Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Remember the Brave Heroes of the War on Terror

 Brave Heroes of the War on Terror


Bravery

6 May 17, I was privileged to fly on the last chopper that brought back the released Chibok girls. Seeing the girls - young, naive BUT broken, was a reminder of how cruel man is. When we touched down, I stayed with them briefly in the C-130 before the Abuja lap.

Military medics began basic checks, deworming them and tending their wounds. There was one particular girl who had lost a leg. She said the Air Force had hit BHT positions & during the strike she lost a leg. I stared at her, wishing it was a dream.


Sitting beside her was another girl - the bravest girl I ever met. For the purpose of this thread, let us call her 'N'. N kept a daily journal of what happened everyday at the BH camp. I snapped as many pages as I could. The girls attested that she was the leader of the pack.
Right under Boko Haram's nose, every night, after the terrorists had ordered them for 'lights out', she would organise the girls for prayers & morning devotion the next day. I found myself smiling sheepishly at this. This is faith. This is bravery.
When the medics were done & we were notified that the C-130 would depart for Abuja, N made a signal & all the girls sat up, crossed their legs & bend their heads. N led them in prayers. I would later learn that this was their routine when there was danger or the bombs dropped.
As the C-130 ascended to Abuja to hand them to Mr President, I looked. A pilot who had flown the chopper was sitting on the tarmac, red-eyed.

It took a soldier to talk us to leaving the tarmac that day. We were just heaving like bereaved men.
'Sarkin Yakin Damboa'

The people of Damboa called him Sarkin Yaki (King of War). But Captain MM Hassan was much more. BHT dreaded him to the extent that Shekau placed a 10 million Naira bounty on him.

Hassan was tough as a nail. 2 years after his death in 2018, I met a corporal in Gwoza, who drove him for most of his operations. The soldier was smiling all through & he said something that touched me.
'Sarki dey smile everytime. E talk say nothing worth person cry'.

He said MM Hassan was the toughest officer he ever knew.

"I happy say I pass through that Oga."


He told me of an incident where Hassan fought through an ambush to rescue him. After then, he never thought Hassan was human until 5 Janary 2018.
On 5 January 2018, MM Hassan died from a detonated grenade in the midst of gunfight with terrorists. May his soul continue to rest in peace.
'041116: My Longest Day Ever'

I remember how excited I was to see Lt Col Abu Ali the first time. He was a Major then. Stories of him sounded like folklore, like war stories brought to life. People talked of his sheer brilliance & sacrifice for his men

So, the first day I met him he actually came from Mallam Fatori to Maiduguri to collect supplies for his unit. Sounds strange. A Major? Coming to the city to take supplies for soldiers? This is not typical of senior officers. It is one task they would delegate.
I was also surprised by his frame. Man was lanky and very quiet. But you saw the fight in him. He embodies the military song, 'Small body, Big Mind'. He didn't talk much.

When he was leaving, after a brief discussion, he breathed, 'We will win'.
In 2015, BHT carried out one of its bloodiest attacks in Baga, killing numbers so much that it was covered up till today. As far as the battlefield is concerned, we would always credit Abu Ali for taking that town back.

I woke up to a text on 5 November that the officer was killed in a dawn attack on Mallam Fatori. This was 2 weeks after I encountered him. His men eventually beat back Boko Haram but his death still cuts deep.

During his procession, I saw generals cried. The COAS wept. His death rocked the Presidency. He defined patriotism.

May his soul continue to rest in peace. Amen.

'In your words, we will win'.

Eyes from Above

I was in Rann in 2016, before the mishap on the IDPs. The Armed Forces maintain strategic outposts to protect the interest of the country. The one in Rann is one of such.

Cut off from the country and so close to Cameroon, Rann is a flat land. You could see as your eyes would let you. A company of soldiers stay there, mainly as a buffer.
When I got there, I confessed my fear that it was easy for BHT to overrun us. The CO swore that BHT had never succeeded & would never succeed because of one reason.

'The Airforce. We get eyes for up o.'

He talked about how Alpha Jets took out 8 guntrucks in April 2015 when BHT tried attacking them.

