This is a video done by a good friend of ours, Caleb Green (this is in, fact, his first time making a video):
This is a video done by a good friend of ours, Caleb Green (this is in, fact, his first time making a video):
From BR Now:
TEHRAN – Iran’s treatment of its Christian minority has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months with some harsh reports on the country’s human rights record.
Reports from the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) cite evidence of “systematic persecution and prosecution” of Protestants and Christian converts, as part of a widespread violation of international laws.
The United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, noted in September 2012 that more than 300 Christians have been arrested and detained since 2010, while at least 41 were detained for periods ranging from one month to over a year, sometimes without official charges.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February that Iran “refuted” the UN’s claim of an increase in discrimination toward religious minorities, claiming “all people of Iran regardless of their religion or ethnicity enjoy equal citizenship rights.”
However, ICHRI’s January report, “The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran,” based on interviews with 31 Iranian Christians between April 2011 and July 2012, claims that “despite the Iranian government’s assertions that it respects the rights of its recognized religious minorities, the Christian community in Iran faces systematic state persecution and discrimination.”
This view is supported by Mansour Borji, advocacy officer for the human rights initiative Article18.
“Sometimes the phrase ‘systematic persecution’ is used so loosely that it sounds like a cliché. However, in the case of Iran’s persecution of Christians, it fits the criteria,” Borji told World Watch Monitor.
“Arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, severe restrictions on worship services in Farsi language, a ban on the publication of Bibles and Christian literature in Farsi, threats and harassment of evangelical church leaders, and continued attempts to confiscate church properties – these are all pieces in the puzzle.
“In a nutshell, there is a systematic attempt to deprive churches of membership, literature, leadership training and development, communion with other Christians around the world, and the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by the international covenants that Iran is a signatory of.”
Christians in Iran
The Cost of Faith report states that Iranian Protestants face the “most severe” restrictions on religious practice and association, through “arbitrary” arrests and detentions, state execution and extrajudicial killings.
The number of Christians in Iran was recorded by the World Christian Database in 2010 as fewer than 300,000 (0.36 percent of the population). “Ethnic Christians” from predominantly Armenian (100,940) or Assyrian (74,000) descent comprised the majority of this figure, while 25 percent of Christians (fewer than 70,000) were Protestants, the bulk of which are understood to be converts from Muslim backgrounds.
It is impossible to know the precise number of Christians in Iran due to the perils of professing a Christian faith (particularly for those from Muslim backgrounds), but the figure seems likely to be significantly larger than recorded. Some Christian organizations, such as Iranian Christians International, claim the number of converts alone could be as high as 500,000.
Many Christians in Iran attend underground house churches, which have grown in popularity since 2001. ICHRI attributes this to “growing repression.”
“Theoretically, Protestants, along with Armenians and Assyrians, are among the Christians recognized in the Islamic Republic’s constitution. In practice, however, they have been persecuted and discriminated against, and have faced significantly more aggressive government restrictions and human rights abuses than ethnic Christian groups,” states The Cost of Faith.
Freedom of religion
Iran fails to comply with a number of laws set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to ICHRI, including Article 18, which obligates all countries to safeguard freedom of religion.
In a speech to mark the launch of the UK’s FCO report in April, Foreign Secretary William Hague said that all citizens have certain “unalienable rights,” which are “universal” and not an attempt to spread Western values. These rights, he said, include freedom of religion.
The report states that this freedom is “broad” and “encompasses not only the freedom to hold a belief but also the freedom to share it.”
Iran’s appreciation of this freedom comes under serious scrutiny in both reports through a number of examples of Christians in Iran who have been arrested and detained, “often without fair trial or legal representation” (FCO).
Last September’s release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who had been sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010, is hailed in the FCO report as a “rare positive outcome following sustained pressure from the international community.”
However, Alistair Burt, FCO Minister with responsibility for Iran, said the arrest “should not have taken place” and called on Iran to “respect the religious freedom of its citizens.”
Pastor Nadarkhani was re-arrested on Christmas Day, but released on January 7. In March, photographs of a man being hanged were attributed as evidence of the pastor’s death, but these were later refuted.
