Islamic State insurgents released a video yesterday Tuesday August 19th purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley (pictured above), who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago, and images of another U.S. journalist whose life they said depended on U.S. action in Iraq.
The video, titled “A Message To America,” was posted on social media sites. It was not immediately possible to verify its authenticity.
Foley, who has reported in the Middle East for five years, was kidnapped on Nov. 22, 2012, by unidentified gunmen. Steven Sotloff, who appeared at the end of the video, went missing in northern Syria while he was reporting in July 2013. Continue…
A Twitter account set up by his family to help find him said early on Wednesday: “We know that many of you are looking for confirmation or answers. Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers.”
The White House said that U.S. intelligence agents were working to verify the authenticity of a video.
The Islamic State had not previously executed American citizens publicly. The video was posted after the United States resumed air strikes in Iraq for the first time since the end of the U.S. occupation in 2011.
The Sunni militant group has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria in areas it controls.
The video opened with a clip of U.S. President Barack Obama saying he had authorized strikes in Iraq.
“Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims,” words appear in English and Arabic on the screen.
It showed black and white aerial footage of air strikes with text saying “American aggression against the Islamic State”
A person identified as James Foley and wearing an orange outfit is seen kneeling in the desert as a man in black dress with a black mask stands beside him, holding a knife.
“I call on my friends family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” the kneeling man says.
The man in the mask speaks in a British accent and says: “This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen, of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State.”
“Today your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. You are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army, and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.”
Following his statement he beheads the kneeling man.
At the end of the video, words on the side of the screen say “Steven Joel Sotloff” as another prisoner in an orange jumpsuit is shown on screen.
“The life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision,” the masked man says.
Foley, a freelance reporter, had been covering Syria’s civil war for GlobalPost. In 2011, he was held for 45 days by forces loyal to former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaafi.
Sotloff is also a freelancer journalist with published stories in Time Magazine and Foreign Policy. He has worked in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said: “We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity.
“If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Islamic State also released another video on Tuesday that gave the strongest indication yet it might attempt to strike American targets.
The video with the theme “breaking of the American cross” boasts Islamic State will emerge victorious over “crusader” America.
It follows a video posted on Monday, warning of attacks on American targets if Washington struck against its fighters in Iraq and Syria.
EIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian government forces struck Islamic State positions in and around the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, residents said on Monday, part of a growing campaign against hardline militants who control a third of the country.
Raqqa is a major stronghold of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which took one of the Syrian army’s last outposts in the city this week to extend its gains across both Iraq and Syria.
Residents said there had been some 16 air raids on Monday on Raqqa and in nearby areas, including close to the al-Tabqa military base to the west of the city, a government-controlled airport that is surrounded by militants.
One attack destroyed the city’s water plant, locals said, cutting water supplies to homes and businesses.
More than 170,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, with Islamic State fighters gaining momentum in recent weeks, boosted by equipment seized in a rapid offensive in neighboring Iraq.
In response, the Syrian army has become more aggressive, using air strikes to attack their positions.
“The bombardment increases then falls off, but when they are not bombing al-Tabqa airport they are bombing the surrounding towns or bombing Raqqa. The sound of aircraft is constant,” a Raqqa resident said, asking to remain anonymous to protect his identity.
Locals in Raqqa say civilian casualties have been kept to a minimum because many residents have fled to nearby villages and rural areas, while those remaining spend their days in shelters.
The Islamic State’s Syria headquarters are situated in what used to be Raqqa’s municipality buildings in densely populated civilian areas. “It is these buildings that are now targeted in the air raids,” said an opposition activist living in the city, who opposes both the Islamic State and the government.
He said that the air force was now using Russian-made Sukhoi bombers, which carry bigger munitions than MiG fighter jets.
Until this summer, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces held off from targeting the al Qaeda offshoot, allowing the group to thrive, while weakening less hardline opposition groups that are backed by the West.
Assad has long painted the uprising in Syria as a foreign-backed Islamist conspiracy and his enemies say he has allowed the Islamic State to grow to promote that idea.
Damascus has not commented on why it was now focusing on Islamic State fighters rather that other rebel groups.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has tracked violence on all sides of the conflict that began in March 2011, said government forces and Islamic State fighters fought in two villages in Raqqa province on Monday, al-Ajeel and al-Khazaneh near the Tabqa airport.
The conflict in Syria started when Assad cracked down on a pro-democracy uprising, which then armed itself. The war pits overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim rebels against Assad, a member of the Shi’ite-derived Alawite minority, backed by Shi’ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon.
A bride was doused with alcohol and set on fire by her new husband after she slept with an ex-lover on her wedding night, police say.
Mother-of-one Veronika Filippova had sought out her former partner after her new spouse fell asleep drunk at their wedding reception. The 27-year-old had 80% burns on her body and died despite frantic efforts by doctors to save her. Continue…
Ivan Kuzmin, 30, her new husband (pictured with Veronika, left, during happier times), has confessed to murder after being arrested by police in Volgograd in southern Russia, according to police,
News site Life News reported that the bride took ‘revenge’ on her husband after he passed out at their wedding party, but was later overcome with guilt and told him everything.
