Monday, 30 June 2014

Nigerian Military Arrests a Key Actor in Chibok Girls Abduction; Bust Terrorists’ Intelligence Network

A terrorists’ intelligence cell headed by a businessman who participated actively in the abduction of School Girls in Chibok has been busted by troops. The man, Babuji Ya’ari who is also a member of the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF which he uses as cover while remaining an active terrorist, also spearheaded the murder of the Emir of Gwoza. His main role in the group is to spy and gather information for the terrorists group.

Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs in several locations in the town.

The arrest of the businessman who is known to deal in tricycles has also yielded some vital information and facilitated the arrest of other members of the terrorists’ intelligence cell who are women.  One of them, Hafsat Bako had earlier escaped to Gombe State to avoid suspicion but was tracked and arrested.  Prior to her arrest, Hafsat coordinated the payment of other operatives on the payroll of the group. In her confession, she disclosed that a minimum of N10,000 is paid to each operative depending on the enormity of his task.

Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armourer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested.  Until their arrest, all the suspects actively operated a terrorists’ intelligence cell in collaboration with others still at large.

Nigerian Television Authority

Rampaging Boko Haram Razes Police Station, Kills Council Boss's Son in Fresh Attack in Bornu State

Suspected members of the Boko Haram Sect  Monday invaded Shani Local Government Area of Borno state setting ablaze the Divisional Police Station and many other building in the town.

They were said to have razed down shops and vehicles using Improvised Explosive Devices and petrol bombs.
The caretaker  chairman of Shani council, Alhaji Modu Walama who was said to have escaped series of attacks by assassins and terrorists in recent past, narrowly  escaped being killed by the terrorists who were poaching for him.

They were said to have attacked the council boss family house in Walama and killed one of his sons  when they discovered that the Chairman was not in the house.

It was gathered from sources that the heavily armed terrorists invaded the town on motorcycles  and bombed the Divisional Police Headquarters at about 2:45pm on Monday, after they realized that almost all the policemen on duty had fled the area.
They were said to have snatched one of the patrol vehicles of the police and set it ablaze after they discovered that the engine is not in perfect order.

They went from there into the town and shot sporadically aimlessly in the town before fleeing towards Gwaskara village.
Shani is the southern part of the troubled state and about 245 kilometres drive from Maiduguri and shares boundary with some parts of Adamawa state.

Mallam  Aliyu Usman , a resident of Shani who was among those who fled out of town during the attack told journalists that they got news of the terrorists lurking around the town at about 8am when they were sighted by some women on their farmlands around Walama, an outskirt of the town.

They had scared off the women from their farms, telling them that they have deadly mission to execute in some places in Shani.
All effort to get the Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jubrin for confirmation was not successful as his phone line was inaccessible as at the time of filing the report.

ThisDay Newspaper

Dick Cheney Predicts Attack This Decade ‘Far Deadlier’ Than 9/11

Former vice president Dick Cheney predicted Tuesday that the U.S. will face a catastrophic attack before the end of the decade that will be worse than the Sept. 11, 2001 bombings.

"I think there will be another attack," Cheney said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. "And next time, I think it’s likely to be far deadlier than the last one. You can just imagine what would happen if somebody could smuggle a nuclear device, put it in a shipping container, and drive it down the Beltway outside of Washington, D.C."

Cheney, a hawkish Republican, has been an outspoken critic of President Obama's national security and foreign policy. He recently started a new group with his daughter Liz Cheney that aims to educate the public about their positions.

The Washington Post

Sunday, 29 June 2014

ISIS Jihadists Declare ‘Islamic Caliphate’, Names Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "The Caliph"

Jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq announced Sunday the establishment of a “caliphate,” referring to the system of rule that ended nearly 100 years ago with the fall of the Ottomans, Agence France-Presse reported.
In an audio recording distributed online, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere.”
"The Shura [council] of the Islamic State met and discussed this issue [of the caliphate] ... The Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims," said ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani.
"The jihadist cleric Baghdadi was designated the caliph of the Muslims," said Adnani. Baghdadi "has accepted this allegiance and has thus become the leader for Muslims everywhere."
"The words 'Iraq' and 'the Levant' have been removed from the name of the Islamic State in official papers and documents," Adnani said, describing the caliphate as "the dream in all the
Muslims’ hearts" and "the hope of all jihadists."

Ever since the Prophet Muhammad’s death, a caliph was designated "the prince" or emir "of the believers.”
After the first four caliphs who succeeded Muhammad, the caliphate lived its golden age in the Omayyad empire from the year 661 to 750,
and then under the Abbasids, from 750 to 1517. It was abolished when the Ottoman empire collapsed in 1924.

(With AFP)

Al Arabiya News

Boko Haram Lay Siege on Kautikari Villiage, Near Chibok Where School Girls Were Abducted

The terrorist Islamist group Boko Haram has launched a massive attack on Kautikari village in the Chibok area of Borno State. A security source as well as two residents of the area told SaharaReporters that the siege continues as at press time.

The militants arrived in the village early today (Nigerian time) while many residents of the village were in church services and then opened fire indiscriminately on the worshipers, according to our sources.

The number of casualties could not be determined as the attacks were still going on moments ago when our correspondent was alerted.

One of our sources said he feared that scores of innocent people may have died, adding that the villagers were helpless and unarmed at the time the attacks started.

Kautikari is the second largest town in Chibok local government area. Chibok was the location where members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, which western education, abducted some 300 schoolgirls on April 14, 2014. More than 200 of those abducted girls remain missing.

Sahara Reporters

United States Mission Issue Security Alert to American Citizens in Nigeria

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria issues the following security message for the attention of all U.S. citizens in Nigeria.

Following the June 25 bombing in the Wuse II neighborhood of Abuja, the Government of Nigeria has increased security measures in Abuja. This weekend also marks the commencement of the month of Ramadan. Given the history of bombing attacks on weekends (some associated with holidays), as well as the recent bombing at Emab Plaza in Wuse II, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria urges all U.S. citizens living and traveling in Nigeria to take extra precautions for your personal security and safety. The U.S. Mission urges against non-essential travel to or within Abuja during the upcoming weekend.

The U.S. Mission advises all U.S. citizens to be particularly vigilant around churches and other places of worship, locations where large crowds may gather, government facilities, and areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers during the upcoming weekend. Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and U.S. citizens should expect additional police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country.

We recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

US Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria

Boko Haram Rampage: Frustrated Nigerians Resort to Establishing Own Armies

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria—Many people in northern Nigeria, frustrated by a five-year insurgency and what they call a
lack of military protection, are ordering rudimentary bulletproof clothing, buying homemade muskets and organizing ragtag militias.
The move toward self protection—born of years of suicide attacks, shooting rampages and mass abductions of girls and boys—underscores what limited
headway the military has made against Boko Haram, the brutal Islamist insurgency whose war against the government has left more than 14,000 people dead in the past three years, according to New York's Council on Foreign Relations.
Deep into the countryside, the black Boko Haram flag flies over a growing sweep of villages, many of them

In April, the group claimed responsibility for kidnapping
more than 200 schoolgirls the night before their final exams, and on Tuesday, local vigilantes said Islamist
militants abducted some 90 more people from northeastern villages. The girls remain missing, despite the presence of U.S. drones, a British spy plane, and Chinese satellites.
Their failure thus far to help rescue the girls has reinforced a belief among ordinary people that they alone can defeat Boko Haram.
So residents here are assembling their own armies. Three closely linked vigilante groups have taken root
here over the past year. They count more than 11,000 members between them. At first, they were equipped with sticks, machetes and table legs. Now they are scaling up, procuring locally made barrel-loaded shotguns cobbled together from car parts and scrap wood. For the first time in recent memory, vendors say there is a shortage of them.

