News / Africa

Nigeria Committee Questions Use of Army Against Muslim Terrorists

Nigeria troops man a checkpoint in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Sept, 28, 2011.
Nigeria troops man a checkpoint in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Sept, 28, 2011.

In Nigeria, a presidential committee investigating violence in northern states is questioning the effectiveness of using soldiers to stop a series of bombings by Islamist terrorists.

Those terrorists claim responsibility for last month's bombing of the Abuja U.N. headquarters that killed 23 people.

President Goodluck Jonathan's principal approach to putting down a campaign of violence by Islamic fundamentalists has been sending in soldiers to take charge of security.

Joint military task forces currently control Plateau state and Borno state, where members of the Muslim group known as Boko Haram have shot numerous officials and bombed public gatherings. Soldiers have also increased patrols in the capital Abuja after a series of attacks, including the U.N. bombing.

But some northern politicians, including state governors, have complained about the use of troops, who they say are ignoring local intelligence reports.

A committee established to look into the violence says there is a “genuine failure of effective and coordinated intelligence gathering” in the campaign against Boko Haram.

Committee chair Usman Galtimari says Nigerian troops appear poorly equipped to combat terrorism.

"On the part of the security forces, there are considerable operational lapses and underfunded, underequipped [troops] and lack of collaboration.  In addition, governments have failed to deliver justice and bring immediate relief to victims of the crisis," he said.

University of Abuja Sociology professor Abubakar Umar Kari says confusion among Nigerian security forces makes it easier for Boko Haram to attract new members.

"It is very easy to recruit, very easy because the Nigerian security apparatus is so porous.  It is so easy to operate, almost with impunity," he said.

In the northeast city of Maiduguri, a group called the Committee of Borno Elders and Leaders of Thought wants troops there to leave because it says soldiers are escalating the crisis by abusing civilians.

The military command in Maiduguri says civilian leaders accusing soldiers of looting and rape are “sponsors, sympathizers and members” of Boko Haram.

Retired Lieutenant General Jeremiah Useni heads an influential group of religious and political leaders in northern Nigeria, known as the Arewa Consultative Forum.  He says civilians are focusing on the conduct of individual soldiers and not on the force as a whole.

"When you get soldiers involved in security operations such as this, some troops may over-react. In such cases, they are normally fished out and tried.  If one bad one out of 100 does something bad, then that is the one that people emphasize on.  That is the problem," he said.

Useni says soldiers are doing their best at a job for which they are not properly trained.

"Soldiers are trained for war," he said. "What is happening now in Nigeria is that the soldiers use most of their time in doing police jobs because the situation now is more or is above the police capacity and that is why soldiers are brought in.  Suppose we go to war with any country now.  What do we do?"

Releasing its findings this week, the presidential committee said political “private militias” and the killing of Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf have contributed to insecurity.  Committee chair Galtimari says Nigerians expect justice for Yusuf's death while in police custody in 2009.

"The committee is of the view that the ongoing trial of police officers linked to the murder of Mohammed Yusuf - the sect leader - and some of his followers should be expedited and publicized to convey to the public the government's sincerity on the issue," he said.

The committee recommends opening talks with Boko Haram but only after it renounces all forms of violence and surrenders its arms.  Boko Haram has refused previous negotiation offers because of what is says is the military buildup in northern states.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs