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DEFENCE

Buhari in Ouagadougou, Canvasses Urgent actions by ECOWAS to Stop Terrorism

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Economic of West Africa States
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President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, urged ECOWAS leaders not to allow terrorist groups destabilise the region.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja, said the Nigerian leader made the call at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Counter-Terrorism in Ouagadougou.

President Buhari said: ”Our region has made commendable progress in the realization of its regional integration and we must not allow terrorist groups to destabilize our Community and undermine the aspirations of our people for a safe, secure and prosperous environment.

”It is, therefore, our collective responsibility not to let up but to win the fight against terrorism and stamp out the scourge from our region.”

The President, who joined other ECOWAS leaders for the special one-day Summit, which was also attended by leaders of Chad and Mauritania decried that terrorism had become a major security threat across the globe.

He warned that the activities of terrorist groups had constituted a grave danger to peace and security in West Africa, the wider Sahel and the global community.

”The frequency of attacks, the determination and resilience of the terrorist groups as well as the ease with which they raise funds and acquire sophisticated weapons are matters of serious concern which should engage our attention as a Community.

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”Equally worrisome, is the continuing spread of the menace of terrorism in the region and the growing link between terrorism and organized crime.

”This is why we must not relent in our efforts until we defeat the monster completely.

”And the best way to achieve this objective is through coordinated regional actions and responses against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, inter-communal disputes while we also put in place policies and measures that will address their root causes including the re-establishment and protection of livelihoods,” he said.

While sharing the experience of Nigeria in fighting the scourge, the President said, ”as a major victim of Boko Haram terrorist activities, Nigeria has remained resolute in efforts to combat and eradicate them in all their forms and manifestations.

”Our counter-terrorism strategy which includes prevention, prosecution and reconstruction is also in full compliance with the Yamoussoukro counter-terrorism strategy adopted by ECOWAS Member States.

”In combating terrorism and addressing the resultant humanitarian crisis, through regional and international collaboration, ECOWAS as a Regional Economic Cooperation, would need in partnership with the African Union, to galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat this menace in our region.”

The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to apprise the regional leaders on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

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He described the situation in Lake Chad Basin, historically a bastion of rich culture, civilization and abundant natural resources providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people, as tragic.

He noted that the area had become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists whose primitive intent was wanton destruction of lives of innocent citizens and properties as well as public infrastructure.

On MNJTF, the President reported that the achievements recorded so far in the operations remain an exemplary model of regional collaboration.

”MNJTF has largely succeeded in degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group.

”This could not have been accomplished without the recognition by the affected Lake Chad Basin Countries and Benin Republic, of the need to harness our efforts and resources to confront our common enemy which has now been substantially weakened.

”While much still remains to be done, I encourage MNJTF to stay steadfast in their mission, as I urge the political leadership of the LCBC countries to continue to preserve our solidarity and commitment towards achieving durable peace and sustainable development in these areas.

”In this regard, it is imperative that we continuously strive to provide the necessary resources and tools to the MNJTF, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Accra Initiative and similar initiatives, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region, ” he said.

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President Buhari expressed the hope that the adoption of the road map, priority areas and other recommendations of the Ouagadougou Summit, if properly implemented, would go a long way in addressing the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the sub region.(NAN)

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Army Launches Operations Against Oil Thieves

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

The Nigerian Army in Bayelsa State at the weekend launched a raid on the camps of suspected oil thieves and Militants at Igbomotoro and Azuzuama communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government area of the state.

It was gathered that the raid, which was conducted by men of 5 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, also combed the crude oil pipeline route along the Obama flow station, Kolo creeks and Brass areas of the State.

While a senior military sources said that the operation was also targeted at tackling the operations of some known militants involved in setting up illegal bunkering camps in communities of Southern Ijaw and some other illegal activities.

Another claimed the operation was targeted at arresting a known militant leader over his alleged shady activities, but he escaped with his boys through the creeks when he was alerted about the impending military raid.

It was also however gathered that the shrine allegedly being used to administer oaths on youths during recruitment into the illegal bunkering activities by the suspected militant leader was destroyed and many other items including Military Camouflage, Mobile phones and military boots were seized.

Indigenes of the Igbomotoro community however cried out over alleged military occupation of the area thereby causing panic and desertion by indigenes over fear of indiscriminate arrest.

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An Indigene of Igbomotoro, who pleaded anonymity, however told Daily Asset on Sunday that the area is calm as the military men have retreated from the community as at Sunday morning,” the situation is calm now. We are peace loving community and would not want soldiers to occupy our area.”

Attempts to get the spokesman of the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army and the Joint Military Task Force to speak on the development proved abortive as no one showed signs of denying or confirming the development.

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DEFENCE

Troops Nab Alleged Gunrunner, Seven Rail Track Vandals in Taraba, Benue

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja

The Military High Command said its troops of Operation whirl stroke have arrested a notorious gun runner, one Mr. Ardo Manu Abdulrahaman Maranewo who has been on the security wanted list while seven rail tracks vandals were arrested in Taraba, Benue States.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said Abdulrahaman is specialized in selling and leasing arms and ammunition to bandits and kidnappers in Taraba State.