In Maiduguri, Maina Bulama, a 74-year-old bean farmer, stitches thick leather amulets into tank tops customers wear beneath their shirts in the northeastern town. He learned the trade from his father and grandfather, who like him sewed Islamic prayers into the product to curry divine favor. In recent months, customers have arrived in swelling numbers.
"I can't even tell you the number of people I've given these to," said Mr. Bulama.

Officials fret that throwing more arms at the problem will only make it bigger, deepening instability in a country that recently surpassed South Africa as the continent's largest economy.
"This is what we are trying to avoid as much as possible," says Kashim Shettima, governor of Borno, Nigeria's most violent state. In time, he fears, armed militias and vigilante groups could "end up becoming the
Frankenstein monster that will consume us." Nigeria's military spokesman didn't respond to repeated requests to comment. In a statement last year, the military—which has said it is stretched thin policing so many conflicts, criminal movements and rebellions around the country—expressed concern that vigilante groups could be "used to settle scores or witch-hunt perceived enemies."

Kulwa Mesage, a vigilante who bought his musket for roughly $24, says he is saving up for a $175 foreign-made shotgun. "We prefer the pump action," he says.
Nigeria sits along what weapon trackers consider one of the world's busiest highways for arms trafficking, the Sahel. The hardware trafficked here includes homemade pistols, stolen military assault rifles and truck-mounted machine guns likely looted from Libya's inventory after the fall of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

That abundance of weaponry explains how Boko Haram-once a forest-dwelling group armed with curved swords- assembled one of Africa's biggest arsenals in just a few years.
Today, Boko Haram boasts rocket-propelled grenades, night-vision goggles, armored personnel carriers, plus satellite phones—all brandished in their propaganda videos. Nigerian troops say they communicate by cellphones over patchy networks and some say they lack ammunition.

The army has made moves to curb the gun proliferation, especially in Maiduguri. In recent years, troops here have seized unlicensed firearms and detained craftsmen who make them.
But the feeling of insecurity stretches far beyond Nigeria's north. In the grasslands across the middle of the country, a little-noticed ring of cattle thieves has killed more than 500 herdsmen and taken 60,000 cows
in the past 18 months, the country's cattle-breeding association says. Markets in those areas now do brisk business swapping cows for AK-47s, it says.
In the south, gunmen frequently kidnap prominent Nigerians for ransom, prompting village chief Anthony Ijele, among others, to buy his own shotgun. "Guns have been used to stabilize American society and it is that stability that we want in Nigeria," he says.

Ibrahim Mohammad used to manufacture single-barrel muskets from steering columns and chunks of wood. Then soldiers took him to jail for 30 days, the same crowded, dark prison where they hold Boko Haram suspects. Since his release, he says he has limited his work to repairing weapons: "One has to be very careful." Out in the countryside, Boko Haram has delivered an even-more-brutal sort of gun control: It has decapitated gunsmiths in the rifle-making village of Damboa. The treasurer of a gunsmith's guild, Mustapha Kabuke, understood that as Boko Haram's attempt to send a stop-work message.
But Mr. Kabuke is 90 and has been making guns for eight decades. He simply moved his guild to a nearby
village. On a recent day, his five apprentices were busy assembling their latest pair of muskets. Business has been nonstop since vigilantes starting sprouting up. The old man keeps prices low—$50 a musket—"so that every person will have a gun to defend himself."

The Wall Street Journal

President Obama sends CIA to UK to probe terrorist 'breeding ground' and growing 'lone wolf' terrorism

President Obama has sent  a special unit of CIA officers to the UK to investigate British Muslim extremists amid growing fears in Washington that we are becoming a ‘breeding ground’ for terrorism.

In a pointed snub to MI5, the agents arrived on a ‘lone wolf’ mission to interrogate senior security experts about the radicalisation of UK Muslims.

The mission has been revealed as UK security services have been forced to admit they are struggling to keep track of the estimated 500 Britons who have travelled to the Middle East to fight alongside the Islamic  Isis forces in Syria and Iraq.

It is unusual for the CIA to send a team to the UK: the agency usually relies on information passed to it by  MI5 or MI6 or by its agents stationed at the American Embassy in London.

Sources have told The Mail on Sunday that the agents were keen to establish the ‘stability’ of the relationship between the Sunni and Shia branches of Muslims in the UK. The fighters going out to join Isis have been British-based Sunnis, causing deepening tensions within the community.

Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Buckingham University, said the mission, which took place earlier this year, showed the level of concern in Washington over the issue, which he claimed was rooted in the UK’s ‘lax’ immigration policies.

‘The US is worried about the British situation. They fear there might be a knock-on effect for them,’ Prof Glees said.

‘The throat-cutting between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq and Syria has not yet spread to the UK, but it is a real threat. It is conceivable you could see Shia “hit squads” in Britain targeting Sunnis preparing to go out to the conflict zones to fight.’

He said: ‘The Americans regard the UK as a disaster because of our lax stance on immigration which has allowed this militancy to take hold.

‘Frankly, they would not be doing their jobs properly if it did not do this – forming an objective view of the situation outside of the reports they get from MI5 and their officers at the US Embassy in London.’

Last night a source at the CIA insisted British intelligence had been informed of ‘all outside contacts’ the agents made in  the UK.

However, the sources also admitted that the move revealed a growing lack of trust in Washington over MI5 and MI6’s ability to provide a reliable assessment of the security threat presented by young Muslims under the sway of imams who are radicalised and then recruited to fight in religious wars around the globe.

The Obama administration has become increasingly anxious that young American Muslims could follow the same pattern. There are strong links between British and American radicals and the sources say the CIA feels British efforts to identify and unmask them have been inadequate.

A CIA and a Home Office spokesman declined to comment.

Daily Mail

American National Security, Fight Against Boko Haram Hampered By U.S Senate Delay in Confirming Ambassadorial Nominees - Susan Rice

WASHINGTON: The White House has blamed Republicans for delays in the confirmation of a long list of President Barack Obama's ambassador picks and said this logjam is putting US national security at risk.

"These crucial posts are vacant and American interests are therefore underrepresented. The longer we wait to fill these roles the harder it becomes to maintain our effective American diplomacy," US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a blog posting.

"Right now there are 48 nominees for ambassador that are pending, and 26 who are waiting on the floor and eligible for confirmation by the full Senate. The majority of those who are waiting are career Foreign Service officers," White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said.

"These nominees have been waiting an average of 262 days, and these delays are simply unacceptable. It's time Republicans in the Senate ended their obstruction and allowed these qualified individuals to do their important work protecting American interests around the world," he said.

In fact, he said, there are currently 70 nominees to positions impacting national security, including officials at the Department of Defence, the State Department and other foreign-focused agencies pending in the Senate, he said.

"Unfortunately, because of partisan delays by Senate Republicans, these qualified nominees to critical national security posts have been forced to put their lives on hold and wait indefinitely to be confirmed," Earnest said.

He asked the Republicans in the Senate to stop playing political games and let these individuals get to work on behalf of the American people.

