Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’

Four British missionaries kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

October 18, 2017
A militant group pictured in the Niger Delta in 2010. Kidnapping is not uncommon in the area CREDIT:AFP/GETTY
  • Police are trying to rescue the four people, who were taken by gunmen last week
  • They were providing ‘medical care and religious activities’ in Burutu, Delta state
  • Chief Theo Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims
  • Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria 

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria‘s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday.

The police are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen on October 13, said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police.

He says they include a doctor, his wife and two other men who were involved in preaching and providing medical services to residents.

The four had been providing ‘free medical care and religious activities’ in the Burutu area of Delta state, said Chief Theo Fakama, from the local Enukorowa community.

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria 's southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday. Pictured, Nigerian soldier on patrol (file photo)

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria ‘s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday. Pictured, Nigerian soldier on patrol (file photo)

Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims had ‘brought succour to residents of the community for the past three years’.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have, in the last few years, been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – the country’s economic mainstay.

‘The abductors have not made any contact but we are doing our investigations to know the motive and have them rescued without jeopardising their lives,’ said Aniamaka.

‘Information available to us shows they are missionaries giving free medical services.

‘The victims are of British nationality, two of whom are a couple, and have been rendering humanitarian services in the area for a while.

‘But unfortunately, they didn’t let the authorities know of their presence in the area all this while.

There is a militant group that has been operating in the area and we believe they are the ones behind the abduction 

‘Immediately the militants struck, they whisked the victims to the interior regions of the creek where we believe they are being held for the past five days.’

There was an increase in crime in the southern region last year that coincided with a series of attacks on energy facilities. However, there have been no militant attacks on energy installations so far this year.

On October 14, the Vatican said an Italian priest was kidnapped by gunman just outside Benin City, which is the capital of Edo state and neighbours Delta state to the north.

Delta state commissioner of police Zanna Ibrahim told reporters in the state capital, Asaba, on Tuesday: ‘An anti-kidnapping team is already on the trail of the suspects.’

He suggested the abduction could be linked to a recent military operation against violent crime, which has seen an increase in troops in southern Nigeria.

Nigeria also saw the infamous kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in 2014.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4993582/British-missionaries-kidnapped-gunmen-Nigeria.html#ixzz4vsxBN246
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Advertisements

At least 29 killed in central Nigeria violence

October 17, 2017

AFP

© NIGERIA STATE HOUSE/AFP/File / by Salisu SHITU | Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari has issued an appeal to ‘stop the madness’ after the latest spurt of violence targeting people sheltered in a school

JOS (NIGERIA) (AFP) – At least 29 people were killed in a new flare-up of violence in central Nigeria targeting people sheltered in a primary school, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an appeal to “stop the madness”.The attack happened on Monday in Plateau state, which has been dogged for years by ethnic, sectarian and religious unrest.

Sunday Audu, the head of the Irigwe Community Development Association, said armed men stormed the school in the village of Nkyie Doghwro, in the Bassa area of the state.

Hundreds of local residents had sought refuge there for fear of reprisal attacks, after unidentified assailants killed six cattle herders on Sunday.

“Our people were attacked… with 29 dead, three injured at a school used as a camp and protected by security,” Audu told reporters in the Plateau state capital, Jos, on Monday.

Plateau police spokesman Tyopev Terna confirmed the attack but declined to give a death toll.

Audu blamed the killings on the mostly nomadic Fulani herdsmen, accusing them of being “in denial of sponsoring these attacks”.

But the head of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Bassa, Umaru Sangare, denied claims they were to blame.

“We have no hand in the attack against the Irigwe, despite the fact that our six men were killed on Sunday and beheaded at Bajju village while grazing,” he said.

“We didn’t take the law into our own hands but reported the incident to the military and police authorities and secured their permission to bury the decapitated bodies.”

– Resource conflict –

Plateau state lies on the dividing line between Nigeria’s mainly Christian south and the mostly Muslim north. It has seen sporadic violence and tensions for decades.

The violence has been attributed to a battle for resources because of drought and desertification in northern Nigeria and the wider Sahel region, forcing herders further south.

Farming communities, most of which are Christian, have complained the herdsmen, who are mainly Muslim, damage their fields and crops with their livestock.

The problem is also linked to wider issues, with the farmers seen as “indigenous” and the herdsmen “foreigners”, even if they have lived in the area for generations.

Fulani leaders say they are deprived of basic rights, such as access to land, education and even political office.

Tensions frequently boil over and more than 10,000 people have been killed in the state since the turn of the century, according to groups tracking the violence.

Last month, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned in a report that the clashes threatened Nigeria’s national security and were becoming as dangerous as Boko Haram Islamists.

It called for more cooperation and the adoption of measures such as better rural security, designated grazing areas and conflict resolution programmes.

Southern leaders, however, believe President Buhari lacks the political will to tackle the problem, as the Fulani are his kinsmen.

A statement from Buhari’s office on Monday night said he learned of the latest killings “with deep sadness and regret”, giving the death toll as “at least 20”.

“This madness has gone too far,” the emailed statement said.

“(Buhari) has instructed the military and the police to not only bring the violence to an instant end, but to draw up a plan to ensure that there are no further attacks and reprisal attacks by one group against the other,” it added.

by Salisu SHITU

Boko Haram suspects on trial in Nigeria’s Kainji town

October 10, 2017

BBC News

Boko Haram militants
Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state in the region. AFP/BOKO HARAM

The first in a series of trials of more than 6,600 people, accused of being members of militant Islamist group Boko Haram, has opened in Nigeria.

The trials are being held in secret by civilian court judges at a military facility in north-central Kainji town.

Rights activists say they are concerned about the lack of transparency in what have been described as the biggest terrorism trial in Nigeria’s history.

Some 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency.

Only nine people have been convicted so far of being involved in the unrest.

Four judges have started the trials at the military centre in Kainji, sources at the ministry of justice told the BBC’s Ishaq Khalid in the capital, Abuja.

Up to 1,670 people will be tried in the coming weeks with a further 5,000 people after that, our reporter says.

More than 1,600 suspects are being held at the centre, where many have spent years.

In a report in 2015, Amnesty International said that the military had arbitrarily detained about 20,000 people as part of its campaign to end the insurgency.

One man who was held by security forces for nearly three years before being released without charge, told the BBC his family had thought he was dead.

A lengthy process?

The trials are likely to last for months, or even years, because of the huge number of suspects who will be tried individually, Justice Minister Abubakar Malami said.


Boko Haram at a glance

  • Founded in 2002
  • Known locally as Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is forbidden”
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
  • Designated a terrorist group by US in 2013
  • Declared a caliphate in areas it controlled in 2014
  • Most territory now recaptured by army

Who are Boko Haram?

‘How I almost became a suicide bomber’


Barrister Alhassan Muhammad, who represented suspects in Nigeria’s first trial of Boko Haram militants beginning in 2009, says these trials could be very slow starting with the simple fact that each and every defendant’s name must be read out as the court session opens.

Islamist militants who surrender voluntarily are to be offered amnesty by Nigeria’s government, which is also running a deradicalisation programme for those deemed eligible.

Justice Minister Malami says this will programme will apply to Boko Haram members who are found not to be criminally liable.

Boko Haram no longer controls any territory but their presence is still felt in northern Nigeria.

One federal judge, John Tsoho, is reported by local media to have withdrawn himself from a recent trial of Boko Haram suspects because the defendants questioned his integrity.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41556957

Asylum seekers in Europe left waiting, says study — Even after they live through Mediterranean journey

September 21, 2017

By the start of this year, more than half of Europe’s asylum-seeker arrivals over a two-year period had yet to be processed, a study shows. For many, the pace hinged on which nation was handling their applications.

Griechenland Lesbos Ankunft von Flüchtlingen an der Küste (DW/Diego Cupolo)

The Washington-based Pew Research Center said that permits to stay – at least temporarily – had been granted to some 40 percent of the 2.2 million who had arrived in 2015 and 2016.

