats.

In a 19-minute new video first released Saturday, Mr. Shekau did not claim responsibility for the Mosque attack.

But he said his group remains prepared to fight and kill anyone who challenges its ideology, and all non-Muslims and “fake” Muslims like the emir.

“Before I start talking to my brothers who believed in me and the religion of Allah not the religion of democracy, not that of western education, those who believed in the religion of the Quran not that of the constitution and not religion of the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Jonathan, Obasanjo, Atiku, Babangida, Obama, Bush, Clinton, but the religion of Allah,” he said.

“Now listen to me Emir of Kano. I am talking to you and only you because of your recent utterances.

“Let me inform you now that you are late, you should know that you are only but the King of Kano, King of Central Bank, King of money, you are only Sanusi Lamido,” he said.

Mr. Shekau denounced the Emir’s religion as religion based on constitution, idol worship and homosexuality.

“Our own government is defined as government of the Allah by the Allah and for the Allah not as you define your own government as the government of the people by the people and for the people,” he said.

Mr. Shekau said his group will fight local vigilantes and hunters, who have successfully crushed the advances of its fighters in some parts of Nigeria’s northeast.

“Emir of Kano Sanusi you are late, that our triumph is just for a period of time so you said. Even your predecessors who are renowned idol worshipers in Islamic history like ‘Abujahal’ could not succeed fighting Islam.

“Yes you can say that our success is for a period of time, because you are a king of Bank and a loyal citizen of his country,” Mr. Shekau said.

The terrorist leader said his members are ready to be slaughter and kill so they can rest in heaven.

“Because you are made the Emir of Kano that is why you got angry and was calling on the Vigilante groups and hunters to attack us. Let me tell you that the hunters and the vigilante groups will fail and you will also fail,” he said.

He condemned all other Islamic sects in the country, calling them pagans.

He said the Izala, Tijjaniyya, Qadiriyya and Shiite Islamic groups are pagans and his group will continue to kill their followers.

He also condemned the government Saudi Arabia saying they will all perish in hell.

“We will kill you people, we will capture hostages and keep selling some.”

No time limit for returning Chibok girls alive – Nigerian Presidency

Doyin chibok

The Nigerian presidency has dismissed concerns over the prolonged abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State, saying the government has no time limit to return the long-suffering teenagers alive to their families.

The message, delivered Monday by a presidential spokesperson, appeared to imply that the government is taking its time to rescue the girls who have been in Boko Haram captivity for nearly nine months.

The girls were kidnapped on April 14 by the extremist group, which has recently seized territories in Nigeria and is pushing for the creation of an Islamic State.

The Nigerian government has in the past ruled out the use of force for the rescue of the girls.

Attempts at negotiations have also failed, the biggest being a ceasefire the government said it agreed with Boko Haram in October, which turned out false.

Speaking on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, said the government had no time limit on when the girls should be expected home alive.

“There is no time limit for returning the girls alive,” Mr. Okupe said. “The issue of the Chibok girls is a national tragedy that must be borne with fortitude. Government has not given up on finding and rescuing the girls.

Mr. Okupe said the Chibok girls’ case remains a “major thorn in the flesh of this administration”, and assured that the government would have done anything possible to have them released if that were possible “yesterday”.
Mr. Okupe said the issue demanded extreme caution to avoid losing the girls.

Describing the girls’ kidnap as not the regular incident involving the seizure of one or two persons, the presidential spokesperson said the rescue of over 200 girls must be handled with utmost care.

“Any mistake will lead to their death. That is why we (the government) are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said.

He cited President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Chad’s President Idriss Deby, as an indication of the extent the government would be prepared to go to have the girls back.

On the security situation in the North East, particularly in states where emergency was declared, Mr. Okupe said the military was now in “total and perfect control”, as the insurgents have since been driven out from all territories, including Mubi, Baga, and Gwoza, they were said to have occupied.

According to him, the military has not only re-organised itself, it has overhauled its operational and administrative capacity with increased funding and equipment.

He said the insurgency in Nigeria has since taken a multi-national colouration, which was beyond the country, with the extremists group having contacts with networks in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Qaeda and ISIS that are ideologically highly motivated than the soldiers.

“Ideological insurgency is an extremely difficult situation to cope with. That is why I say we are in a state of war. Soldiers are not trained to kill themselves like the insurgent. They are trained to use their weapons to stave off the attack of the enemy,” he said.

“Even if the government were to line up the over 200,000 military men Nigeria has along the over 1,500 kilometres distance of the North East border, Mr. Okupe said it would not be adequate to secure the area, as they would still be about 10 metres apart from each other.”

Terrorism will never prevail over Nigeria – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Kano and Jos.

This is contained in a statement made available to journalists in Lagos by the APC.

Mr. Buhari, in the statement, said that the two historic cities were known for their rich cultural and religious heritage.

“Once again, those who seek to influence our way of life, modify our faith and our most sacred core values, have struck, leaving in their wake lives brutally cut short, limbs badly broken and dreams forced to fade away.

“But these people, whose actions are not sanctioned by any religion and who subscribe to no known decent values, will not succeed.

“Our people are resilient and strong, and our nation is capable, based on our rich human and material resources, of successfully tackling these nihilists.

“No religion condoles the killings of such innocent people; hence we are sure these terrorists profess to none of the world’s great religions, much as they seek to mask their actions with the cloak of religion,’’ he said.

Mr. Buhari commiserated with the victims and their family members and prayed that Allah would grant repose to the souls of the departed and comfort those who lost loved ones.

“I urge all of us to demonstrate our time-tested compassion by providing support and succour to those affected one way or the other in their hour of need,’’ he said.

Mr. Buhari said that terror would be defeated, saying that all it required was the political will, uncommon courage and unrelenting determination.(NAN)

Army reaffirms commitment to win war against insurgency

Recapture of Mubi Town

The Nigerian Army has reaffirmed its determination to win the ongoing war against the Boko Haram insurgents.

Aba Popoola, a Colonel and acting Brigade Commander, 23 Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yola stated this on Saturday, while decorating three senior officers of the brigade recently promoted.

Mr. Popoola said that the battle could only be won when officers and men of the brigade and others deployed for the operation improved their skills and intelligence network.

He gave an assurance that the Nigerian Army would continue to provide all necessary logistics and encouragement to enable those engaged in the battle to excel.

Mr. Popoola stressed that the welfare of such officers would be given special attention on regular basis.

The acting brigade commander said that the newly promoted officers deserved their new ranks.

“With my short stay with them, they have shown their ability to lead those behind them and total loyalty and commitment to the Nigerian Army,” Mr. Popoola said.

He reminded the officers that ‘’in the Nigerian Army, the higher one goes, the hotter it becomes, you should face the tougher tasks ahead.”

Those decorated with their new ranks were two Colonels, Aminu Garba and Faruoq Mijinyawa and a Major, Solomon Akinyade.

Responding on behalf of the newly promoted officers, Mr. Garba pledged their loyalty to the army, as the new ranks would ginger them to redouble their services to the nation.
(NAN)

 

Emir of Mubi returns to palace as soldiers restore order

HRH-the-emir-of-Mubi-Dr-Abubakar-Isa-Ahmadu

The paramount ruler of Mubi, Adamawa state, Abubakar Ahmadu, on Friday returned to his domain amidst tight security.

The palace was captured by Boko Haram in October and the terrorists’ flag hoisted to show their control of the area.

However, Nigerian troops, assisted by local hunters, last week recaptured the commercial border town as well as Gombi, Hong and Maiha.

The monarch was received by palace officials and other subjects that were either trapped in the town or had earlier returned to it.

Mr. Ahmadu commended the Nigerian troops for liberating the towns and hoped that other towns under his domain, including Michika and Madagali local government areas, would soon be recaptured.

“We appreciate the gallant efforts of the Nigerian Military, the hunters and the vigilante that saw the liberation of our towns,” said the monarch while observing the Friday prayer with his subjects. “We are optimistic that the remaining towns will soon be liberated.”

The residents of the recaptured towns also expressed their gratitude and commended the soldiers for their brave efforts.

With normalcy restored some residents were seen going about their businesses.

A businessman based at the Mubi central market, Garba Musa, thanked the authorities for restoring order to the town.

“As you can see, we have started opening our shops in a peaceful atmosphere without the fear of being molested,” he said. “This is a welcome development because when the Boko Haram guys were having a field day, they could pounce on you callously but with the coming of the military, the situation has changed for good.”

Meanwhile, charred remains of bombed Armoured Personnel Carriers, Hilux vans lay scattered around the towns, especially around Mararrabar Mubi, where intense fighting took place leading to the destruction of many buildings.

However, all commercial banks in the town vandalized and looted by the insurgents are yet to resume operations.

The military have already continued with their mop-up operation, in preparation for the return of displaced residents, with every inch of the town combed by soldiers. The police and all paramilitary agencies have also returned to their bases. Stop and search operations are also being carried out fish out any lingering of the defeated insurgents.

The residents called on authorities to quickly remove the corpses littering the town as they constituted a health hazard. They appealed to the mobile network providers to restore their services to the towns, to facilitate communication.

Jos Explosion: Death toll rises to 32 — NEMA

Photo Credits: The Times UK

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has reviewed the Thursday Jos explosion death toll from 25 to 32 deaths.

The NEMA spokesperson for North-central geopolitical zone, Audu Yohanna, in a press release on Friday said 32 people were confirmed dead, while 47 others injured and were taken to hospitals for medical attention.

Mr. Yohanna said the victims are being treated in three separate hospitals within Jos.

PREMIUM TIMES saw eight bodies on the floor of the Plateau Specialist Hospital on Friday. Among the dead was a pregnant woman, and a male corpse completely mutilated.

Many people were seen searching for their family members. A 34-year-old woman searched frantically for the corpse of her mother to no avail.

Survivors of the incident were hospitalized at the Plateau Specialist Hospital, in Ward 1.

Journalists were not allowed to see the survivors at the time of visit to the hospital.

At the Bingham University Teaching hospital, a theatre attendant who pleaded not to be named because she was not authorized to speak to journalists, said 10 people who sustained minor injuries had been treated and discharged. She also said some bodies had been deposited at the hospital mortuary.

The management of the Bingham University Teaching hospital did not also allow journalists’ access to both dead and survivors.
At the Ola General Hospital, a lot of sympathizers were seen searching for family.

Tsiye said her neighbour was shot dead.

“We found her remains this morning, (Friday) but it was not the bomb that killed her, there are bullet wounds on her body. We kept looking for her since yesterday (Thursday) in all the hospitals when the incident occurred but we could not find her. Just this morning someone called and said he saw her corpse. We went there and found bullet wounds on her remains.”

The deceased was 56 years old and popularly known as Mama Talatu. She had two children and traded on food items near the location where the second bomb exploded. The neighbour said Mama Talatu was the breadwinner of her house.

The two scenes of the incident, Mr Biggs and “Kasuwan Dare” areas have been deserted, and security operatives were seen removing debris there. There were no commercial activities within the area.

NEMA] had earlier said 25 persons were killed in the twin bomb explosions while the spokesperson of the Special Task Force on Jos crisis [STF], Ikedichi Iweha, had claimed 16 persons died in the incident.

The Thursday evening explosion occurred during rush hours, when workers and traders were heading home from work and business.
Officials said most of those caught in the explosions were street hawkers roaming around for patrons.

The Plateau state government had, after the deadly May 20 explosions in a market, banned street trading and hawking along designated areas.

But the traders, who left for a while, recently resumed their activities around the prohibited areas.

A witness, Francis Atsa, told PREMIUM TIMES the explosions went off twice, close to the Jos main market, also known as “Terminus market”.

“I was on my way from the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital gate when the explosion occurred,”Mr. Atsa said.

“The first one went off at about 6:30p.m. and the second one followed almost immediately. I had to run for safety as objects were flying all over.”

Kenya, Nigeria to partner on security to end insurgency

kenya nigeria

The Kenyan Government on Thursday in Abuja said it was working closely with Nigeria to tackle the security challenges currently facing the two countries.

The Kenyan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Tom Amolo, said both countries signed an agreement on police cooperation when President Uhuru Kenyatta paid a state visit in May.

He said the two countries would share experiences in the area of security and work towards implementing the agreement in the first quarter of 2015.

“On the security side, we have had good discussions at the highest level of both our security networks and they have proved very valuable in providing information which have helped in addressing some of the similar security challenges our countries are going through.

“It (the agreement) hasn’t come to fruition because they (both parties) have not met and that has a lot to do with our current security challenges, Nigeria and Kenya.

“We explored the possibility of having this agreement managed at ambassadorial level but we have come to realise that will not be effective.

