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Boko Haram unleashes terror blitzkrieg, 150 people slaughtered

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boko-haramBy NewsGram Staff Writer

In yet another gruesome attack by Islamist terror group Boko Haram, nearly 150 people have been massacred in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state.

According to eyewitness statements, the gunmen stormed the village of Kukawa near Lake Chad on Wednesday evening, killing 97 people, including women and children.

On Tuesday, 48 men were shot dead after they had finished prayers in two villages near the town of Monguno which has now been recaptured from Boko Haram, quoted AFP News.

Last month, at least 23 people were blown to pieces in the town after a confiscated Boko Haram bomb exploded during celebrations to mark the successful military operation against the Islamist group.

Since 2009, the year Boko Haram launched its violent campaign to establish militant Islamist rule, at least 17,000 people have been killed, says Amnesty International.

Merciless Killing Spree

The Wednesday attack which saw more than 50 militants storming Kukawa was a ghastly onslaught which spared no one, eyewitness Babami Alhaji Kolo was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“The terrorists first descended on Muslim worshippers in various mosques who were observing the Maghrib prayer shortly after breaking their fast.

They spared nobody. In fact, while some of the terrorists waited and set most of the corpses on fire, others proceeded to houses and shot indiscriminately at women who were preparing food”, Kolo said.

“Many died, some escaped. They then set the village on fire. I saw five victims with bullet wounds who managed to escape. They were brought to [Monguno] on wheelbarrows, before they were transferred to vehicles that took them to hospitals”, Kolo further added.

Magnitude of threat

“The jihadist fighters who had recently been flushed out of their stronghold in the Sambisa forest had settled in these villages close to Lake Chad”, says Mohammed Tahir Monguno, a local politician.

Monguno had had notified the military of the jihadists’ presence, warning that the villages were not safe.

According to the BBC, these are the worst Boko Haram attacks for many weeks.

Frequent bombings have been carried out by the terror outfit ever since it’s presence was weakened by a regional military offensive to recapture most of the territory it had controlled.

Further, the group is still holding many women, girls and children captive, including 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.

Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari says his main priority is improving the regional effort to defeat Boko Haram.

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Saudi Arabia to Cooperate with India in Combating Terrorism

Prince Salman said Wednesday that there were potential opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India.

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Saudi Arabia, Modi, Terrorism
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in New Delhi that terrorism is a common concern and his country would cooperate with India in combating terrorism and extremism.

On a visit to New Delhi, Prince Salman said Wednesday that there were potential opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India.

His trip to New Delhi has coincided with spiraling tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of a terror attack that killed 40 paramilitaries in Indian Kashmir.

Prince Salman’s meetings with Indian leaders came two days after he went to Pakistan. He did not mention the attack on Indian soldiers, but at a joint press appearance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi he said “we reaffirm to India that we are ready to work in the intelligence sharing and political arenas to coordinate our efforts on terrorism.”

Referring to the recent “barbaric” attack in Kashmir, Modi said that the two countries had agreed that “it is extremely important to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting terrorism in any way.” The Indian leader said that destroying the infrastructure of terrorism, and punishing terrorists and their supporters is necessary.

India, Saudi Arabia, terrorism
The two countries signed five agreements in the areas of investment, tourism, housing and communications. Wikimedia

New Delhi, which accuses Pakistan of giving sanctuary to terror groups that carry out strikes in India, is trying to build diplomatic pressure against Islamabad. It gave Prince Salman a warm welcome with Modi breaking protocol to receive him personally at the airport on Tuesday.

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, who also was warmly welcomed in Pakistan, had pledged investment deals worth $ 20 billion during his Islamabad visit.

Modi said that India and Saudi Arabia had agreed to to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, naval and cyber security.

As both leaders hailed deepening ties, they also sounded an optimistic note on building business and trade ties. The Saudi Crown Prince, who came to New Delhi with a large business delegation, said that Riyadh had invested $44 billion in India since 2016. He said that there were opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India in areas such as energy, agriculture and technology.

Two-way trade totaled over $ 27 billion last year. Saudi Arabia is a top supplier of oil to India, which is one of the world’s largest oil importers and provides about one fifth of its crude.

India, saudi arabia, terrorism
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center left, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center right, witness the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Petroleum, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2019. VOA

The two countries signed five agreements in the areas of investment, tourism, housing and communications.

Prince Salman said that his visit to India will improve centuries-old ties between the countries, which he said are “in our DNA.” Ties between the two countries have been on an upswing since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 as part of efforts to strengthen ties with Middle East countries.

ALSO READ: Saudi, India Admit of Putting Pressure on Countries Supporting Terrorism

The Saudi crown prince is on his first major overseas tour since the storm over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. He is expected to visit China after India. (VOA)