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UN Security Council members urge Yemen parties to implement peace deal

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Deal

The members hope that the peace deal will lead to an end of the four-year-old conflict.

The Chinese, French, Russian, British and U.S. ambassadors to Yemen said in a statement that they were “extremely concerned” that the agreement reached in Stockholm in December, 2018, had not been implemented.

The Houthi group and Saudi-backed government agreed on a ceasefire and troops withdrawal in Hodeidah, exchange of prisoners and reopening of humanitarian corridors to help millions of starving Yemenis, with international monitors to oversee things.

“We urge both parties to begin implementation of the proposal in good faith without further delay and without seeking to exploit the redeployments by the other side.

“We call on all sides to ensure that the UN monitoring mission can carry out its work safely and without interference,” they said.

The Stockholm agreement was stalled with each side worrying the other would take advantage of the withdrawal to gain ground.

The formation of a local authority to take control of Hodeidah after the troop withdrawal, agreed in the truce deal, also remains a sticking point.

The truce in Hodeidah came into force on Dec. 18 and has largely held but violence has escalated in other regions.

“Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 22 civilians, including women and children, in a village in northern Yemen this week,” the UN said.

Saudi Arabia is leading the Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition that first intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore Abd-Rabbu Hadi’s ousted government.

Western nations have pressed for an end to the war following increased scrutiny after the murder of prominent Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The conflict is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

FAT/OPI

Politics

COVID-19: INEC seeks review of security architecture for elections

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday, called for the review of security architecture for elections, in the light of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Yakubu, in his remarks during the first virtual consultative meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee On Election Security (ICCES), said there was need to come up with clear guidelines supplementary Code of Conduct, for security personnel on election duty.

Yakubu said that the recently released INEC’s policy on conducting elections under the current global pandemic, was anchored on the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force (PTF), based on the advisory by health authorities.

“The guidelines provide for measures to protect the electoral process and the people involved, ranging from the election officials, observers, the media and above all, the voters.

“Doing so will also increase public confidence and consequently enhance the credibility of the electoral process.

“To do so effectively, there is need to review the security architecture in the light of the global pandemic and come up with clear guidelines, as well as supplementary Code of Conduct for security personnel on election duty.

 “As the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic will impact on the planning and deployment strategy for the conduct of elections generally, it is necessary for ICCES to evolve effective ways of securing and protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

“Fortunately, in the aftermath of recent governorship elections, ICCES set up an ad hoc committee to advise it on security arrangements for future elections.

“The report of the committee, which will be presented for consideration at this meeting, is coming at an auspicious time.

“We should, as a matter of urgency, come up with a policy and code of conduct for security personnel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yakubu said.

He disclosed that 15 out of 18 registered political parties had invited the commission to monitor their primaries for the nomination of candidates for the Edo Governorship, while the process for Ondo governorship election would be between July 2 to  July 25.

Yakubu, who said there were already warning signals the parties primaries for the elections were going to be acrimonious, called on security agencies to be proactive by meeting  early, with political parties and aspirants for peaceful primaries and elections.

“As you are aware, the conduct of primaries by political parties tends to be very acrimonious.

“The acrimony is carried forward into the electioneering campaigns and Election Day activities. Already, there are warning signals. The security agencies need to act proactively.

“An early engagement with political parties and aspirants is necessary in order to create the atmosphere for peaceful primaries and consequently peaceful elections,” he said.

He assured that INEC would continue to deepen the use of technology in the management of the country’s  electoral process, including ICCES meetings and other engagements with security agencies.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, called on security agencies to ensure that Edo and Ondo governorship elections as well as by-elections were conducted without rancour.

Monguno, represented by Galadima Yusuf, expressed optimism that the pandemic would soon be over and there would be peaceful conduct of elections.


Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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General news

Pastor drums support for security agencies

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Pastor Yohanna Buru, Founder of Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria, has urged Nigerians to render maximum support to security agencies in their efforts to ensure peace and security in the country.

Buru made the appeal on Thursday when he donated some working tools to members of Civilian Joint Task Force in Kaduna.

He stressed that providing support to security agencies,  especially timely information on movement of suspected criminals, would ensure peace and stability in communities across the country.

The cleric added that it was important to also provide working tools to such agencies including community watch groups such as the C-JTF, to enable them perform effectively.

Buru urged Christians and Muslims to embrace dialogue for sustainable peace in Kaduna State and across the country.

The state Chairman of the C-JTF, Shehu Dan-Tudu, commended Buru for his assistance to the group, which has over 30,000 members in the state.

“10,000 among them are currently supporting state government activities in providing essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“They are currently participating towards making sure that citizens obey all the rules and regulations which include social distancing, use of face masks and the stay-at-home order,” he said.

Dan-Tudu warned youths against drug abuse and other social vices, and urged parents to always monitor the movement of their children and wards to insulate them from bad behaviours.

He assured that the group was fully committed to supporting government’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.


Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Insecurity: Air chief visits Zamfara, seeks support on intelligence gathering

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Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar on Thursday visited Zamfara and sought for more support on intelligence gathering from people of the state.

He said the support would help in addressing security challenges in the state.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Abubakar had earlier visited Gusau Government House where he met with Gov. Bello Matawalle behind closed door.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, the CAS said he was in the state on operational visit.

“I came to Zamfara on operational visit, l am here to check the air facilities on ground, to see our additional needs.

“We are here to make sure that those facilities are adequately working.

“I have seen all the facilities, they are all ok, they are doing well in air operation”, Abubakar said.

He said the Nigerian Air Force would continue to work very closely with other security agencies for the success of all security operations.

“We will continue to conduct air intervention missions.

“We need support from the general public, we need human intelligence, we need useful security information from people of the state.

“This is very important area where Zamfara government and communities should be willing to contribute.

“Though we are getting credible information, but not adequate; we are recording successes, but we are seeking for more support especially on intelligence gathering.

“We have so far, deployed 250 soldiers in the state and some aircraft.

“We will continue to do our best in terms of giving all the support that is required to deal with the issue of banditry in Zamfara and North west states”, he explained.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Foreign

1st LD Writethru: UN Security Council extends mandate of Darfur mission, sets up follow-on presence

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The Security Council on Thursday announced the adoption of two separate resolutions to extend the mandate of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for two months, and to set up a follow-on presence in Sudan.

Resolution 2525 decides to extend UNAMID‘s mandate till Dec. 31, 2020, and further decides that UNAMID shall maintain its current troop and police ceiling during this period.

The Security Council intends to decide by Dec. 31, 2020, courses of action regarding the responsible drawdown and exit of UNAMID. It requests the UN secretary-general and the chairperson of the African Union Commission to provide the Security Council with a special report no later than Oct. 31, 2020, which includes an assessment of the situation on the ground and recommendations on the appropriate course of action regarding the drawdown of UNAMID, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council, in a separate resolution, decides to establish a UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for an initial period of 12 months.

UNITAMS is tasked to help Sudan with its current political transition after the ouster of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir and a short period of military control in 2019, according to Resolution 2524.

UNITAMS will provide technical assistance to the constitution drafting process, the population census, and preparations for elections, says the resolution.

It will also support peace processes and the implementation of future peace agreements; assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law, in particular in Darfur and the other two restive areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile; support the mobilization of economic and development assistance and coordination of humanitarian assistance.

Resolution 2524 requests the UN secretary-general to appoint expeditiously a special representative for Sudan and head of mission of UNITAMS.

It requests the UN secretary-general to continue transition planning and management in order to ensure that the eventual transition from UNAMID to UNITAMS is phased, sequenced and efficient. It asks for the establishment of a UNAMID-UNITAMS coordination mechanism to determine the modalities and timelines for the transition of relevant responsibilities.

The western Sudanese region of Darfur has been plagued by a war between Sudanese government forces and the indigenous population since 2003. UNAMID was established by the UN Security Council in July 2007 to help maintain and mediate peace.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Insecurity: House of Reps invites NSA, security chiefs, IGP, DSS

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The House of Representatives have invited the National Security Adviser, all the security Chiefs, Director, Department of State Security and Inspector General of Police to brief the House on the state of insecurity in the country.

This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) which was unanimously adopted at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion earlier, Soli said that there was need for the security experts to brief the house on effort being made to ensure safety of lives and properties of citizens.

He said that there was need to know the way forward to bring an end to the killings, kidnapping and armed banditry at the next seating.

Soli said that that in recent time, the security situation in some parts of the country has degenerated.

The Rep said that cases of kidnapping, killings and armed banditry have become a daily occurrence across the country, especially in Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara Kaduna and Katsina.

He said that the Presidential directives had  not helped to drastically reduce cases of kidnaping, killings and banditry in the country.

According to him, “this is due to lack of sustained tempo in the intervention, these criminals have continued to regroup in different camps in the government reserve forests and surrounding villages across the country.

“The magnitude of the attacks on various communities have reached an alarming rate as these criminals have continued to perpetuate their criminal acts unabated.

“If this criminality is not urgently addressed, there will be an imminent present danger to our food security in the country.

“Any deferment by the security agencies to abridge the continuous horror and inhumanity will result to an enormous loss of lives, destruction of properties and immobilise the Socio-Economic and Educational activities of various communities,” he said.

Soli said that the country is battling to contain the dangerous community infection rate of COVID-19.

He added that with the persistent attacks by criminals on farming communities across the country, especially in the North-West and North Central, may result to serious food shortage.

According to him, about 500 Primary Schools and  2000 communities were completely destroyed across the country as a result of these incessant kidnappings, killings and armed banditry attacks.

He said that the criminals are armed to the teeth with weapons supplied by ‘ gun runners living in cosmopolitan cities across the country.

Rep. Gudaji Kazaure (APC-Jigawa) said that banditry had caused more havoc in the country than COVID-19

According to him, if government could give such attention to COVID-19, why have we not seen the same attention directed to banditry.

The lawmaker said the bandits come out in their hundreds and operate for hours without any intervention from security personnel.

He said if this is allowed to continue, there would be food shortages and people might resort to self help which would lead to a total breakdowns flaw and order.

Kazaure said that it was embarrassing for a sitting governor to be negotiating with bandits because security agencies had failed in their duties.

He said that the primary function of government is the protection of lives and properties and government must raise up to its responsibilities.

Rep. Victor Mela (APC-Gombe) threatened to resign from the House of Representatives if nothing would be done to address the security situation within the next two months.

Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, said that Rep. Victor Mela was very important and the house would not want to loose him.

He said that the leadership of the House would continue to engage all security agencies on a monthly basis on the progress being made until normalcy is restored.

EOO/

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

UN Security Council extends mandate of Darfur mission, sets up follow-on presence

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The Security Council on Thursday adopted two separate resolutions to extend the mandate of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) for two months, and to set up a follow-on presence in Sudan.

Resolution 2525 decides to extend UNAMID‘s mandate for two months, till Dec. 31, 2020, and further decides that UNAMID shall maintain its current troop and police ceiling during this period. The Security Council intends to decide by Dec. 31, 2020, courses of action regarding the responsible drawdown and exit of UNAMID.

The council, in a separate resolution, decides to establish a UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) for an initial period of 12 months.

UNITAMS is tasked to help Sudan with its political transition; to support peace processes and the implementation of future peace agreements; to assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law; to support the mobilization of economic and development assistance and coordination of humanitarian assistance.

The western Sudanese region of Darfur has been plagued by a war between Sudanese government forces and the indigenous population since 2003. UNAMID was established by the UN Security Council in July 2007 to help maintain and mediate peace.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Security heightened in Sri Lanka as 2-day nationwide curfew gets underway

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Security was heightened across Sri Lanka on Thursday as a two-day nationwide curfew got underway to prevent people from gathering and leaving their homes ahead of a religious holiday on Friday amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities said.