A number of other Iranian Christians remain in what the UK’s FCO labels “harsh conditions” in prison, including Pastor Behnam Irani, who is said to be in ill health; Farshid Fathi, who after 15 months in detention was sentenced last year to six years in prison; and Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-born American pastor who in January was jailed for eight years.
After his incarceration, Abedini’s wife Naghmeh Shariat Panahi told World Watch Monitor that she feared she wouldn’t hear her husband’s voice for the duration of his imprisonment unless the international community fought for his release.
The Cost of Faith claims the bulk of arrests of Iranian Christians are “arbitrary” and political, rather than because of any crime committed.
The most common charges, according to the report, include “propaganda against the regime,” “acting against national security,” “contact with a foreign enemy or anti-regime group” and “colluding with enemy foreigners.”
Apostasy remains “uncodified” in the Iranian constitution, which according to the The Cost of Faith creates a loophole that could lead to the legal prosecution of Christian converts.
“The Iranian constitution explicitly instructs judges to utilize Islamic legal sources where crimes and punishments are not covered by the code, leaving the door open for the continued practice of relying on jurisprudence that holds apostasy to be a capital crime,” ICHRI stated.
In his latest report in March, the UN special rapporteur called on Iran to improve its human rights record by putting a stop to “continued widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights,” including discrimination against Christians.
“Christians should not face sanctions for manifesting and practicing their faith,” Shaheed said. “Christians are reportedly being arrested and prosecuted on vaguely worded national security crimes for exercising their beliefs, and the right of Iranians to choose their faith is increasingly at risk.
“Christian interviewees consistently report being targeted by authorities for promoting their faith, participating in informal house-churches with majority convert congregations, allowing converts to join their church services and congregations, and/or converting from Islam. A majority of interviewees that identified themselves as converts reported that they were threatened with criminal charges for apostasy while in custody, and a number of others reported that they were asked to sign documents pledging to cease their church activities in order to gain release.”
Posted by Theodore Shoebat
Here is yet another video of a Pakistani Christian giving his testimony on how Rescue Christians saved him and his family:
His name is Rifaqat Masih, and he was almost killed through the violent instigation of Tehrik-i-Taliban (Pakistani Taliban); but we managed to get him and his family out of the hells of Pakistan.
We thank God for this, and we ask that you please support this cause by going to rescuechristians.org and giving what you can.
All money goes directly into helping the families who we are supporting and preserving.
From Stefan J. Bos, reporting for BosNewsLife:
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iran’s largest Persian speaking Pentecostal church was closed Monday, May 27, after one of its leaders was detained during a worship service and moved to an unknown location, Iranian Christians told BosNewsLife.
The closure of the Central Assemblies of God church (AoG) in Tehran and the earlier arrest of its Pastor Robert Asserian on May 21 come while Iran prepares for presidential elections next month.
Eight candidates were approved for the June 14 presidential poll to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because of term limits.
Islamic authorities eager to maintain their influence are wary of groups deemed dangerous to their power base, including growing Christian churches, especially at a time of elections, according to a BosNewsLife analyze based on several reports from Iranian Christians and rights groups
“These incidents appear to be an attempt to stop worship services from being conducted in Farsi, the language of the majority of Iranians,” said George O. Wood, general superintendent of the AoG in the United States. “Services are allowed in Armenian, a minority language that most Iranians do not speak or even understand.”
Wood expressed concern about the future of the AoG in Iran and the whereabouts of the pastor. “Before going to the church, authorities raided Pastor Asserian’s home where they confiscated a computer and several books. Then, they found Pastor Asserian at the church leading the prayer service, immediately arrested him, and announced the church’s imminent closure.”
He confirmed that, “At last report, the pastor’s whereabouts are unknown.”
Iranian Christians said the closure of AoG in Tehran will set a precedent for closing all Farsi-language churches in Iran. “Such a move would essentially remove all open witness of the gospel of Christ in the country,” Wood warned. No exact figures of members of the AoG were released, but mission groups have suggested there are at least 100,000 evangelical Christians across Iran, with some giving higher estimates.
