Thursday 31 July 2014

AIG Suleiman Abba Replaces Mohammed Abubakar As New Inspector General of Police

Assistant Inspector-General, AIG Suleiman Abba, has emerged as the new Inspector-General of Police. He will succeed the outgoing IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, who retires today from office after 35 years of service.
Senior government officials confirmed to Nigerian Pilot last night that AIG Abba’s appointment was made public at the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting yesterday. The meeting was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Abba is currently in charge of Zone 7 of the Nigeria Police. The incoming IGP was the Aide-de-Camp, ADC to Maryam Abacha when the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha was in power.

Indication that AIG Abba would take the plum job emerged during the Sallah celebrations when IGP Abubakar took him to visit President Jonathan.
It was learnt that the Presidency was well disposed to his choice having served in the Strike Force of the former Chief Security Officer, CSO, to Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha .Abba is seen as the officer needed to curb the Boko Haram insurgency since he did well under the Strike Force.

It was however not clear whether AIG Abba will be automatically confirmed as the substantive police boss when the outgoing IGP Abubakar leaves.
Our sources confirmed that Jonathan settled for the Jigawa-born police officer on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission under an ex-IGP, Mike Mbama Okiro.

According to sources, the decision to announce AIG Abba was taken last Tuesday in Abuja, following a meeting of Police Council chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, with the 36 state governors as members and the Chairman PSC, Mike Okiro.

The choice of Abba, according to a senior police officer at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, who pleaded anonymity, said is causing a lot of bad blood among the high ranking officers particularly among the Deputy Inspectors General, DIGs, who are members of the management team of the force.

Consequently, there are strong indications that the current DIGs may take the option of bowing out of the force, hence they may not want to salute Suleiman Abba as their new boss.

Abba, Nigerian Pilot gathered had served as the Commissioner of Police in charge of Rivers State, Deputy Force Secretary, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Deputy Force Sec), Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of State CID, FCT Police Command.
AIG Abba is currently commanding the FCT, Niger and Kaduna states with a police strength of 34,515 officers and men.

There were also speculations that DIG Michael Zuokumor, who is currently the man in charge of Force operation’s department and AIG for Force Intelligence Bureau, FIB, Solomon Arase are also strong contenders, it was gathered that since the appointment of the IGP is political, seniority does not count in this case.

It was also gathered that at least about 60 senior officers would be retiring by July.
Zuokumor hails from Ojobo community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Arase is a native of Edo State. Abba hails from Jigawa State.

Until his elevation to the rank of DIG on January 15, 2014 by the Police Service Commission, Zuokumor was the AIG in charge of Zone 4, Makurdi, and would be retiring next year while DIG Fakai has about six years to stay in service.

Nigerian Pilot

Boko Haram Bent On Seizing Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi And Nasarawa States - Intelligence Source

A high-level Nigerian security source told SaharaReporters that Nigeria’s intelligence agencies have received “credible reports that Boko Haram has
developed an ambitious plan to overwhelm and take over Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states.”

The source said the Islamist terrorist group plans to carry out its design by intensifying its bombings and choosing locations that would yield high casualty

“Their move is to encircle [Nigeria’s capital city of] Abuja and increase the level of political instability in the
country,” our source revealed.
The high-level intelligence agent disclosed that the shape of the terror group’s plans have emerged from
the confessions of some Boko Haram insurgents who were captured recently.

“We have also acquired a lot of
information about their [Boko Haram’s] plans through our interrogation of Aminu Sadiq Oguche.” Mr. Oguche,
who was recently extradited to Nigeria from Sudan, is accused of masterminding some of the recent high-
profile bomb blasts in Nigeria, including explosions at a bus station in Abuja that claimed more than 100 lives.

In addition, security agents have gleaned “significant and useful intelligence” from interrogating one
Mohammed Zakari, described as “the chief butcher” of Boko Haram. Mr. Zakari was recently arrested in Bauchi, capital of Bauchi State.

Our source said that Nigeria’s security agencies are stepping up counter-insurgency measures to forestall Boko Haram’s plans to spread its tentacles to the states they are targeting.

“Apart from information we have gathered from interrogating suspects, we are also tracking critical
conversations by the group’s hierarchy and examining sensitive documents recovered after recent raids on their bases in Bauchi, Jigawa and Borno states,” the source said.

Our source added that President Goodluck Jonathan and a few other government officials had been briefed
about the new threats by Boko Haram as well as the outline of the plans to counter the group’s ambitious push.

A senior Islamic scholar in Northern Nigeria, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said his group was
cooperating with the government to defeat Boko Haram. “We discussed with President Jonathan when we met during the end of the Ramadan fast and told him that we are ready to help stop Boko Haram. But we also told him that this is something the government must take action on. We’re doing our own, but we have limitations,” he said.


Fresh Violence Erupts in Taraba State, Nigeria

The Police in Taraba on Thursday confirmed the arrest of 14 suspects following the eruption of violence in Ibi, the headquarters of Ibi Local
Government Area of the state.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Joseph Kwaji, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jalingo that the problem came about from what looked like a religious conflict.
He said it had all started in the early hours of Thursday in the area which had been witnessing persistent conflicts in recent times.

Kwaji said reports reaching the police showed that trouble started at about 5 a.m. when groups of youths engaged each other in gun battles.
He said these had led to the destruction of property worth millions of Naira, with many of the youths sustaining severe injuries.

“Apart from the arrest of the 14 youths, police have also recovered two AK 47 rifles and several other dangerous weapons from those arrested. “But calm has been restored in the area after the deployment of a detachment of mobile policemen and the military to maintain the peace,” the PPRO said.

Kwaji said investigation into the cause of the trouble and those behind it were ongoing, adding that those who have questions to answer among the arrested would be charged to court.

There was no official casualty figure as at the time of filing this report, even though Kwaji confirmed that many have been injured.

Ibi town has remained a trouble spot in Taraba in recent times, behind Wukari, with both located in the Southern Senatorial District of the state.


United States Committed To Stemming Boko Haram Threat —Consul General

THE United States Consul General to Nigeria, Mr Jeffery Hawkins, has, again, noted the threat Boko Haram poses to Nigeria and the African continent as a whole and restated the efforts of the United States to curb the activities of the
dreaded Islamist sect.

Hawkins made this known in Lagos, on Wednesday, at a media platform monitored by the Nigerian Tribune, where he also noted that the President Barak Obama-led US government remained keen in helping Nigeria to rescue the abducted Chibok girls.

He, however, noted that “the US government’s interest in assisting Nigeria with Boko Haram predates the abduction of Chibok girls,” adding that the US had an extensive engagement with the Nigerian government on security.

He further noted that the security engagement had been extended in terms of intelligence that would assist Nigeria in tackling the insecurity posed by Boko Haram in the North-East.
He also pointed out that the engagement was not limited to intelligence, revealing that “we are working with the security forces on professionalising them and in dealing with human rights issues.”

Hawkins, however, declined to speak on the intelligence sharing operation but was quick to note that “we are truly interested in providing the Nigerian government with the information they
can use to appropriately respond to the Boko Haram threat.”


Gunmen Abduct 90-Year-old Mother of A Senator in Bayelsa State (South South), Nigeria

Yet-to-be-identified gunmen have abducted Florentina, the mother of Senator Emmanuel Paulker, in Bayelsa State (South-South) Nigeria.

The 90-year-old Florentina was abducted on Wednesday morning at her residence in Opolo-Epie, Yenagoa area of the state.
Neighbours of the nonagenarian were angry that the kidnappers forcibly took the woman away despite her
age. Their anger also came against the backdrop that Florentina was being kidnapped for the second time in four years.

