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Egypt blames terrorism for crash that killed 224

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  • As Troops rescue another 150 from B/Haram

The Russian commercial jet that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula in October was downed by terrorists bent on damaging Egypt’s tourism industry and its relations with Russia, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities previously rejected Moscow’s findings that blamed a terrorist attack for the crash that killed 224 people aboard the Airbus 321-200. An affiliate of the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the tragedy.

“He who caused the plane crash … aimed to spoil the relations with Russia,” al-Sisi said in a speech translated by the The Cairo Post. He acknowledged that terrorism has not ended in Egypt but said it will “if we unite.”

Metro Jet Flight 9268 was loaded with Russian tourists en route from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg when it crashed Oct. 31.

Ayman el-Muqadam, Egypt’s chief crash investigator, said in December that his team had not come across any evidence to suggest the crash was caused by a terrorist act. Russian investigators consistently maintained the plane was brought down by a homemade explosive device placed on the flight. Russia subsequently suspended flights to Egypt.

Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, told USA TODAY that al-Sisi’s pronouncement would shift liability away from the Russian airline and toward Egypt’s security apparatus. But as the evidence piled up, Egyptian authorities had no choice but to take ownership of disaster, he said.

“I think there was no alternative,” Goelz said. “People were not going to go back to that resort unless they acknowledge what happened, fix the security and go forward.”

Al-Sisi has been laboring to jump-start Egypt’s tourism industry, which continues to struggle amid security concerns dating back to the 2011 revolution that drove longtime President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Al-Sisi met this week with Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization. Daily News Egypt reports al-Sisi stressed improved security efforts and said local authorities have spared no efforts in providing security for tourism.

Goelz said that may not be enough.

“The unrest in that entire region makes a normal tourist think twice about picking Egypt as a destination,” Goelz said. “I think they have a long way to go, frankly.”

In the meantime, troops at Kodo in Borno State have rescued another 150 people, majority being  children, from Boko Haram terrorists.

In addition, a house with Boko Haram flag at Fatake caught fire with several ammunition destroyed and three insurgents killed.

Acting Director in charge of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman who disclosed this also noted that troops of 7 Division carried out major operations against the Boko Haram terrorist locations in Talala and Kumshe axis.

He stated that the joint operation, which was carried out with Cameroonian forces was quite successful as a number of the terrorists were killed, their weapons and equipment either destroyed or captured.

According to him, the joint operation between elements of 7 Division and the Cameroonian forces along Banki-Kumshe axis, led to the killing of 20 Boko Haram terrorists, destruction of four AK 47 rifles and capture of a gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft Gun (AA Gun) and two AK 47 rifles, as well as a 60mm mortar and a Dane gun.

He said three soldiers sustained injury and a vehicle damaged as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Usman disclosed that troops also encountered about 10 other IEDs along the route of advance which were cleared. Most of the terrorists ran in disarray towards Fatake where troops on blocking position cleared them.

He said, “It is important to state that 5 Brigade and 7 Multinational Joint Task Force were doing well in their respective area of operations. This is made possible by the steady supply of needed logistics into the various formations and units fighting the Boko Haram terrorists.

USA Today with additional report from Tribune

Accidents

Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

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Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

 Pandemonium engulfed Ekololu, a community in the Surulere area of Lagos, on Monday night when the back tyres of a tanker transporting fuel to a Conoil filling station burst into flames near the station.

The News Correspondent who resides in the area reports that the explosion of the tyres and the ensuing billows of smoke made residents living near the filling station flee for safety.

Observations by the newsmen revealed that staff from the filling station hurried out with fire extinguishers to combat the fire, which erupted around 9:00 p.m., just a few meters from the station’s entrance.

Emergency responders, including Federal and State Fire Services, as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), swiftly arrived at the scene following distress calls from the community.

The ill-fated tanker that caused the pandemonium

Upon arrival, the emergency teams assessed the unregistered truck carrying the petrol and raised concerns about safety measures while questioning the driver and filling station management.

They provided guidance and oversaw the safe discharge of the fuel using a long hose to transfer the petroleum product from the stranded tanker into the filling station’s reservoirs.

The Station Manager of the Conoil filling station, Mr Kunle Oniya, informed the emergency responders that the station possessed 20 fire extinguishers, which were promptly utilised to contain the fire and prevent its spread.

The incident led to a traffic gridlock, with vehicles unable to move in the area for nearly an hour.

Some residents shared their experiences of the ordeal with the newsmen.

A resident, Malam Shehu, recounted abandoning his dinner upon witnessing the fiery explosion.

He expressed gratitude that the fire was contained before causing further damage.

Another resident, known as Iya Abigail, described hearing people shouting while she was playing games, prompting her to flee in confusion wearing her nightclothes.

She prayed for continued safety in the community.

An elderly resident, who preferred anonymity, urged filling stations in the area to prioritise safety and the welfare of residents.

She noted that filling stations typically had insurance against fire and other disasters and suggested extending such coverage to vulnerable buildings in their host communities.

Recalling the chaotic events, she said that she heard the sound of an emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood before hastily evacuating her home.

“I was watching TV and when the incident occurred, I had to blow the emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood but I quickly dressed up before running out of the house,” she said. 

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

…As 15 people sustain varying degrees of injuries

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of seven persons in a road accident that occurred on Ibadan-Iseyin road on Thursday.

The Public Relations Officer, FRSC, Oyo Sector Command, Mr Mayowa Odewo, said in a statement that the deceased were five male adults, one female adult and one female child.

Odewo said that 15 people also sustained varying degrees of injuries out of the 22 people involved in the crash.

He attributed the accident, involving a Nissan Urvan commercial bus, with registration number: SEY 254 ZY and a Mazda commercial bus, with registration number LGB 343 XA, to speed violations and fatigue.

Odewo stated that the 13 injured victims, including three male adults, nine female adults and one female child, had been taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

He said that four of the seven corpses of the victims had been claimed by their families, while the remaining three had been deposited at a morgue.

“The police from Motor Traffic Division (MTD) Police Division, Moniya, Ibadan, have taken possession of the two crashed vehicles, including bags and other valuables recovered from the scene,” he said.

The FRSC spokesperson noted that no victim was saved by the seat belt or other defensive gadgets.

He urged motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations as well as adhere to all traffic cautions on the road to prevent avoidable crashes. 

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

Australian police had found a man’s body off Sydney’s coast while searching for a cruise ship passenger who went overboard on Monday.
The man fell overboard before dawn near Sydney Heads, about 18 kilometers from the shore, with police and other emergency services launching a search, New South Wales police said.

At about 10.30 a.m. (0030 GMT), officers located the body and retrieved it, police said.

Police would now prepare a report for the Coroner and have launched an investigation into how the incident unfolded.

P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Adventure was due to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding, and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,’’
a statement from the company said, as quoted by local media.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.’’

The ship was returning to Sydney from a three-day trip to Queensland’s Morton Island.

– dpa

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