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Xenophobia: FG endorses Air Peace to evacuate stranded Nigerians from South Africa

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Xenophobia: 320 Nigerians to arrive Lagos 7 p.m. on Tuesday- Air Peace, Mission

…As NSCDC deploys personnel nationwide***

The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs may have endorsed the Air Peace Airline to begin tomorrow, September 6, the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in South Africa, following recent attacks on them.

Spokesperson for the Ministry, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye highlighted this on Wednesday in Abuja.

Nwonye said that Mr Allen Onyema, Proprietor of Air Peace Airline had volunteered to send an aircraft as from Sept. 6 to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return free of charge.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that following the recent unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the Proprietor of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, has volunteered to send an aircraft from Sept. 6 to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge.

“The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture.

“Interested Nigerians are, therefore, advised to liaise with the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg for further necessary arrangement,” Nwonye said.

Earlier, the Airline had offered to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa following the ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreigners living in the country.

The airline made this known in a letter by its Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, addressed to Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Olajide said the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa were unfortunate, adding that the airline could not fold its hands and watch Nigerians being killed by the South Africans.

She said: “To this end, Air Peace is willing to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts in this matter by deploying our B777 aircraft to evacuate Nigerians back home.

“We humbly plead with the Federal Government to inform the Nigerian Embassy and the South African Government to rescue the stranded Nigerians by transporting them to the airport to allow Air Peace to evacuate them to Nigeria.”

The Federal Government had recalled its Ambassador to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, and pulled out of the World Economic Summit holding in Cape Town.

The government had also issued travel advice to Nigerians intending to visit South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.

This followed the recent xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa on Sunday, which had left several Nigerians stranded and seeking refuge.

The intervention from Air Peace Airline is therefore a ray of hope for many Nigerians seeking to return home to safety.

Also read:  Xenophobia: Nigeria Recalls Ambassador, pulls out of World Economic Summit, demands full compensation

In the meantime, Mr Abdullahi Gana, the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), has directed the immediate deployment of operatives of the corps across the country to prevent breakdown of law and order.

Gana gave the directive in a statement issued by Mr Emmanuel Okeh, the NSCDC’s Public Relation officer (NSCDC), on Thursday in Abuja.

The commandant-general said that the deployment followed the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

Gana explained that the measure was to avert retaliatory attack on South African companies and people in the country.

He said he shared the thoughts of the minister, who had condemned the reprisal attack by some Nigerians as an expression of anger over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“This is not the solution to the crisis at hand because more lives of innocent Nigerians and properties worth millions of Naira would be lost in the process,’’ he said.

Gana said that apart from deploying personnel to provide physical security, the NSCDC had engaged the Crisis Management Department (CMD) and the Peace and Conflict Resolution team to mitigate the crisis.

“This is to immediately carry out enlightenment and advocacy programme to educate the citizens on the need to embrace peace and shun violence because of its dire consequences on our collective security,’’ he said.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Governments and not allow the retaliatory attack snowball into national emergency in order to avert hoodlums taking it over.

 

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Israeli Defence Minister Reports Death Of Hamas Terrorists

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…As Norway is to deliver six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

 Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday said that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have killed a majority of Hamas terrorists and most of the Islamist organisation’s battalions smashed.

Gallant commented on parliament on Wednesday, according to Israeli media.

Israel announced the destruction of Hamas as a war objective after the massacres carried out by Hamas and other extremist groups on October 7.

“As long as Hamas retains a hold in the Gaza Strip, it can rebuild and strengthen itself, “Israeli officials have said.

So the IDF would then have to return and fight in areas where it had already been deployed.

Gallant has called for the creation of a political alternative to Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to present a plan for the administration and reconstruction of Gaza after the end of the war.

Observers say this is likely because he is trying to avoid conflict with his far-right coalition partners who favour the building of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, a proposition. 

In another developmnet, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member, Norway, will supply six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The first is due to arrive by the end of the year, the government in Oslo confirmed on Wednesday.

“Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against air attacks is crucial in its battle against Russia,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

It has been known for some time that Norway intends to send F-16s to Ukraine as part of an international coalition.

However, the timing has so far been as unclear as the exact number of aircraft.

Even though several countries have pledged to deliver the US-built fighters, none are known to have yet arrived in Ukraine.

On the fringes of the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country hopes to receive its first F-16s this summer.

Ukraine, which has been under attack from Russia since February 2022, needs at least 128 fighter jets, Zelensky said.

According to the government, Norway decommissioned its F-16s in 2021 as part of the introduction of new F-35 fighter jets. Of the fighters withdrawn from service, 32 were sold to Romania.

– dpa

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Sunak Insists Predictions Of Defeat Not Going To Stop Him

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Sunak Insists Predictions Of Defeat Are Not Going To Stop Him

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has insisted that predictions of a Conservative defeat are not going to stop him after the likelihood of his return to Downing Street.

He said this was put at less than “lightning striking twice in the same place” by a polling expert.

He was asked during a “BBC Breakfast’’ interview whether he accepted the analysis by-elections guru Professor John Curtice, the prime minister said: “That’s his view.

“That’s not going to stop me from working as hard as I can over these final few days to talk to as many people as possible about the choice.”

“And I was up at 4 this morning talking to workers at a distribution facility.

“I’m here talking to you. I’ll be out till the last moment of this campaign because I think it’s an important choice for the country.”

Sunak kicked off a final push for votes on the last two days of the campaign with an early morning visit to an Ocado packing plant in Bedfordshire.

Then he stopped at a Morrisons near Witney the former Oxfordshire seat of Foreign Secretary, David Cameron where the conservatives won with a 15,200 majority in 2019.

In a last-ditch attempt to rally conservative voters, the Tory leader claimed in a speech on Tuesday that just 130,000 voters could prevent a Labour “supermajority.”

He denied that his switch from talking about his policy plans to warnings about a landslide for Keir Starmer and his Labour Party was the language of defeat.

“No, I’m much still talking to people about our plan,” he said.

Sunak also defended the conservative campaign, in spite of it having failed to narrow the opinion poll gap with Labour.

It was asked if he had got the campaign wrong after it was hit by debacles including his early D-day departure and the gambling row, the prime minister said

“No, actually everywhere I’ve been going, people are waking up to the dangers of what a labour government would mean for them, particularly when it comes to taxes.”

He said under the conservatives, things were undeniably better than they were a few years ago.

“When it comes to the things that we want to do, people can see that we have turned a corner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Starmer said a big Labour majority would be better for the country.

The Labour leader hammered home his get-out-the-vote message on a whistlestop campaign tour to Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire on Tuesday.

In an interview with The Times, he said he needed a strong mandate to reform the planning system and improve the economy.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey is continuing his action-packed campaign tour to the South-West of England where he will call on voters to end the sewage scandal. 

– dpa

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S/Korea slams N/Korea-Russia treaty, hints at potential arms supply to Ukraine

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S/Korea slams N/Korea-Russia treaty, hints at potential arms supply to Ukraine

….As Another cargo ship is seized on suspicion of violating UN sanctions on N/Korea

The South Korean government on Thursday said it would reconsider its stance on arms supply to Ukraine after North Korea and Russia signed a treaty to mutually provide immediate military assistance if one of them is attacked.

National Security Advisor Chang Ho-jin also condemned “the comprehensive strategic treaty” signed during the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Wednesday.

“The government expresses grave concern and condemns the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between North Korea and Russia, which aims to strengthen mutual military and economic cooperation,” Chang said in a press briefing at the presidential office.

Chang said any cooperation that directly or indirectly aids North Korea’s military enhancement is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and will be subject to international scrutiny and sanctions, and vowed to take corresponding measures.

“We plan to reconsider the issue of arms support to Ukraine,” Chang also said, suggesting a shift in South Korea’s policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine.

A presidential official said South Korea will maintain strategic ambiguity regarding the types of weapons that could be supplied to Ukraine.

“Specific measures will be revealed later, and it will be interesting to see how Russia responds, rather than revealing our plans in advance,” the official told reporters.

Air defense systems could be on the list as Ukraine is in desperate need of missile shields to counter Russian air strikes, according to government sources.

South Korea will also slap additional sanctions on four Russian ships, five organizations, and eight individuals involved in the transfer of weapons and oil between Russia and North Korea, Chang said.

There are 1,159 items subject to export controls to Russia following the Ukraine war, and South Korea will add 243 new items, bringing the total to 1,402 items under sanctions.

Chang said it is “troubling” that North Korea and Russia, with their history of initiating the Korean War and the Ukraine War, respectively, pledged military cooperation based on the hypothetical scenario of a preemptive attack.

“This is a fallacious and irrational argument that disregards international responsibility and norms,” he said.

In light of deepening ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, the government vowed to sternly respond to any security threats in coordination with the international community.

“We will further strengthen the extended deterrence of the S. Korea-U.S. alliance and the security cooperation among South Korea, the United States, and Japan to deter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” Chang said. 

In another development, the South Korea seized a 2,900-ton cargo ship near the Korea Strait on Thursday on suspicion of violating UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions against North Korea, sources said.

File photo shows a cargo ship, DEYI, on March 30, 2024, in waters off Yeosu committing alleged activities in violation of UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea. (Yonhap).

The foreign-flagged freighter, reportedly carrying coal and iron ore with 10 crew members, was en route from Russia to China, presumably via North Korea, when it was seized.

The vessel is now anchored at an anchorage in Busan on the country’s southeastern coast.

“With the vessel’s suspected violation of the UNSC sanctions, relevant government agencies are taking necessary steps in line with the international and domestic laws,” the foreign ministry said in response to a Yonhap query about the ship, without providing further details.

In late March, another 3,000-ton cargo ship, DEYI, which was heading to Vladivostok, Russia, was seized in waters off Yeosu, along the southern coast, under similar suspicions.

The ship is also currently anchored at the anchorage at Busan Port, with the captain and other crew onboard.

– Yonhap

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