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• 61 Firearms, 376 Ammunition, 22 Cartridges, Cash Sum of 2 Million Naira Recovered

The Force Intelligence Bureau Special Tactical Squad (FIB-STS) operatives following directives from the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, to clampdown on the perpetrators of crimes and criminality, as well as cutting off their supply of arms, have successfully effected the arrest of 31 suspects connected with major violent crimes including Kidnapping, Culpable Homicide, Rape, Unlawful Possession of Firearms etc. 

The FIB-STS equally recovered a total of 61 firearms including 41 AK rifles, 8 Type 06 rifles, 4 Light Assault Rifles (LAR), 4 pump action guns, 2 locally made firearms, 1 G3 rifle, 1 dane gun, 376 rounds of live ammunition of different calibres, and cash sum of two million Naira, from the suspects in the course of investigations.

Prominent among the cases include a case of kidnapping where the duo of Aminu Lawal (aka Kano), and Murtala Dawu (aka Mugala), both working in synergy with the kidnap kingpin known as Yellow Ashana, confessed to the kidnap and murder of two police officers and one vigilante in 2021. 


They equally confessed to the kidnap of students from the Greenfield University in Kaduna State, and the mindless murder of five victims before the payment of ransom, and eventual release of the others. 

Intelligence shows that their area of operations include Dan Hunu, Kekebi, Dan Busha Rido, Maraban Rido, and Kumi Sata, all in Kaduna State. FIB-STS operatives caught up with them in March, 2022, after being on their trail upon the mention of their names in connection to the kidnapping of Bethel Baptist School students in 2021.

Similarly, a five-man trans-border syndicate who carries out kidnapping operations in between Adamawa State in Nigeria, and Burha, Fituha, and Kesu in Cameroun were arrested. 


The gang which comprises Abubakar Mohammed aged 28 years old, Shehu Mohammed aged 38 years old, Abdullahi Ali aged 30 years old, Abubakar Ali, aged 18 year old, and Hussaini Sule aged 18 years old, all males from Mubi, Adamawa State, targets wealthy individuals who possess beautiful houses or cars. 

They confessed to the kidnap and multiple rape of a newly wedded woman at Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno state whom they released upon receipt of a million Naira ransom. 

They were apprehended by operatives of the FIB-STS after collecting a ransom sum of 2 million Naira for one Alhaji Moni of Buladega Village on the 11th of May, 2022. 


Operatives of the FIB-STS equally apprehended the duo of Umar Muhammed aged 40 years old from Mitchika in Adamawa State, and Musa Buba aged 29 years old from Hong in Adamawa State, who are famous for their kidnapping activities. 

They were arrested at the market, upon credible intelligence that they would be there to buy food items for their kidnap victims. They confessed to many heinous crimes including the killing and beheading of one Alhaji Mai Gome, even after ransom payment had been made.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, while commending the FIB-STS operatives for the successes recorded, assured that all criminal elements will be smoked out of their hiding places and would answer to their crimes in due course. 

All the suspects will be arraigned in court on completion of investigations.  

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Eintracht Frankfurt claimed their first European trophy in 42 years after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Rangers at the end of 1-1 draw in the Europa League final in Seville on Wednesday.

Oliver Glasner's side were playing in their first European final since they beat Borussia Monchengladbach in the same competition in 1980 and they fell behind in the 57th minute when Joe Aribo took full advantage of some slapstick defending.

The Bundesliga outfit forced extra time at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan 12 minutes later, however, courtesy of Rafael Borre's close-range finish.

Borre was the hero in the shoot-out as well, the Colombian slamming home the decisive spot-kick after Aaron Ramsey had seen his penalty saved by Kevin Trapp, who had brilliantly denied Ryan Kent late in extra time.

Allan McGregor denied Daichi Kamada from a tight angle inside the opening 15 minutes, before the Rangers goalkeeper superbly tipped Ansgar Knauff's effort from 15 yards past his left-hand post.

Aribo whipped past the upright from 25 yards shortly after the midway point of the first half, while Filip Kostic dragged wide after running almost the entire length of the pitch.

Rangers looked the more threatening side as the first half wore on, with Trapp tipping over John Lundstram's looping header and Ryan Jack lashing over from a promising position before the interval.

Jesper Lindstrom went close immediately after the break, before Aribo put the Scottish side ahead with a cool finish past Trapp after latching onto Djibril Sow's backwards header, the Nigeria international benefitting from a slip by Tuta.