Wood said he had appealed to AoG member churches to “earnestly pray for Pastor Asserian and all fellow believers in the Iranian Assemblies of God” and “request prayer that the authorities in Iran will uphold the rights of people to worship freely according to their conscience.”
Besides Pastor Asserian, other pastors are known to be detained in several prisons across Iran. One of those pastors is Behnam Irani who is held in Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj city, one of the toughest jails in the country, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the nation’s capital Tehran.
“He has been sentenced to five years in prison for his Christian activity,” explained Jason DeMars of advocacy group Present Truth Ministries, who is involved in the case.
Irani began a one-year prison term in 2011 but was later told he would also have to serve a five-year, previously suspended, sentence for “crimes against national security”.
Iranian Christians also fear a court verdict suggesting prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam, said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the ‘Church of Iran’ movement to which the pastor belongs.
“He is in a cell with 38 other people, most of whom are in prison for murder and dealing drugs,” DeMars told BosNewsLife.
“As a result of prison conditions he is suffering from intestinal inflammation that is causing a bleeding ulcer, diminished eyesight, and an herniated disc in his back.”
DeMars said the pastor “walks with a limp because of the pain. Some close to the case believe that Iran’s secret police is seeking to use these circumstances so that Pastor Behnam dies in prison.”
WHITE HOUSE PRESSURED
He urged Christians around the world not to forget the pastor and sign a petition asking the White House “to take immediate steps to put pressure on the Iranian government to secure the release of Pastor Behnam Irani.
“Most of the focus of the American church, regarding persecution, has been Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American pastor who is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran,” he said.
“I’m very thankful that so much attention has been given to him [but there are also] others in prison serving a sentence for their Christian faith.”
Iranian authorities have defended their perceived harsh policies towards especially evangelical Christians, who include many former Muslims, saying they are upholding the laws of the strict Islamic nation and its Islamic values.
Posted by Theodore Shoebat
Fiorello Provera writes (From AINA):
The recent abductions of Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and his Greek Orthodox counterpart, Paul Yazigi, reflect not only the increasing brutality of Syria’s civil war, but also the escalating crisis for Christians across the Arab world — one that could end up driving them away altogether. According to the International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of all acts of religious persecution worldwide in 2012 were directed against Christians. This surge in discrimination against Christian communities in countries where they have lived for many centuries can be explained largely by increasing Islamist militancy and the rise of political Islam in the wake of the Arab Spring. As Islamist parties have taken power in the region, a wave of intimidation and discrimination has been unleashed on Christian minority populations.
For example, on Feb. 26, at a garment market in Benghazi, Libya, members of a powerful Islamist militia rounded up dozens of Egyptian Coptic Christians — identified by crosses tattooed on their right wrists — whom they then detained, tortured and threatened with execution. Among the victims was a Coptic priest, whom the captors beat severely before shaving his head and moustache. Priests have also been assaulted in Tripoli and churches have been torched. All of this sends a clear message: non-Muslims are not safe in Libya.
While Libya has no significant religious minority, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians live and work in the country, where Christian proselytizing is illegal — and where one can be accused of proselytizing simply for possessing a Bible. But Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government does not seem particularly eager to protect its Christian citizens in Libya; it offered only a halfhearted call for the release of its detained citizens.
This reflects the similarly deteriorating situation for Christians in Egypt, where they account for roughly 15 percent of the population. In early April, a funeral at St. Mark’s Cathedral (the seat of the Coptic Church in Cairo) for four Christians killed in sectarian rioting days earlier descended into chaos, with thousands of mourners attacked as they tried to leave after the service. Police fired tear gas into the compound, standing by as those outside the cathedral launched petrol bombs, hurled rocks and shot at those inside. At least two died and 80 were injured in the five-hour clash.
Christians blame the Muslim Brotherhood not only for allowing Muslim Egyptians to attack them with impunity, but also for permitting — and delivering — incendiary anti-Christian rhetoric. For example, at an open rally for President Mohammad Mursi last year, the cleric Safwat Hegazy warned that Egyptian Muslims would “splash blood” on Christians who “splash water” on Mursi’s legitimacy.
