New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday condemned the Udhampur terror attack and termed it an attempt by Pakistan to destabilize peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Two militants attacked Border Security Force (BSF) convoy in Udhampur in Jammu on Wednesday. Two jawans were killed and 14 were injured in the attack,” the home minister said in a statement in the Rajya Sabha.
“One of the two terrorists was killed and the other was arrested with the help of locals. The other terrorist has been brought to Jammu and interrogation is on. After initial interrogation, the terrorist has told his name is Naved, alias Mohammad Usman, and he is from Faisalabad,” Singh added.
The Rajya Sabha, which has been repeatedly disrupted since the beginning of the session, agreed to hear the minister’s statement on the attack in silence, with leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad calling it a matter of great concern for the whole nation.
He said an AK-47 with magazines and explosives were recovered.
“This attack is an attempt by cross border terrorists to disrupt peace in Jammu and Kashmir. We condemn it,” he said.
He also expressed regret over the death of two BSF troopers, and those injured in the “mindless violence”.
Singh said that the government is considering gallantry awards for the BSF troopers, and has asked the state government to reward the villagers.
“BSF, Jammu and Kashmir police, and CRPF showed courage in limiting the damage and made the attack fail. For this courageous action, the kin of the deceased soldiers will be given compensation, jobs and will also be given gallantry awards,” he said.
“We specially appreciate the bravery of the villagers who risked their life and nabbed the terrorists. We have urged the state government to recognise and reward the action. We believe the arrested terrorist’s interrogation will give information on their modus operandi,” Singh added.
Soon after, there was a din in the house once again and it was adjourned till 2 pm.
Nigeria has promised to assist Cameroon in combating the separatist crisis rocking the central African country’s English speaking region. The pledge, made during a security meeting, has been described by Cameroon authorities as reassuring, following accusations that separatist fighters in Cameroon were being trained in Nigeria, and that weapons they use are brought in through the neighboring country.
Brigadier General Emmanuel Adamu Ndagi, leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Cameroon-Nigeria transborder security meeting that ended in Yaounde Saturday, says his country has been seriously affected by the separatist crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
The closure of parts of the border has led to a sharp decline in food imports, like sorghum, rice and onions, to Nigeria on one hand, while basic commodities exported from Nigeria, like fuel, are hard to get into Cameroon. Ndagi says because of the security, economic and humanitarian threats caused by the separatist war, Nigeria will support Cameroon in bringing peace to its troubled regions.
“The current political upheavals in that region will not be allowed to affect our cordial relations,” said Ndagi. “We will continue to support your efforts to bring lasting peace to the region. This will facilitate the return of Cameroonian refugees that have crossed the border into Nigerian territory. We must reduce vulnerabilities along our borders that are being exploited to perpetrate transnational organized crime notably terrorism, proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as piracy.”
When Cameroon declared war on the armed separatists in November 2017, it said gunmen were attacking border localities in Cameroon’s southwest and escaping to Nigeria, where some of them were trained. Nigeria denied the assailants were crossing over from its territory into Cameroon.
In January 2018, 47 separatists, including Ayuk Tabe Julius, head of a group from Cameroon’s Angolphone regions pushing for a breakaway from the French-dominant country, were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria, extradited and jailed in Cameroon.
Paul Atanga Nji, territorial administration minister and Cameroon’s leader of the delegation to the security meeting, says in spite of the collaboration, the separatists continue to use porous borders to import weapons through Nigeria, making the security situation very uncertain.
“The security situation along our common borders has all of a sudden become a cause for concern,” Nji said. “These threats take the following forms. Secessionist tendencies, illegal exploitation of natural resources, conflicts between boarder communities, highway robbery, drug and human trafficking, illicit trafficking of fire arms, agro pastoral conflicts etc.”
The UNHCR says that by December 2018 there were more than 32,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria’s Cross River state. Nigeria’s longest international border is with Cameroon. All along the 1,975 kilometer border there are violent crises. Nigeria’s northeast states of Borno and Adamawa continue to have Boko Haram terrorist attacks.
As the Yaounde security meeting was going on, Kildadi Taguieke Boukar, governor of Cameroon’s Adamaoua region that shares a boundary with Nigeria’s Taraba state, announced renewed conflicts with Nigerians escaping farmer-herder clashes to Cameroon.
“There is a conflict along some tribes in Nigeria’s Taraba state. About 100 people from Nigeria flee [have escaped] to our territory around Kontcha division [administrative unit and], there is agro-pastoral [farmer-herder] conflicts,” Boukar said.
Nigeria has not confirmed the renewed violence, but confrontations erupted last year in Cameroon’s Adamaoua region between farmers and Nigerian cattle ranchers who had escaped tribal wars in Taraba state.
The Cameroon-Nigeria Transborder Security Committee has as prime objective strengthening border security for both countries. It was created in 2012 in Nigeria. Cameroon and Nigeria agreed on Friday to take further measures to boost multifaceted cooperation in the fight against terrorism along their shared border.
They did not disclose details of how their cooperation will be carried out, but they said they would share information regularly to stop terrorist activities including Boko Haram attacks and separatists fighting for the independence of an English-speaking sate in Cameroon. They said they would make it difficult for criminals to leave Nigeria for Cameroon and vice versa. (VOA)