Two former Green Berets have been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Venezuela for their role in a failed coup attempt against President Nicolas Maduro.
Luke Denman, 34, and Airan Berry, 41, were arrested on May 4 and charged with terrorism and conspiracy following an uprising nicknamed ‘Bay of Piglets’ – a reference to the failed coup against Fidel Castro in 1961.
Denman and Berry were arrested alongside dozens of other Venezuelans after Maduro’s security team intercepted the plot.
Two other people, who were captains in the Venezuelan National Guard, Antonio José Sequea and Víctor Pimienta, were among the Venezuelans arrested by Venezuelan military in the foiled raid.
Military authorities were said to be lying in wait for the mercenaries after showing ringleader Jordan Goudreau’s face on state TV and naming the Americans a month even before the plot even began.
Despite their knowledge that the Venezuelan authorities knew they were coming, the former soldiers still flew to Colombia on January 16 and, after training, they accompanied the troops by boat to Venezuela with a mission
to capture Maduro, secure an airport and then fly the Venezuelan leader to the United States.
On Friday night August 7, the Venezuelan attorney general, Tarek William Saab, announced that the pair had been sentenced, following a court ‘trial’ in which they were not permitted to see their attorneys.
‘Following on from their arraignment, they have admitted their responsibility for the acts,’ Saab tweeted.
‘The men ADMITTED having committed crimes of conspiracy, illegal association, trafficking of weapons of war and terrorism as defined by the Penal Code: for this they have been sentenced to 20 years, months and nine days in prison.’
‘The hearing continues with the remaining accused,’ he conclud
God will punish me if I was involved – Ex-minister denies being involved in stripping his staff naked over missing money
Former Minister of State for Petroleum, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has denied being involved in stripping some of his hotel staff naked over a missing money.
Recall that the Minister made headlines after being accused of arresting four of his hotel staff and stripping them naked for allegedly stealing N5,000. The four staff of the hotel have been identified as Gloria Oguzie, Victor Ephraim, Rosslyn Okiemute and Achibong Precious. It was also alleged that the hotel management forcefully made some withdrawals from their bank accounts with their ATM cards before the police took them away in a waiting van.
However commenting on the incident at a press conference held at his country home in Oginibo, Ughelli South council area of Delta state, Gbagi stressed that the said staff were not employees of the hotel but “freelancers”. He added that there are records to back this up.
He further alleged that his political detractors who are out to truncate his plans to contest for the 2023 gubernatorial race in the state, are behind the trending video and photos.
“There was nothing as you have read, that happened. The people you saw in those pictures are not staff of my hotel. Legally, documentarily, they are not staff of the hotel. They are freelancers.
“Were you to do a forensic analysis of the video for my body on those pictures, and you find me there, I will resign from politics.
“I invited the Police from Ebrumede to take them. I will never descend to do such (strip people naked). It was politically motivated. I will not strip anybody’s daughter naked or strip any person.
“This, to me, is just a distraction. I am resolute, I am contesting in 2023. Let God punish me if I touched any of the girls or was involved in their stripping. I am prepared. I know what they are planning.”
The former Minister who also revealed that he is yet to receive a police invitation over the incident, added that he “will graciously attend any invitation of the Nigerian Police.”
We will reopen land borders soon – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government is currently working towards reopening Nigeria’s land borders.
Recall that in October 2019, President Buhari ordered the full closure of land borders as part of measures to checkmate smuggling activities.
However speaking at a webinar organized by The Africa Report, Vice President Osinbajo said the Federal government is working with neighbouring countries on the terms of reopening the border.
“We are working with our neighbours to see on what terms we would reopen those borders. At the moment, we are undertaking joint border patrols to control smuggling along the borders and we think it is working and I am sure that soon enough we should have the borders opened,” he said.
We are committed to the AfCFTA but we are concerned about threats to security and the economy and we had to take certain actions that would satisfy the immediate needs of our country. It (border closure) certainly wasn’t meant to be permanent and we are looking forward to reopening as quickly as possible.” Osinbajo said
COVID-19 is a sign that God is not happy with us – Aisha Buhari
First Lady Aisha Buhari has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign that God is not happy with us.
Aisha Buhari said this on Friday, September 25, 2020, at the national mosque during a public lecture to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.
The First Lady who urged Nigerians to pray for peace, progress and sustainable development as the country marks its 60th independence anniversary, also appealed to Nigerians to keep supporting the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to ensure better welfare, saying the president cannot do it alone.
“The world is no longer the same as a result of the pandemic and the pandemic is a sign that almighty God is not happy with us.
“We need to pray for forgiveness. I think we have no choice than to continue asking for forgiveness from almighty Allah.
“The president cannot do it alone. He needs the support and cooperation of all Nigerians, including his appointees, to go in line with his change mantra.”