US pushes for UN to support temporary Gaza ceasefire, oppose Rafah assault
The United States has proposed a rival draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and opposing a major ground offensive by its ally Israel in Rafah, according to the text seen by Reuters.
The move comes after the U.S. signalled it would veto on Tuesday an Algerian-drafted resolution — demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire — over concerns it could jeopardize talks between the U.S., Egypt, Israel and Qatar that seek to broker a pause in the war and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Until now, Washington has been averse to the word ceasefire in any U.N. action on the Israel-Hamas war, but the U.S. text echoes language that President Joe Biden said he used last week in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It would see the Security Council "underscore its support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released, and calls for lifting all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale."
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The United States does "not plan to rush" to a vote and intends to allow time for negotiations, a senior U.S. administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday.
To pass, a resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the U.S., France, Britain, Russia or China.
The U.S. draft text "determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries."
Israel plans to storm Rafah, where more than 1 million of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza have sought shelter, prompting international concern that an assault would sharply worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The U.N. has warned it "could lead to a slaughter."
The draft U.S. resolution says such a move "would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances."
Washington traditionally shields Israel from U.N. action and has twice vetoed council resolutions since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants. But it has also abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost aid to Gaza and called for extended pauses in fighting.
This is the second time since Oct. 7 that Washington has proposed a Security Council resolution on Gaza. Russia and China vetoed its first attempt in late October.
While the U.S. was ready to protect Israel by vetoing the Algerian draft resolution on Tuesday, International Crisis Group U.N. Director Richard Gowan said Israel would be more concerned by the text Washington drafted.
"The simple fact that the U.S. is tabling this text at all is a warning shot for Netanyahu," he said. "It is the strongest signal the U.S. has sent at the U.N. so far that Israel cannot rely on American diplomatic protection indefinitely."
Israel's mission to the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the U.S. draft.
A second senior U.S. administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. draft does not suggest "anything about the dynamics of any particular relationship, whether that's with the Israelis or any other partner we have."
The draft U.S. text would condemn calls by some Israeli government ministers for Jewish settlers to move to Gaza and would reject any attempt at demographic or territorial change in Gaza that would violate international law.
The resolution would also reject "any actions by any party that reduce the territory of Gaza, on a temporary or permanent basis, including through the establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones, as well as the widespread, systematic demolition of civilian infrastructure."
Reuters reported in December that Israel told several Arab states that it wants to carve out a buffer zone inside Gaza's borders to prevent attacks after the war ends.
The war began when fighters from the Hamas militant group that runs Gaza attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. In retaliation, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that health authorities say has killed nearly 29,000 Palestinians with thousands more bodies feared lost amid the ruins.
In December, more than three-quarters of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly voted to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. General Assembly resolutions are not binding but carry political weight, reflecting a global view on the war.
Ukraine has used US-made chemical weapons – Russia
Washington and Kiev have violated articles of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as Ukrainian forces have used illegal munitions on the battlefield, Russian Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov has claimed.
The head of Russia’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Forces provided several examples of Kiev’s alleged use of banned chemical weapons and non-lethal chemical agents that he said were obtained from the US.
Kirillov claimed that Ukraine used drones to drop US-made gas grenades on December 28, 2023 containing “CS” compound – a chemical classified as a riot-control tool that irritates the eyes and upper respiratory tract, and can cause skin burns, respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest when used in high concentrations.
He said the delivery of such munitions by the US to Ukraine was a direct violation of the rules of the OPCW, which states that a country must “never, under any circumstances, transfer chemical weapons directly or indirectly to anyone.”
He also reported that, on June 15, 2023, Moscow’s forces were attacked by a drone carrying a container filled with chloropicrin, which is classified as a Schedule 3 compound under the Chemical Weapons Convention and is strictly prohibited – even for law enforcement purposes. The same chemical was also used by Kiev on August 3 and 11, 2023 near the village of Rabotino, according to Kirillov.
The general also provided several examples of Kiev using toxic substances against Russian military personnel, as well as poisoning high-ranking officials such as the head of Russia’s Kherson Region Vladimir Saldo in August 2022.
Kirillov said Russian intelligence believes that Ukraine’s forces, under the guidance of its Western backers, are developing a new military tactic that would use a “chemical belt.” This would involve blowing up containers with hydrocyanic acid and ammonia to prevent an advance by Russian forces.
He added that plans for such a large-scale use of toxic chemicals were evidenced by the fact that Kiev had asked the EU to supply it with hundreds of thousands of antidotes, gas masks and other personal protective equipment in 2024. That’s in addition to 600,000 ampules of organophosphorus antidotes, and 750,000 bottles of drugs for the detoxification of mustard gas, lewisite and hydrocyanic acid derivatives that were supplied by NATO countries in 2023.
“It is obvious that the volumes requested by Ukraine are excessive for a country that does not have chemical weapons,” Kirillov stated.
There has been no response from the OPCW despite all of this evidence being presented to the organization four months ago, the general said, accusing it of being run by Washington as a tool to target its political opponents.
In November, Russia lost its seat on the OPCW Executive Council after failing to get enough votes from other members of the organization. Kirillov said Moscow was effectively “pushed out” of its seat and was replaced by Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, who he claimed were pursuing an obvious anti-Russia policy.
After retreat, Ukraine digs in to repel new Russian attacks in east
Ukraine's military said on Monday its troops had taken up new defensive positions in the east after retreating from the captured town of Avdiivka and were repelling Russian attempts to develop the offensive thrust.
Russia took full control of devastated Avdiivka after Kyiv's troops withdrew over the weekend, handing the Kremlin its biggest battlefield advance since capturing the city of Bakhmut in May.
Avdiivka's fall was the clearest sign the tide of the war has turned in Russia's favour as Kyiv struggles to regenerate manpower and U.S. Republicans scupper attempts to rearm Washington's ally battling a much larger and better armed foe.
"The Ukrainian military has established itself on new lines of defence and is successfully repelling attempts by the Russian invaders to develop an offensive," Brigadier-General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi wrote on Telegram messenger.
Russian forces were regrouping and searching for pockets of resistance in Avdiivka, while attacking near the occupied eastern town of Mariinka and near a Kyiv-held southeastern village, military spokesman Dmytro Lykhoviy said.
The capture of Avdiivka pushes Ukrainian forces further from the Russian-held bastion city of Donetsk, an important logistics hub used by Moscow to support its operations across partially-occupied eastern Ukraine, a region known as the Donbas.
Serhiy Zgurets, director of the Kyiv-based Defence Express consultancy, predicted Russian forces would try to "straighten out" the front line around Mariinka and launch a fresh push around the town of Vuhledar, which is held by Kyiv.
Zgurets said Moscow forces had around 80,000 troops deployed around Bakhmut and a further 40,000 troops around Avdiivka, and would likely try to push towards the town of Chasiv Yar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the capture of Avdiivka as an important victory, and Moscow has said Kyiv's pullback was chaotic and rushed, with some soldiers and weapons left behind.
"The withdrawal was prompted by the threat of an enemy breakthrough that would have cut all supply routes for the grouping in the eastern part of the Avdiivka," Zgurets said, adding that he believed the pullback was well executed.
Some troops from Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade, which was rushed into the town to reinforce Kyiv's troops last week, were completely surrounded at one point, but managed to break out, their deputy commander, Maksym Zhoryn, said.
Pavel Mogila, commander of an armoured unit in a Russian militia force fighting for Ukraine, said they helped evacuate forces from the city using three vehicles.
"We were standing in the Lastochkyne area. If the Russians had neared the road, taken the tree lines around it, then that would have been it, the road would have been blockaded and Avdiivka fully surrounded."
Andrii Taran, a commander in the 110th Brigade, said Russia had "exhausted" the defenders with constant attacks by small groups of three or four soldiers, while bombing with guided aerial bombs.
Oleh Zhdanov, a Kyiv-based military analyst, said: "Russia will most likely try to seize as much territory as possible in the near future, especially within the borders of those territories that Putin has declared to be Russian."
Moscow unilaterally declared it had annexed the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in 2022 despite not fully controlling any of them.
A veterinary technologist working at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Olabode Olawuyi, was on Monday attacked and killed by a lion at the institution’s zoological garden.
The development is contained in a statement issued by the university on Monday and signed by its Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju.
Olarewaju, who gave the age of the lion as nine, said the deceased had been in charge of its care since it was born on campus.
He said Olawuyi was mauled by the animal during feeding at the zoological garden, and that efforts by other workers to rescue the deceased proved abortive.
The statement, however, added that the lion was eventually put to death in a humane manner following the death of the official.
The statement reads in part: “The management, staff, students, and the entire campus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, have been thrown into mourning following the untimely death of Olabode Olawuyi.
“…Olawuyi, a Veterinary Technologist, who had been in charge of the zoological garden for over a decade, was attacked this afternoon, Monday, 19th February, by a nine-year-old male lion when he was feeding them in their den at the Zoological garden of the university.”
University management mourns Olawuyi
According to the statement, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Adebayo Bamire, was reported to have led the management members to the scene of the incident for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
Olarewaju said the vice-chancellor and his team who abruptly ended an ongoing meeting to visit the scene were briefed on the failed efforts to rescue the deceased by the Acting Director of the institution’s Health and Medical Centre, Tirimisiyu Olatunji.
The statement further reads in part: “The other members of staff who were at the scene of the incident did everything within their power to rescue their boss but the wild cat had already caused severe fatalities.
“On hearing the sad news, the management team, led by the Vice Chancellor, abruptly ended an ongoing meeting for an on-the-spot assessment.
“The Vice-Chancellor, Adebayo Simeon Bamire, was informed, on arrival, by the Acting Director of the University Health and Medical Centre Tirimisiyu Olatunji, that all first aid and medical efforts to save the life of the victim proved abortive.”
He said the university already sent a delegation to the widow and children of the deceased, “imploring them to take solace in God who gives life and also has the power to take life.”
The statement said the development threw the university into mourning, and that to allay the fear of members of the community, the university ordered that the dangerous animal be made to die humanely.
“Saddened by this tragic event, the aggressive lion has been euthanised,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, the university said the vice-chancellor has ordered “a comprehensive investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident.”
Most successful business leaders will tell you that their primary motivation is to "change the world" and to build something lasting, not to make a lot of money, while the conventional wisdom is that employees work for money, above all else.
Yet my own experience leads me to believe that non-cash motivators may be more effective in the long term than financial incentives.
I agree with Charles P. Garcia, who ties motivation most strongly to leadership, in his classic book, Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows, based on this group of more than 600 prominent leaders from every sector of American society.
They assert that employees value having strong leaders, who incentivize them to do their best, just as much if not more than money does.
For action, he provides a list of principles for business owners and managers alike, derived from his first-hand discussions with some of the nation's greatest leaders.
We all need to learn from these as we rebuild employee morale following tough economic challenges, with limited budgets:
1. Energize your team
Instead of being the type of leader who sucks the energy away from others, resolve to be the kind of leader who strives to bring passion and positive energy to the workplace every day.
Your employees have just helped you pull your company through one of the nation's worst economic periods. It's time they had a source of positive energy.
2. There's more to life than work
Great leaders have deep reserves of physical, spiritual, and emotional energy and that energy is usually fueled by a strong and supportive relationship with the people they love, regular exercise, a healthy lifestyle, and setting aside time for reflection.
3. Put your people first
No organization is better than the people who run it. The fact is that you are in the people business – the business of hiring, training and managing people to deliver the product or service you provide.
If the people are the engine of your success, to be a great leader you need to attend to your people with a laser-like focus.
4. Act with integrity
In a time when news reports are filled with the stories of private and public leaders who've acted inappropriately and have gone against the best interests of their employees or constituents, showing your employees that you value integrity can help motivate them and create a sense of pride for your organization.
5. Be a great communicator
Leadership is influencing others and this cannot be achieved without effective communication. If you're struggling with communicating with your employees, first work on your ability to influence individuals by choosing impactful words to carry your message. Then you need to figure out how to communicate to a larger audience.