“I foresee, with new Inspector-General of Police of Kenya coming in, that we should look at the possibility of the first quarter of 2015; it’s in our programme, ” Mr. A loo said.

“If we look deeper into the challenges of insecurity, we realise that the Kenya people, the Nigerian people themselves have to take up the cudgels for security matters.

“It is not only the police who should be able to challenge these people; if somebody comes in your neighbourhood that you have never seen before, it is incumbent on you to raise the alarm”.

(NAN)

NEMA confirms 25 deaths in Jos explosions, residents say 31

FILE PHOTO: Scene of a bombing in Abuja that left several people dead and others wounded

The National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] has said 25 persons were  killed in the twin bomb explosions that rocked Jos, the Plateau State capital, on Thursday evening.

But the spokesperson of the Special Task Force on Jos crisis [STF], Ikedichi Iweha, claimed 16 persons died in the incident.

However, a resident of the area told the BBC Hausa service on Thursday evening that shortly after the incident, he counted 31 bodies – 11 in one location, and 20 in another. 

Other witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES the death toll might rise as some of those injured suffered “serious and critical injuries”.

The STF spokesperson however said a detachment of security operatives have taken over the scene of the incident.

Earlier, the spokesperson for NEMA in the North-central geopolitical zone, Audu Yohanna, had told PREMIUM TIMES that the emergency agency evacuated several bodies to the Plateau Specialist Hospital and the Evangel Teaching Hospital in Jos.

“We could not take victims to the Jos University Teaching Hospitals because they are on strike,” he said.

Mr. Yohanna explained that the incident occurred in front of Mr Biggs, near Tafawa Belewa roundabout and that it destroyed two vehicles and injured many people. 

The rescue team included NEMA, the Police and members of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps [NSCDC], Mr. Yohanna said.

The Thursday evening explosion occurred during rush hours, when workers and traders were heading home from work and business.

Officials said most of those caught in the explosions were street hawkers roaming around for patrons.

The Plateau state government had, after the deadly May 20 explosions in a market, banned street trading and hawking along designated areas.

But the traders, who left for a while, recently resumed their activities around the prohibited areas.

A witness, Francis Atsa, told PREMIUM TIMES the explosions went off twice, close to the Jos main market, also known as “Terminus market”.

“I was on my way from the old site of the Jos University Teaching Hospital gate when the explosion occurred,”Mr. Atsa said.

“The first one went off at about 6:30p.m. and the second one followed almost immediately. I had to run for safety as objects were flying all over.”

Many feared dead as fresh explosions rock Jos

FILE PHOTO: Scene of a bomb blast in Abuja on June 25, 2014

Twin bomb explosions have occurred in central Jos, the capital of Plateau State, with an unspecified number of deaths, residents and police have said.

One resident said the blasts occurred at about 6.30 p.m. Thursday near a busy motor park, operated by state-owned Plateau Riders.

An outlet of popular fast food line, Mr. Biggs, is also located near the scene of the attack.

The casualty figures are yet unclear, residents said.

The Plateau State police spokesperson, Emmanuel Abu, confirmed the attack, the News Agency of Nigeria, reports.

More details coming.

NEMA distributes medical items to hospitals for Kano blast victims

bomb-blast

The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has distributed medical consumables and drugs to nine hospitals in Kano to strengthen the treatment of the people affected by the recent bomb blasts in Kano.

This is contained in a press statement signed by Manzo Ezekiel, the Press Officer of NEMA and made available on Wednesday in Abuja.

It stated that the Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi, was represented by its North West Zonal Coordinator Musa Illalah.

According to the statement, Mr. Sani-Sidi reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to support the quick recovery of the victims.

It stated that the agency had brought the items to replenish the stock that had been exhausted by the hospitals in the treatment of the victims of the Kano Central Mosque attack.

He said that the distribution is aimed at complementing the positive response of the hospitals that spontaneously accepted to treat the victims.

Mr. Sani-Sidi added that the assistance from NEMA is not late as some of the patients were still in the hospitals.

He further commended the health workers in the state for suspending their industrial actions for the sake of the victims and returning to back to support them in their various hospitals.

The DG said that the items for distribution contained 31 medical items, which would be distributed according to the number of victims in the hospitals.

