News Briefs – January 8, 2016

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U.S. gives vehicles to Nigerian army

The United States Jan. 7 was donating 24 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to Nigeria’s military, to enable the country’s soldiers to combat Boko Haram Islamic insurgents who continued cutting a bloody path through northeast Nigeria.
About 30 people were killed between Jan. 4 and Jan. 6 in Borno state, as Boko Haram gunmen wearing soldiers’ uniforms and female suicide bombers unleashed separate attacks on Izghe, a village 76 miles southwest of Maiduguri, the state capital, witnesses said.
A statement from the U.S. Consulate in Lagos said the MRAP vehicles, valued at $11 million, were being handed over on Thursday to assist the West African country with both technical and military hardware to enable it to combat the rising challenges of regional extremism.
Temitayo Famutimi of the U.S. Department of State said: “The equipment donation represents part of the continuing U.S. commitment to Nigeria and its neighbors to counter Boko Haram’s senseless acts of terror and promote regional security.”
The United States also provides advisers, intelligence, training and logistical support to Nigerian military fighting Boko Haram as well as humanitarian aid and victim support services to some of the 2.5 million people driven from their homes by the insurgency. AP
 

Tail cone of military aircraft lands in Mississippi

The tail cone of a Mississippi Army National Guard aircraft fell off during a training mission, landing in the yard of a home in Pearl, Miss.
Officials say no one on the ground was injured and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III landed safely at the Jackson airport.
Lt. Col. Christian Patterson of the Mississippi Army National Guard said in a news release the plane lost its tail cone around 7 p.m., Jan. 6.
A witness, Wynita Smith, told WLBT-TV the tail cone first hit the street and bounced into a yard.
Patterson said the plane is assigned to Flowood’s 172nd Airlift Wing based at Jackson-Evers International Airport.
Patterson says the incident is under investigation.
C-17 is a large military transport aircraft used to transport troops and cargo around the world. AP
 

Next-generation Navy ship to be named after Rep. John Lewis

The U.S. Navy has announced that it will name a new ship after civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
With Lewis in attendance, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus Jan. 6 named the first ship of the next generation of fleet replenishment oilers the USNS John Lewis during a ceremony held at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington. Mabus says other ships in the class will be named after fellow civil right activists.
Lewis, a Georgia Democratic Congressman, is an Alabama native who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. He was the first speaker during the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march last year.
The Defense Department says a contract will be awarded for the ship this summer, with construction expected to begin in 2018. AP
 

American charged in bombing attack on US base in Afghanistan

A U.S. citizen is facing new charges he helped build explosives for a 2009 suicide attack on an American military base in Afghanistan.
A federal indictment in New York charges Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals. An arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 7 in Brooklyn.
The 30-year-old was transferred from Pakistan to the United States in April to face initial charges of providing material support to al Qaeda.
Court papers don’t specify which base was the target of the attack, which failed to kill any U.S. soldiers.
There has been no comment from Al Farekh’s attorney. AP

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