By the begining of 2017, 52 percent of those who entered in the previous two years were still waiting for decisions. Only three percent had been ejected from the European country in which they had applied for protection.

Afghanistan abgeschobene Asylbewerber kehren zurück (Getty Images/AFP/W. Kohsar)An Afghan deported from Germany arriving in Kabul

Wednesday’s look at past data, based on information from the EU’s statistical agency (Eurostat) and sourced from all 28 EU members plus Switzerland and Norway, found that Germany had been relatively quick in processing applications.

Germany’s adjudication period for applicants from war-torn Syria was about three months. Belgium managed waiting times of only one month. By contrast the average Syrian waiting time in Norway had been more than a year.

Among the 650,000 Syrians who arrived in Europe over the period, only 130,000 had not received decisions by late 2016.

Longest wait for Albanians

Across the EU-plus group as a whole, Germany and Sweden had processed about half of their arrivals. The applicants who were left waiting the longest overall were Albanians.

The variations meant that asylum seekers’ prospects “largely” depended on where their applications were submitted, said Pew, intimating that Europe was far from fulfilling equal protection under UN conventions.

Also left waiting for a long time were applicants from Afghanistan and Iraq, despite conflicts in both those countries.

By late 2016, 77 percent of Afghans were waiting for first-time or final decisions on appeal; likewise 66 percent from Iraq and 77 percent from Iran.

Also left waiting were people from Kosovo (77 percent), Serbia (74 percent) Russia (72 percent), Pakistan (67 percent), Somalia (56 percent) and Nigeria (55 percent).

Half arrived in Germany

Of the 2.2 million, Germany received 1,090,000 applicants over the two years, Pew concluded. By late 2016, 49 percent of its intake was waiting for decisions.

Other nations with better than average decision rates were Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, Pew said.

Hungary, whose government remains anti-immigrant, had the worst rate, with 94 percent of its 70,000 applicants still awaiting asylum rulings by late 2016.

Serbien Kelebija Fotoreportage Diego Cupolo an ungarischer Grenze (DW/D. Cupolo)Languishing on the Serbian-Hungarian border in 2016

ipj/rc (AP, KNA)

http://www.dw.com/en/asylum-seekers-in-europe-left-waiting-says-study/a-40613486

UN seeks $10 million as Nigeria cholera outbreak worsens — Boko Haram many areas too dangerous for humanitarian workers

September 18, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Cholera cases are rising in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, mainly in camps for people internally displaced by Boko Haram violence

MAIDUGURI (NIGERIA) (AFP) – At least 44 people have now died in a cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria, the United Nations said Monday, calling for nearly $10 million to keep the disease from spreading.”To date, the outbreak has claimed at least 44 lives, out of close to 2,300 confirmed and/or suspected cases,” the world body said in a statement.

About $9.9 million (8.3 million euros) is needed as part of the relief effort, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The first cholera case was identified in Borno State on August 16 and has since spread, mainly in camps for those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Water-borne diseases are a constant threat because of a lack of adequate sanitation as well as stagnant groundwater during the current rainy season.

The agency’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Peter Lundberg, said that despite new treatment centres and sanitation measures, more needed to be done.

“The camps for displaced persons are congested, there is not enough water, sanitation facilities are poor, and the health care system is weak,” he said.

“We must tackle this urgently to avoid preventable suffering and loss of life.”

Additional funding would help to implement a cholera response and prevention plan in the coming months, including providing access to clean water and a vaccination programme.

Northeast Nigeria is already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million.

The UN’s head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Mark Lowcock, said last week that the threat of famine caused by the conflict’s impact on farming had been averted.

But 8.5 million people in the northeast, out of 17 million in the wider Lake Chad region comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, needed humanitarian assistance, he said.

