(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
1 UK hostage killed, 3 freed in Nigeria, foreign office says
London (CNN)A British national who was taken hostage in Nigeria has been killed while three others have returned home safely.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
London (CNN)A British national who was taken hostage in Nigeria has been killed while three others have returned home safely.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 who they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014, officials said on Saturday.
The girls were released through negotiations with the government, one official said, asking not to be named.
A military source said the girls were currently in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The kidnapping was one of the high-profile incidents of Boko Haram’s insurgency, now in its eighth year and with little sign of ending. About 220 were abducted from their school in a night-time attack.
More than 20 girls were released last October in a deal brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Others have escaped or been rescued, but 195 were believed to be still in captivity prior to this release.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said last month the government was in talks to secure the release of the remaining captives.
Although the Chibok girls are the most high-profile case, Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of adults and children, many of whose cases have been neglected.
The militants have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million during their insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.
Despite the army saying the insurgency is on the run, large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the militants, and suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah, Tife Owolabi, Ahmed Kingimi and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Hugh Lawson)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s prime minister announced Saturday that 110 people have died from hunger in the past 48 hours in a single region as a severe drought threatens millions of people across the country.
It was the first death toll announced by Somalia’s government since it declared the drought a national disaster on Tuesday. The United Nations estimates that 5 million people in this Horn of Africa nation need aid, amid warnings of a full-blown famine.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire spoke during a meeting with the Somali National Drought Committee. The death toll he announced is from the Bay region in the southwest part of the country alone.
Somalia was one of four regions singled out by the U.N. secretary-general last month in a $4.4 billion aid appeal to avert catastrophic hunger and famine, along with northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. All are connected by a thread of violent conflict, the U.N. chief said.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, was expected to visit Somalia in the next few days.
Thousands have been streaming into Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in search of food aid, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. Over 7,000 internally displaced people checked into one feeding center recently.
The drought is the first crisis for Somalia’s newly elected Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Previous droughts and a quarter-century of conflict, including ongoing attacks by extremist group al-Shabab, have left the country fragile. Mohamed has appealed to the international community and Somalia’s diaspora of 2 million people for help.
About 363,000 acutely malnourished children in Somalia “need urgent treatment and nutrition support, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished,” the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network has warned.
Because of a lack of clean water in many areas, there is the additional threat of cholera and other diseases, U.N. experts say. Some deaths from cholera already have been reported.
The government has said the widespread hunger “makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks.”
The U.N. humanitarian appeal for 2017 for Somalia is $864 million to provide assistance to 3.9 million people. But the U.N. World Food Program recently requested an additional $26 million plan to respond to the drought.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CREEPING SHARIA’S WEBSITE)
by Raymond Ibrahim
In September 2016, a group of escaped ISIS sex slaves finally revealed the true fate of Kayla Mueller — the 26-year-old American aid worker in Syria whom ISIS had reported dead more than a year ago. Her former fellow captives said Mueller had “refused to deny Jesus Christ despite being repeatedly raped and tortured.” In February 2015, ISIS claimed their captive had been killed during a Jordanian airstrike and sent photos of her dead body in a white burial shroud, apparently as a sign of respect. One former sex slave said that Mueller “put others before herself,” and once even refused a chance to escape with the other girls because she thought her American appearance would stand out and endanger the others.
An ISIS-related plot to butcher Christians with chainsaws in a Belgian shopping center was exposed in September after authorities interrogated a Muslim youth. The teen—and son of a man being described as a “radical imam”—was arrested for calling for the execution of Christians while walking down a street. Theo Francken, a Belgian official, said, “I already signed the order to remove the Imam from Belgian soil. But he appealed the decision, so I can only hope for a quick sentence. Clearly radicalism runs in the family.”
Speaking for the first time about the slaughter of the 86-year-old French priest Jacques Hamel, eyewitness Guy Coponet—who was himself stabbed several times, including in the neck, and was not expected to survive—revealed how the jihadi murderers also forced him to hold a camera and record them slitting the throat of the elderly priest: “They even checked the quality of the image and that I wasn’t trembling too much. I had to film the assassination of my friend Father Jacques!” He said the assailants planned on using the video as propaganda, “which would allow them to earn their fame as a ‘martyr’ of Allah.”
Meanwhile, Hungary became the first government in Europe to open an office specifically to address the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Europe. Zoltan Balog, Hungary’s Minister for Human Resources, said, “Today, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion, where out of five people killed [for] religious reasons, four… are Christians. In 81 countries around the world, Christians are persecuted, and 200 million Christians live in areas where they are discriminated against. Millions of Christian lives are threatened by followers of radical religious ideologies.” This move came weeks after Prime Minister Victor Orban drew criticism in the EU by saying, “If we really want to help, we should help where the real problem is…. We should first help the Christian people before Islamic people.”
Around the same time—and despite the many instances of Muslim migrants raping, murdering, and terrorizing Europeans—Pope Francis urged Europeans to take in more Muslim refugees, including into their homes. He explained that the best way to combat terrorism is by warmly welcoming migrants and helping them integrate into the “European context.”
The rest of the bloody month of September’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Violence, Prison, and Death for Christian “Blasphemers” and “Apostates”
Jordan: Nahed Hattar, a Christian writer and activist, was killed on September 25 outside of a courthouse in Amman. The 56-year-old man was earlier arrested for sharing a “blasphemous” cartoon about the prophet Muhammad. As he was walking into court to stand trial for “contempt of religion” and “inciting sectarian strife,” a man dressed in traditional Muslim garb shot him dead. The report adds: “Approximately 70 percent of Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa have blasphemy laws that make it illegal to criticize or dishonor religious symbols and teachings. In practice, many of these laws apply exclusively to Islam.”
Uganda: One Muslim convert to Christianity was killed and two others beaten in three separate incidents:
Ethiopia: Six weeks after a Muslim man discovered that his wife and mother of his three children had converted to Christianity, he locked her in the house and beat her with sticks; during her ordeal, neighbors heard him shouting—including that she “should die for forsaking Islam.” Neighbors found her soaked in blood from a deep gash in her forehead and rushed her to the hospital.
Pakistan: A 16-year-old Christian youth was arrested and could be executed for the crime of “blasphemy.” He allegedly posted or liked a picture of the Kaaba, Islam’s sacred temple in Mecca, with a pig on top of it on Facebook. Infuriated Muslims who saw the image immediately reported it to authorities which led to his arrest. Authorities also removed the image in an effort to calm local Muslims and prevent them from rioting. The arrested youth’s family fled their home in fear of reprisals. Accusations of blasphemy against Pakistan’s minorities are common and often false. Religious hatred, personal score settling, and economic gain are just a few of the motives behind false accusations of blasphemy.
Malaysia: Three Muslims who sought to legally convert to Christianity were denied conversion by the court system due to the implementation of Sharia, or Islamic law, which maintains that anyone born into Islam—i.e., whose father was Muslim—must remain Muslim. According to a source discussing this report, those trying to convert are often sent to a “purification center,” where they are made to recite different Islamic creeds so they are again considered Muslim. “This purification center utilizes torture, beatings, and psychological attacks to terrify new believers into recanting their faith in Jesus Christ.”
Muslim Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria
The ongoing jihad on Christians by both Boko Haram, an Islamic jihad group, and allied Muslim herdsmen, left many dead in its wake:
Dhimmitude: Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians
Saudi Arabia: Officials arrested 27 Christians—including several women and children—for the crime of “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles.” The group of Christians, most if not all of whom were Lebanese nationals, were celebrating a feast day for the Virgin Mary when authorities stormed their residence and arrested them. Authorities, the dreaded “religious police,” proceeded to strip them of their visas and deport them back to Lebanon. Ironically, this is a much better fate than that suffered by other Christians caught engaging in “acts of Christianity” in the Islamic kingdom. In 2012, 35 Christian Ethiopians were arrested and abused in prison for almost a year, simply for holding a private house prayer. One of them reported after being released: “They [Saudis] are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”
Iran: At least 25 Christians were arrested in Kerman for unknown reasons. Security forces broke into the Christians’ homes, searched them, seized various objects, and then took the Christians in. Officials did not reveal the reason for the arrest nor where the Christians were taken, leaving family and friends in distress.
