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.

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Russia Reveals Who “Staged” Syria Gas Attack, As US Claims Moscow “May Have Tampered” With Site

international News, Politics, Power, SYRIA

Russia Reveals Who “Staged” Syria Gas Attack, As US Claims Moscow “May Have Tampered” With Site

The Russian envoy to the chemical weapons watchdog group, OPCW, said that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the UK and US carried out the April 7 chemical attack in the Damascus, Syria suburb of Douma.

Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin, said Russia has irrefutable evidence that there was no chemical weapons incident in Douma.

“Therefore, we have not just a “high degree of confidence,” as our Western partners claim, but we have incontrovertible evidence that there was no incident on April 7 in Douma and that all this was a planned provocation by the British intelligence services, probably, with the participation of their senior allies from Washington with the aim of misleading the international community and justifying aggression against Syria,” he stated. –Sputnik

Shulgin added that the US, UK and France are not interested in conducting an objective investigation of the attack site. “They put the blame on the Syrian authorities in advance, without even waiting for the OPCW mission to begin to establish the possible facts of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

The nine-member OPCW mission people has yet to deploy to the city of Douma according to the organization’s Chief, citing pending security issues.

“The Team has not yet deployed to Douma. The Syrian and the Russian officials who participated in the preparatory meetings in Damascus have informed the FFM Team that there were still pending security issues to be worked out before any deployment could take place. In the meantime the Team was offered by the Syrian authorities that they could interview 22 witnesses who could be brought to Damascus,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said as quoted by the organization.

The Russian Envoy says that the controversial “White Helmets” were one of the anti-Assad “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs” which staged the event. As Disobedient Media and others have reported, the White Helmets are funded in large part by the United States.

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“The Syrian Civil Defense Force (aka the White Helmets) is funded in part by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Included here are two links showing contracts awarded by USAID to Chemonics International Inc. (DBA Chemonics). The first award was in the sum of $111.2 million and has a Period of Performance (POP) from January 2013 to June 2017. It states that the purpose of the award will be to use the funds for managing a “quick-response mechanism supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria.” The second was in the sum of $57.4 million and has a POP from August 2015 to August 2020. This award was designated to be used in the “Syria Regional Program II” which is a part of the Support Which Implements Fast Transitions IV (SWIFT IV) program.” Via Disobedient Media

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Syria says false alarm set off its air defenses

international News, Islam, Middle East, Military, SYRIA, War

Syria says false alarm set off its air defenses

A picture taken from a helicopter during a press tour provided by the Russian Armed Forces on September 15, 2017 shows an aerial view of the modern city of Palmyra, in Syria's central province of Homs.© DOMINIQUE DERDA/AFP/Getty Images A picture taken from a helicopter during a press tour provided by the Russian Armed Forces on September 15, 2017 shows an aerial view of the modern city of Palmyra…AMMAN, April 17 (Reuters) – A false alarm led to Syrian air defense missiles being fired overnight and no new attack on Syria took place, Syrian state media and a military commander said on Tuesday.

Syrian state TV reported overnight that anti-aircraft defenses had shot down missiles fired at an air base in the Homs area, and a media unit run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah said missiles had also targeted an air base near Damascus.

The incident underscored fears of a further escalation in the Syrian conflict after a U.S., British and French attack on Syrian targets on Saturday and an air strike on an air base the previous week that Damascus blamed on Israel.

Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying a number of air defense missiles had been fired but no foreign attack had taken place.

Separately, a commander in the regional military alliance backing the government attributed the malfunction to “a joint electronic attack” by Israel and the United States targeting the Syrian radar system.

The issue had been dealt with by Russian experts, said the commander, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

State television had showed pictures of a missile it said was shot in the air above the air base.

A Pentagon spokesman said there was no U.S. military activity in that area at this time. Asked about reports of the missile attack, an Israeli military spokesman said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”

Saturday’s strikes by the U.S., Britain and France were in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Syrian military in eastern Ghouta. Both Damascus and its ally Russia have denied using any such weapons.

(Reporting by Laila Bassam in Damascus and Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Additional reporting by Nayera Abdullah in Cairo, Yara Bayoumy in Washington and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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