He listed the hospitals where the victims were admitted as the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, National Orthopedic Hospital Dala, Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Sir Sanusi Hospital, Armed Forces Hospital.

Others are also admitted at Sheikh Jiddah Hospital, Khadija Hospital, Waziri Gidado Hospital and Muhammad Abdullahi Wase hospital.

Kano State Commissioner of Health, Labaran Yusuf, who received the drugs on behalf of the state government before the distribution, appreciated the Federal Government through NEMA for the kind gesture.

Speaking on behalf of the benefitting hospitals, the Chief Medical Director of the National Orthopedic Hospital, Salihu Muhammad, assured that the medical items would be judiciously used for the benefit of the victims.

The items distributed include Lysol solution, chromic sutures, chromic cat gut, Vicryl injection, cetriazone, pentazocine, saline and metronidazole, amongst others.

(NAN)

2 female suicide bombers, 4 others killed in Kano market blast — Police

bomb-blast

Six persons, including two suicide bombers, have died in a bomb attack at a textile market in Kano, Wednesday, police have said.

Seven others injured in the attack, are being treated at Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital.

Kano Police Commissioner, Aderele Shinaba, told journalists at the scene of the bomb attack, that two female suicide bombers arrived at the market pretending to be buyers of textile materials.

He said soon as they entered the market they went to behind Access Bank, and requested water they could ease themselves with in one of the market latrines.

When denied water, Mr. Shinaba said the two women engaged the sellers in an argument, drawing a crowd before the two bombers detonated their explosives.

The police spokesman said after the bomb exploded, there was pandemonium with people running for safety.

The blast occurred at a place known as “fillin parking” along Ibrahim Taiwo Way, a major intersection leading to the popular Kano Kantin Kwari Market.

Kantin Kwari textile market is rated the largest market in northern Nigeria, with several thousands of traders from all over Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries doing business there on daily basis.

The incident is coming less than two weeks after multiple explosions rocked the Kano Central Mosque, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds of others.

An explosion had rocked the same market on December 12, 2012, injuring three people.

The state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, and other top political office holders are in Lagos for the national convention of the All Progressives Congress.

Governor Kwankwaso is seeking the presidential ticket of the party at the convention.

Nigerian military seizes Boko Haram ‘hit list’

Nigerian soldiers in Hong

The Nigerian military on Tuesday said it has recovered a Boko Haram hit list, which contains names of communities targeted by the extremist group.

The Defence Headquarters through its official Twitter page said other documents, including sketches of towns, were also recovered.

Boko Haram militants have overrun several communities in northeast Nigeria, killing residents and destroying their homes and places of worship.

The military has, in recent weeks, reclaimed some towns that fell to the terrorists.

In two separate operations spanning Adamawa and Bauchi states, government troops killed 27 suspected terrorists during fighting, defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, was quoted as by PRNigeria as saying.

PRNigeria publishes statements by the military.

“During a hot pursue of the terrorists around Hildi, Adamawa State, at least seven of the terrorists lost their lives while a total of five rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition as well as bows and arrows were captured from them,” it said.

It said during another raid operation conducted on Balmo and Lame forests linking Borno, Bauchi and Adamawa states, troops recovered rifles and a number of motorcycles after a stiff resistance by terrorists was crushed.
Over 20 of Boko Haram fighters lost their lives while some were reported wounded, the report said.

Nigerian military arrests Boko Haram’s cameraman

Boko Haram

The Nigerian military on Monday said it arrested a terrorist photographer in a community in Adamawa state.

The man, who was arrested alongside other terrorists, specialises in taking photographs and shooting videos of the terrorists’ activities in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.

They were arrested during a patrol, surveillance and raid operations to track fleeing terrorists in Adamawa environs.

The spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, said four of the terrorists, who tried to escape in an SUV jeep with a digital camera and weapons have been taken into custody.

As the Nigerian troops continue to sustain their offensive against terrorists in North-Eastern Nigeria, more arrests are being made and terrorists are being killed, officials said.

Mr. Olukolade said the arrested terrorists are helping ongoing investigations in one of the military barracks in the country.

Protest in Kano over detained Chad-bound Russian aircraft

IMG-20141208-WA0004

Protesters have flooded the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, demanding Nigerian Government’s explanation on the arrested Chad-bound Russian aircraft.

