Russia: 4 dead in apartment collapse, apparent gas explosion

Terrorism

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian emergency officials say that at least four people have died after sections of an apartment building collapsed after an apparent gas explosion in the Ural Mountains region.

The authorities say four others have been hospitalized with injuries, and 68 other residents remained unaccounted for in the accident in Magnitogorsk, a city of 400,000 about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) southeast of Moscow. They say some residents could have been buried under debris after Monday’s accident.

The Investigative Committee said the collapse of a section of the ten-storey apartment building was apparently caused by a gas leak. It happened before dawn when most residents were still asleep.

The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the situation. Cabinet officials headed to Magnitogorsk to oversee the rescue efforts.

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2 dead, nearly 30 wounded in bomb blast at Philippine mall -AP

international News, Terrorism

COTABATO, Philippines (AP) — Suspected Muslim militants remotely detonated a bomb near the entrance of a mall in the southern Philippines on Monday as people did last-minute shopping ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations, killing at least two and wounding nearly 30, officials said.

The bomb went off near the baggage counter at the entrance of the South Seas mall in Cotabato city, wounding shoppers, vendors and commuters. Authorities recovered another unexploded bomb nearby as government forces imposed a security lockdown in the city, military and police officials said.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said by phone that an initial investigation showed the design of the bomb was similar to those used in the past by local Muslim militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Government forces launched an offensive against the militants belonging to a group called Daulah Islamiyah last week and at least seven of the militants died in the fighting, Sobejana said.

“This is a part of the retaliation, but the problem is they’re victimizing innocent civilians,” he told reporters.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., the deputy police director of Cotabato, said witnesses saw a man leave a box in a crowded area near the mall’s entrance where vendors and shoppers were milling. The explosion shattered glass panels and scattered debris to the street fronting the mall.

Two of the roughly 30 people hit by the blast died while being brought to a hospital, Sobejana said.

Cotabato Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi condemned the bombing and called on residents to help fight terrorism.

“This is not just another terroristic act but an act against humanity. I cannot fathom how such evil exists in this time of merry making,” she said.

“It is unimaginable how some people can start the new year with an act of cruelty but no matter how you threaten us, the people of Cotabato are resilient. … We will stand up against terrorism,” she told reporters.

The bombing, the latest in a number of attacks blamed on militants in the volatile region, occurred despite on-and-off military assaults against pockets of militant groups operating in the marshlands and hinterlands not far from Cotabato and outlying provinces.

Hundreds of militants aligned with the Islamic State group laid siege in the southern Islamic city of Marawi in May last year, sparking five months of intense fighting and military airstrikes that left more than 1,100 mostly militants dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers.


Major US newspapers hit by cyberattack, disrupting printing and distribution

News, Terrorism
Los Angeles Times

By Mark Wycislik-Wilson

A number of major US newspapers — including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and New York Times — have been hit by a cyberattack that is said to originate from another country.

Malware was first detected on Thursday by Tribune Publishing, the owner of some of the affected titles, but unsuccessful attempts at quarantining meant that there was disruption well into Saturday. The Department of Homeland Security is currently investigating the incident which is not thought to have exposed any personal customer details.

Writing about the malware attack, the Los Angeles Times explains: “Technology teams worked feverishly to quarantine the computer virus, but it spread through Tribune Publishing’s network and reinfected systems crucial to the news production and printing process. Multiple newspapers around the country were affected because they share a production platform”.

An anonymous source is quoted as saying that the attack was launched from outside the US, but it is not clear whether it was the action of an individual, or an enemy state:

We believe the intention of the attack was to disable infrastructure, more specifically servers, as opposed to looking to steal information.

The attack appears to take the form of the Ryuk ransomware, but more will not be known until the investigation proceeds. DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said:

We are aware of reports of a potential cyber incident affecting several news outlets, and are working with our government and industry partners to better understand the situation.

In a statement issued on behalf of Tribune Publishing, spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said: “There is no evidence that customer credit card information or personally identifiable information has been compromised”.

Source: Beta News

Gunmen storm foreign ministry in Tripoli

Africa, Terrorism

By Nada Bashir, CNN

A picture taken on December 25, 2018 shows a firetruck and security officers at the scene of an attack outside the Libyan foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tripoli. – At least one person was killed on December 25 as attackers stormed Libya’s foreign ministry after a car bomb exploded in front of the building and a suicide bomber then struck inside, a security source at the scene told AFP. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) Gunmen armed with machine guns stormed the foreign ministry of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli on Tuesday, killing three people who worked there, a spokesperson for the UN-backed Government of National Accord told CNN.One of the victims was a high-ranking official, the spokesperson added. 10 others were injured, according to the Health Ministry.Three gunmen died in the attack that happened at around 10 a.m. local time. One of the gunmen is believed to have been killed after an explosion was heard in the top floor of the building, politician Guma El-Gamaty who was in the area said.

“The top floor was totally engulfed in fire; you can still see smoke coming from the building,” he said.Gamaty added that emergency services and security forces were on the ground dealing with the situation, which he believed was under control.Related: Week of chaos a reminder that Libya is still broken .

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya condemned attack.”Terrorism will not triumph over the Libyans’ decision to move forward towards building their state and renouncing violence. We will not accept any attack on a state institution, especially one committed by a terrorist group,” said Ghassan Salamé, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Libya.”We will work with the Libyan people to prevent terrorist groups from turning Libya into a haven or an arena for their crimes.”

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST)

News, SEcurity, Terrorism

The Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa program, documents and maps violence in Nigeria that is motivated by political, economic, or social grievances. Different groups in Nigeria resort to violence. The militant Islamist movement Boko Haram is active in northern Nigeria. Violence among ethnic groups, farmers, and herdsmen sometimes acquires religious overtones. A new generation of Niger Delta militants threatens war against the state. Government soldiers kill civilians indiscriminately. Police are notorious for extrajudicial murder.

Nigeria: And the herdsmen killings contines

Africa, Boko Haram, Crime, Herdsmen, PMB, SEcurity, Terrorism

Central Nigeria have witnessed persistent attacks and killing from marauding herdsmen without any hope of restraints from the state security on the restless herdsmen.

Plateau Reportedly witnessed a major attack during the weekend with over aa hundred mortality. Its condemnable and cannot be allowed to countinue. The whole country should u it talking about it, its time we all stand nad take action on stopping these massacre. If the state is powerless, then the people needed to stand and look for a way to stop the evil acts.

ORGANISING NGOS AND FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Islam, law enforcement, SEcurity, Terrorism, War

Counterterrorism has to be woven into the everyday workings of every department. It should be included on the agenda of every meeting, and this new role must be imparted to officers on the street so that terrorism prevention becomes part of their everyday thinking.” Kelling, G L. & William K. B, (2006) Policing Terrorism, Civic Bulletin 43, New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, September 2006.

Terrorism has become a political tool in the 20th century and its spread has become so dynamic that it has now become on of the “new wars” that nations today fights. Emergency response and preventive measures have to become more flexible and adapt to the dynamism of attacks. Terrorist related incidence must be documented, researched and evaluated in line with local needs. The current randomness of terror attacks in Nigeria put all at risks and we must have a structure plans in place to restrict and mitigate these strikes.

Basic understanding of terrorism, its goals and operational method would have sufficed in allowing for designing proper response. It is a waste of resources fighting a reactive battle against terrorists. The Nigerian response to terrorism has been flawed by the lack of institutional understanding of what terrorism is all about. Proactive resources can only be deployed when we are all able to deduce the fact that terrorism is not fought using heavy machinery and standing armies but through employment of psychological warfare that is designed based on proper analysis of the terror groups operational methods, recruitment operations and goals.

Terrorism is a form of rebellion against the state. Modern terrorists have better equipment and global media as its mouthpiece. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, (START) Department of Homeland Security Think-Thank based in the University of Maryland, United State is one of the center set up by the US government to analyse and design engagement protocol for counter-terrorism in US. One of the conclusion of this center that changed the US counter-terrorism engagement was the fact that in over 1000 years of review of terrorism engagement by states globally, the use of military force eliminated the threat in only 4% of such engagements, while the use of proper local security, policing and development programmes was able to achieve end of these groups in more than 40%.

