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‘My children slipped through my hands’: father of drowned Syrian boy

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The father of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach, an image that shocked the world, said Thursday his children “slipped through my hands” as their boat was taking in water en route to Greece.

Abdullah, whose surname is given by Turkish media as Kurdi but sources in Syria say is actually called Shenu, lost his three-year-old son Aylan, four-year-old son Ghaleb and wife Rihana in the tragedy.

“I was holding my wife’s hand. But my children slipped through my hands. We tried to cling to the small boat, but it was deflating. It was dark and everyone was screaming,” Abdullah Kurdi told Turkey’s Dogan news agency of the sinking.

Twelve Syrian migrants drowned on Wednesday when two boats sank in Turkish waters as they were heading towards the Greek island of Kos, in the latest tragedy to hit people seeking to cross the Aegean to Greece.

But attention has focused on three-year-old Aylan, whose tiny body was photographed washed up on a beach in the resort of Bodrum in an image that quickly became a viral symbol of the tragedy of refugees.

In a second image, a Turkish security officer cradles the boy in his arms.

Abdullah had been trying to cross along with his family, and three other Syrians from the town of Kobane, to the Greek island of Kos just south of Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula.

He said the boat started to take in water shortly after it set off in the dead of the night, sending the migrants on board into a panic.

“The boat started to take in water 500 meters (0.3 miles) from the shore. Our feet were wet,” he said.

– ‘Tried to swim for the shore’ –

He tried to take hold of his children and his wife as he clung to the capsized boat, but they were quickly washed away.

“I tried to swim to the shore with the help of the lights but couldn’t find my wife and children once I was there. I thought they got scared and ran away,” he said.

“When I couldn’t find them in our meeting point in city (Bodrum) where we normally meet, I went to the hospital and got the bad news.”

Abdullah said his family were trying to get to Canada from the Syrian flashpoint town of Kobane after fleeing to Turkey last year to escape Islamic State extremists.

But he only wants to return to Kobane now to bury his family.

A hospital official in Bodrum told AFP that the bodies would be flown to Istanbul late Thursday and then to the Turkish border town of Suruc before reaching their final destination Kobane.

Abdullah was quoted as saying the family had paid people-smugglers twice in the past to travel to Kos.

“At first attempt, the coastguard officials detained us and we were later released,” he said.

The next time “the traffickers (organisers) didn’t keep their promises and didn’t show up with the boat.”

As a result of their,previous experiences they had decided to embark on the final fatal journey independently.

As a result they, and the other Syrians from their hometown, “obtained a boat on our own means and tried to cross to the other side.”

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DHQ clarifies identities of arrested Owo church attack suspects

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Irabor Orders Troops to Smoke Out Unrepentant Bandits

The Defence Headquarters Wednesday gave details of the suspects arrested in connection with the June 5 attack on St. Francis Catholic Church Owo in Ondo State.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, had on Tuesday during a parley with media executives and editors revealed the names of the terrorists who masterminded the Owo attack.

Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, in a statement yesterday, said the clarification became necessary because of the conflicting feedback on the earlier announcement.

Akpor said Irabor had confirmed the arrest of four suspects through the collaborative efforts of the military and DSS personnel at Eika, in Okehi Local Government Area, Kogi on Aug. 1.

“Those arrested included Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal”

“The Defence Chief said, preliminary investigation revealed that Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza was the mastermind of the terror attack on the Owo Catholic Church.

“As well as the attack on a Police Station in Adavi Local Government Area, Kogi State on 23 June 2022, during which a policeman was killed and weapons carted away,” he said.

Akpor said Irabor also mentioned the arrest of another terrorist, Idris Ojo, aged 32, who was apprehended at Ayetoro Osi, Ondo State through the combined effort of military and DSS personnel on August 7. 

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Pope not against my appointment as DG of Tinubu’s campaign – Lalong

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Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organization, Simon Lalong, says he will not resign as the party DG campaign organisation.

Mr Lalong said that even Pope is not opposed to his appointment

Mr Lalong, who is also the Governor of Plateau, an ardent Catholic, said the Pope had not told him that accepting to lead the Muslim-Muslim APC presidential ticket was against the tenets of Christianity.

Some groups had staged rallies in Abuja, calling on Mr Lalong to reject the offer to serve as the DG of APC presidential campaign organisation.

However, the governor said he would not reject his new appointment just to satisfy the wishes of certain individuals or groups.

”The Pope is not angry with my decision to be the DG of the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign.

“I came back home and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) welcomed me at the airport.

”The next day I addressed stakeholders of Plateau and I told them why I’m accepting and then there was jubilation, all of them accepted.

“So, if you see people talking about me rejecting, I have already accepted – is not an issue. Some of them have already keyed into it – I’m a Christian. If you watch my TVC interview I saw, I was born a Catholic, baptized a catholic, confirmed a catholic.

“Today, I went through missionary schools. I was taught by missions that I respect my being a Christian.

“I have been given the highest award by the Pope, I still hold that award – the highest Papal Award, I want people to know, Knight of Saint Gregory the Great, I have it and one day if you want I will wear my uniform and come here. So those who are talking about it I don’t even know where they are.

“I hold a Papal Knight and as a catholic everything we do, we do it and send the advice to the Pope.

“The Pope has not told me that what I’m doing (to accept Director General) is bad – As a catholic, we take that direction.

“But, generally as a governor of a State, I’m not responsible to only my faith. I’m responsible to other people who belong to other faiths, who are not even Muslims or Christians’’

He urged Nigerians to grow up from ethnic or religious sentiments.

Mr Lalong said that he had already accepted the job and there was nothing anybody could do to dissuade him from performing his responsibilities.

Mr Lalong said he was in the Presidential Villa to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the University of Jos as a national cancer centre as well as granting presidential pardon to the former Governor of the state, Joshua Dariye.

According to him, the people of the state will remain grateful to the president for delivering a lot of democratic dividends to the State.

“My visit to the President is to come and show him appreciation because of what he has done for Plateau State in the last few months.

”Just a week or two ago, we just got approval to make the University of Jos a Cancer Centre.

“I saw over N3 billion approved for the institution as a special centre for cancer. So, it’s not a small achievement.

“Recently, the President approved the establishment of an orthopaedic hospital in Jos, Plateau; the only one in North-Central.

“He also approved the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre in Wase. Another one is the Federal Polytechnic Shendam, which is almost starting this year in October to be precise.

“The president has also approved the conversion of the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, to a Federal University of Education and immediately approved the establishment of another Federal college of Education in the State.

“We were just celebrating that one then we also heard of the establishment of a Zonal campus of the Nigerian Law School for North-Central in Jos.

“We cannot have all these achievements and not come and show appreciation to the President,” he said. 

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PHOTOS: Oluwo of Iwo visits Olubadan

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The Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, on Wednesday visited Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Olalekan Balogun Okunmade Alliwo II.

Oluwo said his visit was symbolic as he has a maternally relationship with the Alliwo Lineage, the source of Olubadan.

Oba Akanbi is maternally related to the Alliwo Compound where he was said to have lived for many years.

Oba Akanbi described the visit as a friendly father and son meeting.

He prayed for a successful reign for Oba Olalekan Balogun Okunmade

Here are pictures of the visit:

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