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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs