Tag Archives: US

US Navy Seals ‘target al-Shabab leader in Somalia’

5 Oct


US Navy Seals. File photo
There are conflicting reports about whether the US Navy Seals’ raid in Barawe was successful

US special forces have carried out a raid on a senior leader of the al-Shabab Islamist group in Somalia, US officials say.

The unnamed officials said a US Navy Seals team had targeted the man after approaching a villa in the southern town of Barawe by sea.

There are conflicting reports about whether the raid was successful.

It was said to have been prompted by last month’s deadly attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya.

In a separate development, US officials say that an al-Qaeda leader accused of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania has been captured by US forces in Libya.

Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai – better known as Anas al-Libi – was said to have been seized by US forces near Tripoli.

‘White soldiers’

The New York Times and NBC both reported that the al-Shabab leader had been captured in Somalia, but the Times then said he was believed to have been killed in a pre-dawn firefight – and that the US troops were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed.

BBC map

However, the Associated Press news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Seals failed to find the intended target.

“The Barawe raid was planned a week and a half ago,” a US security official told the New York Times.

“It was prompted by the Westgate attack,” added the official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Al-Shabab earlier told the BBC that “white soldiers” had arrived by boat in Barawe and rebels had repulsed them, losing a fighter.

Local group commander Mohamed Abu Suleiman said the raid had failed and the group remained in control of Barawe.

Separately, Reuters carried a statement by Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman, which said that British and Turkish special forces were involved.

He said the commander of the British force was killed, and four SAS and a Turkish soldier were wounded.

Both Britain and Turkey said their forces had not been involved in the operation.

Barawe residents said say they were woken up by heavy fighting before dawn.

“Gunfire broke out for about 10-15 minutes,” an eyewitness told AFP news agency.

Al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack in the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya’s capital Nairobi which left at 67 people dead. Many more people were injured after militants stormed the centre on 21 September.

Western navies tasked with fighting piracy patrol the seas off Somalia, which has been beset by conflict for more than two decades.

In 2009, US Navy commandos attacked and killed an al-Qaeda leader, Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, in a daylight raid on Barawe.

Washington has also used drones in Somalia to support the government and African Union forces in their battle against al-Shabab.

France carried out an unsuccessful raid to free a French intelligence agent in January. Two French commandos were killed and al-Shabab later reported that it had killed the agent.


28 Aug

THE teenage stowaway, Daniel Ihekina, who was arrested at the Lagos Airport after flying in the tyre hole of an Arik plane from Benin to Lagos on Saturday morning, thought he was on a US-bound flight.Image

A source at the Benin Airport who disclosed this said the boy’s parents had already departed for Lagos in search of the stowaway.

The airport source, who did not want his name in print said, “From what we heard, the boy said he was being maltreated and tried to escape from his parents. He thought he was on his way to the US.

“The parents have travelled to Lagos by road, to get him back.”

Meanwhile, investigations conducted by one of our correspondents in Lagos revealed that the boy had been handed over to the operatives of the State Security Services for further investigation.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Yakubu Dati, who also confirmed the development, said the aviation security personnel of the agency had handed over the young voyager to the men of the SSS for extensive investigation.

Dati said, “The residential address the boy gave to us was traced to a church in Benin by our airport manager and his team. So, there is need to hand over the teenager to the SSS who are experts in such investigations. They will carry out further investigation on the matter.”

The FAAN spokesman said the nature and circumstances surrounding the crime informed the agency decision to hand over the stowaway to the SSS operatives.

Meanwhile, following the Benin Airport incident, FAAN has adopted the ‘risk amelioration processes to safeguard flight operations’ at all its 22 airports across  the country.

Dati stressed that the agency had tightened its risk amelioration procedure to ensure that similar incident did not occur again.

He also said the agency had prioritised the perimeter fencing of all the 22 airports in the country.

“In the meantime, we have adopted risk amelioration processes to safeguard flight operations. As a result of this incident in Benin, we have further tightened our risk amelioration procedure to ensure that a similar incident does not occur,” he  said.

However, FAAN has also continued to trade blame with Arik Air over the Benin incident.

The agency, in a statement on Sunday, said it read with “great dismay the statement released by Arik Airlines about the stowaway found on board Arik’s flight 544 from Benin to Lagos on Saturday 24 August, 2013.”

Dati said FAAN was “unfairly indicted” while the airline took no responsibility whatsoever for such a “serious security breach.”

