Risky & Dangerous

          To be precise, on the 19th of September 1978 I boarded a DC-10 in Lagos for New York with a stopover in Monrovia. The plane was full of highly placed Nigerians, on official trip or vacation including students going to study in the U.S. as well as businessmen and of course diplomats like me on posting to our Mission in Washington D.C. We were all in high spirits, jovial and full of anticipation for what America would be for those of us traveling to the USA for the first time.
          Not quite long after our take-off about an hour or so, it was announced that we would shortly be landing at Robertsville Airport, Monrovia. We prepared for landing which by my estimation was smooth. But what followed.
          While taxiing, the plane overran the tarmac and went into the bush. It was a rainy day and as the plane galloped through the bumpy terrain, panic ensued. The plane was all noise, cries, screams and prayers and God listened. The front wheel ran into a big ditch and the plane swayed and jerked forward and back violently into a stop. All this time of utter confusion and in fact pandemonium I was calm having resigned myself to my fate. If I must die I have no choice or control and what a way it could have been because it was my birthday.
          God was and will always be great and glorified. The emergency exits on the left side were flung open as the right side; I came to learn later, was very inadequate and risky for such emergency departure from the plane.
          We began the exit by sliding down on our buttocks and as we landed on the ground we ran like mad because it was anticipated that the plane would explode. But by the Grace of God it never did. We were all safely evacuated. A good number of passengers sustained injuries resulting from panic. I was safe and without a scratch.
          Imagine the scare and what a disaster it could have been. That was dangerous – a near fatal situation.
          There is no gain saying the fact that accidents and mishaps of this nature happen anywhere and any one could be a victim. The risk is that as diplomats by the nature of our job we are frequent flyers and as such regularly exposed to this kind of dangerous situations. Many diplomats in the past years have had the misfortune of ending their lives in such circumstances.
          Such also is the risky and at times dangerous life of a diplomat.

No Chose

No Chose

Published on August 7, 2008 at 10:42 am  Comments (4)  

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  1. God never ceases to be good all the time,he does things in his own time and way,in a manner we will never be able to comprehend. People die on their beds,in their cars,public places but i belive that when your time comes there is no ESCAPE ROUTE,it just wasn’t the time for anybody on that plane,if not……… !!!

  2. Life it self is a risk so what ever we do and where ever we find ourselves lets count ourselves for when we sleep at night we do not know what goes on.

  3. JALALABAD, Afghanistan: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a Japanese aid worker in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar on Tuesday, an official said.

    Authorities have launched a search to find the man who was seized while working on a construction project in Daraye Noor of Nangarhar, provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

    Taliban insurgents, who have been behind a series of abduction of Afghans and foreigners in recent years, said they had no information about the incident.

    Japan does not have troops in Afghanistan, but its navy runs a maritime refuelling operation in support of U.S.-led military operations in the country.

    Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it was looking into the possible kidnapping of the aid worker after its embassy in Kabul had received information about the incident from a U.N. body.

    The man worked for a Japanese nongovernmental organisation called Peshawar-kai, according to Japan’s Koyodo news agency.

    Peshawar-kai, based in southern Japan, was set up in 1983 and provides medical services in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to its website.

    The group could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Japan’s refuelling mission is set to become a key focal point of a session of parliament to be convened next month.

    Unpopular Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda wants to extend the mission in the Indian Ocean after legislation expires in January.

    But the opposition-controlled upper house will almost certainly reject a new bill to do so and the junior partner in the ruling coalition is wary of upsetting voters, many of whom oppose prolonging the mission, by forcing through the bill.

    (Reporting by Isabel Reynolds in JAPAN and Mohammad Rafiq in JALALABAD; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

  4. A car bomb blast and up to five additional explosions at the front gate of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital killed six Yemeni guards and four civilians Wednesday, officials said. No American personnel were reported injured.

    Several “secondary explosions” followed the first blast, the embassy said in a statement. A Yemeni security official said the compound was hit by two car bombs, followed by heavy gunfire that lasted about 10 minutes.

    Ryan Gliha, a spokesman for the embassy, told The Associated Press by telephone that several nearby homes were badly damaged. Gliha, speaking from inside the large, heavily guarded compound, could not immediately say whether the embassy suffered any damage.

    The Islamic Jihad of Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they did it as result of U.S.-Yemen ties and cooperation. Internet forums also cited religious leaders that in the last few weeks called for jihad to start in Yemen.

    One source told FOX News the apparent attack on the embassy in Yemen did not “happen in a vacuum.” In the last two months, Yemen has broken up or arrested members of a significant number of cells — some related to Al Qaeda.

    The White House condemned the attack.

    “We offer our sincere condolences to the loved ones of the Yemenis lost in today’s violence,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndrow said in a statement. “This attack is a reminder of the continuing threat we face from violent extremists both at home and abroad.”

    In mid-August, the U.S. Embassy applauded the series of recent arrests, according to the official news agency in Yemen.

    On Monday, security forces arrested five operatives of Al Qaeda in Yemen in the al-Qatten district of southeastern Hadramout province, a security source told FOX News.

    Sources said that the five militants identified with Al Qaeda were armed but surrendered.

    This arrest came days after security forces carried out a big operation on Aug. 11 against an Al Qaeda cell in Tarim of Hadramout, killing five militants including Hamza al-Qaeti, who is said to be the mastermind of Al Qaeda in Yemen, and arrested two other operatives. Three policemen were also killed in the Tarim attack.

    The embassy in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, has been targeted by militants at least four times since 2003, most recently in March when mortar rounds crashed into a girls’ school next door, killing a Yemeni security guard and wounding more than a dozen girls.

    The Yemeni guards killed Wednesday were assigned to sentry duty outside the embassy by the Interior Ministry. The civilians who died in the explosion were waiting to enter the compound, the embassy said.

    They included three Yemenis and one Indian national, said the Yemeni security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    Regional TV news networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya showed shaky footage of the embassy’s area following the blasts, with a heavy cloud of black smoke rising from a spot just beyond concrete blocks painted yellow.

    The embassy is ringed by two layers of these blocks, according to San’a residents familiar with the area.

    A medical official, meanwhile, said at least seven Yemeni nationals were wounded and taken to the city’s Republican hospital. They are residents of a nearby housing compound and included children, he said.

    Both the security and medical officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to the media.

    Explosions and heavy gunfire were heard near the embassy in the eastern section of San’a and police cordoned off the area, according to a government security official and an AP reporter at the scene.

    The AP reporter said ambulance cars rushed to the area and hundreds of heavily armed security forces were deployed around the compound. Police kept reporters well away from the immediate area, he said.

    The regional networks also reported that one of the embassy’s buildings caught fire. The AP reporter said a fire truck was seen headed to the scene, but Gliha, the embassy spokesman, denied the report.

    They also reported that gunmen in police uniforms arrived at the scene soon after the first blast and immediately fired at the embassy guards. This could not be independently confirmed.

    Al Qaeda has an active presence in Yemen despite government efforts to destroy it.

    In March 2002, a Yemeni man lobbed a sound grenade into the U.S. Embassy grounds a day after Vice President Dick Cheney made a stop for talks with officials at San’a airport.

    The attacker, who allegedly sought to retaliate against what he called American bias toward Israel, was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the sentence was later reduced to seven years.

    In March 2003, two people were fatally shot and dozens more were injured when police clashed with demonstrators trying to storm the embassy when tens of thousands rallied against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

    In 2006, a gunman opened fire outside the embassy but was shot and arrested by Yemeni guards. The gunman, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, claimed he wanted to kill Americans.

    The group was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 American sailors and an attack on a French oil tanker that killed one person two years later.

    FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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