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Posts tagged ‘State Security Service’

A’Court rejects call logs evidence in Senator Ali Ndume. One of the sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists.


Senator-Ali-Ndume

Senator Aliyu Ndume, who is facing trial for allegedly sponsoring the Boko Haram sect, got a reprieve on Tuesday as the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, overturned the admission in evidence of records of mobile telephone conversations between him and a former spokesman of the terror sect, Ali Konduga (aka Al Zawahiri).

Trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Federal High Court, had in two rulings on December 11 and 14, 2012, admitted in evidence, DVDs containing results of the forensic analysis of two mobile telephones said to be retrieved from Ndume and Konduga – including call data records – as exhibits P7, P8, P8a and P8b.

The DVDs were tendered in court by the State Security Service.

 

Following the development, Ndume, through his lawyer, Rickey Terfa, SAN, approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the admission of the DVDs.

The defence counsel argued that the DVDs, which were computer generated, did not meet the criteria required for the admission of computer generated materials as evidence under the Evidence Act.

Ruling on the application on Tuesday, the panel of justices of the Court of Appeal upheld the two appeals filed by Ndume.

In a judgment read by Justice Amiru Sanusi, the appellate court faulted the admission of the materials in evidence by the Abuja FHC.

The Court of Appeal held that the Abuja FHC erred when it admitted the DVDs in evidence even when the prosecution failed to comply with the condition precedent as required under Section 84(1) and (2) of the Evidence Act 2011 (as amended) in relation to the admission of computer generated evidence.

According to the appellate court, the word “shall” in section 84 of the Evidence Act made it compulsory that its provisions must be complied with.

“In this case, the respondent failed to comply with the condition precedent as prescribed in Section 84 (2) of the Evidence Act,” Justice Sanusi stated.

The court, as a result, declared as wrongful, the admission in evidence of the DVDs marked exhibits ‘P7, P8, P8a and P8b’, which contained the records of mobile telephone exchanges between Ndume and Konduga.

The call data records had revealed a total of 73 mobile telephone conversations between Ndume and Konduga from October 3, 2011 to November 3, 2011.

A forensic examiner attached to the Special Investigation Unit of the SSS, Mr. Aliyu Usman, had made the disclosure while testifying before the Abuja FHC.

Disclosing details of the DVDs, the witness also informed the court how Ndume and Konduga saved each other’s numbers on their mobile telephones.

While Ndume’s number was saved on entry 78 on Konduga’s mobile telephone as ‘INDUME Sen. Ali.’, the former Boko Haram spokesman’s phone number was stored on entry 1819 on the Senator’s mobile phone as ‘Mal. Ali. BH’

The call data records were obtained after a forensic analysis of a Nokia E7 phone said to belong to Ndume, and a Nokia 2700 belonging to Konduga.

Ndume was arraigned before the Abuja FHC on a four-count charge bordering on terrorism after he was implicated by Konduga, who was eventually convicted and sentenced for his role in the terrorist activities of the Boko Haram sect.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Growing Repression Of Free Speech And Attack On Human Rights Defenders In Nigeria By Victoria Ohaeri.


 

Victoria Ohaeri
By Victoria Ohaeri

The growing repression of citizen reporters and advocates that challenge the never-seen-before levels of corruption and political under-performance going in Nigeria has now assumed frighteningly alarming dimensions. For some time now, I have been the target of deliberate attacks, threats, accusations leveled against me by persons who hold themselves out as Igbo ethnic champions and supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.  Their main grouse is that I have refused to heed their ‘wise counsel” to support a president from my tribe and region. Over time, they have continuously launched series of deliberate campaign of calumny against me on the social media, employing all sinisterly bewildering means to coerce me into silence.

Particularly on December 12, 2013, I had made the Facebook posting below:

Yes, Obasanjo clearly lacks the moral ground to write GEJ and level accusations he himself was, and is still guilty of. But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether there is any question OBJ has asked in that letter that isn’t true, and deserving of compelling answers. If all that most Nigerians can do after reading that letter is to hurl tirades at OBJ, then the bigger joke is on us all.

The truth is that GEJ may chose to call his estranged godfather’s bluff, but citizens, the diplomatic and international community are alarmed, and are taking the contents of that letter very seriously. He should also keep in mind that OBJ isn’t the kinda person whose hard questions can be wished away or dismissed with a wave of the hand.

GEJ is free to order his aides to decline a response, but most of the grave accusations – especially those bordering on all kinds of presidential corruption, oil theft, arms-piling and pursuit of a regional agenda – in that letter MUST be answered. Many issues raised in that letter have given the calls for regime change more tonic. And if these questions aren’t answered, then a regime change by “all means necessary” has become very imperative.

Capitalizing on the phrase, “by all means necessary” contained in the above post, a Facebook group named, Nigerian Liberation Movement (NLM) published hate messages with very malicious and defamatory content with intent to harm my reputation, and promote their characteristic ethnic bigotry. Very preposterously too, the above post was misinterpreted to mean that I was calling for the assassination of President Goodluck Jonathan, and on that basis, they urged the State Security Service to arrest me.

The statement contains in part:

Mrs Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri with ties to northern Nigeria has been a vocal critique of the Jonathan-led administration and believes that for the country to move forward the president should be removed by impeachment or through a military coup, which may result in his assassination.

Many Northerners have reacted to the call by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri with suspicion and view her as a spy amongst them while their eastern counterparts have distanced themselves from the call. The Northerners view such a move as another repeat of the 1966 debacle for the eastern people of Igbo origin to seize power while using a “detribalized” mole like Mrs Ibezim-Ohaeri to wade off suspicion. Easterners on the other hand see such call as an attempt to push the country into another round of “Igbo killing and massacre” which they called pogrom.

Ordinarily, the above interpretation is laughable and undeserving of a response as there is clearly no way that the phrase, “by all means necessary” connotes or even suggests a recommendation of an assassination plot.  Such mischievous misinterpretation, steeped in incurable idiocy again brings to the fore, the continuing rot in the Nigerian educational system, which has seen the universities churn out retards as graduates. Determined to overturn this rot, Nigerian lecturers under the auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on a protracted strike, refusing to yield to official intimidation and all untoward pressures aimed at breaking their resolve.

There is simply no way a statement made within the limits of free speech, and again, made well within the context of  established modes of democratic ascendancy could be myopically construed to mean a backing to murder a serving president! A subsequent post made the following day (December 13, 2013) specifically referenced an impeachment process, confirming my original intent on constitutionally-prescribed modes of political changeover. Sight must not be lost of the fact that the call for regime change “by all mean necessary” was preconditioned on the president’s refusal or failure to provide cogent and compelling responses to the allegations of  “presidential corruption, oil theft, arms-stockpiling and the secession agenda” contained in General Olusegun Obasanjo’s infamous letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.

This trend is however, not entirely new. In the last two years, there has been a clearly defined pattern of branding anybody who boldly speaks against the frustrating levels of bad governance and unprecedented corruption in Nigeria as an “enemy”.  Patriotism is now defined as loyalty to the serving president, and not to the country itself. While this persecution against real and imagined critics of government persists, ex-militants and warlords famed for their inflammatory statements continue to enjoy the support and protection of the authorities.

Even more hurtfully, the statement by the NLM demonized the northern part of the country, insinuating that anyone “who has ties to the north” is inherently evil or a terrorist. Never in the chequered history of this country have we seen such alarming levels of bigotry and polarization along ethnic, tribal and regional lines, as we are witnessing since President Goodluck Jonathan came to power. Almost every issue, analysis,  advocacy and even policy interventions that affect generality of the populace are now understood and dissected through ethnic prisms and warped regional predispositions. That is why an important bill like the Petroleum Industry Bill has remained on the parliamentary shelf, gathering dust, blocking billions of investments and oil revenues that could have been used to provide infrastructure, create jobs for restive youths and clean up the environmental mess in the Niger Delta.

It is difficult to believe that the Nigerian authorities are unaware of the ignominious activities of overzealous pests and rodents on the social media purporting to be acting on its behalf. No known attempt has been made to dissuade the activities of these often faceless groups and actors who have succeeded in making more enemies for the government of the day. These nuisances, mainly characterized by their low intellectual depth, fake identity and abusive expertise spend long hours on the social media throwing mud at personalities, citizen advocates and human right defenders perceived to be strong critics of President Jonathan’s administration. That these cyber rodents never use their real identities to mobilize public support for the present government is compelling proof that they are ashamed of the wicked roles they play, and wounded by their conscience.

For more than a decade, I have been actively involved in the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria, mainly through public interest litigation and other channels of popular expression to achieve these goals. Having come this far, I cannot be intimidated by the ranting of cheap blackmailers and lazybones.  The struggle to restore sanity to Nigeria’s democratic and political climate has only just begun!

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

SAHARATV INTERVIEW : I Did Not Call For Bloodshed, Says Junaid Mohammed.


 

Dr. Junaid Mohammed
By Saharareporters, New York

Junaid Mohammed, a former member of the Nigerian House of Representatives and chair of the House Committee on International Relations during Nigeria’s Second Republic, has come clean on alleged comments attributed to him that led to his recent arrest by the State Security Services (SSS). Last Friday, December 6, the SSS arrested Mr. Mohammed for allegedly making statements considered injurious to national security.

Mr. Mohammed was reported as stating that there would be bloodletting if President Goodluck Jonathan contested the 2015 presidential elections and if a candidate of northern extraction was not elected as Nigeria’s next president. The alleged statement earned him an invitation from the SSS for questioning.

However, speaking Saturday in an interview with SaharaTV, Mr. Mohammed described the alleged statement, made in an interview with the Sun newspaper, as a misrepresentation of his actual comments. He told SaharaTV that what he told the Sun was that “Goodluck [Jonathan] did not win the election in 2011,” adding that he based his assertion on what the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, had reportedly said.

According to Mr. Mohammed, the only way to safeguard democracy in Nigeria was to have credible elections. He added that the absence of such elections would spell doom for the country. “In a democracy, if you have no credible electoral register, there will be no democracy; there will be no election,” he told SaharaTV’s Omoyele Sowore.

He explained that Mr. Jega had admitted openly that there were problems with the registration exercise which formed the very building blocks of a credible election. He stated that some of the equipment used by INEC were substandard, a situation made worse by the pitiable nature of electricity supply in Nigeria.

Mr. Mohammed summed up what he actually said in the Sun interview: “If there is going to be a credible election, Goodluck [Jonathan] will not win that election and if there was an attempt to rig that election the way previous elections were rigged, there would be violence.”

The former legislator contended that Nigerians have had enough of bad governance. He also stated that Nigeria’s sharp drop in an index that rates corruption index was a clear indication of where the country was going and why Nigerians would resort to violence if President Jonathan tried to use unorthodox means to retain power.

Mr. Mohammed argued that Nigeria has had a long spell of poorly organized elections, insisting that it was time to pull the brakes on this phenomenon. “From 1999, from Obasanjo till today, there has never been a credible election in Nigeria,” he said.

He told SaharaTV that, after his interview with the Sun, he was approached by SSS operatives in Kano who invited him to have a ‘chat’ with their Director. At the offices of the SSS, Mr. Mohammed said he explained his position to the interrogators, dispelling the earlier comments attributed to him. He said he explained that he never called for violence, but suggested that President Jonathan had not done enough to merit a second term. “I believe Goodluck [Jonathan] will not be able to win the election based on his performance. He will not be able to win elections because he has been a very bad president and he has not served anybody’s purpose except his tribal group and the cabal.”

He denied calling the president a nincompoop and advocating for zoning in the country. He also referred to the proposed national conference as a “bloody waste of time.”

2015, Jonathan on a charm offensive,as sss makes Junaid Mohammed scapegoat.


 

Junaid Mohammed

Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service, on Friday interrogated Junaid Mohammed, a staunch critic of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government, over inciting comments credited to him.
The politician was reportedly summoned to the SSS headquarters in the Abuja, where he was quizzed for several hours over comments credited to him suggesting there would be violence should President Jonathan stands for reelection.
A source in the SSS claimed Mr. Junaid told investigators he was misquoted out of context and that he would not do anything to undermine the peace and security of his own country.
Our source said he was cautioned and then released after he gave an undertaken to refrain from making incendiary comments in future.
Contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Junaid confirmed the SSS  “invited” him for a chat and that he was released shortly thereafter.
“It is all over,” he said in a telephone interview. “They (SSS operatives) were professional in their dealing with me. I can see they are a bunch of educated people who are equally concerned about this country.”
Mr. Mohammed, a social critic and second republic parliamentarian, is known for divisive and incendiary remarks.
Recently, he was quoted to have said “blood would flow on the streets of Nigeria should President Jonathan insist on running for the Presidency in 2015.”
In early 2012, he gave a controversial interview where he said the North of Nigeria was ready to break up and go its separate way.
After his “blood would flow” remark, Abuja-based lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, released a statement calling on the Inspector General of Police and director of the State Security Services to arrest Mr. Mohammed.
“I, as a law abiding citizen and one who has great hope for the future of this great nation, therefore, use this medium to call on the Inspector General of Police, the Director State Security Service and other security agencies of Government to look into the underlying messages being passed across to insurgents by these individuals particularly the recent one made by Dr. Junaid Mohammed, ” Mr. Ajulo had said.
By Abdulrahman Abdulmalik.

Source: Radio Biafra.

SSS “Arrests” Junaid Mohammed Over Bloodshed Comments About President Jonathan-PREMIUM TIMES.


 

By Abdulrahman Abdulmalik

Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service, on Friday interrogated Junaid Mohammed, a staunch critic of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government, over inciting comments credited to him.

