News / Africa

    Nigerian Military Says Some Civilian Leaders Sponsoring Islamic Militants

    Bystanders gather around a burned car outside the Victory Baptist Church in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Police are blaming members of Boko Haram for the attack on church (File photo - December 25, 2010)
    Bystanders gather around a burned car outside the Victory Baptist Church in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Police are blaming members of Boko Haram for the attack on church (File photo - December 25, 2010)

    Nigeria's military says civilian leaders who want troops to leave the embattled city of Maiduguri are sponsoring Islamic militants responsible for a series of attacks there. Those civilian leaders accuse soldiers of committing human rights abuses in their fight against the Muslim sect.

    A group called the Committee of Borno Elders and Leaders of Thought says all federal troops should leave the city of  Maiduguri, located in the northeast Nigerian state of Borno,  because they are escalating the crisis there by engaging in human rights abuses.

    A joint military task force took charge of Maiduguri nearly one month ago amidst a series of bombings and ambushes by Muslim fundamentalists who are fighting for an independent nation in northern Nigeria that would be ruled by Islamic law.

    The joint task force commander of operations Colonel Victor Ebhaleme says civilian leaders accusing soldiers of looting and rape are “sponsors, sympathizers and members” of the Boko Haram sect “aimed at discrediting the task force so as to have a field day to operate.”

    The task force says it is lamentable that some civilians are only being heard from now when they were silent while the sect was “killing and maiming at will” before soldiers arrived.

    In response, the elders' group issued a written statement saying there is incontrovertible evidence that soldiers have engaged in “ungodly acts unbecoming of their role as those who are supposed to safeguard the lives, property, and dignity of Nigerians.”

    If all troops are not withdrawn immediately, the elders say they must conclude that the federal government intends to destroy Maiduguri.

    The local chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association echoed that call, saying nothing could be worse than “cases of genocide and extra-judicial killings” carried out by the military.

    University of Abuja sociology professor Abubakar Umar Kari says Nigerian authorities have long believed that the best way to deal with insurgents is through force.

    “Boko Haram has been able to thrive because of a long-entrenched culture of impunity in Nigeria," said Kari. "Government officials have always got away with all sorts of atrocities with little or nothing being done to them.”

    President Goodluck Jonathan is under mounting pressure to restore security in the north. But Boko Haram has so far refused his offer to open talks.

    The stalemate has led not only to divisions between military and civilian leaders in Borno but has also set off political infighting among those competing to influence President Jonathan.

    Following talks with the president this week, a former military ruler of the federal capital territory accused Borno State politicians of creating Boko Haram.

    Retired Lieutenant General Jeremiah Useni recalled a trip to Maiduguri with then-governor Ali Madu Sheriff where they passed legions of young men selling petroleum along the road.

    “I said why do you allow them to sell petrol on a major street like this? And he said, 'No, no, no, no leave them. They are very useful during election," said Useni.

    Useni says young men organized for political thuggery were the genesis of Boko Haram.

    Following separate talks with President Jonathan, former governor Sheriff said Useni is mistaken about the origin of fundamentalism in northern Nigeria.

    “The leader of the Boko Haram was arrested and was prosecuted in Abuja before I even think of going to become a governor in Borno state," said  Sheriff. "So people make comments on what they don't know.”

    Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zaid says attacks against soldiers in Maiduguri will continue. In a written statement, he said remarks by military chiefs that Boko Haram are cowards for engaging in hit-and-run attacks is “an affront that will not be ignored.”

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    The Complicated Math of AIDS

    A lot, and then some: the huge - and complicated - cost of the AIDS epidemic

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    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.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    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 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 Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    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 With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke 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.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora