The police in Nigeria’s northern state of Kaduna are on the trail of the killers of Matthew Danjuma Oguche, a young agriculturist and his British aid worker partner, Faye Mooney.
The two were on Saturday killed by armed gunmen at a popular resort Kajuru Castle, 60km off Kaduna in northern Nigeria, where three others got kidnapped. The kidnappers are now demanding $165,000 for the three kidnapped persons.
“Intensive efforts are being made by the (Police) Command to rescue the kidnapped persons, apprehend the fleeing culprits and bring them to justice.” Yakubu Sabo, a police spokesman said on Sunday.
Kidnapping gone wrong
The deaths were due to a kidnapping attempt gone wrong after the gunmen started “shooting sporadically and in the process shot dead two persons including an expatriate lady.” Some of the injured persons were later rescued to hospital, Police said.
Matthew and his friends were on an Easter getaway from Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos. He worked with International NGO Safety Organisation, INSO, a company that offers security awareness and training for foreign aid agencies such as Mercy Corps, where Mooney worked.
A statement on its website said Oguche had been with the organisation since “early 2018 and was involved in the delivery of Personal Safety and Hostile Environment Awareness courses to our NGO partners.”
“Seen as the ‘little-brother’ of the training team, Matthew was a kind, intelligent and outward looking young man with a passion for learning and a deep commitment to helping others.” INSO said while condoling his family.
As investigations continue, it is not yet clear if Matthew had engaged the gunmen in a fight due to his hostile environment training skills possibly to rescue his British girlfriend who may have been ‘the catch’ for the kidnappers, in an area rife with cases of abduction of locals and foreigners.
One source familiar with the matter told local media that Matthew and Faye were accommodated in rooms in one of the towers but “got terrified and attempted to leave the rooms and in the process they were hit by bullets as they attempted to run down the staircase.”
“The bandits climbed up the rock by the gate. When they started shooting, the two mobile police guarding the place responded, so they knew there were armed policemen inside and they couldn’t come in. The two people they killed were already tensed in their rooms in one of the towers. They were panicking and they rushed out of their rooms and started running down the stairs. So as they were running down the staircase, the bandits saw them and shot them.” The source said.
Five people were initially said to have been abducted by the kidnappers; four staff of the castle and a bus driver who brought some guests, but two of them staff of the castle, later managed to escape.
Police sources in the kaduna community of Kajuru, where the shooting occurred, said the bandits have now made demands of 60 million naira or
$165,000 ransom for the release of the three victims. They made the demand on Sunday through a phone call to a staff of the castle.
Colleagues and families react
“Faye was a dedicated and passionate communications and learning specialist,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive of Mercy Corps, where she worked for almost two years, in a statement on social media. The organisation said her colleagues were “heartbroken” by the news of her sudden death.
The deceased Briton’s next-of-kin had been notified said, David Smith, a Spokesman of the British High Commission in Abuja on Sunday. “Her next-of-kin has been notified. We are engaging with the Nigerian authorities, and we understand an investigation is underway.”
“Faye was an inspiration to her family, friends, students and work colleagues. Her bravery and her belief in a better society took her to places others feared. We are so proud of who she was and of everything she achieved in her short life.” Mooney’s family later told UK Guardian.
Police Commissioner, Ahmad Abdur-Rahman said the management of the resort had failed to seek the usual security cover whenever such tourists events were being held, especially for people coming outside Kaduna state or foreigners. He assured families of those kidnapped that they would soon be released.
Matthew, 23, was an agriculture graduate of Landmark University, Kwara state and PGD Public Administration and Policy graduate of the University of Maiduguri, Borno state, all in Nigeria. He wrote about himself as being an “aspiring agricultural social entrepreneur.” His family were unavailable for comments.
“I condemn the killing of British aid worker, Faye Mooney, and her Nigerian partner, Matthew Oguche two days ago in Kaduna State. Several other Nigerians were kidnapped during the episode.” Said Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s former Vice President in a statement on Monday.
Atiku, who was also the major opposition candidate in Nigeria’s February 23 polls, said “I want the government and people of the United Kingdom to know that these atrocious actions do not reflect Nigeria’s national character. I make an urgent call for the federal and state authorities to track down the culprits and make them pay for their crimes.”
Zambian President fires finance minister
Sacked Finance Minister, Margaret Mwanakatwe to be replaced by central bank deputy governorm Bwalya Ng’andu
Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has fired Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe, a statement from the presidency said Monday, as the economy grows at its slowest rate in 20 years.
Mwanakatwe, 57, was appointed only last year but was removed on Sunday without any reason given and replaced by central bank deputy governor Bwalya Ng’andu.
“I hereby terminate your appointment as minister of finance,” Lungu stated in his letter to Mwanakatwe according to the statement.