In her blog, Rice listed out some of the key Ambassadorial postings that need confirmation.

"Kuwait borders Iraq and is a vital strategic partner that requires the highest level engagement given the current situation. Yet our post there remains without an ambassador. Now more than ever, it is crucial that our ambassador to the State of Kuwait is confirmed," she said.

"In Africa, a quarter of our ambassadors are awaiting Senate confirmation. And in combating regional instability and serious challenges such as Boko Haram, key partners including Niger, Cameroon, and Mauritania - as well as our delegation to the African Union - need ambassadors in place now," she wrote.

"I am focused every day on keeping our country secure and our citizens at home and abroad safe," said Rice.

"These goals are hindered and our stature abroad is weakened when we are not fielding a full team," she said.

The Economic Times

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, Benghazi Killings Suspect Appears in U.S Federal Court

Washington (CNN) - Ahmed Abu Khatallah -- the man the U.S. accuses of being the ringleader in the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya -- has been brought to federal court in Washington, a U.S. official confirmed Saturday.

He had been interrogated aboard the USS New York after being captured earlier this month.

Abu Khatallah was awaiting an appearance before a federal judge in Washington after being flown from the ship, an amphibious transport dock, to the nation's capital.

Authorities say Abu Khatallah is among the senior leaders of Ansar al Sharia, whose members were among several militias that participated in the attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi on September 11-12, 2012. The attacks killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

The attacks spawned a political controversy in the United States because some Republican lawmakers claim the Obama administration tried to mislead the public about them and should have done more to prevent them. The GOP critics say they plan to make Benghazi an issue for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, under whose watch the attacks occurred, should she decide to run for president.

The criminal investigation led by the FBI has been extraordinarily challenging, authorities say, in part because lack of Libyan government control in the city prevented investigators from visiting the crime scene for weeks.

U.S. officials, however, say they collected surveillance video, phone eavesdropping and witness statements to bring charges against Abu Khatallah and others involved. They are charged in a criminal complaint in federal court in Washington.

Abu Khatallah became the face of the militant attack, and a top target for the U.S., after he cultivated a celebrity profile in the wake of the attacks, meeting with journalists and granting interviews. He denied to CNN's Arwa Damon that he participated in the attacks.

U.S. military commandos captured Abu Khatallah in a nighttime raid June 15-16. U.S. intelligence assets concocted a ruse to lure him to a villa where the Americans surprised him. The commandos, accompanied by several FBI agents, came ashore by boat and quickly took him away. He remained on the USS New York, undergoing questioning by a team from the FBI-led High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, until he was taken to court on Saturday.

The extended questioning, without Abu Khatallah's being advised of his Miranda rights to remain silent, is being done under an Obama administration policy intended to allow interviews for intelligence purposes. Attorney General Eric Holder authorized lengthier pre-Miranda questioning in a memo issued in December 2010.


Bomb Blast At Bauchi Soccer Viewing Center Kills 10, Injures 14

At least 10 people have been killed while 14 others sustained injuries from a bomb blast at People's Hotel brothel in Bayangarin area of Bauchi township on Friday night.

An eyewitness told SaharaReporters that five men in military uniform perpetrated the heinous act.

The witness said he was at a viewing centre close to the hotel when the men arrived, detonating explosives and then shooting at random to  kill those trying to escape.

“Those of us who saw them thought they were soldiers who wanted to come and enjoy replays of the World Cup goals that we were all watching," he said.

“All we noticed was that when they entered, four of them took positions each at the four corners of the wall. After the explosion, these people began to shoot at those who did not die immediately and were trying to escape."

Spokesman of the Bauchi State Police Command, Mr. Haruna Mohammed, also confirmed   news of the attack.

He said the entire building had been cordoned off, and the scene secured while  investigations has commenced to ascertain the cause, even though no one has been arrested yet.

The corpses of the bombing victims have been deposited at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, while 14 persons who sustained injuries are also receiving treatment there.

Sahara Reporters

Friday, 27 June 2014

Nigerian Army Re-assures on Combating Terrorism

Ilorin – The Nigerian Army on Friday re-assured its commitment toward combating terrorism in the country.
The Nigerian Army Education Corps (NAEC)’s Commander, Maj.-Gen. Sunday Adebayo, gave the assurance at the graduation of 15 Executive Management Officers in Illorin.

Adebayo congratulated the participants and urged them to contribute meaningfully to the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
He said the officers had been engaged in a rigorous academic exercise in the past three months.

Also speaking, the corps’ Deputy Commandant, Col. Bamidele Terefa, said that the course was aimed at broadening their knowledge in management, peace and strategic thinking.
Terefa said the skills acquired by the officers would help them in carrying out their assignment both at the national and international level.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the participants were drawn from Oyo, Enugu, FCT, Benue and Plateau states. (NAN)

Vanguard Newspaper

U.S. 'Scales Down' Nigeria Surveillance Flights Seeking Abducted Chibok School Girls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States reduced its surveillance flights to help find more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants after building a body of intelligence and after other states ramped up support, a U.S. official said.

Nigeria has committed itself to the hunt for the girls, who were kidnapped in April in one of the violent group's most spectacular attacks, and received help from the United States and other countries, including its neighbors.
The senior U.S. defense official told Reuters that the U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
flights, first announced in May, were now flying at an "intermittent" rate.
The official said overall intelligence-gathering had not diminished, and noted additional operations by Britain
and France.

"We had substantial initial coverage for the baseline and we’ve moved into a maintenance mode," the official
said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official declined to say how long the period of heightened initial U.S. coverage lasted. Asked whether it was just a week or two, the official said: "No. We were ... building this baseline for a good period of
The Pentagon had said on Thursday that there were "around the clock" intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance (ISR) operations in support of Nigeria's search. U.S. military personnel are in Abuja helping
coordinate the effort.
The United States also sent about 80 U.S. military personnel to Chad in May to support the surveillance operation. Chad lies to the northeast of Nigeria, bordering the area in which Boko Haram operates.

In the last month U.S. officials have played down expectations about a swift rescue of the girls and stressed the limitations of intelligence gleaned from surveillance flights.
One U.S. official told Reuters of concerns that Boko Haram may have laid booby traps in areas the girls could be held and there have been reports that the girls may have been split up into small groups.
"ISR alone will not solve this problem. It will take … the Nigerian piece of the equation with their own sources and human intelligence coupled with the other forms to really understand the picture," the defense official said.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Friday Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said his
government and security services had "spared no resources, have not stopped and will not stop until the girls are returned home."

The defense official did not discuss specific U.S. intelligence but acknowledged that information gathered from different sources had left only a murky picture of where the girls might be, in how many groups and even in which country.


53 Terrorists Killed in Raid on Bornu Hideout, Arrest Suspected Gun Runner- Defence HQTRS

The Defence Headquarters said on Friday that no fewer than 50 suspected terrorists died during a raid on a makeshift camp used by terrorists in Miyanti and Bulungu, Borno State.

In a statement posted on its website, the Defence Headquarters said 53 terrorists died in the encounter, while the troops lost two of their men, and five others received injuries.

The statement said a fuel dump used for storing fuel, vehicles, including Toyota Hilux trucks, and seven motorcycles were destroyed in the raid.

It also said 15 rifles, 11 machine guns and ammunition were captured by the troops.

