Villagers in Borno on Sunday buried 43 farmers killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants while security forces searched for dozens of people who are still missing. Roughly 30 of the men killed were also beheaded in the attack, which began on Saturday morning in Zabarmari village. Residents said a total of 70 people are feared dead. President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings and said: “the entire country is hurt.” In Zabarmari, dozens of mourners surrounded the bodies, which were wrapped in white burial shrouds and placed on wooden pallets, as clerics led prayers for the deceased. One resident and Amnesty International said 10 women were among those missing. Borno Governor Babagana Zulum, speaking at the burials, called on the federal government to recruit more soldiers, Civilian Joint Task Force members and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region. He described desperate choices facing people. “In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said. While no group claimed responsibility, such massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). They are both active in the region, where Islamic militants have killed at least 30,000 people in the past decade.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has agreed to call off its eight-month strike which has grounded academic activities in the public universities since March, according to media reports. The union leadership reached the consensus during a meeting with the government team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja. The government also pledged to pay ₦40 billion as earned allowance during the strike period and committed a further ₦30 billion to the revitalisation of the university system. The FG further agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before 31 December. This development comes a week after the FG accepted ASUU’s demand that its members be exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System pending the approval of their proposed payment system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution. ASUU is expected to report the agreement to its organs and then communicate their decision to the government after which a date for the strike’s call-off would be announced.
Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit officials have demolished almost two thousand illegal shanties and containerised shops in and around Fagba, Agege. The agency’s chairman, Olayinka Egbeyemi, during the demolition exercise, said owners and occupants of the demolished shanties and containerised shops had been served a seven-day ‘removal order’ by the state government based on a series of complaints about criminal activities in the area. He added that after the expiration of the removal order, the government gave them a further 21 days to remove their belongings and vacate the entire area before embarking on the demolition exercise. “Investigations conducted revealed that miscreants and hoodlums occupying these illegal shanties were responsible for the destruction of public properties and looting of shops immediately after the recent ‘EndSARS’ protest around Agege. It was an eyesore with miscreants and hoodlums freely smoking and selling Indian hemp including prostitution by under-age boys and girls around Fagba railway lines,” the chairman was quoted by multiple media reports as saying. Officials said suspected illegal substances (Indian hemp) and other dangerous drugs such as codeine, skunk and tramadol were recovered during the demolition exercise.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Saturday that the army had entered Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, in an offensive against the region’s dissident leaders, state television reported. “We’ve been able to enter Mekelle city without innocent civilians being targets,” Abiy was quoted as saying by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. He later posted a statement on Twitter saying that “the federal government is in full control of the city of Mekelle,” and that the army would now locate Tigray’s leaders and arrest them. “We now have ahead of us the critical task of rebuilding what has been destroyed…with the utmost priority of returning normalcy to the people of the Tigray region,” Abiy added. In response, the leader of the Tigrayan forces told Reuters in a text message that they will continue fighting the central government. “Their brutality can only add [to] our resolve to fight these invaders to the last,” said Debretsion Gebremichael in a message. Asked by Reuters in a text message if that meant his forces will continue fighting, he replied: “Certainly. This is about defending our right to self-determination.”