FAAN said its preliminary investigation had revealed that Arik did not give accurate account of the Benin Airport incident.

Giving the accounts of its preliminary findings, FAAN said, “Our investigations reveal that a passenger on board the flight called the attention of the cabin crew while the aircraft was waiting to take off at the threshold of the runway, to the effect that they had seen a young boy walk under the aircraft and had not seen him re-appear on the other side.”

“The cabin crew in turn informed the pilots in the cockpit about this. The pilots called the control tower and asked them to request FAAN to do a sweep of the area after their departure, opting to carry on with their flight despite the report.”

“Upon the arrival of the aircraft in Lagos, we were informed that there had been a stowaway found alive alighting from the wheel well of the aircraft. While FAAN takes this security breach extremely seriously, we deem Arik’s attempt at indicting and smearing FAAN as irresponsible. Safety and security breaches occur when all the checks in the system are beaten.  Given that security is a responsibility for all players in this industry, a critical last opportunity to detect and prevent this stowaway was offered and had the airline taken the information by passengers as seriously as they should have, this incident would have been avoided.”

US Ambassador to Nigeria Commissions Mega Fish Project at CRARN Centre Eket

27 Aug

By Don Oliver

Ambassador Terence P. McCulley and Consul General Jeffrey Hawkins cutting the Fish Project tape at CRARN Centre

The United State Ambassador to Nigeria , Mr. Terence McCulley, on Saturday
commissioned an ultra modern fish project at Child’s Right and
Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Centre, Ikot Afaha in Eket, the major oil
city of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Ambassador McCulley stated that the
US government was prepared to support groups and organisation that work
towards enhancing the quality of lives of the vulnerable and the less
privileged members of the society.

“We will continue to give our support to organisations and community that
pay greater attention to alleviating poverty in the midst of its community
and gear up quality lives of the under privileged people, the women and
mostly children who need helping hands, who crave for support and comfort.”

The Ambassador commended CRARN for paying greater attention to the
underprivileged children and women who suffer torture and other forms of
horrendous abuses in the hands of those who owe them a duty of protection
and love. He acknowledged that his office had been following the good work
of CRARN for quite a long time and found it worthy for its support; and
promised to give further assistance to organization and the community.

Barrister Pius Madaki-CRARN Attorney addressing the US Ambassador to Nigeria

A community leader and former Eket chapter Chairman of the defunct NPN,
Apostle Okon Harry Ekpuk expressed the community’s deepest appreciation to
the Ambassador and his team for selecting the Eket community as one of the
beneficiaries of their projects. Apostle Ekpuk averred that the fish
project will go a long way in touching the lives of the ordinary people.

“His Excellency, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, let me at this moment
express out profound appreciation to you and your team on behalf of the
people of Eket Community and its environs and to state categorically
clearly that this project is a huge one, and will so strongly touched the
lives of the ordinary people of this community and beyond and we will do
everything humanly possible to protect and sustain it. Our community is a
humane and hospitable one, so our is culture…. ” Ekpuk said

Apostle Ekpuk who spoke glowingly of the good work of CRARN said despite
daunting challenges, the organization was still working hard to save live
of children. He urged CRARN to continue with its services to humanity for
which he said holds abundant, nature and God’s reward.
“As you can see, CRARN is not only a blessing to this community, but a
huge asset to world and entire human race, given its philosophy, advocacy
work and humanitarian record of saving and indeed transformation of
children lives and the aged ones beyond its scope of operation.”

In his response, the principal attorney to CRARN, Mr Pius Madaki expressed
gratitude to the Ambassador for citing a project of such magnitude at the
CRARN Children Centre; and expressed the willingness of the organisation
to train the community to replicate it in various communities. He said the
fish project will no doubt propel a lot of ordinary people to be

” It is my strongest belief that this project will touch the lives of the
disadvantage children, foster parents, the ordinary people and the
community towards becoming self-reliant…” Madaki asserts

According to the project coordinator, Mr Akpan Umoh, the pond has four
compartments ( One Nursery pond, one Transition pond and two Raising
pond) which
has the capacity to nursing 8000 fingerlings and raising 15000 mature
catfish, was constructed and completed in July 2012 with support from
US government

Ambassador Terence McCulley and his team at CRARN Centre Eket

He maintained that the organization would not lose focus in its quest to
enlighten the society on mental reconstruction, superstition and
witchcraft belief; rescuing and
rehabilitation of stigmatized children.

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