The politician was reportedly summoned to the SSS headquarters in the Abuja, where he was quizzed for several hours over comments credited to him suggesting there would be violence should President Jonathan stands for reelection.

A source in the SSS claimed Mr. Junaid told investigators he was misquoted out of context and that he would not do anything to undermine the peace and security of his own country.

Our source said he was cautioned and then released after he gave an undertaken to refrain from making incendiary comments in future.
Contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Junaid confirmed the SSS  “invited” him for a chat and that he was released shortly thereafter.
“It is all over,” he said in a telephone interview. “They (SSS operatives) were professional in their dealing with me. I can see they are a bunch of educated people who are equally concerned about this country.”

Mr. Mohammed, a social critic and second republic parliamentarian, is known for divisive and incendiary remarks.

Recently, he was quoted to have said “blood would flow on the streets of Nigeria should President Jonathan insist on running for the Presidency in 2015.”

In early 2012, he gave a controversial interview where he said the North of Nigeria was ready to break up and go its separate way.

After his “blood would flow” remark, Abuja-based lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, released a statement calling on the Inspector General of Police and director of the State Security Services to arrest Mr. Mohammed.

“I, as a law abiding citizen and one who has great hope for the future of this great nation, therefore, use this medium to call on the Inspector General of Police, the Director State Security Service and other security agencies of Government to look into the underlying messages being passed across to insurgents by these individuals particularly the recent one made by Dr. Junaid Mohammed, ” Mr. Ajulo had said.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Abducts Women, Recruits Children Hundreds ‘Disappeared’ by Security Forces; Vigilante Movement on the Rise-HRW.


(Abuja, November 29, 2013) – Boko Haram has abducted scores of women and girls, used children as young as 12 in hostilities, and killed hundreds of people in recent attacks, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nigerian government, meanwhile, has failed to account for hundreds of men and boys whom security forces have rounded up and forcibly disappeared during Boko Haram’s four-year insurgency.

The rise of an anti-Boko Haram group allied with Nigerian security forces, the so-called Civilian Joint Task Force, has added a worrisome new dimension to the violence. Civilian Joint Task Force members inform security forces about presumed local Boko Haram activity; the Islamist group then retaliates against both the neighborhood vigilante group and the broader community.

“For a group that claims to be religious, Boko Haram’s tactics are the most profane acts we can imagine,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The killing and mutilation of ordinary Nigerians, the abduction and rape of women and girls, and the use of children for fighting are horrifying human rights violations.”

In a nine-day November 2013 visit to Kano and Maiduguri, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 60 victims and witnesses, as well as medical personnel, members of local rights groups, Civilian Joint Task Force commanders, and government officials.

Commanders of the Civilian Joint Task Force, working with security forces, said that they had rescued 26 abducted women and girls from a Boko Haram stronghold in Maiduguri and later in Sambisa Forest. Some of the women and girls were pregnant; others had babies. The commanders told Human Rights Watch that a number of the girls had been abducted while hawking wares on the street or working on farms in remote villages. Many girls who were rescued or had escaped were sent off by their families to distant cities like Abuja and Lagos to avoid the stigma of rape or pregnancy outside of marriage, activists said.

Several witnesses said they saw children in the ranks of Boko Haram during attacks. In Maiduguri, Human Rights Watch researchers saw a video recording of the interrogation by security forces of a 14-year-old boy, who described the role he played in Boko Haram operations. Commanders of the Civilian Joint Task Force said they had freed numerous children during a 2013 attack on a Boko Haram base in Sambisa Forest.

Human Rights Watch also observed children who appeared to be aged 15 – 17 manning checkpoints for the Civilian Joint Task Force in Maiduguri; other witnesses described seeing children manning checkpoints elsewhere in Borno and Yobe states.

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Boko Haram intensified its attacks on civilians following the state of emergency imposed by the federal government in May in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. President Goodluck Jonathan in November renewed the state of emergency in these states for another six months.

Witnesses described Boko Haram laying siege to towns, villages, and highways; looting and burning houses, shops, and vehicles; and executing and decapitating people, some of whom they accused of aiding the Civilian Joint Task Force. In July, the combined efforts of the security forces and Civilian Joint Task Force appear to have pushed Boko Haram out of Maiduguri. Since then, the group has carried out numerous attacks in the nearby towns of Damaturu, Benisheikh, and Gamboru.