The statement read, “In a separate encounter around Duguri, near the Nigeria–Niger border, troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force stormed a terrorists’ hideout in a raid.

“The troops recovered 18 rifles, five general purpose machine guns, 25 hand grenades and IED making materials.’’

It said a suspected gunrunner was apprehended and was being interrogated in connection with the seizures.

It said the suspect was arrested during a cordon-and-search operation by troops.

The statement said 15 other suspects were being detained in Abuja after a raid that led to the recovery of seven rifles, pistols, swords and other weapons.

It said military operations to track armed gangs would be sustained in various locations.

On the Wednesday’s explosion in Abuja, the statement said more explosives were seized from two suspects believed to have coordinated the bombing of Emab Shopping Plaza in Wuse.

It added, “Bystanders at the scene of the explosion alerted soldiers on patrol to the two suspects, who were speeding off on a power bike.

“The soldiers pursued the fleeing suspects and shot at one who fell off the bike with his bag, while the rider escaped through the crowd.

“The bag recovered from the suspect was later confirmed to contain a package of IED and other accessories.

The statement said the accessories included stop clock, mobile phones and other materials used for setting off explosives.

The statement explained that the suspect, who was shot, later died in a hospital while yelling, “People will die! People will die!”

Punch Newspaper

ISIS Militants Kidnap 150 Kurdish Students in Syria

Al Qaeda-inspired extremists kidnapped at least 150 children as they went home after exams in northern Syria, Kurdish leaders told NBC News on Friday. Aged between 10 and 15, the students were traveling from the city of Aleppo to their hometown Kobani when they were abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) at the end of May, Kurdish rebel commander Ali Muslim said. Among them were dozens of schoolgirls who were released within hours, said a Kurdish political activist who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"We thought at first the students were abducted because they go to regime areas or because they are Kurds or because the majority of the Kurds are with PYD [Democratic Union Party] who are fighting against ISIS,” the activist said. “But now, we are afraid that the students are trained to fight with them or using them as human shields.” Six students had managed to escape, according to Muslim. Kurds in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey have been fighting for a separate homeland for decades.


Ghastly Motor Accident Leaves 6 Dead On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

A ghastly motor accident which occurred along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, on Friday morning, led to the death of at least 6 individuals.

The accident was reportedly caused by a collision between a moving truck and a faulty truck, which was parked on the expressway. Other vehicles involved in the accident were badly damaged.

One of the vehicles involved was a “mini-truck carrying labour hands to a building site”, an eyewitness said.

One female survivor, who was pulled out from under a truck, was rushed to a hospital near 7UP, and then to the Gbagada General hospital for further treatment.

Motorists were trapped in a traffic jam as all vehicles involved in the accident had caused a complete blockage on the road.

Security agencies including the FRSC, Nigeria Police, Army had stormed the area to salvage the situation.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Nneota Egbe, who was at the scene of the accident said that many eyewitnesses had been in shock. He also reported that there had been about two other accidents on the same road, which were largely caused by impatience.

Questions concerning lighting on the expressway have been raised, following the accident which happened in the early hours of the morning.

Also, authorities have been called to ensure the road worthiness of vehicles in order to avert such occurrences.

Channels Television

#BringBackOurGirls: Nigerian Pop Singer Adokiye offers Her Virginity to Boko Haram in Exchange for Missing Girls

Nigerian pop singer Adokiye has caused a social media storm by offering her virginity to Islamic militants Boko Haram in exchange for the return of hundreds of kidknapped schoolgirls.

A total of 276 girls were taken from the largely Christian north-eastern town of Chibok by the rebels, led by Abubakar Shekau, in April.

The majority of the schoolchildren remain missing, despite international pressure for their safe return – including the celebrity-endorsed #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign backed by Michelle Obama and David Cameron, among others.
However, the 23-year-old musician and actress from the country's Imo State, who is also a UN Ambassador of Peace, took the protest to the next extreme.

“It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange,” she told Nigerian publication Vanguard.

The Independent

Abacha Loot: Transparency International Blasts Jonathan for Encouraging Corruption

Transparency International has berated the federal government of Nigeria of its decision to drop charges of theft against Mohammed Abacha, the son of deceased military dictator, General Sani Abacha.

Mohammed Abacha had been charged with helping his father steal and launder about N446.3bn through various shady foreign accounts between 1995 and 1998.

The government in a shocking move last week withdrew the charges over moves that political analysts say is to clear the path for Mohammed to run for the governorship of Kano State under the platform of the ruling PDP.

But Transparency International in a statement by Chantal Uwimana, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa said: ‘Allowing the theft of public funds to go unpunished sends the wrong message that those with powerful connections can act with impunity. The case should have been fully prosecuted and the government has not given adequate reasons for dropping the charges.’

‘The global anti-corruption movement, deplores the action taken by the government of Nigeria to drop corruption charges against Mohammed Abacha, son of the late president of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha and calls for their immediate reinstatement.

‘The government had accused Mohammed Abacha of receiving stolen property worth millions of dollars. The money is believed to have been stolen by his father when he was President.

‘In his lifetime Gen. Abacha was investigated for corruption and human rights violations. Recently the United States government froze US$458 million in assets it claims he and co-conspirators stole from Nigeria. In separate legal proceedings, Liechtenstein agreed on June 18 to return US$224 million held by companies linked to Gen. Abacha.

‘Corruption is widespread in Nigeria and despite claims by the government to make tackling corruption a priority too few people have been held to account for a series of high profile scandals. At the same time about live in poverty.’

Nigeria, one of the world’s largest oil producers, is believed to have lost over $500 billion dollars to corruption.

African Spotlight

UN Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Adds Abubakar Mohammed Shekau, Ansaru To It's Sanctions List

On 26 June 2014, the Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee approved the addition of Ansaru and Abubakar Mohammed Shekau to its list of individuals and entities subject to the targeted financial sanctions and the arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2161 (2014), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Committee stresses the need for robust implementation of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime as a significant tool in combating terrorist activity, and urges all Member States to participate actively by nominating for listing additional individuals, groups, undertakings and entities which should be subject to the sanctions measures.

As a result of the new listings, any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to Ansaru and Abubakar Mohammed Shekau, including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and subject to the sanctions measures.

The details of the new listings for both names are listed below:

A. Individuals associated with Al-Qaida

QI.S.322.14 Name: 1: ABUBAKAR 2: MOHAMMED 3: SHEKAU 4: na
Name (original script): أبو بكر محمد الشكوى
Title: Imam  Designation: na DOB: 1969  POB: Shekau Village, Yobe State, Nigeria  Good quality a.k.a.: Abubakar Shekau  Low quality a.k.a.: a) Abu Mohammed Abubakar bin Mohammed b) Abu Muhammed Abubakar bi Mohammed c) Shekau d) Shehu e) Shayku f) Imam Darul Tauhid g) Imam Darul Tawheed  Nationality: Nigerian  Passport no.: na  National identification no.: na  Address: Nigeria  Listed on: 26 Jun. 2014   Other information: Member of the Kanuri tribe. Physical description: eye colour: black; hair colour: black. Photo available for inclusion in the INTERPOL-UN Security Council Special Notice. Leader of Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) (QE.B.138.14). Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has been responsible for a series of major terrorist attacks.

