British aid worker, Nigerian man shot dead at resort, 4 tourists abducted

Nigerian military secure an area where a man was killed by suspected militants near Maiduguri, Nigeria, February 16, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 April 2019

British aid worker, Nigerian man shot dead at resort, 4 tourists abducted

  • Kidnapping in Nigeria’s oil-rich south, has long been a security challenge, where wealthy locals and expatriate workers are often abducted
  • The conflict has increasingly taken on ethnic and religious dimensions in the region, with the Fulani Muslim herders in conflict with Christian Adara farmers in Kajuru

KANO, Nigeria: Two people including a British aid worker have been shot dead and four tourists abducted in an attack by armed gunmen on a holiday resort in northwestern Nigeria, police said on Sunday.
Police and aid agency Mercy Corps named the dead woman as Faye Mooney.
“Faye was a dedicated and passionate communications and learning specialist,” Chief executive Neal Keny-Guyer said in a statement posted on social media, adding that colleagues were “utterly heartbroken.”
Mooney had “worked with Mercy Corps for almost two years, devoting her time to making a difference in Nigeria,” Keny-Guyer added.
Gunmen stormed the Kajuru Castle resort, 60 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Kaduna City at 11.40 p.m. (2240 GMT) on Friday, Kaduna state police spokesman Yakubu Sabo told reporters.
The Briton “was gunned down from the hill by the kidnappers who tried to gain entrance into the castle but failed,” Sabo said.
“They took away about five other locals but one person escaped,” he said.
A Nigerian man believed by local residents in Kajuru to be Mooney’s partner was also killed in the attack on the resort where a group of 13 tourists had arrived from Lagos, southwest Nigeria the police spokesman said.
In Kaduna and the wider northwest region, kidnapping for ransom has become an increasingly rampant, particularly on the road to the capital, Abuja, where armed attacks have thrived.
Kidnapping in Nigeria’s oil-rich south, has long been a security challenge, where wealthy locals and expatriate workers are often abducted.
Yet the problem has escalated in northern areas too, like Kaduna where criminal gangs made up of former cattle rustlers have been pushed into kidnapping after military crackdowns on cattle theft.
Kajuru is also flash point in the deadly conflict over increasingly limited land resources in Africa’s most populous country, between herders and farmers, predominantly across central and northern Nigeria.
The conflict has increasingly taken on ethnic and religious dimensions in the region, with the Fulani Muslim herders in conflict with Christian Adara farmers in Kajuru.
Tourists are rarely affected by the herder-farmer violence and Kajuru Castle resort has attracted many foreign and local visitors.
Yet police have struggled to thwart kidnappers in the region. The latest attack comes in a resort in northern Nigeria, particularly popular among foreign and well-to-do local tourists.
In January four western tourists — two Americans and two Canadians — were also abducted in Kaduna by gunmen in an ambush in which two of their police escorts were killed.
Earlier in April, recently re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari, ordered his most senior security chiefs to curb kidnapping in the region.


Satellite images show Ethiopia dam reservoir swelling

Updated 14 July 2020

Satellite images show Ethiopia dam reservoir swelling

  • The images emerge as Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan say the latest talks on the contentious project ended Monday with no agreement
  • Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the reservoir of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam this month even without a deal

JOHANNESBURG: New satellite imagery shows the reservoir behind Ethiopia’s disputed hydroelectric dam beginning to fill, but an analyst says it’s likely due to seasonal rains instead of government action.
The images emerge as Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan say the latest talks on the contentious project ended Monday with no agreement. Ethiopia has said it would begin filling the reservoir of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam this month even without a deal, which would further escalate tensions.
But the swelling reservoir, captured in imagery on July 9 by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite, is likely a “natural backing-up of water behind the dam” during this rainy season, International Crisis Group analyst William Davison told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“So far, to my understanding, there has been no official announcement from Ethiopia that all of the pieces of construction that are needed to be completed to close off all of the outlets and to begin impoundment of water into the reservoir” have occurred, Davison said.
But Ethiopia is on schedule for impoundment to begin in mid-July, he added, when the rainy season floods the Blue Nile.
Ethiopian officials did not immediately comment Tuesday on the images.
The latest setback in the three-country talks shrinks hopes that an agreement will be reached before Ethiopia begins filling the reservoir.
Ethiopia says the colossal dam offers a critical opportunity to pull millions of its nearly 110 million citizens out of poverty and become a major power exporter. Downstream Egypt, which depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and booming population of 100 million with fresh water, asserts that the dam poses an existential threat.
Years of talks with a variety of mediators, including the Trump administration, have failed to produce a solution. Last week’s round, mediated by the African Union and observed by U.S. and European officials, proved no different.
Experts fear that filling the dam without a deal could push the countries to the brink of military conflict.
“Although there were progresses, no breakthrough deal is made,” Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister of water, irrigation and energy, tweeted overnight.
“All of the efforts exerted to reach a solution didn’t come to any kind of result,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry said Monday in an interview with Egypt’s DMC TV channel.
Shukry warned that Egypt may be compelled to appeal again to the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the dispute, a prospect Ethiopia rejects, preferring regional bodies like the African Union to mediate.
Meanwhile the countries agreed they would send their reports to the AU and reconvene in a week to determine next steps.
Between Egypt and Ethiopia lies Sudan, which stands to benefit from the dam through access to cheap electricity and reduced flooding. But it has also raised fears over the dam’s operation, which could endanger its own smaller dams, depending on the amount of water discharged daily downstream.
In a press conference on Monday, Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said the parties were “keen to find a solution” but technical and legal disagreements persist over its filling and operation.
Most important, he said, are the questions about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the countries will resolve any future disputes.
Hisham Kahin, a member of Sudan’s legal committee in the dam negotiations, said 70% to 80% of negotiations turned on the question of whether an agreement would be legally binding.