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Posts tagged ‘Maiduguri’

United Nations High Commission for Refugees57,000 Nigerians now refugees.


 

Despite  the fact that Nigeria is not at war, Nigerians are now refugees in neighbouring countries as more than 57,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic as a result of insurgency by Boko Haram, according to the United Nations.

The world body also disclosed that about half a million people have been internally displaced in the country which it described as a very alarming situation.

Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, Mr Adrian Edwards, who spoke with reporters in Geneva said of 57,000 people who fled Nigeria, 17,000 are registered as Nigerians while the rest are nationals from neighbouring countries who have

been living in Nigeria for ages.
He disclosed that Niger received the majority — some 40,000 concentrated in the Diffa region, a desert in the country’s eastern edge.

According to him, many of those fleeing North-Eastern Nigeria are traumatized and left with very few possessions, adding that besides the Lake Chad area, some of the new arrivals are from the Borno State capital, Maiduguri.

57,000 flee to Cameroon,  Chad, Niger

He said: “Since Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the three states in May 2013, more than 57,000 people have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Some 17,000 of these are registered Nigerian refugees. The rest are nationals of the surrounding countries who had been living in Nigeria for decades.”

Edwards noted that newly arrived refugees interviewed by the staff of the UNHCR in Niger have spoken of atrocities on the shores of Lake Chad in Borno State.

According to him, “One woman described corpses strewn through houses and floating in the water. She said people feared staying even to bury their dead or find missing relatives. Others recounted fleeing a village shooting incident and said women and children were being kidnapped and taken away by unidentified assailants.

“We’ve had some other accounts of shooting in villages there with women and children being kidnapped and taken away. So, it’s really a spreading of this horrible conflict we’re seeing outside of the towns and into some of the rural areas of North-East Nigeria.

“It’s hard for us to get full visibility of the situation inside North-East Nigeria, simply because we don’t have the access. And you have to remember that in addition to people fleeing Nigeria, you have got close to half a million people internally displaced inside the country. And that’s according to the government’s figures. So, these are really very high numbers and reflects what seems to be a very alarming situation.

2,000 people cross to Niger

“The latest attacks are reported to have begun in mid‑February and were continuing five days ago. In all, some 2,000 people have crossed into south‑east Niger’s Diffa region over the past four weeks.

“In addition to the attacks on Lake Chad, some of the new arrivals have come from areas near Borno’s state capital, Maiduguri, that have been affected by fighting.”

He maintained that the UNHCR reiterates to all parties to the conflict in north‑eastern Nigeria, the vital importance of protecting civilians from harm.

He said the UNHCR was working with partners, including the International Rescue Committee, the governments of the neighbouring countries, to try and ensure that countries keep their borders open and also ensure that they help people on arrival.

Wounded Boko Haram members captured —DHq

Meanwhile, following military bombardments of Boko Haram terrorists by the Nigerian Army using artillery fire and infantry soldiers swooping on their camps, scores of the insurgents have been captured as they attempted to flee across the borders through Lake Chad and Cameroon as well as Niger.

Vanguard gathered that the bombardment was jointly carried out by the Nigerian Air Force using Mi‑35 helicopter gunships while the army launched its offensive from the ground.

A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade said: “Scores of wounded terrorists who escaped from various camps under the fire of security forces have been captured in the fringes of Lake Chad.

“The captured terrorists, some of whom are fatally wounded, are already making useful statements to interrogators of the Multi‑National Joint Task Force.

“Others were captured by troops in locations around Dikwa, Cross Kauwa, Kukawa and Alargarmo.

“In their confessions, it was revealed that some of the camps have been disbanded following the directive of their clerics who declared that the operation of the sect had come to an end as the mission could no longer be sustained.

“The terrorists, who are giving useful information as to the locations of their remnant forces, are full of apologies and pleas for their lives to be spared, promising to cooperate.

Starvation major problem

“They confirmed that starvation was a major problem in addition to ceaseless bombardments on the camp locations even when they kept relocating.

“They also confirm that several members of the group have been wounded and no treatment was forth coming. Troops have continued their assault on other locations across the states covered by the state of emergency.

“Meanwhile, members of the public who have started visiting to engage in sight seeing in some dislodged camps and fringes of  forests such as Sambisa and others have been warned to desist from doing so as the tendency will no more be condoned where operations are still ongoing.

“The general area still remains a theatre and movement remains restricted as the environment has to be cleared for safety of citizens.The public will be informed when the locations are safe enough.”

BY MICHAEL EBOH & EDIRI EJOH

Source: Radio Biafra.

Massacre continues as Boko Haram attacks another Borno village, many feared killed.


The police confirmed the attack but could not provide details.
Jakana Village in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State was on Monday night attacked by gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram.
‪Jakana is 36km away from Maiduguri, the state capital, and about 20km from Mainok, the village where 39 people were massacred by the Boko Haram on Saturday.‬
‪Though details of the Monday night attack that lasted till around 3 a.m. are still sketchy for now, some of the villagers who were able to escape the attack said many may have been affected by the incident.‬
‪PREMIUM TIMES gathered that villagers from a neighbouring village of Auno fled to Njimtilo, another village outside Maiduguri, upon seeing the skies being lighted by burning fire from the direction of the attacked village.‬
‪”We spent the nIght in Njimtilo village after running from our own village, Auno”, said an embattled villager, Bashir Adam.
He added that “even in Njimtilo we could still hear the sounds of shooting in Jakana. We hope our brethren there will survive this calamity that has befallen us”.‬
‪The Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jubrin,  confirmed the incident to journalists but said there were no details yet.
The Monday night attack in Jakana occurs about 24 hours after at least 32 people were killed by the Boko Haram in Mafa Village.
Mafa Village was also set ablaze by the terrorists in an attack that residents said lasted about 5 hours.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the villagers in Mafa had been forewarned of the attack and many of them fled their homes about a week ago.
The warnings were allegedly handed down by Boko Haram members via leaflets dropped around the village.
According to the Senator representing Borno Central, Ahmed Zannah, the gunmen not only massacred the hapless villagers, but also razed down the entire village.
Mr. Zannah told journalists on Monday that two police officers died in a bomb explosion targeted at an Armoured Personnel Carrier while they were trying to evacuate injured victims.
“I have officially received a detailed report from my constituents in Mafa that 29 people among which was a woman died during the attack. Two policemen also died this morning as they went to evacuate injured people,” the senator said on Monday.
A resident of Mafa, Modu Yuraim, who survived the attack, told journalists in a telephone interview that “We have performed the burial of 32 persons, among them was a woman”.
Mr. Yuraim said the attackers came in various vehicles at about 8 p.m. on Sunday night and began to shoot sporadically. He said most of the houses, which were of thatched roofs, caught fire.
“They have set on fire the entire village, sparing nothing. All houses, all shops and government buildings were razed down completely; we have been devastated beyond what one can describe,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the attack, which started at about 8 p.m. lasted over five hours; a development that left many wondering why it took security officials so long to arrive the village which is just about 45km away.
“I was reliably informed by my people that all the soldiers in Mafa fled during the attack because they could not stand the superior weapons of the Boko-Haram,” he said.
Mr. Yuraim added that apart from the houses that were burnt down, the gunmen also burnt down seven trucks loaded with goods, as well as other vehicles.
The chairman of Mafa Local Government Area, Abubakar Zulum, said the loss suffered by the people, apart from the 32 lives lost, were worth billions of Naira

Ola’ Audu
(From Biafra Galaxy)

They Bleed: Nigeria Confirms Death Of Soldiers In Maiduguri Boko Haram Operations.