It was learnt that the abductors called about 3am on Wednesday when the victim and other residents were
sleeping to execute their sinister plot.
A security source said the kidnappers were five in number and were fully armed with AK47 and other rifles.

The source, who did not want his name mentioned, said, “They came through the main road. They drove a vehicle into the community and immediately started shooting sporadically into the air to create apprehension among neighbours who were already asleep.
“They forced the door open, seized the old woman and whisked her away to an unknown place. Some residents
thought the kidnappers were armed robbers.
“Some of the residents later came out and started shouting ‘thieves, thieves’ only to discover later that the woman had been abducted.”

When contacted the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, confirmed the development and said one of the
suspected kidnappers had been arrested.
He said the suspect was helping the police in their investigations.
The commissioner said, “Although the report got to the police after the kidnappers had gone, we immediately
swung into action and arrested one suspect who is already assisting the police in investigation and we believe that in no distant time, the victim would be rescued.”

He urged members of the public to go about their normal businesses, vowing that the police would continue to protect their lives and property. Mr. Opara said the state special security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, and other anti-crime outfits were on top of the situation.

He also lauded the state government for providing logistics to the command and commended members of the public for their cooperation.”


How Europe Inadvertently Bankrolls Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab

Al-Qaeda is increasingly funding terror
operations thanks to at least $125 million in ransom paid since 2008, largely by European governments to free western hostages, The New York Times reported.

The payments totaled $66 million in 2013 alone, according to an investigation by the newspaper
published Tuesday.
While Al-Qaeda's network was first funded by wealthy donors, "kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing," said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a 2012 speech.

"Each transaction encourages another transaction." The organization has openly acknowledged the windfall, the paper reported.
"Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil," wrote Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, "which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure."
Al-Wuhayshi said ransom money — reaching around $10 million per hostage in recent cases— accounts for up to half his operating budget.
The paper listed more than $90 million paid to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb since 2008 — by a Switzerland, Spain, Austria, and state-controlled French company and two payments from undetermined sources.

Somalia's Al-Shabab insurgents received $5.1 million from Spain, while Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula received nearly $30 million in two payments, one from Qatar and Oman, the other of undetermined origin.

Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and
Switzerland each denied ever paying ransoms for hostages. French nuclear company Areva also denied paying ransom.

However, last year a former senior French intelligence official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity: "Governments and companies pay in almost every case."
"There is always a ransom or an exchange of some sort: money, the release of prisoners, arms deliveries."

The Times article cited former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and it said the payments were sometimes hidden as development aid.

The U.S. and Britain have notably refused to pay to free kidnapped nationals, the paper reported, with the result that just a few have been
rescued in military raids or escaped.

However, the U.S. has been willing to negotiate in some cases, including the recent trade of five senior Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo in
exchange for captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

"The Europeans have a lot to answer for," Vicki Huddleston, the former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, who was the ambassador to Mali in 2003 when Germany paid the first ransom, told The Times.
"They pay ransoms and then deny any was paid," arguing the policy "makes all of our citizens vulnerable."

G8 leaders last year signed a deal to
"unequivocally reject the payment of ransoms to terrorists" but did not impose a formal ban.

Business Insider

"Snowden Effect: New Report Shows Edward Snowden's Revelations Are Seriously Damaging U.S Tech Firms

The nonprofit New America Foundation released a new report this week that summarizes the impact of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelation on U.S. tech firms.

Within weeks of the first NSA revelation last year, companies like Dropbox and Amazon Web Services reported immediate drops in their sales, the report said. Citing a previous report, it
said the NSA’s PRISM program could cost cloud-computing companies from $22 billion to $180 billion over the next there years.

“This erosion in trust threatens to do the most immediate damage to the cloud computing industry, which would lose billions of dollars in the next three to five years as a result,” it said.

In particular, U.S. tech firms are being severely hit in overseas markets, the report said.
Companies such as Cisco, Qualcomm, IBM, Microsoft, and HP have all reported declines in sales in China following the NSA revelations. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, Cisco said it’s expecting roughly a 10% loss in
quarterly revenue because of the "Snowden effect." A web-hosting company called Servint reportedly lost more than half of its overseas clients following the revelation.

American firms are also losing the trust of foreign governments because of this. The German government said it would end its contract with Verizon last month, while Brazil picked Swedish firm Saab over Boeing for a deal to replace its fighter jets, according to the report. It said more and more foreign competitors are benefiting from the perceived
image of being “NSA-proof” or “safer” than U.S. firms.

As a result, countries like Germany, Brazil, and India are close to enacting a new law that would require companies to use local data centers. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
after refusing to visit the U.S. for months after the NSA disclosures, has called for data localization laws. Brazil and India are proposing IT companies to either set up or keep their data centers within local boundaries, while Greece,
Brunei, and Vietnam are following suit with similar measures, the report said.
All of this could slow the growth of the U.S. tech industry by as much as 4% and seriously undermine America’s credibility around the world, the report concluded.

Business Insider

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Boko Haram: Nigeria Opens Long-Awaited Battle of Ideas Against Sect's Ideology

KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - In classrooms facing a sandy courtyard in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, Maska Road Islamic School teaches a creed that condemns the violent ideology of groups like Boko Haram.
Not everyone has got its message. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known as the "Pants Bomber", spent his youth in this school - and ended up trying unsuccessfully to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.

But the school is steadfast in preaching tolerance to its pupils, and the government is about to adopt this
message in a new strategy for containing Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in a five-year campaign for an Islamic state.
"We teach them that what they (Boko Haram) are doing is a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion, that Prophet Mohammed was compassionate, he even lived together with the non-Muslims in Medina," said headmaster Sulaiman Saiki.
"We teach them tolerance," he told Reuters as girls in the next room softly recited Koranic verses in Arabic

Abdulmutallab was radicalised in an Al Qaeda camp in Yemen, but his case shows that even youths given a
relatively liberal Muslim education can be seduced by radical Islam. This is something the new government program is aiming to combat.
Koranic schools like Maska Road will be a pillar of the strategy being launched in September to counter Boko Haram's ideology. The aim is to win over the "hearts and minds" of young Nigerians.
They will also challenge Boko Haram's claim that secular teaching is "un-Islamic" - Boko Haram means
"Western education is sinful" in Hausa, the dominant language in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

Maska Road teaches only Koranic verses and other tenets of Muslim faith, and encourages its 300 students to take classes such as science and literature outside its walls.
"We want them to get a Western education and combine it with ... religious learning," Saiki says.

Classes are held between 4 and 6 p.m., after secular schools shut.
Fatah Abdul, who studies at Maska Road, scoffs at the idea of violence in the name of Islam.
"Our religion doesn't entertain killing. Boko Haram is absolutely different from what our religion advocates,"
she said. "And it's not true what they say that we need an Islamic state. The leadership doesn't have to be Islamic".

Saiki was a neighbor of Abdulmutallab when the future Pants Bomber was at school. He says Abdulmutallab didn't learn to hate the West there but "was deceived afterwards".
Abdulmutallab, a loner from a well-to-do northern family, showed how easily youths can be radicalised.

Add poverty into the mix, as in Nigeria's troubled northeastern Borno state, and it's not hard to see how Boko Haram finds young recruits.
Boko Haram is suspected of being behind suicide bombings that killed 82 people in Kaduna last week,
including one against a Muslim cleric about to lead a public prayer.

Kaduna, the capital of the north in colonial times, is richer than anywhere in the northeastern region where Boko Haram is based. But it shares many of its problems such as high youth unemployment, attested by the many children begging and hawking phone credit on its rubbish-filled streets.

President Goodluck Jonathan's administration has been pilloried for its apparent powerlessness to crush the rebels or protect civilians, including more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April and who remain in captivity. But he has also faced censure for neglecting the insurgency's underlying causes.

So when Jonathan's National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki announced a new "soft approach to terrorism" in March, many instantly dismissed it as lacking in substance.
But officials in the office of the NSA say imams in mosques and traditional elders will be co-opted to preach tolerance, while measures will be taken to ensure Koranic schools teach "correct" interpretations of sacred texts.

The drive will also include educational programs, especially increased sports and music in northern schools, plus reform programs for convicted Boko
Haram detainees.
"A lot them don't have much Islamic knowledge, so they tend to believe what the mullahs say," Fatima Akilu, director of behavioral analysis in the office of the NSA told Reuters. "We want to teach what the Koran actually says in a language they understand."

A parallel economic program, also funded by the NSA's budget, will address the chronic poverty seen as a major driver of the insurgency.

It may be too late to bring back hundreds of youths already fighting for Boko Haram, but the idea is to prevent more from joining. Northern Nigeria has much lower levels of education than the south, a legacy of British colonialism, which protected the caliphates of the north from the activity of Christian missionaries who set up many schools in the south.

"The aspects of education Boko Haram don't like are the ones that allow you to think," Akilu said. "Keep people in the dark and you can control them with a singular narrative."
Undoing this partly involves showing how "Western" ideas, such as mathematics and some physics and
astronomy, are rooted in mediaeval Islamic thought, which was making strides while Christians in Europe
were busy burning witches.

At the Sultan Bello mosque in Kaduna's busy downtown market area, local imam Ahmed Gumi takes an unusual step to illustrate his openness to the non-Islamic world: he invites four Reuters journalists in to see, film and photograph his sermon.
Three are non-Muslim, including two Westerners. He introduces the team to his congregation of about 350
packed into a main hall, and after a chorus of "welcome" he offers a live interview about his views on Boko Haram in front of the faithful.
"It's not right to call what those boys are doing Islamic," he later told Reuters privately. "They hide
behind Islam."

Gumi, one of northern Nigeria's most popular clerics, sees the idea of an Islamic state dear to extremists as
a throwback.
"They want to bring back the golden age of Islamic triumph in this modern time." he says. "For a state to survive you need a strong civilization, education, money, lawyers, doctors. You don't create a civilization with AK-47s in the bush."
He knows his outspoken views carry a risk he'll be targeted by Boko Haram. His mosque, a towering structure spread between four sand-colored turrets with turquoise-green domes, is guarded by scores of unarmed volunteers checking cars and bags.

Boko Haram fighters have killed dozens of clerics. One of the targets of the Kaduna bombs was a Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, an imam whose mystical Sufism is a far cry from the austere al Qaeda-style type of Islam. Bauchi survived.

Though a government critic, Gumi approves of the soft approach, "but it needs local Borno (leaders) more than
people like us who are already openly opposed to them".

Taking issue with Boko Haram's ideology will work only if the government can draw disaffected youths away from the AK-47. The NSA's economic program aims to do this, starting with 2 billion naira ($12.3 million), but with a further 60 billion that can be made available from other agencies for projects, said Soji Adelaja, NSA special adviser on economic intelligence.

They include mobile medical trucks, cash for the orphans and widows of Boko Haram's victims, and a program employing 150,000 youths to fix roads and rebuild police stations.

Parts of Nigeria that are completely besieged by the insurgents are off-limits, but there are other vulnerable areas where the program can be rolled out, Adelaja says. "We are deploying in areas that are safe, and where the community has some resilience against Boko Haram."

The death of Boko Haram's founder Mohammed Yusuf in police custody transformed what had been a clerical
movement into an armed rebellion in 2009. Akilu says Yusuf disliked "Western" science which he saw as
contradicting the Koran, especially evolutionary theory, the fact that the world is round and the process of
evaporation, because "rain is a gift from God".

Getting schools to show how science and religion can co-exist, she says, is essential to combating such ideas.
Down a dirt track with crater-like potholes on the outskirts of Kaduna lies the iron-roofed Focus 1,2,3
International School. Twelve classrooms packed with desks take 25 children each.

Secular education is between 7.30 a.m. and midday. After lunch, Islamic schooling is between 1 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.
Muhammad Saleh, who runs the school, believes strongly in science, although he has doubts about evolutionary theory - as do many conservative Christians in the West.
Even so, his school teaches it. "I teach them evolution myself, and the parents never complain," he told Reuters. "It's education. Once children have an education they can decide for themselves what to think."


Cameroonian President Fires Two Army Officers After Boko Haram Raids

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - President Paul Biya on Tuesday dismissed two senior army officers in Cameroon's far north following Boko Haram attacks in which at least seven people were killed and the wife of a senior official was kidnapped.

Militants of the Nigerian Islamist group seized the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister and killed at least three people on Sunday in an attack in the northern town of Kolofata involving more than 200 assailants. At least four soldiers were killed in two separate raids late last week.

According to the decree, announced over state radio, Colonel Youssa Gedeon, commander of the Gendarmerie Legion in the north, and Lieutenant-Colonel Justin Ngonga, commander of the 34th motorised infantry battalion in the same region, were both dismissed.

Both officers were at the forefront of Cameroon's response to the rising number of Boko Haram attacks in the region. Nigeria says the militants are using Cameroon as a rear base.

Cameroon has already introduced measures to increase security on its long, jungle border with Nigeria, deploying more than 1,000 soldiers, but has failed to stop the raids.


4th Time in Less Than a Week: Another Female Suicide Bomber Kills Kano Polytechnic Students

For the fourth time in less than a week, a female suicide bomber on Wednesday detonated explosive devices on the campus of the Kano State Polytechnic, killing herself and no fewer than six students.
The victims were students who had gathered in front of a notice board to check for information concerning results and the National Youth Service scheme.

Earlier in the week, a suicide bomber had struck at the NNPC Mega Station along Hotoro Quarters while a church and a shopping mall in the city were also hit on Sunday.

While confirming the incident, spokesman of the Kano State Police Command, Magaji Majiya said ” a female teenager blew herself up at about 2:30pm and she was targeting the students of Kano state Polytechnic. The area has been cordoned off and investigation has commenced”, he said. Majiya said the bomber and two students died while seven others were injured and have been taken to the hospital.


Boko Haram: Nigerian Military Set To Reinforce 'Special Forces' To Damboa, Borno State

The leadership of the Nigerian military has concluded arrangement to deploy 600 specially trained commandos in the troubled area of Damboa, Borno State.

A security source said on Tuesday that the military personnel were specially trained within the country for the purpose of strengthening the security presence in Damboa, which is considered as one of the most volatile areas in the North-East.

It was gathered that the military and the soldiers deployed in that part of Borno State had become very skeptical about the sincerity of the people following the ambushing and killing of an army officer, who was commanding the troop.

It was said that the leadership of the military was shocked that the lieutenant-colonel, a Muslim, who was on mission to convince the people to prevail on the insurgents to embrace peace could be killed in an ambush by the same people he was protecting.

The source said that the military leadership had to take the step to send the specially trained forces to the area to replace some of the soldiers with affected morale in the area.

The source said, “The Army is sceptical about the sincerity of the Damboa people. The situation is such that it has become difficult to separate the people of the area from Boko Haram elements in the area. The place is completely infested.

“And that was responsible for the ambushing and killing of the officer, who was in charge of the troops in the area.

“The morale of the troops is seriously affected, with the killing of their commander and there is the need to prevent them from acting irrationally, to boost their morale.

“The officer, who was killed went there to protect the integrity of the nation. Being a Muslim, he had to tell them they were damaging the image of the North.

“He led that soft approach, to plead with the leaders to talk to them about the importance of peace, and to warn anybody who refused would be dealt with.

“A specialised team has been trained to take over from some of the guys on the ground. Six hundred of them are ready for deployment now. It is a strong force that would boost the morale of those in the area.”

Investigations revealed that the Federal Government had embarked on massive procurement of military hardware from the United States and Russia to address the incessant Boko Haram attacks in the North-East.

It was learnt that the government had imported 40 helicopter gunships from the US and Russia. They are expected to arrive the country first week of August.

The government was also said to have imported mine-resistant tanks required for some planned operations in areas taken over by the insurgents.

The source added that the military had also embarked on massive recruitment of troops in the bid to strengthen the nation’s security forces against the threat of terrorism.

“The Federal Government has purchased some fighter helicopters for this operation; about 40 helicopter gunships have been imported out of which over 30 are from the US while the rest are from Russia.

“They are scheduled to arrive the country in August; the government is embarking on a massive purchase of equipment and recruitment of troops in preparation for the threat. They are doing a lot of recruitment this year,” the source added.


Ebola Outbreak: What You Need To Know About Its Spread- New Scientist

The spread continues. The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa has so far claimed more than 670 lives in what is now the worst outbreak of the disease . Cases have already been recorded in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Now it has reached Lagos in Nigeria. Patrick Sawyer seemed to be alright when he boarded a flight from Liberia on 20 July, but was showing symptoms of the disease by the time he arrived in Lagos. He died on Friday.

With Lagos being Africa's largest city, boasting a population of around 21 million, an outbreak there could be disastrous. Many of the residents of the city live in cramped conditions, which could aid spread of the disease further.

So what is Ebola?
Ebola is a haemorrhagic virus; it causes extensive internal bleeding, and can lead to those infected dying from shock. Initially, those infected experience a sudden onset of fever, muscle pain, weakness, headaches, a sore throat and vomiting and diarrhoea.
As the infection worsens, it leads to external and internal bleeding, as the virus breaks down the epithelial cell wall of blood vessels, causing them to leak fluid.

How does Ebola spread?
Ebola is highly contagious and can be transmitted even after those infected have died, because the virus is
transmitted via bodily fluids. It has a 90% fatality rate.
The virus is thought to be transmitted between species: fruit bats (Nature , doi:10.1038/438575a) may be the
natural hosts of the virus, and may be the reason the virus has spread across Africa.

So how are people trying to stop its spread?
Liberia has announced it has closed all but its major crossings and is also quarantining all affected villages.
Nigerian officials are now screening passengers arriving at the international airports. However, such mechanisms vary from simply asking people if they have experienced symptoms to taking traveller's temperatures: no diagnostic blood tests are being done despite symptoms being very similar to that of other diseases.

Daniel Bausch at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana,
who has recently returned from Sierra Leone, says thepriority should be to trace all contacts of the infected man.

"Lagos is not a particularly international link, but nevertheless knowing where these other travellers could be is difficult. It seems simplistic, but logistics of tracing contacts of those infected is more complex," Bausch says.

How far could the virus spread?
Bausch thinks it is unlikely that the outbreak will spread through Europe or the US if someone infected gets on
an international plane to these places. "Could it happen?
I think it could. Would we get sustained transmission? I don't think we would. Screening at airports is important, but we don't have to panic about one case spreading as long as healthcare officials are taking the usual precautions."

Can the virus be treated?
Currently, there is no cure. Treatment generally involves simply relieving the symptoms of the disease.

How long will the outbreak last?
For a few more months at least, says Bausch.
"The key challenges are to stop the spread of the disease is to ensure that we identify all the contacts of those infected and isolate them, although this requires both a lot of resources and a cooperative population," he says. "It is still difficult to put any sort of temporal prediction on this, as you simply can't model all of the factors involved in the spread, so you just have to hope you have it under control."

How are people in West Africa responding to the outbreak?
"It's been a very grim scene in Sierra Leone," says Bausch. "We've really been trying to fight a very difficult situation, but we haven't had adequate resources due to quite a number of healthcare workers infected , which is tough on people's morale."
It seems that there is a general mistrust of health workers in Sierra Leone. It has been reported that a woman who tested positive for the disease was removed from hospital by her family. The 32-year-old hairdresser was the first known case among residents in the capital city. She later died in the ambulance taking
her back to hospital.

Bausch says there are some nurses in Sierra Leone who have been told by landlords not to return home because
they risk bringing the disease back with them. Not only that, but resources are scarce in the affected areas: one ward was reported as having 55 confirmed patients but only one nurse because some were on strike and others were infected.
Despite this, Bausch is optimistic. "Hopefully bringing in more external support in the next week or two will see an increase in scale of support of this outbreak to allow us to gradually gain control of the situation."

New Scientist

Chibok Girls: Controversy Brews Over 100million Naira Presidential Gift To Parents

A new controversy is brewing in Chibok village, in Borno State with parents of the abducted girls alleging that they have been shortchanged by Chibok community leaders who received 100 million naira cash gift from the Presidency, on their behalf.

Although a presidential aide denied any such gift to Chibok parents, through their leaders, one parent, Mr Abdu Halidu, told the BBC that he got only N200, 000 from the money.

Now the parents of the missing girls are saying that the amount shared to them is unacceptable.

According to Mr Halidu “I got only N200, 000 out of the said N100 million. Some of us got N300,000 and some less than that. Our leaders in Abuja are using the girls to enrich themselves and this is unacceptable.”

Over 200 schoolgirls were abducted by gunmen who stormed the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, North-East Nigeria in the dead of the night of April 15, ordering all the girls out of their hostels into four lorries.

On July 22, a special presidential meeting was held with the parents of the Chibok girls in the Presidential Villa which afforded the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, the opportunity to empathize with the girls and their parents.

The President, after assuring the Chibok community of his Government’s determination to ensure that the abducted schoolgirls that are still in captivity are brought out alive, reassured them that everything would be done to make things easier for them especially the ones that have already escaped and the ones yet to be rescued.

President Jonathan also assured them that their education would not be allowed to suffer. The statement released by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, after the meeting made no mention of a cash gift to the parents.

Community Leaders Deny

Meanwhile, the leadership of Kibaku community an umbrella body for the Chibok community has denied claims that money exchanged hands after the community’s meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan.

National Publicity Secretary of  the community,  Mr Allen Manase, said that they also heard from the media that monies were given to the families of the abducted girls and such a story cannot be confirmed because they do not have any knowledge of the said exchange.

He went on to say that even if monies were to exchange hands it should have been given to the leadership of the community to ensure that it gets to all affected persons.

He urged the Federal Government to instead concentrate on rescuing the girls and returning them to their families and then it can decide to help in rehabilitating them.

Channels TV

Tuesday 29 July 2014

BOKO HARAM: Cameroonian Troops Rescue Abducted Vice PM’s Wife

Security operatives in Cameroon have rescued wife of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali who was abducted by the Boko Haram sect on Sunday along
side a traditional ruler of Kolofata town, according to reports from BBC Hausa Service.

The Boko Haram members have been carrying out attacks in northern part of Cameroon from Sambisa Forest in Nigeria where they are said to have
established their base.
At least 16 people lost their lives in the rescue operations, reports say.
However, Cameroon information minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said government was still investigating the matter to ascertain the actual
number of people killed.

A local religious leader and mayor, Seini Boukar Lamine, was also kidnapped in a separate attack on his home. Three people were killed during the daring raid. Boko Haram fighters clashed with the Cameroonian army in cross-border attacks twice since Friday, killing four soldiers. Cameroon has deployed more than 1,000 soldiers along its border to help combat the Nigerian armed group.

A Cameroonian court last week, sentenced 14 members of the sect to 20 years imprisonment after they were arrested with weapons in March around Marwa in northern Cameroon, says the BBC Hausa report.


Boko Haram Kills 4 Soldiers 46 Others In Fresh Adamawa Attacks

No fewer than 50 people including four soldiers were killed on Sunday by members of the terrorist group Boko Haram in coordinated attacks across three local government areas of the state.

The attacks on Madagali, Hong and Gombi local government areas have caused serious anxiety across the length and breadth of the state. Local sources said four soldiers were killed in Garkida, Gombi LGA, during a fierce gun battle that lasted many hours between the members of the sect and soldiers while many civilians who were caught up in the crossfire were also killed.

Those feared killed by the sect in Madagali LGA where the incumbent acting governor of the state, Hon. Umaru Fintiri, hails from were many, while food items and cows were taken by the insurgents.

The hoodlums also visited mayhem on three communities in Hong LGA: they killed about 30 people.

The affected villages that came under attack of the Boko Haram include Zar, Lube and Mubeng, just as the village head of Zar community, a retired wing commander, Dauda Daniel, was abducted.

It was gathered that 20 people were similarly slaughtered at Mubeng village while the attacks lasted as many scampered into nearby bushes to avoid being killed by the marauders.

Some relatives of the head of Zar said the community leader was yet to be found after the raid and that he might have been abducted by the gunmen.

The figure of those killed in Lube was yet to be ascertained, one of the villagers who fled the community as a result of the attacks said.

An eyewitness who identified himself as Markus said most of the people in his community Lubeng were able to run to safety because they learnt of the coming of the sect members beforehand.

He added that not all were lucky to escape as children and the elderly who could not escape were trapped by the insurgents.

However, the acting governor of the state, Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, has commiserated with the families of the victims in the affected local government areas of the state.

The acting governor who spoke through his chief press secretary, Mr Solomon Kumanga, said that the government was collaborating with security agencies to bring down the activities of the outlawed group.

The spokesman of the Adamawa State police command, Haa Michael, however confirmed the attacks just as he said information about the number of casualties remained sketchy.

Leadership Newspaper

Nigeria Has Failed At Fighting Terrorism – United States

The United States government yesterday said that the Federal Government of Nigeria has failed in its fight against terrorism, adding that the failure was a result of the inability of the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to adequately equip and train security forces to contain violent extremist groups in the north who attacked religious freedom.

Making this known in the US International Religious Report for 2013, which was released in Washington, DC, yesterday, secretary of state John Kerry said that the federal government did not act swiftly or effectively to prevent or quell communal or religious-based violence and only occasionally investigated and prosecuted perpetrators of that violence.

“The government also failed to protect victims of violent attacks targeted because of their religious beliefs or for other reasons,” the report a copy of which was sent to our correspondent in New York said.

Citing instances, the report said legal proceedings against five police officers charged in 2011 with the extrajudicial killing of Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf did not resume during the year, adding that the court was not in session on continuation dates set in February, March, May, and June after the presiding judge transferred to a different jurisdiction in 2012.

It stated further that there were no indictments or prosecutions following three fatal attacks on high-profile Muslim leaders in late 2012.

It pressed further that local and state authorities did not deliver adequate protection or post-attack relief to rural communities in the northeast, where Boko Haram killed villagers and burned churches throughout the year.

The report also berated reported discrimination and a systematic lack of protection by state governments, especially in central Nigeria, where communal violence rooted in decades-long competition for land pitted majority-Christian farmers against majority-Muslim cattle herders.

It added that federal, state, and local authorities did not effectively address underlying political, ethnic, and religious grievances leading to this violence.

“Recommendations from numerous government-sponsored panels for resolving ongoing ethno-religious disputes in the Middle Belt included establishing truth and reconciliation committees, redistricting cities, engaging in community sensitization, and ending the dichotomy between indigenes and settlers. Nationwide practice distinguished between indigenes, whose ethnic group was native to a location, and settlers, who had ethnic roots in another part of the country.

“Indigenes and settlers often belonged to different religious groups. Local authorities granted indigenes certain privileges, including preferential access to political positions, government employment, and lower school fees, based on a certificate attesting to indigene status. The federal government did not implement any recommendations despite ongoing calls by political and religious leaders to do so” the report read.

Furthermore, the US report noted that the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, or “people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and jihad” continued to commit violent acts in its quest to overthrow the government and impose its own religious and political beliefs throughout the country, especially in the north.

“Boko Haram killed more than 1,000 persons during the year. The group targeted a wide array of civilians and sites, including Christian and Muslim religious leaders, churches, and mosques, using assault rifles, bombs, improvised explosive devices, suicide car bombs, and suicide vests.

“An attack on the Emir of Kano in January was widely believed to be an attempt by Boko Haram to silence the anti-extremist Muslim leader, although the group did not officially claim responsibility. On September 28, Boko Haram killed at least 50 mostly Muslim students at a technical college in rural Yobe State. After this and other incidents, security forces faced public criticism for arriving at the scene hours after the assailants had fled.

“Government attempts to stop Boko Haram were largely ineffective. Actions taken by security forces under the state of emergency, declared in May in the three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, often increased the death toll, as bystanders were caught in crossfire during urban gunfights, security forces committed extrajudicial killings of suspected terrorists, and detainees died in custody,” the report noted.

Leadership Newspaper

Gunmen Abduct Octogenarian Uncle of Former Governor Sylva in Bayelsa State

The spate of kidnapping of relatives of top political office holders in Bayelsa state continued Monday as gunmen stormed the country home of the Former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva and abducted his 86-year-old uncle, Pa Benson Adigio-Eseni.

The kidnap of the old man who is the father of the former personal assistant of Sylva and former chief of staff to acting governor who took over from Sylva is coming on the heels of the abduction of the former governor's sister some months ago.

Pa Benson Adigio-Eseni was said to have been abducted at 2am on Sunday night from his seaside residence.

As at the time of filing this report no word has been heard from the kidnappers who would normally ask for ransom.

It would be recalled that his son,  Austin Adigio,  was one of politicians who abandoned Sylva to return to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) recently. He  is  known  to have the intention to contest for  the state House of Assembly election in 2015.

ThisDay Newspaper

Suspected Cultists Kill Five, Torch Houses in a Makurdi Community, Benue State

PALPABLE fear has engulfed residents of Agboughul community in Makurdi, the Benue state capital as five people were allegedly killed by rampaging cultists, who also set some houses in the area ablaze.

The Guardian gathered from the community that the rampaging invaders have also forced the six traditional rulers within the area and their families to desert the locality over fear of the unknown, since it was believed that most of the victims of the attack were innocent people, who are not members of any of the other cult groups.

An elderly man in the area who spoke to journalists under condition of anonymity said: “My son, as you can see, I am the only elderly person remaining in this community, every other person has left with their families to the hinterland and Makurdi town or to the nearby villages to save their lives.”

