DRONES KILL 12 MILITANTS IN YEMEN
Two suspected U.S drone strikes killed 12 Islamist militants overnight in southern Yemen including a top al Qaeda commander who may have been the new leader of Islamic state in Yemen. One strike killed six men in a car travelling in al Rwada city in Shabwa province, a remote desert area where al Qaeda militants are believed to be operating. The province has been targeted by drone strikes this year. Another attack hit militants in their car in the coastal Abyan province, killing six occupants including Jalal Baleedi, a powerful field commander who is suspected of leading al Qaeda attacks on the Yemeni state. As fighting in the country has intensified amid nine months of civil war and a military intervention by Gulf Arab states, Baleedi is believed to have recently defeated from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and become the chief of Islamic State’s Yemen branch. AQAP has taken advantage of the war pitting Houthi militiamen against forces loyal to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grad territory and operate more openly. The group has claimed credit for several thwarted attacks on U.S bound airliners as well as the deadly assault on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. But AQAP, seen as the deadliest branch of al Qaeda in the world, has faced ideological competition from Islamic State, which has siphoned off recruits as it has launched spectacular attacks against Shi’ite Muslim mosques and government targets. The United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants, adding to near daily air strikes by a Saudi-led Gulf Arab coalition, which intervened in the war last March to rout the Iran-backed Houthis and restore Hadi’s government. Suspected U.S. drone strikes, which normally use Hellfire missiles, have killed some of AQAP’s top leaders, including its chief Nasser al-Wuhayshi last June. (News Agency International by Reuters)
APEX BANK EXTENDS BVN REGISTRATION ABROAD
The CBN has announced an extension of the Bank Verification Number registration for Nigerians abroad. The extension is to last from January 31 to June 30, 2016 to allow Nigerian bank customers in the Diaspora to obtain their BVN and link it with their respective bank accounts. A circular, signed by the Director, banking and payments system, CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, stated that the CBN had also increased the number of BVN registration centres overseas to allow more bank customers to register. The CBN has observed, through a recent survey, the low percentage of registration of Nigerian bank customers in the Diaspora, which may be attributed to lack of accessibility to registration centres and unavailability of registration centres in some cities where Nigerian population is high. Consequently, all the deposit money banks are hereby requested to note that the BVN enrolment for Nigerian bank customers in the Diaspora is hereby extended to June 30, 2016. This is to enable such customers to complete the enrolment and link the BVN with their Bank accounts.
SAKURAJIMA VOLCANO ERUPTS SPECTACULARLY IN SOUTHERN JAPAN
One of Japan’s most active volcanos erupted spectacularly Friday evening with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said Sakurjima on the southern island of Kyushu erupted at around 7p.m. Japanese television showed an orange burst out of the side of the volcano, near the summit, accompanied by lightning like flashes. Dark grey smoke billowed into the sky. The Meteorological Agency banned entry to the area, expanding an existing no-go zone around the crater to a 2-kilometre (1.2-mile) radius, according to public broadcast NHK. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS REPORTED FLEEING AS BATLE FOR ALEPPO, SYRIA, INTENSIFIES
The battle for the devastated city of Aleppo – once Syria’s commercial heart is intensifying as thousands of civilians steaming out of the city. Reports say that forces loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, crucially aided by Russian air power, have cut the city off from supplies and are advancing. Aleppo, once a bustling city of more than 2 million people, has been reduced to rubble by Syria’s 5-Years civil war. It has been bombed and besieged for 3 years. Entire neighborhoods have been devastated to the point where they are uninhabitable.
11-YEAR-OLD AFGHAN BOY, HAILED AS HERO FOR FIGHTING TALIBAN, KILLED BY MILITANTS
An 11-year-old Afghan boy who had been praised for his bravery in leading security forces in battle against the Taliban was killed by the militants. Wasil Ahmad had commanded a police unit for 43 days as it fought to repel a deadly 71-day Taliban siege and as a result of these gunmen on motorbikes shot the boy in the head at a market in Tarin Kowt, the provincial capital of Uruzgan province. Wasil was taken to a local hospital, and then transferred to a better equipped hospital in Kandahar, where he died of his injuries.