Boko Haram fighters were trained in Somalia before returning to Nigeria,  Somalia’s President  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ,has  said

He spoke at a security conference in Germany.

“Without a stable Somalia, the whole region of the Horn of Africa will remain unstable and by and large, the African continent. There are proofs and evidence that (for) some time Boko Haram has been trained in Somalia and they went back to Nigeria,” he said.

“The terrorists are so linked together, they are associated and so organised, (that) we the world we need to be so organised,” he said.

It was not clear from his comments whether he believed al Shabaab was still training Boko Haram fighters, who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

Somalia’s al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda and wants to overthrow the Somali government and impose a harsh version of Islamic law, claimed responsibility for a blast this month that punched a hole in the fuselage of a plane.

Somalia, plagued by political in-fighting, corruption and attacks by al Shabaab insurgents, has recently made limited progress towards creating a functioning political system.

The Federal Government, the World Bank, the European Union, and the United Nations (UN) have concluded a two-week recovery and assessment mission in the Northeastern States ravaged by insurgency as part of its on-going Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) programme.

Led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Dr. Mariam Masha, the recovery and assessment team visited Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the team actively engaged with governors, decision-makers civil society organisations, private sector players, traditional rulers, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), emergency management, humanitarian and relief agencies and other active partners in the recovery efforts in the affected states.

The statement said: “The field visit by the technical and humanitarian experts from the global institutions, the statement said, primarily focused on validating the processes through which data are to be collected and how to develop internationally acceptable mechanisms to maintain contact with focal points in all the States.

“This assessment will also form the pivot for planning a broad-based public sector recovery programme for the Northeast, as well as leverage, synchronise and inform the financing initiatives and projects of Nigeria’s development partners, civil society organisations and private sector groups and organisations,” it said.

Don’t starve troops of fund, says Onaiyekan

A lso yesterday, The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, urged the Federal Government to remain steadfast in restoring Nigeria to the path of sanity, probity and accountability.

Onaiyekan said at the opening ceremony of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria in Abuja: “This is not a smooth and easy process, we all are going through, but we need to go beyond the legal processes, to a serious national moral spiritual rebirth.

“We need to explore alternative and parallel strategies, based on the moral principles of repentance, reparation and reconciliation.”

He assured the government that the Catholic Church and some other religious groups were prepared to play a positive role in the on-going war against corruption.

Cardinal Onaiyekan recalled the efforts of the Church towards eliminating corruption, with prayers, warnings and exhortations.

“We have to put concrete structures of collaboration in place in the on-going war against corruption.

“The religious institutions of the nation cannot remain aloof while a moral, spiritual battle is raging in the country,” he added.

Cardinal Onaiyekan praised the government for the success recorded so far in the fight against theBoko-Haram insurgents.

“It is hoped that the alleged criminal diversion of funds meant for arms into private pockets has now stopped.

“Our gallant troops must never again be left with inadequate resources to carry out the dangerous task imposed on them on our behalf,” he said.

He also urged the government to encourage dialogue across and within religious communities to bring about a lasting reconciliation among diverse groups.

The Cardinal pointed out that the insurgency in the Northeast had revealed the significant presence of Christian population in the zone.

“We still have on our hands a lot of healing and reconciliation to do before our displaced people can safely return to their homes, farms and grazing land.

“They deserve special attention in the programmes of reconstruction and rehabilitation,” he stressed.

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