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US to Nigeria: We can help identify sponsors of terrorism

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As part of efforts to help Nigeria overcome the continuous carnage inflicted in its citizens by terrorists and armed bandits, the United States government on Monday night said it is willing to provide Intelligence to assist Nigeria identify sponsors of terrorism in the country.

US Ambasssdor to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard made this disclosure at a round-table interaction on US – Nigeria military cooperation with journalists at the US embassy in Abuja noting that discussion in this regard was ongoing.

Leonard’s comments followed the disclosure by Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the Commander of United States Europe and African Air Forces Command, that the induction of A-29 Super Tucano Fighter aircraft into Nigerian Air Force operations, will be a defining moment in combating terrorism and other violent extremism.

Gen Harrigian said, “The acquisition of the fighter aircraft for Nigerian military has brought in multitude of capabilities that would help in tackling the prevailing instability in Nigeria. This truly is an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A-29 brings to the nation, particularly as it will contribute to the tackling i security, and instability not only in Nigeria but more broadly the region.

Emphasizing US readiness to support Nigeria identify and fish out terrorists sponsors, the US Ambasssdor said, “That is something we are very eager to partner Nigeria on. I have had at least three conversations in the last two months on this subject. I won’t like to go into details.”

Asked if US partnership with Nigeria would not collapse of Afghanistan in the face of violent uprising, Mrs Leonard dismissed such Fear saying “Nigeria has had a strong bilateral relationship with the US and that both situations are not the same.

 “I hear people making the analogy with Afghanistan a lot, it does not match up. When you listen to what President Joe Biden said on how troops went to Afghanistan in the first place, it was because they were complicit in a horrible tragedy where over 3,000 Americans were killed.

“That is a different construct. The sovereign nations who have had strong bilateral relations. I don’t actually think the two match up.”

In the A-29 Super Tucano, Beth Leonard, said the induction of the Fighter aircraft was a significant milestone in the US – Nigerian bilateral relations assuring that the U.S. remains committed to support in Nigeria fighting insecurity.

Furthermore the Ambasssdor said the U.S.  was committed to supporting democracy and economic programmes of the federal government of Nigeria aiding that her government will also ensure that the full package with regards to the agreement between Nigerian and the U.S. in the Super Tucano would be fully implemented.

Also Speaking at the round-table the Commander, US Air Forces in Europe, General Jeffrey Harrigian, said the purchase of Tucano fighter jets by Nigeria was an opportunity to cement the US relationship with the West African country and curb insecurity.

He words, “The A -29 Super Tucano gives us an opportunity to reconnect our relationship with Nigeria. It is also an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A29 brings to the nation, practically as it would contribute to bringing stability to not only Nigeria but the region.”

“Importantly, the platform itself brings a multitude of capabilities and this is not just about weapons, it is about intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, it is about that operability that it provides between the air component and the ground component.

“And so, it broadens the shared understanding of the force to be able to operate in these different domains.

“And, we see this as a great opportunity to work together in these different areas to deepen our partnership, look for future opportunities, whether it be training whether it be intelligence because part of what we offer and what we are going to work together is really the full package.

“And, when we talk about the maintenance of an aircraft, when we talk about the tactics, techniques and procedures that the pilots use, those are a guys things we are going to continue to refine together with the Nigerian Air Force.

“And, we see this as really an opportunity to broaden those areas where we have these shared values and areas that we’re going to work together to ultimately work to improve the security instability and work in partnership with all the things that the embassy does,” he said.

Harrigian commended the personnel of the Nigerian Air Force for exhibiting high level of competence and professionalism during their training.

He said the induction of A-29 Super Tucano into Nigerian operation would be an opportunity to recommit themselves to the partnership between the U.S Air Force and NAF.

He gave assurance that while the NAF crew and pilots had been adequately trained, the U.S. Air force personnel would continue to work with them in Nigeria.

Going forward, the US Commander said Mobile Training Teams would be deployed to Nigeria to make all necessary part of the Training in maintenance and other Requisite available to the Nigerian Airforce.

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3 million children at risk in Sudan as civil war engulfs – U.N

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The war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has killed 12,190 people, according to conservative estimates by the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data project. It has displaced 5.4 million people inside the country, according to the UN, and sent over 1.3 million fleeing abroad.

