US Deploys 80 Special Forces to Chad to Search For Chibok Girls
UN Security Council to decide on sanctions against Boko Haram today
• Sect attacks near Chibok kill 30
• FG puts Jos death toll at 75 as US, UK, others condemn bombings
By Chuks Okocha, Muhammad Bello, Omololu Ogunmade, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Damilola Oyedele, Adebiyi Adedapo in Abuja, Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri with agency report
After the initial hesitation over the deployment of US troops to assist with the search and rescue of over 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram over a month ago, US President Barack Obama has finally relented by approving the deployment of 80 US armed forces personnel to Chad to assist in the search for the missing girls.
In a text of the letter written by the US president to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, Senator Patrick Leahy, which was released by the White House yesterday, Obama said: “Approximately 80 US Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to Chad as part of the US efforts to locate and support the safe return of over 200 schoolgirls who are reported to have been kidnapped in Nigeria.
“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.
“The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required.”
The US president said the action had been directed in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to his constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive.
“I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148),” he added.
Obama expressed his appreciation and the support of the US Congress in these actions.
In addition to the troops being sent by the US, France also has forces in Chad, while Britain and the US had sent small teams of specialists to Nigeria to assist the Nigerian government in the search for the girls. Add a comment
Boko Haram not a branch of al-Qaeda -US
The United States Government has said that the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, is not a branch of the global terrorist organisation, al-Qaeda.
President Goodluck Jonathan had during the France security summit on the menace of the insurgent group on Saturday, described the Boko Haram sect, as the “al Qaeda of West Africa.”
But the US said though terrorists groups around the world were known to have links, it cautioned that the sect should be treated as its “own terrorist group.”
A statement by the US Consul General in Lagos on Monday quoted the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman, as saying this on the sidelines of the summit hosted by French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Saturday.
Sherman, who spoke to journalists alongside US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and the US State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator, Tina Kaidelow, said UN sanctions on Boko Haram could be as quick as this week. Add a comment
Northern Nigeria’s Oil barons Lap Luxury As Poverty Spurs Insurgency
The palatial home of Ahmed Mai Deribe, the famed billionaire of Bornu, in northern Nigeria is purported to be the most expensive home ever built in modern Africa.
Fit for a king, the mansion which was completed at a staggering cost of $100 million in 1991 is today a tourist attraction for people brave enough to visit the battleground that its location, Maiduguri, has become.
Northern Nigerian oil barons like Deribe, who is now late, got their start as businessmen in the freewheeling days of military rule in Nigeria when the government, dominated by Northerners, dispensed favours by gifting off state-owned oil fields to friends and cronies.
The beneficiaries in turn controlled a disproportionate amount of the Nigerian economy through their dominance of the country’s natural resources, even as the northern regions progressively got poorer over the years.
The north-east, base of the murderous Islamist group, Boko Haram, is the poorest region in the nation, with 69.1 percent and 76.3 percent absolute and relative poverty levels, respectively, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Poverty Profile Report.
On the other hand, OML 110, with the good yielding OBE field, awarded to Mai Deribe by military dictator Sani Abacha on July 8, 1996 and operated by Cavendish Petroleum, is estimated to have proven oil reserves in excess of 500 million barrels.
Oriental Energy Resources Limited is another of such oil bloc awardees. It is a company owned by Mohammed Indimi who, sources say, is a close friend of former Nigerian military ruler Ibrahim Babangida.
Oriental Energy Resources Limited runs three oil blocs: OML 115, the Okwok field and the Ebok field. OML 115 and Okwok are OML PSC, while Ebok is an OML JV.
Perhaps the most famous northern oil bloc owner is T. Y. Danjuma, a retired general who served as defence minister during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s stint as civilian ruler. Add a comment
Kano State Governor, Kwakwanso
A bomb explosion was heard Sunday night in the Sabon Gari axis of Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
Although casualties have not been ascertained but the Kano State Police Command confirmed that an explosion shook the city, sending several people scampering for safety.
I Never Called President Jonathan Evil —Kwankwaso
Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State has denied reports claiming he referred to President Goodluck Jonathan as evil due to the hat the president wears.
In a two-hour media chat, the Governor said: “There was never a time I referred to Mr President or anybody wearing a hat as evil. What I actually said was that President Jonathan has tightened the umbrella until he made a hat that only fits him and few others.”
Governor Kwankwaso noted that the umbrella has been a symbol of PDP since it was established in 1998 and had accommodated reputed politicians from all parts of the country, until President Jonathan squeezed it into a hat for himself.
“My good friends Rotimi Amaechi and Peter Odili as well as other Nigerians from the South-South wear hats and are also good people,” Kwankwaso stressed.
Furthermore, the governor faulted media reports asserting that he referred to the Secretary to the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim and Vice President, Namadi Sambo as vultures. According to him, the men are his good friends.
“The vultures I was referring to are the three governors who were present at the President’s Kano visit and Godswill Akpabio is one of them. He wants to be anointed presidential candidate if Jonathan fails to get the ticket, while between the remaining two, one would be made the vice president and other, secretary to the federation.”
He stated that “Mr. President has deliberately misused the party machinery to serve his own private sentiments and favour those he feels are his kinsmen.”Add a comment
Mutiny: Gen Ibrahim Replaces Mohammed as GOC 7Div Maiduguri
Following the insurrection by soldiers in Maiduguri, leading to their indiscriminate shooting at the Maimalari Barracks on Wednesday, the Nigerian Army has removed the embattled General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, Nigerian Army Maiduguri, Major-General Ahmadu Mohammed, and replaced him with Brigadier-General M. Y. Ibrahim.
Mohammed narrowly escaped being killed by the angry soldiers, some of whom fired their guns at his car.
The soldiers were protesting the death of their colleagues, following an ambush by Boko Haram members on Tuesday.
Already, a committee to investigate the mutiny has been set up by the military authorities.
According to a military source, Mohammed was removed because he had lost the confidence of his soldiers and it was in the best interest of the whole security operation that he was replaced.
It was further gathered that it was the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, instead of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, who ordered the immediate withdrawal of the former GOC “to also save him from the wrath of the angry soldiers”. Add a comment
Villagers kill 41 B’Haram members
A vigilante group made up of residents of Kalabalge, a town in the north of Borno State, on Wednesday mounted a fierce resistance to a siege by members of Boko Haram, inflicting severe casualties on militants from the fringe Islamist sect.
“We killed many of them (Boko Haram members) today (Wednesday),” one of the residents of the town who took part in the battle told a correspondent of SaharaReporters.
However, local officials who spoke to Al Jazeera said 41 insurgents were killed by the villagers
Several other residents disclosed that the members of the community had received advance information that Boko Haram’s death squads were on their way to wreak havoc in the community. “Once we got the information, we gathered many of our young men and positioned ourselves in surrounding bushes and forests. We were armed with bows and arrows, Dane guns and pump action rifles,” said one source.
The sources added that some 400 Boko Haram militants wearing army uniforms arrived in Kalabalge around 5 a.m. in two armoured tanks, eight Hilux pick-up vehicles, and seven sports utility vehicles (SUVS), all painted in Nigerian army colours according to eyewitnesses. Add a comment
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