B. Entities associated with Al-Qaida

Name (original script): أنصار المسلمین في بلاد السودان
A.k.a.: a) Ansaru b) Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan c) Jama'atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan (JAMBS) d) Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis-Sudan (JAMBS) e) Jamma’atu Ansarul Muslimina fi Biladis-Sudan (JAMBS) f) Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa g) Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa  F.k.a.: na  Address: Nigeria  Listed on: 26 Jun. 2014   Other information:Terrorist and paramilitary group established in 2012 and operating in Nigeria. Associated with the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) (QE.T.14.01), Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (Boko Haram) (QE.B.138.14) and Abubakar Mohammed Shekau (QI.S.322.14).

For further details relating to the listings, please refer to the narrative summaries of reasons for listing of the above-mentioned names annexed to this release.  In accordance with paragraph 17 of resolution 2161 (2014), the narrative summaries of reasons for listing the above-mentioned names are also available on the Al-Qaida Committee’s website at:;

United Nations Security Council

Syria crisis: Obama asks Congress for $500m for rebels

President Barack Obama has asked the US Congress to approve $500m to train and equip what he described as "moderate" Syrian opposition forces.

The funds would help Syrians defend against forces aligned with President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said.

The aid would also counter Islamist militants such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), it added.

Isis's advance in neighbouring Iraq has led some in Congress to press Mr Obama to take action.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions more have been displaced in three years of civil war in Syria, as rebels fight troops loyal to Mr Assad.

'Increase our support'

"This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed," the White House said.

It will also "enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition".

The money will help stabilise areas under opposition control and counter terrorist threats, the White House said.

The rebels that would receive the funds would be vetted beforehand in order to alleviate concerns of equipment falling into the hands of militants hostile to the US and its allies, the White House said.

Mr Obama has been under strong pressure from some members of Congress to increase assistance in the area, although it is unclear whether and when Congress would act on his request.

Last month Mr Obama hinted at increased help for the Syrian opposition in a speech at the military academy at West Point.

He said he would work with Congress to "ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and a brutal dictator".


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Kenya: Governor Charged With Terrorism over Lamu Attack

A Kenyan regional governor has been charged with terrorism and murder over attacks in the coastal Lamu district in which scores of people were killed.

Issa Timamy was charged over the attacks on the Mpeketoni town area. He faces several charges including murder.

Kenya's president has blamed the attacks on political networks, despite Somali Islamist group al-Shabab claiming responsibility.

Opposition parties have dismissed the president's claims.

Most of the dead were ethnic Kikuyus, like the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Non-Muslims were singled out to be killed.

Mr Timamy belongs to a political affiliate of Mr Kenyatta's governing Jubilee coalition.

He will remain in police custody until 30 June, while investigations continue.

Locals blockaded roads in protest against insecurity after the attacks
The attacks earlier in June killed at least 60 people, as gunmen descended on hotels and a police station.

It was the most deadly attack in Kenya since last September, when at least 67 people were killed by al-Shabab fighters at Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre.


President Jonathan Cuts Short Foreign Visit Sequel to Abuja Bomb Blast

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has cut short a trip to Equatorial Guinea following Wednesday's bomb attack in the capital, Abuja, his spokesman has said.

Security has been tightened in the city following the blast which killed 21 people and wounded 52 others.

Mr Jonathan's decision to return follows strong criticism that he is not doing enough to curb violence.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in Nigeria.

In April, it killed more than 70 people in a bomb blast at a bus stop on the outskirts of Abuja.

The group also said it was behind a car bomb attack near a bus station in the city's Nyanya suburb in May, which killed at least 19 people and injured 60 others.

It has not commented on the latest explosion, which ripped though a busy shopping district.

Police say a suspect has been arrested, but have not released details about him.

Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said Mr Jonathan received news of the blast as he was arriving at his hotel in Equatorial Guinea's capital, Malabo, for an African Union (AU) summit, Nigeria's privately owned Premium Times newspaper reports.

He decided to fly back to Abuja to deal with the crisis, Mr Abati said.

The BBC's Mansur Liman in the capital says the security forces have cordoned off the area around the blast.

Police have ordered an increase in security and surveillance operations in and around Abuja to prevent further attacks, he says.

Mr Jonathan's decision to return appears to be an attempt to address a growing public perception that he is not concerned about the plight of victims, our correspondent adds.


Mysterious Snakes, Bees Attack Boko Haram in Sambisa Forest

Some members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, arrested yesterday at Mairi ward behind University of Maiduguri by members of the Civilian JTF vigilante group, have confessed that most of them are fleeing the Sambisa Forest to areas across Borno State owing to what they believe is spiritual attacks from mysterious snakes and bees, which had killed many of their leaders.

According to Kolo Mustapha, one of the arrested insurgents, “most of us are fleeing because there are too many snakes and bees now in the forest. Once they bite, they disappear and the victims do not last for 24 hours.
“We were told that the aggrieved people who had suffered from our deadly mission, including the ghosts of some of those we killed, are the ones turning into the snake and bees.”

‘Our leaders fled, too’
He said some of their leaders have escaped to Cameroon because they are known to the Nigerian authorities and could be easily identified. According to him, those of them who lived all their lives in Maiduguri have nowhere to run to. So they returned and tried to sneak into town.
He said they came in last night and were trying to hide in some uncompleted buildings, when some members of the Civilian JTF saw them.
He said: “We are pleading with them to spare our lives. We were forced into the sect. But we know that it is not the right way. I personally have never killed anyone, but I have my friend here who had killed many people.”
Umar Abor, the other arrested sect member said Kolo Mustapha was lying as they had participated in all heinous acts of the sect.
He said: “We have fought together since 2010. We have fought in Marte, Bama, Buni Yadima and Gwoza. We were not in Chibok. We have not seen the girls, but we heard about the issue.

“Our leaders have been talking about it and we have been following all news from the radio. We decided to flee when almost all our comrades are leaving the Sambisa because of constant attacks by snakes and bees, which we were told was as a result of Chibok abducted schoolgirls.
“They (our leaders) told us that it was our enemies and aggrieved people that are hunting us through diabolical means. We were in the forest in 2010 and 2011. We left and came back last year but we have never experienced such attacks.
“That is why they believe the Chibok people are using juju to pursue us because of their children said to have been taken by our leaders.”

Vanguard Newspaper

Boko Haram Gets Funding From Outside Nigeria —Ethiopian Prime Minister

Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, on Wednesday, observed that funding for terror organisations operating in Africa, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabab in East Africa, come from outside the continent.

Speaking at a joint press conference with President Goodluck Jonathan in State House, Abuja, to round off his two-day visit to the country, he also said the resort to suicide bombing by terrorists was an indication that the war on terror was succeeding.

The Ethiopian leader noted that the East African region had been fighting terrorism for the past 10 years, while stressing the need for cooperation by leaders of worst hit countries in the effort to drive the process of the war on terror on the African continent.

'You know terrorism is not African agenda only. There has been terror attack in Boston, United States and many parts of the globe. So, it is not something that is new to Nigeria, Ethiopia and other African countries. It is a global phenomenon and you see that there was terror attack in Iraq recently and is expanding.

'We have to see it as a global phenomenon that has to be tackled together in unison. It should not be left to this or that region or this or that country. We have to bear in mind the genesis of this terrorism,' he said.

Desalegn said Nigeria and Ethiopia had reached an agreement on the fight against terror with the countries' chiefs of staff working on the modalities adding that 'we are working as one with Kenya to fight this terrorism and the chiefs of staff are in Nairobi, discussing how to fight this issue as we speak.'

