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Sri Lanka Bomb Attacks Update – 290 Confirmed Killed, 24 Arrested

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Eight coordinated explosions that tore through churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have killed at least 290 people and injured another 500, in what officials have called a “brand-new type of terrorism.”

Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide bombs, the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago.
A ninth improvised explosive device (IED) was defused near the capital’s Bandaranaike International Airport on Sunday evening, according to an Air Force spokesman. The blasts appears to have targeted tourism hotspots, as well as churches, in a bid to gain maximum global attention.
Foreign nationals are among the dead, including five British citizens, two of whom held dual US-UK nationality, three Indians, two Australians, two Chinese cousins, one person from the Netherlands, two Turkish citizens and one Portuguese person.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the “terrorist incident” was carried out by those following “religious extremism.”
On Sunday evening it was revealed in a leaked memo that police had been warned of a potential attack by the Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ), an Islamist group led by Mohomad Saharan. It is unclear whether the information related to Sunday’s bombings.
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka has said the intelligence was not shared with him and other ministers. Sajith Premadasa, minister of housing construction and cultural affairs, said the officers had acted with “negligence and incompetence.”
Analysts, however, have cautioned against rushing to conclusions. Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings India, said the NTJ is a little-known group, which has previously defaced Buddhist statues, and was unlikely to have the capacity or sophistication to execute an attack like Sunday’s without assistance.
While there is a known transnational Islamist presence in places such as Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Jaishankar said little is known about Islamic radicalism in Sri Lanka and that it was “premature” to speculate on which organizations might have been involved.
Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka, accounting for less than 10% of the total population of 21.4 million. According to census data, 70.2% of Sri Lankans identify as Buddhist, 12% Hindu, 9.7% Muslim, and 7.4% Christian.
It is estimated that 82% of Sri Lankan Christians are Roman Catholic.
A social media blackout has been enforced as the authorities try to contain the violence and establish who carried out the attacks and why.

How it unfolded

The first wave of attacks struck during packed Easter Sunday services.
More than 1,000 people had come to the one of the explosion sites, St. Sebastian’s Church, where 102 people were killed, according to Father Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo.
As the Easter services got underway at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, the bombers detonated their devices. The bombs blew out the tiled roofs of churches, killing worshipers. Images showed bloodied pews, broken glass and plumes of smoke.
Courtesy CNN

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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.

TheCable

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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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