Development NGOs are committed to working towards economic, social or political development in developing countries. The Norwegian bilateral aid agency, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) defines development-oriented NGOs as organisations that “attempt to improve social, economic and productive conditions and are found both as small community-based organisations at village and district levels, and as large professional development agencies at state or national level”

Northern Nigeria economic environment has been described as backward and has continued to regress in the period after the 1970s. The average Disposable Income, access to education and basic infrastructure has equally fallen in the past decades. Lack of access to proper education has created a huge mass of unemployable youth in an environment experiencing a burgeoning youth population. Available data point at a growing youth population in an environment without corresponding growth in infrastructure and industry has led to high pressure on resources leading to perennial class conflict in the region.

Failure of government institutions to deliver on appropriate economic and infrastructural reforms has led to conflicts between state officials and citizens. Increased distrust of officials has led to several clashes and self-help actions. Uncoordinated rebellions in the past decades had eventually matured into current terror operations by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The war on terror have been severely stunted by the growing supply of radical youths from the stock of unemployable youth that littered the streets of northern Nigeria in need of sense of spiritual emancipation from years of poverty and lack. Many literatures had maintained the fact that poverty is not an impetus for rebellion acts yet it has been proven through direct observation that rebellion thrives where the state failure and poverty is evident. As a matter of fact, the basis for international humanitarian efforts in Africa has been based on prevention of high criminality that may result from unchecked growth in poverty and hunger in several failing states in the continent.

One major challenge to the provision of public infrastructure development has been in the slow bureaucratic processes and the attendant high corruption of government officials in most African countries. NGOs and Community Based Organisations has been a bridge between the people and the government in actualizing people oriented development projects.

As development actors, NGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulfill its traditional role. In the education sector, many NGOs have moved beyond ‘gap- filling’ initiatives into capacity building activities. This paper seeks to address the role of NGOs in development through the lens of capacity building. Through academic articles and NGO working papers, we can determine the effect of NGOs on capacity development and their role in building capacity on all levels, using a framework based on positive hypotheses:

NGOs are increasingly involved in capacity development. As the development discourse leans towards developing skills and tools for strengthening society, NGOs have reacted accordingly. They wish first and foremost to remain important stakeholders in development and to impart their extensive knowledge in the education sector. This involvement changes the ways in which NGOs operate. Capacity-building activities complement traditional service provision, though this does not mean that all NGOs have good relations with government.

In any case, NGO activities are increasingly diverse. They have an impact on the interpretation of capacity development. NGOs are influenced by the ideology of capacity development as defined by the hegemonic development discourse, but they also influence its meaning from the outside. This modified interpretation of capacity development can weaken central government but strengthen it in the long term. NGOs have the capacity to innovate and adapt more quickly than national governments; therefore, their actions can undermine government initiatives. But if they scale up their activities and impart their knowledge and techniques at the government level, the country as a whole can benefit.

NGOs have a significant impact on the whole process but are also plagued by severe obstacles. NGOs continue to suffer from a lack of resources and from their general estrangement from the state. Unless they become partners with government, and not competitors, capacity-building initiatives will continue to be stunted.

The environment in Northeastern Nigeria remains inundated by high-level insecurity that makes development programme seem essentially impossible. While most stakeholders abstained from the area due to high risk factor and the ongoing sate of emergency has further negated the infrastructural capacity of these three states under the military onslaught on the insurgents. The apparent lack of trust for state institutions in these areas will make the use of conventional government MDA approach to development clearly unwelcome. Locally based NGOs, CBOs and FBOs can easily breach this gap and stand in as the only way to reach out and provide succor to non-combatants and civilians in these areas. Government should provide funds for locally established and managed Community Based and Faith Based Organisations to drive development agendas in the tri-violent states of Yobe, Bauchi and Borno to kick start development in these areas.

The advantage of using locally based organisations in handling the development programmes in these areas are two pronged:

1. Train employable locally Based service delivery experts: One of the problems with the region remains in the increasing number of unemployable youth, given low economic activities in the areas. Inflow of fresh funds may increase economic activities and create expansion of local industry to support the increase in demand for resources in the area. The use of locally based personnel should avail the growth of necessary local experts needed for the entrenchment and maintenance of programme. The failure of most INGOs has been traced to the lack of proper local supports for their programme.
2. Increase trust in the process: Most locals may become part of the process since it is being handled through local personnel known to them. Trust in the process may enhance collaboration and could boost the programme at all level.

Recommendations:

Civil societies or NGOs in Nigeria has had a cheered history, from a vibrant, uncompromising and result focus pre-independence era, through a government hampered and corrupt operation before mid-1990s to a strong indivisible front during the democratic struggles of the late eighties and this era of political activism, corrupt leadership and weaken structure.

Regrettably, there cannot be a sustainable reform without the supports and inputs of the civil societies. Civil societies are needed to act as middlemen between the policy makers and their communities. Hence the role of these groups in reforms may includes:

• Raising public awareness on issues and reasons for reforms: There is a need for proper information, direct and people oriented to educate the public. These should not be media driven but generated and managed by the people. The CS could be empowered through seminars and workshops to educate the public on the needs for direct engagement in programmes and their roles in reforms in Nigeria.
• Promoting debates and talks on issues, practices, challenges and reforms required:
Policies can only succeed when the public opinion form its bedrock. The NGO programme should be directed to organize formal public debates and hearings on important policy and inform the state of their reports.
• Spreading Reform Information:
Organizing and maintaining civil societies in areas where there is no awareness and education level is low. Thereby reaching out to lower cadres of the society with proper information on reforms.
• Monitoring and Evaluating the Reform Processes: Exposing and reporting to appropriate authorities’ misconducts, demanding transparency and accountability from all security organization through a nationwide monitoring system. Reporting and writing articles on reform issues to educate the public and the police officers alike.
Creating framework and opportunities for future reforms through the setting-up of bodies to monitor and collate data on PSC operatives and organizations and the police operations in all areas of the country.
• Partnering:
Organizing local and international workshops, talks and town hall meetings to share, discuss, teach and compare feedbacks on policing issues from different unit of the society and publishing their memorandum in national press.
• Act as links between the public and police:
Encouraging and involving community groups in policing, creating neighborhoods watch and vigilante groups -under proper legislations- to guard and secure their environment.

Don Michael Adeniji, MA, pnm
Director, Security Policy Analysis.
African Initiative for Peace and Human Development

BREAKING: 41 Palestinians killed, thousands wounded as U.S. opens new embassy in Jerusalem premiumtimesng.com

international News, Islam, Terrorism
Gaza on map used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Wikipedia]

At least 41 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded when violence erupts near the Israel border with Gaza on Monday.

The death toll has continued to climb as Palestinians attempt to cross the border from Gaza to Israel, according to Israeli daily, Haaretz.

About 2,000 Palestinians were also injured, AlJazeera reports.

Protests on the border have escalated in recent weeks but suddenly descended into deadly chaos shortly before the formal launching of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. President Donald Trump recently recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

An official opening ceremony for the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is currently underway, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several top officials from the U.S. on the ground. Jared Kushner, an in-law of Mr Trump, and his wife, Ivanka, who is Mr Trump’s daughter, are currently attending the event which is televised across the world.

Israeli troops intervened to prevent the Palestinian protesters from entering into Israel used tear gas and live ammunition, media reports said.

The soldiers keep Palestinians from scaling a fence across the border. Video feed circulating online shows protestors seeking to cross the border.

Some media reports said many children were among those killed and wounded. Israeli authorities said some in the crowds were throwing explosives or flying flaming kites into Israel.

Mr Trump addressed the audience via a recorded video and praised the decision to move the capital to Jerusalem.

Ivanka Trump unveiled the formal dedication and said she was delighted to pronounce “Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The move is a fulfillment of a major campaign promise of Mr Trump, but it had been condemned by leaders across the world. Critics also feared that the development could further complicate ongoing peace talks in the Middle East.

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Communication, A Key in Countering Violent Extremism -Medium

News, Terrorism

There is no overstating the significance of communication between the various key stakeholders when it comes to Countering Violent ExExtremis Proper communication averts misunderstanding, which is often the prelude to violent conflict.

