Connect with us

FOREIGN NEWS

Terror Alert as US Shuts Embassies

Published

on

Why Obama shuns Nigeria – USAmid warnings over a fresh planned attack on Western targets, United States officials in Washington and diplomats in US postings around the world were on high alert at the weekend, leading to the closure of 22 embassies and travel alert to American citizens in the Arabian Peninsula.

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Saturday that the United States is not the only one worried by the latest threat to peace. The United Kingdom, French, and German embassies in Yemen will also be shut Sunday and Monday.

The uneasiness was coming on the heels of warnings that fresh intelligence points to Yemen-based al-Qaida being on the final stages of planning an attack on Western targets.

The warning is specifically tied to Yemen.

According to a report by Associated Press, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser updated him on the potential al-Qaida threat before he left Saturday for a round of golf in Maryland to kick off his 52nd birthday celebration last weekend, officials said.

An attack last year on a US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

“There is a significant threat stream, and we’re reacting to it,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told ABC in an interview to be aired today that the threat was “more specific” than previous ones and the “intent is to attack Western, not just US interests.”

The warning said al-Qaida or its allies might target either US government or private American interests. The alert expires on August 31.

The New York Times reported Friday night that American officials said the US had intercepted electronic communications among senior operatives of al-Qaida.

The State Department said the potential for terrorism was particularly acute in the Middle East and North Africa, with a possible attack occurring on or coming from the Arabian Peninsula.

US officials pointed specifically to Yemen, the home of al-Qaida’s most dangerous offshoot and the network blamed for several notable terrorist plots on the United States.

“Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” a department statement said.

Britain, Germany and France also announced their embassies in Yemen would be closed Sunday and Monday. British authorities said some embassy staff in Yemen had been withdrawn “due to security concerns.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird said on Friday there were no plans to close any Canadian missions in the region. But he did urge diplomats and Canadian travellers in the region to exercise added caution.

Interpol, meanwhile, issued a global security alert Saturday in connection with suspected al-Qaida involvement in several recent prison escapes including those in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan. The alert calls on Interpol’s 190 member countries to help determine whether these events are co-ordinated or linked. The Lyon, France-based international police agency said it issues such alerts fairly regularly.

The State Department urged U.S. travellers to take extra precautions overseas, citing potential dangers involved with public transportation systems and other prime sites for tourists. It noted that previous terrorist attacks have centred on subway and rail networks as well as airplanes and boats.

The alert was posted a day after the U.S. announced it would shut many diplomatic facilities Sunday.

Spokeswoman Marie Harf said some missions may stay closed for longer than a day.

Sunday is a business day in Muslim countries, and the diplomatic offices affected stretch from Mauritania in northwest Africa to Afghanistan.

Although the warning coincided with “Al-Quds Day,” the last Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan when people in Iran and some Arab countries express their solidarity with the Palestinians and their opposition to Israel, U.S. officials played down any connection.

They said the threat wasn’t directed toward a specific U.S. diplomatic facility.

The concern by American officials over the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is not new, given the terror branch’s gains in territory and reach during Yemen’s prolonged Arab Spring-related instability.

The group made significant territorial gains last year, capturing towns and cities in the south amid a power struggle in the capital that ended with the resignation of Yemen’s long-time leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. A U.S.-aided counteroffensive by the government has since pushed the militants back.

Yemen’s current president, Abdo Rabby Mansour Hadi, met with Obama at the White House on Thursday, where both leaders cited strong counterterrorism co-operation.

Earlier this week, Yemen’s military reported a U.S. drone strike killed six alleged al-Qaida militants in the group’s southern strongholds.

FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Published

on

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Harris accepts VP nomination

Published

on

Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

Continue Reading

FOREIGN NEWS

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

Published

on

Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

Continue Reading

Trending