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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora