FROM FRED ITUA, ABUJA
DISTURBED by the recent announcement of President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria had joined a coalition of Islamic countries combating terrorism, an organ of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), National Christian Elders Forum, has revealed that it has on good authority, plans by the Federal Government to impose Sharia Law on every state of the federation. The Christian Forum further revealed that there were some Islamist elements already in the country with the sole aim of Islamising the country.
Chairman of the forum, Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, supported by Christian leaders like the Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese of Catholic Church, Joseph Bagobiri, among others, the elders told journalists at a press conference that the Islamic elements in the country were already working towards achieving the goal of making Nigeria a Sharia state. “We are aware that there are Islamists in government preparing to execute the Islamisation agenda. Any nation in which Islamists believe that they are sufficiently strong to exercise influence rarely experience peaceful cohabitation among the divergent groups within it.
“This is the current situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan. Islamism thrives on injustice, inequality and unfairness. We urge Nigerians to remain circumspect so that the Islamists do not drag the nation down the path of destruction.
“In the build up to the 2015 elections, majority of Nigerians expressed great hope that there would be change in the nation. However, ten months after the new government was sworn into office, credible apprehension can be expressed given the policy direction of the new administration. We hope that the buildup to these policies do not result in full blown Sharia which President Muhammadu Buhari had promised Muslims in Nigeria,” Asemota noted on behalf of other elders.
Speaking further on President Buhari’s recent actions which suggest that the motion was already in place to entrench Sharia law, the elders said: “The inclusion of Nigeria in the Saudi Arabia Military Coalition of “Muslim/Arab” nations would appear that the Foreign Policy thrust of the this administration is to make Nigeria a satellite state of Saudi Arabia. The strengthening of the nation’s democracy and security for all should remain the greatest priority of government.
“This we see to have been negated by the President’s fiat/ unilateral decision to enlist Nigeria in the 34 nations Muslim/ Arab coalition. Given the emotive and sensitive nature of this unilateral Executive decision, it should have been handled by Mr. President in line with our democratic culture through popular discussion and participation by the citizenry, or at the very least, through the National Assembly.”
Cameroon – Ambazonia Silent War May Escalate -JIHA
The Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is one of Africa’s newest struggles for liberation. The crisis emerged from legal and education grievances in 2016 and rapidly escalated into a secessionist political conflict that is threatening the unity of the country, with the potential to degenerate into a complex emergency. The crisis has been intensifying and has raised concerns about the potential for it to evolve into a “Complex Disaster Emergency” (CDE) in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
In an exploratory, qualitative, analytical, and descriptive case study research tradition involving document/content analysis, the Robert Strauss Centre’s complex emergency framework was applied to investigate the potential of the Anglophone crisis. The research found that 72.5% of the variables in all the complex emergencies fall within the relevant to extremely relevant ranking criteria. Furthermore, the establishment of a nexus between the Anglophone crisis and a natural hazard-induced disaster suggest an escalation of the crisis to an unbearable level.
The Anglophone crisis has been compounded by the high probability of a novel eruption at Mt. Cameroon coupled with the eminent threat of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This further heightens the potential for the crisis to cumulatively evolve into a CDE in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The existential challenges in providing humanitarian assistance in the conflict region are immense, and by applying the Robert Strauss Centre’s complex emergency framework, this article concludes with an early warning for an impending CDE that could heighten humanitarian challenges unless there is foresight and goodwill by relevant actors to immediately commence a process of adequate contingency planning.
In conclusion, the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon is a complex and rapidly evolving situation that has the potential to degenerate into a “Complex Disaster Emergency” (CDE) in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The crisis has been intensifying and has raised concerns about the potential for it to evolve into a CDE. It is important for relevant actors to take immediate action and begin adequate contingency planning to mitigate the potential humanitarian challenges that may arise.
