Nigeria turns to Pakistan, China for war planes, helicopters, others

Concerned about global politics surrounding procurement of sophisticated arms from western countries, Nigerian Air Force is expecting arrival of war-planes and helicopters from Pakistan and Russia to boost its fleets.

The Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, made the disclosure at a breakfast briefing with editors of online media in Abuja at the weekend.

Mr. Abubakar said: “I want to say that we have been enjoying support from other countries. (Sometimes arm procurement) is shrouded in a lot of politics. Unfortunately, I’m not a politician, so I cannot be able to say much on that. But what I can tell you is that right now as I speak to you, we are expecting the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff in Nigeria soon. Pakistan has accepted to sell ten trainer airplanes. And that is why the Pakistan Chief of Air Staff is coming for the induction ceremony which is going to take place in Kaduna.

“We are really getting support from many countries. Similarly, we have trained so many people in Pakistan, China. In the US, we have pilots that are training right now. We have other pilots that have just finished training from the United Kingdom. We have additional pilots that are training in South Africa. We have more pilots that are training in the Egyptian Air Force and so many other places including Russia…We are really getting support”, he said.

On the competence of Nigerian fighter pilots, Mr. Abubakar said “In the last 18 months, we have flown almost 3000 hours with no incident. In terms of competence I can tell you that the Nigerian Air Force pilots are amongst the most competent. Because the training curriculum is very clear. And that is why now in the Air Force you look at the wings, pilots wear wings. We have categorized the wings according to their skill levels. We also organize simulation training for our pilots, we organize evaluation visits where pilots are evaluated without any notice. We have also sent over 700 personnel of the NAF to different parts of the world to train and acquire the skills required for them to be effective.

Mr. Abubakar said the air force is currently assisting the Nigerian Army and Navy in the North and South in countering criminal activities of terrorists and militants through operational strategy, air interdictions strategy and soft-core strategy. He explained that the main objective is to create an enabling environment for the ground and surface forces, to be able to operate with little or no hindrance.

He continued: “Another sub-strategy under this is the reactivation of airplanes. We have embarked on the reactivation of airplanes and today as I speak to you we are on the thirteenth aircraft. What I mean by reactivation is that aircrafts that were not in involved in any fight before the coming of the present federal government; they were parked before but are today part of the fight.

“The thirteenth aircraft as I speak to you is being worked upon in Yola and we are hoping that before the end of this month that airplane will be flying. When you train, you must reactivate the platform to be used in flying.”

The Air Force boss also claimed there was no helicopter crash in Makurdi. Explaining the incident involving Agusta AW 101 helicopter handed over to NAF by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said: “What happened in Makurdi was not a crash. Immediately we received the aircraft from the Presidency, we took one of them to Kaduna to paint it into desert camouflage. They removed the seal of the President and painted it into a combat machine.

“When they finished the painting, they were supposed to go to Maiduguri but they needed to go to Makurdi to pick certain things before proceeding to Maiduguri. So the aircraft took off from Kaduna, landed perfectly in Makurdi. They were just taxiing to go and park when the incident happened. I don’t want to pre-empt whatever investigation that is going on.

“Those same pilots were the ones that picked the 21 Chibok girls that were moved out in the night and brought them back to Maiduguri and from Maiduguri to Abuja. So accidents happen and we are investigating to find out why it happened and we will make it public when we get the picture of what really happened.”

The Air Marshall also disclosed that the welfare of officers in the Air Force have been improved upon through provisions of accommodation, agricultural programs, housing schemes and other welfare packages. He added that people in host communities are also beneficiaries of its services through the provisions of health facilities, water boreholes, schools and skill acquisitions centres.

[Pictures]: Deadly weapons surrendered during Rivers’ amnesty.

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike announced this during the submission of the report of the Rivers State Amnesty Programme in Port Harcourt that about 22, 430 cultists accepted the amnesty while 911 assorted arms, 7661 assorted ammunition and 147 explosives were surrendered during the programme.