“Troops on patrol in Udei general along Udei -Makurdi-Lafiya road arrested 7 rail track vandals namely; Tersoo John (40yrs), Donald Kperuv (30yrs), Abraham Tinde (25yrs), Jamilu Danlami (20yrs), James Yandela (29yrs), Idris Usman Imam (32yrs) and Abubakar Adamu (30yrs).

Onyeuko said that the rail track vandals were arrested with a trailer (ABJ KWALI 846XB) loaded with cut to size vandalised railway tracks and sleepers.

He in another development, said the troops have on June 21, also raided a kidnappers enclave at Maraba in Ukyonugu Ityuluv Ward in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State and arrested a bandits collaborator one Mr. Ichen Igbaka, a 65- year-old and his wife Mrs. Salomi Gbaka.

“Their house as a hideout for kidnapped for late bandit leader Mr Azu,” he said, adding that the suspects and items recovered are in custody for further interrogation.

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Meanwhile, in the North West he said “On 21 Jun 2022 troops of FOB Bakura Operation HADARIN DAJI responded to distress call of terrorists’ activities at Rafin Dankura in Bakura LGA of Zamfara State engaged the terrorists in a shootout after abducting innocent civilians.

“After the encounter troops rescued the six (6) kidnapped civilians and neutralised 2 bandits in the process.

“Similarly, on 21 June 2022 in response to a distress call on terrorists activities made contacts with marauding terrorists at Maigora in Faskari LGA of Katsina State and neutralized 2 terrorists in the process.

“Items recovered includes 2 AK 47, 1x 36 hand grenade, 2 x cell phones and the sum two hundred and eleven thousand, nine hundred and fifteen naira (211,915.00),” he disclosed.

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CRIME

Don’t Resume Train Service until AK-9 Victims are Rescued, Family Members Charge NRC

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42 days after terrorists attacked the AK-9 train along the Abuja-Kaduna rail route, families of the over 100 persons still in captivity have urged the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, not to resume services on the corridor until all those held captive are safely rescued.

Addressing a press conference, Monday, in Abuja, the families lamented the horrible conditions the abducted passengers have been forced to live in, even as they took a swipe at the manner the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NRC have so far handled the matter.

Representatives of the families, Abfulfatai Jimoh and Ba’abba Muhammad said it would be insensitive for NRC to resume operations on the route with fate of scores of passengers kidnapped still unknown.

“Abuja-Kaduna train service should not resume until the quick and safe rescue of our family members held hostage and adequate security measures are put in place to guarantee the safety of prospective passengers.

This position aligns with the prayers of the majority of Nigerians,” they said.

According to them, “it has been 42 long days of living in fear, virtually no sleep, no bath, wearing the same clothes, under the scorching sun and rain, and exposed to extreme environmental hazards.

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“The emotional, psychological, mental, and physical torture arising from these conditions are only imaginable.

“Among the abducted passengers are children- some as young as three years old, pregnant women, women including an 85-year-old great grandmother, and others. Some of these victims have health challenges requiring daily medications, which they have had no access to in the last 42 harrowing days.”

In an emotionally-laden voice, Jimoh added that the story of one of the victims giving birth in the forest is difficult to accept in a sane society.

“We read in the news that one of the two pregnant women in captivity delivered her baby in the forest.

“Giving birth is supposed to be a moment of joy; how would it have been if this woman delivered her baby in the comfort of a maternity ward? In whose hands? What is the place of birth of this baby, the forest? While some families have their breadwinners in captivity, others have their wives, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts held down in the bush.

“This hostage-taking has drastically disrupted the living conditions of affected families. Children are crying everyday, with the only question in their mouths being: When are my Mummy and Daddy coming home? What a miserable state!

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“Since this unfortunate attack on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train, we believe the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alongside his security and intelligence chiefs, have been working to rescue our loved ones. We have been given assurances that a positive outcome of these efforts would be apparent soon.

“We must, however, register our displeasure with the way and manner the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has been handling this tragic event since it occurred. Just a few days after 28th March, Mr. Amaechi was seen running around the Stadium in Port Harcourt where he declared his intention to become the next President of Nigeria.

“We had expected Mr. Amaechi to be running around as to how to get his abducted passengers rescued, and this is highly disappointing. Mr. President also directed the Management of NRC to establish a Situation Room to give a minute by minute account of rescue efforts to relatives of kidnapped passengers.

“Still, one week after this Presidential directive was issued, NRC has neither contacted the relatives of kidnapped victims nor established any Situation Room as directed by the President. This display of gross incompetence and insensitivity should lead to the appropriate punishment.

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“Furthermore, we sought the intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, which is the people’s court, but nothing has been forthcoming from them.

“We want to extend our profound gratitude to Nigerians, elder statesmen, traditional, religious, and community leaders, and the Nigerian media who have lent their strong voices to this struggle both in the open and behind the scene and their prayers for divine intervention. We still need this vital support until success is achieved,” they said.

Fielding questions from journalists, Hidayiat Yusuf, spokesperson for the families slammed the NRC for contemplating resumption of operations on the route, saying “if there was security in place, our loved ones would not have been kidnapped.

“We are ready to negotiate with the terrorists if they are willing. If it is money they want, they should come forward and say so,” she added.

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