The Big 5: NAF Fighter jets conduct airstrikes in Benue, Super Eagles humbled 2-0 by Croatia and other stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets has on Saturday conducted air strikes on three Benue State communities, in an operation believed to be a reprisal on hoodlums in the areas.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, who confirmed the air strikes, noted that it was an ongoing operation and that he could not reveal further details.

The Punch reports that the air strikes which were carried out along the Katsina-Ala to Zaki Biam and Wukari Road. Gbise, Ayaka and environs lasted several hours, but the number of casualties or dead as of press time could not ascertained as military sources said the operations could last till Sunday.

“There were mortars, artillery pieces, assault rifles and aerial bombardments,” a source said.

Two persons have been killed in Wankya suburb in Zaki-Biam town of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue by gunmen suspected to be allies of wanted militia kingpin, Terwase Akwaza.

Residents of the community said the assailants broke into the homes of their victims about 1:00am killing two persons and abducted another who is believed to have been released by them.

The escapee who spoke to newsmen said that, “the assailants took three of us into a bush and asked me to lie face down while they eventually killed the other two.”

While the Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, was yet to comment on the matter, a Police source in Zaki Biam confirmed that two corpses were recovered along a bush path  and that they have been deposited in the mortuary.

The Bayelsa Government is perfecting plans to complete the ongoing multi-billion naira Cargo Airport Project in Amassoma within the next two months.

Director of the State Airlines, Josphine Akpama disclosed this during an inspection tour of facilities at the airport said that the contractors were working hard to ensure that they met with the completion date of August, adding that the project was part of the state government’s efforts to reposition it for a stronger economy.

The Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumin Kabir Usaman, has called for the enactment of stringent laws to curb drug related offences in the state.

The emir who spoke at the Hawan Bariki Durba, lamented the increasing involvement of youth and women in drugs, adding that all hands must be on deck to address the challenge.

Usaman noted that the neglect of the traditional institution has compounded security challenges, saying that “we must return to the old system when village and ward heads were empowered to report and document happenings in their respective domains”.

The Nigerian Super Eagles fell 2 – 0 to the Vatreni’s of Croatia in their opening group D clash at the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup in Kaliningrad on Saturday evening. 

Oghenekaro Etebo was the unfortunate recipient of an own goal after poor defending on a set-piece led to Croatia’s opening goal in the 32nd minute as the Super Eagles failed to create any real goal scoring chances but Odion Ighalo was a bright spot that troubled the Croatian defence.

Luke Modric put the nail on the coffin in the 2nd half by converting a 72nd minute penalty after William Ekong grabbed Mario Mandzukic in the box from a set-piece

Earlier, Lionel Messi failed to impress as Argentina could only manage a 1 – 1 draw against a well organised Iceland team.

Sergio Aguero gave La Albiceleste the lead with a well taken shot in the 19th minute before Alfreo Finnbogason restored parity just five minutes later (questionable Argentine defending again).

And stories from around the world:

The Spanish port of Valencia has seen the arrival of the first ship carrying migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea and turned away by Italy and Malta.

The first of three vessels entered harbour soon after dawn. Some of the 629 rescued near Libya recently by the Aquarius ship began disembarking. (BBC)

Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, survived a no-confidence motion in parliament on Saturday, setting the stage for the signing of a historic accord with neighbouring Macedonia to settle a long dispute over the latter’s name.

The motion brought by the opposition, the New Democracy party, was rejected by 153 MPs, with 127 in favour. Political opponents had accused Tsipras of making too many concessions over the deal, due to be signed on Sunday. (The Guardian, UK)

The UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths arrived in Sanaa on Saturday for crisis talks on the port city of Hudaida amid growing fears that fighting between a Saudi and Emirati-led coalition and Houthi rebels will exacerbate a humanitarian crisis. 

Griffiths is expected to propose to rebel leaders that they halt fighting and cede control of Hudaida’s vital port – responsible for more than 70 percent of Yemeni imports – to a UN-supervised committee. (Al jazeera)

The 27 year-diplomatic dispute between Geece and Macedonia could move a step closer to being resolved on Sunday when the foreign ministers of both countries sign a preliminary accord on the latter’s name.

Greece’s Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov of Macedonia will meet at the Prespes Lake district to sign the historic accord, brokered after months of diplomatic haggling.

Joining them will be Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, as well as officials from the United Nations and the European Union, who have welcomed the move. (AFP)

Eight people, including two from Mexico, were injured Saturday when a taxi crashed into pedestrians on a sidewalk near Red Square in Moscow.

Russian police said the driver in the crash has been detained. Moscow’s traffic monitoring agency said the driver claimed the crash wasn’t premeditated. (AP)

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