“These wicked boys (cultists) are fond of operating in the night or sometimes in the day time. The moment they see a house they want to attack, they will strike and yesterday they killed five people. Nobody is sleeping in this area peacefully, and I want to tell you that even the traditional rulers about six of them are no longer here. They have run away with their families. But as for me, I don’t know where to run to and I am still here”, the old man revealed.

The old man continued that even as a detachment of armed mobile policemen as well as men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) are on a daily patrol of the area to help maintain law and order, peace has continue to elude the community as the bad boys always find loophole to strike when security is lax.

While commending the efforts of the police and vigilante group in trying to maintain the peace in the community, the aged man particularly lauded the efforts of the vigilante people whom he said stay till daybreak in providing security to the people.

The Guardian recalls that the Agboughul community in Makurdi has over the years been known for communal and cult uprisings, which had at several instances rendered people dead.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ezeala denied knowledge of the killings and burning of houses, saying if there was any attack, the police would have known, assuring that the command was on top of the situation of the security situation in the state.

Guardian Newspaper

Monday 28 July 2014

Breaking News: Another Female Suicide Bomber Detonates Bomb Near a Shopping Mall In Kano

A bomb blast has occurred close to Buhari Square adjacent to Shoprite shopping mall in Kano.

A bomb blast has occurred again close to Buhari Square adjacent to Shoprite shopping mall in Kano killing the bomber and injuring six other persons.

The bombing carried out by a lone female suicide bomber estimated to be 19 years of age took place at the Trade Fair complex opposite Shoprite shopping mall in Kano. The Police PRO in the state, ASP Musa Majai confirmed the bombing. The area has been cordoned off  security agents in the city.



Terrorism has no religion; it does not distinguish it's victims and destroys those who practice it. Don't be fooled into becoming a stooge to terrorism.

Be Security Conscious: See it, Hear it, Say it, Stop it!!!

Let's join hands and take back humanity!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Police Foils Bomb Blast in Kano’s Mosque, Arrest Five Suspects Over Blasts

The Police in Kano have arrested five male suspects for their complicity in various bomb attacks in the ancient city, including the Sunday bomb blast at St. Charles Catholic Church in which at least five people were killed and eight were injured.

Two of the suspects were arrested in connection with the foiled bomb attack at Isyaku Rabiu Mosque, according to a statement from the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.

He said, “As part of ongoing investigations into the various terror-related incidents that occurred in Kano, Police operatives have arrested five male suspects for their complicity in the attacks.

“Two were arrested in connection with the foiled attack on Isyaku Rabiu Mosque while three were arrested in connection with the attack on St. Charles Church.

“All the suspects are currently undergoing interrogation at different police facilities.”

Mba said that the  attack on the church came shortly after the end of mass, when the suspects were believed to have thrown Improvised Explosive Devices at the church located in Sabongari area of the ancient city.

An Improvised Explosive Device that went off at the New Road Motor Park in Kano last Thursday, had killed five persons and injured eight others, barely 24 hours after twin blasts claimed about 82 lives in Kaduna.

The source of the blast was traced to an IED which was hidden  in a refrigerator and smuggled into the park by a cart pusher.

Eyewitness accounts indicated that the cart pusher was able to beat security at the motor gate because he packaged the refrigerator like a passenger luggage.

On June 23, a bomb blast at a public health college in the city killed at least eight, while on May 19, a suicide car bomb attack in Sabon Gari killed at least four people, including a young girl.

At least four strong explosions rocked the same area on July 29 last year, killing 12.

Punch Newspaper

Boko Haram Kidnaps Wife of Cameroon's Vice PM, Kills at Least Three

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - The wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister was kidnapped and at least three people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants on in the northern town of Kolofata on Sunday, Cameroon officials said.

A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town's mayor, was kidnapped as well, in a separate attack on his home.

Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militant group, has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks as Cameroon has deployed troops to the region, joining international efforts to combat the militants.

"I can confirm that the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants," Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.

"They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido's residence and he was also kidnapped," he said, and at least three people were killed in the attack.

A Cameroon military commander in the region told Reuters that the vice prime minister, who was at home to celebrate the Muslim feast of Ramadan with his family, was taken to a neighboring town by security officials.

"The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers," said Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, the second commander of Cameroon's third inter-army military region, based in the regional headquarters Maroua.

The Sunday attack is the third Boko Haram attack into Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the previous attacks. Meanwhile, some 22 suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been held in Maroua since March, were on Friday sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. It was unclear whether the events are related.


Abubakar Shekau’s Growing 'Caliphate': Boko Haram Control More Than Half of Borno State

Boko Haram insurgents are daily becoming more daring in their attacks, moving into strategic towns and villages, killing, maiming and sacking residents in northeast Borno State.

The militant group has widened its tentacles and is now in control of more than half of the entire communities in the state.

“The more we thought the security situation would become better, the more the attacks on communities,” says Abba Kakami, Borno State chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Kakami’s view only captures the feelings of Borno residents and others in the two North-east states of Adamawa and Yobe where Boko Haram exert more presence. “Each day is like traveling on a long lonely road in apprehension with a faulty vehicle that could break down anytime,” a resident of Maiduguri who did not want his name in print told Sunday Sun, adding that residents had been living in perpetual fear.

“About a year ago, our hope was brightened when young men with sticks arrested Boko Haram militants. We thought the end has come but it is clear now we haven’t seen the end,” he added. The residents lamented that their initial optimism was gradually waning especially as Boko Haram had found safe havens in southern part of Borno and neighbouring Bauchi state to launch more attacks.

Strategic attacks/movement

Boko Haram insurgents have been very strategic in their operations since 2010 when full scale insurgency was launched in Borno, its birthplace. While in Maiduguri, its initial operational base, the sect expanded its base and camps to Marte, a border community in northern Borno, hilly Gwoza area, southeast of the state, Mubi area in north of Adamawa and Gujba, eastern part of Yobe where it occasionally attacked communities. By late 2011, it began full scale attacks in northern Borno, sacked almost all the communities and by early 2013, it took on the central part of the state, starting from Alao near Maiduguri, Borno State capital. It moved gradually to Konduga, Kawuri, Bama, Pulka junction, to Gwoza. The insurgents burnt down almost all the towns and villages around the area and subsequently moved to the southern part of the state. Residents believed the hilly and good vegetation of the Savannah southern part of Borno provides a fertile ground for Boko Haram activities including establishment of camps and operational base. It stepped up its attacks on communities and educational institutions in Borno and Yobe late 2013 and early 2014, leading to the massacre of over 40 students of College of Agriculture Gujba, Yobe State, over 60 students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, St Joseph Seminary School, Shuwa, Adamawa State and then, the April 14 abduction of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, which attracted international outrage. Gujba and Gulani in Yobe and Mubi as well as Madagali in northern Adamawa share border with southern part of Borno where Sambisa Forest, a major Boko Haram camp and Chibok are also situated.

Boko Haram’s new-found haven

Until now, residents of Borno believed the Christian dominated southern part of the state was insulated from Boko Haram attacks but with the kidnap of the schoolgirls in April and subsequent attacks with less restriction from military forces, it became obvious that the terrorists have found a new haven in the friendly southern area. A security source told Sunday Sun that the insurgents shifted their activities to the southern part because of persistent pressure on them and killing of their fighters by Nigerian military troops. “We didn’t give them breathing space. We smoked them out and rooted their camps in Marte. So they decided to move to southern Borno where they can get cover with the vegetation there,” the source explained. He also disclosed that all the nine local governments areas in that axis are easily linked from Sambisa. “I think it was a clear operational strategy by the terrorists. They simply established their camp at Sambisa, a very large area, to continue their terror in the area having been chased out of the northern and central parts. From this point too, they can easily move to Adamawa by the north and Yobe-Bauchi axis by the east,” he stated.