Boko Haram spiritual head, others appear in court in Nigeria

September 9, 2017

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

BokoHaram leader AbubakarShekau

Three suspected Boko Haram members, Abdullahi Audu, Bashiru Yahaya and their spiritual head, Ahmed Momoh, on Friday, appeared in the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe, Court for allegedly belonging to the terrorist group.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Levi Animoku, in his ruling, ordered the three accused to be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe, saying the allegations against them were grave.

Animoku said the activities of members of the terrorists’ group had terminated many lives in the country, adding that the crimes against the defendants were heinous and carried high penalties.

“Notwithstanding that bail is a constitutional right guaranteed the accused persons, the presumption of innocence is not absolute. Bail is not easily granted in this kind of offences. So, bail is refused. ”The defendants shall be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe, Kogi.

”The case is adjourned until Sept. 28 for mention,’’ he said. Earlier in his submission, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Mohammed Abaji, had told the court that the defendants were arrested in June, following intelligence report, adding that others were at large.

He said the defendants were arrested by Joint team of operatives of the NHHSS and STATT and troops of the Nigerian Army and Directorate of State Security (DSS). Abaji stated that investigation and analysis of their telephone numbers revealed that they were not only members of the dreaded group but had also carried out repairs of the terrorists’ computers.

The prosecutor also said the defendants had carried out repairs of other electronic components owned by the insurgents and used them for their nefarious activities. According to him, the third defendant, Momoh is the spiritual head of the gang mandated to prepare ‘’charm/Ruqya’’ for members of the group and their families, before and during operations.

Abaji had prayed the court to take cognizance of the grave nature of the allegations by dismissing the oral application brought by the defendants. He said their actions were contrary to section 97(1) of the Penal Code Law and Belonging to Terrorists’ Group.

The prosecutor also said the defendants had allegedly violated Section 4 and Section 5 of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013. The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/boko-haram-spiritual-head-others-appear-court/

Image may contain: one or more people, shoes, tree and outdoor

Boko Haram has shown increasing sophistication in its ability to mount coordinated attacks. This attack in the northeast town of Bama in May 2013 killed at least 42 people. (AP)

In this photo taken with a mobile phone, Tuesday, May. 7, 2013, soldiers looks at bodies of suspected Islamic extremist killed during heavy fighting in Bama, Nigeria. Coordinated attacks by Islamic extremists armed with heavy machine guns killed at least 42 people in northeast Nigeria, authorities said Tuesday, the latest in a string of increasingly bloody attacks threatening peace in Africa’s most populous nation. The attack struck multiple locations in the hard-hit town of Bama in Nigeria’s Borno state, where shootings and bombings have continued unstopped since an insurgency began there in 2010. Fighters raided a federal prison during their assault as well, freeing 105 inmates in another mass prison break to hit the country, officials said. (AP Photo/Abdukareem Haruna)

Amnesty Says Boko Haram Killings Have Doubled in 5 Months

September 5, 2017

DAKAR, Senegal — Nigeria-based Boko Haram extremists have killed more than 380 people in the Lake Chad region since April, a major resurgence of attacks that has doubled the casualties compared to the previous five months, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

The spike in attacks by the Islamic extremists is a result of increased use of suicide bombers, often women and girls, who carry out the attacks in highly populated areas in Cameroon’s Far North region and Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states, the rights group said. Cameroon has experienced at least one suicide attack per week, it said.

“Boko Haram is once again committing war crimes on a huge scale, exemplified by the depravity of forcing young girls to carry explosives with the sole intention of killing as many people as they possibly can,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty’s director for West and Central Africa. “This wave of shocking Boko Haram violence, propelled by a sharp rise in suicide bombings, highlights the urgent need for protection and assistance for millions of civilians in the Lake Chad region.”

Nigeria’s military have pushed more Boko Haram fighters from the Sambisa Forest in Nigeria to the Mandara Mountains in Cameroon, a possible explanation for the increased attacks in Cameroon, Amnesty said. Boko Haram extremists have been crossing into and attacking towns in neighboring countries, including Cameroon and Niger, that contribute to a regional military force trying to eliminate the insurgency.