In another incident, authorities raided a family garden party after they noticed it wasn’t closely observing conservative Islamic norms; without a warrant they arrested five men, former Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Then they searched the premises and confiscated several items, including three Bibles. The arrested men were taken to an unknown location, though later reports suggest they were sent to Evin prison, where Iran’s worst criminals are caged.
Uzbekistan: Eight Christians were arrested and fined for possessing Christian literature, which is illegal in the Muslim majority nation. One Baptist, Stanislav Kim, was sentenced to two years in a corrective labor camp for being caught with Christian literature a second time in one year. The Christian literature was ordered to be handed over to the state-backed Muslim Board.
Malaysia: After Ben-Hur, originally a novel, was readapted into a 2016 movie and hit the big screen, movie goers were left disappointed and confused, as authorities cut out all scenes that portrayed Christ or had anything to do with Christianity, making the movie unintelligible. “I felt cheated,” said one viewer: “The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah’s mother and sister get cured from leprosy? They just appeared at the end of the movie healed.” Such anti-Christian edits are consisted with the government’s ban on and confiscation of Bibles in the majority Muslim nation.
Egypt: After weeks of more frequent than usual attacks on the Christian minority in Minya, Upper Egypt, the government responded by appointing a Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Gomaa, to investigate the situation. Gomaa then appeared in a televised interview insisting that “Everything was good…. No one has been killed. No one has even been wounded. There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it.” Bishop Makarios of Minya responded by saying, “I have nothing to do with Mahmoud Gomaa. We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.” He explained how in recent weeks Christians have indeed been killed—including a priest who was gunned down at the entrance of his church and a man who was stabbed to death by an angry mob—as well as numerous incidents of mob violence on Christians which left many injured and their properties looted and/or burned.
United States: In September, when Coptic Christians were suffering abuses “every two or three days” in Egypt, an Egyptian Muslim woman living in America made a video calling for more Muslim hostility against Egypt’s Christian minority, in the guise of an economic boycott. In a video, Ayat Oraby—a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer who has nearly 1.5 million followers on Facebook—called the Coptic Church a “bunch of gangsters,” a “total mafia” that “rules [Egypt] behind the curtains.” The Copts are reportedly “stockpiling weapons in churches” and “striving to create a Coptic statelet” in order to continue waging “a war against Islam.” That Oraby hates Copts simply because they are Christian came out clearly towards the end of her tirade, when she said: “They [Copts] must learn very well that the Crescent [Islam] must be above the Cross [Christianity.]” In fact, Copts pose no danger to Egypt’s Muslims — but they dare to want equal rights, when they should be content with second-class status.
Read it all and thousands more examples over the last five years in Raymond Ibrahim’s archives.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘CREEPING SHARIA’ WEBSITE)
Persecution watchdog group Aid to the Church in Need released its 2016 “Religious Freedom in the World” report on Thursday, highlighting the growing cases of intolerance around the world, particularly between the time period of June 2014 and June 2016 — coinciding with the rise of the Islamic State terror group.
The report included case by case studies of a number of different countries around the world, and the religious discrimination people of faith face. Some of the most extreme forms of oppression were experienced by people in Iraq and Syria, including Christians and Yazidis, who have been targeted in an ongoing genocide campaign by IS.
One Yazidi boy trained for jihad in Syria shared the chilling words his radical instructors told to him: “You have to kill kuffars [unbelievers] even if they are your fathers and brothers, because they belong to the wrong religion and they don’t worship God.”
The report revealed that 196 countries were examined, with 38 showing “unmistakable evidence” of significant religious freedom violations. Twenty-three of those countries were placed in the top-level “Persecution” category, while 15 others in the “Discrimination” group.
