Sunday, 17 June 2018

Nigerian Air force Jets Bomb Benue Communities

Nigerian Air Force fighter jets conducted air strikes on at least three Benue State communities on Saturday, in an operation which lasted several hours.

Breaking: Multiple Suicide Blasts Kill 31 In Borno, NE Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram jihadists killed at least 31 people in a twin suicide bomb attack on a town in northeast Nigeria, a local official and militia leader told AFP on Sunday. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Nigerian Army Bemoans Rising Cases of IEDs Use in Southeast Nigeria

The Nigerian Army has expressed alarm over what it described as emerging but dangerous trend of the use of Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, as weapon in the South Eastern part of the country.

Timeline: Benue Bloodletting Unrelenting Despite Launch of Latest Military Operation

These are obviously not the best of times for Benue state and her citizens considering the series of killings taking place in the state in the last five months.

Perhaps Benue known in official quarters as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation’ has somewhat become a ‘bloodied basket’ and killing field, no thanks to suspected herdsmen who viciously bare their fangs on innocent local inhabitants and farmers leaving in their trail tales of sorrows, tears and blood.

Though a full military operation code named ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ was launched on May 8th to stem the killings, after a similar but less effective Exercise Ayem A’Kpatuma wound up with little results to show, reasonable success may have been achieved through this latest operation, given a lull in the spate of killings. However, the attacks and killings have persisted.

A timeline of these attacks includes the May 16th  morning attack on Ukemberagya community, Gaambe-Tiev council ward of Logo local government area where no fewer than three persons were killed.

The attackers also set ablaze several houses, huts and food barns in five villages affected in the invasion. The attack came barely 24 hours after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the Local government area to commiserate with victims of past attacks in the area who now reside in IDPs camp at Anyiiin.

Then came the May 18th  attack that claimed six lives including a Makurdi Primary School Head Teacher, Mr. Stephen Tavaku, his Junior Secondary School counterpart, Mr. Christian Anankpa and four others including women who were reportedly waylaid and killed by the suspected militant herdsmen at Mbatonbo community in Gwer local government area of the state.

The victims were among the 10 persons who went to the area to survey and acquire some farmland for rice cultivation under the umbrella of their teachers’ cooperative society.

May 20th  recorded another dastardly attack when two personnel of the Operation Whirl Stroke were at the early hours of that Sunday reportedly ambushed and killed by the suspected herdsmen at Tseke village a border community between Benue and Taraba states in Logo local government area of the state.

Saturday Vanguard gathered from a source in the area that the attackers also burnt one of the patrol vehicles of the security personnel leaving some of them with serious injuries while others were reportedly taken captive by the attackers.

Again on May 21st, no fewer than five persons were reportedly killed by the marauders at Mchia village, in Logo local government area of the State.

Meanwhile, Operation Whirl Stroke also reported that one of its personnel was killed and declared another personnel missing after the troops successfully killed 35 militant herdsmen in gun battles in Benue and Nasararwa and recovered cache of arms.

22nd  of May was another sad day for Benue when three mourners were reportedly ambushed and killed on Makurdi-Naka road by suspected herdsmen while returning from Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East local government area of Benue state where they attended the mass burial ceremony of the two Catholic Priests and 17 parishioners who were killed last April at Mbalom, Gwer East Local government area by militant herdsmen.

A couple and one other were also murdered on May 26th., in two separate incidents in Logo and Guma local government areas of the state.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that the couple, Mr. Kwaghaondo Ugber and his wife Mne were killed in an ambush by the suspected armed militant herdsmen on Anyiin road, at Tse Adendem village while on their way to Anyiin town.

Suspected herdsmen also reportedly attacked Tse Shitenger in Uvir council ward of Guma local government area of the state killing one Azegeor Shitenger and also took one Mrs. Yonov Shitenger captive.

The killing spree continued on May 31st  when suspected militant herdsmen reportedly ambushed and killed two unsuspecting travelers on a motorbike close to Mbazar community between Anyiin and Akwana in Logo local government area of Benue state.