Nigeria and Cameroon’s governments should take swift action to protect civilians in need of humanitarian assistance, said Amnesty. Boko Haram’s increased attacks have made it difficult to carry out humanitarian operations, it said.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people during its eight-year insurgency. The violence has displaced at least 2.3 million people in the region, Amnesty said, adding that 7 million are facing serious food shortages.

“The international community should also rapidly scale up its commitment to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the millions in the region who need it,” said Amnesty’s regional director Tine.

27 Dead After Boko Haram Attacks on Nigerian Villages

August 26, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Residents in Nigeria’s northern Borno state say attacks by Boko Haram extremists on several villages in the past week have killed at least 27 people.

Modu Jialta, a member of a self-defense group with the Nganzai local council, says the Islamic extremists entered villages on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people by slitting their throats and shooting them. He says the bodies were buried on Friday.

Mai Abatcha Monguno, commander of the Guzamala local council’s self-defense forces, says 12 other people were killed in attacks on villages there.

Local defense forces are asking for more government support to fight Boko Haram’s insurgency, which has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced millions in the past eight years. Deadly attacks also have been carried out in neighboring countries.

Shell warns of safety risks at occupied Nigeria plant

August 21, 2017

AFP

.

© AFP/File | Children paddle past an oil pipeline head near their home in the Andoni settlement on Bonny waterways, in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state on April 12, 2011
LAGOS (AFP) – Royal Dutch Shell has raised an alarm over the continuing siege at a Nigerian facility by protesters, saying they could be putting their safety at risk.

Hundreds of protesters from the Kula and Belema communities in Nigeria’s restless southern Rivers state have occupied the plant since August 11 to press their demands for jobs and better living conditions.

“The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities,” the company’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, said in a statement on Sunday.

It said it was “deeply concerned that unauthorised persons, including women and children, have been observed in close proximity to equipment that processes crude oil and gas without the protection of safety clothing.”

Shell said the occupation “exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences.”

The company said it had not been able to gain access to the plant since the seizure, and called on the protesters to leave.

The protesters also want Shell to shift the operation of the plant to a local company.

“We want Shell to hand over the operations of the flow station to Belema Oil Company because it appreciates our challenges and needs,” community leader Godson Egbelekro told AFP.

The plant transports crude oil to the Bonny Light export terminal, which has a production capacity of 225,000 barrels per day.

In 1993, Shell was forced to quit operation in Ogoniland because of community unrest, but the company still runs a network of pipelines in the area.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer with some two million barrels per day, relies on the sector for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue.

U.N. Relations With Nigeria ‘Intact’ After Dispute Over Army Raid

August 12, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — The United Nations’ relationship with Nigeria is intact, a U.N. official said on Saturday, despite a military raid on a compound belonging to the international body in the conflict-ridden northeast.

“I am very pleased to report that our relationship of collaboration and trust is intact,” Peter Lundberg, the U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said at a briefing in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Friday’s raid had threatened to undermine an already-rocky relationship between Nigeria’s military and the United Nations and other aid organizations.

The army said it was a search for members of Islamist insurgency Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the fight against the militants, in an area of the city that included the U.N. compound.

The army and United Nations still disagree over whether the compound was registered and designated as belonging to the U.N.

A worsening of relations between the U.N. and Nigeria could risk destabilizing efforts to deliver aid to almost seven million people affected by the eight-year conflict with Boko Haram, one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

The United Nations on Friday had halted various operations around the northeast, but following reassurances from Nigeria those resumed on Saturday, said Lundberg.

“We are here in support of the government of Nigeria, the United Nations agencies and over 60 non-government organizations,” said Lundberg.

In a separate statement, Ibrahim Attahiru, a commander of Nigeria’s operations against Boko Haram, said the army was not trying to block the United Nations’ activities.

“We will continue to collaborate with the United Nations humanitarian agencies to achieve the goals of the counter-insurgency campaign and other developments to address the humanitarian crisis in the northeast region,” he said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi in Maiduguri; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Bolton)