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ISIS Claims Responsibility for Sri Lanka Bombings

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The Islamic State says its members were behind the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, in a statement carried by the extremist group’s mouthpiece Amaq.

“Those, who carried out the attack that targeted the citizens of the coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday were Islamic State fighters,” Amaq reported on Tuesday.

The statement refers to the U.S.-led coalition, which has been fighting the extremist group in Iraq and Syria since it took over large areas in the two countries in 2014.

The death toll from multiple suicide attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend rose to 321 on Tuesday, the national day of mourning for the victims.

Police said that the increase was due to more people succumbing to injuries.

The bombings in Sri Lanka were intended as retaliation for last month’s attack against Muslims in Christchurch, according to initial investigations by the Sri Lankan government, the deputy defence minister said.

“We believe [the massacre] was carried out by an extreme Islamist group as a reprisal to the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand,” State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said in a statement to parliament.

“This group is known to have links to an organisation named National Thowheed Jamath. We should take immediate steps to ban any such organisation that have links to extremist elements,” he added.

The explosions took place during busy Easter services at Christian churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo and in three five-star hotels in the capital.

Forty-two people have been arrested and over 20 houses searched in connection with investigations.

Wijewardene’s comments came as security forces and police searched the capital for a lorry and a van fitted with explosives identified by police in an intelligence report.

“The search is in progress, but nothing suspicious has been found so far,” a police officer said.

Police checked several motorcycles, cars, unattended parcels and other locations.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in Geneva that 45 children were killed and dozens were injured in the suicide attacks.

“No child should experience such a heartbreaking situation and no parents should lose their child forever under such horrible circumstances,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac said.

Three minutes of silence were observed as more funerals of those killed in Sunday’s attacks took place.

Black and white flags were also raised in most towns as symbols of mourning.
The country has been under a state of emergency since late Monday.

High security was being maintained in Colombo and in Negombo, 35 kilometres bombings North of the capital, where a mass burial took place close to a church where more than 110 people were killed.

The state of emergency gives security forces special powers, including the right to search and arrest individuals.

(dpa/NAN)

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Insecurity: FG Resuscitates Special Terrorism Prosecution Courts

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Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that special terrorism prosecution courts will soon be resuscitated in Nigeria.

In a statement on Thursday, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the AGF, Umar Gwandu, said the decision is part of efforts to address insecurity.

“The federal government is committed to ending insecurity in the country. The courts are to bring to book all those found guilty in connection with terrorism, so as to serve as a deterrent to others,” the statement read.

“In addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the measures taken by the government will counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.”

On April 30, 2013, Ibrahim Auta, the former chief judge of the federal high court, made a practice direction that amended the order 48 rule 4 of the federal high court (civil procedure) rule 2009, which took effect on June 3, 2013.

The practice direction was intended to fast-track criminal trials relating to offences of terrorism, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, rape, corruption, and money laundering cases, and ensure that delays in criminal trials are largely eliminated.

Under this practice, the court shall ensure that criminal cases are fully ready for trial before hearing dates are agreed, in order to minimise undue adjournments and delays.

Parties involved in the trials are also expected to focus only on important matters relating to their cases.

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$65m Fraud: ICPC Declares Buhari’s Son-in-Law Wanted

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared Gimba Yau Kumo, son-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted over an alleged $65 million fraud.

In a notice published on Thursday, Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson of the anti-graft commission, said Kumo is declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over alleged misappropriation and dispersion of national housing funds.

Kumo, a former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, married Fatima, the president’s daughter, in 2016 at Daura, Katsina state.

“The persons whose pictures appear above, Mr. Tarry Rufus, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, are hereby declared WANTED by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion of the sum of Sixty Five Million dollars ($65,000,000),” the ICPC said.

“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.”

In April, the senate committee on public accounts summoned Kumo to explain the alleged irregular award of N3 billion contract when he was still at the bank.

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Igbo Aren’t Violent People, Ignore ‘Rumour’ of Attack on Lagos – Ohanaeze Tells Sanwo-Olu

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Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.

On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.

The groups have, however, denied the allegations.

Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.

Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.

“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.

“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.

“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.

“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the south-west was a source of relief.

“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”

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