MNK Speaks From Captivity Urges IPOB To Remain Resolute
Barrister Aloy Ejimako visited the detained leader of IPOB Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at DSS headquarters in Abuja earlier today. According to him, incarceration is tough but Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is tougher. He said Kanu urges Biafrans to be tough and maintain their ground. In his own words, I had the opportunity to visit with #MNK, and the topics covered during our meeting were incredibly enlightening. Firstly, we discussed the appeal that is currently pending before the Supreme Court. MNK shared his thoughts on the matter and his hopes for a favorable outcome.
Furthermore, I was able to update MNK on the latest cases I had filed on his behalf last week. The situation of detention can be incredibly difficult, but MNK’s strength and determination in the face of adversity is truly impressive. He urged all of us to maintain our positions and be just as tough as he is.
It was particularly striking to hear Onyendu express his steadfast commitment to the Biafra restoration movement. He emphasized the importance of continuing to push for this cause, even in the face of obstacles and challenges.
Additionally, I filed a suit against the Attorney General of the Federation, Malami, last week. The suit aims to put an end to any further defamatory publications that Onyendu #MNK jumped bail. Such publications are highly prejudicial and injurious to MNK’s other cases pending in various courts, and it is essential that they come to an end.
Overall, my visitation with MNK was incredibly valuable, and I left feeling inspired and motivated to continue fighting for his rights and the Biafra restoration movement. It is clear that Onyendu is a remarkable individual who is dedicated to his cause and determined to overcome any obstacles in his path.
Furthermore, MNK also spoke about the importance of unity and solidarity within the Biafra restoration movement. He emphasized that it is essential for all members of the movement to work together and support one another in order to achieve our common goal. He also urged us to be vigilant and stay informed about the latest developments in the movement, and to take action when necessary.
MNK’s words were incredibly powerful and provided a much-needed boost of inspiration and motivation. His determination and resolve in the face of adversity is truly admirable and serves as a reminder of the importance of standing up for what we believe in.
Last week, I filed a Suit against AGF Malami to stop him from making any further defamatory publication that Onyendu #MNK jumped bail. Such publication is highly prejudicial & injurious to MNK’s other cases pending in various courts. It has to stop! pic.twitter.com/UmGgCHKDEa
— aloy ejimakor (@AloyEjimakor) January 17, 2023
It was a privilege to be able to speak with MNK and hear his thoughts on the current state of the Biafra restoration movement. His words will undoubtedly inspire others to join the cause and fight for the rights of the people of Biafra.
In conclusion, the visitation with MNK was a valuable and enlightening experience. It was clear that MNK is a strong and determined individual who is committed to the Biafra restoration movement. His words were powerful and inspiring, and serve as a reminder of the importance of standing up for what we believe in. The fight for Biafra restoration is one that requires unity, solidarity and determination, and with a leader like MNK at the helm, we can be confident that we will eventually achieve our goal.
Mass graves of 49 civilians found in DR Congo
UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have uncovered mass graves containing the bodies of 49 civilians following a series of attacks blamed on a local armed group, Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO). The graves were found in two villages in northeastern Ituri province, about 30km (19 miles) east of the town of Bunia.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the United Nations, told reporters in New York on Wednesday that 42 victims, including six children, were discovered in a mass grave in the village of Nyamamba, while the bodies of seven other men were found in another village, Mbogi.
“Peacekeepers launched a patrol to the area immediately after receiving reports of attacks on civilians by the CODECO militias over the weekend. This is when they made the gruesome discoveries,” he said. The UN is calling for an investigation to establish if the mass graves and the attacks are linked. The UN regional peacekeeping operation, MONUSCO, is also supporting the Congolese judicial system to investigate the attacks and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Ituri, a restive province bordering Uganda, has seen a spate of violence in recent weeks, after the killing of a teacher belonging to the Lendu community triggered reprisal attacks from CODECO, which claims to represent the ethnic group. The Lendu and Hema communities have a longstanding feud, which led to thousands of deaths between 1999 and 2003 before an intervention by a European peacekeeping force.