In February, Egypt’s Coptic patriarch, Pope Tawadros II, sharply criticized the country’s leadership in a televised interview, calling the new constitution discriminatory and dismissing Mursi’s “national dialogues” as an empty gesture. This unusually assertive stance reflects rising frustration among Christians, as well as among the secular and liberal opposition, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s power monopoly.
Syria, which once welcomed thousands of Christians fleeing war-torn Iraq, is experiencing an analogous change, as the country’s increasingly sectarian civil war generates fear and mistrust throughout the population. Although Christians have largely sought to remain neutral in the conflict, they have become involved gradually, some by taking up arms and others as victims of kidnapping and violence.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III recently stated that, since 2011, over 1,000 Christians have been killed and more than 40 churches and other Christian institutions (schools, orphanages, and care homes) have been damaged or destroyed. Some estimate that 300,000 Christians have fled Syria.
Furthermore, fallout from relentless regional conflict is destabilizing Lebanon, a country that offers Christians a constitutional guarantee of political representation. Some 400,000 refugees — many of them Sunnis, including fugitive rebels — have poured over the border from Syria, exacerbating sectarian tensions and threatening to disrupt Lebanon’s delicate social and political balance.
Given that, as Gottingen University’s Martin Tamcke points out, there is no remaining alternative for Christian refugees in the Middle East. They are increasingly heading to Europe and North America. If this trend is allowed to continue, the Middle East will gradually lose its Christian congregations. In order to prevent such a tragic outcome, Western leaders must take a more active role in advocating the protection of Christian minorities throughout the Arab world.
Ultimately, Christians and Muslims in the Arab world have the same desires: freedom, dignity and equal rights. Those who are persecuting Christians should recognize that the Arab Spring should benefit all Arabs.
Posted by Theodore Shoebat
This is only foreshadowing the holocaust to come. From Christian Today:
The Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran was closed on Thursday due to pressure from Iranian security authorities.
According to a story by Mohabat Iranian Christian News Agency, a well placed source said that a sign is posted on the main entrance of the church saying that the church is temporarily closed.
Mohabat News said the source also said that the church staff have not gone to work for two days.
The source also told Mohabat News, “The Islamic regime’s intelligence forces have been pressuring the church to close down since six months ago. The authorities also announced two days ago that anyone who tries to enter the church will be arrested.”
Mohabat News reported that its source believes the main reason for closure of the church is that the Iranian security authorities wanted to limit the church service to just the Armenian language, and prevent any Farsi services.
In another incident on May 21, security authorities arrested Pastor Robert Asseriyan in the middle of a church service and transferred him to an unknown location.
Asseriyan is one of the leaders of the Assemblies church in Tehran.
Dr. George O Wood, the General Superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the US, released a statement after the pastor’s arrest.
Mohabat News said he expressed concern over the pressure on Persian-speaking churches in Iran, and appealed that the persecution and pressure exerted by the Iranian authorities on the country’s Christians be lifted.
Elsewhere in Wood’s statement, he said that closure of the Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran is a beginning of the end for all other Farsi speaking churches across Iran.
Wood commented, “Such a move would essentially remove all open witness of the gospel of Christ in the country.”
Mohabat News reports Central’s congregation was told to attend this Sunday’s service to hear the final decision of the church council regarding the situation. It is unclear at this point whether or not that service will be held.
For some time the Central Assembly of God and other churches affiliated with it, have been under pressure to cancel their Farsi language services, the news agency reports. For their church services to continue, they were told that all services be held in Armenian.
Posted by Theodore Shoebat
The Christian Elders Forum of Northern States, CEFNS, called on the Federal Government to rebuild the over 400 churches destroyed by Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
This is even as the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, yesterday sent a high powered team of senior officers to Baga, Borno State, to assess the recent military operation in the town.
Also, six policemen and five members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect were killed in fresh clashes in Borno and Yobe states.
The NESCEF leaders, who met at their annual conference in Abuja, also called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to grant state pardon or amnesty to the Boko Haram sect.