He responded by dousing her with neat alcohol – used to make homemade vodka – before igniting her in flames with a cigarette lighter.
‘He set her on fire when she was sleeping, pouring alcohol on her and our Veronica is gone,’ said relatives of Filippova’s in an online posting.
The relatives, Olesya and Yuriy Prosin, also claimed that Kuzmin had hidden from his wife a previous conviction for attempted murder and attempted rape involving an underage girl, which led to a ten year prison sentence.
‘He did not have enough of a conscience to confess to Veronika that he was in prison for trying to rape an underage girl and attempted to burn the apartment to hide the evidence. He is nothing but scum.’
Another version was that the couple went our for a beer the day after the wedding and this is when the row erupted leading to her being doused in alcohol and set alight.
The woman tried to escape, but her husband caught up with her and struck a lighter,’ it was reported.
Police confirmed that Kuzmin had confessed to killing his wife.
The alleged lover she visited on her wedding night was not identified.
Sergey Domnyshev, an investigator in the Kirov district of Volgograd, confirmed to the media Kuzmin’s previous convictions and jail term.
He now faces a possible 15 year prison sentence.
Filippova was previously married and had a ten year old son by her first husband.
Culled from UK Daily Mail
According to Premium Times, former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, has dumped the APC and has joined the PDP.
Mr. Ribadu was the presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011 and until his defection yesterday considered one of the presidential prospects of the APC in the 2015 presidential election.
A member of the executive committee of the PDP in Bako, Mr. Ribadu’s ward in Yola South Local Government Area of Adamawa state, told Premium Times that Ribadu has been registered as a member of the party and given a party membership card.
The source asked not to be named because he was not authorised to disclose the development to journalists.” – PM
The Nigerian military is in the process of constituting a trial panel to try over 100 soldiers said to have exhibited “acts of cowardice” and “disobeyed deployment directives” in Maiduguri on Saturday, reliable military insiders have told PREMIUM TIMES.
The soldiers were among several hundred troops being deployed from the army’s 7th Division in Maiduguri to locations in Damboa and Gwoza for major operations planned to significantly rout the extremist Boko Haram sect from the areas.
“But as we were about to depart, some of the soldiers began to behave funny,” a witness said. “They were acting in ways that were delaying the movement. This was a movement that had been timed and we had to arrive locations at a time that should coincide with other operational arrangements. And then these guys were slowing us down.”
The witness said at a point, the commander of the troop became fed up with the antics of the “lazy soldiers” and he immediately ordered that they be disarmed, stripped of their uniforms and dropped from the operation.
The rest of the detachment then continued the journey, our sources said.
Other witnesses corroborated these disclosures.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, [an Air Marshall] the Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah [a Lieutenant General], as well as other service chiefs have been briefed on the development.
The military chiefs, insiders say, have since ordered the arrest, interrogation and court-martial of the erring soldiers, some of whom are said to have gone into hiding.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, said he was yet to be briefed on the matter.
He however said, “Military personnel should be reminded that persons subject to military law risks death if found liable for refusing or inciting failure to perform military duties against the enemy in the course of the ongoing military operation.”
Mr. Olukolade said any soldier or officer who fails to perform military duties or deserts his duty post risks dire consequences.
“The military is a disciplined organization and we do not have room for indiscretions. Anyone who disobeys deployment directive or deserts his duty posts would be made to face due justice.
“Indeed such deserters would be considered to have done evil similar to what terrorists are doing against the nation’s security. Act of cowardice and related indiscipline will not be condoned in the Nigerian armed forces.
“While efforts are ongoing to improve on the available stock of weapons and equipment, no soldier or officer has been assigned to any duty without being duly armed.
“Any soldier who subscribes to the excuse being peddled by some indiscipline ones would have himself to blame.
“Soldiers are therefore warned that anyone who allows himself to be misled by enemies of the nation who have been trying to incite mutiny by various methods would face appropriate legal actions without any form of sentiment.”
Mr. Olukolade urged the Nigerian media and Nigerians in general not to celebrate incidences of indiscipline within the nation’s security services, saying the security of all citizens depend significantly on the stability and discipline of the agencies.
The Nigerian Army had in early July began the court–martialling of another 18 soldiers involved in an alleged mutiny in May, in which revolting troops opened fire at a car carrying the commanding general of the army’s 7 Division in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Military sources had told PREMIUM TIMES at the time that the General Officer Commanding, GOC, of the newly-created 7 Division, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General, was targeted by soldiers who blamed him for the deaths of their colleagues.
The attack in Maimalari cantonment, on May 14, angered the Nigerian military at a time the force came under international spotlight over the abduction of nearly 300 school girls in Chibok by the extremist Boko Haram sect.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday Friday August 15th said that it’s prohibiting young athletes from the Ebola-affected region of West Africa including Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierre Leone from participating in certain events at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, which will begin today August 16th and run till the 28th.