Eintracht restored parity in the 69th minute, though, when Borre stole ahead of Calvin Bassey to prod home Kostic's superb left-wing cross. 

Trapp made a remarkable point-blank save from Kent with two minutes left of extra time to ensure the game went to a penalty shoot-out. 

After a string of superb efforts, Ramsey, who was brought on with just three minutes remaining, saw his tame spot-kick kept out by Trapp, setting the stage for Borre to slot home from 12 yards and send the travelling Eintracht fans into raptures.
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Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces who have surrendered after weeks holed up at Azovstal steel works drive away under escort of the pro-Russian military in Mariupol

Russia said on Wednesday nearly 700 more Ukrainian fighters had surrendered in Mariupol, while the United States became the latest Western country to reopen its Kyiv embassy after a three-month closure.

More than a day after Ukraine announced it had ordered its garrison in Mariupol to stand down, the ultimate outcome of Europe’s bloodiest battle for decades remained unresolved.

Ukrainian officials declined to comment publicly on the fate of fighters who had made their last stand at the Azovstal steelworks plant, holding out as Mariupol was taken over by Russian forces.

“The state is making utmost efforts to carry out the rescue of our service personnel,” military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzaynik told a news conference. “Any information to the public could endanger that process.”

Russia said 694 more fighters had surrendered overnight, bringing the total number of people who had laid down arms to 959.

The leader of pro-Russian separatists in control of the area, Denis Pushilin, was quoted by local news agency DNA as saying the main commanders were still inside the plant.

Ukrainian officials had confirmed the surrender of more than 250 fighters on Tuesday but they did not say how many more were inside.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Red Cross and the United Nations were involved in talks but gave no details.

Russia has focussed on the south-east in recent offensives after pulling away from Kyiv, where, in a further sign of normalization, the United States said it had resumed operations at its embassy on Wednesday.

“The Ukrainian people… have defended their homeland in the face of Russia’s unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A small number of diplomats would return initially to staff the mission but consular operations will not resume immediately, said embassy spokesperson Daniel Langenkamp.

Canada, Britain and others have also recently resumed embassy operations.

But the steelworks surrender allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to claim a rare victory.

It also signals the approaching end of a near three-month siege of the port city of more than 400,000 people, where Ukraine says tens of thousands died under Russian bombardment.

Ukrainian officials have spoken of arranging a prisoner swap but Moscow says no such deal was made for the fighters, many from a far-right unit.

Russia says more than 50 wounded fighters have been brought for treatment to a hospital, and others have been taken to a prison, both in Ukrainian towns held by pro-Russian separatists.

Russia’s defence ministry posted videos of what it said were Ukrainian fighters receiving hospital treatment after surrendering at Azovstal.

One man shown lying on bed said he had access to food and doctors, while a second said he had been bandaged and had no complaints about his treatment. It was not possible to establish if the men were speaking freely.

The Kremlin says Putin has personally guaranteed the humane treatment of those who surrender. Other Russian politicians have called for them to be kept captive and even executed.

RAMIFICATIONS IN EUROPE

As reaction to the war continued to ripple across Europe, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO, bringing about the very expansion that Putin has long cited as a main reason for launching the February “special military operation.”

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith told Sky News the accession process needed to be expedited.

“I think we’d like to see it done in a couple of months. That’s the goal,” she said.

But NATO member Turkey’s president said Sweden should not expect Turkey to approve its bid unless it returned “terrorists”, Kurdish militants and followers of Fethullah Gulen, and Swedish and Finnish delegations should not come to Turkey to convince it otherwise.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden were both militarily non-aligned throughout the Cold War.

Although Russia had threatened retaliation against the plans, Putin said on Monday their NATO membership would not be an issue unless the alliance sent more troops or weapons there.

And in a bid to cut energy dependence, the European Commission announced a 210 billion euro ($220 billion) plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian oil, gas and coal by 2027, including plans to more than double EU renewable energy capacity by 2030. 

Meanwhile, Google GOOGL.O became the latest big Western company to pull out of Russia, saying its local unit had filed for bankruptcy and was forced to shut operations after its bank accounts were seized.

KHARKIV

On the battle front, in recent weeks, Russian forces have abandoned the area around Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv. 

“We have some success in these directions,” Zelenskiy’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak told MSNBC.

