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Friday, 4 October 2013

The onslaught of Islamic terrorism : Nigeria school attacks force many to quit school: Uganda Police on the spot over 'recycled' terror alerts

Nigeria school attacks force many to quit school 
Publish Date: Oct 04, 2013
Nigeria school attacks force many to quit school

School pupils play beside the burnt main auditorium of Maiduguri Experimental School, a private nursery, primary and secondary school burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria. CREDIT/AFP

LAGOS - Schools attacks in northern Nigeria have grown more frequent and deadly this year, forcing thousands to abandon their education, with most of the violence blamed on Boko Haram Islamists, Amnesty International said Friday.

"This year alone, at least 70 teachers and scores of pupils have been slaughtered," the London-based watchdog said in a new report.

"Thousands of children have been forced out of schools across communities in northern Nigeria and many teachers have been forced to flee for their safety," Amnesty's deputy Africa director Lucy Freeman said.

The report comes less than a week after heavily armed gunmen stormed an agricultural college in Yobe state in the northeast, Boko Haram's stronghold, slaughtering 40 students as they slept.

The name Boko Haram, roughly translated, means "Western education is forbidden" and the group has repeatedly attacked schools and universities in its four-year insurgency.

"Between 2010 and 2011, attacks were mostly carried out when schools were empty. However since the beginning of 2013 they appear to have become more targeted and brutal," the rights group said.

A massacre at a polytechnic college in the northeastern town of Mubi in October 2012 marked a new level of brutality for such attacks.

Extremists, likely from Boko Haram, ordered students to leave their dorms in the dead of night, slitting some of their throats while shooting others, leaving more than 40 dead.

An official in northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram was founded more than a decade ago, told Amnesty that 15,000 students in the area have quit school amid the violence.

In many cases, schools have reportedly been unguarded, prompting criticism about the military's failure to protect civilians.

Amnesty urged Nigeria to "provide better protection for schools."

Citing the country's main teachers union, Amnesty reported that roughly 1,000 teachers have abandoned their posts across the north since 2011.

The Islamists have also claimed deadly strikes on the police, military, churches, mosques and a United Nations building.

In mid-May, Nigeria declared a state of emergency across the northeast and launched a massive offensive aimed at crushing the insurgency.

Defence officials say their campaign has left Boko Haram in disarray, with the group now only capable of hitting soft targets.

While recent violence has largely been concentrated in remote areas, hundreds have been killed since May, casting doubt on the success of the military offensive.

A toll earlier this year estimated that the conflict has claimed more than 3,600 lives, including killings by the security forces, but the current toll is likely much higher.

Boko Haram has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and top oil producer.


Police on the spot over 'recycled' terror alerts

Police on the spot over recycled terror alerts
These cut-outs show government-owned New Vision stories about the alleged terrorist Ahmed Khaled carried on June 2, 2012 and yesterday. The police have been accused of recycling information about a suspected terrorist attack in Kampala. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye. 

By Tabu Butagira & Dear Jeanne

Posted  Friday, October 4  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Force accused of recycling old information about alleged terrorist as its spokesperson admits latest alert was rushed out before verification.

The authenticity of Uganda Police proclamations on terrorist threats was last evening called into question after proprietors of a bus that allegedly transported a suspected terrorist in the country challenged the account.

