Boko Haram kills three aid workers in Nigeria

In this file photo taken on July 29, 2017 a woman walks through the Internally-Displaced Peoples’ camp of Rann, northeast of Nigeria, close to the Cameroonian border. (AFP)
Updated 03 March 2018
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Boko Haram kills three aid workers in Nigeria

KANO: Three aid workers were confirmed killed in a Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, the UN said on Friday, in the latest violence to underscore the militants’ enduring threat.
The world body and two security sources initially said four people were killed in the attack in the remote town of Rann on Thursday evening but later revised the death toll.
Rann is located some 175 km east of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, near the border with Cameroon and communications are difficult.
A UN spokeswoman in Abuja, Samantha Newport, said the attack happened “after dark” outside a camp housing some 55,000 people displaced by the conflict.
“Of the aid workers that were killed, two worked for the IOM (International Organization for Migration) in camp management; and one was a medical doctor working as a third party consultant for UNICEF,” the UN children’s agency, she added.
Three aid workers were injured and a female nurse was missing, feared abducted. All those killed, injured or missing were Nigerian.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said: “Aid workers put their lives on the line every single day to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable women, children and men.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the victims and our brave colleagues and we call on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice and account.”
There was no immediate confirmation of deaths or injuries among internally displaced people (IDP) but a civilian militia source in Rann and a senior military figure in Maiduguri said eight soldiers were killed.
Thursday’s attack in Rann comes nearly two weeks after Boko Haram kidnapped 110 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi in neighboring Yobe state.
The government in Abuja said Friday the hunt for the missing students had been “extended to neighboring countries,” after reports some may have been taken into Niger.
The kidnapping and continued attacks in the region have raised questions about the extent of the Nigerian government’s claims to have virtually defeated Boko Haram.
Early on Friday, a female suicide bomber blew herself up near a mosque in Buni Yadi, Yobe state, civilian vigilante leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP from Maiduguri.
“From all indications it was a premature explosion... She died and she injured two worshippers who were heading to the mosque,” he said.
Buni Yadi is 45 km south of the Yobe state capital Damaturu. It was the scene of another Boko Haram school attack in February 2014, when at least 40 boys were killed.
The town was cleared of Boko Haram in March 2016.
Boko Haram’s quest to establish a hard-line Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 20,000 dead and made more than 2.6 million others homeless since 2009.
The military has regained the upper hand but the militants have increasingly turned to kidnapping for ransom as a way to finance their operations and win back key commanders in prisoner swaps with the Nigerian government.
In Rann, Boko Haram fighters “in large numbers” were said to have targeted troops protecting the IDP camp.


Florida woman convicted of role in husband’s 2000 killing

Updated 2 min 25 sec ago
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Florida woman convicted of role in husband’s 2000 killing

  • Without a body, Denise Williams petitioned to have her husband declared dead due to accidental drowning
TALLAHASSEE, Florida: After a spellbinding five-day trial that featured tales of infidelity, a multimillion dollar insurance payout and family dysfunction, a jury on Friday convicted a Florida woman of helping mastermind the killing of her husband nearly two decades ago.
Jurors convicted Denise Williams of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for her role in case that has recalled the plot of the Hollywood film classic “Double Indemnity.” The 48-year-old Williams was found guilty after testimony by a key witness in the case, the man who shot her husband Mike Williams on a cold December morning on a large lake west of Tallahassee.
During closing statements, Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs described Denise Williams as “stone faced” and asserted she had coldly cashed in on her husband’s demise by collecting proceeds from $1.75 million worth of life insurance policies. Fuchs said the woman had managed to keep the killing a secret for years until the man she was having an affair with — and later married — divulged the details.
Ethan Way, an attorney for Williams, said his client was innocent and that there was no tangible proof that Denise Williams helped plan the slaying of Mike Williams. Instead he maintained that Brian Winchester, who testified in court that he lured Mike Williams on a duck hunting trip in order to kill him, was lying about Denise Williams in order to avoid murder charges.
“They gave a free pass to a murderer and got nothing else,” Way told jurors in his closing statement.
Mike Williams left early on the morning of Dec. 16, 2000, to go hunting, and initially some speculated he had fallen from his boat and that his body had been devoured by alligators. His disappearance triggered a massive search by authorities.
Without a body, Denise Williams petitioned to have her husband declared dead due to accidental drowning. She married Winchester in December 2005, but the relationship soured and they divorced in 2016. Winchester, a financial planner and insurance agent, had been described as Mike Williams’ best friend and sold him a $1 million insurance policy months before he disappeared.
The case broke open, however, after Winchester kidnapped his ex-wife at gunpoint in 2016. He eventually made a deal with prosecutors where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for that crime. But Winchester ultimately led authorities to the remains of Mike Williams, buried along a lake north of Tallahassee. He also agreed to testify against Denise Williams.
During the trial, prosecutors laid out the search for Mike Williams and pointed out how state investigators began suspecting that Denise Williams was involved in the disappearance of her husband. They played a recording in which Winchester’s first wife confronted Denise Williams and said she knew she had helped with the murder. Williams did not respond to the accusation.
Fuchs told jurors it “turns my stomach” that prosecutors gave Winchester immunity in the case, but he said it was important to give “closure” other members of the Williams family who had suspected for years that Mike Williams did not drown. Fuchs said that Winchester would still be in prison for a long time.
Right before he ended, Fuchs took something out of his pocket and placed it before the jury: It was the wedding band that Mike Williams was wearing on the day that he died.