What today’s youth want, is that their understanding of what progress and success means, and their preferred means of attaining such success must be communicated to, and understood by the older generation.

Likewise, the needs of a girl child must be understood, in the same manner, by other groups in society. Because all groups must work together and make compromises before they can see that issues are better addressed through dialogue, rather than violence.
We cannot know what each of us want without communicating with each other. Only then could we prioritise and tackle problems without resorting to violence. For instance, when you are discussing Reintegration in the NorthEast Nigeria without including community representatives, religious leaders, traditional leaders and also the Civilian Joint Tasks Forces (CJTFs), I don’t think the discussion is complete.

Failure to communicate well will push aggrieved groups towards violent ideologies, with grave consequences.
Let’s start talking to others, and encourage others to talk to us, without them worrying about being judged or attacked for their positions on issues. There is so much possibilities in dialogue, whereas violence can only engender ill will and suffering. It is the lack communication that generates frustration and anger, which in turn makes it seem like there is no option but violence.
Let’s talk to each other, so we can be there for each.

#NotAnotherNigerian #CounteringViolentExtremism #UntoldStoriesOfTheNorthEast

Indonesia Church Bombings Carried Out by Family With Children in Tow

Crime, News, Terrorism
Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church, in East Java, Indonesia, was one of three churches targeted by suicide bombers on Sunday.CreditSurabaya Government/Antara Foto, via Reuters

By Muktita Suhartono and Rukmini Callimachi

BANDUNG, Indonesia — One suicide bomber appeared to have been disguised as a churchgoer. Another drove a Toyota minivan with a bomb to one attack site. Still another was seen in footage speeding on a scooter toward a church before an explosion.

After the back-to-back bombings that targeted three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, as worshipers gathered between services on Sunday morning, the police said they had been the work of one family: a couple who had led their four children on a terror spree that took their own lives and those of at least seven other people.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the group’s news agency, Amaq. In an initial bulletin, the group described each of the bombings as a “martyrdom” operation. In a subsequent, longer media release, the Islamic State identified three modes of attack: a car bomb, a suicide vest and a motorcycle-borne bomb.

On Monday, there was increasing evidence that the church bombers were not alone. The police now say that there have been at least two more bomb blasts beyond the assaults on the churches, as well as a trove of completed bombs found in a separate housing complex.

 

In the suburb of Sidoarjo, south of Surabaya in East Java, a bomb detonated within a family’s apartment as the police closed in on Sunday night, killing the husband and wife and one of their children, and injuring another three children, said a spokesman for the provincial police, Frans Barung Mangera. He identified the killed suspect as Anton Ferdiantono, 46, who police officials later said was a friend of the man behind the church bombings.

And in a new attack, on Monday morning, a team of bombers on two motorcycles detonated explosives at a checkpoint outside the city police headquarters in Surabaya.

Mr. Frans, the police spokesman, said that four of the five people on the motorcycles were killed, and that the fifth, an 8-year-old girl, had been taken to the hospital. Four police officers were reported injured. A video released by an Indonesian news outlet appeared to show the explosion centered on one of the motorcycles, flattening police officers and the other motorcycle, and damaging a car beside it.

The counterterrorism police said they raided another housing complex in Sidoarjo on Monday morning, recovering several completed bombs after having neighboring residents evacuate.

Sunday’s church bombings occurred one day after a man in Paris who shouted, “God is great” in Arabic killed one person with a knife and wounded four others. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack. A day later, the group’s news agency released a cellphone video of the attacker pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and calling on fellow Islamic State supporters in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere too carry out attacks.

At least 43 other people were wounded in the church bombings, Mr. Frans said. He added that the bombs had been detonated in different parts of the city within minutes of one another. The victims included two police officers and worshipers who were entering and leaving the churches between services, he added.

At a news conference later on Sunday, Indonesia’s police chief, Tito Karnavian, said the family suspected in the attacks had recently returned from Syria: “Five hundred people were deported from Syria; among them is this family.”

Image
A police spokesman said the victims included worshipers who were entering and leaving the churches between services.CreditBeawiharta/Reuters

He identified the attackers as Dita Oepriarto and his wife, Puji Kuswati. The police chief said that two of their sons, ages 18 and 16, had also been involved. Two younger children were also seen in the company of the woman at one bombing site, the police said.

Footage posted on YouTube shows what appears to be one of the attackers on a scooter suddenly turning off a street and heading toward a church before a bomb goes off.

CCTV Detik-detik Ledakan Bom SurabayaCreditVideo by kumparan

The police said the father, driving a Toyota minivan, had dropped off the mother and two children, ages 12 and 9, at the Indonesia Christian Church. There, according to Kumparan News, an online news site that quoted the deputy police chief of Surabaya, the woman tried to force her way into the church after being stopped by a security guard.

She then detonated the bomb in the yard outside the entrance, killing herself and the two children, the deputy police chief said.

At another target, Santa Maria Church, the sons detonated the explosives, the police chief said. Photos from the site showed several people lying on the ground outside the church gate. Other images showed scattered debris and the police cordoning off the site.

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The father was behind the wheel of the vehicle that crashed into Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church, detonating a bomb believed to have been in the vehicle, the police said. The couple, along with all four children, died in the explosions, the police said.

The police later disabled three bombs at the home of the suspects, officials in Surabaya said.

Surabaya, located on the eastern side of the island of Java, has a significant Christian minority that is about 11 percent of the city’s population of almost three million. The bombings occurred as professed followers of the Islamic State have begun to make their presence felt in Indonesia, a Muslim-majority nation that is proud of its diversity and tolerance.

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A police spokesman said the victims included worshipers who were entering and leaving the churches between services. Two police officers were also among the dead, he said.CreditEPA, via Shutterstock
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People cleaned the sidewalk outside the Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church on Monday.CreditBeawiharta/Reuters

In 2016, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claimed its first attack in Southeast Asia, when militants attacked a police post and shopping center in central Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, with homemade guns and bombs.

This month, inmates who said they were followers of the Islamic Staterioted in a high-security detention center outside Jakarta. Five guards were killed before counterterrorism officers stormed the compound.

Churches have also been targeted by other extremists. On Christmas Eve in 2000, nearly simultaneous attacks on churches in Jakarta and several other cities killed about 20 people. A local group with links to Al Qaeda claimed credit.

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A man injured in a church explosion in Surabaya, on Sunday.CreditTrisnadi/Associated Press

The suicide bombings here and the knife attack in France came days before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, a time of prayer for the majority of the world’s Muslims and a period when groups like ISIS typically intensify and multiply attacks.

Analysts have been waiting for the start of Ramadan, which begins on Tuesday, to assess the Islamic State’s capabilities. They argue that if the group is able to carry out significant attacks, as it did during Ramadan over the previous three years, it would indicate that the group remained a potent threat, despite its territorial losses.

On Sunday evening, hundreds of people gathered at the Heroes Monument in Surabaya to mourn the bombing victims, and officials announced that public schools in the city would be closed on Monday.

Muktita Suhartono reported from Bandung, and Rukmini Callimachi from New York. Joe Cochrane contributed reporting from Jakarta, Indonesia, and Amir Tejo from Surabaya.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Bombers, Including Family of 6, Target Churches and Police in Indonesia.

Paris stabbings investigated as terror attack, claimed by IS — WEATHER INTERNAL

Crime, News, SEcurity, Terrorism

PARIS (AP) — A knife-wielding assailant killed one person and injured four others in a lively neighborhood near Paris’ famed Opera Garnier before he was killed by police Saturday night. The Islamic State group claimed the attacker as one of its “soldiers.”

Counterterrorism authorities took charge of the investigation, and President Emmanuel Macron vowed that France would not bow to extremists despite being the target of multiple deadly attacks in recent years.None

Paris police officers evacuated people from some buildings in the Right Bank neighborhood after the attack, which happened on rue Monsigny at about 9 p.m. (1900 GMT.) Bar patrons and opera-goers described surprise and confusion in the immediate area.

Beyond the police cordon, however, crowds still filled nearby cafes and the city’s night life resumed its normal pace soon after the attack.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said counterterrorism authorities are leading the investigation on potential charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with terrorist motives.