 

The Nigerian Army Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has confirmed the loss of some soldiers in connection with the Boko Haram attack on Abulum, Maiduguri, at the weekend.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Major General Chris Olukolade, DHQ said the troops were pursuing the militants who were responsible for the attack in Buni Yadi when they engaged in a fierce encounter with the terrorists around Mainok and other locations between Apa and Abulum in Borno State.
It said that the death of the soldiers was as a result of the air and land attack launched on the members of the sect, and that some terrorists were also killed in the incident.
“The air operations to clear terrorists bases sited in Daggu and Yazza areas of Borno State during the weekend have registered the expected results in the ongoing campaign against terror,” Olukolade said.  “The mopping up operation by ground forces after air assault has confirmed the death of several terrorists located in the bases.  Civilians had earlier been evacuated from the vicinity of the identified terrorist enclaves in line with operation orders before the air and land assaults.  Extensive cordon and search of the entire locality is ongoing with a view to apprehending the wounded and other members of the terrorists group who might still be trying to flee.”
The spokesman also stated that the suspects believed to have been responsible for detonating a bomb in the Bintu Sugar Ngamari area of Maiduguri on Saturday in which many citizens were killed have been arrested and are helping in the investigation.
“Patrols are continuing on land and air in the entire mission area in North East towards apprehending or eliminating the rampaging terrorists in the area,” the statement said.
It also noted that the campaign coordination cell has dismissed as untrue reports that civilians were mistakenly killed in the air operations in some parts of the mission area, as the claim could not be confirmed after the mopping up aspect of the operation.
“The reports are believed to be part of the design by those bent on discrediting the counter terrorists mission,” it concluded, adding that DHQ has reaffirmed its directive that necessary care should continue to always be taken to ensure safety of innocent Nigerians in the operational areas notwithstanding the fierceness of the encounters.
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Boko Haram terrorists: Dead bodies litter Borno.


Details of the weekend bomb explosions in Maiduguri, Borno State emerged yesterday as residents and rescue officials said at least 50 people died in the twin blasts while another 39 were killed in another attack on Manoik, a village near the state capital by suspected Boko Haram terrorists. Death toll may have risen to 100Twin blasts targeted at a shopping centre and a viewing centre at Gomari-Bintu Sugar area of Maiduguri occurred at about 6.05pm on Saturday.
Scores of football enthusiasts who were watching the evening English Premier League matches were caught by the explosions believed to have been hidden in a truck loaded with firewood and parked near the viewing centre by the terrorists. The residents yesterday told the Deputy Governor, Zannah Mustapha, during his visit that 46 people died on the spot while over 60 injured persons were rushed to hospitals within the metropolis. Hospital sources also said some of the victims later died yesterday even as some were said to be in critical condition.

Mustapha expressed the sympathy of the governor and the government to the people, adding that government would always identify with them in their period of grief. He said the governor directed him to express his condolence to the bereaved. He promised that government would assist the victims and those whose shops were destroyed by the explosions to assist them return to normal life. He directed the Chairman of Maiduguri Metropolis Council (MMC) to compile a list of affected persons to help government plan its palliative support for them.

The residents said they saw a truck loaded with firewood parked near the shopping centre unknown to them that the vehicle was carrying bombs. “We didn’t know it was going to be the source of our sorrow,” a resident said amid tears. According to an account, two men reportedly alighted from a truck loaded with firewood, “opened the vehicle bonnet as if trying to fixa fault” and disappeared from the scene in a jiffy. “The truck exploded about 10 minutes later,” sources said. Some residents who were around the area rushed to the scene ostensibly for rescue mission but the second bomb went off immediately. “It was the second blast that killed many people because those who moved toward the first scene were mostly affected,” Aji Musa, a resident said.

The development prompted troops to launch stop and search operation in the city early yesterday to track down possible movement of arms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) into the city. Many residents said they were jolted by the discovery and return  An official of the National Emegency Management Agency (NEMA) said many people died and injured but declined to give exact figure, insisting he is “not authorized t do so.” He said both NEMA and Red Cross Society collaborated with the police to rescue those suspected to have been trapped. He, however, said no more corpses or victims were discovered in yesterday’s rescue operation.

In another attack in Mainok, along Maiduguri Damaturu road, about 39 people died in the incident involving explosions and sporadic shooting, security sources said. Mainok is about 55 kilomteres from Maiduguri. A resident, Mansur Buba, said gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram laid a siege on the community at about 8pm. “We were still discussing the bomb explosion in Maiduguri when we started hearing gunshots and explosions everywhere. Almost all our houses have been burnt. This morning (Sunday), we have recovered 39 bodies,” he said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Boko Haram: Military Leadership Underserves President And Junior Soldiers.