The protesters, who are members of a coalition of northern youth organization, Northern Consensus Movement(NCM) said it was important that relevant authorities explain Nigeria’s relationship with the Chad-bound aircraft allegedly laden with military hardware.

The President, NCM, Ibrahim Wala, said with the terrorist attacks rocking Nigeria’s North East, it is impossible to overlook the sudden appearance of a cargo laden with weapons, including helicopters.

Protest in Kano Airport

“This is not the first time we are witnessing an interception of arm-laden aircraft, particularly in Kano Airport. It is unfortunate that all these while, there hasn’t been any explanation with regards to the destination of these cargos,” Mr. Wala said.

Mr. Wala said the group could not afford to sit back and watch the release of the aircraft without adequate explanation of its content and whereabouts.

“Now we are here again and incidentally we are talking about the content of this cargo which has some helicopters, you may recall there were certain reports pointing fingers to the Chadian government concerning the relationship of Chadian president with some of the politicians that have been fingered also,” he said.

The protesters carried placards that read: “We are in a state of war, we need aid not arms. We need detail of the Chad-bound cargo; Why is Ali Modu Sherrif in Kano? Where are the Northern leaders?”

The occupants of the plane – a pilot and a co-pilot and 16 others – are being held by the Nigerian Military.

One of the protesters, Muhktar Lawal, told PREMIUM TIMES that the group was protesting to get answers from relevant authorities about Nigeria’s connection with the arm-laden aircraft.

“We want to occupy the airport because there are so many irregularities going on; this is the third time a plane carrying arms is being grounded in Kano and always they will say the arms are not meant for Nigeria and nobody will hear anything again,” Mr. Lawal said.

He said with the incessant insurgency in the North East, citizens can no longer keep mum on the smuggling of arms into Nigeria.

“If the weapons are meant for Niger or Chad, why are the authorities of these countries not confirming such?” he asked.

Protest in Kano Airport
The Defence Headquarters on Saturday said the aircraft, an Antonov Cargo plane, laden with military hardware, was arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
It also said it was carrying out investigation as regards the origin and destination of the plane.

While the French ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, has admitted that his country chattered the Russian aircraft to help it convey some military hardware from Bangui in the Central African Republic to N’djamena, Chad, he denied there were arms and ammunition aboard the plane.

The Nigerian government has also said it is not in a hurry to release the aircraft despite France admitting that it owns the military hardware aboard the plane.

Nigerian military kills 67 terrorists in Gombe town counter attack

Nigerian army in Borno

The Nigerian military in an onslaught on Thursday in Bajoga, Gombe State killed 67 Boko Haram extremists, the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, has said.

The terrorists on a mission to capture Ashaka town, the host community of Ashaka Cement Plant, were in a convoy of over 30 vehicles and motorcycles.

The DHQ had on Saturday in a statement said that 10 soldiers were killed in that battle.

It said troops which got an intelligence report on their mission pursued the terrorists and laid ambush for them.

The terrorists while fleeing the town were able to retrieve three truckloads of their dead members but could not continue with their proposed mission.

The DHQ said some of the soldiers that sustained injury during the battle are receiving treatment in military hospitals.

Some of the terrorists had on Thursday attacked the Ashaka cement plant in Bajoga. The militants also carried out a similar attack last month when they carted away explosives after attacking the plant.

The vehicles and heavy equipment used by the terrorists were said to be destroyed before they fled the community.

Also, a number of terrorists died in an encounter with some troops on patrol in Kwanta, Yobe State. The troops did not record any casualty in this battle.

Equipment and weapons including Rapid Propelling Guns, RPGs, tubes, machine guns and rounds of different calibres of ammunition were captured from the terrorists.

Falana petitions Army Chief, alleges ‘miscarriage of justice’ in conviction of 12 soldiers for mutiny

Condemned soldiers

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has petitioned the Chief of Army Staff alleging that the judgment by a General Court-Martial of the army which convicted 12 soldiers for mutiny was characterized by “grave errors of law.”

In the petition dated December 5, Mr. Falana urged the army authority to set aside the conviction and death sentence passed on the convicts by the Court Martial.

Corporal Jasper Braidolor; Corporal David Musa; Lance Corporal Friday Onun; Lance Corporal Yusuf  Shuaibu; Lance Corporal Igomu Emmanuel; and Private Andrew Ngbede were sentenced to death after a military court martial found them guilty of mutiny.