None“At this stage, based on the one hand on the account of witnesses who said the attacker cried ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great in Arabic) while attacking passersby with a knife, and given the modus operandi, we have turned this over to the counterterrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office,” Molins told reporters from the scene.

The Islamic State group’s Aamaq news agency said in a statement early Sunday that the assailant carried out the attack in response to the group’s calls for supporters to target members of the U.S.-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria.

The Aamaq statement did not provide evidence for its claim or details on the assailant’s identity.

France’s military has been active in the coalition since 2014, and Islamic State adherents have killed more than 200 people in France in recent years, including the 130 who died in the coordinated November 2015 attacks in Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his praise for police who “neutralized the terrorist” and said “France is once again paying the price of blood but will not cede an inch to enemies of freedom.”

Paris police said the attacker in Saturday’s stabbings was armed with a knife and targeted five people in the 2nd arrondissement, or district, killing one and seriously injuring two. The other two suffered less serious injuries.None

The attack occurred near many bars and theaters, as well as the opera.

France’s BFM television interviewed an unnamed witness in a restaurant who said a young woman was at the entrance when “a man arrived and attacked her with a knife.” A friend came to her aid and the attacker left, “hitting on all the doors, all the shops,” the witness told BFM. He turned onto another street, and everyone scattered, the witness said.

“I was having a drink with friends and we heard a boom,” a witness named Gloria, who had been in a nearby bar, recounted on Saturday night. She said she went outside to see what happened and “I saw a guy lying on the ground.”

Another witness described leaving the opera house and being told to go back inside because of the attack.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb denounced the “odious attack.”None

via Paris stabbings investigated as terror attack, claimed by IS — WEATHER INTERNAL

KAICIID BOARD CALLS FOR SOLIDARITY IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC AND AMONG NIGERIAN CITIZENS TO RESIST HATRED DRIVEN BY MALICIOUS ACTS

Africa, News, Terrorism

KAICIID Board Calls for Solidarity in Central African Republic and among Nigerian Citizens to Resist Hatred Driven by Malicious Acts

KAICIID’s Interreligious Board of Directors, composed of religious leaders from five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) issued the following statement following a series of violent attacks on 1 May 2018 in Bangui, Central African Republic, and in Mubi, Nigeria. In these attacks, worshippers, including Father Albert Toungoumalé-Baba, parish priest at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Bangui, as well as  worshippers at a Bangui mosque, were murdered. At a mosque in Mubi, Nigeria, a double suicide bombing killed over 80 people.

“The killing of innocent people at prayer in their houses of worship is a despicable crime that compounds the burden the people of the Central African Republic and Nigeria already carry.

In this hour of uncertainty, fear and anger, we express our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones and we offer our prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured.

“We call upon all citizens of the Central African Republic and Nigeria to recall their common values and citizenship. In the Central African Republic, after great effort in dialogue, calm had returned and respect, mercy and empathy were re-strengthened following the conflict. The peaceful coexistence of religions had been a hallmark of the Republic’s history in the decades before the unrest on 1 May 2018.  Likewise in Nigeria, dialogue has overcome fear and distrust in many hearts. In both countries, the attempt to fuel hatred by malicious actors must be rejected to preserve the hard-won peace following tragedy.

“We commend the efforts of all people of goodwill in the Central African Republic and in Nigeria, and all the stakeholders who seek to sustain peace. In particular, we encourage and applaud the work of the Interreligious Platforms in both nations to build resilience and social cohesion. In particular we declare our solidarity with Cardinal Nzapalainga and Imam Kobine Layama of the Central African Republic in this difficult time.

“Any attempt to fuel religious hatred and to cause harm to people because of their religion is contemptible. In this spirit we stand up for the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion as expressed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Suicide attackers storm HQ of Libya’s election commission, 12 dead

News, Terrorism

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Suicide bombers stormed the head offices of Libya’s electoral commission in Tripoli on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people and setting fire to the building in an attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The assailants also opened fire on employees of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) and fought a gun battle with security forces trying to regain control of the site, officials said.

The attack appeared aimed at derailing efforts to organize elections in Libya by the end of this year, part of a U.N.-led attempt to unify and stabilize the country after years of conflict and political division.

Since December the electoral commission has registered nearly one million new voters across Libya, though no date has been set for polls.

Wednesday’s attack was the first of its kind in Tripoli since 2015. Though security across Libya remains volatile, violence in the capital has recently been limited to localized clashes between armed groups.

Immediately after the attack thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the electoral commission’s offices in the Ghout al-Shaal district west of central Tripoli.

“I saw two suicide bombers myself… they were shouting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest),” said commission spokesman Khaled Omar, who fled the offices with other staff as the attack unfolded.

“A suicide bomber blew up himself inside the commission and the others set a part of the building on fire.”

A security official who spoke to witnesses at the scene of the attack said several gunmen had opened fire on guards while the suicide bombers entered the building, and that some may have later escaped.

Once inside the bombers shot dead employees at close range before detonating explosives, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Amaq, its news agency. Two assailants — identified as Abu Ayoub and Abu Toufik — clashed with security forces before entering the building and detonating explosive jackets after running out of ammunition, the jihadist group said.

The health ministry said 12 people had been confirmed killed and seven wounded. Most of the victims were HNEC staff, with at least two security personnel also killed, Interior Minister Abdulsalam Ashour told a press conference.

The fire blackened the commission building, though HNEC head Emad al-Sayah said the electoral database was safe.

“This breach targeted democracy, not just the HNEC,” Sayah told reporters. “The choice and future of Libyans were targeted.”

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since a 2011 civil war resulted in the overthrow of longstanding ruler Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes.

Elections in 2014 were disputed, resulting in rival governments backed by competing military alliances in Tripoli and the east.

Militants linked to Islamic State have carried out suicide bombings across the north of the country, though the group lost most of its fighters in Libya when it was driven out of its stronghold in the central city of Sirte in 2016.

Libyan and Western officials say militants, including fighters loyal to Islamic State and al Qaeda, are now concentrated in remote desert areas, but also have sleeper cells in coastal cities including Tripoli.

On Sunday a joint meeting of the Arab League, European Union, African Union, and United Nations “emphasized the importance of holding parliamentary and presidential elections” in Libya, noting that they were planned by the end of the year.

Some Libyans and foreign officials have questioned the push for new elections, expressing concern about the lack of security as well as legal and logistical challenges.

Writing by Aidan Lewis, Editing by Peter Graff, Richard Balmforth, William Maclean

1,500 schools destroyed by Boko Haram in North-East – FG

Boko Haram, News, SEcurity, Terrorism

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Federal Government said on Wednesday that more than 1,500 primary and secondary schools in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states had been destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency since 2014.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated this at a workshop on the Safe School Declaration initiative in Abuja, noting that there was “an urgent need to protect education from attacks.”

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The minister said the Federal Government was concerned over the systematic destruction and targeting of education, adding that over 2,295 teachers had been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the last nine years.

Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono, said in his address, “There is an urgent need to protect education from attacks, because without access to quality learning, the children are not only being deprived of education; they are also being robbed of future opportunities which will affect the entire society.

“We express concern over the systematic destruction and targeting of education, where over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 others displaced in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the last nine years.

“In the same vein, an estimated 1,500 schools have been destroyed since 2014, with over 1,280 casualties among teachers and students, thereby devastating the school system.

“Education should continue despite the conflicts but this was not evident for many people.

The Director of Education Support Services of the ministry, Mrs Justina Ibe, said there was a need to develop a sound legal framework to ensure proper implementation of the Safe School Initiative for protecting schools from attacks.

She said the workshop was meant to formally inform stakeholders about the researches on the protection of education from attacks and to interact and share experiences with countries that had implemented the Safe School Declaration.

PUNCH.

Empowering young women to stand up for conflict resilience

News, SEcurity, Terrorism

However, risk can be reduced through conflict resilience led by young women. Conflict resilience is defined as the capacity for societies and communities to recover quickly from violent disputes and reduce their vulnerability to a resurgence of such conflicts. Women, as described in UN Resolution 1325, should play a more active role in efforts to achieve peace and security. Given the vulnerability of young women during violent conflicts, it makes sense to capacitate them to do so.

Identifying young women in affected conflict areas who are motivated to transform their communities into pillars for peace and development is the first step. This is the basis of partnerships between young women and governments in the resilience process. The second step is for governments to infuse conflict-resilience education into school curriculums as the foundation for future initiatives.

Recognising young women who are already leading their communities in conflict transformation can inspire others. Organisations led by young women that have begun to emerge in Africa include Messengers of Peace Liberia and the Borno Women Development Initiative. The latter, a Nigerian-based organisation, aims to place women under the age of 35 at the centre of resilience efforts to combat Boko Haram in Maiduguri.

Unique to the Borno Women Development Initiative is the fact that a young woman, Fatima Askira, leads this initiative. A biological science graduate, the 30-year-old has learnt that her career is not defined by her studies but by the state of her society.

In a forthcoming podcast produced by the Institute for Security Studies and Igarapé Institute’s Innovation in Conflict Prevention project, she tells how supporting and helping people affected by conflict is a responsibility and not a choice. Young women like Askira are an asset to the continent and more young women need to be afforded the opportunity to undertake similar initiatives.

The ability of young women to champion resilience is, however, limited by the marginalisation of youth in general from African peace and governance processes and by the lack of sufficient investment in youth education. These contribute to a longer-term problem for young women, because they are not expected to become engaged in conflict resilience, particularly as leaders.

This kind of structural inequity prevents young women from championing resilience to conflict in other ways too. Firstly, societal expectations for young men and young women in Africa diverge once they transition from childhood to adulthood. This moment is often the point at which the world expands for boys and contracts for girls.

Cultural restrictions such as marriage prospects dictate the future for many young women while young men conversely start to enjoy increased autonomy and social mobility. To help address these concerns, United Nations (UN) Women developed a youth and gender equality strategy in 2017 that aims to foster gender equity championed by youth.

The second structural challenge is that young women are typically labelled as victims in conflict situations, rather than actors with the ability to protect and rebuild their communities. As a result, priority is not given to the potential role of young women in ending conflicts, for example as mediators. Closing this gap is not easy but it is crucial.

Building resilience needs to be multi-dimensional to ensure success. This means a strong partnership between young people, government, civil society and development partners should exist. At a community level, development partners such as the African Development Bank could fund intervention studies assessing the vulnerabilities of communities and their capacity to accommodate young women in conflict resilience.

This, when done in partnership with civil society and government departments responsible for education, can lead to effective training of young women and their community leaders. Building awareness and skills on conflict and trauma, and coping strategies, is the basis for resilience.

Governments should engage with development partners and regional economic communities to build the necessary human resources to enable young women’s role in community resilience. This would have the added benefit of building trust between governments and young people.

Making young women champions of conflict resilience is a missing part in the peacebuilding puzzle and is long overdue in Africa. Once the partnerships and actions outlined above between government, civil society and development partners get stronger, the trust and empowerment that young women need will follow.

Muneinazvo Kujeke, Junior Research Consultant, Peace Operations and Peacebuilding, ISS Pretoria

Two Obvious Gaffe in the Tuccano Purchase

APC, law enforcement, News, PMB, Politics, SEcurity, Tech, Terrorism

Buhari-Saraki-and-DogaraThe hue and cry on the propriety of the Federal Government payment for 12 unit of A-29 Tuccano Super Fighter Jets without due consent from the National Assembly still remain a mystery in public discussions. Clear facts revealed that several terror groups are challenging Nigerians’ security and killing innocent civilians on daily basis; the Nigerian Army need better air support to dislodge these terror groups especially the Boko Haram from their entrenched hideouts; it is a fact that the Tuccano is cheaper and retained all capabilities of more advanced fighter jets avionics; the Tuccano are also designed and has been used for guerrilla warfare and low level fast attack operations in areas similar to the Northeast Nigeria terrains, which make them ideal for the current security challenges in Nigeria; and to top these, the aircrafts have one of the lowest operation costs in the industry –at less than $1000USD per flight hour.

Incredible credentials for a turboprop trainer converted for low-intensity combat operations, so why the challenges on the purchase. We have tried to assuage two major facts behind the obstreperous challenges of this payment of $496 million for 12 A29 Tuccano Super Fighter Jets by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Unit Cost:

 Average costs of the Nigerian purchase for these jets remained the highest ever paid. The airframe cost of the Tuccano as paid by the Dominican Republic for training purposes was a mere $8m. Industrial facts put the costs of a Tuccano at about $12m for a fully equipped versions though recent American buys of Super Tuccano for Afghanistan have come out to between $20 and $30 million because of inflation, different equipment, the inclusion of long-lead spares, and other factors.

The Nigeria government paid a total of $496m for 12 aircrafts giving an average of $41.33m each. Discounting the fact that four of the order were filled for basic airframe suited for Pilot trainings, the average could go higher than $50m per aircraft. Experts reasoned that Nigeria could have purchased better equipment for the price we are currently expending on these Tuccanos.

Delivery Date:

Given the expediency of current security challenges in Nigeria and the attendant-growing spate of attacks in the country, the purchase of the Tuccano would have been a welcome idea if the jets will be available to join in the fray immediately. The delivery dates for these equipment by the American government is in 2020. The jets might not come into formal usage before the end of 2020 give need for training of pilots and tests of equipment before formal commissioning and deployment.

For a nation with a depressed economy fighting serious on-going battle with terrorists using current scarce resources to purchase equipment that might not come into service to aid current security onslaught could be “technically flawed”.

Nigerian Army rescues 1000 Boko Haram captives

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Army, Terrorism

Troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE on Monday rescued over 1000 hostages from the Boko Haram Terrorists enclave. The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), rescued the hostages from Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE on Monday rescued over 1000 hostages from the Boko Haram Terrorists enclave. The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), …

Read more at:  Nigerian Army rescues 1000 Boko Haram captives — Hitvibz

Six killed in Boko Haram attack on Lake Chad island -AFP

Boko Haram, News, Terrorism

bh.jpgSix people were killed, including four government officials and a soldier, in an attack by Boko Haram jihadists on a Chadian army checkpoint on an island in Lake Chad, a military source told AFP Sunday.

The overnight killings, which cost the life of a civilian along with two customs officials, two forestry agents and the soldier, occurred when “Boko Haram elements attacked an advanced post of the Chad army” in Gabalami in the country’s far west, the source said.

The attackers were “repelled” but managed to escape without suffering losses, the source added.

Boko Haram, a militant movement opposed to Western influence and seeking an Islamic state based on Sharia law, has caused the deaths of at least 20 000 people since it took up arms in 2009 in Nigeria.

Neighbouring Chad has seen a recent increase in attacks by the group.

Last month, Chad’s national television reported that three of the country’s soldiers had been killed during a clash with the jihadists, without giving the location.

It came as fighting took place between Boko Haram and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) soldiers in Arge in Nigeria’s Abadam district, which is on the Chad border.

A Chadian soldier, as well as 20 Boko Haram members, were killed in another clash in late March in the restive Lake Chad region.

Two more soldiers were killed in an ambush in the same area a month earlier, in the first Boko Haram attack on Chadian soil since May 2017, in which nine soldiers died.

Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram.

Okowa believes Enforcement of Antigrazing Laws could put an End to Killings in Nigeria

Crime, Herdsmen, law enforcement, Nigeria, Politics, SEcurity, Terrorism

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Sunday called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to encourage cattle ranching so as to stop incessant killings between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria.

Okowa, who spoke at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of the state during the third session of the 12th Synod of the Diocese of Warri, Anglican Communion, noted that open grazing should be highly discouraged.

The governor, who decried the killings by suspected herdsmen across the country, posited that it was time for those involved in cattle rearing to embrace ranching.

He said, “Herdsmen/farmers clash is a national problem and as a state, we are trying to bring the crisis to the barest minimum. As a nation, we must go into ranching for our cattle.

“It is our hope that necessary actions will be taken for us to go into ranching. We cannot continue to allow our cattle to be roaming around.”

Okowa, however, disclosed that he had sent a bill to the state House of Assembly seeking to criminalise youths harassing and extorting money from companies and property developers.

The governor, accompanied by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso and other top government functionaries, warned youths in the state to stop such practice as anyone caught would be dealt with.

“We have sent a bill to the Delta State House of Assembly which will criminalise ‘deve’ (extortion) by youths and anyone who is found guilty will go to jail.

“Anyone who is caught causing trouble, no matter how highly placed you are or who your sponsors are, will face the wrath of the law. We like the peace we are enjoying in the state,” Okowa added.

Source: DailyPost.ng

Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian’s interest in ‘incel’ movement the latest sign of troubled life

Crime, News, Terrorism

The story of Minassian’s ‘sad and confusing’ life comes fragmented from a cluster of people who knew him, but none who appear to have known him well

TORONTO — The distressing scope of criminal allegations against Alek Minassian were revealed in a packed Toronto courtroom — 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder — as glimpses of the man and a possible motive emerged after a rental van mowed through pedestrians along Toronto’s Yonge Street.

Just “minutes before” the van started its awful rampage along the sidewalks of one of Canada’s best known streets, deliberately striking pedestrians, Minassian posted a “cryptic message” on Facebook, said Toronto police Det.-Sgt. Graham Gibson.

The message says: “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

Decoding the post suggests a spark for the deadly trek may have been frustration over an inability to attract female companionship. The majority of the victims struck by the van were women, adding to the potential importance of the post.

Toronto police are investigating whether Minassian’s mental health or an interest in the incel movement are related to the van attack.

At 25, Minassian, who lived with his parents and his brother in a detached two-storey home in suburban Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto, is variously described as a failed solider who dropped out of basic training, a socially awkward student in a special needs class in high school where he was known for acting like a cat, a long-standing college student, a computer whiz and app developer, video game enthusiast and a self-declared “incel.”

It is his apparent embrace of the incel movement that helps decipher his odd Facebook post, which Facebook has confirmed as a legitimate post from Minassian’s account that has since been taken down by the company.

An “incel” is a portmanteau of “involuntary celibate” and came into wide recognition in 2014 after Elliot Rodger, 22, killed six and injured 14 in Isla Vista, California, before killing himself. In a manifesto, he said he needed to punish women for rejecting him and sexually active men for their success where he failed.

Within the incel subculture, which typically veers towards deep misogyny, “Chads” refer to the sexually successful men and “Stacys” to unattainable women.

Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old Richmond Hill, Ont., man is shown in this image from his LinkedIn page. A man accused of driving a van into pedestrians along a stretch of a busy Toronto street has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. Alek Minassian, of Richmond Hill, Ont., is also facing 13 counts of attempted murder. Handout via CP

As news of Minassian’s connection spread, some self-professed incels embraced it as a call to arms.

Some members of an incel-dedicated forum branded him “Saint Alek” and “St. Minassian.” Some suggested other ways to continue the attacks so the world of the sexually active would fear them.

“It is a good time to be an incel. Our brothers are launching their counter-attack, getting their revenge. Thank you,” one post reads. “They should be scared, this is what happens when you deny so many men love and affection for their entire lives,” said another.

“Well, he certainly got us noticed,” one member wrote. “It will be interesting to read about Alek’s story as more details about his life unfold. I’d love to know what exactly made him think he was an incel.”

A police officer walks past a van used in a deadly attack on pedestrians in Toronto on April 23, 2018. Craig Robertson/Postmedia Network

That story may one day become known, but for now, Minassian’s story comes fragmented from a cluster of people who knew him, but none who appear to have known him well.

Despite the violent language of some incels online, those who knew Minassian personally did not pin him as a violent character. Oddball, challenged, awkward, weird, infantilized, but not violent.

When Minassian was a student at Thornlea Secondary School​ in nearby Thornhill, Ont., he stood out for his unorthodox behaviour.

“I had classes with him. He was mentally unstable back then. He was known to meow like a cat and try to bite people; this is one sad and confusing story,” Alexander Alexandrovitch said of his former classmate in a Facebook post.

A photo of Alek Minassian from his Grade 9 yearbook.

Minassian was “never intentionally violent” in school, he added.

Reza Fakhteh said he overlapped with Minassian for two years at Thornlea. He described Minassian as a special education student who rarely socialized and had no obvious friends.

“I never heard him speak beyond meowing at people,” Fakhteh wrote in a Facebook message. “His movements were erratic and just strange overall. He acted like a cat in every way.”

Fakhteh said he was shocked to hear that Minassian was named as a suspect in this kind of attack.

“The guy I remember from high school definitely wouldn’t be driving,” he said.

A man believed to be the father of Alek Minassian is escorted by Toronto Police from the 1000 Finch Avenue West Court Tuesday April 23, after the first court appearance of Minassian, who has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the Yonge and Finch van attack yesterday. Peter J Thompson/National Post

Ari Blaff, another former classmate said he was “an odd guy.”

“He had several tics and would sometimes grab the top of his shirt and spit on it, meow in the hallways and say, ‘I am afraid of girls.’ It was like a mantra.” While Minassian did not express strong ideological views or harass women, he was isolated and others privately made fun of him, Blaff said.

While in high school, he was an avid videogamer. A defunct Steam account, a video game software platform, that appears to be Minassian’s says he is better at shooting games than strategy games. It says he loves the Halo series — a franchise of science fiction-based first-person shooter games — and adds the gamer names of three players who he says are his “real life friends.”

Provincial records show the house, now guarded by police, belongs to Vahe and Sona Minassian. They bought the property in 1998 for $330,000.

The home (centre) of alleged van attack suspect Alek Minassian in Richmond Hill on Tuesday April 24. Peter J Thompson/National Post

In a story published in the Richmond Hill Liberal in 2009, a woman named Sona Minassian praised a local program for special needs children. The story said her son, who isn’t named, lived “with a form of autism known as Asperger’s syndrome.” He used the program, called Helpmate, to earn experience in an office setting.

In 2011, after high school graduation, Minassian enrolled at Seneca College in Toronto. His computer skills were put to use.

He worked as a paid research assistant, roughly four years ago, on a joint project with the college and an external business partner to develop an application to deal with data produced by health and wellness devices similar to Fitbits.

A man believed to be the father of Alek Minassian is escorted by Toronto Police from the 1000 Finch Avenue West Court Tuesday April 23, after the first court appearance of Minassian, who has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the Yonge and Finch van attack yesterday. Peter J Thompson for the National Post

A staff member at Seneca who had a few encounters with Minassian several years ago said he seemed to struggle with social interaction.

“He could have sort of normal conversation, but you could tell it wasn’t his strength,” said the staff member, who did not wish to be named. “It’s completely surreal to realize you know someone who (allegedly) killed 10 people.”

Seneca President David Agnew acknowledged his school’s connection Minassian in an email to students and staff Tuesday afternoon, obtained by the National Post.

“The reports associating the driver with Seneca are extremely troubling,” Agnew wrote. “Yet it is vital that we do not let this terrible act undermine our determination to be the peaceful, tolerant and inclusive society that is admired around the globe. We must grieve, and we must heal, but we must also resolve to carry on.”

Police arrest Alek Minassian after a van fatally struck pedestrians in Toronto on Monday.FTV_Huazhang/Twitter

One of the victims was a student at Seneca. “Our thoughts are with all those affected, including the family and friends of one of our students who died as a result of the tragic incident. Along with the rest of the city, and world, we are extremely troubled by yesterday’s events,” a statement for the college says.

Minassian’s LinkedIn page lists him as enrolled at Seneca from 2011 to 2018. Asked whether seven years was a peculiar length of study, Seneca spokeswoman Kayla Lewis said she couldn’t confirm any student’s enrolment due to privacy concerns, but did offer that “there’s no one-size-fits-all with students and their educational journeys.”

Minassian also appears to have been an aspiring software developer. Someone with that name registered an online Toronto parking app on Google Play.

A police officer adjusts a tarp covering a body on the sidewalk along Yonge Street near Finch Avenue after a man drove a rental truck down the sidewalk and hit and killed multiple pedestrians in Toronto, Ontario, April 23, 2018. Tyler Anderson/NATIONAL POST

Recently, Minassian joined the Canadian Armed Forces. A Department of National Defence spokesperson said he joined the army on Aug. 23, 2017, started his basic training at the military facility at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., that September and left the military on Oct. 25.

He had not progressed to weapons training by the time he was released.

“He did not complete his recruit training and requested to be voluntarily released from the CAF after 16 days of recruit training,” a DND spokesperson said.