Nevertheless, Moscow has continued to press on with its main offensive, trying to capture more territory in the Donbas region which it claims on behalf of separatists.

Mariupol, the main port for the Donbas, is the biggest city Russia has captured so far, and gives Moscow full control of the Sea of Azov and an unbroken swathe of territory across Ukraine’s east and south.

The city’s near total destruction demonstrated Russia’s tactic of raining down fire on population centres.

Human Rights Watch said it had documented cases of apparent war crimes by Russian troops in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions from late February through March, including summary executions, torture and other grave abuses.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Russia’s defence ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the report. Moscow denies targeting civilians and says, without evidence, that signs of atrocities were staged to discredit its troops.

RETERS
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Local news outlet RIA Melitopol reported that Ukrainian forces blew up the armoured train used by Russian invaders by installing explosives on the railway

Ukrainian fighters blew up an armoured train carrying Russian troops using an explosive device in the occupied southern city of Melitopol, the Ukrainian territorial defence force said on Wednesday.

Reuters could not independently verify the claim. Russia’s Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

The city of Melitopol in the region of Zaporizhzhia lies in a belt of southern Ukrainian land that was occupied by Russian forces after they invaded on Feb. 24.

The Ukrainian territorial defence, the reservist branch of the armed forces, said an explosive device detonated directly under a carriage carrying servicemen.

Their statement, published on Facebook, did not elaborate on the extent of the damage.
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Little is known about the specifics of the new laser weapon. Vladimir Putin has mentioned one called Peresvet, named after a medieval Orthodox warrior monk Alexander Peresvet who perished in mortal combat

Russia on Wednesday said it was using a new generation of powerful laser weapons in Ukraine to burn up drones, deploying some of Moscow’s secret weapons to counter a flood of Western arms supplied to its former Soviet neighbour.

President Vladimir Putin in 2018 unveiled an array of new weapons including a new intercontinental ballistic missile, underwater nuclear drones, a supersonic weapon and a new laser weapon.

Little is known about the specifics of the new laser weapons. Putin mentioned one called Peresvet, named after a medieval Orthodox warrior monk Alexander Peresvet who perished in mortal combat.

Yury Borisov, the deputy prime minister in charge of military development, told a conference in Moscow that Peresvet was already being widely deployed and it could blind satellites up to 1,500 km above Earth.

He said, though, that there were already more powerful Russian systems than Peresvet that could burn up drones and other equipment. Borisov cited a test on Tuesday which he said had burned up a drone 5 km away within five seconds.

“If Peresvet blinds, then the new generation of laser weapons lead to the physical destruction of the target – thermal destruction, they burn up,” Borisov told Russian state television.

Asked if such weapons were being used in Ukraine, Borisov said: “Yes. The first prototypes are already being used there.” He said the weapon was called “Zadira”.

Almost nothing is publicly known about Zadira but in 2017 Russian media said Russia’s state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, helped develop it as part of a programme to create weapons-based new physical principles, known by the Russian acronym ONFP.

Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has illustrated the limits of Russia’s post-Soviet conventional armed forces, though he says the “special military operation” is going to plan and will achieve all of Moscow’s aims.

The United States has ruled out sending its own or NATO forces to Ukraine but Washington and its allies have supplied billions of dollars of weapons to Kyiv such as drones, Howitzer heavy artillery, anti-aircraft Stinger and anti-tank Javelin missiles.

Putin casts such large arms shipments as part of a broader plan by the United States to destroy Russia – and has promised that it will never succeed.

Borisov’s remarks indicate that Russia has made significant progress with laser weapons, a trend of considerable interest to other nuclear powers such as the United States and China.

Using lasers to blind satellites – or even burn them up – was once a fantasy from the realm of science fiction, but major powers such as the United States, China and Russia have been working on variants of such weapons for years.

Besides the benefits in conventional warfare of burning up drones, blinding reconnaissance systems has a strategic impact too as satellites are used to monitor intercontinental ballistic missiles which carry nuclear weapons.

Borisov said he had just returned from Sarov, a closed town in the Nizhny Novgorod region once known as Arzamas-16 because it was so secret, which is a centre of Russia’s nuclear weapons research.

He said a new generation of laser weapons using a wide electromagnetic band would ultimately replace conventional weapons.

“This is not some sort of exotic idea; it is the reality,” Borisov said.

REUTERS