Donald Trump, President of the United States, has described the rescue of an American citizen on Nigerian soil as a warning to terrorists and criminals, who believe that they can kidnap Americans with impunity.
Philip Walton was abducted by suspected bandits on October 26 in the Niger Republic.
He was, however, rescued in an operation on Nigerian soil by the elite SEAL Team Six, who killed all but one of the captors.
In a statement released through the office of the Press Secretary, Trump said Walton had since been reunited with his family.
He said, “Last night, at my direction, the United States military conducted a successful operation to rescue an American hostage in Nigeria, kidnapped just 96 hours earlier. The United States Special Forces executed a daring night-time operation to rescue their fellow Americans with exceptional skill, precision, and bravery.
“No United States Service members were harmed.
“The former hostage is currently in good health and has been reunited with his family.
“Securing the freedom of Americans held in captivity abroad has been a top national security priority of my administration. Since the beginning of my administration, we have rescued over 55 hostages and detainees in more than 24 countries.
“Today’s operation should serve as a stark warning to terrorists and criminal thugs who mistakenly believe they can kidnap Americans with impunity.”
A Daily Trust columnist, Gimba Kakanda, was assaulted by police for protesting on Sunday in Abuja.
Kakanda, whose column, Beyond the Surface, appears in the Sunday edition of Daily Trust, told the newspaper that the attack was “traumatising” and a “close shave with death in the hands of the police”.
The protest has been on for days with citizens demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, which has come under criticism for human rights abuses, extortion, intimidation, harassment and killings.
Police had teargassed and used water cannon on a crowd of protesters marching from Unity Fountain toward the Force Headquarters on Sunday morning.
Minutes after the crowd was dispersed, Kakanda got a lift to return to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to retrieve their cars.
“When we reached the first barricade and explained ourselves, they let us in. We didn’t know it was a ploy,” Kakanda told Daily Trust.
As the men reached for their vehicles, armed policemen accosted them with a barrage of questions.
“I tried to explain myself. At that time, I was on the phone with a friend who is a police officer himself. I was attempting to hand over my phone to the man talking to us when someone hit me hard with a stick from behind. They grabbed the phone and smashed it on the road.
“There were a number of vehicles there aside ours. But these policemen went on rampage immediately by using knives to tear as many tyres as they could. They destroyed three of my own. I was using my hands to protect my face and head and that was how they caused serious injuries on my hands.
“They dehumanised us as much as they could and kept boasting that they could have killed us and erased every trace of our existence.”
Kakanda identified the officer, who assaulted him as Mala B. Shehu, a one-star Assistant Superintendent of Police.
“The officer, an ASP, with the name tag “MB Shehu” was very hostile and was direct in his threats. He told us that we were lucky it was daytime that had it been it was at night they would have killed us.
“’I’ll waste you right now and nobody can do anything to me’,” Kakanda quoted the police officer saying.
He said the police officer ordered his subordinates to take the two activists into the headquarters for more beating before handing them over to SARS.
“He asked us why we didn’t go to protest at the SARS offices instead; when Ibrahim tried to explain that the Force headquarters was the right place for such action, they started slapping him again,” he added.
Some Nigerians in France on Friday morning joined the #EndSARS and #EndSWAT campaign currently going on across Africa’s most populous country.
The young Nigerians demonstrated in front of the Nigerian Embassy at the Victor Hugo area of Paris, capital of France, to demand an end to police brutality and human rights abuses under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Calling for a total reformation of the Nigeria Police Force, the protesters asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately resign his position for overseeing a failed law enforcement agency.
The young Nigerians in France also demanded the resignation of President Buhari over rising cases of killings, kidnappings and general insecurity in the country.
They also slammed Buhari for the poor State of Nigeria’s economy, which has led to massive job losses for citizens.
Despite the police
authorities announcing the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and announcing the formation of the Special Weapons and Tactics team, Nigerians are not backing down on their agitations for total reforms of the law enforcement agency, pouring out more into the streets across different cities of the world to push for change.
The Defence Headquarters Nigeria has set up a joint committee to investigate the killing of three police officers by some soldiers in Wukari, Taraba State on Tuesday.
The incidence has led to an altercation between the police and the Nigerian Army despite claims by the military that its troops mistook the police for kidnappers.
Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, Acting Director of Information DHQ announced that the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, constituted the committee following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement released on Friday, Colonel Nwachukwu, said the committee would be made up of seven officers and they are to commence work to unravel what led to the incident.
The committee, which would be headed by Rear Admiral I.T. Olaiya has representatives of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, Department of State Service and the Defence Intelligence Agency.
The Nigerian Army claimed its troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum, while responding to a distressed call to rescue a kidnapped victim exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.
The Nigerian Army has denied media reports that some soldiers of the 144 Battalion on routine patrol shot traders and killed one in a market in Aba, Abia State.
It warned that the Army would not spare any group that confronted troops on lawful and legitimate duty anywhere in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, had last week directed heads of formations to deal ruthlessly with any group that could pose threats to the conduct of the forthcoming elections in the country, referring particularly to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The leader of the separatist group, Nnamdi Kanu, had in his recent broadcast, directed his followers to boycott the elections and went ahead to fix February 16 for a referendum for Biafra Republic.
Since then, soldiers had been reportedly molesting Igbo youths especially in Aba, Abia State where some persons were said to have been shot and one killed.
But the Army in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, said the report was not true and intended to portray Nigerian soldiers in bad light.
Although Sagir accepted that there was an incident involving 144 Battalion patrol team and some traders at Asa – Nnentu spare parts market in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, however, there was at no time anybody was shot at, wounded or killed.
He said that six members of the proscribed IPOB were arrested and handed over to the Nigeria Police, Abia State Command for prosecution.
In the wake of the recent spree of Boko Haram attacks on some communities in Borno State, the Nigerian military will be holding a security meeting with the state government today.
The military will be meeting with the state government, as well as, other security agencies in the state.
The military also dispelled rumour that residents of Bama, Dikwa, and Monguno in Borno State should vacate their communities.
Deputy Director Public of Relations, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, in a press statement maintained that there is no reason for residents to relocate adding that some people with sinister motives are trying to create panic in the state.
Nwachukwu said, “It has come to our attention that these people are plotting to instigate the inhabitants of Bama, Dikwa and Monguno communities to abandon their communities and relocate to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps for undisclosed reasons.
“The inhabitants of these towns and the general public are please urged to discountenance such calls and remain calm.”
He, however, expressed that personnel of the Lafiya Dole together with state government is working towards relocating the residents of Baga, to safer locations.
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