Athletes from West Africa, where authorities are battling an outbreak of the Ebola virus, will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the swimming pool, as it is impossible to rule out the risk of potential infection, the IOC and the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee said in a joint statement.
The rules will prevent a total of three athletes from the region from competing in those events, the statement said.
Those from the affected region competing in other sports will undergo regular temperature checks and physical assessments throughout the games, which begin on Saturday, the two committees said.
“We regret that due to this issue some young athletes may have suffered twice, both from the anguish caused by the outbreak in their home countries and by not being able to compete in the Youth Olympic Games,” the IOC and organisers said.
The death toll from the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola stood on Wednesday at 1,069, the majority of them in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the World Health Organisation said.
Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (pictured above) is a Senior Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at First Consultant Hospital in Lagos where late Liberian Patrick Sawyer was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola disease. She was one of those who diagnosed and was treating Sawyer at First Consultant before he died. Unfortunately she was infected by Sawyer.
Her colleagues put her pic and case out at a press conference on Thursday, appealing to the U.S Govt to urgently send whatever treatment they have for the Ebola virus to Nigeria to save her life and that of other Nigerians at risk of the disease.
Her colleague Mr Okubadejo said on Thursday;
“She treated Sawyer because she was patriotic only for her to be infected with the virus. I am appealing to the U.S. government to send whatever medication they have to Nigeria fast to save Adadevoh. She does not deserve to die. So, this is the reason for this appeal,”
I heard Dr. Adadevoh was one of those who refused to let Sawyer leave the hospital when he attempted to leave before getting the lab results. She probably saved many lives by doing this despite pressure from the Liberian ambassador. Dr. Adadevoh has spent three decades caring for others and deserves the crusade for the drugs. God be with her. #USsendZmapp. #SaveDr.Ameyo.
President Jonathan has reacted to the October ultimatum handed to him by the Northern Elders Forum to return the missing Chibok girls to their families and end insurgency activities in the north. They made this demand at a press conference yesterday August 11th, alleging that the sect activities are politically motivated with a grand agenda to weaken the political and economical interest of the North, with a view of exploiting this weakness in the 2015 elections.
“We are convinced that most of these conflicts are being engineered to weaken the North politically and economically by interests, which intend to exploit such weaknesses for electoral benefits. In the light of our firm conviction that the insurgency and related security challenges pose threats to the 2015 elections and the survival of our nation, we strongly advise President Goodluck Jonathan to bring an end to the insurgency in all its manifestations and produce the Chibok girls before the end of October 2014. Continue..
The circumstances under which our fellow citizens in and around Gwoza in Borno State in particular live and die will not be tolerated by any people who have a government and a leader sworn to defend them, and they must be reversed immediately,” the Northern Elders said.
Reacting to the deadline, President Jonathan through his SSA on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, released a statement today describing the threat by the Northern leaders as “preposterous” and “contrary to common sense”.
Find the statement below…
We read with deep concern the statement published in the Media today by the Northern Elders Forum giving President Goodluck Jonathan a two ultimatum on the Boko Haram Insurgency and the Chibok Girls abduction Saga.
We wish to state categorically that President Jonathan does not require any threat or ultimatum from any group of persons to be alive to his responsibilities to the Nigerian People.
The issue of Insurgency especially those ideologically based on Islamic extremism is a global phenomenon and requires tact, military capability, serious de-radicalisation techniques and community based counter insurgency programmes to ensure success.
In these areas, the Federal Government is making progress:
a) We are improving on our operational capabilities and efficiencies by acquiring more advanced weapons and technologies for our military and security agencies.
b) We have drafted more military personnel to the region to strengthen the fighting power of our armed forces.
c) We are taking advantage of the offers from our international military and intelligence allies to assist in identifying key locations.
d) We are working with our neighbours to secure the borders and limit the movements of the Boko Haram fighters, building on the agreements reached at the recent summits in Paris and London.
e) We are deploying more resources to maximize operational efficiency, acquire more advanced and relevant weaponry and boost the general morale of our combatants. This is why the Government recently requested for an additional funding of $1bn.
f) And the last piece in the puzzle is targeting the domestic and international funding, and stopping the money flows into the coffers of the terrorists.
g) With all these efforts and the support of our allies, these steps will help fight the threat of the Boko haram and move us closer to bringing the girls back safely.
Lastly, the suggestion that the Government is carrying out any scheme to annihilate any section of the country for political gain is preposterous, contrary to common sense, divisive and essentially a deliberate attempt to disseminate “hate mentality” and cause mischief.
President Goodluck Jonathan was voted for by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians across the board, and he will never promote any policy that is either divisive or inimical to the wellbeing of any section of the polity.
What the country needs today is total co-operation, of all its citizens and stakeholders, with the Government and our military and the security agencies.
We wish to assure Nigerians that in spite of this and many more distractions, the President is focused on continued successful executions of his transformation Agenda; and the guarantee of the security of lives and properties of the Nigerian people.