Boko Haram militants attack military base in NE Nigeria

A Chadian soldier rides atop a pickup truck next to a bag of rocket-propelled grenades in Gambaru, Nigeria, February 26, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 28 October 2018
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Boko Haram militants attack military base in NE Nigeria

  • The attack on 145 Battalion in Gashigar, Borno State, began on Saturday and continued into early Sunday morning
  • Nigerian troops supported by helicopters “forced the Boko Haram terrorists to retreat from the camp”

ABUJA: Boko Haram militants launched a large assault on a military base in Nigeria’s remote northeast region and killed one soldier, defense officials said Sunday.
The attack on 145 Battalion in Gashigar, Borno State, began on Saturday and continued into early Sunday morning, said Nigerian air force spokesman Ibikunle Daramola.
“BHTs (Boko Haram terrorists) in 13 gun trucks...advanced toward the camp from two different directions,” Daramola said in a statement.
Nigerian troops supported by helicopters “forced the Boko Haram terrorists to retreat from the camp,” Daramola said.
“One soldier was killed in action while four others were wounded,” said the Nigerian army in a statement posted on its official Twitter account.
The army repelled an assault on Gashigar in September by jihadists in trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns.
There have been at least nine military base attacks since July, mostly in the northern part of Borno state, near the shores of Lake Chad.
Boko Haram has in recent months intensified attacks on military bases in Borno and nearby Yobe state, undermining repeated claims by the military that they have the upper hand.
Scores of soldiers have been killed, injured or missing in attacks but the military has repeatedly denied or played down losses to the jihadists.
More than 27,000 people have been killed in northeast Nigeria since the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, while nearly two million others remain homeless.


France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

Updated 25 March 2019
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France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

  • The ban will become effective starting April 1
  • The airlines were also banned by Germany since January

PARIS: France has banned flights in and out of the country by Iran’s Mahan Air, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, diplomats said on Monday, after heavy US pressure on Paris to act.
The decision to revoke Mahan’s license to operate in France was made after Germany banned the airline in January.
Paris had considered revoking its license more than two years ago under the presidency of Francois Hollande, but had backed down because it feared it could harm relations just after a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was signed in 2015.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and Washington has been pressing its European allies to follow suit.
“We knew of their activities from our own intelligence services and after the German move it was a question of credibility,” said a French diplomatic source.
The French ban on the airline, which had four flights a week to Paris from Tehran, takes effect from April 1. The airline’s website is no longer taking reservations and calls to its offices in Paris were not answered.
Tensions between Paris and Tehran have grown in recent months as President Emmanuel Macron and his government have become increasingly frustrated with Iran’s ballistic missile tests, regional activities and a foiled attack on an Iranian exile group in France, which Paris says Iranian intelligence was behind.
Both countries only reappointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals last month after more than six months without envoys.
There are no plans at this stage to ban another airline — Iran Air — said one diplomat.
Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and has flights to a number of European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Greece.
European countries have been under sustained US pressure to reimpose sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump last year pulled Washington out of an international nuclear non-proliferation treaty reached with Tehran under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Along with Iran, the other signatories to the deal — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — are still trying to keep it alive and set up in January a mechanism to allow trade with Tehran and circumvent US sanctions.