Religious freedom conditions “clearly worsened” in 14 countries, the report added, and only three — Bhutan, Egypt and Qatar — showed signs of improvement since the last study in 2014.
The seven nations where persecution was branded so extreme that “it could scarcely get any worse” include: Afghanistan, Iraq (northern), Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Syria.
“A virulent and extremist form of Islam emerged as the number one threat to religious freedom and was revealed as the primary cause of persecution in many of the worst cases,” the report noted.
It added that “religious hyper-extremism,” such as the actions of IS in their quest to build a caliphate and kill off minorities, has been on the rise, characterized by mass killings, ‘horrific’ forms of executions, rape, and extreme torture such as burning people alive, crucifixion, or throwing victims off buildings.
The atrocities committed by Islamist radical groups in nations such as Syria, Iraq and Libya were called arguably some of the “greatest setbacks for religious freedom since the Second World War,” with victims being subjugated to a system which “insults almost every tenet of human rights.”
Other watchdog groups, such as Open Doors USA, have called on the global Church to resist being too self-centered, and instead reach out to help its brothers and sisters in need.
Open Doors President David Curry told The Christian Post in October that the factors that led to 2015 being the worst year for Christian persecution have stayed in place for 2016 as well.
“You still have rogue nations like Eritrea, North Korea, Sudan and others, who are not concerned about international justice laws, and are persecuting Christians within their government,” Curry told CP at the time, ahead of the International Day of Prayer.
“I’m not encouraged yet by the response of the global Church, but I’m hopeful that they are going to wake up and see what is happening,” he added.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TED SHOEBAT’S WEBSITE)
More than 34 people in predominantly Christian villages in Kauru in the Nigerian state of Kaduna were killed in the attack carried out by 200 Fulani herdsmen on Nov. 13. The attackers also destroyed over 100 houses and other properties of the villagers.
Yohanna Gandu, an official of Chawai Community Development Association, told International Christian Concern (ICC) that the perpetrators came from the direction of the neighboring Plateau State, Ganawuri.
It was reported that about three to four thousand people were displaced from the villages of Kitakum, Kigam, Angwan Rimi, Angwan Magaji and Angwan Makera as a result of the attacks.
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) said in a press statement that the elderly and children as young as two years old were among the victims of the attack.
“The villages were burnt to the ground. No house was left standing in Kigam village. The most pathetic is the picture of children less than two years also killed. Children, youths, women, the aged and the infirm were all victims,” said the organization in the statement.
SOKAPU asserted that the government has not taken any action to protect the villages that are often attacked by the militants despite appeals from the villagers.
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“The pattern that has emerged, sadly now, is that attacks occur with impunity usually followed by fire fighting and feeble cosmetic measures by security agencies and the government that have failed to yield any dividend,” the group added.
SOKAPU has called on the government to increase its efforts to prevent further attacks.
The Fulani herdsmen are also said to be responsible for continuing attacks in other parts of Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
According to a report from World Watch Monitor, the Fulani herdsmen have killed 826 Christians and injured 878 people in the Middle Belt state of Nasarawa between January 2013 and May 2016.
Apart from the killings, the militants have destroyed 787 houses, nine shops and 32 vehicles. As many as 102 churches were reported destroyed or damaged. About 21,000 Christians are now living in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps inside and outside Nasarawa.
(This article is courtesy of the Abuja Nigeria Inquirer News Paper)
Despite concerted efforts towards improving primary and secondary education in the country, the newly appointed Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Dr. Hameed Bobboyi, has said basic education has suffered serious neglect.
Bobboyi, who spoke in Abuja while assuming duty, called on relevant stakeholders to play an active role towards revamping the sub-sector as there is no alternative to fixing the nation’s basic education.
In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Mrs. Helen Okoro, the UBEC boss, noted that for the country to achieve the needed quality education and production of critical mass of manpower to drive Government’s development agenda, the foundation of basic education must first be established.
