U.S. donates N995b to fight Boko Haram
• Nine feared killed in Yobe twin blasts
• Panic in Calabar as militants attack police base
THE United States has donated a whooping N995 billion to the Multinational Joint Task Force to boost military operations against the Boko Haram insurgency, the U.S. government has announced.
But in continuation of their murderous activities, suspected Boko Hara m insurgents yesterday detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), killing nine people and injuring 12 others at a vigilance group office in Potiskum, Yobe State.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Toyin Gbadegeshin confirmed the death of nine persons in the twin bomb explosions, explaining that one of the bombers targeted the vigilance office, killing seven persons, while two others died in the second explosion which occurred at Dorowa Ward in the town.
Meanwhile, the Cross River State capital was thrown into panic yesterday as militants attempting to steal arms and ammunition at the marine base along the Calabar River channel clashed with the security forces. The U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced the donation at a news briefing via telephone from the African Union Summit yesterday.
“We have been working with Nigeria as well as the African countries to address their concerns about Boko Haram because we don’t see this as just a Nigerian problem. “We are having discussions with President Buhari on how we might bolster our support. We have already been working with them and providing information.
“We are providing some training and support and we’ll love to work with the new administration to see how we might increase the level of support to Nigeria. “At the same time, we’ve just announced at the venue of the AU, five billion dollars contribution to the Multinational Task Force.
“We are also providing some equipment and support and we have a number of meetings with the countries who are members of the Multinational Joint Task Force to look at other areas we might support.” Thomas-Greenfield said that Africa had faced “some really horrendous terrorist attacks” over the past two years.
He listed the West Gate and Garissa University attacks in Kenya, and the Boko Haram attacks particularly, the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, among others. “While I would not say Africa is under siege, Africa has some major security challenges.
“That requires a very strong and very concerted strategic effort by African countries and partners to address the security concerns of Africa.” She said the U.S. is providing a strong support to AU on security as the U.S. has a strong partnership with the continent on security.
“We are working closely with the Lake Chad Basin countries: Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon to address the issues of Boko Haram,” she said. She said that U.S. had so far trained about 250,000 African peacekeepers, saying U.S. highest priority in Africa remained security.
A member of Yobe Vigilante Group, Mallam Isa Ibrahim said, the explosive was concealed in a computer desktop and belonged to a suspect that used it for his bailing, before the blast rocked the entire Potiskum commercial town this afternoon.
“As we were about to confirm the ownership and content of the carton of this suspect, the carton exploded, as the IED was hidden in a computer desktop that was brought to our office here in Potiskum to bail this suspect under our custody, before handing him over to the military and police for further investigation. “Unfortunately, our commander or leader, a woman and six others were killed in this bomb blast.
There are about a dozen others that also sustained injuries in their limbs and various degrees of burns,” said Ibrahim yesterday in a telephone interview in Damaturu.
He said the insurgents have commenced “adopting new strategies of attacks and bombings in Yobe State,” by using different methods of disguises, as it has occurred today (Monday) to lose our leader of Vigilante Group.
The Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) and volunteer rescue teams, according to him, have already evacuated the bodies along with the injured ones to the hospital for deposition, identifications and treatments of burns and fractures.
Isa Dafa, a resident of Potiskum, also said: “We were shocked and terrified with today’s twin blasts at the office of vigilante group and Masaya of Dorowa areas of Potiskum. Many of my neighbours that remained indoors, started to flee for safety, as the gunmen may commence shooting at any person in the town.
“But five minutes after the blast, there were no gun shots coming from any direction, and we were told that the blast, emanated from a computer desktop, when the vigilante The Calabar River channel, where the heavy firing took place lies between Henshaw town and Obutong (Essien town) overlooking the Eastern Naval Command, NNS Victory, State Government House, Marina, Ekorinim, Diamond Hill, State Police Headquarters along Diamond and others. State Police spokesman, Mr. Hogan Bassey confirmed the incident but denied allegations that some people including a policeman died.
He explained: “Hoodlums from the sea attacked the Police Marine base using some heavy guns. They caused some damages to the building but we are on it and in no distant time we will unravel the mystery and we will get them.
They damaged the police marine office there. No arrest yet (but) somebody was seriously injured.” When asked if the injured person is from the police, militants or resident of the area, Bassey simply said: “We are investigating it.”
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