Boko Haram’s September 17 attack on Benisheikh, 74 kilometers west of Maiduguri, killed at least 142 people and was the most lethal incident in Borno State since 2010. A man who went to Benisheikh to look for a colleague on the morning after the attack described what he saw at a checkpoint that had been set up by Boko Haram and that was crowded with burned vehicles:

“There were bodies all over… three here, two there, four near the next – all lying face down, dead next to their vehicle. Then I saw a long line of bodies… about 30 of them. But weirdly, one of the trucks was carrying cows, which were still alive. Who are these people who kill the human beings, yet leave the cows standing?” he said.

Another witness described seeing about 20 women abducted during the September 17 Benisheikh attack. A health worker in Maiduguri told Human Rights Watch that he attended to a 15-year-old girl who had recently returned home pregnant several months after Boko Haram abducted her.

Security forces acting with enhanced powers, particularly during the state of emergency, established frequent screening routines for male youths in Maiduguri, detaining several hundred young men, according to residents. Witnesses described how soldiers pounded on doors in neighborhoods perceived as Boko Haram strongholds beginning at 5 a.m., ordered the young men out, demanded that they stand before a car with its headlights on, and then declared the men either free or under arrest. Scores of those arrested have disappeared, and their family members, despite great efforts, have been unable to locate them.

A woman in Gwange, a Maiduguri neighborhood, described how security forces arrested her seven sons, between the ages of 12 and 30, who had gathered in front of their home with 15 others for evening prayers in May. Another woman told Human Rights Watch that eight soldiers ordered her 10-year-old son to lie down, beat him with batons and tied him up, piled him face down with 22 others in an open-back vehicle, and then drove them away.

Two former detainees and three other witnesses provided detailed statements about the horrific conditions in the security forces’ notorious Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri. They said that hundreds of detainees died as a result of dehydration, illness, and beatings, while many others were executed.

Boko Haram should halt all attacks and release immediately all children and women in its custody, Human Rights Watch said. The Nigerian government should thoroughly and impartially investigate the fate of the disappeared, as well as credible allegations of arbitrary detention, use of torture, and deaths in custody by security forces.

The Nigerian government has a responsibility under international human rights law to take all reasonable steps to protect its residents from violence, but should not use excessive force, mistreat and torture detainees, or conduct arbitrary arrests in quelling the Boko Haram threat.

The Nigerian authorities should prosecute, based on fair trial standards, all those who committed crimes during the conflict, including members of the government security forces and pro-government vigilante groups. The Civilian Joint Task Force, Human Rights Watch said, should end recruitment and use of children in counterinsurgency and intelligence activities.

The federal attorney general’s office, drawing on information from the military, police, and State Security Service, should compile, maintain, and make available a list of detention facilities and detainees. The authorities should give detainees access to lawyers and family members. Detainees should either be publicly and promptly charged with a recognized crime in a civilian court or released.

The government, in coordination with the National Human Rights Commission, should establish a commission of inquiry on “disappearances” in northeast Nigeria; train Civilian Joint Task Force members in human rights norms and standards; and work with child protection agencies to facilitate the rehabilitation of former child soldiers and the return to their families. It should also help provide psychological and medical services to girls and women who have been abducted and raped.

“Many Nigerian families have suffered, even lost loved ones, at the hands of both Boko Haram and the security forces,” Bekele said. “Boko Haram must desist from waging war on ordinary Nigerians, while the government should take urgent steps to hold to account soldiers who have tortured, disappeared, and killed, regardless of rank.”

Fighting Between Boko Haram and Nigerian Security Forces

Since fighting with security forces in the summer of July 2009, Nigeria’s homegrown Islamist insurgent movement, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram, has carried out frequent attacks on police, soldiers, politicians, and other symbols of authority, as well as on civilian property such as schools. The group is waging a war against the government to establish an Islamic legal code.

Human Rights Watch for several years has documented Boko Haram attacks and abuses by government security forces against civilians and suspected Boko Haram members. In a 2012 report, “Spiraling Violence”, Human Rights Watch analyzed the pattern and scope of the violence that has engulfed communities in northeast and central Nigeria.

In June 2013, young men in Maiduguri organized into a group known as the Civilian Joint Task Force, or Yan Gora, to monitor and protect their town and neighboring villages from violence. Members interviewed by Human Rights Watch said the youth had grown tired of being targeted by both Boko Haram and the security forces. The group maintains checkpoints; searches pedestrians, vehicles, and residences; and provides intelligence to the security services.

The Civilian Joint Task Force relies on members’ knowledge of the community to identify Boko Haram members for the security forces. The Borno State governor has recruited 1,800 youths, paying them the equivalent of US$100 per month to work with the Civilian Joint Task Force, who are trained by security forces. Recruitment and training of Civilian Joint Task Force members is ongoing.

