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Archive for the tag “Maiduguri”

#Nigeria FG to Amend Anti-terrorism Act

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Senate President, David Mark

By  Chuks Okocha   and Michael Olugbode
A n amendment to the Anti-terrorism Act, 2011, is underway to compel the trial of terror suspects, their sponsors and others suspected of aiding and abetting terror suspects under military law, THISDAY has learnt.

THISDAY gathered at the weekend that President Goodluck Jonathan would soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to amend the Act, which when passed, would preclude members of Boko Haram, their sponsors and others involved in terrorist activities in the country from being tried in regular courts.

The proposed amendment is meant to hasten the trial of suspects and prevent them from exploiting any loopholes in the existing Anti-terrorism Act and the nation’s legal system to escape justice.

Boko Haram’s attacks, which have claimed about 1,500 lives since they were launched in 2009, have increased in intensity following the 2011 general elections which Jonathan contested and won in the presidential stanza of the contest.

The death toll rose again by three yesterday when suspected terrorists and members of the Joint Task Force engaged in a gun duel at a wedding in Maiduguri.

Also, in Potiskum, Yobe State, where suspected Boko Haram members attacked a cattle market, killing about 60 people on Wednesday, the people marched on the streets yesterday in protest against soldiers whom they accused of not coming to their aid during the attack.

THISDAY learnt that apart from members of Boko Haram, the amendment to the law will ensure that all those involved in unlawful combat against the government and their sponsors would face a military trial.

Others that may be affected by the martial law are Niger Delta militants and other militant tribal groups.

The amendment bill, which is being drafted, seeks to define the term of “unlawful combatants” to include all belligerent suspects, their sponsors and Niger Delta militants who are yet to surrender and others engaged in militant activities that are not defined within the context of the “Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“The decision to ensure the invocation of full military trials or what could be described as martial law,” a presidency source explained, is that the passage of the bill “is a full declaration of war by the federal government on the unlawful combatant forces.”

According to the presidency official, “These unlawful combatant forces are engaged in various hostilities and have committed belligerent acts or have directly sponsored or supported hostilities in aid of unlawful combatant forces against the stability and security interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its citizens in general.”

He said the decision to adopt this measure stemmed from the fact that “Nigeria is at war against a mobile, dangerous and fanatical individual gang that has been inspired by an extremist interpretation of the Koran, and which will use the techniques of mass terror, violence and hatred to attack innocent citizens – both Christians, Muslims and otherwise minded.”

He said under the proposed amendment, the term “unlawful combatant” is defined to include, “an individual who was part of, or sponsored or supported the terrorist activities of unlawful combatant forces, or associated groups that are engaged in terrorist hostilities against the stability and security interest of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and its citizens in general.

“This shall include any person or persons who commits a belligerent act or has directly aided, abetted, or is perceived to have sponsored or supported hostilities in aid of unlawful combatant forces.”

The presidency source added that “the bill would endeavour to curb the excesses of some lawyers, whose deliberate use of legal tactics stall the trial and prosecution of those connected with unlawful combats.”

The bill will empower the Nigerian government to collaborate with countries that have successfully dealt with terrorist organisations like Israel, the United States of America and the United Kingdom which have a vested interest in combating global terrorism.
This, the source said, was to ensure that Nigeria is not a safe haven for terrorism or for its promoters.

In Maiduguri, a wedding ceremony became a theatre of war when members of Boko Haram and JTF personnel exchanged gunfire.

When the battle subsided, three people were killed in the crossfire and eight persons were arrested.

It was gathered that the military invaded the wedding, said to have been organised by a man suspected to have links to the sect at Sabon Layi, Gwange, following a tip-off that notable members of the sect, who are on a wanted list, would be in attendance.
On sighting the soldiers, the terrorists at the wedding were said to have immediately opened fire on them.
The guests at the ceremony scampered to safety as the members of JTF and Boko Haram engaged in a deadly gun battle.

It was gathered that most of the members of the sect in attendance shot their way out of the venue without being captured as they were conversant with the area.

JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement, confirmed the clash between the parties, saying three civilians were killed and four others, including two soldiers, were wounded.

He added that an AK47 rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition and a vehicle used by the terrorists were recovered.

Similarly, there was a breakdown of law and order in Potiskum, the commercial nerve centre in Yobe State, yesterday as residents challenged the authority of the soldiers deployed to the town at the peak of the Boko Haram crisis.

Irked and still mourning the killings of about 60 persons by suspected Boko Haram members, the people accused the soldiers of not coming to their rescue when it mattered.
It was gathered that problem started when the people accused the soldiers of manhandling some residents.

