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Boko Haram Escapees Shunned by Family, Communities: Report

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  • As Yemen suicide bomber kills nine at military camp

Women and girls kidnapped and raped by Boko Haram continue to suffer even after their escape because of mistrust and hostility from family and friends, a report said Tuesday.

Thousands of Nigerians have been forced into a life of rape or involuntary marriage and some have been used as suicide bombers. But even for the rare few who escape, the misery is far from over, according to the report by UNICEF and London-based charity International Alert.

Many women who return to their families are viewed with deep suspicion, the report said, either because they are carrying the children of Boko Haram fighters or because their communities fear they may have been radicalized during captivity.

Many of them are suffering from acute mental distress resulting from sexual, psychological and physical violence suffered in captivity,” according to the report. “Yet, a significant proportion of them still face stigma and rejection from their communities.”

Not only are many women ostracized, communities fear that babies fathered through sexual violence during captivity “will become the next generation of fighters, as they carry the violent characteristics of their biological fathers,” the report said.

Boko Haram is an ISIS affiliate that is ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group. Its tactic of kidnapping women and girls came to international attention in April 2014 when it abducted 276 girls from a school in the town of Chibok.

The ensuing #BringBackOurGirls campaign was backed by Michelle Obama and others, and the U.S. and others sent military assistance. But the girls have not been found.

Despite the notoriety of the Chibok Girls, the reality is they represent a fraction of the estimated 2,000 victims who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram.

In the past year, the Nigerian government has been successful in taking back most of the territory once claimed by Boko Haram as its caliphate. Although the insurgents’ attacks have continued unabated, the army’s push has recovered many of their captives.

However the report added that the Nigerian government’s response to the shunning of freed women has been “limited” and humanitarian groups have only just begun to address the victims’ needs.

In the meantime, a suicide bomber attacked a military camp in southern Yemen on Wednesday, killing at least nine soldiers, military and medical sources said.

“A man detonate his explosive vest among soldiers” at the camp in the southern city of Aden overseen by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels, a military source said.

The soldiers were attending training run by Sudanese forces belonging to the Arab coalition, another military source said.

“So far, the bodies of nine soldiers and several wounded were brought to the hospital” in Aden, a medical source said.

The attack took place at the Ras Abbas military camp located in Aden’s western Buraiqa district, the first military source said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes just a day after Aden’s governor and its police chief escaped unharmed from a gun attack by Al-Qaeda militants on their convoy.

Three of the attackers were killed and four guards protecting the convoy were wounded in a gunfight, according to the governor’s aide.

Aden has seen a growing jihadist presence, with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long active in Yemen, and the Islamic State group apparently vying for influence.

The jihadists have claimed several attacks against government and coalition troops since the loyalists pushed the Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies out of the port city and other southern provinces last July.

The Saudi-led coalition has been supporting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognised government with air strikes, weapons and troops since March last year.

The United Nations says more than 6,100 people have been killed and 29,000 wounded in Yemen’s conflict since the coalition began its raids, about half of them civilians.

NBC with additional report from MSN

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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