In his remarks, President Jonathan observed that Ethiopia had a longer history of terrorism than Nigeria, adding that the country had a lot to learn from the East African country's experience.

The two leaders commended the exchange of high level visits between their countries and resolved to maintain this in order to promote and deepen mutual understanding and cooperation.

The Nigerian Voice

Boko Haram Attacks Military Checkpoint in Bornu, Kills 12 Soldiers, Loses 25 Members

Suspected Boko Haram militants yesterday attacked a military checkpoint Bulamburin village in Borno State killing at least 12 soldiers and losing 25 of their members in a fierce exchange of gunfire.

Bulamburin village, the scene of the deadly encounter, is about 50 kilometers south of Dambua in the southern part of the violence-plagued state.

A military source, who survived the siege, disclosed that the armed men who attacked the military contingent arrived in the village on motorcycles and in several sports utility vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft weapons.

Speaking to reporters in Maiduguri, the source said 12 soldiers had lost their lives, but that the military inflicted heavier casualties on the members of the dreaded Islamist group.

“Some soldiers escaped with bullet wounds,” said the source. He added, “I was at the checkpoint when the terrorists came. We fired at them and tried our best, but they had advantage over us. They had better weapons and we had AK-47 rifles that were not fully loaded. When we realized that they had taken over the place, some of us escaped to Maiduguri and other places, but many could not make it.”

Boko Haram terrorists have recently intensified their violent activities in the southern part of Borno State where hundreds of people have been killed, numerous homes razed, and many people kidnapped.

Sahara Reporters

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Deadly Bomb Blast Hits Banex Plaza, Wuse II, Abuja, 21 People Feared Dead

A bomb attack on a busy shopping district in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, has killed at least 21 people and injured 52 more.

The blast, near the popular Banex plaza shopping complex in Wuse district, could be heard from miles away and sent plumes of smoke into the air.

Government spokesman Mike Omeri confirmed the blast was the result of a bomb.

No claims of responsibility have been reported.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram has bombed targets across northern Nigeria in recent years.

Plumes of smoke could be seen miles away from the site of the blast.

Windows in nearby buildings were shattered by the strength of the explosion

At the scene: Mustapha Mohammed, BBC Hausa Service, Abuja

I counted 12 bodies of men and women at the mortuary at the Maimata District Hospital, which is a few kilometres from the site of the blast.

Doctors and nurses were treating dozens of wounded - many of them for burns on their faces, hands and legs. The security forces were trying to keep order as relatives and friends rushed to the hospital to find out about the fate of their loved ones.

I saw one little boy, with bloodstains on his forehead. He was sobbing and looking for his mother.

A stranger brought him to the hospital after finding him, alone and disoriented, near the blast site. He got separated from his mother when the explosion ripped through the area. The boy did not know whether she was alive or dead, but the man looking after him feared the worst.

'Covered in blood'

Chiamaka Oham, who was near the site of the blast, told the BBC: "We heard a really loud noise and the building shook, and people started screaming and running out.

"We saw the smoke and people covered in blood. It was just chaos."

The area was packed with shoppers at the time of the blast, the BBC's Hausa service editor Mansur Liman reports.

Many cars outside the shopping complex were burnt out and many windows were shattered, he adds.

One man told the BBC his driver was killed in the blast: "I was in the complex when I saw that the ground was shaking. I saw my driver dead and a lot of casualties."

The blast hit a busy shopping district at 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT)

Many of the injured were taken to Maitama General Hospital

Boko Haram has staged previous attacks in Abuja, but most of its targets have been in the north-east of the country.


More than 50 Suspected Boko Haram Insurgents Arrested in Enugu, South East Nigeria

Reports reaching DailyPost show that no less than 50 suspected members of the Boko Haram sect have been arrested at Obollo-Afor in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Obollo-Afor is the gateway between the South-East and the Northern part of the country.

A police source said the suspects would be fully interrogated at the Enugu State Police Command to ascertain their true mission.

Details shortly…

Daily Post

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Boko Haram ready to Swap 219 Chibok Girls With 70 Detainees

 Haram has demanded the release of 70 of its members in detention as a condition to free the Chibok girls, it emerged yesterday.
The sect is also asking the government to give amnesty to its members.
A lawyer close to the armed group, Hajiya Aisha Wakil,  told AlJazeera English that the sect said only when these conditions are met would it release the abducted girls.
No fewer  than 276 girls were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 15.
The Boko Haram leaders deceived the girls that they were soldiers who came to protect them from attack.
There are 219 girls in their custody following the escape of 57 from their enclave.
In spite of the support from an international coalition, including the United States, Britain, France and Australia military personnel and the use of a negotiator, the girls remain in the sect’s custody.

'Radicalisation of Young Muslims on the Rise in Cardiff, United Kingdom'

Cardiff has an ongoing problem with the radicalisation of young Muslims, said an academic who has studied the issue.
Two men from the city have been identified taking part in what appears to be a Jihadist recruiting video, which was posted online last week.
It is thought Reyaad Khan travelled to Syria with friend Nasser Muthana who also appears in the footage.
Khan lived close to the Cardiff men jailed over the London Stock Exchange bombing plot in 2012.
It is believed the two men, both 20, travelled to Syria in November, while Nasser Muthana's younger brother Aseel, 17, travelled to the country in February.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Bomb Explosion Rocks Kano School Of Hygiene, Scores Feared Dead

A blast suspected to be from an explosive device has occurred at the School of Hygiene in Kano, the Kano state capital in northern Nigeria.
The ‎spokesperson of the Kano Police, Magaji Majiya, who confirmed the blast, told reporters that other officers were on their way to the scene of the blast.
He said the area had been cordoned off and that the commissioner would address the media at the scene.
The number of casualties in the Monday attack is not yet known.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Wanted Boko Haram Terror Gang Leader Killed In Shootout

 The Defence headquarters Friday disclosed that a wanted notorious gang leader of the Boko Haram who has led many attacks against the military and the police including the killing of two soldiers along Lokoja Kaduna road in 2013 has been killed.
In its blog of Friday, June 20th, DHQ said, “A notorious terrorist who has led serial attacks on security personnel, Mallam Husaini has died in an encounter between his group and a military convoy along Jos – Bauchi highway”.
“Husaini who leads a cell of the terrorists billed to operate in the Plateau is known to have led an attack on Headquarters, Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Abuja, in November 2012”.

Stephanie L. Kwolek, Inventor of Kevlar (Bullet Proof Fibre), Dies at 90

Stephanie L. Kwolek, a DuPont chemist who invented the technology behind Kevlar, a virtually bulletproof fiber that has saved thousands of lives, died on Wednesday in Wilmington, Del. She was 90.
The chief executive of DuPont, Ellen Kullman, announced the death, calling Ms. Kwolek, who spent 15 years in the laboratory without a promotion before her breakthrough, “a true pioneer for women in science.”
Kevlar is probably best known for use in body armor, particularly bulletproof vests. A DuPont spokeswoman estimated that since the 1970s, 3,000 police officers have been saved from bullet wounds through the use of equipment reinforced with Kevlar, which is far stronger and lighter than steel.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Tracking Syria Fighters Now Main Task for MI5

MI5 are devoting the greatest amount of their casework to tracking jihadists leaving the UK for Syria - and returning, as Frank Gardner reports
Tracking British jihadists fighting in Syria is now the top priority for MI5, the BBC has learned.
It comes after a video appeared to show UK jihadis in Syria trying to recruit people to join them there and in Iraq.
The Home Office said counter-terror police were working to get the video - posted by internet accounts linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) militants - taken off line.

United States House of Representatives Backs Limits on NSA Spying

WASHINGTON –  House libertarians and liberals banded together for a surprise win in their fight against the secretive National Security Agency, securing support for new curbs on government spying a year after leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures about the bulk collection of millions of Americans' phone records.
The Republican-led House voted 293-123 late Thursday to add the limits to a $570 billion defense spending bill. The provision, which faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, would bar warrantless collection of personal online information and prohibit access for the NSA and CIA into commercial tech products.

Australia Formally Lists Boko Haram As Terror Group

 Australia has formally listed Nigerian militant group Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation.
The move makes it illegal to fund, train with, recruit for or become a member of the group that became notorious when it kidnapped 250 schoolgirls in April.
Australia has joined with the US, UK, Canada and Nigeria in their decision to list the group.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced plans to list Boko Haram last month, saying the world was transfixed and horrified by the group's hostage taking.

#BringBackOurGirls: Presidential Panel Confirms 219 Chibok Schoolgirls Still Missing

 A total of 219 students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, are still missing after the mass abduction carried out by members of the Boko Haram sect in the school on April 14.The 219 students were among the 276 girls said to have been snatched from the school during the midnight raid. The Chairman of the Presidential Fact-finding Committee on the Abduction of Chibok Schoolgirls, Brig.-Gen. Ibrahim Sabo (retd.), disclosed this on Friday while presenting the committee’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mali Unrest: UN Surveillance Drones To Be Deployed

Security in the north, where armed groups still operated, has deteriorated
Surveillance drones are to be used by the United Nations in Mali's volatile and vast northern desert region.
UN peacekeeping head Herve Ladsous told the UN Security Council they would help protect civilians and troops.
A 8,000-strong UN force is deployed to help stabilise the region after French and African troops ousted Islamist militants from the main towns in 2013.

Foreign Troops Only Gives Nigerian Soldiers ‘Coordinates’ Against Boko Haram

As it is 66 days today since the Boko Haram sect in Chibok abducted over 200 female students in Borno state. SaharaReporters today learned from credible sources that foreign countries are only giving Nigerian military official ‘coordinates’ in the battle to rescue the girls.
The ‘coordinates,’ according to the source, says a military officer is basically supplying pictorial intelligence to the Nigerian Air Force of images of areas in Borno where the Boko Haram are sighted, and the whereabouts of their movements in all their locations in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

Android and Windows Smartphones to Get 'Kill Switch'

Authorities claim that a kill switch feature would help reduce phone theft
Google and Microsoft will add a "kill-switch" feature to their Android and Windows phone operating systems.
The feature is a method of making a handset completely useless if it is stolen, rendering a theft pointless.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Africa's Sahel Region 'Threatened By Islamist Violence'

The growth of Islamist violence in the Sahel is threatening the stability of the entire region that runs south of Africa's Sahara Desert, a UN envoy has told the Security Council.
Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, the new UN envoy for the Sahel, said Nigeria, Libya and Mali were worst affected.
But overall "terrorist acts" in the Sahel and the Maghreb had increased by 60% in 2013, he said.

Intelligence Reveal Plans By Boko Haram To Bomb Abuja Using Petrol Tankers

 The federal government has revealed a plot by members of the Boko Haram sect to carry out a massive attack in different locations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Coordinator of the National Information Centre, and Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri, made the revelation on Wednesday during the update media briefing on the fight against insurgency and rescue of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How to Anonymize Everything You Do Online

Written By Andy Greenberg  (Wired)

One year after the first revelations of Edward Snowden, cryptography has shifted from an obscure branch of computer science to an almost mainstream notion: It’s possible, user privacy groups and a growing industry of crypto-focused companies tell us, to encrypt everything from emails to IMs to a gif of a motorcycle jumping over a plane.

But it’s also possible to go a step closer toward true privacy online. Mere encryption hides the content of messages, but not who’s communicating. Use cryptographic anonymity tools to hide your identity, on the other hand, and network eavesdroppers may not even know where to find your communications, let alone snoop on them. “Hide in the network,” security guru Bruce Schneier made his first tip for evading the NSA. “The less obvious you are, the safer you are.”

Though it’s hardly the sole means of achieving online anonymity, the software known as Tor has become the most vouchsafed and developer-friendly method for using the Internet incognito. The free and open source program triple-encrypts your traffic and bounces it through computers around the globe, making tracing it vastly more difficult. Most Tor users know the program as a way to anonymously browse the Web. But it’s much more. In fact, Tor’s software runs in the background of your operating system and creates a proxy connection that links with the Tor network. A growing number of apps and even operating systems provide the option to route data over that connection, allowing you to obscure your identity for practically any kind of online service.

Some users are even experimenting with using Tor in almost all their communications. “It’s like being a vegetarian or a vegan,” says Runa Sandvik, a privacy activist and former developer for Tor. “You don’t eat certain types of food, and for me I choose to use Tor only. I like the idea that when I log onto a website, it doesn’t know where I’m located, and it can’t track me.”

Here’s how you can use the growing array of anonymity tools to protect more of your life online.

Web Browsing
The core application distributed for free by the non-profit Tor Project is the Tor Browser, a hardened, security-focused version of Firefox that pushes all of your Web traffic through Tor’s anonymizing network. Given the three encrypted jumps that traffic takes between computers around the world, it may be the closest thing to true anonymity on the Web. It’s also rather slow. But the Tor browser is getting faster, says Micah Lee, a privacy-focused technologist who has worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation—one of the organizations that funds the Tor Project—and First Look Media. For the past month or so, he’s tried to use it as his main browser and only switch back to traditional browsers occasionally, mostly for flash sites and others that require plugins.

After about a week, he says, the switch was hardly noticeable. “It may not be entirely necessary, but I haven’t found it that inconvenient either,” Lee says. “And it does have real privacy benefits. Everyone gets tracked everywhere they go on the Web. You can opt of out of that.”

The simplest way to anonymously send email is to use a webmail service in the Tor Browser. Of course, that requires signing up for a new webmail account without revealing any personal information, a difficult task given that Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo! Mail all require a phone number.

Runa Sandvik suggests Guerrilla Mail, a temporary, disposable email service. Guerrilla Mail lets you set up a new, random email address with only a click. Using it in the Tor Browser ensures that no one, not even Guerrilla Mail, can connect your IP address with that ephemeral email address.

Encrypting messages with webmail can be tough, however. It often requires the user to copy and paste messages into text windows and then use PGP to scramble and unscramble them. To avoid that problem, Lee instead suggests a different email setup, using a privacy-focused email host like, the Mozilla email app Thunderbird, the encryption plugin Enigmail, and another plugin called TorBirdy that routes its messages through Tor.

Instant Messaging
Adium and Pidgin, the most popular Mac and Windows instant messaging clients that support the encryption protocol OTR, also support Tor. (See how to enable Tor in Adium here and in Pidgin here.) But the Tor Project  is working to create an IM program specifically designed to be more secure and anonymous. That Tor IM client, based on a program called Instant Bird, was slated for release in March but is behind schedule. Expect an early version in mid-July.