His brief stint in the military also may shed light on his cryptic Facebook post. He identified himself as “Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010” — that would have been his rank as a newly recruited soldier and 00010 is the military’s designation for an infantryman.

Frederick Fosu@FredFosuTO

We are quick to condemn but slow to recognize them as when they risk their lives to save others.

The military’s job description for a 00010 Infantryman states: “Must close with and destroy the enemy. They come into direct contact with the enemy and hand-to-hand combat is likely.”

Neighbours said they did not know the family well but often saw them while out and about.

Elaha Jamal, who lives nearby, said it was as if the parents had to supervise Minassian and his brother constantly, and would not let them roam free, sometimes even holding his brother by the shirt at the scruff of the neck.

“They were not OK,” she said. “They were an older couple but they took care of these boys like they were babies.”

— With files from Richard Warnica, Joseph Brean and David Pugliese

Police officers stand by a covered body in Toronto after a van was driven into a crowd of pedestrians, killing at least 10, on April 23, 2018. Aaron Vincent Elkaim / AP

US President says killing of Christians in Nigeria is unacceptable

2019 Elections, Africa, Herdsmen, News, PMB, Politics, Power, Terrorism

The meeting in the Rose Garden between Presidents Buhari and Trump was very coordial and filled with good tidings for Nigerians and American interests. While all were smooth the American president sounded a note of serious warning on ending the herdsmen violence in Nigeria. President Buhari said his administration is working to address the herdsmen killings across Nigeria.

Trump says killing of Christians in Nigeria is unacceptableplayUS President Donald Trump asked Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to support the US bid for the 2026 World Cup

 

United States President, Donald Trump has condemned the killing of Christians in Nigeria, saying it is unacceptable. Trump stated this while hosting Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari at the White House on Monday, April 30.

“We have had very serious problems with Christians who are being murdered in Nigeria, we are going to be working on that problem very, very hard because we cannot allow that to happen,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Buhari said his administration is working to address the farmers and herdsmen killings and to checkmate illegal cross-border activities.

President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The Nigerian leader thanked the US government for approving the sale of military hardware to Nigeria as part of its support for the anti-Boko Haram war.

The Renegade Fulani and Nigeria Homeland Security:

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Terrorism

We all grew up to seeing the Fulani Herdsmen in our communities; armed with sticks, Knives in Scabbards and Long machetes hanging from their shoulders. The picture should have scared another group of kids but we all rarely get into altercation with the cow herders as they always stayed out of the city and mind their businesses.

Years later, when as a graduate of Economics from the Great University of Lagos  I was posted to serve the country in Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria in October 1995, I was a bit reluctant to traverse one of the longest distance in Nigeria and clearly at a loss. I really didn’t know anything about the culture and ways of the Kanuri people leaving in those areas. My father of blessed memory and few Yoruba elders around bolstered my courage and within two weeks of graduation, I was in Portiskum for NYSC orientation. The experience was educational, I became part of the Kanuri culture and went on to spend 3 years in Mangawa lands of Yusufari, Gasha and Damaturu as a young single man.

My first experience of the marauding herdsmen that changed my understanding of the violent nature of the Fulanis happened in Yusufari. Farmers were attacked in their farms and a whole village was burnt down by herdsmen. The casualties and few survivors from the Kumagana attack were brought to the Yusufari Health Center, which was just behind my house. The sight was horrendous, devastating, and completely horrifying. My first sight of effects of bullets and arrows on human anatomy, were so bad that I had to run to the toilet to empty my bowel. I was so shaken that I was tempted to pack my bags and leave my new lodge barely three months into the one year national service.

By 1997, the herdsmen attacks were reported to have degenerated from robbing and killing farmers into full scale armed robbery on major highways in the area. Several cases of robberies were reported on the Kano-Portiskum and Jos – Portiskum roads. The new name for these marauders was the ‘Konta-Konta’. They were deadly, unforgiving and easy to the trigger. Many travelers lost their lives to these attacks warranting the government to create a joint patrol ‘Operation Kura’ to dislodge the criminal elements.

Gradually, the herdsmen attacks and cow rustling had continued over the years, one major factor contributing to its growth has been economical, and truth be told newer social orientation. The Fulani are sendatory, they rarely live in social groups. They are known to exist in family groups and ownership of cattle has been their status symbol for decades. My experience with the Fulani were peaceful. The people are never influenced by their surrounding as they rarely venture into the mainstream of societies around them. They are different and remained enigma to their hosts.

The Fulani like most tribes in Africa have continued to be affected by globalization and socio-economic environmental challenges of the 21st century. Apparent desertification, expansion of the Sahara Desert and the receding Chad Basin have conspired to challenge their main trade and the need for survival has brought the Fulani more into the hinterland. Increased need to adapt to newer realities in an ever-changing society would have been a huge challenge to the herders. Impervious to societal legal restraints and political authority, the Fulani in our towns and villages are possibly challenged, feel too bugged down by rules and completely oppressed.

Increased access to health and social resource have also contributed to a burgeoning youth population in Nigeria and many states in Africa leading to more pressure on an economic that stopped growing since the seventies. Increased population in the Fulani community not paired with substantial expansion in cattle stocks must have created a new Fulani youth without cattle. Imagine a Fulani living without a herd, what else is this new group qualified for?

Before we started running out to Libya to assuage meaning to the ongoing daily killings by the herdsmen in our midst, I think we should join the president in sorting out the wheat from the shaft. Will somebody up there in the corridor of power please whisper to the president, the fact that there have been an emergence of a new class of lawless Fulani without any cattle and source of income that have become menace to our society. Accessing the issue from this angle will allow us to understand the issue from a criminal point of view. These renegades are criminals and should be treated in like manner. It shouldn’t be an issue if they are Fulani or Yoruba. Any groups that come all out to destabilize the peace of the Nigerian homeland should be with all state’s law enforcement apparatus at our disposal.

 

Probably, the predominance of men of Fulani extraction in the inner security circle of the president could be a contributive factor for the perennial denial of the president and its team anytime the word Fulani herdsmen come into play. Many analyst are of the opinion that the President and his security chiefs defends the Fulani herdsmen even when the Miyeti Allah group openly admits culpability in several killings. The Miyeti Allah have through several fora sent messages to Benue and Taraba states government to stop anti-grazing laws as a condition for peace in their areas.

 

While Benue and Taraba Governors have stubbornly refused to accede to this honorable request to allow cow to take over their streets and offices like we have in Abuja currently, the killing have equally refused to abate. Instead of bowing to the Miyeti Allah’s demand and save thousands from gun wielding degenerates, Ortom went ahead and set up a vigilante to secure his state from further attacks. Unfortunately, Ortom never did thorough diligence on his security adviser’s background. Facts coming out showed that he had employed a terrorist to reduce killings in his state. Some schools of thought even concluded that Ortom was merely using “a thief to catch a thief”. But all in all, the army investigative team after months of non-preventive patrols have discovered that the Benue State Vigilante team are responsible for the herdsmen killings in Benue state.

 

I am sure by now the Tiv and Idoma people of Benue state would have been on the street dancing their traditional sexy contraction moves to honour the announcement of the arrest of these killers. Should we just dismantle all IDP camps and send the people back to their villages, now that we have arrested the issue? Maybe Trump should even be told that the issue of the herdsmen are on its way out as the major group responsible are now in custody and pray that we got it right this time.

 

I am never a pessimist, yet I am bothered by the attention we are giving to the continual death from these herdsmen killings. From actual denial of the existence of a systematic killing campaign in northern Nigeria and allowing the problem to degenerate and spread to every areas of the country; to a systematic allusion to its existence and caused by economic pressures, to blaming the death of thousands of our brothers on Libyan Civil war that ended years ago and now to the point that we are all out saying politicians caused it.

Having attended training and workshops with several of our security leaders, I am sure we have highly intelligent officers in all our security organisation. Current security appraisal and operations have continued to amaze most security professionals. The apparent lack of academic inputs in Nigerian security policy formulation have been blamed for the disjointed policy infrastructure we have in place today. There exists need for a proper reevaluation of our security mix, a proper redesign of our processes, and an introduction of an efficient system for monitoring and evaluating security operation in Nigeria.