By Abiodun Ladepo

“Gunmen from Islamist sect Boko Haram killed 51 people in an attack on a town in northeast Nigeria…in a region where President Goodluck Jonathan’s troops are struggling to contain its insurgency.  Dozens of Boko Haram fighters speeding along in trucks painted in military colours and armed with automatic weapons and explosives stormed Konduga local government area in Borno state at around 4 p.m. on…burning houses and shooting fleeing villagers…The insurgents also took 20 young girls from a local college hostage…The military confirmed the attack took place but said it was still assessing the number of casualties.”

The above was the lead paragraph in a Reuters’s story published a couple of days ago.  The story’s screaming headline was: “Nigeria’s Boko Haram kill 51 in northeast attack.”   Before this headline, there had been many such screaming headlines published by different media: “Gunmen kill 22 in Nigeria church attack: Witnesses”; “Attacks by extremists kill about 75 Nigerians”; “Nigerian gunmen attack toll reaches 85”; “Nigerian Muslim Cleric Opposed to Boko Haram Shot Dead.”  And we can go on and on quoting screaming headlines that have assailed our ears since gunmen first laid siege to northern Nigeria.  Does anybody even pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Anybody…the Federal government, the military, and the rest of us not directly affected by the carnage…do we pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Could it be that we don’t pay attention to these headlines because they have apparently screamed themselves hoarse?  Or have we all just become inured to (and inoculated against) their potency?

But probably the one headline that should have bothered Nigerians the most was this from ThisDay newspaper: “Five Aircraft Razed as Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri.”  The paper reported on 03 December 2013 that the president was so perturbed by the brazen and gory nature of the attack that he called an emergency meeting of the Security Council.  Erstwhile Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, (now CDS) along with National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were in attendance.  Soon after that meeting, the Air Force launched a few air sorties in the area, dropping a few bombs on what it thought were the enemies.  Many of the bombs were so erratic they missed their targets by kilometers.  Some hit “friendly forces” while others landed in open fields.  The attacking insurgents disappeared into thin air almost effortlessly and our military retreated back to their barracks claiming what later amounted to nothing but Pyrrhic victory – the fact that it successfully drove the attackers away.

Drove the attackers away?  That was part of the bragging statements issued by the Army as it went on a shameless victory lap around the mangled corpses of Nigerian Soldiers and the bloods of civilians, including those of innocent women and children, now mostly Muslims.  It used to be that these attackers targeted Christians and their churches; and because of that, we attributed their attacks to part of Boko Haram’s quest to Islamize the whole of Nigeria.  For a considerable length of time now, these attacks have been launched against Nigerians irrespective of religion, sect, age, ethnicity and gender.  Commonsense should, by now, inform the collective wisdom of our highest military echelon to consider the possibility that these are probably no longer the original Boko Haram adherents we were fighting.

Our military “drove the attackers away”, turned around and came back home?  And we are satisfied with that?  What is wrong in following the attackers to whatever hole from where they came – Cameroon, Chad, or Niger – and finishing them off there?  What is wrong in following the attackers, capturing those we can capture and bringing them back to our bases for interrogation?  Believe me, if we subject these Prisoners of Wars (POWs) to internationally sanctioned interrogation techniques – those authorized by relevant Geneva Conventions articles and guaranteed to preserve the rights and dignity of the POWs – we will obtain actionable intelligence from them that would aid in our execution of this war.  Instead, we allowed the attackers to retreat and re-group so they can fight us another day.  We tucked our tails between our legs, scampered back to our bases and declared victory.  And a few weeks later, the commander whose Air Force Base was so ravaged – Alex Badeh; the one whose subordinate personnel’s wives were carted away by the enemies in that bold attack, was rewarded with promotion to Chief of Defense Staff.

