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Representatives of two indigenous groups have filed a class action suit in New York against Germany seeking reparations for an alleged genocide of their people by German colonial rulers over a century ago in what is now Namibia.

The suit filed by the Ovaherero and Nama people on Thursday in New York also demands that their representatives be included in negotiations between Germany and Namibia on the issue.
The two countries have been in talks about a joint declaration on the 1904-05 massacres, although Germany has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that a genocide occurred or to pay reparations.
The plaintiffs said they were bringing the class action suit “on behalf of all Ovaherero and Nama worldwide, seeking reparations and compensation for the genocide” suffered at the hands of the German colonial authorities.
They said they were also seeking a declaration of their right “to be included in any negotiation between Germany and Namibia” and that no settlements can be reached unless they are among the signatories.
Tensions 
The dispute harkens back to a period in the late 19th and early 20th century when South West Africa, now known as Namibia, was a German colony.
The suit alleges that from 1885 to 1903 about a quarter of Ovaherero and Nama lands – thousands of square miles – was taken without compensation by German settlers with the explicit consent of German colonial authorities.
It also claims that German colonial authorities turned a blind eye to rapes by colonists of Ovaherero and Nama women and girls, and the use of forced labor.
Tensions boiled over in early 1904 when the Ovaherero rose up, followed by the Nama, in an insurrection crushed by German imperial troops.
The suit alleges that as many 100 000 Ovaherero and Nama people died in a campaign of annihilation led by German General Lothar von Trotha.
The plaintiffs include Vekuii Rukoro, identified as the paramount chief of the Ovaherero people, David Frederick, chief and chairman of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, and the non-profit Association of the Ovaherero Genocide in the USA, Inc.
AFP

Olinda Chapel was live on Facebook on Thursday afternoon threatening to commit suicide after her husband, Stunner, a popular Zimbabwean rapper cheated on her with young girls.

Desmond Chideme, popularly known as Stunner, Olinda officially got married Olinda married on Sunday, 3 April 2016.
Olinda, who claims she is responsible for all that the rapper is today, says Stunner, who could not even afford to pay his rent, has been cheating on him with girls as young as 19.
She said she even went for cosmetic surgery to lose weight about 3 or 4 weeks ago and almost lost her life, after facing mockery over her weight.
Olinda took to Facebook to pour out her mind in a live on the social media network.
Crying on Facebook, she said: “I have got an audience and I want you to call anybody and everybody that you want on this platform. And people gona say whatever they wan.”
“Munhu anonzi Desmond Chideme is as ass kusvika kwekupedzesera. And I don’t care how this video is going to destroy my life But how can I, ndinoshanda I work 24/7 and I do not steal. For a man taking my stuff giving giving it kuvana vadiki.
“Right now I am fuming, I am angry. I am disappointed in this man. The whole world told me kuti siyana nemurume uyu. The whole world came to me kuti he is an ass. But I stood by him but stood.
“I gave him everything from the beginning to the end. The shit I get from his is that anotora zvinhu zvangu achinopa vamwe vanhu. He takes all the staff, anotora zvinhu zvangu and give it to any other people.
“Hutsinye hwakaita sei ihwowho. Everyone know how hard his And I lifted that man up and get what in return.
“This is my house in Zimbabwe, this is my house in Zimbabwe. He brings his little girlfriends in to the house, imba yandinobhadhara only for me to find out.
“A whole year people told me. From day one ndichiudza kuti Desmond Chideme Siyana naye but I never listened to anybody.
“I stood by that man. I protected him. I did every single thing for him. I dint from my own hard work. People that know me know me. And I get this nonsense in return.
“This man never had a headboard, this is me buying a US$3 000 kuti tirare on a comfortable place and ma girlfriends ake leave these dirty (phone cover) Magirfired achisiya
“Todays is the day I am going to let all my dirty laundry hang. Ndikuzviburitsa zvese. Within a month, munhu anga adhumirisa a US$ 40 000 car I paid for his birthday. I couldn’t say it because the day I bought it was the day my mother died. I paid for the Lexus and that is a limited edition that he was driving. I paid for the Mercedes he is driving right now, thinking that I was building my husband.
“These girls see all this and don’t realize it’s me maGiuseppe ese aanenge akapfeka is me, maValentino ese aanopfeka is me, from the Versace and guccis, the jacket he was wearing at the Hip-hop awards he was voted as best dressed, I’m the one who picked it and what do I get in return? Kuhurirwa shuwa with 19 and 20 year olds? This is not a joke. This is the last thing far from being a joke. Munhu wese told me that he was an ass, kuti akazoita so. But I supported this man.
“I am not here to hurt. This guys is out there as if life yake. Anga asina kana sofa kana chii and he does that
“I threw that album launch for him, I flew in Sir Ford, I paid for drinks to everything. I paid for everything ku Pablos ku launch. But for him to hurt me like this, what for. And my life being riddled on internet because of him. Being told she is fat, she is this and what note. What for.
“I know you are saying fight your battles in the prayer room. All these people who you are sharing the problem. I want to hurt this guys .Pretending like life is all good and on top of the world, when it was me
“This guy couldn’t even afford to pay rent. Anga asina kana sofa kana chinhu and I thought I was building this man. Blaming me
“Ndinawo ma recordings I can’t date this fat girl, and my life was being riddle on the internet that she fastest girl in the club. Nhasi I am the fattest girl in the club
“I went for cosmetics surgery a three to four weeks trying to do it for him, trying to make this man happy. I almost died. You guys don’t feel my pain, hamuzive kurwadziwa kwangu. You guys are clues.
“You are far and beyond from what I have gone through. And he does shit on me life and blaming me to make matters worse.
“I am good woman, I am good woman. I am a good woman Nyika yese yakandiudza. Munhu wese akandiudza ikati Stunner wako uyu. Vanhu vakandiudza kuti Desmond wako uyu. Vakandiudza kuti Desmond. I did nothing but support this man. I did nothing but to support this guy. I did nothing kubvira day one
“From the Audi he was driving, Kupinda mu Lexus kupinda, to the Mercese Benz yaanofamba nayo right now. Hembe , bhutsu this guy has everything, I did everything for him.
“I have been paying school fees for this man for over a year. I treated his girl r as if I was taking care of my own kids. Then this guy treats me like I am nothing. And treats me like I am shit, like hameno.

“My own family went against me. Some of them don’t even speak to me because of this man. Vachindiudza kuti siyana naye. Ndikati no you guys siyanai nye makatadza kumunzwisisa. Only for me to get this, this cheating and lying and this what note.
“This man wants to destroy my life. Muudze kuti hanzi na Olinda that you have destroyed me to the last. And it’s going to end here today and I am tired of this man and I am really tired of him. ..I am tired (crying).
“This is not about being a celebrity or anything. This is real life. This is real life. You think its attentions seeking. Have you ever have done nothing but to support.
The whole world was telling me to stay away from him, the whole world.
… stay away, ibvai chingondisiyai ndife.”

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who has refused to step down after losing last month’s election, has started to hire mercenaries, Buzzfeed reports.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to oust Mr Jammeh by force if he does not step down when his mandate ends on 18 January.

It was unclear if Mr Jammeh was gathering mercenaries in order to cling on to power or to prevent any attempt to prosecute him for abuses carried out during his long reign, Buzzfeed said.

The report quotes an unnamed Ivory Coast intelligence officer as saying there was a big recruitment of former militants from Ivory Coast and mercenaries from Liberia.

It added that the effort was led by a former Liberian general and one-time Taylor loyalist who has recruited ex-fighters for other conflicts in West Africa and personally met with Jammeh in Gambia in mid-December.

“There’s a vast recruitment of ex-Ivorian militants and Liberian mercenaries underway, headed by former officers of Charles Taylor,” a senior intelligence officer in Ivory Coast told BuzzFeed News by phone.

“These recruitments are taking place in southwestern Ivory Coast, around San Pedro, Grabo, Tai, and Toulepelu.”

“There’s between 300 to 400 people who have signed up for a fee ranging between $100 to $300 a day,” added the intelligence officer, who said Ivorian officials were “working out how to stop them.”

Gambia’s Information Minister Sherrif Bojang did not respond to BuzzFeed requests seeking comment by Thursday.

The presidency has issued a statement on an incident involving an accidental discharge.

According to the reports received so far, the security official involved in this incident is not attached to the State House. Rather, he came on invitation as a witness in an ongoing investigation and was required, as is the rule, to surrender his weapon at the gates before entry.

Investigation revealed that the operative conducted the normal safety precaution as professionally required when the pistol accidentally fired.

The lady by his side, a caterer was hit by a pellet of the bullet. Both of them were attended to at the clinic and discharged.
GARBA SHEHU
SSAP (Media and Publicity)
Abuja.

The Nigerian Army has rescued another one of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped on April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram terrorists.

Rakiya Abubakar and her baby were rescued by troops of 27 Brigade around Alagarno area near Ajigin in Damboa LGA.

The spokesperson for the army, Sani Usman, made the announcement on his Facebook Page Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Sani, a brigadier general, promised to provide details of the development later.

Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped by the insurgents from a government boarding school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014.

In May, one of the girls escaped. In October, the government negotiated the release of 21 more. Another girl was freed in November in an attack on an extremist camp in the Sambisa Forest.

Contrary to viral reports, Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow is alive, sources from The Gambia have confirmed.

CBN Television reported that the assailants overpowered the security guards of Mr. Barrow, leaving two of the guards dead and other six injured from gunshots.

Reacting to the report, popular Gambian journalist Fatu Camara wrote: “BREAKING: We are getting reports that due to threats on the lives of coalition members, many of them are currently evacuated to safe houses..
Meanwhile, contrary to fake news going around that President Elect Barrow and two security guards were assassinated, we can confirm to you that Barrow is fine as we speak. Stay tuned!,” she posted on Facebook.

Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh had accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country, when he was asked to step down for a democratically elected president.

Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1, 2016 election to rival Adama Barrow.
He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.
The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him.

Nigeria will do everything possible to help The Gambia have a peaceful resolution to its political crisis, Foreign Affairs Minister Geofrey Onyeama says.

Onyeama told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that Gambian President Yahya Jammeh would listen to the voice of his people to resolve the political impasse in his country.

Gambian leader had accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country, when he was asked to step down for a democratically elected president.

Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1, 2016 election to rival Adama Barrow.

He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.

The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him.

Onyeama, in spite of The Gambian leader’s stance, expressed the belief that Jammeh would honour the call of the ECOWAS leaders to bow out of office at the end of his mandate on Jan. 19.

“We would like to believe that he would listen to the voice of his peers in the
sub-region ECOWAS.

“And that he will also listen to the voice of his people, but above all he will follow the democratic path. So we will do everything possible to bring that about.
“Essentially, we want a peaceful resolution to the issue’’ and explained that conflict could draw back development in country.

“So we would do everything possible to help Gambia have a peaceful resolution to this political crisis,” the minister said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is heading a mediation committee on The Gambia political impasse, had led other West African leaders to meet with Jammeh and Barrow on the issue.

Other leaders in the ECOWAS delegation were Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana.

The leaders appealed to Jammeh to leave office and also reportedly sought a ‘honourable exit’ for him.

The exit would ensure that he is not tried for various human rights crimes he is alleged to have committed while in office. Despite the visit, Jammeh remained defiant.

Marcel de Souza, the ECOWAS Commission President, said last week that the body had put standby forces on alert.

In his speech on New Year Day, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of December 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible.”

“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.

“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression,” he said.

Gambia’s army chief reaffirmed his loyalty to embattled President Yahya Jammeh on Wednesday in the face of a possible regional military intervention to enforce the result of an election that dealt the longtime leader a surprise defeat.

Mr Jammeh initially accepted his defeat in the December 1 election but a week later reversed his position, vowing to hang onto power despite a wave of regional and international condemnation.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS has placed standby forces on alert in case Mr Jammeh attempts to stay in power after his mandate ends on January 19. Mr Jammeh has called the bloc’s stance “a declaration of war”.

“May I please seize this opportunity to renew to your Excellency the assurance of the unflinching loyalty and support of the Gambia Armed Forces,” General Ousman Badjie wrote in a letter to Mr Jammeh published in a pro-government newspaper.

Many Gambians, who have lived through 22 years of Mr Jammeh’s increasingly authoritarian rule, were stunned when the elections commission declared opposition figure Adama Barrow the winner of last month’s election. Mr Jammeh’s initial acceptance of the result sparked nationwide celebrations.

Mr Badjie declared his allegiance to Mr Barrow soon after the poll results were announced, according to a spokesman for the president-elect. However his position remained unclear following Mr Jammeh’s dramatic about-face.

In an illustration of the growing pressure on Gambian officials as the January 19 deadline looms, Alieu Momarr Njai, the head of the elections commission, fled Gambia on Friday due to fears for his security, family members said.

Last month Gambian security forces seized control of the commission’s headquarters, which holds the original poll records and told staff, including Mr Njai, to leave.

Over the weekend Gambian security agents closed three private radio stations, making it harder for the incoming government to communicate with its supporters.

“It is a sign of weakness for any side of the political spectrum to resort to media closures rather than engagement to put one’s position across,” Mr Barrow’s office said on Wednesday in a statement that also called for the release of detainees.

Leaders of ECOWAS member nations have dismissed Mr Jammeh’s move to challenge his election defeat before Gambia’s Supreme Court on January 10 and say they will attend Mr Barrow’s swearing-in this month.

Reuters

34-year-old Ilhan Omar has made history by becoming the first Somali-American to be sworn in as a lawmaker in the US.

Ms Omar, a Somali-born former refugee, was elected to serve in Minnesota’s state house of representatives in tightly contested elections last year.
The election of Ms Omar, who is Muslim, came just days after US President-elect Donald Trump accused Somali immigrants in Minnesota of “spreading their extremist views”.
Omar was the youngest of seven siblings, and grew up in an upper middle class household. Ilhan’s father, Nur Omar Mohamed, is Somali, and worked as a teacher trainer. Her mother was Yemeni, and died when she was a child. She was thereafter raised by her dad and grandfather. Ilhan’s granddad, Abukar, was the director of Somalia’s National Marine Transport, with her uncles and aunts also working as civil servants and educators. After the start of the civil war in 1991, she and her family left the country and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya.

Ilhan Omar takes the Oath of Office on a special Koran in a ceremony at the Minnesota State Capitol Building (K. Farabaugh/VOA)

A Nigerian drug peddler, John Okoro, 35, who was a few hours from being deported, made a daring escape from the Anti-Narcotics Cell’s custody in Azad Maidan, India, early on Monday.

According to Mumbai Mirror, Okoro escaped around 2 a.m. when he told officials that he wanted to use the toilet, and then jumped from the first floor of the agency’s Azad Maidan office where he was being held.

He crashed through the asbestos roof and fled on foot.

The building John Okoro escaped from. Photo credit: Mumbai mirror

He crashed through the asbestos roof. Photo: Mumbai mirror

The report stated that the constable guarding him also jumped down with him in a bid to recapture him but got injured in the process. He is recovering at the Nagpada Police hospital.

“Around 2AM, Okoro told the constable on guard that he wanted to visit the washroom. He was being taken there when he jumped from the balcony. He landed on the asbestos roof, which immediately gave away,” a police officer said. “He ran in the directions of Mahapalika Marg.”

Okoro was convicted of selling banned substances in 2014 and recently completed his jail term. He was placed under the ANC’s custody on December 31 2016 to be deported on January 2.

A police officer said a manhunt had been launched and the Anti-Narcotics Cell had asked informants to be on the lookout. Okoro was wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and slippers.

Fresh charges stemming from his daring escape have been registered at the Azad Maidan police again.

Credit: Mumbai Mirror

A 37-year-old man, Victor Ojiakor, allegedly stabbed and brutalized his wife, a student, with a broken bottle in her private part on Christmas Day, and prevented her from getting medical attention for 2 days.

Ojiakor, who sells automobile parts and resides at 22, Arike John Close, White Sand, Isheri-Osun in Lagos State, had reportedly stabbed for having a sexual relationship with his sales representative.

He is on reprieve as an Ejigbo Magistrates’ Court has granted him bail in the sum of N250,000.
Magistrate Akeem Fashola, who gave the ruling, also granted the accused two sureties in like sum.
He said the sureties should be working in reputable organisations and also possess three years tax clearance as well as the State’s residents identity card.
The case had been taken up by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT).
The victim, Mrs Ifeoma Okeke Ojiakor, 27, was held hostage by her husband for two days, depriving her of calling any of her family members for help or for receiving medical attention.
Below is the story and pictures of Ifeoma Okeke Ojiakor posted on her Facebook page:
“Saddest Christmas ever!!!
Lying down in pains on my hospital bed I’m writing this with tears flowing my eyes. I could remember on d 24th night I made a post on facebook sending out special greetings to everyone with d hope of having a merry Christmas with family,friends, and loved ones.My husband by name Mr Victor ojiakor was always fond of hitting me at any slightest provocation and this issue has been resolved at so many police stations..whenever I report d beating escapades they wud settle us at the police station and he wud be asked to sign undertaking never to hit me anymore.He has even hit me at his village in d presence of his mother and father then reason being that he accused me of having an affair with his brother..His parents settled it after which he promised never to hit me again we reconciled mostly because of the kids ..after we returned back to lagos he hit me again while I was pregnant for our third child that I began to bleed.i was rushed to the hospital by neighbours before my mum was called to d hospital …the case was reported at the ministry of women affairs at alausa ikeja where he was invited and there promised never to repeat such again…now the height of this happened on d 25th of December he came back home at about 6.30pm and started accusing me of sleeping with his boy (a 16yr old boy…can you imagine?)he didn’t even wait for me to say a word he pounced on me and started beating me up with sticks,machete, bottle,e.t.c he said he was going to kill me and nothing would happen ..he also stabbed the said boy with a machete don’t knw d boy’s where about now…after beating me up for a sin I didn’t commit he locked me up and held me hostage seizing my phone for 2 days. .nobody knw wat was happening to me I collapsed honestly I taught I would never survive this..I just kept pleading with him each passing day to pls tk me to the hospital before I die he refused telling me that he wanted to render me useless I jst kept crying until I told him to tk me to a pastor that was when he pushed me into his car n drove me to a place it was there that I pleaded with d prophetess to help me ..the prophetess on seeing my condition then adviced him to take me to d hospital for immediate treatment that was how I was taken to d hospital on getting there I pleaded with d doctor to use her phone to call my sister who in turn informed my mum and they started rushing to the hospital. .at d hospital immediately he sensed that I might have reached my family he started dragging me,removed d drip from my hand I was crying out for help immediately my mum entered d hospital he ran away ..at the moment I am in my mums place with my 3 kids. ..2 boys and a 3months old baby girl…d matter was charged to court and he was granted bail of 250,000naira…why I am left to wallow in pains for no offense I committed all because I married a heartless man and was enduring all these because of my kids and the society who kept telling me to forgive that he is my husband and he would change ….look at my life now!how I wish I left this marriage since!Happy new year everyone!”

The suspected assailant is facing a six-count charge bordering on grievous harm, threat to life and assault.
No date has been fixed for the trial of the case.

The Chairman of the Gambian Electoral Commission has fled the country following threats to his life, his nephew said on Tuesday.

Alieu Momar Njai had declared Adama Barrow the winner of the Dec. 1 presidential election, but President Yahya Jammeh has refused to relinquish power, challenging the election results in court.
Modou Njai told newsmen that his uncle had left the country because of the threats.
“He was not willing to leave but the family had to put pressure on him.
“I understand that he is currently outside Gambia,’’ he said.
Security forces had earlier occupied the office of the electoral commission and denied staff access for weeks, but have since left the premises.
Barrow said on Monday that he would take power on Jan. 19 as mandated by the constitution, in spite of Jammeh’s court challenge.
After over two decades in power, Jammeh, 51, lost the election to Barrow, a former real estate agent who was little known even in Gambia before he announced his candidacy. (dpa/NAN)

A senior Egyptian judge hanged himself in custody on Monday a day after his arrest in connection with an investigation into a corruption case, his lawyer said.

Wael Shalabi, secretary general of the council of state, an administrative court, was taken in for questioning on Sunday, his lawyer Sayed el-Beheiry told AFP.

After questioning him, prosecutors ordered that he be detained for four days pending further investigation, he said.

Shalabi’s arrest came days after the Administrative Control Authority responsible for tracking corruption in state institutions arrested the council of state’s chief procurement officer, Gamal el-Labban.

The public prosecutor’s office issued a gag order on publishing details of the case shortly after news broke about Shalabi’s death.