A police squad led by the Central Police Station commander, Mr James Ruhweza, separately raided a five-star hotel in Kampala yesterday morning, only to find the person they targeted as the suspected terrorist, was an Egyptian national here to exhibit wares at the ongoing international trade fair organised by Uganda Manufacturers Association.
Mr Ruhweza last night declined to comment on the unsuccessful operation. This newspaper was, however, told police photocopied the bio-data page of the passport of the man they thought was Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled, a suspected terrorist of dual Somali-German parentage.
An apparent recycling of official information, based on examination of press conferences pronouncements and other official statements, yesterday opened the Force to even further scrutiny. The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, told the media this week that they received intelligence from “credible sources” that Mueller travelled to Uganda by a Kalita bus on October 1. According to his account, Mueller crossed from Limulu on the Kenyan side aboard Kalita bus registration, KBF 057N, and alighted “at some point along Jinja Road in Kampala”.
“We need to remind the public that this terrorist, Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled, was given wide publicity when, last year, in January he, together with another terrorist, Erdogon were reported to be in Uganda. Later, Erdogan travelled to Tanzania, but was arrested by the Tanzania security forces there,” the IGP said.
The latest official narration, including of the bus details, bears striking similarity to an account the then Police counter terrorism chief, Mr John Ndugutse, offered to the media about the same suspect in June, last year.
“Whereas the hunt is on for the one who sneaked into the country on board a Kalita bus, we are also hunting for these two given that a terrorist never works single handedly. They work in cells and these ones are suspected to be in the country,” Mr Ndungutse was quoted by the New Vision on June 2, 2012.
The narrative then was that Mueller dodged a mandatory screening exercise where authorities in Nairobi photograph all passengers since he vanished only to board the Kalita bus about 3km from the terminal, and that he later disembarked before the Busia border checkpoint, emerging to re-board the bus 3km inside Uganda.
‘False information’
In an interview yesterday, Kalita Bus Company executive director Hope Kaganda said police investigations into last year’s allegation that they transported a suspected terrorist turned out to be false and questioned the IGP’s motive in recycling the story.
“Before police releases such sensitive information, they must first carry out investigation to verify,” she said, “Every day, we have only one bus which moves on that specific route unless another is hired. [Our bus registration] KBF 057N was not on that route at all.”
The said bus, according to company official Mark Asiimwe, has been for repairs at the workshop in Kabusu, Rubaga city suburb, over the last two months.
Police yesterday failed to explain how Mueller skirts the country’s security network on his chase to slip into and out of the country with ease, with counter-terrorism chief Godfrey Chombe referring us to the Force’s publicists.
According to police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, police will investigate genuineness of the latest terror alert but it was “better to give out information and verify because we are on very high alert.”
Withholding information in the wake of the September 21 Westgate terrorist attacks in Nairobi would be counter-productive, she said, and security agencies would be blamed if an attack were to occur again and catch the public unawares.
Ms Nabakooba said: “Sharing information is a powerful tool in fighting terrorism…it is not that we are cooking it [terror alerts] from the police headquarters.”

Wanted Al-Shabaab terrorist enters Uganda 
Publish Date: Oct 02, 2013
Wanted Al-Shabaab terrorist enters Uganda

WANTED: Andreas Martin Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled is believed to have entered Uganda. Please report to Police when you see this man.

By Vision Reporter

Police has received credible information indicating that wanted terrorist Andreas Martin Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled, is said to have entered the country on Tuesday.

Mueller, who is of German origin, sparked a massive manhunt in May 2012 when alongside Emrah Erdogan alias Imraan AL-Kurdy alias Salahaddin AL-Kurdy sneaked into the country via Kenya.
The duo was at the time described as foreign fighters boosting the Somalia based al-Shabaab terror group, responsible for the 2010 twin terror attacks in Kampala.

According to a police statement signed by Inspector General of Police Gen. Kale Kayihura, Mueller on Tuesday entered the country from Limulu, Kenya and travelled to Kampala aboard a Kaliita Bus, Reg. NO. KBF 057N.

“We need to remind the public that this terrorist, Mueller alias Ahmed Khaled, was given wide publicity when, last year, in January 2012 he, together with another terrorist, Erdogan were reported to be in Uganda” the statement read.

“As the Police, together with sister security agencies, hunt down this individual, we again call upon the public to take our terror alerts seriously.”

Almost a fortnight ago in the wake Westgate mall attack in Kenya, police issued several terror alerts and bolstered security around the country.