U.S. special forces rescued an American citizen who had been kidnapped by armed men in an operation on Saturday in northern Nigeria that is believed to have killed several of his captors, U.S. officials said. Forces including Navy SEALs rescued 27-year-old Philip Walton, who had been abducted on Tuesday from his home in neighboring southern Niger, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that no U.S. troops were hurt. A diplomat source in Niger said Walton is now at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Niamey. Walton, who kept camels, sheep and poultry and grew mangoes near the border with Nigeria, was kidnapped by six men armed with AK-47 assault rifles who arrived on motorcycles at his home in southern Niger’s Massalata village early on Tuesday. Reuters reported that the perpetrators appeared to be from the Fulani ethnic group, and that they spoke Hausa and some English. They demanded money and searched the family’s home before leaving with Walton.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has begged personnel of the force to return to their duty posts. The IGP made the appeal while addressing his men at the Federal Capital Territory command in Abuja immediately after he returned from an assessment tour to various police facilities destroyed by the hoodlums. He also charged them to protect themselves against any assault at their respective duty posts. He said his move to embark upon the tour was to boost the morale of officers who have abandoned the streets for the past few days sequel to various attacks suffered by the security operatives in various states. Shortly after he returned to force headquarters, the IGP inaugurated a 9-man committee to assess losses suffered by the force and pay a condolence visit to all families of deceased police officers and the injured ones. The committee, which has a Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, as its chairman, is expected to submit its report within three weeks.
Two separate lawsuits have been filed against the National Broadcasting Commission over the ₦3 million fine imposed by the commission on three television stations in relation to their coverage of the #EndSARS protests. One of the two suits was filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project; while the second one was filed by a group of lawyers called the Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative. Both suits are before the Federal High Court in Abuja. SERAP is urging the court to declare that the ₦3 million fine imposed by NBC on each of Channels TV, Africa Independent Television and Arise TV over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests is “arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional.” It wants the court to stop NBC from enforcing the fine. Similarly, DRLI, in the suit filed by its lawyers, Messrs Solomon Okedara and Olumide Babalola, contended that “the sanction and fine imposed on the television stations creates a chilling effect on freedom of expression and constitutes an unjustifiable interference of its members’ right to freedom of expression particularly, their right to receive ideas and information from the sanctioned television stations.” DRLI is praying the court to set aside the ₦3 million fine and to award ₦1 million damages against the NBC.
Several people died in election-day clashes in Cote D’Ivoire, officials said Sunday, as polling stations began sending voting tallies to the electoral commission. The mayor of the town of Tiebissou has said that four people were killed and 27 injured by bullets and machetes when young armed men from surrounding villages fired on people. One other person was killed in the pro-Bedie town of Niable, a government official said on condition of anonymity. Opposition leaders who boycotted Saturday’s election say at least a dozen people died. More than 20 others had been killed in the run-up to the vote, human rights groups said. The violence brought back memories of a post-election civil war in 2010-2011 when 3,000 people died after then-president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat by Ouattara. Electoral officials have up to five days to release the results. However, Ouattara had taken an early lead by Sunday evening, according to results from 20 of 108 voting departments. Ouattara was re-elected five years ago with nearly 84% of the vote and has broad international support.