In a communiqué signed by its Chairman and Secretary- General, Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye and Mr. Iliya Yusuf respectively, the NOSCEF said the present atmosphere of insecurity facing the nation would not give Nigerians credible elections in 2015.
The forum added that the Federal Government must rebuild the churches destroyed by the insurgents in the North, while it must also compensate Christian victims before any pardon could be granted.
The communiqué reads in part: “Over 400 churches have been destroyed or closed down. Christians are now being individually targeted and eliminated. Thousands of Christian businesses ruined, over 1,500 Christians, innocent lives wiped out. Why is government not talking about pardon to Boko Haram but amnesty? There should be no discussion of amnesty to Boko Haram until all the victims have been adequately compensated.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has sent assessment team to Borno State to find out what happened in the border town of Baga last weekend in which close to 200 persons were killed in clashes between soldiers and Boko Haram insurgents.
President Jonathan had said on Wednesday that soldiers found guilty of committing atrocities will be punished.
Leader of the assessment team, who is also the Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major Gen. Lawrence Ngubani, while on a courtesy call on Governor Kashim Shettima, said the team was mandated to find out the veracity or otherwise of the casualty figures as widely reported by local and international media.
According to Gen. Ngubani, the team was constituted at the instance of Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS), Admiral Ola Ibrahim, following the global outcry over the high level of purported number of victims reported by the media.
“The CDS felt that there was urgent need for the Defence Headquarters to carry out an independent and comprehensive on the spot assessment to find out if the actual number of civilians, claimed to have been killed in the violence is indeed true. So we are in the state to interact with the local officials, surviving victims, traditional and religious leaders as well as other stakeholders of the affected community”, he said.
The military chief added that the latest preliminary assessment of the entire episode proved that the casualty figures being reported were far from the truth, they were actually exaggerated.
“The assessment team visited Baga town and had an audience with the victims and other and relevant persons. We visited two separate graveyards where the dead victims were purportedly buried, what we saw was extremely below what was reported. We are not undermining the death of a single Nigerian, in fact it is a great loss to the nation”, he declared.
Gen. Ngubani further reiterated the determination of the Nigerian Army to partner with the state government in addressing the persistent security challenges confronting the state and the entire country at large.
In his remarks, Governor Shettima regretted the Baga killings, saying the number of the victims should not be a center of great concern, rather even it were a death of a single Nigerian, similar concern should be displayed.
“The time of who to be blamed for the incident should not be an issue for now, rather we should all concentrate on how best to restore peace and normalcy”, Shettima said.
The governor restated the determination of his administration in tackling abject poverty among youths, which described as the underlining cause of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, yesterday began the distribution of relief materials to victims of the Baga clash.
Already the agency and the Nigeria Red Cross who arrived in the town on Wednesday have set up camps for the victims.
The camp was set up at the Local Government Clinic in Baga town.
Materials distributed include food items, mats, clothing and toiletries.
Some of the victims who needed medical attention were also attended to by the agency and the Red Cross team.
NEMA Director of Rescue and Search Operations, Air Commodore Charles Otebegde, who led a delegation of the agency officials from Abuja, said they were in the town following a directive from President Jonathan to provide immediate relief to the affected victims.
On Wednesday, the North-East Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Alhaji Mohammed Kanar, led a team of officials to some villages where some of the victims relocated and the agency convinced them to come to the camp.
Among those presently at the camps, Aisha Sanni Gogobiri, a 30-year-old mother of seven said her husband is still missing since the crisis erupted.
She was evacuated along with her seven children by the NEMA team to the camp.
Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be members of the sect laid ambush to a patrol vehicle in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, killing four occupants.
National Mirror learnt that the terrorists attempted to kidnap the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, who was suspected to be aboard the vehicle, but he escaped.
However, the hoodlums were said to have escaped from the scene in the patrol vehicle.
Bama is about 70 kilometres from Maiduguri.
Our correspondent gathered that the incident took place about 10a.m. around Bama central market when the terrorists, armed with sophisticated weapons, came in four unmarked vehicles and shot sporadically throwing explosives targeted at some security posts in the town.