"Boko Haram will prefer to see 100 AA guns than to see one of those jets. Anytime I see the jets, I know I am sleeping well that night.'
That night, I rekindled my love for tea. I was given lemongrass tea. Damn! I stayed awake all night. When my watch shone 1145pm, I remember the CO pointing to the skies to a distant Beechcraft plane.

"My sleep will be long today'.
Khaki Angels


One set of soldiers I admire are the medics. Highly trained, thoroughly professional, these folks work in your regular city & hardest of grounds.

The Air Force established hospitals for IDPs in frontline communities of Dalori & Bama. Over 100k patients are attended to on these facilities.
In 2018, I witnessed miracle in Dalori. An Air Force ophthalmologist performed 132 pterygium in a day. One of the women, Iya Kaka, wept when she was discharged days after. It was the first time she would see after 12 years. She couldn't stop praying for the Chief of Air Staff.

As we celebrate this year's Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I pray for the safety of all military personnel as they carry on gallantly, doing this job - the most difficult job in the world. God bless you.”

https://twitter.com/Google_12point7/status/1349052649937793029?s=20

Thursday, December 3, 2020

"The Milkmaid” is Nigeria’s official Submission for the Best International Feature Film Category of 93rd Academy Awards

 

"The Milkmaid” is Nigeria’s official submission for the 93rd Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category of the #Oscars.


SYNOPSIS

In rural sub-Saharan Africa, Aisha, a Fulani milkmaid, is searching for her younger sister, Zainab. Dire personal circumstances force her to approach the religious militants who were responsible for their separation in the first instance, but she is determined to find her despite the compromises she must make to do so. However, her quest to recapture her blithe past proves to be unexpectedly complicated in a world whose festering conflict provides several paths to becoming a victim with typically irreversible consequences.

The story juxtaposes the colour and elegance of rural Hausa/Fulani culture against a graphic and visceral portrayal of the harrowing ordeal of conflict victims and the personal and societal implications of the resulting psychological trauma. The film draws attention to the present plight of real-life victims of militant insurgency in Nigeria (internally displaced persons, IDPs), to generate support for their economic & psychological rehabilitation and social re-integration.

We also seek to contribute to the ongoing discourse on the threats posed by extremism.

Source: https://milkmaidmovie.com/main.html.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Prof. Wole Soyinka's Most Anticipated New Novel, "Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth"

WeREADđź’•đź’‹ NEW BOOK OF THE MONTH

"Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth" by Prof. Wole Soyinka, the first black winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

https://bookshop.org/shop/Weread

The Book

The novel tells the story of a pact and an alliance formed between four friends, to make an impactful change in their nation. Now in the late stages of adulthood, against an evolving political landscape and a change of government, they drift apart, reunite, navigate complex familial relationships, and increasingly gain recognition in their professions — all the while, their paths interweave with those of prominent religious, community and government leaders, and the tide begins to turn against them, with dire consequences.

It is a dramatic and engaging read, laced with humour and extraordinary characters. The read also provides a realistic perspective on the state of affairs in Nigeria, with a depth of commentary. In Soyinka’s expert hands, the apparently disparate strands are woven together with a master story-teller’s aplomb. 

CHRONICLES OF THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE ON EARTH, is a great and unputdownable read from start to finish.

Book Size: 6.1 inches x 9.2 inches (15.5 x 23.5cm)

Number of pages: 524 pages.




Friday, September 9, 2011

OHCHR press briefing note / Nigeria

9 Sep 2011 10:03 Africa/Lagos


OHCHR press briefing note / Nigeria

GENEVA, September 9, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- OHCHR press briefing note / Nigeria

We are concerned about the renewed violence which has flared up in Nigeria's "Middle Belt" in recent weeks causing death, injury and destruction. Reports suggest that up to 70 people have been killed since the beginning of August, in ethnic and religious violence in the area.


Ethnic and religious divisions have affected the Middle Belt region, particularly in and around Jos, for many years now and a cycle of violence has emerged in which each incident almost invariably provokes deadly reprisal attacks. The High Commissioner has previously called for a concerted effort to tackle the underlying causes of such repeated violent outbreaks. Such underlying causes include discrimination, poverty and land disputes.