Ng’andu was sworn in on Monday, in a move welcomed by international investment markets with Zambia’s Eurobonds rising sharply. The price of its $750 million of securities due in September 2022 rose 5.2 per cent on Monday, according to Bloomberg News.
Zambia has struggled with falling prices of copper, its key export, and disputes with mining companies, with its foreign exchange reserves plunging and debt rising.
Lungu on Monday called for Zambians to “work as a team and stabilise the economy.”
But main opposition party UPND spokesman Charles Kakoma told reporters that Lungu’s government wasted money and a “cosmetic change” of ministers would not improve the economy.
Gunmen kill 10 in revenge attack in northern Nigeria
Gunmen opened fire on security forces as they arrived on the scene, shooting out the tyres of an armoured vehicle
About 300 gunmen raided a village in north-western Nigeria in a revenge attack, killing 10 people, burning cars and stealing cattle, police said. The assailants “invaded” Kirtawa village in Katsina state late Saturday, shooting residents and stealing cows, regional police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement.
“Ten persons were found dead, five injured,” Isah said. The bandits set fire to five cars and four motorcycles after stealing “an unspecified number of cows”, he said.
Police said the gunmen opened fire on security forces as they arrived on the scene, shooting out the tyres of an armoured vehicle and wounding a soldier and a paramilitary officer, before fleeing.
The raid was a “reprisal attack” for an earlier assault on the bandits by vigilantes from the village, police said. Katsina state has seen a surge in attacks by kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs, prompting villagers to form vigilantes groups to defend themselves.
The bandit gangs maintain camps in Rugu forest which straddles Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states. Last week gunmen killed six people when they raided three villages in Katsina’s Kankara district.
Algeria defeat Nigeria to set up Senegal rematch for AFCON final
Algeria will take on Sadio Mane’s Senegal for the title on July 19, in a repeat of a group stage clash they won 1-0
Riyad Mahrez rifled in a stoppage-time free-kick to earn Algeria a dramatic 2-1 victory over three-time champions Nigeria on Sunday and set up a rematch with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Algeria led through a first-half own goal by William Troost-Ekong before Nigeria equalised with an Odion Ighalo penalty awarded after a VAR review.
However, as extra time looked necessary, Mahrez blasted in from 20 yards with the last kick of the match to send the Desert Foxes through to their first final since lifting the trophy for the only time in 1990.
Algeria will take on Sadio Mane’s Senegal for the title on July 19, in a repeat of a group stage clash they won 1-0.
“We are very happy to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations because it is something very special,” said Mahrez.
“It was our goal to do it for the people and for our families. We know they are behind us all the way. It’s my most important goal for the national dream. Yes, it’s my dream to win it and hopefully we will be able to.”
An injury to Youcef Atal, who fractured his collarbone during the quarter-final win over Ivory Coast on penalties, forced Djamel Belmadi to start Mehdi Zeffane at right-back, while Nigeria fielded the same team that overcame South Africa here.
Algeria supporters filled most of the lower tier at one end of the ground, dwarfing a small section of Nigeria fans, but there were large swathes of empty seats at the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium.
Mahrez leads by example –
Leading scorers in the tournament and considered the most impressive side, Algeria quickly asserted themselves as Ramy Bensebaini headed narrowly over before a wicked Youcef Belaili cross nearly lead to a goal for Baghdad Bounedjah.
Hesitant defending from Kenneth Omeruo just outside his own area then allowed Bounedjah to nip in, but the Al-Sadd striker could only shoot tamely at Daniel Akpeyi.
Seemingly having moved on from the penalty miss that reduced him to tears in the last round, Bounedjah was consistently proving a nuisance to a nervy Nigeria backline with Jamilu Collins relieved to see a toed clearance land on the roof of the net.
Nigeria countered intermittently as Ighalo dragged wide after Mahrez was caught in possession, but the Manchester City winger promptly atoned as Algeria made the breakthrough on 40 minutes.
After gathering the ball on the right Mahrez danced past Collins before sending over a cross that flicked off the left-back and struck a helpless Troost-Ekong in the midriff before tricking over the line.
Super Eagles boss, Gernot Rohr has praised his side’s resilience, particularly the way they bounced back from a shock loss to Madagascar to eliminate defending champions Cameroon, and Nigeria again hit back with the aid of VAR.
Gambian referee Bakary Gassama initially dismissed Nigerian penalty appeals when a Peter Etebo shot struck the arm of Aissa Mandi but reserved that decision, with Ighalo sending Rais Mbohli the wrong way from the spot for his competition-best fourth goal.
Sofiane Feghouli blazed over late on and extra time beckoned after Ismael Bennacer rattled the bar in stoppage time, but Mahrez won it at the death with a thunderous strike into the top corner.
Zambian President fires finance minister
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