Saturday Vanguard gathered that the attack also left two others with serious injuries.

It was the turn of Kwande local government area on June 3rd when they invaded Tseadough village in Mbachom, Yaav Ward, killing eight persons including women and children. That community was also razed.

On June 6th, a coordinated attack was launched on communities in Logo and Guma local government area where 15 persons including two National Examination Council, NECO, examination candidates were killed.

Majority of the victims of that attack were mourners who were attending a wake keep for a deceased relation but didn’t live to bury their dead.

The attackers as usual were said to have burnt several houses and farmlands in Tse Shan in Saghev and also left several persons with serious injuries.

On June 8th, Adai village, Totyough Mbaye Yandev council ward in Guma local government area was raided, where 45 year-old Godwin Tarfa was killed while several others were injured.

Five persons, including two brothers were thereafter killed between June 11th and 13th  at Mobile barracks – Tombo ward, Tse Audu Amo-Tombo ward, Tse Akombo, Mbaniange Mbagber ward and Tse Audu Amo all in Logo local government area.

Reacting to the killings, chairman of Logo local government area, Mr. Richard Nyajo lamented that the killings in the areas had become almost a daily affair adding that many of the killings were under reported due to the terrain of the affected areas

“Many of the killings were not reported because sometimes when they happened the people would hurriedly bury their dead. But I must commend the security personnel who were drafted to our communities for their resilience and spirited efforts to check the spate of attacks.

“They have been doing a yeoman’s job to curtail these attacks. In fact they are our saving grace, but for them, Logo would have been taken over by the militant herdsmen.

“Their target is to take over our land, it is not about grazing anymore, they vowed to take over Benue valley and that is the agenda they are currently executing.” Nyajo stated.

Meanwhile the Benue state Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni in a recent statement disclosed that a total of 188 suspects had been arrested and were facing prosecution in courts for violating the Benue state Open Grazing Prohibition law.

Owoseni said the suspects included those involved in cattle rustling and those who engaged in open grazing of cattle in parts of the state.

Friday, 8 June 2018

35 Primary Schools Shut in Nasarawa, North-Central Nigeria Over Herdsmen Attacks

No fewer than 35 primary schools have been shutdown in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State due to attacks on Tiv communities in the Southern Senatorial District of the state, resulting in the destruction of the schools.

Boko Haram: US. Announces Fresh $102m Assistance To Nigeria

The U.S. government has announced a fresh $102 million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, announced the new aide at ongoing National Conversation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, on Thursday.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

UN Security Council Seat: South Africa Seeks Nigeria’s Support

South Africa has appealed to Nigeria and other countries within and outside Africa to support its bid for the non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2019-2020. 

Global Peace Index Ranks Nigeria The 16th Least Peaceful Country In The World

Nigeria has been ranked the 16th least peaceful country in the world, according to the 2018 edition of Global Peace Index, GPI.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Jail Break in Minna, Niger State: 200 Prisoners Escape

The Police in Niger State, North-Central Nigeria, said on Monday it had taken measures to ensure the arrest of the 200 prisoners that escaped from Minna Medium Security Prison on Sunday. 

Maritime Security: Piracy Sustains High Shipping Costs on Nigerian Waters

Incessant pirate attacks and kidnappings are taking an alarming toll on shipping in Nigeria’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.This year alone, freight costs have reportedly risen six times, amid fears insurance could also be hit.Statistics from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) show: “In the first four months of 2018, the number of incidents significantly increased in the region, with 36 reported, against 17 the same period in 2017.”

Report: Kidnappers, Cattle Rustlers Spread Fear in Nigeria

A spate of kidnappings for ransom in the Birnin Gwari district of northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state has left residents afraid to even leave their homes. Relatives cry as they mourn during a funeral service for 17 worshippers and two priests, who were allegedly killed by Fulani herdsmen, at Ayati-Ikpayongo in Gwer East district of Benue State, north-central Nigeria on May 22, 2018. 

Two Nigerian priests and 17 worshippers have been buried, nearly a month after an attack on their church, as Catholics took to the streets calling for an end to a spiral of violence. White coffins containing the bodies of the clergymen and the members of their congregation were laid to rest in central Benue state, which has been hit by a wave of deadly unrest.

“When a person travels, his family, friends and neighbours gather to pray for his safety because of the kidnappers,” said local resident Kabiru Mohammed. “It’s celebrations once he returns because kidnapping on the highway has become the norm. It’s a nightmare that should only exist in fairytales,” he told AFP by telephone. Mohammed and his neighbours have good reason to be anxious. Kidnappings have reached unprecedented levels in the last two months. 

In early May, about 100 people were abducted in just two days on a road near the border with Zamfara state. Haruna Musa, who also lives in Birnin Gwari, said the situation has forced people in at least six villages in the area to abandon their homes. 

Last week, an armed gang raided the village of Maganda and kidnapped three wives of a businessman. Many locals now don’t sleep at night. Instead, they patrol their communities. “I also join in the night patrols to encourage others,” said Mustapha Idris, the chief imam of Maganda. But the creation of civilian militia has itself had deadly consequences. 

On May 6, at least 71 people were killed in Gwaska village during clashes with armed bandits. – Grisly warnings – Birnin Gwari is not alone in being affected. 

In Zamfara, there have been similar problems from kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs. “The mere sound of a motorcycle engine outside your house at night robs you of sleep because it could be a sign that the dreaded bandits have come,” said Nuhu Dansadau. Dansadau said his village, also called Dansadau, and others nearby have been repeatedly raided. 

Aliyu Kawaye, who lives in the town of Anka, said the abductors seize cash and force families to sell their farm produce to raise the ransom payment. According to the state government, more than 10,000 cattle have been stolen in the last seven years. “What is more worrisome is the deliberate attack on farmers who dare to go to their farms,” said Dansadau. “The bandits amputate their hands from the wrists, put the severed palms in the farmers’ pockets and send them back to the village as a warning to others.” 

– Lucrative venture – 

The kidnapping gangs and cattle thieves, who roam on motorcycles on the hunt for victims, are known to operate in northern Kaduna and Zamfara. 

Both regions have been largely spared by the Boko Haram insurgency, another of Nigeria’s pressing security problems along with a land conflict between nomads and farmers. 

The kidnappers’ heavily guarded camps dot the Rugu forest, which straddles Kaduna, Zamfara and the northern states of Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger. 

Abductees whose families don’t pay ransoms are killed and their bodies dumped, according to security sources. Kidnapping for ransom used to be a phenomenon isolated to oil-rich southern Nigeria. But it has spread further north and become lucrative because of economic hardship. 

It has also attracted young ethnic Fulani herders who have lost their herds in unrest with farmers over grazing and watering rights. Young Fulani herders now make up most of the marauding gangs in northern Nigeria and other West African countries, said Saleh Bayeri, of the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association.

 – Inadequate security – 

The Kaduna state government formed a joint military and police taskforce to combat kidnapping and cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari but has had little success. In March, bandits likely armed with illegal weapons smuggled in from Mali and Libya, killed 11 troops at a camp in the area, prompting the military to withdraw. 

In April, the Nigerian Air Force deployed special forces to Zamfara to fight the gangs but locals said more were needed. “The bandits by far outnumber the troops and are better armed,” said Kawaye. 

Zamfara governor Abdulaziz Yari has said he does not have adequate resources to police a state which at 40,000 square kilometres (15,400 square miles) is about the same size as Switzerland. 

There are only 2,000 regular police officers, 400 riot police, 315 soldiers and fewer than 100 air force personnel for a population of more than four million, he said in February. In response to the killings, he has ordered troops to shoot on sight anyone seen with a gun in affected areas. But that and a number of amnesty offers have had little effect. 

“The best way to end this menace is for the government to send in more troops and weapons to fight these criminals as well as intensify security along our borders,” said Dansadau.

Culled from: Vanguard Newspaper

Herdmen, Cultists Kill 13 People in Benue State, North-Central Nigeria

Herdsmen, in the early hours of yesterday, invaded Tseadough village in Mbachom, Yaav Ward of Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, killing seven persons including women and children, while a pregnant woman was taken hostage.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Security Agents Intercept Trucks With 300,000 Live Ammunition Smuggled Into Nigeria

Nigerian Security agencies yesterday morning intercepted 300,000 cartridges that were smuggled into Nigeria through the Benin Republic border. The cartridges were concealed in a false base of three heavy-duty trucks and had successfully gone past borders until they were intercepted at Igbogila-Ilara area of Ogun State.

Although the drivers and crew members fled, upon closer inspection, the trucks were deemed empty until the security operatives unearthed the large cache of ammunition. When they opened the metal cover, hundreds of cartons of cartridges of the 12-calibre were found concealed underneath.

Revelations have, however, emerged on how the unknown smugglers, allegedly aided by some policemen, tried to deceive security operatives to smuggle the three truckloads of arms and ammunition into the country, through the Ogun State land border.The smugglers had declared the trucks as empty with the aim of deceiving officials of the Nigerian Customs Service at Owode-Ilaro Road in Ogun, but the officers suspected foul play and played smart on the smugglers’ team, which include some policemen in uniform.

The trucks were intercepted in Balogun village, near Egua in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun, by military officers attached to the 35 Artillery Brigade of 81 Division, Nigerian Army in Alamala, Abeokuta. Ogun State Area Command Public Relations Officer of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, who confirmed the incident to The Guardian yesterday, said the soldiers were able to intercept the trucks.

He explained: “There were three trucks that passed through our approved checkpoint escorted by policemen. We saw that those trucks were not empty, so we enquired from the police officers and they said that the vehicles were suspected stolen vehicles and that they are conveying them to one of their units for further investigation.

“We decided to allow them thinking that they were doing their constitutional duties. Then, we were not satisfied and our men decided to follow the vehicles until they got to an army checkpoint and the officers intercepted them. The army have their own intelligence, so they were able to open the trucks and discovered that the arms and ammunition were carefully concealed.

“I cannot ascertain the quantity, but what I can tell you is that those items were incriminating. It was intercepted and opened in the presence of customs and other law enforcement agencies. They took all the trucks to one of their formations in Lagos,” he said.When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said: “I don’t think there is anything concerning police in the matter.” He directed The Guardian to find out from the Nigerian Army.

While briefing the press on the discovery, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Major General Enobong Udoh, said the arrest was based on a tip-off received from well-meaning Nigerians during the anti-illegal bunkering, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling patrols.

The GOC, who was represented by the 35 Artillery Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Olaniyi Olatunde, said the trucks were intercepted in conjunction with the police, the Department of State Security (DSS) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The three trucks weighing five-tonnes with vehicle registration numbers: ANAMBRA AAH 409 ZV, LAGOS BDG 782 XU and LAGOS GGF 88 XU, were loaded with thousands of live cartridges.On getting to Balogun village, along Igbogila-Ilara road, Ogun, they were intercepted and live cartridges in boxes and cartons were carefully concealed and sealed in a false-base made up of wooden platform with metallic plates. 

The GOC said: “The drivers and their crew on sighting the troops abandoned their trucks and fled. A team is on the trail of the fleeing drivers, their crew, corroborators and sponsors as investigation is ongoing. Members of the public are encouraged to continue to always reach out by contacting the nearest military barracks for timely useful information or call the following numbers: 07069353889 and 08060492529 (Ojo), 07017064979 (Badagry), 08034347484 (Victoria Island), 08065992320 (Ikeja), 
08069097624 (Owode), 08065806870 (Ikorodu), 07064281177 (Obalende), 08053862233 and 08057705135 (Abeokuta).”

Culled from: Guardian Newspaper

5 Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Ambush

Five Nigerian soldiers were killed in a Boko Haram ambush in Borno State, North-east Nigeria.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Nigerian Female Peacekeeper, Others Get United Nations Medals

Peacekeeper: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decorates Amodu
A Nigerian military officer, Cdr. Olufunmilayo Amodu, serving with the UN Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has been decorated with medal for her outstanding service.