Sudan’s raging civil war threatens the lives of almost 3 million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Thursday, as fighting imperils what had become a haven for hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

Fighting in the huge northeastern African nation has now reached Jazeera state, the country’s breadbasket with a population of 5.9 million people — half of whom are children, UNICEF said.

« This new wave of violence could leave children and families trapped between fighting lines or caught in the crossfire, with fatal consequences, » the organization’s executive director, Catherine Russell, said in a statement Thursday.

The latest about of violence broke out on April 15, as Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force vied for power. Since then, heavy fighting has left hundreds of thousands of people facing the agonizing decision of whether to flee their homes or stay and risk injury or death in the violence. Cease-fires have failed to halt the power struggle and fueled the growing humanitarian crisis.

Civilians are often caught up in the crossfire as neighborhoods are divided between the armed forces, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

Some 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the U.N., but local doctors groups and activists say the death toll is likely far higher.

Almost 300,000 people have fled Jazeera state, moving to the nearby Sennar state, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday.

 

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‘Nothing for me in Cameroon’: Waiting in Tunisia, one eye on Europe

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Having lost everything and everyone precious to him, Joseph tries to hold things together, waiting to leave Africa.

Joseph Afumbom is a big man who has faced unimaginable tragedy.

The conflict in Cameroon between Anglophone separatists and the government killed the 27-year-old’s mother, father and siblings. It also took his home in Bamenda in the country’s northwest.

“I was there when the war started. The war took everyone,” he said, “It was three years ago. My brothers and sisters are all gone.”

With his home and family destroyed and no jobs available, Joseph felt he had no option but to gather his fiancee, Esther, and their three-year-old daughter and travel the 5,000km (more than 3,000 miles) overland to the Mediterranean coast. They arrived in Algeria, where they considered crossing into Tunisia and from there to Europe.

However, both Joseph’s fiancee and daughter died in El Menia. “They are all gone because of the cold,” he says. “That was last month.”

“I’m just trying to act normal, you know,” he tells Al Jazeera. “See, I’m smoking. I’m whiling away my thinking, trying to act like a normal person, but I’m not.”

He paused, allowing his thoughts to drift back. “We had been together for years. My daughter was three. I called her ‘Little Joy’.”

Eventually, Joseph crossed into Tunisia, making his way to the coastal city of Sfax before travelling by shared taxis to the capital, Tunis. He didn’t eat for two days.

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“There is nothing left for me in Cameroon,” he says. “I will continue to Europe if I have the opportunity.”

This article is the third of a five-part series of portraits of refugees from different countries, with diverse backgrounds, bound by shared fears and hopes as they enter 2024. Read the first and second parts here.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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Chad: Supreme court approves ‘yes’ referendum vote

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Chad’s Supreme Court definitively validated the results of the referendum for a new constitution organized by the military junta that has been in power for the past two and a half years, a key step intended to pave the way for elections in the country at the end of 2024.

According to the final results, the « yes » side won with 85.90% of the vote, while the « no » side won 14.10%, with a turnout of 62.8%, the president of the Supreme Court told a press conference.

For some members of the opposition and civil society, the result of this ballots a plebiscite resembles designed to pave the way for the election of the transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Bloc Fédéral, an opposition coalition which had called for the results to be annulled on the grounds of several irregularities in the voting process.

The opposition, which had widely called for a boycott, denounced, in the words of Max Kemkoye, president of the Groupe de concertation des actors politiques (GCAP), « a second coup d’état by Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno », in the face of results which, in his view, were not credible.

The new constitutional text is not very different from the one already in force, and still gives great power to the Head of State.

Mahamat Déby, 37, was proclaimed transitional president by the army on April 20, 2021, at the head of a junta of 15 generals, following the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed by rebels on his way to the front. Idriss Déby Itno had ruled the country with an iron fist for over 30 years.

The young general immediately promised elections after an 18-month transition period, and made a commitment to the African Union not to run. Eighteen months later, his regime extended the transition by two years and authorized him to stand in the presidential elections scheduled for late 2024.

On the anniversary of the 18-month transition, October 20, 2022, between 100 and more than 300 young men and teenagers were shot dead in N’Djamena by police and military, according to the opposition and national and international NGOs.

They were demonstrating against the two-year extension of the presidential term.

More than a thousand were imprisoned before being pardoned, but dozens were tortured or disappeared, according to NGOs and the opposition.

 

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