…Captain Hashim Abdullahi
- DSS ARRESTS ISIS-BOKO HARAM MEMBERS PLANNING TO ATTACK UK, US EMBASSY
Personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday arrested ISIS-Boko Haram terrorists planning to attack the United Kingdom (UK) High Commission and the United States (US) embassy in Nigeria. In a statement released in Abuja by a DSS official, Tony Opuiyo, the security agency said the ISIS-Boko Haram terrorists initiated their plan from their base in Benue and FCT. He said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public about its continued effort in ensuring that the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, kidnappers and other criminal elements are drastically reduced or decimated. To this effect, their capabilities are daily being downgraded. “Between 25th and 26th March, 2017, the Service busted a ring of ISIS linked Boko Haram members based in Benue State and the FCT. “The group had perfected plans to attack the UK and American Embassies and other western interests in Abuja.”
- IG SEEKS POLICE, DSS, MILITARY PARTNERSHIP IN CRIME CONTROL
The Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris on Wednesday in Enugu said for the country to effectively tackle the increasing spate of crimes and criminality, all segments of the nation’s security, especially the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the military must unite and pull efforts together. This came as Idris’ predecessor in office, Mr. Solomon Arase, advocated the establishment of e-cops to effectively confront ICT-related crimes. He said only a super-dynamic police would have the capacity of coping with the dynamic nature of crimes and by so doing achieve the much anticipated national security goals. Delivering a keynote address in a workshop on sensitisation of law enforcement agencies on telecommunications issues organised by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in Enugu, Idris said present day crimes had become more organised, complex and sophisticated and as such required team work to be checkmated. He said it is time “we migrated from the point of isolated individualistic responses to build a new form of alliance, a collaborative partnership to jointly arrest the menace, which impacts negatively not on the security infrastructure, but economic well-being of the country”.
- THREE KILLED AS POLICEMEN, SOLDIERS CLASH
Three persons were killed when soldiers and policemen clashed in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital on Wednesday. Many persons, including soldiers, policemen and civilians were injured in the deadly clash between the two groups. The whole Damaturu was as if it was a theatre of war as continuous gunshots and sounds of heavy artillery were heard, with many residents avoiding the streets. Financial institutions, Government establishments and people who opened for the day’s business were forced to close early because of the fight. A police squadron commander was said to have been abducted by the soldiers during the fight. Many of the security personnel and civilians who sustained injuries were seen at the accident and emergency ward of the State Specialists’ Hospital, Damaturu, receiving treatment when our correspondent visited. Three corpses of security personnel were equally seen deposited at the hospital morgue, but both the military and the police said they were yet to confirm the casualty figure. Meanwhile, a security meeting between the military, the police and the DSS which is chaired by the deputy governor, Abubakar Aliyu, was held behind closed doors at the Government House, Damaturu after the ceasefire.
- POLICE NAB THREE FAKE SOLDIERS IN IMO
The Imo State Police Command on Wednesday paraded three suspected fake military men. The state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezeike, said the suspects– Kingsley Inyang, Edet Okon and Victor Akpan– were arrested on April 4, 2017, at Amakohia Ubi, in the Owerri West Local Government Area of the state, where they allegedly defrauded people on the pretext of enlisting them into the Nigerian Army. Ezike said the suspects opened an office and mandated their victims to pay N8, 000 and N70, 000 for medical tests and recruitment exercises, respectively. The CP explained that two pairs of army uniforms, a pair of army boots, one camouflage cap, one laptop and other exhibits were recovered from the suspects. Ezike said the suspects would be charged to court at the end of investigations. One of the suspects, Inyang, who was dressed in an army uniform, confessed to the crime. He added that his group defrauded 22 people. When queried on how he got the uniform, the suspect said it belonged to his father, who was a retired soldier. The CP also paraded the suspected kidnappers of Ben Kpaduwa, a former Principal Manager of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria. According to him, one of the suspects, Chinedu Imo, who sustained gunshot injuries during a gun duel with the police in the forest where their victim was kept, was confirmed dead in the hospital.