We encourage the authorities at national and local levels to take effective preventative measures against such violence, including by curbing hate-speech and working with civil society, including human rights NGOs, religious leaders and academic institutions, to attempt reconciliation between the various communities. It is of utmost importance that justice is done and is seen to be done by prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of violence and ensuring remedies for victims and their families.


We are also concerned about the activities of Boko Haram, whose tactics have included attacks on civilians, security forces and government institutions. The group has claimed responsibility for the recent bombing of the UN building – yet another deadly and cowardly attack.

otherwise they risk making the situation worse.


In response to a request for details of recent violence and killings:


According to reports:

- From early to mid-August, 10 people were killed in a number of clashes between Christian and Muslim youths and the military in Jos. At least two more were hacked to death, and four others seriously wounded in a village near Jos.

- On 29 August, Christian youths allegedly attacked Muslims going to prayer in Jos. Unofficial reports suggest that 13 were killed, 106 wounded and that a lot of damage was done to property. Then, on 1 September, at least 23 were reportedly killed in clashes between Christian and Muslim youths. At this point, it is not clear whether or not this was a revenge attack linked to the earlier incident.

- On 4 September, a family of eight was hacked to death, and seven more people were reported killed that evening in attacks by youths on a village near Jos.



Source: United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Americans' Thoughts on Terrorism Over the Last 10 Years



The following report is very important and should be shared without bias.



2 Sep 2011 10:00 Africa/Lagos


USA TODAY/Gallup Poll Looks at Americans' Thoughts on Terrorism Over the Last 10 Years

PR Newswire

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 2, 2011

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the final week leading up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and the events that changed America ten years ago, USA TODAY and Gallup have conducted an exclusive poll looking at Americans' thoughts on terrorism and how they've changed over the last decade.

USA TODAY/Gallup poll results show:

* The proportion of Americans who say the government should take steps to protect its citizens against terrorism, even if it means violating civil liberties, has dropped almost in half since the days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. In January 2002, 47% of Americans said they were willing to have the government violate some of their basic civil liberties in order to prevent more acts of terrorism. Asked the same question last month, only 25% answered the same way.


* In a striking contrast with the national mood 10 years ago, fewer Americans now think that "the Muslim world considers itself at war with the U.S.'' In March 2002, 71% agreed with that statement. Nine months later that number had dropped to 60%, and today it's down to 51%.


* Faith in the government's anti-terrorism capacity has dropped. Asked less than a week after 9/11 how much confidence they had in the government to protect citizens from terrorist attacks, 41% of respondents said "a great deal.'' By March 2002, 24% agreed with that assessment. Now, only 22% do.


* Who's winning the war on terrorism? Not much has changed in how Americans answer that question. A month after the 9/11 attacks, 42% said the U.S. and its allies were winning, and by the following January that rose to 66%. By April 2002, the percentage of Americans who felt their nation was winning the terror war fell into the minority. They have constituted a majority only three times since -- twice immediately after the Iraq invasion in early 2003 and once in January 2004, after Saddam Hussein's capture. In June 2007, the last time until this year that USA TODAY and Gallup asked who was winning, only 29% said the U.S. was winning. Asked the same question last month, respondents agreeing that the U.S. and its allies were winning the terror war had climbed back to 42% -- the same as 10 years ago.


* People seem less worried about the imminent likelihood of a terrorist attack today. Only 38% consider one somewhat or very likely "over the next several weeks,'' compared to 66% ten days after 9/11. A series of mysterious anthrax attacks, which eventually killed five people, drove that up to 85% the following month. In the 18 times the question has been asked since late 2003, the highest "likely" response was May 2 this year, one day after Bin Laden was killed. The highest ever was the 85% in the anthrax attack period.


