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Buhari Pick Man Who Justified Execution Of 9 Activists As Chief Of Staff

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Abba Kyari, the former Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President died on April 2020 after contracting Coronavirus.


ABUJA — Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, former Nigerian Minister of External Affairs, has received appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as the new chief of staff.

Abba Kyari, the former Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President died on April 2020 after contracting Coronavirus.

The new chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari, was born in Kwara, in the northern part of Nigeria.

In 1995 Gambari, who was the former envoy of Nigeria to the United Nations, justified the brutal murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa – an environmental activist and 8 other people by Sani Abacha – a military dictator who ruled Nigeria from 1993 to 1998.

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Civilians, Soldiers Clash Leaving 127 Dead In South Sudan

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Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.

Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.

More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defence against cattle raids.

The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilised others for an attack on the army position.

“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.

A further 32 soldiers were injured.

Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.

South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.

Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.

“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.

“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”

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Mass Burials Common As Nigerians Face Daily Violence

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Faith communities in Nigeria face daily violence and persecution, a U.S.-based rights group said. It called for U.S. intervention after a terrorist group executed five men abducted while providing assistance in northeastern Nigeria.

While Christians, particularly preachers, “are clearly the targets” of militants in the West African country, Muslims are killed too, said Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna, who chairs the bishops’ committee on justice, development and peace.

Militants and also bandits act with impunity, he said, noting that all Nigerian civilians feel vulnerable and “let down by the government.”

In its recent report, the U.S.-based International Committee on Nigeria said the United States “needs to send a special envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, who can coordinate the U.S. response to the crisis.”

Nigeria has suffered more than 10 years of killings, abductions and other abuses by armed Islamist groups. In the hardest-hit northeast region of the country, tens of thousands of people have been killed and about 2 million displaced.

The United Nations said it was “utterly shocked and horrified” after a video surfaced July 22 showing five men kneeling and blindfolded. They were then shot. The men — three were aid workers — had been traveling in Borno state when they were kidnapped.

With abductions commonplace along Nigeria’s roads, people are terrified to use them to go about their daily business, Archbishop Ndagoso told Catholic News Service July 29.

Mass burials have become very common, he said.

In early June, the bishop of Kafanchan had to see to the burial of nine people who had been hacked to death, while “the police were nowhere to be seen,” he said. The killings were among assaults on Christian communities in southern Kaduna state by Fulani militia.

Nigeria has a decades-old cycle of conflict between predominantly Christian farmers and ethnic Fulani herdsmen who are Muslim, partly due to competition for arable land.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and a former military ruler, won office in a democratic transfer of power in 2015 and is in his second term. In 2018, Nigeria’s bishops criticized the president’s lack of action against Fulani militia and linked his inaction to his religion.

Perpetrators of terrorist attacks in Nigeria “appear more emboldened as the political will to professionally investigate the crimes and hold perpetrators accountable is grossly lacking,” the ICON report said.

“Victims are being forced to convert to Islam or risk being killed, raped, or subjected to gruesome acts of torture,” it said, noting that 16-year-old Leah Sharibu has yet to be freed. Leah was taken hostage two years ago with more than 100 girls in the town of Dapchi by Boko Haram insurgents. When the others were freed a month later, she was the only one not released — reportedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

“Instead of taking action to stop the violence, the country’s own government has stood by idly as the blood of innocent Nigerian people has been spilled at the hands of the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram and Fulani militants,” ICON said.

Boko Haram “targets Christians, other non-Muslims, and even Muslims opposed to their ideologies,” while attacks by Fulani militants “have repeatedly demonstrated a clear intent to target Christians,” it said.

Its report provides data it claims is “evidence that genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity have been and continue to be committed.”

From 2000 to 2019, “deaths resulting from Fulani militant attacks include 17,284 across Nigeria and 13,079 in predominantly Christian states (Benue, Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba),” the report said.

In June, the U.S. State Department noted that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in “violent attacks by terrorist groups or criminal gangs, in intercommunal violence, or due to their religious beliefs” and urged the Nigerian government to do more “to address this violence, hold those responsible accountable, and protect civilians.”

Archbishop Ndagoso said Nigerians “see injustices everywhere,” with corruption rampant among the country’s politicians and traditional leaders.

Twenty people can be killed and there will be no arrests, he said. “Bandits will have cellphones and use them to negotiate ransoms, yet there will be no arrests,” he said.

Fulani militants “make their homes on land that they occupy after killing people and burning their houses,” he said.

“People feel helpless and frustrated,” the archbishop said. “Government says they are doing their best” to fight corruption, but “if that is so, then their best is not good enough,” he said.

Nigeria has nearly 196 million people, and about 40% live in poverty, according to its statistics office. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with its biggest economy.

“Nigeria has an abundance of resources, both human and material,” Archbishop Ndagoso said. But its political leaders are “only interested in amassing wealth for themselves and their families. There’s no interest in the common good,” he said.

“It’s planting season now, but people can’t go out on their fields for fear of being killed and therefore they can’t eat,” the archbishop said. “As the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man.”



reporting by: Bronwen Dachs
Contributing to this story was Peter Ajayi Dada in Lagos, Nigeria.



 

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Bomb Explodes At Military Base In Somali Capital, Kill Eight

al-Shabaab claimed responsiblity

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A huge blast rocked a military base in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu near a stadium on Saturday, killing at least eight people and injuring 14, emergency workers said, and the militant group al Shabaab claimed responsiblity.

Soldiers opened fire after the explosion which sent clouds of smoke into the sky, said Halima Abdisalan, a mother of three who lives near the area.

“We ran indoors in fear,” she told Reuters. “Soon I could see a military pickup speeding and carrying many soldiers covered with blood. I do not know if they were all dead or injured.”

Army officer Major Abdullahi Mohamud said it was an attack. “It must be a suicide car bomb, I am now transporting casualties,” he said.

Claiming responsibility for the incident, the military operations spokesman of the al Shabaab group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said: “We conducted a successful martyrdom operation on a major apostate military base in Mogadishu.”

“The enemy suffered many casualties and wounded, military vehicles destroyed.”

Somalia has been embroiled in deadly violence since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew leader Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

Since 2008, al Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-recognised central government and establish its rule based on its own interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

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