PRESIDENT OBAMA LEAVES NIGERIA OUT OF US$110 MILLION PEACEKEEPING FUND

President Barack Obama of the United States of America

President Barack Obama of the United States of America

THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPERS
10 August, 2014

IN a rather surprising fallout of the US-Africa Summit with over 40 presidents and heads of state from Africa, including President Jonathan Goodluck, in attendance, US President Barack Obama has decided to leave Nigeria out of its multi-million-dollar effort to support peacekeepers from Africa.

Although Nigeria still has considerable promises and offers of support coming out of the week-long summit, the significance of the isolation of the country in an area (peacekeeping) it has been adjudged to be critically visible is revealing.

According to President Obama, who announced a series of American support and initiatives generated from the summit, the US government would be creating what it called “the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP, “A-Prep” for short), with “a new investment of $110 million per year for three to five years to build the capacity of African militaries to rapidly deploy peacekeepers in response to emerging conflict, a concept that holds powerful life-saving potential.”

Observers, including those at the UN consider Nigeria among the topmost contributors of international peacekeepers in the world and especially in Africa based on its record in the last few decades. Indeed the US has been very active in supporting Nigerian peacekeepers, who are deployed either on the platform of the United Nations or those of the African Union in the past. What is not clear is whether the non-inclusion of Nigeria from this new effort is a new indicator of what is to come generally or merely an isolated incident.

Specifically, President Obama said the nations the US would initiate the programme with are Senegal, Ghana,Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The statement by the US said it will “develop a rapid response capability programme by building improved capacity in areas such as military training, equipment maintenance and repair, institutional support and interoperability with other Africa-based peacekeeping forces.”

According to the US government, it “strongly supports the work of more than 67,000 African peacekeepers serving with the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) in Africa. These men and women are working to protect civilians, prevent violence, and promote security and stability in many of Africa’s most complex conflicts.”

But US sources explain that the non-inclusion of Nigeria from this (APRRP, “A-Prep is likely as a result of the allegations against the Nigerian military and security agencies regarding human rights abuses and violations in their operations especially in the ongoing insurgency in the Northeastern part of Nigeria.

In fact, the US Congress under what is known as the Leahy amendment, is outlawed from supporting any military that is known to be involved in gross acts of human rights violations and abuses.

Notably during the just concluded US-Africa Summit, the Amnesty International (AI) released a very damning footage that alleged serious human rights abuses and violations against the Nigerian military. But often times the Nigerian military has denied such allegations.

However, there are still several offers, including in the areas of terrorism that the Nigerian security agencies like the military would still be supported. For instance, during the summit, the US President announced that “the United States is building strong partnerships with countries to address critical terrorist threats on the front lines in order to confront the threat at its roots.” In that regard, the US specifically mentioned “confronting Boko Haram.”

According to the statement, the US said “we are deeply concerned by Boko Haram’s ongoing attacks against Nigeria’s citizens, civil institutions, and infrastructure, including the group’s April 2014 kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls. To support the Nigerian-led efforts to combat Boko Haram, we are providing an array of military, law enforcement, and intelligence support, such as counter-Improvised Explosive Device training and forensics training.

The statement added that the US will also be “supporting the efforts of Nigeria and its neighbors to increase regional cooperation to combat Boko Haram. Because the specter of terrorism requires more than just a security response, we have also worked to encourage and support the Nigerian government’s efforts to promote development in northern Nigeria, including boosting health, education, and social service delivery.

Our security cooperation also supports the professionalisation of key military units and underscores that effective counterterrorism policies and practices are those that respect human rights and are underpinned by the rule of law.”

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ROYAL NAVY FRIGATE, HMS IRON DUKE, VISITS NIGERIA FOR JOINT TRAINING EXERCISES WITH THE NIGERIAN NAVY

The Commanding Officer of HMS Iron Duke and a senior Nigerian Navy officer salute as the 32 metre OCEA FPB 98 Mk.II patrol craft, NNS Dorina P101 sails past.

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NNS SWORD (P747) , A 40-METRE ‘PRIVATELY CONTRACTED PATROL CRAFT’ OF THE NIGERIAN NAVY ON COUNTERPIRACY OPERATIONS

The privately contracted patrol boat NNS SWORD returning from duty on the Lagos Secure Anchorage Area in in April 2014.

PHOTO CREDIT: DIRK STEFFEN

Anyone ever heard about this little ship before now? It is unique in being the only 40 metre vessel used by the NN that I know of.

Visibly mounted in front is a 12.7mm HMG, almost certainly a Singapore Technologies Kinetics CIS-50 type. Initially, I thought this was one of the eight units of Abeking+Rasmussen/Brooke Marine 31m-32.6m patrol craft acquired by the Nigerian Navy in the early-mid-1970s. But she is not and I am scratching my head trying to figure out where, when and what the details concerning this one are.