6. Be a great listener
The most effective leaders are the ones who take the time to listen not just to their team members' words but to the priceless hidden meaning beneath them.
Remember that during good times and bad, sometimes your employees just need someone to talk to. Communicate to them that you are always waiting with open ears.
7. Be a problem solver
Post a sign above your office door that reads, "Don't Bring Me Problems. Bring Me Solutions."
Then set about the task of guiding each person on your team toward the goal of becoming a top-notch problem solver during this crucial period.
8. Lead through experience and competence, not through title or position
Mentor your employees, encourage them, and make partners out of them and your organization is sure to benefit. If you want to survive the tough economy, that's exactly the kind of leadership motif you need for your organization.
The fundamentals of leadership don't change between good times and bad. But when money is in short supply, these principles can be the difference between success and failure.
Now is the time to start motivating your employees by applying these principles, and your team may lead you through the next challenge.
The active fleet of domestic airlines has shrunk in recent times leaving many of the airlines gasping for breath, findings by Daily Trust have shown.
From a fleet of over 100 aircraft, less than 50 are active while many of the planes are either grounded or have gone for maintenance abroad.
Many of the airlines are said to be facing acute shortage of foreign exchange to carry out scheduled maintenance abroad while airlines that already sent their aircraft abroad were accruing millions of dollars in demurrage in addition to the actual cost of maintenance.
Virtually all the airlines are affected in the current impasse worsened by the hike in foreign exchange with the dollar hitting an all-time high of N1,536 to a dollar in the official market.
A comprehensive check (C-check) on a Boeing aircraft for instance costs around $1m to $1.5m which is about N1.5bn and N2bn. It is expected to be carried out between one to two years depending on the maintenance programme for the aircraft.
For a D-check which is the most intensive and comprehensive check on an aircraft, the cost could be higher as such a check involves structural check of the aircraft.
With the foreign exchange scarcity and the depreciation of the naira, many airlines are unable to carry out scheduled maintenance of the aircraft, leaving many of the planes on ground.
A visitor to the domestic terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, would be regaled with dozens of aircraft grounded because they are due for maintenance.
While our correspondent could not ascertain the number of aircraft on ground, sources in the industry said the operating aircraft of domestic airlines have reduced by more than half in recent times.
One of the domestic carriers, Azman Air, had vowed to resume domestic operations last year but only one of its three aircraft on maintenance had arrived.
A source in the industry said, “The number of aircraft on ground that are due for maintenance or those that have been sent for maintenance abroad is more than the operating aircraft.”
According to the source, the development has disrupted the schedules of the airlines leading to frequent flight disruptions.
Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) at the weekend cried out that they were facing existential threat, citing difficulty in raising foreign exchange to carry out maintenance and other activities that are essentially dollar-based.
AON spokesman, Obiora Okonkwo, said, “We are making losses on factors that are beyond our control. We are not only faced with the problem of scarcity of dollars; even the aviation ecosystem is feeling the heat. Handling companies have increased the cost of their services, airports have increased their charges and those that service the aircraft have also increased the cost of their services.”
Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) recently directed airlines to align their schedules with the existing capacity to minimise the cases of flight disruptions with the attendant inconveniences to passengers.
Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Ado Sanusi, said, “The forex issue has affected those that have planned to bring their airplanes back because now they have to pay more naira to get their aircraft back, especially those that have taken their airplanes out of the country to do maintenance.”
Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has said the reform agenda of President Bola Tinubu has added to the plight of the citizens and worsening their conditions.
President of the CBCN, Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, said this at the formal opening of the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the CBCN at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Resource Centre, Abuja, on Sunday.
The programme had as its theme, ‘Synod on Synodality: Areas of Concern for the Church in Nigeria’.
Ugorji said with the end of the fuel subsidy regime and the unification of the foreign exchange market, there has been a significant increase in the pump price of petroleum products and a steep decline in the value of the naira, thus increasing the hardship experienced by Nigerians.
Ugorji said rising inflation has made it difficult for average Nigerian to access basic commodities, including food items and medication.
