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Monthly archives: April, 2015

Nigerian army frees more women and children from Boko Haram

Nigerian Military says at least 160 children and women rescued from the Sambisa Forest, days after 293 others were freed.

Nigeria

One woman died and eight others were wounded as nine camps belonging to the Islamist insurgents were destroyed, army spokesman Col Sanu Usman said.

He told the BBC more than 100 men and boys were among more than 160 rescued in operations on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the army said it had freed nearly 300 women and children.

The girls abducted from a school in Chibok in April 2014 were not among them.

Col Usman told the BBC Hausa service that those rescued were being screened to ascertain their mental health and are being kept in an undisclosed secure location.

The eight injured women were in a critical condition, the spokesman said.

In an earlier statement, he said one soldier and several Boko Haram field commanders and foot soldiers had been killed in the fighting and several armoured vehicles, some with anti-aircraft guns, had been destroyed.

In total 13 camps had been destroyed in Sambisa this week, the colonel said.

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The Sambisa forest is said to be a huge area, surrounding a reserve of the same name.

It is not clear if those rescued were kidnapped or were taken hostage from villages taken over by the militants.

A local senator says the women and children are likely to have been residents of the north-eastern nature reserve.

“These are farming communities and most of those left behind in villages are the elderly ones, women and girls because the youth and the strong ones normally have to run or otherwise they will be conscripted into the Boko Haram insurgent group,” Ali Ndume told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

He said the Sambisa forest reserve is vast so it was difficult to know how many people were still living in territory controlled by the Islamist militants.

Source: BBC



Nigerian Women rescued from Boko Haram camp

CNN brought some very good news from Nigeria today regarding the rescue of 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest. This report is a great cause for praise and rejoicing. There is uncertainty, however, as to whether the Chibok girls are among those rescued. Some reports are saying that they are not. Either way we should be thankful and take encouragement at this news, but at the same time let’s not stop praying until all the captives have been rescued.

CNNgirlsrescue

Let’s encourage one another and above all let’s continue to keep the words of Galatians 6:9 in our minds. “And let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”



Libyan TV crew found dead eight months after kidnap

Five journalists belonging to a Libyan TV crew have been found dead, eight months after they were kidnapped.

A government spokesman said the bodies were found near the city of Al Bayda, close to the site of the kidnapping.

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The crew was taken in August while travelling through territory largely controlled by extremist militants.

Libya has been in turmoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and now has two competing governments and numerous militia groups.

Faraj al-Barassi, a district army commander in eastern Libya, told Reuters that militants loyal to Islamic State (IS) were responsible for the killings.

IS-affiliated militants have established a strong presence in parts of Libya, including Derna where the kidnapping is believed to have taken place.

The journalists were travelling from Tobruk to Benghazi when they were captured near Derna
Parts of Libya have descended into lawless chaos following the overthrow of Gaddafi, allowing extremists to gain ground.

A February report by Human Rights Watch said there was a “climate of impunity” in the country that “allowed militias to assault, threaten, kidnap, or even kill journalists”.

Libya’s internationally recognised government has fled from the capital Tripoli to the eastern city of Tobruk, while a rival parliament has been established in Tripoli itself.

Source: BBC



Boko Haram kill 21 civilians in northeast Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have shot dead 21 people in northeast Nigeria who were trying to return home to recover abandoned supplies, a local official and a victim’s relative said.

The victims, who were all male, were stopped at the village of Bultaram by gunmen believed to belong to Boko Haram and gunned down, an official from the Gujba local government in Yobe state said on Monday.

Family members of one of the victims told the AFP news agency that the men had gone back to their homes in the village to recover food supplies.

Gujba is one of a handful of districts in Yobe that Boko Haram captured during a sweeping offensive last year. Many of its residents have fled and sought refuge Yobe’s capital Damaturu.

The area has been hit by waves of attacks during Boko Haram’s six-year uprising, including a massacre at an agricultural college in 2013 that targeted students sleeping their dormitories.

Nigeria’s military has since claimed a series of successes against Boko Haram in an operation launched in February with neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Scores of towns previously under rebel control have reportedly been liberated.

Nigeria’s military and outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan have encouraged those displaced by the uprising to return home, declaring much of the northeast safe for resettlement.

But community leaders in the embattled region have warned civilians are still at risk of attacks by fighters, especially those returning to remote area like Gujba where the military’s deployment has typically been thin.

Source: AFP



Video mocking IS causes riots in Egypt

Teacher, 4 teens arrested for ‘contempt of religion’

When an Egyptian teacher filmed five Coptic Christian secondary school students impersonating terrorists from the so-called Islamic State, the boys could be seen laughing and joking.
Two and a half months later, the teacher, Gad Younan, 42, and four of the boys, ages 15 and 16, are in custody, awaiting trial for “contempt of religion.” The fifth boy fled his home village and, until recently, was wanted by police.

Reconciliation_meeting_518x319

An April 17 “reconciliation meeting” in Al-Nasriyah village in Upper Egypt, where Christians announce a local teacher, Gad Younan, will leave town and not return. (World Watch Monitor)

Younan faces a potential jail term of up to seven years. But whatever the outcome of the trial, which is ongoing, he has been “banished” from Al-Nasriyah village in Upper Egypt by fellow Christians hoping to appease local Muslims who reacted to the video by marching in the streets and pelting the homes and businesses of Christians with stones.

The boys, too young to serve time in jail, still could receive suspended sentences, even as a Christian committee decided they will be allowed to remain in the village, as will Younan’s wife and two sons.

Yet the consequences of the boys’ actions have already been wide-reaching, and will be long-lasting.

This is not the first incident of its kind in Egypt.

Watani reports that “contempt of religion” cases have “gained momentum” since the 2011 Arab Spring and that, despite the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, “fundamentalist thought and fanaticism still linger, especially in rural areas where education is minimal.”

Or, as Hazel Haddon noted for Foreign Policy this month, “The Muslim Brotherhood is gone – but the government is still jailing people for offending Islam.”

Forty-eight cases of “contempt of religion” were lodged between 2011 and 2013, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, reports Watani. Twenty-eight of them ended in court. Others were settled outside with imposed fines or through families being forced to leave their hometowns.

Another nine cases were recorded in the first three months of 2015. Among them:

Michael Bishay
Arrested in February, Bishay, 26, is accused of posting a video link on his Facebook page that insulted Islam. Next hearing scheduled for 28 April.

Kerolos Attalah
Attalah, 29, is currently serving a six-year sentence (since June 2014) for “liking” a Facebook page seen as anti-Islam.

Abu-Islam
In the first “contempt of religion” case against a Muslim in Egypt, Muhammad Mahmoud Abdullah, known as Abu-Islam, was sentenced in March to five years in prison for contempt of Christianity, after being found guilty of ripping and burning a Bible.

 

Source: World Watch Monitor