Call Sign: P747
Flag: Nigeria (NG)
Type: Special Craft
Length x Breadth: 40m × 10m
Status: Active

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NIGERIAN ARMY SPECIAL FORCES , ARTILLERY CORPS ELEMENTS AND NAF ALPHA JET CREWS COMBINE EFFORTS AND RECAPTURE DAMBOA; SCORES OF INSURGENTS KILLED

Nigerian Army Special Forces commandos and a BTR-3 APC seen for the first time in Nigerian service

Nigerian Army Special Forces commandos and a BTR-3 APC seen for the first time in Nigerian service

LEADERSHIP
Aug 7, 2014

Scores of Boko Haram terrorists may have been killed yesterday in Damboa town as soldiers of the 25 Task Battalion yesterday staged a special operation that led to the recapture of the seized town.

The 25 Task Battalion was recently deployed to specially tackle the insurgents and recapture Damboa weeks after the insurgents had attacked the military base there, killed its commander and about a dozen other security personnel, as well as sacked the residents.

LEADERSHIP was reliably informed by a top security person in Maiduguri that the task force brigade “has today recaptured Damboa and sent some of the insurgents fleeing while some other members of the Boko Haram died in the hours of shootout”.

According to the source, the operation was facilitated by the Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet and the ground troop artillery. It was also gathered that more troops are being deployed into the hinterlands of Damboa for clearing patrol

Damboa was last month sacked and over 5,000 residents of the agrarian town were forced to flee to Gombe and Biu towns where they are presently being camped.

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NIGERIAN AIR FORCE BEECHCRAFT SUPER KING AIR 350 PLANES SPOTTED IN CANARY ISLANDS (SPAIN) ENROUTE NIGERIA

NAF202 Landing in Gran Canaria on
delivery flight, 30 July 2014. She is one of three King Air B350 for the Nigerian Air Force.

PHOTO CREDIT: PLANE PICTURES

PHOTOGRAHY; Alejandro Hernández León

VISIT

http://www.planepictures.net/netsearch4.cgi?srch=Beech%20B300%20Super%20King%20Air%20350&stype=actype&srng=2.

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WAR CRIMES: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FINGERS NIGERIAN MILITARY, CIVILIAN JTF

PEOPLE’S DAILY
4 August, 2014

* We’ll investigate claims– Defence spokesman

Amnesty international has alleged that Nigerian Army and civilian Joint Task Force tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east were neck-deep in extrajudicial executions and other heinous crimes against humanity in the region.

Gruesome video footage, images and damning testimonies gathered by the world’s rights body provided fresh evidence of alleged extrajudicial executions and other serious human rights violations being carried out as the fight by the military against Boko Haram insurgents and other armed groups intensifies.

According to the group, the footage, obtained from numerous sources during a recent trip to Borno state, reveals graphic evidence of multiple war crimes being carried out in Nigeria. It includes horrific images of detainees having their throats slit one by one and dumped in mass graves by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian military and the “Civilian Joint Task Force” state-sponsored militias.

It also shows the aftermath of a Boko Haram raid on a village that resulted in almost 100 deaths and destruction on a massive scale.

Amongst the testimony gathered by the body were voices of witnesses which suggested that extrajudicial killings were rampart during the period under review. “These are not the images we expect from a country which sees itself as having a leadership role in Africa. The ghastly images are made worse by the numerous testimonies we have gathered, which suggest that extrajudicial executions are, infact, regularly carried out by the Nigerian military and CJTF.”

“More than 4,000 people have been killed by all sides in the conflict during armed attacks this year alone.Civilians, who are not directly participating in hostilities, make up the majority of this death toll,Amnesty said.

Residents also informed about a “screening” operation which took place on 23 July 2013 where scores of Nigerian military and CJTF from Maiduguri arrived in the central market around 11am and told all the adult men to gather in one area and take off their clothes, it added.

The footage shows how during this “screening” operation, the military and CJTF fired celebratory shots in the air. Up to 35 detainees were then loaded onto a single military vehicle and taken away to the local military barracks in Bama, the rights group said.

In a swift reaction,Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade said that Nigerian military takes the issue of human rights seriously and will never condone any proven case of abuse by its personnel saying that the claims will be investigated to ensure that such does not creep into the system.

His words, “Much as the scenes depicted in these videos are alien to our operations and doctrines, it has to be investigated to ensure that such practices have not crept,surreptitiously into the system. The Defence Headquarters considers these allegations too grievous to be associated with Nigerian troops, considering the doctrinal and operational contents of the training imparted to personnel on a continuous basis; emphasizing the importance of respect for human rights and dignity of human person as well as observance of humanitarian laws.

Olukolade maintained that the military authorities are deeply concerned about the set of video footage being circulated and which unfortunately has also become reference data for Amnesty International in its report.

He also said that Defence Headquarters in addition to existing Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has constituted a team of senior officers and legal cum forensic experts to study the video footage.

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ANOTHER LITTLE-KNOWN SURVEILLANCE ASSET HANDED OVER TO THE NIGERIAN AIR FORCE IN THE WAKE OF PICOMSS’ DISSOLUTION : A 2001 MODEL CESSNA 206H TURBO

PHOTO CREDIT: SKYWALKER

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