Boko Haram ‘kill several’ as they loot Nigeria market

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Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Boko Haram gunmen stormed a crowded market in Nigeria’s restive northeastern state of Borno, killing several people and carting away food, witnesses said Saturday.

Dressed in military and police uniforms, dozens of insurgents attacked the town of Mainok, 56 kilometres outside Maiduguri, the state capital late Thursday, firing a rocket-propelled grenade and spraying the market with bullets.

The attackers also looted food which they loaded onto trucks abandoned by fleeing traders, witnesses said.

“They struck around 1:30pm (1230GMT) during peak hours by first firing a rocket-propelled grenade at the market before opening fire on traders”, Salman Lawan, a trader who witnessed the carnage told AFP.

“They killed several people in the attack but it is difficult to give a precise figure,” said Lawan who fled to Maiduguri following the attack.

Another trader Modu Kachalla, who gave a similar account, said the insurgents were looking for cash and food.
“They robbed traders of cash and loaded food into trucks they seized at the market before fleeing into the bush,” he said.

“The market was full…when the Boko Haram gunmen attacked which explained the high casualties,” he said.

“The attackers killed many people at the market but it is difficult to give a toll because everybody fled to save their lives,” said Ibrahim Kolo, another witness.

Boko Haram, which has seized swathes of territory in Borno and in neighbouring Yobe and Adamawa states, has been running short of food in the areas they have taken, according to residents.

On Wednesday the insurgents ambushed a truck carrying grain to Maiduguri outside the nearby village of Ngamdu and looted it before setting it on fire, they said.

The news of the attack on the market was slow to emerge due to disruption in phone services in the region on Friday. Telecoms services were only restored on Saturday.

Mainok has suffered repeated attacks by Boko Haram, which wants to impose a hardline Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north.

In February scores were killed there and many homes destroyed by the extremists.

Their insurgency has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 2009 and left more than 700,000 homeless.

The Nigerian military has come under increasing pressure as the Islamists have captured more territory in the volatile northeast in recent weeks

Sierra Leone president declares state of emergency over Ebola

By Umaru Fofana

FREETOWN (Reuters) – Sierra Leone has declared a state of public emergency to tackle the worst ever outbreak of Ebola and will call in security forces to quarantine epicenters of the deadly virus, President Ernest Bai Koroma said in a statement.

The measures resembled a tough anti-Ebola package announced by neighboring Liberia on Wednesday evening. Koroma announced he was cancelling a visit to Washington for a U.S.-Africa summit next week because of the crisis and would instead hold an emergency meeting with regional leaders in Guinea on Friday.

Highly infectious Ebola has been blamed for 672 deaths in the West Africa nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

“I hereby proclaim a State of Public Emergency to enable us take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak,” he said in a speech late on Wednesday, adding that the measures would initially last between 60 and 90 days. “All epicenters of the disease will be quarantined.”

Koroma said that the police and the military would restrict movements to and from epicenters, and would provide support to health officers and NGOs to do their work unhindered, following a number of attacks on healthworkers by local communities.

He said that house-to-house searches would be implemented to trace Ebola victims and quarantine them. He also said that new protocols had been established for passengers arriving and departing Lungi International Airport outside Freetown, but he did not provide further details.

source: yahoo news

Abductee’s parents finally meet North Korean granddaughter

Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. Now, almost 40 years after her disappearance, her aging parents, Shigeru and Sakie Yokota, have traveled to Mongolia to meet her daughter — their granddaughter.

In a series of meetings in Ulan Bator arranged by Japanese and North Korean foreign ministry officials, the Japanese couple met 26-year-old Kim Eun-gyong, her husband and 10-month-old daughter.

“Our long-cherished dream had come true,” Shigeru Yokota said at a press conference. “It was actually first time to meet her although I’ve been seeing her on TV (since she was) 14 or 15.”
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Yokota, who was kidnapped from the port city of Niigata in 1977, was not present at the meeting. North Korean authorities insist that she committed suicide, although this is disputed in Japan and repatriated ashes proved not to be a DNA match.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Monday morning that he was “glad” to hear that the meeting was conducted safely.

“We are determined to resolve the abduction issue at any cost,” he said.

The abductee issue is a considerable sticking point in Japan-North Korea relations. The reclusive state has admitted to kidnapping a number of Japanese nationals, mostly to help train spies in Japanese language and culture.

The Yokotas said that they were unable to confirm their daughter’s safety with Kim, as political matters were off the table. However, her mother said, “I spent time with them believing Megumi is still safe somewhere.”

The meeting took place as North Korea’s bellicosity is once again on the rise, with reports that the Stalinist state has fired a number of short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast.

NIS Stampede

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Hospital authorities at the Rivers government-owned Braithwaite Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt have confirmed that four candidates died during a stampede at the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that more than 20,000 candidates were involved in a stampede at the Liberation stadium, Port Harcourt, venue of the exercise on Saturday morning.

A competent source at the hospital told NAN that 12 candidates were brought to the hospital after the stampede.

“I can confirm to you that four have died, four others are in critical condition while four have been treated and discharged,” the source said.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said a pregnant woman was among the dead.

The source said doctors and specialists have been called back to duty to assist to save the lives of the remaining four candidates on the emergency list.

“Some of the candidates were in bad condition because they were trampled upon during the stampede,” the source said.

At the Military Hospital, Port Harcourt authorities confirmed receiving some of  the injured persons but said they were being taken care of.

However, Mr Abang Bisong, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Rivers Command, confirmed to NAN that  some of the injured were taken to the hospital but did not know their condition.

‘Forget About PDP, I’ll Never Return’ – Atiku

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Following comment by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that former vice president Atiku Abubakar who recently defected to APC would return, Atiku has said nothing will bring him back.

 

The Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus had responded to the defection of Mr. Atiku saying the former VP is on a political voyage and will eventually return to the party.

According to Atiku no amount of pressure would bring him back to PDP as the party was beyond redemption.

PDP has drifted from the ideals of the founding fathers, which I am one. I will not return to it, they are just   confused and rattled by my sudden defection, so they can say anything about my defection, let’s forget about them,” Atiku said.

He made this known while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after registering with the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) at Kolere Unit of Jada 1, ward in Jada Local government area yesterday.

Atiku said his defection came after his consultations with Nigerians who had  expressed dissatisfaction with the PDP government, while adding that no democrat worth his salt will remain in PDP as it had since become anti-people.

However, APC party’s membership registration has suffered some setbacks as registration could not commence in many local Governments of the state due what stakeholders said was non arrival of materials.

According to an APC party stalwart in Yola, Alhaji Usman Marafa they had not yet received materials for the exercise and that’s why they could not start the registration as at 1:10 PM Tuesday.