The others are Private Nurudeen Ahmed; Private Ifeanyi Alukhagba; Private Alao Samuel;Private Amadi Chukwudi; Private Alan Linus; and Lance Corporal Stephen Clement.

The soldiers, initially 18 in number, were arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on inciting mutiny against the GOC, 7 Division, Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri, Major-General Ahmed Mohammed,  on May 14.

While five of the accused were discharged and acquitted, one was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment with hard labour for being absent without official leave.

“We wish to draw the attention of military authorities in Nigeria to the case of Oladele v. Nigerian Army (supra) where the Court of Appeal emphasized the point that members of the armed forces, like other citizens, are entitled to all the fundamental rights guaranteed by the
Constitution including the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” said Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Mr. Falana, who filed the petition on behalf of the convicts, noted that the Section 149 (1) of the Armed Forces Act (Cap A20) 2004, stipulates that “an accused may, within three months after being sentenced by a court-martial and before the sentence is confirmed, submit to the confirming authority any written matter which may
reasonably tend to affect the confirming authority’s decision whether to disapprove a finding of guilt or to approve the sentence.”

“By this petition, we appeal to the Chief of Army Staff as the Confirming Authority to disapprove the finding of guilt and death sentence passed on the 12 convicted soldiers  on the ground that the judgment of the General Court-Martial cannot be justified  as it is characterized by grave errors of law which  occasioned miscarriage of
justice,” Mr. Falana said.

The Nigerian Senate in September said it would not plead with the army authority to spare the convicted soldiers’ lives.

George Sekibo, Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence, said the Upper House would not intervene in the matter because the conviction was in the best interest of the military.

On May 14th, soldiers at the Maimalari Cantonment staged a  protest over the brutal killing of 10 of their colleagues by Boko Haram troops. The complaints of the soldiers centred on lack of adequate weapons, poor feeding and non-payment of accrued salaries and allowances.

The protest coincided with the visit of Mr. Mohammed to the Cantonment, and although his car was shot at, he was not injured.

The military authorities had arrested 18 soldiers, including the convicts, and charged them with the offences of conspiracy, attempted murder, mutiny, disobedience to particular order, insubordinate behaviour and false accusation contrary to provisions of the Armed Forces Act and the Penal Code Act.

“It is pertinent to note that the Authorities investigated the immediate and remote causes of the soldiers’ protest and confirmed that the complaints of the soldiers were not unfounded,” said Mr. Falana.

“Upon indicting Major-General Ahmed Mohammed for not attending to the grievances of the aggrieved soldiers, he was removed as GOC and retired from the Nigerian Army by the military high command.

“With respect to the soldiers’ complaints of lack of adequate equipment to fight the Boko Haram troops who are armed with sophisticated weapons, the National Assembly has recently approved the request of the President & Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for $1 billion loan to purchase military hardware
for the purpose of prosecuting the war on terror.”

‘Wrongfully charged’

Mr. Falana argued that the soldiers’ protest at the Cantonment was not connected with ‘operations against the enemy,’ as stated in the Armed Forces Act, adding that the soldiers were protesting against the negligence of the Federal Government and the military Authorities to
motivate and equip them.

Mr. Falana further stated that the Prosecution, during the
court-martial proceedings, did not prove that the acts of the convicts “were deliberately designed to put the Nigerian Army in imminent danger.”

“Since the Prosecution failed woefully to prove the essential elements of the offence the General Court-Martial erred in law in convicting the 12 soldiers for mutiny and sentencing them to death,” Mr. Falana
said.

“In the case of Oladele & Ors v Nigerian Army (supra) the Appellants who were injured in the ECOMOG peace keeping operations in Liberia were flown to Egypt for medical treatment.

“On the day they were to return to Nigeria they protested violently at the Cairo Airport over the non-payment of their estacode. They were brought home and charged with mutiny, convicted and sentenced to various prisons terms including life imprisonment by a Court-Martial.

In setting aside the conviction and sentences passed on the Appellants the Court of Appeal observed thus:

“If anything at all, all they did was to protest the non-payment of their estacode. Such a protest finds justification on the admission of PW4 that he had paid some soldiers who earlier traveled with some estacode and was emphatic that the Appellants were not prohibited but
there was no express provision for the payment of estacode to them’”.