“He faced a lot of pressure” during interrogation on Sunday when he “denied accusations that were directed at him”, Beheiry said.

“He went to the bathroom, attached his scarf to the water-heater and hung himself.

“This is negligence on their part because he was subject to psychological pressure,” the lawyer added.

An autopsy showed that Shalabi had committed suicide, and an investigation has begun, Beheiry said.

After Labban was arrested, Shalabi submitted his resignation to the council of state, and this was accepted on Saturday.

Prosecutors had also ordered Labban’s detention for four days pending an investigation.

It is rare for Egypt to investigate alleged corruption inside its judicial institutions.

Watchdog Transparency International ranks Egypt as 88th out of 168 countries on its corruption perceptions index.

AFP

Tanzanian President John Magufuli sacked the head of the state-run electricity company on Sunday after the firm put up tariffs, a move the president said would stymie his plans to industrialize the country.

Tanzania’s energy regulator on Thursday approved a power tariff hike of 8.53 per cent by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), less than half of what the utility said it needed to stem losses.
President Magufuli’s office announced the sacking of TANESCO’s Managing Director Felchesmi Mramba in a statement.
Hours before the announcement of Mramba’s dismissal the president rescinded the price increase.
“It’s unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity…someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs,” Magufuli said.
About 40 per cent of Tanzania’s population of around 50 million has access to electricity and the government is aiming to push that rate up to 75 per cent by 2025.
Since coming into office a year ago, Magufuli has sacked dozens of public officials as part of an anti-corruption campaign and a new drive to root out government inefficiency.
He appointed a lecturer at the state-run University of Dar es Salaam, Tito Esau Mwinuka, as acting managing director of TANESCO.
The power firm had initially sought an 18.19 per cent tariff increase to snap a loss-making trend and clear debts to independent power producers and fuel suppliers.
The tariff hike, which would have taken effect from Jan. 1, was approved by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA).
Loss-making TANESCO has warned that its “financial capacity will be paralysed” if the power tariff hike is not implemented.
TANESCO has been unsuccessfully seeking loans from the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and commercial lenders to turn the company round.
Despite reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, Tanzania has been facing chronic power shortages over the past decade due its reliance on drought-prone hydro-power dams. (Reuters/NAN)

Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh, has accused West African regional body, ECOWAS, of declaring war against his country for refusal to step down at the end of  his mandate this month.

Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power despite losing a Dec. 1 election to rival Adama Barrow.

He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression, in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.

The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him. His mandate runs out on Jan. 19.

Marcel de Souza, commission president for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said last week that the body had put standby forces on alert.

In his speech, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of Dec 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible”.

He apparently acknowledged again that the poll did not go in his favour.

“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.

“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression.

“My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians,” he said.

Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was initially seen as a moment of hope on a continent where autocratic leaders are becoming more entrenched.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped in as an ECOWAS mediator to offer Jammeh an “honorable exit”, but Jammeh said the bloc could no longer fulfill that role. (Reuters/NAN)

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has activated a process of ensuring orderly transition of power in The Gambia in discharge of his mandate as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator in the political impasse in the country.

President Yahya Jammeh who had earlier conceded defeat in the country’s presidential election after a 22-year rule later rejected the result, asking for fresh polls to be conducted.
A statement on Saturday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, indicated that Buhari has directed his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to lead a Mediation Support Team (MST) which will work with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama.
The statement reads: “One of the outcomes of the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held on December 17, 2016 in Abuja was the decision to designate President Muhammadu Buhari as the Mediator for The Gambia with John Mahama, the out- going President of Ghana as Co-Mediator.”
“The Summit also gave the terms of reference to include ensuring the safety of the President-Elect, Adama Barrow, the political leaders and the entire population; upholding the result of the Presidential election held on December 1, 2016 and ensuring that the President-elect is sworn into office on January 19, 2017, in conformity with the constitution of the country.”
“On the direction of the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, is leading a Mediation Support Team (MST), working with the team of the Co-Mediator, President Mahama.”
“The committee has begun immediate consultations with leaders in the sub-region as well as with international partners.”
“The main task of the Mediation Support Team is to undertake the first phase of the preparatory and support work that would lead to a high level meeting of the Mediator (President Buhari) and the stakeholders.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari remains optimistic that a peaceful resolution of the problem, in line with the laws and the constitution of The Gambia is possible before the January 19, 2017 inauguration date of the new President,” the statement said.

The Nigerian Army on Friday night in Abuja hosted President Muhammadu Buhari to Guards Brigade Regimental Dinner and presented to him the captured Boko Haram flag and Quran.

They were handed over to the president by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Lucky Irabor.

Troops operating in the North East had ‎‎successfully captured ‎the‎ “Camp Zero”, ‎the strongest enclave of Boko Haram terrorists sect, in the Sambisa Forest.‎ ‎ Mr. Irabor, a Maj. -Gen., had disclosed that ‎about 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists were arrested during a mop-up operation by troops inside the Sambisa forest.

While receiving the flag, President Buhari challenged the armed forces to continue to ensure the survival of Nigeria as a geo-political entity despite what he described as “political madness” being exhibited in some parts of the country.

According to him, the army is duty-bound to ensure the sustenance of peaceful co-existence among the over 250 ethnic groups across the country.

US President-elect Donald Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his decision to delay his response to President Obama’s sanctions.

“Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.

The post is Trump’s latest comment talking up Putin while refusing to accept the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia supported the hackers who stole private emails from Trump’s political foes and leaked them throughout the presidential campaign.

Putin on Friday ruled out any tit-for-tat expulsion of Americans after Washington turfed out dozens of Russian diplomats over alleged interference in the US presidential election.

The Kremlin strongman’s decision came despite the foreign ministry asking him to send home 35 US diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of the same number of its staff by President Barack Obama on Thursday.

“We will not create problems for American diplomats. We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement, also inviting children of US diplomats to a holiday party at the Kremlin.

Putin’s move confirmed that Moscow is pinning its hopes on President-elect Donald Trump to help rebuild ties — which have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War — when he takes office next month.

“We evaluate the new unfriendly steps by the outgoing US administration as a provocation aimed at further undermining Russian-American relations,” Putin said.

He said Moscow would plan its next steps “based on the policies pursued by the administration of president Donald Trump” while warning that the Kremlin reserves the right to respond.

Putin ended his message by wishing Obama and Trump a Happy New Year and separately congratulated the incoming US president in his New Year’s message to heads of state around the world.

A State Department official said: “We have seen President Putin’s remarks. We have nothing further to add.”

– ‘Grizzly Steppe’ –

Obama on Thursday unleashed a barrage of sanctions against Russia over alleged cyberattacks aimed at tilting the election in Trump’s favour.

The move came after years of bad blood with Putin that has seen Washington slap sanctions on Moscow over its interference in Ukraine and Syria.

In response to the alleged hacks, dubbed “Grizzly Steppe” by US officials, Obama announced penalties against Russia’s military and domestic intelligence agencies, and gave the 35 suspected “intelligence operatives” 72 hours to leave.

The Kremlin said it is sending a special plane to fly diplomats and their families from the United States, following reports they are not able to purchase plane tickets at such short notice.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian news agencies that 96 people would be leaving the US, but she declined to give details on their flight.

US intelligence has concluded that the Kremlin ordered a hack-and-release of Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign staff emails in a bid to put Republican real estate mogul Trump in the Oval Office.

Obama’s moves put him at odds with his successor, who has expressed admiration for Putin as well as a desire to improve ties with Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the hacking allegations and Trump too has questioned whether Russia tipped the electoral scale, painting Obama’s accusations as a thinly veiled effort by a Democratic president to cover up for his party’s loss.

Trump said that while he believes the US should “move on to bigger and better things,” he would meet intelligence leaders next week for a briefing on the situation.

Obama — who has also clashed with Trump over his Israel policy in recent days — pointedly stated that “all Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions”.

Obama also linked the fresh sanctions to harassment of US diplomats in Moscow, which Washington described as “unprecedented” in the post-Cold War era.

US officials, meanwhile, played down the impact sanctions against the GRU and the FSB could have on intelligence-sharing on issues like counterterrorism, saying cooperation was already limited.

Both agencies will face penalties, along with GRU agency chief Igor Korobov and three of his deputies.

