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Suicide Bomb Kills 8 CIA Agents, Others

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A suicide bomber penetrated a foreign army base in Afghanistan to kill eight United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees on Wednesday, one of the spy agency’s largest death tolls, and a separate attack killed four Canadian troops and a journalist.

A “well-dressed” Afghan army official detonated a suicide vest at a meeting of CIA officials in southeastern Khost province, Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.

“This deadly attack was carried out by a valorous Afghan army member when the officials were busy gaining information about the mujahideen, in the (fitness) club,” he wrote in an email.

The attack is one of the most ambitious of the war, highlighting the Taliban’s reach and coordination at a time when violence has reached its highest levels since the overthrow of the Taliban regime by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001.

It was also the second Afghan army killing in as many days on the foreign troops and officials who are meant to be mentoring them, casting a shadow over plans to bolster the Afghan army and police to allow their troops to eventually bring them home.

US President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 extra troops to tackle the violence and NATO allies are contributing thousands more. An Afghan army official said on Wednesday that Washington had pledged $16 billion to train the army and air force.

When asked how the attacker managed to launch an assault in a foreign military base, Taliban spokesman Mujahid replied: “Since the man was an officer, he had not much difficulties.”

US officials said the dead Americans were CIA employees. Some people were also wounded in the explosion, defense officials said, but no US or NATO troops were among them.

The CIA has been expanding its presence in the country, stepping up strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda militants along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Forward Operating Base Chapman, the site of the suicide attack, is near the Pakistan border, in one of the areas of Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is strongest.

The agency’s role hunting terrorism suspects in Afghanistan has been criticized by both Afghans and human rights groups.

The five Canadians four soldiers and a journalist were killed when their armored vehicle was hit by a bomb in southern Kandahar province, the Canadian Defense Ministry said.

The blast, about 4 km (2.5 miles) outside Kandahar, struck the patrol as it was visiting community reconstruction projects.

The Khost base targeted by the suicide attacker is also a center for reconstruction projects, a key part of Obama’s strategy to stabilize the country.

Washington has pledged a “civilian surge,” adding hundreds of US experts to support work on development projects that aim to undermine support for the Taliban and other insurgents.

But foreign aid agencies warned earlier this year that the shift into the military bases, and the use of military personnel to carry out development projects, risked a dangerous blurring of the boundaries between troops and civilians.

The journalist killed was Michelle Lang, 34, on assignment for the Canwest News Service. She was on her first assignment in Afghanistan and had been in the country since December 11.

She is the third journalist to die in Afghanistan this year.

The attack brought Canada’s military deaths in Afghanistan to 138. Canada has a 2,800-strong military mission in Afghanistan, but the mission has become increasingly unpopular at home and it is scheduled to be withdrawn at the end of 2011.

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NCWS Hails RSG’s Steps Against Illegal Refining

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The President of the Rivers State Branch of the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Princess Mariam Tolofari, has commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for taking decisive steps against illegal oil refining, air pollution and environmental degradation in the state.
Speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt, state president of NCWS maintained that Wike’s physical visit to some sites of the illegal refineries, mandating and supporting the state security agencies, local government chairmen and chiefs to swiftly end illegal refining has significantly reduced the menace of soot and its attendant environmental degradation and health hazard in the state.
Tolofari said that the governor’s resolve to end the soot in the state was heroic and valiant, while also backing the governor’s call on the Federal Government to respond to the issues giving rise to the soot epidemic in the state.
“We appreciate the governor for taking the bold initiative against operators of illegal refineries and the hydra-headed monster of black soot in Rivers State. We pledge to sustain and support a Green State that is healthy and beneficial to us all”, she said.
She further urged women to restrain their children and wards from joining persons engaged in ‘Kpo fire’ activities and ensure they stay focused in the pursuit of academic excellence and genuine business goals not associated to crime.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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Join War Against ‘Kpo Fire’, Monarchs Tell Rivers People