While trying to repel the attacks, a reliable source said, the four policemen were killed. Several shops and residential houses close to the Bama central market were equally set ablaze during the encounter.
In a text message sent to newsmen in Maiduguri, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gideon Jubrin said no DPO was involved in the attack, even as he admitted that there was an attack in Bama, but declined comment on the killing of four policemen, claiming that the details were still sketchy.
In Yobe State, five policemen and 20 people, suspected to be Boko Haram militants died after a midnight shootout between the insurgents and security forces in Gashua town, according to residents and security sources.
Gashua is about 185 kilometres from Damaturu, the state capital, and also a known centre of sect activities, which had witnessed series of killings and bombings in recent times.
The Commissioner of Police in Yobe, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, said that five policemen and 20 gunmen had been confirmed dead with over N9m carted away from a commercial bank during the attack by Islamic Boko Haram terrorists in Gashua, Yobe on Thursday.
The commissioner, who made the disclosure while briefing newsmen in Damaturu, said that two policemen also sustained injuries and were currently receiving treatment.
He explained that the gunmen had earlier seized the bank manager, forcing him to open the vault where the money was carted away from together with a Peugeot 406 and Toyota Corolla cars.
Rufai said that police and military men later engaged the gunmen in a gun battle, recovering the two cars and an Isuzu Hilux van, belonging to the terrorists.
The commissioner said that two guns, two locally made pistols; two long range rifles; 19 hand grenades and assorted ammunitions were also recovered from the gunmen.
He said that one of the gunmen was captured and was now assisting the police with information on the attack.
“It is the same group using police and military uniforms that attacked Tarmuwa, Gulani and Giedam in recent times,” Rufai said.
Spokesman of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Lt. Eli Lazarus, said in a press statement sent to newsmen that most of the Boko Haram gunmen fled in the heat of the shootout and abandoned their vehicles and cache of arms.
Fati Umar, a female school teacher and resident of Gashua sent a text message out about 1a.m. saying ‘please do pray for us! We are in danger’.
Fati later confirmed on phone to journalists that dozens of Boko Haram gunmen invaded their Mobile Base area about midnight shooting and chanting Islamic slogan ‘Allahu Akbar’, meaning God is great.
“From the way they were moving, it was like they were going from house to house. They fired several gunshots around our house but the gate was firmly locked.
“It was this morning we heard they attacked a police station and the prison,” she said.
Lt. Lazarus said in his statement that the attack started at midnight.
“At about 12 midnight Thursday April 25, 2013, unknown gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists attacked JTF location in Gashua town, the Police Area Command and Gashua Divisional Police Station. Men of the JTF were able to repel and contain the attack on its location. Reinforcement was however dispatched swiftly and was able to engage the terrorists.
“Two police officers were killed in the attack while five of the suspected terrorists lost their lives during the encounter. Some of the suspected terrorists escaped in two vehicles with injuries while others are believed to still be at large. The fleeing terrorists took away one police Hilux vehicle fitted with siren at the top, one other vehicle, police uniforms and other items from the police stations.
“Items recovered include one Toyota Corolla car, one Peugeot 406 Saloon Car, one Isuzu Pick Up Van, One AK 47 Rifle, one Police Anti- Riot Gun, one locally made pistol, one Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb, one generating set and large quantity of ammunition,” he said.
The spokesman urged the general public to be mindful of the fact that the terrorists are still around and are bent on wrecking havoc and instilling fear in law abiding citizens in order to make life unbearable for them. “Let no one be in doubt however, that JTF would continue to respond appropriately to such attacks”, Lazarus said.
The Task Force also urges all law abiding citizens to remain calm as it is currently on top of the situation. A cordon and search operation is currently on going in Gashua town.
To guard against the influx of illegal immigrants into Nigeria through the numerous borders, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a motion urging the Presidency to erect perimeter fences to demarcate the country’s borders with neighbouring nations like Chad, Mali, Cameroun and others.