Boko Haram’s Execution and Decapitation of Civilians in Benisheikh

The September 17, 2013 attack on Benisheikh was Boko Haram’s most deadly attack on civilians in Borno State since 2009. At least 150 members of Boko Haram took over and for several hours held a stretch of the highway near the town, 75 kilometers west of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

During the siege, they killed at least 142 people, according to officials from the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency, which cleared away and buried the bodies. The heavily travelled road connects Maiduguri with Kano, the commercial hub to the west.

Human Rights Watch interviewed seven witnesses with knowledge of the attack, including three detained by Boko Haram during the episode and four others who went to the scene shortly after Boko Haram members fled.

The witnesses described how heavily armed men from Boko Haram set up checkpoints that forced at least 30 vehicles to stop –  private cars, commercial taxis and minibuses, motorcycles, and trucks carrying goods and livestock. The armed men ordered the passengers out of the vehicles and demanded their cash, telephones, and identity cards. Boko Haram separated the women and children from the men, who were ordered to lie down on the road, then executed scores of the men and several boys. During and after the attack, Boko Haram stole merchandise from the vehicles as well as from stores inside Benisheikh.

Witnesses who arrived shortly after Boko Haram fled described seeing several lines of bodies on the road, many with their feet and hands bound. Others were in the grass not far from the road. Most had one or a few bullets to the head and neck; others had deep machete wounds. According to a morgue attendant who picked up the bodies, at least six had been decapitated.

Witnesses said that based on comments from Boko Haram, many of the victims were targeted merely on the basis of where they lived: those from Maiduguri, Damaturu, and other towns in Borno and Yobe states were singled out for execution because of their perceived support for the Civilian Joint Task Force. Many of those from Kano and elsewhere were spared. A driver from Kano said:

At the entrance to the town, I was stopped by a group of 35 men in military uniform and turbans covering their faces. They were heavily armed with AK[47]’s; many had machine guns. They looked in my car and seeing I had mostly women, motioned for me to move on until I was stopped by another big group of  more than 100, at the truck stop [where we usually pray and eat]. I was one of at least 30 vehicles. They ordered us out, yelling at the men to lie down on the road, and for the women to move to one side. They asked the men where we were from….
The driver never again saw his passengers, who were from Maiduguri:

While lying there, I saw them kill 10 men… they walked behind a small house with them, then I heard them in Hausa saying, “Uh huh… you’ve left us, you are Civilian JTF [Joint Task Force], you have chosen your side,” meaning the government. Then a shot… and another and another. Later, after BH [Boko Haram] fled, I saw the 10 bodies where they’d been slaughtered.

Another driver identified the bodies of two of his friends – one in a cluster with nine other bodies, another with four other dead. A third driver, who also searched for his colleague, found his body, but “his head was to one side… completely severed… I couldn’t sleep for days.”

A man who went to Benisheikh on the morning after the attack described what he saw as he searched for the body of his colleague who had failed to return home from Kano:

I saw four big trucks and about 15 cars or minibuses – most of them burned, some still smoldering, and next to them were the bodies… three here, two there, four near the next – all lying face down, dead next to their vehicle. Then I saw a long line of bodies… about 30 of them. Each had his legs and hands bound, and a cloth over their eyes… it was here I found my friend. He, like the rest, had been killed with a bullet to the back of the head.
Boko Haram Abduction and Rape of Women and Girls

A driver detained in September at a checkpoint manned by Boko Haram near the town of Benisheikh told Human Rights Watch that he saw Islamist group members force more than 20 women at gunpoint to get off public transport vehicles and climb onto two other vehicles that sped away with Boko Haram:

At their checkpoint they ordered us out, yelling at the men to lie down on the road, and for the women to move to one side. I remained on the ground for over 45 minutes… I saw them kill many men, but the women, they took them away… I saw two of the vehicles they’d stopped drive up close to us… one 16-seater, the other of about 10 seats. A few of the BH [Boko Haram] went over to where the women were gathered, pointing at which ones they wanted. They didn’t take those with children – mostly, they took young women in their 20s… they picked the fine [pretty] ones. They ordered them inside, at times pointing their guns, saying, “Go, go.” A few other women were ordered to get into one of their Hiluxes [vehicles]… The women were crying and saying, “Oh my God, oh my God,” as they entered the cars. None of the men dared say a word… Then they [Boko Haram] drove away with [the women]…

A woman who works with a local nongovernmental organization told Human Rights Watch that she interviewed a young woman who was saved from abduction during the Benisheikh attack after a former neighbor, now a member of Boko Haram, recognized her. A bus owner said Boko Haram released one of his captured passengers after seeing her walk with a limp.