He, however, admitted that the attention of the military “was actually on Sambisa and communities  around the general area,” adding that they “did not consider possible attacks” in places like Chibok, Hawul or Askira-Uba “because of the understanding that their children are not easily recruited into the sect due to their level of education.” That purported wrong assessment of the Boko Haram activities, gave the sect opportunity to plan and execute attacks on communities in the area.

Boko Haram’s newly captured areas

A recent daring attack on a newly established military base in Damboa, also in southern Borno, about 85 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital by Boko Haram, presumably gave away the control of the muddy town to the insurgents. Just last week, the insurgents sacked the town, burnt down almost all the houses and killed over 25 people. The northeast zonal office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said 15, 204 people have been displaced. Damboa, mostly peopled by peasant farmers and traders, has a population of about 231, 573, according to 2006 Nigeria census. Fleeing residents of the area said two-third of the total 6, 219 km2 landmass that made up Damboa Local Government, have been taken over by Boko Haram with unverified claims of the sect hoisting its flags in the area. Other communities in the local government taken over by the insurgents include Kimba, Madaragrau, Chikwar Kir, Mandafuma, Bomburatai and Sabon Kwatta.

In Hawul local government area, most communities around the Kwajafa district have been largely deserted after incessant attacks.

Chairman of Hawul Local Government Area, Dr Andrew Malgwi told Sunday Sun on phone that the residents of Gaggirang village are now taking refuge on a road around the area after the insurgents took over their homes last Sunday.

“The attackers burnt a woman in her house, shot many and set the whole village ablaze after carting away their food items and livestocks,” he disclosed.

Boko Haram have also sacked half of communities at Askira-Uba, another major local government area, in the southern part of the state. The insurgents killed over 40 people in Dille recently after previous attacks on five villages while Biu, headquarters of Biu Local Government Area, about 100 kilometres to Damboa, remains the only major town still standing in the area, although it has equally witnessed deadly attacks in the past.

The insurgents have ravaged Gwoza Local Government Area, about 135 kilometres from Maiduguri as all the autonomous communities behind the hill are deserted. These communities, which are located along the Cameroon borders include Attagara, Aghapalawa and Aganjara. Over 2,000 residents of the area are now in two camps in Maiduguri at present.

Only Shani, Bayo and some parts of Kwaya Kusar local government areas out of the nine council areas in the southern Borno are enjoying relative peace.

More than half of the communities in Konduga, Bama, Dikwa and Mafa local government areas in the central district have been destroyed.

So how large is the area destroyed and/or taken over by the insurgents? A lecturer at the University of Maiduguri who preferred anonymity, said Boko Haram have destroyed more than half of the communities in the state. “Geographically, Boko Haram’s presence can be seen and felt in almost all part of the state though with more control of the southern and central districts, which translate to more than half of the state.” He also said there are isolated communities in some instances, which are not attacked by the insurgents because they offer some gifts to Boko Haram to pacify them. He declined to mention the villages. “Mentioning them could be counter-productive because the insurgents may go back there to attack them again for leaking what ought to be an agreement between them but of truth, such accord for protection actually happens in some villages,” he stated.

Military Efforts

Many residents said they believed the military was capable of tackling Boko Haram insurgency but expressed concern over what they described as unwillingness of the authority to nip the terror act in the bud. “The Nigeria military is capable of handling the situation but it appears there is conspiracy on the part of the leaders not to do so,” Abdullah Ahmed, a social crusader said. There is military presence in most of the major towns in Borno but residents said they often said they have not received instruction from their superiors when alerted to Boko Haram attacks in nearby communities. “We found this very awkward because it looks like an excuse not to act and that is why Boko Haram often attack people and communities for hours without resistance from any troops. It happened at Dille in Askira Uba at Chibok Local Government Area and lately in Damboa,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has stepped up actions against the Boko Haram, while assuring that it would not allow any group to annex any part of Nigeria.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade said the military had ordered troops to up the ante against the sect in Damboa and other vulnerable areas.

He said: “We have put in place necessary machinery, including the patrol of vulnerable areas, to check the insurgents. Activities are being stepped up to curtail the menace.”

Olukolade, however, declined to explain the military activities, saying: “I won’t go into details on the actions we have taken. I cannot disclose military plans.

“We will not say when troops will take charge of Damboa to avoid a repeat of the last ambush of these committed and loyal soldiers. But we are firming up deployment of troops to Damboa and other places.

“We are ready for the insurgents but we will prefer to keep our strategies to ourselves because of the nature of the battle ahead.”

The Sun

Saturday 26 July 2014

Nigeria Police Issue Nationwide Red Alert For Sallah Celebration

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, has put the force on red alert across the country to ensure adequate security as Nigerians prepare for the Sallah celebration.

The IGP directed all commissioners of police to personally supervise the special security deployment and ensure 24-hour surveillance of their respective area of operations.

Police Public Relations Officer Mr. Frank Mba said in a statement the commissioners are to ensure that
maximum attention is paid to critical public places and other points prone to enemy attack and to retool their
security infrastructures in line with their local security realities.


How the United State's Terrorism Watchlists Work – and How You Could End Up on One

Placement on a terrorism watchlist is a life-changing event. Your travel is monitored and in many cases restricted. If overseas, you could be stranded, costing your employment or reunion with your family. You could be detained and, certain lawsuits allege, tortured by foreign governments.

Yet the ease with which someone can be placed on US watchlists and terrorism databases contrasts markedly with the impact placement has. A long-withheld document published on Wednesday by the Intercept detailing the guidelines for placement shows that the standards for inclusion are far lower than probable cause, and the ability for someone caught in the datasets to challenge their placement do not exist. In 2013, the government made 468,749 nominations for inclusion to the Terrorist Screening Database, up from 227,932 nominations in 2009; few are rejected.

The rise – and the low standards the Intercept documented – is partially explained by the near-miss airliner bombing in Christmas 2009, by a man connected to a Yemeni branch of al-Qaida. Partially it is explained by the overwhelming secrecy surrounding the process: attorney general Eric Holder has called it a state secret (although the guidance document itself is unclassified), preventing meaningful outside challenges that would recalibrate a balance between reasonable expectations of security and liberty.

That secrecy, as the Intercept's publication indicates, is starting to erode – slowly. Recent court.cases have given the beginnings of insight into how the US government's apparatus of terrorism databases and watchlists works in practice. Here is
a guide.

They're reading your tweets:
The watchlisting guidance says that "first amendment protected activity alone shall not be the basis" for nominating someone to the lists. The
key word: alone. What you say, write and publish can and will be used against you. Particularly if you tweet it, pin it or share it.

The guidelines recognize that looking at "postings on social media sites" is constitutionally problematic. But those posts "should not automatically be discounted", the guidelines state.
Instead, the agency seeking to watchlist someone should evaluate the "credibility of the source, as well as the nature and specificity of the information". If they're concerned about a tweet, in other words, they're likely to go through a user's timeline. That joke about that band blowing up could come back to haunt you at the airport.

Where you go might get you placed on the list –and then stranded Contained within the guidance is a potential reason why many US Muslims find themselves abruptly unable to return from trips abroad without explanation. An example given of "potential behavioral indicators" of terrorism is "travel for no known lawful or legitimate purpose to a locus of TERRORISM ACTIVITY". Not defined: "lawful", "legitimate" or "locus". That could mean specific training camps, travel to which few would dispute the merits of watchlisting. Or it could mean entire countries where terrorists are known or suspected of operating – and where millions of Americans
travel every year.

The guidelines themselves, in that very section, warn that such behavioral indicators include: "activity that may have innocent explanations wholly unrelated to terrorism". It warns analysts not to judge any circumstance "in isolation".

What happens on the no-fly list does not stay on the no-fly list. A federal judge, writing in June, noted that the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center shares information on banned passengers with 22 foreign governments as well as "ship captains", resulting in potential "interference with an individual's ability to travel by means other than commercial airlines".

Many people who have sued the US government over the watchlists have reported being unable to return from travel abroad. Ali Ahmed, a US citizen
in San Diego, attempted in 2012 to fly to Kenya to meet his fiancee for their arranged marriage. But first he flew to Saudi Arabia to make the religiously
encouraged pilgrimage to Mecca; he found himself stranded in Bahrain after he was unable to enter Kenya. Ayman Latif, a disabled US marine originally from Miami who now lives in Egypt, was prevented from flying to the US for a disability evaluation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
There's room for the family (and perhaps your friends)

A precursor data set that feeds the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB or, "the watchlist") is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. TIDE contains records of known or suspected international terrorists. It also contains information on their families and perhaps their friends.
"Alien spouses and children" of people NCTC labels terrorists get put into TIDE. They "may be inadmissible to the United States", presumed to be dangerous. TIDE also contains "non-terrorist" records of people who have a "close relationship with KNOWN or SUSPECTED terrorists", the guidance reads. Examples listed are fathers or
brothers, although the guidance does not specify a blood or marital relationship as necessary for inclusion. Those people can be American citizens or non citizens inside the United States. While those "close relation[s]" are not supposed to be passed on for watchlisting absent other "derogatory information", their data may be retained within TIDE for unspecified "analytic purposes".

Just because a jury finds you innocent doesn't mean watchlists agree:
The guidelines explicitly state that someone "acquitted or against whom charges are dismissed for a crime related to terrorism" can still be
watchlisted. A federal official nominating such a person for inclusion on the list just needs "reasonable suspicion" of a danger – something defined as more than "mere guesses or hunches", based on articulable information or "rational inferences" from it, but far less than probable cause. A judge or jury's decision is not controlling.

Watch how you walk:
In keeping with a general enthusiasm exhibited by law enforcement and the military for identifying someone based on their seemingly unique physical attributes, biometric information is eligible as a criteria to watchlist someone. Several of those biometric identifiers are traditional law enforcement ones, like fingerprints; others are exceptionally targeted, like DNA. Then there are others that reflect emerging or immature analytic subjects: "digital images", iris scans, and "gait" – that is, the way you walk.
Gait and other biometric identifiers do not appear sufficient to watchlist someone. But they are sufficient to nominate someone to the watchlist or
TIDE, provided they rise to the "minimum substantive derogatory standards" – articulable reasons for suspecting someone of involvement of terrorism, a far lower standard than probable cause– unless they come accompanied with evidence that
the manner of walk in question includes "an individual with a defined relationship with the KNOWN or SUSPECTED terrorist". It does not appear that a particular swagger by itself can be watchlisted.

Lisa says …
Lisa Monaco is a former US attorney who holds one of the most powerful and least accountable positions in the US security apparatus: assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism. She has enormous influence over the watchlisting system.

The guidelines empower Monaco, her successor or a designee to make a "temporary, threat-based upgrade" to "categories of individuals" already
watchlisted. The intent appears to be the creation of a single government official able to rapidly keep people off airlines once threat information, often
fragmentary and rarely specific, emerges to indicate an imminent terrorist attack. It is unclear what
characterizes a "category". The White House says she has never exercised the power.
Monaco, like others holding her position, does not answer to Congress. No Senate confirms her.
Anyone who tries to obtain her official
communications will face a legal defense of executive privilege. It appears commensurate with
the extraordinary if inconsistent secrecy surrounding watchlisting – attorney general Eric Holder said the procedures were a state secret even as the guidelines outlining them are not classified – that she and not a Senate-confirmable appointee makes the upgrading decision.

An administration official declined to confirm authenticity of the document, but said Monaco has never exercised any such temporary authority. The
administration did not say why she and not a cabinet official or subordinate has those powers in the first place.

You can be turned into an informant (or punished if you refuse)
Keeping track of suspected terrorists may not be the only purpose the watchlisting system serves.
Recent lawsuits allege that the FBI uses it to as leverage to turn people into snitches.
A 30-year-old Afghan American, Naveed Shinwari, found that after FBI agents questioned him about his 2012 travel to Afghanistan – he was getting married – he couldn't obtain a boarding pass he needed for an out-of-state job interview. Soon he found himself talking to other FBI agents, who wanted to know if he knew anyone "threatening" his community in Omaha, Nebraska.
"That’s where it was mentioned to me: you help us, we help you. We know you don’t have a job; we’ll give you money," Shinwari, who is suing over the apparent quid pro quo, told the Guardian in April.

Similarly, in Oregon, a man named Yonas Fikre is suing the government for allegedly attempting to parlay his no-fly list placement into getting him to infiltrate a prominent Portland mosque. After Fikre declined, he claims, he traveled to the United Arab
Emirates, where he was detained, beaten on the soles of his feet and placed in "stress positions" –all, he says, while his torturers asked him questions about the Portland mosque that were suspiciously similar to those the FBI asked.

Effectively, said Gadeir Abbas, attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the watchlists "provide law enforcement with an extra-judicial tool to impose consequences on predominantly Muslims who choose to exercise their rights instead of becoming informants."

So much for that job
Being unable to travel is in some ways more invasive than other forms of surveillance. Unless your friends spend their time digging through court records, they will be unlikely to find out that, say, your assets were frozen, even you suddenly can't pay for dinners. Not all jobs ask about or care about an arrest.

Traveling is different. Being unable to travel on short notice is what Abbas calls a "publicly accessible fact" – that is, something your friends, family and co-workers will learn about in time. His.client Gulet Mohammed is an information-technology professional in northern Virginia. "Not allowing him to be able to cover great distances in.a short amount of time, that has a dramatic impact on what his prospects are," Abbas said.
Earl Knaeble IV, an army veteran from California, alleges in a lawsuit that he lost a job offered to him after he was unable to return to the US for a pre-
employment medical exam after he got married in Colombia. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to drive home.

You can't get off – yet
There is no procedure to challenge and reverse your status on the no-fly list, the terrorism watchlist or TIDE. Inclusion on any is not typically disclosed – making legal remedies difficult – nor does the government provide any process for removal. Travelers suspicious about why their attempts to fly were unsuccessful can launch a redress request through the Department of Homeland Security, but that process does not challenge inclusion on a watchlist or database, nor will even successful requests guarantee against
future travel restrictions. Procedures that will, identified within the guidance, are exclusively internal government processes.

"The only way to get off the federal watchlist is through the beneficence of a federal agent, routinely coupled with some form of cooperation with the FBI," Abbas said.

But that lack of redress has now imperiled the no-fly list. Last month, in a federal judge in Oregon ruled that the inability of individuals to extricate
themselves from the list is a due-process violation, rejecting the government's contention that there is no constitutional right to travel.
"Such an argument ignores the numerous reasons that an individual may have for wanting or needing
to travel overseas quickly, such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a business opportunity or a religious obligation," judge Anna
Brown found.

Yet the legal battle over the no-fly list is practically certain to continue. Nor does Brown's ruling touch on the broader watchlists and datasets from which the no-fly list draws.

The Guardian