The USA TODAY/Gallup poll was taken a month before the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Full poll results are in today's edition of USA TODAY and online at usatoday.com.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY's mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Today, through its newspaper, website and mobile platforms, USA TODAY connects readers and engages the national conversation. USA TODAY, the nation's number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.8 million daily, and USATODAY.com, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 5.4 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than nine million downloads on mobile devices. The USA TODAY brand also includes USA TODAY Education and USA TODAY Sports Weekly. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

SOURCE USA TODAY
NOTE TO EDITORS: USA TODAY reporters are available for interviews. Please contact Elga Maye at emaye@usatoday.com or 703-854-5292 or Heidi Zimmerman at hzimmerman@usatoday.com or 703-854-5304.

CONTACT: Heidi Zimmerman, Director/Communications, +1-703-854-5304, hzimmerman@usatoday.com

Web Site: http://www.usatoday.com

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

UN Security Council Tackles Piracy and Maritime Robbery in Gulf of Guinea

30 Aug 2011 20:03 Africa/Lagos


Gulf of Guinea / Piracy / Statement read by the President of the UN Security Council on piracy and maritime armed robbery in Gulf of Guinea

NEW YORK, August 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The members of the Security Council were briefed by Mr. B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the issue of piracy and maritime armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of West Africa on 23 August 2011.

The members of the Security Council expressed concern over the increase in piracy, maritime armed robbery and reports of hostage-taking in the Gulf of Guinea and its damaging impact on security, trade and economic activities in the sub-region.

The members of the Security Council noted the efforts being made by countries in the Gulf of Guinea to tackle the problem including the launching of joint efforts to patrol these waters including efforts by Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, off the coast of Benin as well as plans to convene a summit of Gulf of Guinea Heads of State to discuss a regional response. In this context, members of the Council underlined the need for regional coordination and leadership in developing a comprehensive strategy to address this threat.

Recognizing the leadership role of the regional bodies and states on this issue, the members of the Security Council called on the international community to support the concerned countries, ECOWAS, ECCAS and other relevant organizations, as appropriate, in securing international navigation along the Gulf of Guinea including through information exchange, improved coordination and capacity building.

The members of the Security Council noted the intention of the Secretary General to deploy a United Nations assessment mission to examine the situation and explore possible options for UN support. The members of the Security Council also stressed the need for UNOWA and UNOCA to work, within their current mandates, with UNODC and IMO, as well as with all concerned countries and regional organizations.


Source: Presidency of the UN Security Council


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The JCRC of Greater Washington Condemns Attack in Israel

18 Aug 2011 19:28 Africa/Lagos


The JCRC of Greater Washington Condemns Attack in Israel

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington unequivocally condemns today’s tragic attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.

In a coordinated series of terrorist attacks on Israeli targets near the southern city of Eilat Thursday, seven people were killed at least 26 people wounded. According to news reports, the first attack was a drive-by shooting targeting Egged bus 392 traveling from Be'er Sheva to the vacation destination of Eilat. When IDF forces rushed to the scene they were met with several explosive devices that were detonated alongside an IDF vehicle. Within the ensuing 30 minutes, multiple mortars and anti-tank missiles were fired from Egypt and Gaza into Israel, killing seven civilians and wounding others.

The IDF Spokesman reported that two to four terrorists were killed during the clashes. The wounded are being evacuated by IDF helicopter to hospitals in Eilat and Be'er Sheva.

This horrible act of violence raises concerns that some Palestinians continue to embrace the path of violence and that terrorists are again deliberately targeting innocent civilians.

We express dismay at this escalation of violence directed at Israeli civilians and condemn the PA’s culture of praising terrorists, which produces terrorism. This incitement must stop. We also express concern about Egypt’s weakening grip on the Sinai Peninsula and call on the Egyptian government to prevent terrorist cells from targeting Israeli civilians from Egyptian territory.

The JCRC stands in solidarity with the state of Israel in her commitment to peace and supports Israel’s right to do what is necessary to protect its citizens.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and we pray for healing and peace in Israel.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is the public affairs and community relations arm of the Jewish community representing 210 Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice.

SOURCE Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington

CONTACT: Ron Halber, Executive Director, +1-301-770-0881, rhalber@jcouncil.org


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