The gun craze and mass shooting phenomena are driving people to the extreme as Christians begin to modify their lifestyles just to stay alive. With gun killings in schools, malls and everywhere else, Christian worshippers are now attending masses carrying alongside their bibles, guns and bullet-proof helmets in a new resolve to protect themselves.
With their AR-15 rifles strapped on, worshippers drank holy wine, danced, exchanged and renewed wedding vows in a church in Pennsylvania, USA. This enraged protesters who stood at safe distances from the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary to condemn the church for holding such ritual at a time that the AR-15 rifle was used to carry out one of the deadliest mass murders in American high schools. The church members claimed that the AR-15 is a God’s gift to America and that this was why they have chosen it as the most precious object for their celebration of the biblical ritual of the “rod of iron”.
High schools close to church canceled classes and took their students to hiding outside the district because of the public ritual of gun. The residents were afraid they were going to experience yet another public shooting. Tim Elder, the Sanctuary’s director of world mission said the gun was a mere “religious accoutrement” but analysts say the action is a strong statement in
Earlier in February this year, Nicholas Cruz used AR-15 rifle to send over 17 high school students to their early graves in Florida last month. Many Americans think that this will happen again as the many previous shootings never spurred Americans into serious discussions about gun control. In six years, from 2012-2018, America has witnessed more than 1,600 mass shootings which have killed more than 1,800 people and wounded more than 6,400. America constitutes less than 5% of the world’s population but holds 31% of global mass shooters. In a 2012 Human Development index, America constitutes 29.7% of homicides by firearms per 1 million people. She is therefore the highest with firearm homicides among 14 advanced countries of the world, following at a 4th remove by Switzerland with 7.7%.
Last week, Georgia’s Lt Governor, Casey Cagle took to Twitter to fight dirty over the gun debate in America. In what seemed like a mafia braggadocio, Cagle threatened to punish a private company, DELTA for severing ties with National Rifles Association (NRA) in protest against gun violence in America. Casey is a conservative and has strong interest in gun business in America and in the consolidation of the Republican power. Gun debate is, therefore, dangerously divided along party lines and color: the Democrats vs. the Republicans, Black vs. White or Brown. They are fully engaged in the war of interest and collective welfare does not seem to matter.
The increasing high spate of gun violence in America, many say, ought to be looked at beyond an occasion for “sending words and loves” to the families of the murdered. Trump has moved to arm school teachers but parents are afraid the high school teachers themselves might not be less paranoid.
Amnesty confirms 60 killed by Boko Haram in Rann
At least 60 people were killed following the 28 January devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International has confirmed.
The organization also analyzed satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town. Many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were shelters for internally displaced people who came to Rann seeking protection.
“We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people. Using satellite imagery we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians.”
Alleged withdrawal of troops, triggered a massive exodus of civilians to Cameroon, as fear spread that Boko Haram would take advantage and attack the town. At around 9am on 28 January, a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles. They set houses ablaze and killed those left behind. They also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town. Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 bodies were found outside.
Amnesty International was informed that about 50 people have not been accounted for. Those who took part in the burial explained what they saw.
According to an eyewitness: “Ten of us [Civilian Joint Task Force] came from Cameroon to Rann for the burial. When we arrived, we found and buried 11 corpses within the town, but the soldiers told us that they buried several others yesterday [30 January] who had decayed. Outside the town, we recovered and buried 49 dead bodies all with gunshot wounds.”
Aid agencies have reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled Boko Haram’s previous attack on Rann on 14 January.
Satellite evidence of mass burning
Amnesty International analyzed satellite images from 30 January 2019 showing hundreds of structures burned in the east, south and southeast of Rann. Environmental sensors detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January.
In the 14 January attack, Boko Haram burned well over 100 structures in other areas of Rann. These two recent attacks have left most of the town heavily damaged or destroyed.
Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to this latest deadly attack.
“Boko Haram has consistently and deliberately targeted civilians in Rann, which makes the Nigerian authorities failure to protect people all the more unacceptable,” said Osai Ojigho.
“The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require. The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily.”
Media groups mourn slain Ghanaian Journalist in Nigeria
– March to Ghana High Commission, open a condolence register in Abuja
Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom, Safer Media Initiative (SMI) and colleagues from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Thursday in solidarity mourned the death of Ghanaian Journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale who was assassinated in his country on Wednesday, January 16.
Hussein-Suale, an undercover journalist with Tiger Eye, an investigative reporting project founded by Anas Aremeyaw Anas was shot three times by gunmen on a motor bike who eventually drove off without carting away with any valuables from his vehicle.
In solidarity to the fallen hero, journalists from SATELLITE TIMES, Safer Media Initiative and colleagues from the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) came out, dressed in black to mourn and also condemn the gruesome killing of Hussein-Suale. The ceremony is in continuation of a week-long activity in Abuja and Lagos by investigative reporters bent on seeking justice for their slain colleague in Ghana as well as upholding the ideals for which he gave his life.
Two days earlier, members of Safer Media Initiative took their solidarity march to the Ghana High Commission in Abuja where they called on the Ghanaian government to take action and further justice for the slain journalist.
Reacting to the murder, publisher of SATELLITE TIMES newspaper and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah, in strong terms condemned the act, adding that it is one too many on African journalists.
Mayah used the medium to also encourage journalists not to fret or be discouraged by the attack on their colleague. Though he recognized the fact that the work of journalists in Africa is becoming increasingly difficult, he charged them to keep shinning light on the truth as they remain the defenders of the social contract, ridding the continent of corruption, bad governance and inequality.
In an earlier statement condemning the murder, Mayah said “We at SATELLITE TIMES newsroom join our colleagues in the global investigative journalism community in condemning the cowardly killing of this young journalist in Ghana. To Anas: we stand by you and share in your grief in this dark moment. To Ahmed’s family: the pain never goes away. To the government of Ghana we say: Journalists are not public enemy, rather they are protectors of the public interest; the defenders of the social contract between the citizens and the state.”
Journalists from SATELLITE TIMES newsroom took turns to sign a condolence register in memory and honour of Hussein-Suale.
Tony Icheku, a member of the NUJ in his condolence message said, “A threat to one is a threat to all. Ahmed Hussein-Suale’s death must not be in vain. RIP brother man!”
In his remark, the Executive Director of Safer Media Initiative, Peter Iorter said “it is unfortunate and worrisome that this has happened in Ghana, a country regarded as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and also ranking better than any other African country on the World Press Freedom index.”
Hussein-Suale was a member of the undercover team that exposed football corruption in Ghana and his last work, an investigation into ritual killings in Malawi published by the BBC.
Satellite Times condemn the assassination of investigative journalist
-calls on journalists in Nigeria to wear black
Nigeria’s frontline investigative newspaper, Satellite Times, has condemned in strong terms the assassination in Ghana of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale.
Ahmed was killed in a hail of bullets from gunmen on motorbike who aimed at his chest and neck, eventually speeding off without taking any valuables from his car which they had trailed till the attack. The slain journalist was one of the reporters at Tiger Eye, an investigative reporting project founded by ace Ghanaian journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Reacting to the murder, Satellite Times’ publisher and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah, said in a statement that the shooting dead of Ahmed Hussein-Suale is one gruesome attack too many on African journalists doing the difficult work of ridding the continent of corruption, bad governance and political capture.
In the press statement Mayah said:
“I am reeling in shock as I write this. What happened in Ghana is too close to home that it is producing a petrifying aftershock here in Nigeria. Over the years I have received with angst news of killings of journalists across the world but none was as jolting as the slaying of Ahmed Hussein-Suale; maybe because I knew him in person.
“We at Satellite Times newsroom, join our colleagues in the global investigative journalism community in condemning the cowardly killing of this young journalist in Ghana. To Anas: we stand by you and share in your grief in this dark moment. To Ahmed’s family: the pain never goes away. To the government of Ghana we say: Journalists are not public enemy, rather they are protectors of the public interest; the defenders of the social contract between the citizens and the state.
We ask the government of Ghana and indeed those of the other member states of the African Union to recall Article 13 of the United Nations Convention against corruption, which provides that each state party shall take measures to protect “the freedom to seek, receive, publish and disseminate information concerning corruption”. In the spirit of this statute, we call on the government of Ghana to fish out and bring to justice the killers of Ahmed; be they in government or friends of the government.
“Death is everyone’s destiny but death for the investigative journalist is a choice. Journalists fought for the independence of nations of Africa. They fought against colonialism, apartheid, military dictatorship and now even in a democracy, they are fighting against bad governance, human rights violations and official brigandage, the last obstacles to the total emancipation of the African continent.
“We ask the African community that we serve to see investigative journalists as freedom fighters in the mould of Steve Biko, Martin Luther King, Patrice Mulumba, Thomas Sankara, Che Guevera, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Ken Saro-Wiwa; and of course, Dele Giwa, Norbert Zongo and Anna Politkovskaya.
“Journalists in Satellite Times newsroom will begin today (Friday) to wear black for seven days as we mourn our departed colleague in Ghana.”
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