The curfew which came into effect from 4 am on Thursday morning will be lifted on June 6 at 4 am, a statement from the President’s Media Division said.

From June 6 onward, curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 4 am in all districts daily, to prevent people from leaving their homes at night.

According to the police, the two-day nationwide curfew was imposed ahead of the Poson Full Moon Day, an important religious day for the majority Buddhists, which will be commemorated in Sri Lanka on Friday.

Every year, thousands of devotees gather in Anuradhapura, in north-central Sri Lanka to offer their prayers in a Buddhist temple located there, but this year the government has urged people not to leave their homes as the number of COVID-19 patients rose to above 1,700 in the country.

Police and triforce personnel were deployed across the country to nab those violating the curfew but the government said employees from the private sector could travel to work, showing a letter from the employer.

According to Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry, 1,749 patients have been detected with the COVID-19 virus to date out of which 839 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital. Eleven deaths have also been reported.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

More than 27 mln people face acute food insecurity in East Africa in 2019: report

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An estimated 27.6 million people were already food insecure in the Eastern Africa region in 2019 before the outbreak of COVID-19, a regional bloc said in a joint report released in Nairobi on Thursday.

The 27.6 million people were classified in Crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity in 2019 in the bloc, which represents 20 percent of the total population facing food insecurity that required urgent action across the world, according to the 2020 Global Report on Food Crises by the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“Our region faces multiple threats to food security. We are living challenging times with extreme climate events and the worst desert locust invasion in decades. Currently, we are grappling with the severe challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread flooding of arable lands,” said Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD executive secretary.

Without taking into account the effects of COVID-19, the report said, projections indicated that around 25 million people would face acute food insecurity in the region requiring urgent action in 2020, largely as a result of weather extremes, conflict/insecurity and economic shocks.

However, the report said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is likely to push the numbers of acutely food-insecure people well beyond these early 2020 forecasts.

“Our attention must now turn to what can be done to reduce the number of food-insecure people in the region,” said David Phiri, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization subregional coordinator for Eastern Africa.

Phiri warned that the disruptive impact of COVID-19, the desert locust, recurrent flooding, and conflict/insecurity will continue to hamper the availability of food and people’s access to it across the subregion.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Interview: Syrian deputy FM says China’s legislation on national security brooks no foreign interference

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Syria respects China‘s right to legislate to safeguard national security, which brooks no foreign interference, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said.

In an interview with Xinhua Wednesday, Mekdad voiced his country’s support for China‘s national security legislation for its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Last week, Chinese lawmakers voted overwhelmingly at the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the top legislature, to approve a decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security.

In response, the U.S. authorities have threatened to cancel their special trade treatment for Hong Kong. The threats are considered by the Syrian government as interference in China‘s internal affairs, Mekdad said.

“Each country has the right to legislate for itself and China is not an exception,” he said, adding that no other country has the right to interfere with the legislation enacted by the Chinese government.

Mekdad said Syria “strongly supports the decisions” made by the Chinese legislature, noting that it is the right of the Chinese people and their representatives.

Stressing that Hong Kong is “part and parcel of China,” he said the Syrian government respects the one-China principle and fully supports the efforts of the Chinese government to protect the interests and security of the Chinese people and of China as a country.

Mekdad said the Chinese government has done a “great job” by doing its best to not only end the colonization in Hong Kong, but also maintain security in the special administrative region.

China is following a correct policy of “reintegrating all parts of China into the homeland,” he said. “In Syria, we believe in one China.”

The deputy foreign minister said he thinks that the overwhelming majority of the people in Hong Kong support the legislation on national security, noting that China will succeed in its efforts to stay united.

Mekdad also voiced his belief that China has always been a defender of world peace and security.

China, as an active member of the United Nations Security Council, has played an important and decisive role in maintaining world peace and security, he said.

(XINHUA)

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