The House in its motion sponsored by Hon. Hassan Saleh (PDP-Benue) also seeks to have the demarcations armed with sensors and cameras and decent incentives for immigration staff manning the borders to discourage them from cooperating with illegal immigrants.
In his motion, Saleh noted that most Nigerian land border posts were not “water tight”, despite the importance attached to our borderlines to ensure security, economic and social well-being of the country and its citizens.
He said: “It is disheartening to note that our borders with our neighbours remain poorly and inefficiently managed” adding that “at some of our borders, there are no flags, gates or any form of proper demarcation, rather what has been observed at some border posts such as Seme and Idi-Iroko are demarcations made of bamboo trunks.”
According to the lawmaker, besides the gross lack of security at the borders, “it has been alleged that there exists 1,497 illegal routes into the country, adding that most of our villages, towns and cities are filled with illegal immigrants who go about without any fear of being questioned about the legality of their stay in the country.”
He noted that Nigeria’s borders with other countries stretches through 3,140 kilometres running from Malaville, north of Republic of Benin stretching through Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno states down to Mfun in Cross River State that has a boundary with Cameroun.
He said that the rising tide of insecurity in the country today is a direct fallout of the porosity of the nation’s borders coupled with the lack of effective manpower, inadequate logistics and lack of conducive working conditions for those charged with the responsibility of manning the border posts.
Nigeria’s neighbours are Benin Republic, which has boundary stretching 773 kilometres in the South West; Niger Republic, 1,500 kilometres in the North West; Chad, 87 kilometers in the North East and Cameroun, 1,680 kilometers from the North East to the South South.
In another development, governors of the 19 northern states have sounded the alarm over the current destruction of lives and property going on in the region, saying that there is trouble.
Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State said except all hands are brought on deck to stop the menace, the danger it portends for the region will forever remain indelible.
Also the Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu, called on his colleagues to wake up to their responsibilities as chief security officers of their various states to ensure that peace returned to the zone even as he noted that the leaders in the North are facing serious challenges.
Speaking yesterday at the meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum when it received reports of the committee it set up on Reconciliation, Healing and Security in Abuja, Yuguda said he weeps for the blood of innocent Nigerians being shed for no just cause.
He said it was regrettable that values that bound the North in the past had been eroded and thus paved way for the current insurgency going on at the moment.
Welcoming guests earlier, chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, Aliyu, said he was happy over the report of the committee saying it has opened a new vista for resolving the Boko Haram menace in the country.
The committee in its report called on the northern governors to present a common development focus for the northern states in its bid to tackle the grim social and economic situation of the region.
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A militant serving a 19-year prison sentence for beheading three Christian schoolgirls has escaped while visiting his sick wife and is still at large, Indonesian police said Friday.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said Basri, 36, fled from his house in the Central Sulawesi town of Poso last week when a guard who escorted him from jail to the home left him unguarded for several hours.
Basri, who like many Indonesians uses a single name, was sentenced to 19 years in jail in 2007 for the beheadings and a series of attacks that terrorized Poso, where a Muslim-Christian conflict killed at least 1,000 people from 1998 to 2002.
“When the guard came to take him back to the prison, he found that Basri was no longer at his house,” Amar said. “He is still at large.”
Police are searching for Basri, whom Amar described as a “dangerous militant,” and are investigating why he was escorted by only one guard.
“We call on people who know his whereabouts to report to authorities immediately,” Amar said.
Basri, who was arrested along with five other militants in February 2007, admitted to beheading one of the three girls in late 2005 as they walked to school along a quiet jungle path overlooking Poso.
In an interview with The Associated Press days after their arrests, Basri said he and the other militants learned weapons handling and bomb making from members of the al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah.
Footage of the 2007 counterterrorism operation that led to their arrest was posted on YouTube and Muslim websites, sparking outrage among Islamic groups.
The video shows uniformed officers from Indonesia’s elite anti-terrorism unit yelling and shooting rounds to scare the shirtless, bound suspects, who were lying face down on the ground. One man wearing only underwear and shown with a bloody hole in his back, presumably from a gunshot wound, was identified as Wiwin Kalahe, another beheading convict.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has won praise for arresting and convicting terrorists since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.