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Some traditional rulers in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area have called on Rivers people to support the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on the war against illegal oil bunkering.
The traditional rulers include the Paramount Ruler of Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, the EzeRisi/Ohia Mbam Abali, Eze Christopher Wonodi, and the Paramount Ruler of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu.
The monarchs, who spoke in their palaces on the issue, said the war against ‘Kpofire’was a collective one as the situation has reached a dangerous point.
They also dismissed the claim that unemployment was responsible for the menace, adding that there was no society in the world where government employs everybody.
They also noted that the stealing of crude oil did not start today.
Speaking, Paramount Ruler of Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, said the situation has taken a serious pitch, adding that a lot of lives were being lost as a result of the soot.
Ihunwo also described the action of the governor as timely.
According to the Woji monarch, those in the business of illegal oil bunkering do not know the health hazard they were causing to the people.
Ihunwo said that, in 2018,he invited the youths to his palace and mobilise them against operators of illegal refineries using Woji as conduit channel for evacuation of illegally refined products, and stressed that because of the collective understanding and collaboration of all stakeholders, Woji has not recorded any such criminal act within the community.
He, therefore, challenged other monarchs to emulate the Woji example.
The monarch also acknowledged a reduction in soot in the atmosphere in the state capital, while the amount of oil spill on surfaces of water has also reduced.
Also speaking, the Eze Risi/Ohia Mbam Abali, Eze Christopher Wonodi, said the intervention of the governor has saved the people of the state from series of health challenges.
Wonodi said it behooves the people of Rivers State to give their maximum support to the governor to succeed in eliminating the scourge of the soot pandemic in the state.
He also advised the youths to desist from the nefarious act and find other legitimate means of eking out aliving.
Wonodi also said that his kingdom has started sensitising the people against involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Iriebe community, Eze Jeremiah Worenwu said Wike has shown that he has the capacity to solve societal problems.
Worenwu said that Iriebe community would comply fully with the governor’s directive to stop illegal oil bunkering, and warned those who may want to delve into the illegal business to stay away from the community.
While describing the governor’s action as welcome, the Iriebe monarch said the war against ‘Kpo fire’ needs the support of all members of the society, including the security agencies.

By: John Bibor, Oribim Ibama

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ABOLGA Boss Declares Zero Tolerance On Oil Bunkering Activities

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The Chairman of Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Hon. Daniel Daniel has thrown his weight behind the ongoing war against soot in Rivers State, assuring that his administration would do everything humanly possible to smoke out the criminal cartels involved in the illicit business.
The chairman, who declared that his administration would not condone activities of artisanal crude oil refineries in Abua/Odual, said he would demolish all illegal oil refining sites in the LGA, as directed by the state governor.
Speaking after visiting one of the uncovered artisanal crude oil bunkering sites in Odau Community, Daniel commended the efforts of the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his relentless pursuit towards bringing to an end the menace called soot, which was threatening the very existence of the people in Rivers State.
He added that the practical steps taken by the governor within the last few weeks was yielding results.
Daniel used the opportunity to caution those who play politics with the fight against soot in the state to desist forthwith.
He further added that it was not proper to politicise this all important issue, which was causing harm to the environment and killing the people slowly.
The chairman called on all indigenes and residents of Abua/Odual Local Government Area to join forces to nip the danger posed by the soot the bud.
The ABOLGA chief executive alsosaid that anyone with useful information onthe locationsof the sites and names of operators where illegal oil bunkering activities are taking place within the area should report with immediate effect, to him or the DPO of the Abua/Odual Divisional Police Command for necessary action.
He disclosed that as the chairman of council, he has knowledge of all forests/communities in the LGA, adding that his administration would leave no stone unturned in implementing the directives of the state governor.
The site visited in Odau Community has over 15 boiling pots and occupies an estimated geographical area of over one hectare of land.
The Tide learnt that the site is bounded by communities from Ahoada-West LGA of Rivers State and Ogbia LGA in Bayelsa State.
Those who accompanied the chairman on the enforcement visit are the DPO of the Divisional Police Command and his men; the C4i LGA commander and his team of gallant men.
Others are the Chief of Staff to the Chairman, Hon. Okpokipoiy Peters; Supervisor for Environment, Hon Vincent Reuben Obu; and his works counterpart, Hon. Zinami Fyneroad Iwariso; Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs to the Chairman, Hon Alex Walters who is an indigene of the Odau Community, among others.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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