Large File Transfers
Google Drive and Dropbox don’t promise much in the way of privacy. So Lee created Onionshare, open-source software that lets anyone directly send big files via Tor. When you use it to share a file, the program creates what’s known as a Tor Hidden Service—a temporary, anonymous website—hosted on your computer. Give the recipient of the file the .onion address for that site, and they can securely and anonymously download it through their Tor Browser.

Mobile Devices
Anonymity tools for phones and tablets are far behind the desktop but catching up fast. The Guardian Project created an app called Orbot that runs Tor on Android. Web browsing, email and IM on the phone can all be set to use Orbot’s implementation of Tor as a proxy.

Apple users don’t yet have anything that compares. But a 99-cent app called Onion Browser in the iOS app store offers anonymous web access from iPhones and iPads. An audit by Tor developers in April revealed and helped fix some of the program’s vulnerabilities. But Sandvik suggests that prudent users should still wait for more testing. In fact, she argues that the most sensitive users should stick with better-tested desktop Tor implementations. “If I were in a situation where I needed anonymity, mobile is not a platform I’d rely on,” she says.

Everything Else
Even if you run Tor to anonymize every individual Internet application you use, your computer might still be leaking identifying info online. The NSA has even used unencrypted Windows error messages sent to Microsoft to finger users and track their identities. And an attacker can compromise a web page you visit and use it to deliver an exploit that breaks out of your browser and sends an unprotected message revealing your location.

So for the truly paranoid, Lee and Sandvik recommend using entire operating systems designed to send every scrap of information they communicate over Tor. The most popular Tor OS is Tails, or The Amnesiac Incognito Live System. Tails can boot from a USB stick or DVD so no trace of the session remains on the machine, and anonymizes all information. Snowden associates have said the NSA whistleblower is himself a fan of the software.

For the even more paranoid, there is a lesser-known Tor-enabled OS called Whonix. Whonix creates multiple “virtual machines” on the user’s computer—software versions of full computer operating systems that are designed to be indistinguishable from a full computer. Any attacker trying to compromise the user’s computer will be confined to that virtual machine.

That virtualization trick underlines an important point for would-be anonymous Internet users, Lee says: If your computer gets hacked, the game is over. Creating a virtual sandbox around your online communications is one way to keep the rest of your system protected.

“Tor is awesome and can make you anonymous. But if your endpoint gets compromised, your anonymity is compromised too,” he says. “If you really need to be anonymous, you also need to be really secure."

#BringBackOurGirls: Gordon Brown, President Jonathan Meet As Nigerian Government Flags Off 'Safe School Initiative'

The Nigerian government’s 'Safe School Initiative' has received a boost of N3.2 billion.

The sum is made of two parts of N1.6 billion released by the federal government and another N1.6 billion donated by the private sector.

Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala made the disclosure on Tuesday after a meeting of stakeholders of the initiative with President Jonathan in Abuja.

The Safe School Initiative is expected to accommodate children displaced from their schools due to the present insurgency rocking the country. The over 200 girls who were kidnapped in Chibok two months ago are to benefit from these funds.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are intent on trying to make sure that our children in the states have an environment in which they can come back to school and not have their education truncated.”

Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General for Global Education, Gordon Brown said the reconstruction of the secondary school in Chibok is paramount to the United Nations.

“I am here to say that we wish as an international community to do everything we can to back up the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan and the governors of the states to make sure these girls are returned to their families and at the same time to make sure, that every parent feels that they can send their children to school knowing that they will be safe in the future.”

Yobe and Borno governors said they are committed to making the initiative a huge success.

Ibrahim Geidam, Yobe state governor, said, “I promise to give him all the necessary cooperation to ensure that the programme succeeds.”

Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, said, “Times like this calls for sobriety, for maturity, for unity of purpose. At the appropriate time we are going to play politics, but this is not time to play politics with the lives of the people.”

The federal government and the international community are bent on encouraging displaced students back to school.

Africa Independent Television

United States Captures Ahmed Abu Khattala, Suspected 'Ring Leader' In 2012 Benghazi Attack On US Consulate

The suspected ringleader of the September 2012 raid on a US diplomatic post in the Libyan city of Benghazi, which left four Americans dead, has been captured, the Pentagon says.

Ahmed Abu Khattala was taken into custody in a secret US military raid in Libya on 15 June.

He is now being held in a secure location outside the country, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in the attack.

"There were no civilian casualties related to this operation, and all US personnel involved in the operation have safely departed Libya," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm John Kirby wrote in a statement.

He refused to give further details about the US raid, only to say it happened "near Benghazi" and on Sunday afternoon US east coast time.

Ahmed Abu Khattala
•Native of Benghazi in eastern Libya
•Construction worker by trade
•Spent several years in Col Muammar Gaddafi's notorious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli
•Formed his own small militia during the anti-Gaddafi uprising
•Denies any links to al-Qaeda but has expressed admiration for it
•Also denies any role in the attack on the US embassy in 2012, but eyewitnesses report him being there
•US state department says he is a senior leader in Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia

After the announcement, President Barack Obama praised the courage and professionalism of the military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel who tracked and captured Mr Abu Khattala, whom the US describes as a "key figure" in the attack.

"When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice," he said.

President Obama: "When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice''
The FBI Director, James Comey, said his organisation would not stop searching until the other suspects were found.

"We never ever give up and we will work and work until justice is done. And I think this is a down payment on that statement."

Mr Abu Khattala has been charged in a federal court in Washington DC with killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility, providing material support to terrorists, and a firearms count, court records show.

He is currently being held on a US ship, Reuters reports. Some Republicans, including Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, have argued he should be sent to the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay. But US officials rejected that move.

"We have not added a single person to the GTMO population since President Obama took office, and we have had substantial success delivering swift justice to terrorists through our federal court system," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time and been criticised by Republicans over the embassy's security arrangements, said questioning Khatalla could shed some light on what happened and why.

On 11 September 2012, gunmen stormed the US consulate in Benghazi and set it on fire.

In addition to Mr Stevens, information technology specialist Sean Smith and security workers and ex-Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.

The White House initially said the attack stemmed from anti-American protests over a crude video produced in the US that was deemed insulting to Islam.

Rana Jawad, BBC News, Libya

This is the second raid of its kind to be carried out by American special forces on Libyan territory.

Ahmed Abu Khattala is an Islamist militia commander who heads the Benghazi-based Ansar Al Sharia group. A source close to the hard-line Islamist group told the BBC they knew he was captured two days ago but were not aware the Americans were going to take him.

He claims Abu Khattala's capture was carried out by forces led by the renegade Gen Khalifa Hefter in Benghazi. This could not be independently confirmed.

Gen Hefter has been leading a paramilitary operation in Benghazi against Islamist militias for a month. On 15 June his spokesman claimed they had captured three senior Islamist figures in the city. In October, an American-led operation captured the alleged al-Qaeda operative Abu Anas al-Libi from his home in Tripoli. He is now on trial in New York.

Government investigators soon determined it was an organised attack planned by local militias.

In subsequent years, the incident has become a political lightning rod, with Republicans accusing Mr Obama's administration of covering up the involvement of militant groups in the days after the attack in order to assist Mr Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

In May, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to establish what is believed to be the eighth inquiry on Benghazi.

Previous independent, cross-party and Republican-led inquiries have blamed the state department for inadequate security at the embassy.