In Maiduguri, residents told Human Rights Watch that, on several occasions, members of Boko Haram forcefully abducted several teenage girls. One man who had documented several of these cases said, “After storming into the homes and throwing sums of money at their parents, with a declaration that it was the dowry for their teenage daughter, they would take the girls away.” Some of the girls returned months later, showing signs of pregnancy or babies born during their captivity. One witness said his neighbor was shot dead for rejecting the “dowry” thrown at her by insurgents, who took away the neighbor’s daughter.

A Civilian Joint Task Force commander who had participated in a raid that freed some abducted women and girls said:

When we made Maiduguri “too hot” for Boko Haram, they ran away without their wives. Now they are picking up women anywhere and using them to satisfy themselves. Some of the girls we found hiding when we invaded Boko Haram camps around Sambisa [Forest] told us they were dragged into vehicles when hawking on the street. When we return them home, their families are too ashamed to keep them because nobody will marry a girl who has been raped or has a child for these bad people.

Recruitment and Use of Children by Boko Haram and the Civilian Joint Task Force

Several witnesses described the presence of children, a few as young as 12, in the ranks of Boko Haram. Witnesses to the Benisheikh attack observed some children carrying AK47 rifles. Human Rights Watch viewed a video of the interrogation by the military of an alleged child combatant who described the duties children perform for Boko Haram: intelligence gathering, tracking the movements of the security forces, transporting guns, burning down schools and churches, and providing information before attacks.

Other witnesses described seeing several children aged 15 – 17 manning checkpoints for the Civilian Joint Task Force, working with security forces within several towns in Borno State. Civilian Joint Task Force members admitted to having used numerous children in operations. However, one leader noted recently that “the military had advised us not to allow any children to enter into the Civilian JTF [Joint Task Force] as part of our ongoing recruitment drive.”

Nigeria is party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflicts, which bans the recruitment and use in hostilities of children under 18 by armed groups distinct from the armed forces of a country. Under Nigeria’s 2003 Child Act, the government is required to ensure that no child is directly involved in any military operations or hostilities.

Mass Arrests, Detention, and Disappearances by Security Forces in Maiduguri

Former detainees, family members of detainees, human rights advocates, and militia leaders described the detention in Maiduguri of hundreds of men in mass arrests by security forces; the numbers of detentions were particularly high in May and June 2013.

Scores, perhaps hundreds, of these men and boys remain unaccounted for. Witnesses and former detainees credibly assert that detainees died in custody from the appalling detention conditions or were executed by the security services within the 21 Armored Brigade, popularly known as Giwa Barracks. Both the detentions and deaths in custody appear to have slowed since July.

Human Rights Watch documented five major mass arrests, in markets, mosques, and other locations where young men are known to congregate. Witnesses said the security forces appeared to detain the men arbitrarily.

Human Rights Watch spoke with 16 family members of men and boys detained by the security services during sweeps of their neighborhoods in Maiduguri, including Gwange, Gamboru ward, Terminus, and Baga fish market. Many of the relatives saw the mass arrests. Family members and witnesses described how, often after Boko Haram attacks, members of the security forces indiscriminately rounded up and arrested boys and young men in the vicinity who were presumed to be aligned with the group.

Several people in the vicinity of Baga fish market in Maiduguri described how, in May 2013, security forces shot and killed 13 young men and arrested more than 200 others during a major operation. One witness said:

I was attending to customers at my stall on Democracy Day (May 29) when at about 9 a.m. soldiers surrounded the market and locked the gates… They ordered everyone to come out into an open space in the market, then separated the young men from the old… The commander of the soldiers… stood in front of the young men with someone whose head was covered… He would count then point…

Whoever he pointed at would have their shirt immediately torn off by other soldiers and the pieces used to tie their hands at their back. Sometimes he would touch people on their chest and if their hearts were pounding or they moved, their shirt would also be torn off and used to tie them. Some people became nervous, afraid, and tried to move away from the soldiers. They were instantly shot dead… Thirteen dead bodies were taken away by the soldiers when they finished screening us at around 9 p.m. at night…

They piled the young men whose hands they had tied on top of each other in the trucks that brought fish to the market… More than 200 people were arrested from this market that day. We heard later that those at the bottom of the piles were already dead when the trucks arrived at JTF [Joint Task Force] Sector 1. Those that remained alive were taken to Giwa Barracks later that night and we never saw them in the market again.

A man who was detained at Giwa Barracks for six months with 16 other men and boys from his neighborhood, ranging in age from 17 – 60, said he was the only one from the group to survive. Hundreds of his cellmates died at Giwa, the man said:

After reaching Giwa, many of us were chained to the columns – four of us on each one – where I remained for 20 hours while they beat us; an old man chained alongside me died right there, his head hanging limp. I watched as six of my neighbors died while being beaten with sticks and iron rods by soldiers the very first day we got to Giwa Barracks – two of them were brothers. They fell down and never got up again.

Of those in my group, the other 10 died from starvation and illness in the cell, where we were detained with over 1,000 other men… They died one by one like so many others, of illness, of sickness like dysentery or cholera, of hunger… sometimes up to 25 would be taken out of the cell dead. In one day I saw others being dragged off for interrogation, but they never returned.

On several occasions I heard the officers saying, “Just finish him,” and then a shot would ring out. Once I saw the major take out a Beretta [firearm] and shoot a detainee… only they will know what to say to Allah on the Day of Judgment.

Several witnesses described an underground bunker where men thought to be active members of Boko Haram were detained and where the conditions were even worse. Two witnesses described seeing corpses on several occasions brought up from the cellar and loaded onto an ambulance.

The former detainees and witnesses described gross overcrowding, with hundreds of men jammed into a cell: “We were packed so tightly; if you dared stand up, there was no way you’d find the room to sit down again,” one former detainee recalled. The detainees at times urinated, defecated, and vomited on themselves. One detainee said he bathed only twice in six months.

Witnesses attributed the majority of deaths in detention to dehydration and illness, primarily dysentery. They said the pace of deaths increased in the hot months and rainy season. One detainee claimed to have seen up to 20 or 25 dead being taken out per day.An 18-year-old former detainee who was arrested in his home with a friend, also 18 years old, said:

I was handcuffed to my friend for 10 months and had only one free hand to quickly use the toilet and get our meal, which is served directly unto our palms within the five minutes we were opened up in the mornings and evenings [to use the bathroom and get meals]. My friend became gravely ill and weak so our cuff was removed, but he received no treatment or medication except painkillers once in a while. When we were eventually released after two years through the intervention of a benefactor, my friend could no longer hear, speak, or walk… He is still gravely ill now.

A group of 70 women and children from the Terminus area of Maiduguri in early November protested the detention without charge of their family members at Giwa Barracks. One of the group’s leaders told Human Rights Watch that the detainees, aged 15 – 30, had not been permitted to see their family members, who had tried desperately to locate and visit their detained loved ones.

Witnesses at a hospital in Maiduguri described seeing soldiers bring corpses to the hospital on nearly a daily basis, both from Boko Haram attacks and Giwa Barracks. The largest numbers were in May and June, when the military ambulance would sometimes make up to seven trips from Giwa Barracks to the morgue, witnesses said. The corpses that arrived at the morgue were visibly emaciated; some with hands tied behind their backs, or had scars around the wrists, suggesting they had been handcuffed for extended periods of time. Some of the corpses had “necks hanging at strange angles” or gunshot wounds that suggested the cause of death, witnesses said.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Two feared dead as JTF, youths clash in Delta.


JFT

Kokori community in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State was deserted yesterday after a fresh bloody clash between troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and armed youths loyal to the alleged notorious crime lord, Kelvin Ibruvwe, left at least two persons dead.

The latest clash occurred less than 24 hours after the State Security Service (SSS) secured a court order to keep Ibruvwe for 90 days to enable it conclude its investigation.

Sources said armed youths, who had laid siege to the community since the arrest of Ibruvwe two months ago, engaged in a gunfight with JTF troops, which lasted about one hour.

It could not be ascertained if the deceased were members of the Liberation Movement of Urbobo People formed by Ibruvwe before his arrest in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on September 25.

JTF official, Captain Mohammed Abdullahi, who confirmed the clash, did not give details, as he was on the road when our reporter called him on the phone yesterday evening.

Responding to a question, he said: “Yes, there were casualties, but I cannot give you any more information than that until I have a full account.”

A source in the town told our reporter that two youths were killed by stray bullets during the bloody encounter.

He said: “Two persons have been confirmed dead. They were hit by stray bullets during a shootout between the boys and the soldiers.”

It was learnt that yesterday’s clash may not be unconnected with a threat by Ibruvwe’s gang to unleash mayhem in the community over his travail.

A source in Kokori told our reporter that the gang members went round the homes of prominent traditional title holders and other indigenes to pressure them to make the trip to Abuja for Ibruvwe’s court appearance on Wednesday.

“Armed gang members went round the homes of the chiefs to threaten them of the consequences if they do not travel to Abuja and protest on the court premises.”

Following the threat, it was gathered that the community leaders fled their homes after informing security operatives of the criminal gang’s hideout.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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