Daily Archives: April 14, 2015
More than 50 of the girls abducted by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria last year were seen alive as recently as three weeks ago, a Nigerian woman has told the BBC.
The woman—who did not want to be identified out of fear for her safety—told the BBC she saw the girls in northeastern Gwoza before government forces drove Boko Haram Islamic extremists out of the town.
Boko Haram sparked global outrage after seizing at least 276 girls from Chibok town in Nigeria last April. Dozens were able to escape but at least 219 remain missing. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls have been converted to Islam and married off. Relatives of the girls feared the militants had used them as bartering goods and sex-slaves.
Shekau has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), which is known for carrying out abductions in Syria and Iraq.
Despite international pleas for their return, the girls have never been traced, and little has been heard of them since they were taken from dormitories during a nighttime raid at their Chibok boarding school.
The unidentified woman who spoke to the BBC, said she lived under Boko Haram’s rule in Gwoza, and saw the girls in Islamic attire, being escorted by militants.
“They said they were Chibok girls kept in a big house,” the woman said. “We just happened to be on the same road with them,” she added.
Three other female witnesses also told the BBC they had seen the girls in Gwoza. Boko Haram was believed to have turned Gwoza into its headquarters after it captured the town in August 2014.
Nigeria’s military– backed by troops from neighboring countries– recaptured the town in March. Many of the Islamic militants were suspected to have fled to the nearby Mandara Mountains, near the border with Cameroon. But whether the girls went with them is unclear.
Another woman told the BBC she last saw some of the girls—who range in age from 16 to 18– in November at a Boko Haram camp in Bita village, also in the northeast.
“About a week after they were brought to the camp, one of us peeked through a window and asked: ‘Are you really the Chibok girls?’ and they said: ‘Yes’. We believed them and didn’t ask them again,” the woman said.
“They took Koranic lessons, cleaned their compound, cooked for themselves and they braided each other’s hair. They were treated differently – their food [was] better and water clean,” the woman added.
Nigeria’s outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan has been under fire for not doing enough to find the girls and end the six-year insurgency in the northeast. Incoming President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to “crush” the insurgents. He is expected to be inaugurated on May 29 after defeating Jonathan in last month’s presidential elections.
Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language. The terror group has killed thousands and displaced some 800,000 children, according to a UNICEF report released Monday.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai criticized Nigeria’s government and the international community and called for more action to free the Chibok schoolgirls in an open letter to the girls Monday.
“We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: we will never forget you,” Yousafzai said in the letter.
“I look forward to the day I can hug each one of you, pray with you, and celebrate your freedom with your families,” Yousafzai said.
The campaign group Bring Back Our Girls has launched a week of events in Nigeria encouraging people to remember the girls ahead of the first anniversary of their abduction on Tuesday.
The FCFA 1.2 billion project is expected to bring services closer to the people.
A press release from the Korea International Cooperation Agency, Cameroon office, KOICA, says the institution on March 27, 2015, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, MINPOSTEL for a three-year E-governance project. KOICA’s Resident Representative to Cameroon, Kim Tae Young, revealed that the MoU seeks to establish the project’s master plan.
Korea is proposing a better governance system whereby services will be available and closer to citizens in a convenient, efficient and transparent manner. The system is an application of Information and Communication Technology, ICT, for delivering government services. It also entails the exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone services between government and customers, government-to-business, government-to-government as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government framework.
The 2015-2017 Korean-funded project worth two million USD (approximately FCFA 1.2 billion) is expected to be executed in four phases, with activities comprising the establishment of an E-governance master plan and development of a new strategy for Cameroon. There will also be the establishment of a design for a priority initiative and support for the development and operation of education programmes in schools and the training of Cameroonian officials in Korea. “Given Korea’s excellence, which is globally recognized as the world’s best for the development of E-government-related projects, the transfer of knowledge and technology to Cameroon through this project will contribute highly to improve transparency and efficiency in public administration,” Kim Tae Young explained.
Cameroon will be endowed with a sustainable E-governance strategy. Over 300 Cameroonian officials from the public and para-public sectors are expected to be trained while the country is expected to grow by 30 per cent on the basis of the United Nations E-governance classification report.
Kimeng Hilton NDUKONG, with field reports. National – Société
Officials from Tombel Subdivision in Kupe-Muanenguba Division are trying to bring back the remains of William Fitzpatrick from the dense forest after his light aircraft went missing last June.
Administrative and security officials from Tombel Subdivision in Kupe-Muanenguba Division of the South West Region are still making their way out of the dense Equatorial forest near Eboko Bajo village where they went to collect the remains of a missing American pilot still stuck in the wreckage of his ill-fated small aircraft. The Cessna 172 light aircraft went missing on Sunday June 22, 2014, while on a flight from the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Nigeria, to Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via the Douala International Airport.
The officials started off from Eboko Bajo village on the 35-km, 30-hour long round trek into the dense forest on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at mid-day after travelling through Kumba and Konye in neighbouring Meme Division; a distance of over 100 km. This was informed by the inaccessible nature of the terrain from Tombel to Eboko Bajo, which is about 100 km in a straight line. Tombel is located about 150 km from Buea, the South West Regional headquarters.
The officials include the Divisional Officer for Tombel Subdivision, Ayuk Edward Takor, the Gendarmerie Company Commander for Kupe-Muanenguba, Captain Mahok, Dr Njoh of Tombel District Hospital, the Commander of the Tombel Gendarmerie Road Safety team, Lt. Akam Sylvestre and the Commander of the Tombel Gendarmerie ‘Post, ‘Adjudant Chef’ Ngoulouré Oumarou. However, because of the difficult nature of the terrain in the dense Equatorial forest on the Kupe-Muanenguba mountain range, only the gendarmes, Dr Njoh and some villagers – a team of 12 – continued to the site of the crash, reaching it at 60 am on Monday, April 13, 2015.
Talking to Cameroon Tribune on phone from deep inside the forest yesterday, April 13, 2015, Ngoulouré Oumarou explained that the wreckage was found by local hunters from Eboko Bajo village on April 9, 2015. This information was confirmed by the Member of Parliament for Tombel and Bangem, Hon. Nhon Ngujede Ngole Robert. The plane hit and broke a tree branch, with debris scattered all over, Ngoulouré explained. He added that upon receiving the news of the discovery, the local village chief sent another team back into the forest to confirm the information before reporting to the authorities.
According to ‘Adjudant Chef’ Ngoulouré, Nalovoka Oliver, Motia Ivo and third person known only as ‘Alhadji,’ made the discovery while on a hunting trip. They confirmed that the pilot of the aircraft was William Fitzpatrick, according to papers found on the spot. His insurance papers were also found in the wreckage, with his skeleton still in the cockpit. Fitzpatrick was the only one on board the plane with insignia ‘Ecogarde African Parks No. 9748N,’ Ngoulouré disclosed.
Information from the US Embassy in Cameroon shows that the pilot collected the newly-acquired plane from Dakar, Senegal, on June 19, 2014, where it had earlier been flown from America. The plane was to be used for conservation and anti-poaching surveillance activities in and around Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo Brazzaville. A US citizen and experienced pilot with more than 25 years’ experience, William Fitzpatrick joined African Parks as Odzala’s resident pilot in November 2013.