Haq also warned of a “significant deterioration of the security situation” in Ituri, saying that at least 195 civilians have been killed, 68 wounded and 84 people abducted since December during attacks attributed to the CODECO and Zaire militias. More than 1.5 million people in Ituri province have also been displaced by the fighting. The UN is urging for the protection of civilians and for all parties to respect human rights.
Armed groups in Burkina Faso target civilians, 50 women kidnapped
Armed groups in Burkina Faso are increasingly targeting civilians, according to the country’s military leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore. He made the statement after about 50 women were kidnapped in the restive Soum province in the West African country on January 12 and 13.
Some of the women managed to escape and have recounted their ordeal, which included being forced to walk through the bush for a whole day, and being made to shepherd stolen sheep to disguise the kidnappings.
According to the escapees, the gunmen forced them to walk through the bush for a whole day, and assembled them again the next morning, it was at this moment that some of them decided to take a risk and managed to escape.
One of the survivors said, “I managed to hide in a ravine with another [woman],”. “We got back to the village at nightfall. Others returned the following morning.”
Captain Traore also said that the terrorist groups are switching tactics and focusing on civilians. He said, “Today, another phase has been launched by the terrorists,”.
Fulani Terrorists Continues Their Genocidal Massacre In Ebonyi
Again, Fulani Terror herdsmen sponsored, armed, and guarded by Nigeria Fulani-led federal government has continued their genocidal massacre of Biafrans in Ebonyi.
According to a viral video online, a reporter can be heard saying that the Fulani Terrorists are not relenting in the quest to kill everyone in Ebonyi state.
This is about the 4th time in the last 6 months that Fulani terrorists have gone on the large-scale slaughter of Ebonyi people.
He called on Eastern Security Network(ESN) to come to the aid of the Ebonyi people. ESN was formed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to safeguard Biafrans against marauding Fulani terrorists.
This is the reason why we need #ESN.
Anybody on Uniform in Biafraland is a terrorist. pic.twitter.com/P9l7mfD9Ec
— IPOB FINEST 20K HANDS (@20kIpob) June 7, 2021
However, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has been against the formation of ESN and has been working assiduously to eliminate ESN personnel from Ebonyi instead of supporting them.
This led to the creation of the Ebubeagu Security Network to fight the ESN in Ebonyi and other Eastern states. Ebubeagu has never and does not have the capacity to confront Fulani Terror Herdsmen wielding automatic assault rifles given to them by the Nigerian government.
Window Of Opportunity For Peace In Mali ‘Slowly Narrowing,’ Warns Secretary-General
“We meet less than a year before the next presidential election,” said Mr. Guterres, stressing that the coming months will be an opportunity for Malians and their institutions to show their dedication to peace and the rule of law.
Noting that municipal elections in November last year were not held in all regions and suffered a low turnout, he encouraged the Malian authorities to ensure the success of the presidential election.
He added that numerous delays and slow implementation of critical provisions of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali are always a cause of concern, including the postponement of the review of the Constitution.
Delays in security sector reform related to the redeployment of the reformed and reconstituted Malian defence and security forces in the centre and north are also to be noted.
Mr. Guterres added that a number of achievements were recorded in recent months encompassing security, development, reductions in community violence, efforts to prevent the recruitment of youth.
“Yet the country’s achievements – that are remarkable – remain fragile, especially in light of the recent confrontations between armed groups and recurring attacks,” he went on. “Trust is being tested but we welcome the signature, earlier today, of a ceasefire agreement between the two signatory movements which also re-emphasizes their commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement.”
New institutions, processes and laws have yet to translate into significant improvements in the daily lives of Malians, the Secretary-General stated, adding that inclusivity, especially of women, youth and other under-represented social groups, remains insufficient, and constraints to humanitarian access persist.
“The window of opportunity for the Government to provide long-awaited peace dividends is slowly narrowing,” said Mr. Guterres.
The UN chief also urged the international community to ensure unity of purpose in financially and logistically supporting regional undertaking, such as the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime because, if successful, the Force can not only contribute to an enabling environment for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali to fully implement its mandate but also advance progress in the Malian peace process.
But the most sustainable solution remains the strengthening of Mali’s own security architecture, Mr. Guterres said, stressing that the absence of a comprehensive strategy for security sector reform needs to be urgently addressed.
Mauritanian Minister Highlights Country’s Successful Efforts To Combat Terrorism
After heavy fighting in 2010 and 2011, and despite a complex regional situation, Mauritania has faced the threat of terrorism successfully. “We have strengthened our defensive capacities while respecting human rights and putting in place a policy of sustainable development,” he explained. In addition, Mauritania has succeeded in building a constructive dialogue with the opposition and civil society, improving governance and reforming institutions, particularly with regard to women’s rights.
Mauritania, he continued, has reformed its legal frameworks on the basis of international agreements, in particular, to better combat terrorism. To this end, he noted the conclusion of agreements with some groups in order to allow their members to reintegrate into society in a productive way.
Mauritania, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has eradicated illegal migration from its territory, the Minister continued. “We also set out a roadmap on the fight against terrorism, including through a social assistance program,” he said, adding that repatriation programmes have also been implemented for migrants, in order to enable them to return to the country under favourable conditions.
The Minister also spoke about the problems caused by climate change in the Sahel region. In this regard, he encouraged all parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change to honour their commitments in order to limit the impacts of the phenomenon.
Transitional Justice In Tunisia – A Painful but Necessary Step Forward
Recent public hearings of saw a painful period of collective introspection for the country’s people.
Tales of humiliations, torture, and rape committed over a near-60 year period—starting at around the time of Tunisia’s independence from France—were broadcast in eight live public hearing sessions from November 2016 to March 2017.
According to Refic Hodzic of the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), transitional justice processes generally take place in polarized contexts, in which there is resistance to change.
This has proven true in Tunisia, where the TDC and its chair have been the target of attacks by political and media leaders, mainly those linked to the old regime, over their operating costs and financial management.
Some have also criticized the choice of victims in the public hearings, arguing that the majority are Islamist activists, though, given that Islamists were the main oppressed group under the old secular regime, their over-representation here makes sense.
The hearings are the only publicly visible component of the commission, which has received 62,641 cases to date. It was established following the Tunisian revolution, which led to the removal of long-standing president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and initiated the wider Arab Spring.
Tunisia was unique among Arab nations in seeing a peaceful transition to a democratic system.
Six years into this process, Tunisia has successfully written a new constitution, held two rounds of free and fair legislative elections, and democratically elected a president. It is now following the lead of other countries who have gone through major political upheavals.
Based on investigations, testimony-gathering, and archival research, truth commissions were instrumental in the successful transitional periods of countries such as Argentina, Peru, and South Africa.
The TDC will produce a final report covering the period from 1955-2013, during which the successive oppressive administrations of Habib Bourguiba and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali turned Tunisia into a police state under one-party-rule.
The regimes imposed routine restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, and association, and relied heavily on intimidation, arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture, residential restrictions, and travel controls, alongside systemic corruption and economic marginalization.
Among the many women who spoke at the recent hearings was Latifa Matmati. Although her husband Kamal Matmati was killed in 1991, she only learned of his fate in 2011. For 20 years, she brought clothes to the police station where she believed he was held captive; for 20 years, the police did nothing to stop her.
Sami Brahim, meanwhile, told of his experience of abuse and torture while in jail: “All the prisoners were stripped, the young and the elderly. For an entire week, everyone was kept naked.”
He said that he was ready to forgive his torturers, but that forgiveness must be accompanied by an explanation of why he was subjected to these activities.
After giving the floor to the victims, the TDC does indeed plan to have torturers testify, to explain the mechanisms that fueled the repression.
The hearings were an eye-opening experience for many Tunisians who didn’t know such abuses were taking place. Under the old regimes, information was tightly controlled and only those affected or linked to the victims were aware of what was going on.
According to Salwa El Gantri, ICTJ’s Head of Office in Tunisia, it is “difficult to make those who were never victims, who never had any links to victims, understand victims’ suffering and victims’ rights.”
The public hearings’ main purpose is thus to ensure those detached to hear the truth directly from the victims.
Despite millions tuning in via television, radio, and social media, it is still too early to assess the real impact on Tunisian society.
Beyond a widely shared sense of high emotion, the reactions have been diverse. While most Tunisians appreciated learning about the abuses directly from their victims, some have argued that it was the wrong time for the hearings to occur, as Tunisia faces more pressing issues, such as a stagnating economy, high corruption, and continuous terrorist attacks and other security threats.
While no one can deny the urgency of the various challenges Tunisia is facing and will continue to face for the next few years, compromise on the full implementation of the transitional justice is only likely to diminish efforts to prevent human rights abuses from repeating.
Successful democratic transitions require deep change to occur on multiple fronts and concurrently.
As its work continues it will be of paramount importance for the TDC to assess the effectiveness of its operations and make any necessary improvements.
It should also keep up and even increase its communication efforts. This will help restore and maintain its credibility and relevance among the public, and challenge negative perceptions on the transitional justice process, as well as reform and democratization more broadly.
The successful creation of the pillars of the democratic transition was a remarkable achievement in a region crippled by an acute lack of individual freedoms, unemployment, corruption, war, and terrorism. To stay on track, ambitious reforms will be necessary.
Continued progress on transitional justice can help in this process, by improving the institutions that were once complicit in the abuses, primarily the police and judiciary.
If nothing else, the public hearings have successfully initiated a constructive national debate on these issues. They have also made some degree of contribution to repairing the population’s trust in justice and the ongoing transition.
Following his public testimony, Sami Brahim reported receiving thousands of letters and messages of support, while one of the TDC commissioners, Ibtihel Abdellatif, described the hearings in terms of a seismic event—“not an earthquake that destroys, but an earthquake that builds.”
This article was originally published by the Global Observatory of the International Peace Institute.
Algeria – 12 Years After In Terrorist Strongholds, Extremist Surrenders
Algeria- An armed Algerian extremist left terrorist strongholds and surrendered to local military authorities after spending 12 years in the ranks of extremist groups.
Meanwhile, the Algerian army command announced dismantling thousands of anti-personnel mines, dating back to the French colonial period between 1830 and 1962.
On its official website, Algeria’s Ministry of National Defense described the terrorist who surrendered on Sunday in El Milia as “dangerous.”
“D. Fares” aka “Abu Osama,” who had joined terrorist groups in 2005, had a Kalashnikov type machine gun, ammunition and a pair of binoculars, said a statement from the Defense Ministry.
The Ministry neither did mention the organization to which the terrorist belonged nor the crimes he may have committed while operating; however, the most famous extremist groups is known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).
In this context, the Ministry launched again an appeal to remaining terrorists to seize the opportunity and benefit from the regulations in force, like those who surrendered to the security authorities.
Egypt – Central Sinai, Anti Terror Military Raid, 7 Killed, 3 Arrested
The Egyptian military has carried anti-terrorist operations in Sinai on Monday.
The military spokesperson said that the military killed seven terrorists including two “leading members of terrorist groups,” in North Sinai in a statement published on social media.
He also said in a separate statement that three terrorist suspects were arrested in central Sinai.
In both operations together, the spokesperson said it destroyed vehicles and motorcycles, a tunnel, and cannabis farms, in addition to dozens of “terrorist dens” where they found computers and material used to manufacture explosives.
Several photos of the operations were published. They included one photo of the three arrested suspects and a photo of the tunnel. The tunnel was reported to have been discovered in the border zone, among other tunnels reported to have been destroyed every month.
In 2014, the military began working on a buffer zone in Rafah by removing residents’ houses with the aim of securing the borders with Gaza and putting an end to terror.
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