Boko Haram raid killed nine Nigerian soldiers

A Nigerian police officer blocks mothers of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from marching on the Presidential Villa in Abuja. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2017
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Boko Haram raid killed nine Nigerian soldiers

Kano, Nigeria: Nine Nigerian soldiers were killed and 14 others are missing feared abducted after an attack this week by suspected Boko Haram jihadists in the violence-torn northeast, security sources said Thursday.
Authorities had on Tuesday said five soldiers were killed and five others injured in the raid on a military post near the village of Sabon Garin Kimba about 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram.
“The number of fatalities on our side has risen to nine with the discovery of four more bodies of our troops,” said a military officer with knowledge of the incident.
“Since the attack 14 other soldiers remain missing. Their fate is unknown,” said the officer who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the incident.
Scores of fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi stormed the checkpoint late Monday.
The Daesh group last year appointed Al-Barnawi as head of Boko Haram, replacing long-time leader Abubakar Shekau.
Mustapha Karimbe, a member of an anti-Boko Haram militia, said he feared the missing soldiers had been seized.
“Fourteen soldiers are unaccounted for, they have been missing since the attack and the fear is that they have have been abducted by the terrorists,” Karimbe said.
The jihadists carrying heavy weapons engaged troops at the checkpoint in a shootout and forced the soldiers to withdraw. Karimbe said the jihadists took military vehicles and burned three armored cars along with makeshift sheds.
This was the second attack on the same military checkpoint in under a month.
Late last month, jihadists dressed in Nigerian military uniforms attacked the checkpoint and forced soldiers to withdraw before looting food and medical supplies from the village.
Boko Haram has in recent weeks intensified attacks on military targets in the northeast.
The insurgency began in northeast Nigeria and has spread to Chad, Cameroon and Niger, claiming more than 20,000 lives and displacing 2.6 million people.


Trump orders halt to family separations

British PM Theresa May said images of migrant children kept in cage-like units were deeply disturbing. (Getty)
Updated 19 min 51 sec ago
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Trump orders halt to family separations

  • Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump’s own party
  • Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be “equally tough, if not tougher.”

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump ordered an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents on the US border Wednesday, reversing a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the international community.
The spectacular about-face comes after more than 2,300 children were stripped from their parents and adult relatives after illegally crossing the border since May 5 and placed in tent camps and other facilities, with no way to contact their relatives.
Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump’s own party, as well as international accusation that the US was committing human rights violations.
“What we have done today is we are keeping families together,” Trump said as he signed the executive order. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be “equally tough, if not tougher.”
For weeks, Trump had insisted he was bound by the law to split the children from their parents and that only Congress could resolve the problem — before he radically shifted gears.
“We want security for our country,” Trump said. “And we will have that — at the same time, we have compassion, we want to keep families together.”
The order says the Department of Homeland Security — and not the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments, as under previous policy — would have continuing responsibility for the families.
It also suggests the government intends to hold the families indefinitely by challenging an existing statute, the 1997 Flores Settlement, that places a 20-day limit on how long children, along or with their parents, can be detained.
That move could lead to new legal battles for the administration.
Trump said there was a need to remain tough to prevent crime.
“We still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and we don’t want,” he said.
Earlier, as countries marked World Refugee Day Wednesday, world leaders assailed Trump for the separations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Council of Europe and Pope Francis all took issue with the “zero tolerance” policy.
May said images of migrant children kept in cage-like units were “deeply disturbing,” and the Council of Europe, a global human rights watchdog, said Trump had abdicated any claim to moral leadership in the world.
“A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity,” the pope said on Twitter.
After a downturn last year, since October, the number of migrants seeking to cross the southwest US border from impoverished Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as from Mexico, has surged.
From March to May this year, more than 50,000 people a month were apprehended for illegally crossing the border from Mexico. About 15 percent of those are arriving as families, and eight percent as unaccompanied children.
Nearly all of the families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries.
The zero tolerance policy, with mandatory separation of children from adults, was announced May 7 as a deterrent.
The issue struck an emotional chord, amid accounts of children screaming and crying in facilities prepared for them.
“We were outside, and you could hear voices of children that appeared to be playing or laughing,” pediatrician Marsha Griffin told AFP in El Paso.
“But when they opened the door, we saw around 20 to 30 10-year-old boys in one of these chain-link enclosures, and they were crying and screaming and asking for their mothers.”
Trump did not say how the 2,300-plus children already taken from their families would be reunited. On Tuesday, a top official from the Department of Health and Human Services admitted they have no system in place to do so.