- SENEGAL ARRESTS SUSPECTED BOKO HARAM RECRUITER
A suspected recruiter for Boko Haram has been arrested in Senegal as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns that militants from the group are increasingly forcing children to carry out bombings, with the number of attacks since January already nearly reaching the total for all of last year. Senegalese police confirmed yesterday they arrested the Nigerian on April 1 in a Dakar suburb. Police said the suspect was known to Nigerian intelligence services and had been in Mauritania for some months before coming to Senegal to recruit on behalf of Boko Haram. Senegal police also said they arrested two Moroccans at the international airport who had been linked to the Islamic State group. The two men, who police said, came from a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey, denied association with the extremist group. Police said they came to Senegal for its proximity to Morocco. Senegal has increased security following major attacks by al-Qaida-linked militants in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Mali. In a new report released in Dakar yesterday, UNICEF said at least 117 attacks have been carried out by youth in the Lake Chad basin region since 2014, with nearly 80 percent of the bombs strapped to girls, who were sometimes drugged before their missions. The very sight of children near marketplaces and checkpoints is sparking fear, according to Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF’s regional director for West and Central Africa. As a result, nearly 1,500 children were detained last year across Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
“These children are victims, not perpetrators,” Poirier said. “Forcing or deceiving them into committing such horrific acts is reprehensible.” Children have been used to carry out 27 attacks in the first three months of this year, after 30 such attacks last year. The new report coincides with this week’s third anniversary of the mass abduction of Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. UNICEF emphasized that beyond the high-profile Chibok abductions, the practice of kidnapping children and forcing them to associate with the armed group has been prevalent. “Young girls are spotted in the markets, and nighttime raids drag them from their beds. In some cases, parents are killed in front of the girls during the process,” it said. “This is typically followed by an extended journey to a Boko Haram base in the forest where the girls are forced into early marriage and sexual slavery.” UNICEF also called for the community reintegration of children who were once under Boko Haram’s control, saying many are stigmatized and feared. However, a $154 million appeal last year for the Lake Chad basin region remains only 40 percent funded, the agency said.
- BOKO HARAM: AIR FORCE INTRODUCE DRONES AND L-39ZA AIRCRAFT
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday said it has introduced an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) and L-39ZA fighter aircraft into the ongoing fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast. During a press conference in Yola to give an giving an appraisal of the operations of the NAF in the first quarter of 2017, the Air Component Commander (ACC), Operation Lafiya Dole, Air Commodore Charles Owho said the introduction of the new platforms was necessitated by the enlargement of the NAF Area of Responsibility (AOR). The additional platforms deployed would join the now ageing Alpha jets, F9 jets, Mi-35 helicopters which have been in action since the beginning of the war on the insurgency. Already the UCAV CH-3A has already conducted Air Interdiction on March 27, 2017. Air Commodore Ohwo also revealed that several Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations by the NAF has revealed that following the fall and capture of the insurgents former headquarters in Camp Zairo, most of the fighters fled to the West of Sambisa stretching up to the Southwest of Maiduguri and into Yobe State, while some others had moved to the East and Southeast of Sambisa towards Gwoza Hills and Tagoshe Hills. Owho said the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole has concentrated its air power the areas with a view to further decimating the remaining BHT elements and facilitating the activities of own surface forces in the area. In a series of air operations including Air Interdiction, Close Air Support for ground troops, Air Recce, Combat Air Patrol and ISR, the ACC said the Air Component has successfully prevented the regrouping of Boko Haram Insurgents while providing effective air cover for ground troops for clearance operations.
- BOKO HARAM: UNICEF WELCOMES RELEASE OF 600 PERSONS BY MILITARY
UNICEF has welcomed the release of nearly 600 women, children and elderly men from Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri, Borno state. In a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday, UNICEF said the action of the Nigerian Military is a major step towards the protection of children affected by the ongoing crisis, adding that it provides hope in a conflict that continues to have an enormous impact on people’s lives.’’ The statement reads: “These children were held under administrative custody on alleged association with Boko Haram militants. They are victims of the conflict and it is crucial that they receive medical care, psychosocial support and other basic services that will help them to regain their dignity. “Once that process of recovery has started, we can help them to return to their families and to school or learn new skills that will give them some hope for the future.” UNICEF said it continues to work with the relevant authorities to access children who are held for screening in order to safeguard their care and protection. “When military screening is needed, children should only be held as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible in accordance with national and international standards. “These children are– first and foremost – victims of the conflict and require support to recover from their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities,” the statement added.