Mr. Falana said that based on the reasoning of the appellate court, the soldiers’ protest at Maimalari Cantonment found justification in the indictment and removal of the GOC which led to his compulsory
retirement from the Nigerian Army.

“In other words, the Military Authorities found that the complaints of the soldiers were not unfounded. Hence the GOC was removed and retired “with immediate effect.”

Mr. Falana said that the trial of the convicts had been vitiated by the fact that they were wrongly and illegally charged with conspiracy and mutiny contrary to the intendment of the law.

“Therefore, the decision of Court Martial cannot stand having being anchored on the wrong section of the Armed Forces Act. The convicts ought to be  discharged and acquitted by the Chief of Army Staff.”

Mr. Falana also argued that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the car of the GOC was fired at by any of the 12 convicts.

“In any case, it was not established that the agitated soldiers wanted to kill the GOC. If there was a plan to kill the senior officer he would been have shot when he addressed the soldiers. But it was when he was going back to his office that his car was shot at, only once.

“Since each of the soldiers had not less than 30 rounds of ammunition at the material time they would have fired several shots at the car from all directions if they had planned to kill  the GOC.”

However, having also been convicted for insurbodinate behaviour for carrying out violent protest, Mr. Falana said that the soldiers were properly convicted on that count. But by being first offenders, he argued that the convicts should not have been given the highest punishment for the offence by the Court-Martial.

Mr. Falana urges the army authority to temper justice with mercy by granting the convicts full pardon.

“Even though they were ill-equipped and ill-motivated, they had fought the Boko Haram troops with courage, commitment and loyalty to their country,” Mr. Falana said.

“In the process they had lost many of their colleagues including the 10 whose corpses were brought to the Mailamari Cantonment.”

France admits ownership of military hardware aboard Chad-bound Russian plane detained in Nigeria

Chad bound Russian plane with arms 5

The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, has issued a statement about the Chad-bound aircraft detained by Nigerian authorities at the Aminu Kano Airport in Kano.

In the statement, the ambassador admitted his country chartered the Russian aircraft to help it convey some military hardware from Bangui (Central African Republic) to Ndjamena (Niger).

He however said there were no arms and ammunition aboard the plane, contrary to earlier reports on the matter.

Read the full statement below.

“A Russian commercial plane carrying two light Gazelle helicopters belonging to the French Army has unexpectedly landed in Kano on Saturday December 6th, early in the afternoon.

The development can be explained as follows :

On 6 December, the French armed forces had chartered a flight on the Russian commercial company “224 Flight Unit”, to ship 2 light helicopters from Bangui to Ndjamena. The shipment is organized as the size of the French military intervention in CAR is being reduced, as was earlier announced by the French Authorities.

The cargo airplane, an Antonov 124, had a regular flight plan from Bangui to Ndjamena ; the flight was covered by a diplomatic clearance given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The freight consisted of 2 ‘’Gazelle’’ helicopters (a 4 seater light liaison helicopter) with spare-parts and maintenance items. 2 French military non-commissioned officers escorted the equipment as passengers.

As the Antonov was approaching Ndjamena, the air traffic conditions were too dense to authorize the landing of the aircraft ; and the Antonov had to divert to an alternate international airport. The closest airport facility being Kano, the Russian crew decided to fly there, to refuel, and to take off again to reach Ndjamena Airport.

Due to the nationality of the aircraft, and the nature of the cargo, local airport Nigerian authorities in Kano have decided to check the flight plan, the clearance and the cargo manifest before authorizing the plane to leave. Official information has been supplied by the French Embassy in Nigeria. The Nigerian federal and airport authorities, being satisfied with the documents and the genuine character of the flight, have announced that the plane will be authorized to pursue its flight to Ndjamena.

Contrary to some press reports, there was absolutely no weapon, and no ammunition on board the aircraft.

The use of chartered flights of various nationalities for military cargo transport is a standard international practice : it is used by many nations, and is coherent with commercial competition to reduce the cost of such transport operations. The use of Russian companies to transport French military equipment is common practice.

As for the move of the helicopters between CAR and Chad, it is part of the French effort to support regional cooperation against terrorism, as agreed by the Heads of State of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon during the security Summit held in Paris in May, 2014.”