None of the senators who screened Badeh for the appointment had the good conscience to ask him where he was when the attack on the base occurred; what policies he had in place, as then Chief of Air Staff, to forestall the breach of his bases, and what policies he had since put in place to prevent another such attack.  If the senators (led by David Mark, himself a former senior military officer) had had the gumption to ask the tough questions, they would have learned, for instance, that the Nigerian military is languishing in archaic war fighting equipment and doctrine.  They would have learned that our Air Force did not have something as simple as up-to-date maps of our own country – maps which would have come in handy when trying to locate the enemy’s possible fortresses; maps showing all of our man-made and natural terrains that the enemies and our forces could use for cover, concealment and mobility.  The senators would have found out that our Air Force had very limited serviceable and air-worthy fighter aircraft.  They would have learned that because of the paucity of aircraft, only very few of our fighter pilots are well-trained in their jobs.  And those who have the training may not even retain much of these perishable flying-and-fighting skills due to lack of regular sustainment training.  Our senators would have learned that our Army still carries around moribund and often malfunctioning personal and crew-served weapons; that they move around in dilapidated Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs); that our Soldiers regularly run out of ammunition, petrol, food and other essential items in the middle of firefights.  Our senators would have found out to their utter chagrins the nauseating fact that we are sometimes late in paying our Soldiers’ combat and deployment allowances; and that when they die in combat, we take forever in paying their gratuities to their families, thereby keeping morale at the lowest ebb.

Our senators might also have learned that our senior military officers do not understand the difference between conventional war (country vs. country) and Counter-Insurgencies (COIN) (country vs. insurgency) war.  And what they do not know, they could not teach to their subordinates or supervise.  The senators would have learned that we have probably been fighting an armed insurrection or an armed unconventional invasion (assuming these attackers are from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, or Niger) with the tools needed to fight a conventional war.  Had our senators done their due diligence, they would have learned that our military and our intelligence agencies, especially the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), lack the technical knowhow to emplace and employ ground/aerial, static/mobile, human/electronic intelligence collection capabilities that would greatly complement the efforts of our gallant Soldiers.  (For example, we acquired for surveillance a couple of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), otherwise known as Drones.  But with what and whom are we coordinating the images we receive from these Drones?)  Gallantry without effective fighting weaponry is nothing but suicide.  Only when our Soldiers encounter unarmed civilians do their egos swell to match their menacing muscles.  When faced with well-motivated hooded insurgents wielding Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers and vehicle-mounted 60mm machine guns, our soldiers scamper for cover.  Had the senators asked the right questions, they would have known that without motivating and empowering our Soldiers with modern, up-to-date equipment, quality training, and rewarding pay, it is as if we have consistently tied their fighting hands behind their backs and sent them to battle to die.

This low-level war with insurgents has exposed the systemic rot in our military and we should wake up to our responsibilities.  Unless we are deluding ourselves, Nigeria may not survive a full-blown invasion from one of its neighboring countries.  At the minimum, we would suffer great losses in the hands of a determined foe.  Ordinary bands of rag-tag fighters probe and infiltrate our borders at will (daytime, nighttime and evenings); they conduct successful attacks and then successfully retreat with minimal casualties.  A few days later, they repeat the attacks with slight changes to their modus operandi, throwing our soldiers into confusion.  Haba!  These are textbook basic offensive tactics that have continued to make mincemeat of our so-called dreaded military.  And any Nigerian Soldier worth his or her salt should be embarrassed to no end by this.

If we eschew politics, Goodluck Jonathan has no blame in this whatsoever.  Because he was dissatisfied with their performances (and rightfully so) he sacked Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika.  To make it a clean sweep, he also sacked the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba.  While Badeh replaced Ibrahim, Ihejirika, and Ezeoba were replaced by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and Rear Adm. Jibrin Usman respectively.  Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu slid into Badeh’s old seat as the Air Force’s Chief of Staff.