He acknowledged that there were multiple challenges confronting basic education sector in Nigeria but expressed confidence that with all relevant stakeholders working together, the much desired quality basic education would be achieved.
“We cannot get it right without properly laying a solid foundation for the growth and development of basic education. Yes, basic education is on the concurrent list, we all need to work collectively to revamp the sector.
“I understand that the Federal government has done a lot through UBEC. We will sustain that and we will also meet with the state governments and relevant stakeholders in this regard,” he said.
Bobboyi pledged to give priority attention to the welfare of staff of the Commission while also urging them to continue to discharge their duties with utmost level of patriotism, honesty and hard work.
Also speaking, the former Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleiman Dikko, said the inability of some state governments to pay in matching grants to access UBEC allocations for the development of basic education in their domains, was a major challenge to the Commission. – See more at: http://www.theabujainquirer.com/?page=1597&get=1597#sthash.ZxWiKdZK.dpuf
(This article is courtesy of the Abuja Nigeria Inquirer News Paper)
The Federal Capital Territory is to play host to the maiden edition of the Proudly Nigeria Expo aimed at patronizing made in Nigeria goods and services.
The seven-day event slated to hold from 5-11 September, 2016 is to showcase the potential and opportunities that exist in Nigeria, training on start-ups and small businesses generally.
Addressing journalists as part of activities to mark the event, the convener, Mrs. Jumai Ahmadu, called for sustained advocacy to tame the appetite of most Nigerians for foreign goods, stressing that buying Nigeria goods stimulate the local economy given that all economic growth starts at the community level.
“Patronizing local goods helps the farmer, trader, artisan to stay in business. Why should people buy imported eggs when the nutritional value is not different from eggs produced locally? Why should scarce forex be used for goods that can be produced locally and drive our economy for imported ones?
“Being Proudly Nigeria guarantees job security. If we do not patronize our own goods and services, how do we ensure people stay employed and those looking for jobs are employed”? She queried.
Ahmadu also queried the issue of local content by foreign companies in Nigeria, noting that it is inconceivable that they bring staff from their own country, when Nigerians can as well render these services.
According to her, “For Proudly Nigeria, it is not just a one-off expo but an advocacy, a continuous messaging that Nigerians should buy made in Nigeria goods, patronize local services and get government to ensure that the local content quota is adhered to by foreign companies doing business in Nigeria.
“It is curious to find individuals and businesses that would not even employ a Nigerian nanny or driver rather employ people from other African countries. In the building sector, it is even worst as some builders would not recruit Nigerian masons, tillers and other artisans in that sector, rather will use artisans from somewhere else. Most often than not, those who do this act on the base assumptions that Nigerians in those trade are not good enough. Experience brings perfection!” – See more at: http://www.theabujainquirer.com/?page=1587&get=1587#sthash.B4kEJP1w.dpuf
In the title I gave you only two options to think about but I would now like to introduce you to a third line of thought. What if it is simply both number one and number two above? What if the teachings of Allah not just gives his followers permission to butcher all non-believers and or believers whom they feel do not ‘believe’ correctly enough or like Sunni killing Shiite and vise versa, but what if Allah commanded it of his ‘true followers’? What if Allah through his prophet Mohammad teaches and commands these type of actions that we see and hear of daily in our wired world? Yesterday a young woman blew her self up killing at least 58 and permanently scaring many more. What is worse is that this blast happened in a “safe haven” area of Nigeria that had been set up to help protect the people who had been chased out of their home areas by murderers such as the Islamic hate group Boko Haram. I will close with a couple of questions to you, is it possible that the Islamic religion condones groups like Boko Haram and ISIS and their actions? If you are a free-thinker (have a mind of your own) whether you believe that Allah is God, or whether you don’t, we all are going to be effected by the beliefs of those who do? So, just what is Islam if it teaches that groups like Boko Haram and ISIS are justified in their actions? Believers and non-believers need to search our own souls and ask, is ‘this’, the things we see from them these groups, “the will of Allah”? If so, what makes you think He is a God and not the Devil Himself? I’m just saying, think for yourself, think!
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