 

The office of the NSA is an aberration that needed to be looked at, the NSA cannot at the same time be a security policy maker, security agencies supervisor and an active security agency. We cannot pursue a robust security operations when the system is in a flux. Proper use of resources can only be assured when tasks are tied to measurable and evaluable timelines. We cannot manage our security efficiently without putting the system in the right. Someone should please tell the President.

 

TERSHAKU’S ARREST: ORTOM, UDENDE, OTHERS UNDER INVESTIGATION, SAYS ARMY SOURCE

Boko Haram, Nigerian Army, PMB, Politics, Terrorism

Nigerian Concord Newspapers
Confirmed sources at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Saturday night hinted Nigerian Concord that the Nigerian Army have got a nod from the Presidency to investigate the executive governor of Benue state, Mr. Samuel Ortom, a member representing Katsina Ala federal constituency, Honourable Emmanuel Udende, and some top associates of the governor following the arrest of a wanted Boko Haram leader, Aliyu Yaminu Tershaku whom was harboured by the Benue state government.

Tershaku who was wanted by various Nigerian Security agencies in connection with his roles in several terrorist attacks which were carried out by Boko Haram in 2011 was appointed by Governor Samuel Ortom as the Commander of the Benue State Livestock Guards.

According to our Defence Headquarters sources, Tershaku, in his first report, has confessed to the Army that arrested and took him to Abuja last night that it was Honourable Emmanuel Udende who introduced him to Ortom in 2015 as a capable hand to head the state government militants group.

Tershaku also told his interrogators that it was true that he is on the state government payroll as an assistant to Governor Ortom on special security.

He also confessed that all the weapons which members of the militia group as well as the ones that were found on him during his arrest in Makurdi yesterday were provided for them by the Ortom-led administration.

However, our sources have confirmed that the Nigerian Army have concluded their investigation that Tershaku and members of his militia group who are operating and hiding under the Benue State Livestock Guards, are the people behind the recent killings in the state.

Although, our sources said the suspect has not own up to the allegation, Nigerian Concord can authoritatively report that the first investigation report of the Nigerian Army has pointed at him and his gang as the masterminds of this week attacks which led to the killings of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in Gwer East local government.

The Army’s report also indicted Tershaku and his gang as the brain behind another attack which claimed 13 persons and several properties in Guma local government on Tuesday.

Our sources hinted that based on the Army’s request, President Mohammadu Buhari directed Vice President Yemi Osibajo to monitor the authorization given to the security agency to investigate why the Benue state governor would appoint a wanted terrorist into such sensitive position.

Part of the approval which the Army got from the Presidency was that Honourable Udende should be thoroughly investigated since Tershaku has confessed that he was introduced to Ortom by the lawmaker, and also that members of the militia group do meet at his (Udende) Makurdi residence.

It would be recalled that this newspaper had three months ago reported that Udende was camping several militias who were freshly raised for Governor Ortom in his Makurdi residence.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, Mr. Olabisi Ayeni, has officially confirmed that Tershaku who was arrested yesterday in Makurdi by a combined team of troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services is believed to have masterminded most of the recent attacks in Benue State.

Making this known in his statement, Ayeni said that the Army’s investigation revealed that Tershaku has concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch a major attack on innocent citizens in Benue State throughout next week.

It would be recalled that Tershaku’s arrest followed an outburst by the Nigerian Army that the recent attacks and killings in Benue state were sponsored by the state government under Governor Samuel Ortom.

All the attacks took place while Governor Ortom was holidaying in far away China.

Sweden arrests 3 suspected of preparing “an act of terror” — INKLING LEAGUE

Islam, Terrorism

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Swedish officials say three people have been arrested on suspicion of preparing “an act of terror.”
Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency SAPO says the three were arrested Monday for terror-related activities in several locations in greater Stockholm. SAPO said they had been on the agency’s radar for a while.
The agency says several other people have been brought in for questioning.
It added that the terror threat in Sweden remains “unchanged” at a rating of three on a five-degree scale, which is “an increased threat.”
In April 2017, an Uzbek man rammed a stolen truck into a shopping crowd in Stockholm, killing five people and injuring 14 others. He said he did it to punish Sweden for joining a coalition against the Islamic State group in the Mideast.

via Sweden arrests 3 suspected of preparing “an act of terror” — INKLING LEAGUE

Herdsmen Has The Right To Kill – Prof. Ango Abdullahi — The Marble

News, Terrorism

A former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, and spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi has vehemently defended the incessant killings by Fulani herdsmen across the country.
Abdullahi also said that the herdsmen menace is politically motivated by the South to disrupt the politically united North ahead of the 2019 general elections, adding that this was how Boko Haram was introduced during Goodluck Jonathan’s government which led to his failure in the 2015 polls.
Justifying the killings, the Professor said that the herdsmen are killing members of their host communities in order to defend themselves, adding that the herders were free to take the cattle to any part of the country the same way an Igbo man does his business.
In a strong worded interview with Vanguard, Abdullahi said, “I have been involved in debates against some respected people from the southern part of this country who believe that this country is not balanced because the North is too big; because the North is too politically united, so there must be a way of disrupting this unity, and this is what we are seeing on ground today, and the elements that are being used are the Fulani herdsmen.
“This matter would be looked at properly; political alliances and so on are welcome. You don’t need to lose blood, or property to engage in political alliance or whatever you want, or still, you don’t need to introduce excuses that will lead to loss of lives. We saw this when the Boko Haram was on ground; they said northerners created the sect to disrupt former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, which led to his failure in the last election, and so on.
“Now that Boko Haram is out of the way, the new excuse is the Fulani herdsmen. This is what is happening in other places except in areas that you are talking.
“We have seen what they called a new handshake across the Niger; it is political, and we have seen the mourning that has taken place in Benue and other places to show that the monolithic North is not in tandem with the Middle Belt; it is all politics. Our Middle Belters don’t need to take the agenda that appears to be a thing of distrust. We are not going to force anybody into a relationship politically or otherwise. We see this as a political agenda.
Asked if herdsmen are not the ones committing the murders, he added, “The truth is, if you want to kill me and I have a chance first, I will kill you, or you do want people to be killed and not defend themselves? By your reporting, you have denied them justice and government also has denied them justice by not going to arrest those that are killing them. So, they defend themselves.
On the herdsmen that kidnapped, raided and Chief Olu Falae’s farm ablaze, he said, “My uncle was kidnapped last week in Kaduna, my cousin’s children were also kidnapped and they had to go and find N2.5 million to pay. Why is Olu Falae case different?
“Because he was Secretary to the Federal Government? He is a Nigerian just like my uncle and my cousin whose children were kidnapped. The right of every citizen is important under the law. Why is he so special?
“What about the impunity of the people killing herdsmen? The herdsmen in Nigeria are reacting to the injustice meted out daily to them?
“You people, you Nigerians, including you who are biased, who are not prepared to protect the rights and interests of herdsmen. They are killed but not reported, that is not acceptable.
“Herdsmen operate in these places you mentioned because the country has denied them the traditional routes which the British created for them IN 1914 when they occupied this country because they realised that, like cars require tracks, herdsmen also require tracks they can use to graze and drink water.
“The British provided it for them and gazetted it but people have denied them these routes. So, where do you expect the animals to follow? They have to follow somewhere and the easy road is the one other people are using. We are all living in Nigeria.
Asked if he was trying to justify the menace of herdsmen, he maintained, “I am justifying it very strongly because herdsmen are being unjustly treated in this country.
“They are businessmen just like the farmers whose crops are being destroyed. They should invest in their business; buy ranches like the farmers bought their parcels of land.
They are businessmen. If an Igbo man could go to my state and set up a shop, why shouldn’t herdsmen operate elsewhere? Or are you the one who planted the grass the animals are feeding on? Are you the one who created the water they drink?
“The land belongs to Nigerians and herdsmen are Nigerians. If an Igbo man can go to the North and set up a business, why won’t herdsmen go to the South, including your village, to graze their cattle?
“Where we come from, you don’t pay for land, you only ask for permission to use it. That is why I said you people are biased against other people and that is why the peace of this country will be very difficult.”

via Herdsmen Has The Right To Kill – Prof. Ango Abdullahi — The Marble