That is all one could expect of a civilian Commander-in-Chief – reinvigorating the military at the top with fresh hands in the expectation that the new appointees will inject the Force with a new sense of purpose, direction and motivation.  Jonathan should not be expected to understand the minutiae of military Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs).  In fact, he is probably as angry and as surprised as the rest of us that we have not beaten this insurgency scourge.  Jonathan can only understand and approve what the military brasses put before him.  And anyone with a scintilla of expertise in advanced military operations, not just rudimentary knowledge of how the military conducts successful operations, should know that the succession of military brasses have not served Jonathan well.  They appear to me to have become either too obtuse and/or too impervious to designing radical changes to their TTPs.

So, as a matter of urgency, Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh should begin to earn his rank and salary by immediately setting up for himself a Command Post (CP) in Maiduguri and temporarily move his office there.  If anything, this would signal to all his subordinate commanders that he means business and it is no longer business as usual.  This is war and it should be treated as such.  It would also boost the junior Soldiers’ morale to knowing their overall boss is on the battlefield with them, not ensconced in Abuja drinking pepper soup.  Badeh will now be able to see up-close what his Soldiers are facing and can effectively assess what they need in order to win the war.  When he orders them to face death, he would be doing so with moral authority, not just rank authority.  Badeh will see firsthand how a typical fellow Nigerian in Konduga lives his or her daily life and can then report same to Jonathan.  Badeh will be able to go to the National Assembly (NASS) and to Jonathan to make a good argument why Nigeria needs to recruit more Soldiers.  He would be able to convince the NASS to increase the defense budget, allowing for training in modern warfare, equipment, remunerations and emoluments for its personnel.

Finally, Jonathan will then be able to inform (not seek permission from) the leaders of Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic; the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), that henceforth, Nigeria would deal decisively with anybody or group of persons that violates its territorial integrity.  Jonathan will mandate Badeh and his entire military leadership to employ the Powell Doctrine of maximum force each time any part of Nigeria is attacked.  And, of course, with credible and actionable intelligence, superior equipment and a motivated military, Nigeria will meet its threat of lethal force with precision and deadly overwhelming delivery.  This will serve as an effective deterrence to would be aggressors and fomenters or anarchy.  This practice of watching whole families slaughtered in cold blood; of survivors gnashing their teeth, wailing and throwing themselves on the ground; and of our military and politicians throwing up their hands in total helplessness will then come to an end.  And we would have our country back.

Abiodun Ladepo                                                                                                                           Los Angeles, California, USA                                                                                   Oluyole2@yahoo.com.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

A Nation Without Empathy By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

A few days ago (12th February 2014) in Borno state Boko Haram killed 60 innocent Nigerians and carted off 24 young girls without any trace. On January 27th 2014 no less than 70 innocent Nigerians were murdered in cold blood by Boko Haram in a series of attacks in Borno and Adamawa states.

On January 14th 2014 at least 50 innocent Nigerians were blown to pieces by a Boko Haram suicide bomber in  the heart of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Not too long before then they attacked an army barracks in Borno, killed 200 soldiers, carted off the wives and children of our military personnel and burnt the barracks to the ground.

A few weeks prior to that, numerous schools were attacked and hundreds of our children were either shot to death, hacked to pieces or had their throats cut and blood drained. Consequently many schools have been closed down in Borno and Yobe states respectively.

A few weeks back no less than 160 of our soldiers were killed by Boko Haram in one skirmish simply because they ran out of bullets. Worst still it has been generally acknowleged that the Boko Haram fighters are better equipped and better supplied than our soldiers. Goodness me….what a mess.

Finally no less than 130 churches were burnt down in Borno state in 2013 alone and the Catholic Church alone lost 53 churches out of that figure. All in all Nigeria has lost almost 8000 innocent civilians to Boko Haram in the last three years and that includes women and children. It does not however include the vast number of women that have been captured and kidnapped by them and that are now being used as sex-slaves.

All this and yet some complain about the fact that I recently wrote that we have a   ”President without balls” who is simply incapable of facing the challenge of Boko Haram. Given his accursed weakness in the face of what is undoubtedly the greatest insurgency and rebellion of our time since the civil war and given his inability to behave like a real Commander-in-Chief and to properly engage and crush the enemy, I do not regret my choice of words (or title) for that celebrated essay. As a matter of fact I ought to have gone much further because our President deserves far worse.

As I wrote in another contribution almost one month ago, ”the problem that we have is the President himself- a President who prides himself on his own weakness and incompetence and whose love of false prophets and strange women knows no bounds and has no end. A President who is as confused and as clueless as the comic character called Chancey Gardner in the celebrated 1970’s Peter Seller’s Hollywood blockbuster titled ”Being There”. A President who does not understand the meaning of the word ”class” or ”honesty” and who breaks his own word consistently. A President who has abdicated his responsibilities, destroyed his own political party, divided his own country, alienated his own friends, humiliated his own mentor, abandoned his own people, brought ridicule to his own faith, cowers before his own officials, betrays his own governors, scorns the international community and BREAKS HIS SOLEMN OATH TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE. A President who does not even have the nerve or the guts to call to order any of the numerous Jezebels that control him. He is the problem we have in our country today and until he resigns, is impeached or is voted out of power nothing will change and Nigeria will continue to go from bad to worse. That is what you get when you vote for a man who never wore shoes to school’- (‘JONATHAN, TUKUR AND A GOVERNMENT OF JEZEBELS’, Premium Times, 19th January, 2014).

It is no wonder that President Goodluck Jonathan has been endorsed for a second term by a motely and hitherto unknown group known as the ”Witches and Wizards Association of Nigeria”. As my good friend and brother and the Kakaki Nupe, Mr. Sam Nda Isaiah, recently wrote in response to this rather strange ”endorsement” from an equally strange group- ”the devil is a liar”.

Each time a precious soul is snuffed out and a life is cut short by Boko Haram, whether that person be a christian or a muslim, or a northerner or a southerner, it takes something away from our collective humanity and it wounds our nation’s soul. Worse still it diminishes us before the entire world and confirms the fact that our country has been turned into a human abbatoir and slaughterhouse where, no matter how many innocents are butchered, no-one really cares anymore.

Such matters no longer even make it to the front pages of our newspapers anymore and neither do our politicians or newspaper columnists even talk or write about it anymore. All that stopped long ago and now we see such atrocities as a norm that we must just accept and live with. We have accepted it as our ”lot in life” and, as our President said last year, we regard it simply as ”Nigeria’s contribution to the war against terror”. Early in 2013 our President also said that he regarded Boko Haram as his ”siblings” whom he ”could not move against” whilst Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the erstwhile National Chairman of his political party the PDP, described them as ”freedom fighters”.  Can you imagine that? These are commendations from Mr. President and the then serving National Chairman of the PDP for Boko Haram barely one year ago. Jumping Jehoshaphat. It is only in Nigeria that a terrorist organisation can kill thousands of it’s citizens in the most brutal, violent and horrendous manner and yet the President and the National Chairman of the ruling party still feel comfortable and safe with calling them their ”siblings” and ”freedom fighters”. What a terrible insult this is on the Nigerian people and what a bitter pill to swallow for the family members of all those that have been killed in the last three years by these terrorists. I really do wonder whose ”freedom” Boko Haram is fighting for, whose interest they seek to further and protect and what blood ties exist between them and our President. What a shameful and insensitive set of leaders we have and what an indolent and insensitive followership who are not prepared to call them to order and keep them on their toes when they make such outrageous comments and who have absolutely no empathy with or sympathy for the many victims of Boko Haram.

The truth is that we as a people have lost all sense of compassion and decency when it comes to such matters and our feelings and conciences have become seared. To the majority of Nigerians those precious souls and compatriots that have been killed by Boko Haram over the last three years are just a number- they are nothing but distant names, from a distant place, belonging to distant figures.

There is simply no sense of national outrage from our people about this insidious rebellion and about these brutal killings and vicious attacks and neither is their any sense of urgency on the part of our government to bring it to an end. Given the way we conduct ourselves one would not have thought that Nigeria is currently enmeshed in the most brutal war against terror in it’s entire history.

Yet as we go on with our day to day business and act as if all is well thousands are being killed in the north-eastern part of our country by Boko Haram. There can be no greater evidence of man’s inhumanity to man when one considers our attitude. Such inhumanity and insensitivity to the plight of others has taken firm root in the Nigeria of today. What a monuemental tragedy this is. When did we, as a people, degenerate to this abysmal level of lack of empathy and when did we stop becoming our brother’s keeper?

As millions of Nigerians join the world to celebrate Valentines day today and indeed throughout this weekend, please let us spare a thought and say a little prayer for those whose loved ones will not be with them on this day, or indeed on any other day, simply because they have been murdered or kidnapped by Boko Haram.

May God heal their wounds and have mercy on them even as we grieve with them. And may God forgive our President and the majority of the Nigerian people for simply ”not giving a damn” about their sad and unfortunate plight.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Boko Haram terrorists sets town ablaze, kills 74.


House-Baga-mayhem

About 74 people have been killed by the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect in two separate attacks in Borno and Adamawa states. Kawuri town in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State was razed completely when the terrorists attacked the town on Sunday, leading to the death of 51 people and a soldier.

At the end of the carnage, more than 300 houses and shops were razed, while scores of policemen and civilians were also injured. Kawuri is one of the big towns in Konduga, situated along Maiduguri-Bama Expressway and about 60 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

About 50 heavily armed terrorists were said to have invaded the town on the market day around 5p.m. and unleashed mayhem on residents and traders. Those injured in the attack are now receiving treatment at Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Our correspondent learnt that no

house was left standing after the attack. The gunmen planted explosive devices around the town, prior to the attack, according to witnesses and security officials.

Civilians were also killed in their homes, before the houses were set ablaze. “No house was left standing,” Ari Kolomi, who fled from the village to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said. “The gunmen were more than 50 and they were using explosives and heavysounding guns,” he added. Kolomi said he did not yet know if his relatives had survived the attack.

A senior security operative, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed the incident to our correspondent yesterday. This is the second attack on the town. The first attack occurred in October last year when some Boko Haram suspects clashed with vigilance youth, popularly known as civilian JTF, leading to the killing of 10 people, including three youths.

Also, during that attack, 18 persons were injured, while 48 shops and 200 houses were razed. Governor Kashim Shettima, who was billed to visit the town yesterday, had to suspend the trip, following intelligence report that the place was not safe.

The terrorists were alleged to have planted Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, targeting rescue workers and security operatives deployed to maintain law and order in the area. A survivor, Mallam Mustapha Modu, said he counted about 47 dead bodies yesterday morning, while several others sustained gunshots and injuries.

It will be recalled that in the past week, 37 communities, including Kwaljiri, Kaya, Ngawo Fate, Limanti, Njaba, Yahuri, Mude, Wala and Alau among others in Damboa, Konduga and Gwoza Council areas, had been sacked by terrorists.

The displaced residents of those communities are now taking refuge in some neighbouring villages and Maiduguri as well as across the border in Cameroon. The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Lawal Tanko, confirmed the incident to our correspondent. He said over 40 people were killed while 25 sustained gunshots and injuries, after setting the whole town ablaze.

Tanko said: “I received an intelligence information that Kawuri town was attacked by Boko Haram sect suspected to be on a revenge mission on market day (Sunday), where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious wounds before they set the whole place on fire, we have deployed our men to the area.”

Tanko, however, said that no policeman was killed during the attack. In Waga Chakawa village, in Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State, 22 died in an attack on a church service also on Sunday. Our correspondent learnt that the attackers set off bombs and fired into the congregation, killing 22 people, before burning houses and taking residents hostage during a fourhour siege.

It was learnt that two policemen were among the 22 victims of the attack. Some residents of the village, who fled the area told newsmen that they were attacked by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members during Sunday service.

“They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”, villagers said “I cannot actually say how many people were killed but I learnt that there are about 16 people evacuated from the church,” one of the residents who identified himself as Apogu said.

Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men as hostage, while two policemen, an inspector and a sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed instantly. “I saw some people crying saying that their relations had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen,” the resident who did not want his name mentioned said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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