Governor Wike declaring the first phase of the State Amnesty Programme closed at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday

Governor Wike declaring the first phase of the State Amnesty Programme closed at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday

Governor Wike declaring the first phase of the State Amnesty Programme closed at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Governor Wike declaring the first phase of the State Amnesty Programme closed at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Arms, ammunitions and explosives recovered at the close of the Rivers State Amnesty Programme at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Arms, ammunitions and explosives recovered at the close of the Rivers State Amnesty Programme at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Niger Delta Militant Group Surrenders Weapons To Accept Amnesty.

Members of the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), a militant group in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s oil-producing hub, have surrendered some of their weapons to demonstrate their readiness to lay down arms if the Federal Government addressed their concerns.

Lieutenant Colonel Olaolu Daudu, the spokesman of the Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta, confirmed the development in a statement issued on Wednesday in Yenagoa.

Colonel Daudu revealed that the Cross River Command of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the government of Cross River were involved in working out the terms of the surrender. He disclosed that the militant group had turned in one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and an AK 47 rifle as a show of good faith towards the peace deal.

“Available information from Sector 4 in Cross River State indicates that Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) militants led by one Mr. Benjamin Ene have expressed unreserved willingness to lay down their arms. They have contacted the Department of State Service in Cross River State through the state government’s appointed rapporteur on amnesty to signify their readiness to hold talks on amnesty with the relevant authorities.

“To buttress this demonstration of goodwill, BSF turned in one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and an AK 47 rifle.”

Colonel Daudu continued: “The Department of State Service representatives and representatives of the rapporteur have since recovered the arms as talks are ongoing on modalities to surrender their remaining arms.”

The militant group’s leader, Mr. Ene, also known as Humble Lion G1, had on November 1 expressed the desire to surrender in a video message where he listed conditions for surrendering his stockpile of ammunition. The militant leader said his group was not out to vandalize national assets but for the wellbeing of his people who resided in Bakassi, a former region of Nigeria that was ceded to Cameroon.

The leader, who spoke from his camp in the creeks of southern Cross River, said that unlike other militant groups, his group had not participated in the destruction of oil installations or molestation of citizens.

Colonel Daudu said that Brigadier General Kevin Aligbe, the acting Commander of Operation Delta Safe, the joint military force deployed to the Niger Delta, had applauded the militant group’s gesture to surrender and embrace peace.

General Aligbe stated that the military has zero tolerance for militancy and related crimes in the joint operations area and urged other aggrieved groups to emulate the BSF by laying down their arms.

According to Colonel Daudu, the commander advised the other Niger Delta militants groups to embrace the reconciliatory channels open at both state and federal levels.

The military spokesman also said that troops of Sector 3, following a tipoff on Wednesday, reacted swiftly and rounded up suspected sea robbers around Kumfari community near Idama in Rivers State.  He said that one suspected sea robber was killed, two wounded and seven others arrested. He disclosed that the troops recovered one locally made pistol and machete. He said that the suspects were undergoing investigation.

Militants Kill Three Soldiers, Cart Away Weapons In Bayelsa

Suspected militants on Monday attacked the location of the newly-activated Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, in Bayelsa State, and killed three soldiers.

The incident, which reportedly occurred about 9.30am, took place at Tombi Jetty, Ogolomabiri in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.

The militants were also said to have made away with military gunboats, rifles and other ammunition, after an ambush on the operatives stationed at a checkpoint.

The checkpoint, it was learnt, is located at the community’s entrance and had been in existence since the era of militancy in the Niger Delta.

It was also learnt that heavy sounds of gunshots allegedly fired during the surprise attack unsettled the community for about 30 minutes.

The situation was said to have thrown the residents of the community into panic, as many of them who initially thought the area was under siege ran in different directions for safety.

It was further learnt that the gunmen, who stormed the area with unspecified number of speedboats, dressed in white uniform to deceive their targets of their real intentions.

Their immaculate white dresses, it was learnt, were designed to create an impression that they were members of a white garment church on a funeral procession.

A resident of Nembe, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was widespread fear in the community.

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No Evidence Boko Haram Gets Weapons From ISIS– Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday that there was no credible intelligence linking Boko Haram’s source of weaponry to the Islamic State.