“The reform agenda of the present government has added to the plight of Nigerians.
“With the withdrawal of fuel subsidy and the unification of the foreign exchange market, there has been a sharp increase in the pump price of petroleum products and a steep decline in the value of the naira. Indeed, there is a free fall in the national currency.
“As a result of the government’s reform agenda, millions of Nigerians have been reduced to a life of grinding poverty, wanton suffering, and untold hardship as never before in our national history.
“In a bid to survive, an increasing number of the poor have resorted to begging. With more than 80m Nigerians living below the poverty line of less than two dollars a day, our country, according to the recent disclosure of the World Bank, is the world’s second-largest poor population after India.
“While many impoverished Nigerians continue to suffer and die as a result of the hardship caused by the government’s economic reforms, the president has continued to urge the populace to make even more and more sacrifices with the assurance that brighter days lay ahead,” Ugorji said.
The CBCN President noted that as the government demands additional sacrifice from the struggling masses, Nigerians are expecting to see a drastic cut in the cost of running the government at all levels.
He said, “On the contrary, it is worrisome to watch top government functionaries live by the sweat, toil, and tears of the poor. They continue to spend huge public funds on ostentatious and luxurious lifestyles and seem incapable of feeling compassion for the outcry of the poor.
“It is no less worrisome to note that corruption among many public servants has gone beyond scale and measure. Corruption is a complex reality involving moral rottenness, defilement, and loss of integrity.”
On insecurity, Ugorji said despite the huge sums of money appropriated monthly as security votes, communities have continued to experience persistent insecurity.
He said recently that there has been an upsurge in kidnapping for ransom and increasing incidents of senseless bloodshed across the nation.
“Unarmed citizens are brutally slaughtered on our highways, in their homes, and even in the sacred precincts of places of worship. Killer herdsmen, bandits, and unknown gunmen seem to be on the rampage.
“Many communities across the nation have been taken over completely by criminals. Families have lost their ancestral lands to armed invaders and land-grabbers. The social and economic lives of communities have been paralysed due to insecurity.
“Schools have been shut down, and children can no longer continue their education. Farmers are unable to access their farms out of fear of either losing their lives or being kidnapped,” he said.
African Development Bank Group announced in its latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) report that Africa will host eleven of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024.
The continent’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to average 3.8% in 2024 and 4.2% in 2025, surpassing the projected global averages of 2.9% and 3.2%, respectively.
Africa is poised to maintain its position as the second-fastest-growing region after Asia.
The 11 fastest growing economies and their projected growth rate for 2024 are;
- Niger – 11.2%
- Senegal – 8.2%
- Libya – 7.9%
- Rwanda – 7.2%
- Cote d’Ivoire – 6.8%
- Ethiopia – 6.7%
- Benin – 6.4%
- Djibouti – 6.2%
- Tanzania – 6.1%
- Togo – 6% and
- Uganda – 6%.
Niger, which has the highest GDP growth rate, is currently led by a military junta.
Speaking on the report, President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina called for more financing in the face of the positive outlook noting that 15 African countries already posted growth rate above 5%.
He stated, “Despite the challenging global and regional economic environment, 15 African countries have posted output expansions of more than 5%,”
Across the five regions in Africa, the bank projected East Africa to experience the fastest economic growth in 2024 at 5.1% followed by West Africa at 4.0%.
On the other hand, North and Central Africa are expected to grow at 3.9% and 3.5% respectively while Southern Africa will see the weakest growth at 2.2% in 2024.
- While the report cast a bright light at Africa, the continent still grapples with several risks such as inflation, currency depreciation, elevated debt levels, and political risks with the rise of coups across the Sahel.
- Inflation continues to pose a threat to Africa’s population owing to monetary policy tightening across Europe and the United States, geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle east leading to stress in supply chains of energy and agricultural products.
- By the end of 2022, around 19 African countries posted double-digit inflation rates leading to reduction in consumer spending thereby plunging vulnerable populations deep into poverty. The figure remained unchanged in 2023. The continent averaged around 17.3% inflation in 2023.
- In the previous year, many African countries experienced severe currency depreciation with commodity exporters the most vulnerable. This was primarily due to hawkish inflation targeting monetary policies in the United States.
- Political risks due to internal conflicts and coups also threaten the economic growth across the continent. Last year, the continent saw coups in Niger and Gabon. However, since 2020 putschist have struck 9 times with varying degree of success mainly across the Sahel region.
Commodity trader Olam Group said that its investigation found no evidence to support allegations of a reported scandal at its Nigerian units, spurring a surge in its Singapore-listed shares.
The audit and risk committee, assisted by external counsel and independent accountants, had completed the review, without identifying any evidence, the company said in a statement.
No charges have been brought against the subsidiaries nor any of their officers, with local businesses operating normally, it said.
The company — which is about 51% held by Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state-owned investment fund — has been under scrutiny following news reports in Nigeria that its domestic branches were involved in a multibillion dollar fraud and being probed by local authorities. The company denied the allegations in the articles in September, and ordered a review into the matter.
Olam Group shares collapsed to the lowest close since 2005 in late October following the fraud allegations, which added to setbacks facing the company including a profit slump and IPO delay. On Monday, the stock leapt as much as 15% to S$1.01.
“Olam regards Nigeria as an important part of its future strategic plan and it will continue to seek future opportunities to grow its business there,” it said.
The commodity trader is scheduled to announce full-year earnings later this month.
Some bandits in the early hours of Sunday invaded Gindin Duste Makyali of the Kufana District, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, killing at least 12 people during the attack.
Sources said in the incident which happened around 5am, no fewer than 17 houses were razed while noting that the bandits in large numbers stormed the town shooting indiscriminately.
The attack, which our correspondent gathered lasted many hours without security operatives in sight, was in the wake of another attack in two local governments of Igabi and Kauru, all in the state on Friday night.
In those attacks, bandits raided two communities of Gwada and Kassam in Igabi as well as Kauru Local Government Areas where nine people were killed, and seven injured while scores, including a retired Central Bank of Nigeria director and his wife, were abducted.
While Igabi is in the northern part of the state, Kauru is in the Southern Kaduna axis.
The breakdown showed that six persons were killed, five abducted and two injured in Kauru LGA, while three persons were killed, seven injured, and 30 others kidnapped in Igabi LGA of the state.
There was no official confirmation yet from the police but the source confided in our correspondent that the attack occurred close to a security post.
According to the source, 12 of the residents were burnt to death in their houses while nine sustained injuries.
The state governor, Uba Sani, condemned the renewed attack.
The governor who spoke through the Overseeing Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said he received the news of the latest attack with shock while directing the State Emergency Agency to urgently assist the affected communities in Kajuru and Igabi.
“Sani who has been leading meetings with security forces, condemned the attacks in strong terms and prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased. He also directed the State Emergency Management Agency to, as a matter of urgency, assist the affected communities in Kajuru and Igabi LGAs following the razing of some of their houses and valuables.
“The governor further reiterated the government’s dedication and commitment in tackling the security challenges experienced across the state,” he added.
Armed bandits have attacked the divisional headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Zurmi town, the headquarters of the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State
The bandits were said to have invaded the town Sunday evening, killing seven persons including a police officer.
An indigene of the town, Babangida Zurmi, told Channels Television that he was yet to speak with any of his relatives as of 9:45pm because most of their numbers were switched off.
“As we speak now, I can’t get in touch with anybody in the town, their numbers are switched off. That means the bandits are still around. We need help from relevant authorities,” he said.
Another source who spoke with our correspondent said the bandits attacked the town with a mission to revenge the killing of two persons by local vigilante in the area.
He said several shops were burnt and the divisional headquarters of the police in Zurmi was also razed.
Another bandit group operating in the Maradun Local Government Area had killed four persons and abducted several others.
According to sources, the four persons were killed when bandits opened fire on the people clearing bushes along the road.
Spokesperson for the police in Zamfara State, Yazid Abubakar, confirmed the attack.
He said he was still gathering more information on the Zurmi attack on the Divisional headquarters of the police in the town.