- SENATE MANDATES ARMY, NAVY, POLICE TO STOP CRIMINAL SYNDICATES IN CREEKS, WATERWAYS
Worried about the increase in the activities of criminal syndicates who specialize in kidnapping and militant activities in and around communities in Lagos the Lagos East Senatorial District, particularly Epe, Ikorodu, Ibeju Lekki Local Government Areas, the senate has advised the Federal Government to direct the Inspector General of Police to immediately instruct the Commissioner of Police, Lagos States to immediately beef up the strength of the task force already on ground in order to effectively secure all the affected creeks and communities. The advice is contained in Tuesday’s resolutions of the senate on the urgent need for the Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies to intervene in the increased rate of kidnapping in the Lagos East Senatorial District and secure the waterways. The motion sponsored by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East) expressed concern that the activities of the criminals have forced law abiding residents of coastal /riverine communities of the affected communities to flee their communities and livelihood out of fear. In reference to last Friday’s incident where one Mr. Ademola Salami, a 42-year-old wood dealer was kidnapped in Ise community causing the traditional ruler, Oba Ganiyu Adegbesan to vacate the community due to high level of insecurity in the area, Senator Ashafa said that the situation has deteriorated so much to the extent that a divisional police station commissioned in Ise has become empty as no police officers were deployed there for seven years until recently. Ashafa further observed that the recent kidnap incidents have assumed a totally new and disturbing dimension that police officers and military personnel recently lost their lives to after suspected militants attacked Ishawo, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos state. “These militants were equally reported to have stormed the communities through the coastal waters using gunboats and speedboats,” he explained. In its resolutions in accordance to the prayers of the motion, the senate advised the Federal Government to also direct the Inspector General of Police to immediately make available sufficient helicopters for aerial surveillance and gunboats to the Marine Police department of the Lagos State Police Command to enable the State Command effectively tackle the activities of the militants.
- TRUMP PLANS TO MOVE AHEAD WITH AIRCRAFT SALE TO NIGERIA
US President Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly moving forward with plans to sell up to a dozen aircraft to Nigeria’s air force for the fight against the extremist group, Boko Haram. According to The Globe and Mail, Canada, sources informed the paper on Monday, that the Trump administration will go ahead with the deal that could be worth up to $600 million. The Super Tucano A-29 aircraft, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer. A second production line is in Florida, in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada. Former President Barack Obama’s administration originally agreed on the sale, but reportedly delayed it after the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January which killed 90 to 170 civilians. The Trump administration wants to supply the aircraft to boost Nigeria’s efforts to fight Boko Haram and bolster hiring in the United States by defense firms.
- BOKO HARAM: COURT GRANTS FG’S APPLICATION FOR WITNESS PROTECTION AGAINST ALBARNAW
Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted an application by the Federal Government, seeking protection of witnesses in the on-going trial of the seven suspected Boko Haram leaders, who were allegedly involved in the kidnap and murder of 11 foreign nationals between 2011 and 2013 in the Northern part of the country. The ruling of the court followed an application by the Federal Government, through its counsel, Shuaibu Labaran that the identity of prosecution witnesses should not be disclosed. Labaran also prayed that the prosecution witnesses should be protected and that the witnesses be addressed with pseudo names in the course of the trial. In his objection, counsel to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th defendants, Samuel Attah told the county that part of the grounds for the prosecution’s application are offensive to the provision of the Evidence Act., adding that some of the paragraphs were incompetent and thus should be struck out. According to him, an operative of the Department of State Services (DSS) who deposed to the affidavit in support of the prosecution’s motion said he got information from Shaibu Labaran, an external fact. He said this was not acceptable as the person who swore to the affidavit did not carry out the investigation. Counsel to the 3rd defendant, Elisha Oloruntoba, in his submission said “It is our humble submission that some of the grounds of the application are incompetent, especially ground one, which is against the Evidence Act, which he said should be struck out.” In his own submission, K. Abdulkarim, representing the 6th defendant was not opposed to trying the defendants in secret but was against some of the grounds and begged the court to expunge the paragraph in the affidavit that offends provisions of the Evidence Act. “Section 150 of the Evidence Act of 2011 and Section 36 of the Constitution as amended said affidavit shall not contain extraneous facts.”