Boko Haram had last year pledged edged allegiance to IS, the group based in Iraq and Syria but which has carried out terror attacks in several parts of the world.

While fielding questions from journalists at the closing of the second Regional Security Summit in Abuja, Mr. Buhari said the claim that Boko Haram was getting its arms and ammunition from IS remained unsubstantiated.

He said a major source of the group’s sophisticated weaponry was from the various military and police bases attacked at the peak of the insurgency in the affected countries.

“The type of weapons they are using, I believe were the ones taken from military bases they attacked at the peak of the insurgency especially in Nigeria,” the Nigerian leader said.

“If you recall they attacked military bases and carted away weapons, they attacked police stations and broke into their armouries, that was how they got the kind of weapons they have been using to fight.

“Frankly, up till now we don’t have firm intelligence of what IS has been able to send to Boko Haram in terms of weapons or even money.

“But the fact that they said they are affiliated to IS has made many people to believe that they were getting weapons from ISIS,” he said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Weapons, Ammunitions Recovered From Shi’ite Handed Over To Police– Army

The Headquarters of1 Division Nigerian Army has said that all the weapons and. Ammunition recovered from the Shi’ite group has been handed over to the police.

The army however said it’s attention has been drown to the publication particularly on the photograph that was displayed during the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division press briefing with members of the media in Kaduna on Wednesday 6 January 2016, and wish to correct the mistake in the captioning.

According to the army through a press statement issued by the deputy director Army Public relations, Colonel Usman Abdul, it stated that, “We wish to state categorically that all the ammunitions/weapons and other dangerous weapons displayed were recovered from armed bandits, criminals and cattle rustlers that have been terrorizing innocent civil populace within the North West Zone and not from the members of the Shiite sect as reported.

“The issue of the clash between the Nigerian Army troops and members of the Shiite sect was not the main issue of the briefing but was only mentioned to reiterate the position of the Nigerian Army on the matter. All sort of weapons recovered specifically from the Shiite sect have been handed over the Police authority few days after the incident.”

Credit: Leadership

Weapons Used In Paris Attacks Bought From German Dealer- Report

Four assault rifles used in the deadly Paris attacks were allegedly purchased from a trafficker in Germany, newspaper Bild reported Friday.

Quoting documents from the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office, the newspaper said two AK47s and two Zastava M70s were sold on November 7 by the arms dealer to a customer in Paris.

“French investigators believe that the weapons were allegedly used in the attacks in Paris,” said Bild.

The Stuttgart prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.

According to Bild, German police on November 16 arrested a 34-year-old man named Sascha W. from the southern city of Magstadt on suspicion of the illegal weapons trade.

The suspect is accused of having hawked the weapons on Darknet — a hidden network used for both licit and illicit ends — using the name “DW Guns”.

Four emails on his smartphone show that he sold “four Kalashnikovs assault rifles to an Arab in Paris”, added the newspaper.

During a raid at the suspect’s house, police also found 16 other firearms, Bild said.

Credit: Vanguard

Chad Seizes Suspected Boko Haram Weapons Cache

Chadian security forces, announced that they have seized a large weapon cache including guns, rockets and ammunition in a house in N’Djamena occupied by suspected members of the Boko Haram.

The officials said the weapons, buried under the courtyard of the house in the eastern neighbourhood of Guinebor, were destined for northern Nigeria.

One of the investigators, said on condition of anonymity, that they were part of the weapons that Baana Fanaye, Boko Haram’s logistics chief for northern Cameroon and Chad, was preparing to send to Nigeria.

He said the revelation came during an investigation after Mr. Fanaye was arrested in a raid by Chadian police in June.

State prosecutor, Alghassim Khamis, said the latest arms cache, discovered on Thursday, was found hidden in one of the houses raided on June 27.

He said Chadian authorities arrested 60 suspected militants on June 27 and dismantled their suicide attacks cells.

Mr. Khamis said two days later, five officers and six militants were killed during a raid on an arms cache.

Credit: NAN