Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has passed away, says Indian Air Force

AN Indian Air Force helicopter carrying senior defence officials, including Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and his wife, crashed at Coonoor in Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday. 14 people were on board.

Reports citing sources put the death toll between 11 and 13, while an official confirmation is awaited.

The chopper was on its way from the Sulur IAF base to the Defence Services College (DSC) in Wellington when it crashed, according to police sources.

Teams from the emergency and rescue services are on the scene.■

[Courtesy: WION]

Nigeria accused of ‘ruthless’ crackdown in restive southeast

Amnesty International logo

Global rights watchdog Amnesty International says it documented use of excessive force and at least 115 killings by security forces this year in southeastern states.

AMNESTY International has accused Nigerian security forces of using excessive force and killing at least 115 people during a “repressive campaign” earlier this year against separatist agitators in the country’s restive southeast.

Violence has flared in the southeastern states this year, killing at least 127 police or members of the security services, according to the police. About 20 police stations and election commission offices have been attacked, local media have reported.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an outlawed movement seeking independence for ethnic Igbo of the region, and its armed wing Eastern Security Network (ESN) have been blamed for the violence, but IPOB has denied the charges.

Amnesty said that in response, security forces, including the military, police and the Department of State Services (DSS) intelligence agency have killed dozens of gunmen, as well as civilians, where attacks have taken place.

“The evidence gathered by Amnesty International paints a damning picture of ruthless excessive force by Nigerian security forces in Imo, Anambra and Abia states,” Osai Ojigho, the group’s Nigeria director, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

The global rights watchdog said in a Twitter post it had “documented at least 115 persons killed by security forces between January and June 2021”.

“What is needed is an impartial and open inquiry to determine what happened and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts and without recourse to death penalty,” Amnesty said.

There was no immediate comment by Nigerian authorities.

“I have not seen the statement. So I cannot respond,” national police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP.

Arbitrary arrests

Amnesty said relatives of the victims told the rights group that they were not part of the armed groups who were attacking security agents.

“Many of the victims were deposited at government hospitals in Imo and Abia state,” it said.

Amnesty said it also documented cases of arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and torture in the restive region.

It said that in May 2021, the Imo state government announced the arrest of at least 400 people allegedly linked to the violence.

“Amnesty International’s investigation indicates that most of them were randomly picked up in their homes and off the street and had nothing to do with ESN.”

Local and international rights groups have repeatedly accused Nigerian security forces of rights abuses, but they always deny the charges.

Nigeria has recently intensified a crackdown on separatist agitators, including the arrest and trial of their leaders.

Last month, IPOB leader and founder Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya, according to his lawyers, and brought back to Nigeria to face treason charges

Kanu’s IPOB is attempting to revive the now defunct Republic of Biafra, a declaration of independence which led to a 30-month civil war between 1967 and 1970.

More than one million people, mostly Igbo, were killed in the fighting or by starvation and disease.■

Courtesy: NEWS AGENCIES

NIGERIAN EX-PRESIDENT’S SON REMANDED IN YOLA PRISONS

EX-PRESIDENT’S SON REMANDED IN PRISON

Aminu Yar’Adua, 36 years old son of late former President Umaru Yar’Adua was remanded in prison by a Magistrate Court over the killing of four people in an auto-crash in Yola. On 23 June, 2021 he was charged to court for causing death by dangerous driving. The accused is a student of the American University of Nigeria, Yola.

According to NAN, the prosecutor, Inspector Zakka Musa had tendered to the court the police First Information Report (FIR) stating that on 23 June, 2021 Aminu Yar’Adua crushed six persons as a result of over-speeding while driving along Yola bypass. The court heard that four of the victims were killed and the other two were injured in the accident.

The prosecuting officer told the court that the relatives of the dead victims had demanded the sum of N15 million from the defendant as compensation. Although, when the FIR was read to the defendant as prayed by the prosecutor, he denied committing the crime, claiming his innocence at the allegation.

Then the prosecutor pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter, to enable him duplicate the case file and forward same to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice. Jummai Ibrahim, the magistrate granted the request and adjourned the matter to 19th August, 2021, for further mention, also ordered that the ex-president’s son be remanded in prison custody until then.