A source from the town told THISDAY that the soldiers are in the habit of beating up people at will.

He said the people, still incensed by the Wednesday attack, challenged the soldiers and demanded that they leave the town.

He said more people later joined the protest and went to drive away the soldiers from checkpoints in the town.

“Of what use are these soldiers anyway? They keep harassing innocent residents of the town but when the occasion presented itself last Wednesday to show the merit of having them around, they chickened out,” a resident said.

Attempts to get the military authorities in the state to comment on the issue proved abortive as calls to the phone lines of the officials failed to connect last night.
Also, the state police spokesman, Toyin Gbadegesin, could not be reached.

Source: Thisday

 

#Nigeria Two killed as gunmen attack prison, police station

BY NDAHI MARAMA, Maiduguri
TWO Nigerian Prison warders were yesterday killed when gunmen attacked a Police station and a nearby prison in north eastern town of Kumshe, Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Spokesman of the Police in Borno State, ASP Samuel Tizhe confirmed the incident  from Maiduguri the capital city.

He said the “gunmen first attacked a Police station in Banki town but were repelled by the Police”

Tizhe added that, “five hours later, the gunmen went and attacked a nearby Prison in the town, killing two Prison warders and setting free all the inmates,” Tizhe said on phone from Maiduguri.

The spokesman revealed that the Police have “so far arrested 23 persons in connection with the attacks”.

He pointed out that the security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure the protection of lives and property of the citizenry, even as he advised members of the public to cooperate with the police, particularly in giving information about the hideout of criminals in the state, stressing that, all information received from the public will be treated with confidentiality, adding that a handsome award awaits anybody with information that will lead to the arrest of criminals in the state.

Source: The Vanguard

But Where is Happyboy?

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The Verdict according to Olusegun Adeniyi. Email, olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com.

 

The moment Yemi Akinsuyi saw me inside the premises of THISDAY Abuja office that looked more like a scene out of Iraq, she said, “oga, we cannot find Happyboy. He was inside the premises when the bomb exploded and now he is not picking his calls.”

Happyboy Ohije is one of those circulation boys you find in newspaper houses. They are called inserters since they help to collate the papers when it is being printed but they also run all manner of errands for people in the newsroom. With minimal education, Happyboy is very dutiful and everyone knew I was fond of him. He had come to me one day that he had a challenge concerning his education, a rather moving story but I liked the confidence with which he approached me and the manner in which he presented his problem. After offering him some little assistance, we became close, especially since he told everyone about my intervention.

Last Thursday, it was quite natural that I would be very worried about the fate of Happyboy. It turned out that he was sleeping when the bomb exploded and he eventually emerged from the rubble in a pool of his blood. But his was not the only miracle. Nurudeen, the security man seated at the exact spot where the suicide bomber exploded the vehicle is injured but alive. Incidentally, we did not know at the time and I recall one security man asking me: “Nurudeen’s wife has been calling me repeatedly and I cannot pick. What do I tell her?” His colleague by the gate, Christopher Sadiq was, however, not so lucky. Neither were some of the mechanics who had set shop behind THISDAY premises. They died along with a passer-by as the vehicle exploded.

The whole drama started for me at about 11.08 when I got a call from an hysterical Ms Avershima Ahenjir, an advert executive, saying, “they have just bombed our office.” According to what I was told when I reached the office, a vehicle came in to deliver tiles that was meant for some work at about 11am. While they were still trying to offload the tiles, the suicide bombers drove into the premises and the rest, as they say, is now history. But as everyone pointed out to me last Thursday, I would have been caught by the bombing but for the fact that I was preparing for my trip to Ibadan for the burial of my mother-in-law later that day.

I have watched on YouTube the video clip released by Boko Haram on how THISDAY was bombed, especially the moment when the vehicle entered our premises and exploded. Incidentally, the clip displayed my photograph along with my statement following the incident. I have also read their declaration of war on the media but I fail to understand why. The charge is that we have taken sides with the Nigerian state. But do we have any choice in this matter?

In an unusual backpage editorial last Sunday, the Trust newspaper put the issue in perspective: “A violent campaign to target and kill security agents, to overthrow the Constitution of the Federal Republic and ultimately to dismember Nigeria cannot be supported by the Nigerian news media, which derives a lot of its legitimacy, protection and privileges from the same Constitution. As for Nigeria itself, there cannot be a ‘Nigerian media’ if there is no Nigeria”.

That exactly is the position to which all journalists subscribe but many of us are becoming increasingly worried for our country. It is therefore incumbent on all men of goodwill who can intervene to end this cycle of violence to do so now in the interest of our corporate existence as a nation. As for THISDAY, in my 13 years here, we have seen some dark days and have come out stronger from all the tragedies. I remember our midnight plane crash right in the middle of Maiduguri desert in 2001 when the Board of Editors decided on a “Meet the Nation” tour; the fire incident that consumed our corporate headquarters in Apapa and the death of Mr. Godwin Agbroko. In each of these events, we were shattered and broken. But we never gave up the ideal for which we stand.

Where do we stand? When Bayero University Kano was attacked last Sunday, our thoughts and sympathy were with the victims of the attack and when Jalingo was attacked the next day, we took sides with the people. On the killing field that Maiduguri has become, we are one with the innocent people of that ancient city who are now besieged. We have made that very clear. But we have also been professional in our reportage while advocating dialogue with Boko Haram, believing that any and every aggrieved Nigerian deserves a hearing. What we oppose is violence and bloodletting of innocent people for no just cause. Even at this most difficult period, we remain persuaded that common sense will still prevail in the interest of our nation and its good people

#Nigeria #BokoHaram: JTF arrests prime suspect in BUK attacks

May 2, 2012 by Mustapha Salihu, Kano
Joint Security Task Force

The Joint Security Task Force in Kano has arrested a Boko Haram member, Ibrahim Mohammed Ali, a prime suspect in Sunday’s coordinated attacks on Christian worshippers at the old campus of Bayero University, Kano in which 20 persons, including two professors, were killed.

Ali had escaped the early dawn raid on Tuesday by the JTF.

JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, told newsmen that Ali, a diploma holder from Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, Borno State, was nabbed by security operatives who had been on his trail when he escaped after blasting the walls of a factory/house around 4a.m on Tuesday.

Acting on information, the JTF had surrounded the house located at Bubugaje, Sharada Phase III Industrial Layout in Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State.

During the three hour shoot-out between the JTF and suspected members of the Boko Haram, one civilian was killed.

Ali is alleged to be the husband of the Camerounian-nursing mother, Fati Mohammed, arrested by the JTF in the dawn raid yesterday.

The Camerounian nursing mother, aged about 20 years, was among the three females, comprising two wives and a teenager, who served as house-girl to one of the sect members.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Mohammed had been arrested before in a similar raid by the security operatives, but was freed.

According to her, she was nabbed alongside Lami Idris, who is a maid and Habiba Mohammed.

She was holding a two-month old baby when she was paraded alongside the others.

The bomb factory also used as residence by the deadly sect members had been razed down on the orders of the Commander, 3 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Illyasu Abbah.

Also demolished was the adjoining building used as escape route by one of the sect members.

Intelligence report reveals that the terrorists were among the several others that attacked Christian worshippers at BUK.

Over three bombs already primed exploded in the house, just as a gunfight raged between the JTF and the Boko Haram members.

The walls of the building had hundreds of bullet holes in them when newsmen went to inspect the scene.

About five unexploded bombs already primed for attack were also recovered.

Some of the items recovered from the bomb making factory are one AK 47 rifle, 35 Improvised Explosive Devices, one motorcycle, 5 cylinders already wired with high-calibre explosives, bags of fertiliser and 400 rounds of ammunition.

Others are two laptops, several batteries, remote car keys and other items used as bomb timers, 35 knives and other dangerous weapons.

Addressing newsmen at the scene, Brigadier-General Illyasu Abbah said, “I don’t need to say much, the picture on ground do not tell lie.”

He added, “The information reaching us now is that the one that was killed was among those who attacked Christians while worshiping at BUK last Sunday.”

He disclosed that one dead sect member, two wives, maid and two children, including a two-month old and seven year-old, were professionally brought out unhurt.

According to him, the dead sect member was the only one that was armed and prepared to confront the security forces. “Nemesis caught up with him; that is the dead body lying down there.”

Asked if the house could be referred to as a bomb factory, the Commander said, “If you call it a bomb factory, I can say yes. You can see most of those things have been prepared, ready for a mission, suicide mission of course. These are the IEDs they normally throw around.

“Well let me tell you, the most difficult fight you can have is with terrorists. They know us and we don’t know them. And the way they operate, is in one or two, they don’t permanently reside in a particular place.”

“Today, if we have routed them out from one place, tomorrow you will hear they are somewhere else. So, it is a very, very difficult battle to confront terrorists. But I assure you with the cooperation of the public and the enlightenment of the teeming members of the public, I think we would overcome this ugly incident.”

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