In addition, the US Treasury hit two individuals, Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan, with sanctions for “involvement in malicious cyber-enabled activities”.

The sanctions freeze any assets they may have in the United States and block US companies from doing business with them.

The US government is also declassifying technical information on Russian cyber activity to help companies defend against future attacks.

Obama also urged the US and its allies “to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine” international norms and resist attempts to “interfere with democratic governance.”

The remarks reflected concerns that Russia could target elections next year in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

AFP contributed to this story

Putin and Obama. Photo credit: Getty

President Barack Obama took unprecedented steps Thursday to retaliate against alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, prompting vows from Russian authorities that Moscow will respond in kind.

The administration described Russia’s involvement as “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities” and sanctioned four Russian individuals and five Russian entities for what it said was election interference. The administration also ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and two Russian compounds are being closed.

This is the first time the names of Russian officials involved in the hacking have become public on the sanctions list.

“Russia’s cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government,” a White House statement said. “These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

According to statements from the White House and the Treasury Department, the government has sanctioned nine entities and individuals over their alleged interference in the election: the GRU and the FSB, which are two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s operations.

The US also separately sanctioned two Russian individuals, Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and Alexey Belan, for using cyber-enabled means to allegedly cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information. They’ve long been sought by the FBI.

Obama also said in the statement announcing that the diplomats have been ordered to leave the country and that those individuals and their families were given 72 hours to leave the United States.

“These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests in violation of established international norms of behavior,” Obama said in the statement.

President-elect Donald Trump — who has publicly expressed skepticism that Russia meddled in the election — said Thursday it’s time for the US to “move on” regarding the hacking. But he added that he would meet with intelligence officials next week to be briefed on the matter.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump said in a statement. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”

A senior Obama administration official acknowledged to reporters Thursday that Trump could reverse the sanctions by executive order, but added, “I don’t think it’d make a lot of sense.”

The Russian diplomats and the two compounds, located in Maryland and New York, were engaged in intelligence activities but were not alleged to have been involved in the hacking related to the election, White House Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco told reporters. The moves are instead part of the US’s comprehensive reaction to election-related hacking as well as recent harassment of US personnel in Russia.

“What these individuals were doing were basically collecting intelligence. They were intelligence officers operating here and using these compounds, one in New York, one in Maryland, for intelligence collection purposes,” Monaco told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” Thursday. “And what we are saying today is, in response to and in order to impose consequences for the Russian government’s increasing harassment and aggression toward our personnel in Moscow, and, of course, their malicious cyberactivities, interfering and an effort to interfere in our election process, we are imposing consequences.”

Russia’s reaction

Russia swiftly responded to the actions Thursday. Russia will respond to any “hostile steps” that the US may take in response to allegations of hacking during the 2016 election, according to the official representative for the ministry.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said similar steps will be taken in response to the expulsions, though she did not immediately provide further details. Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters there is “no alternative to reciprocal measures,” adding that Putin is “in no rush to make a decision.”

Russia’s first visible action came later Thursday, when Russian authorities ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, a US official briefed on the matter said. The order from the Russian government closes the school, which serves children of US, British and Canadian embassy personnel, to US and foreign nationals.

The order also closes access to the US embassy vacation house in Serebryany Bor, near Moscow.

Soon after the administration’s announcement, Russia’s embassy in the UK tweeted that Obama’s actions were “Cold War deja vu” and described the administration as “hapless.”

CNN

The Nigerian Army has reacted to the newly released video by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in which it debunked Nigerian government’s claims that the terror group has been crushed and flushed out of its Sambisa forest stronghold.

“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said in the video, flanked by armed fighters.
“You should not be telling lies to the people,” he said, referring to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who said on Christmas Eve that the extremist group had been defeated and driven away from the forest, its last known bastion.
In its reaction, the army reiterated that it has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest.
Below is the full statement:
PURPORTED BOKO HARAM VIDEO MERE PROPAGANDA
The attention of the Nigerian Army is drawn to a video clip released by Boko Haram Terrorist group from an undisclosed location a while ago, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.
While effort is on going to subject the video for further forensic analysis, the Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest.
We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.
Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.
Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the north east have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.
Consequently, the public are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious.
They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.
Thank you for your kind cooperation.
Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman
Acting Director Army Public Relations