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If all troops are not withdrawn immediately, the elders say they must conclude that the federal government intends to destroy Maiduguri.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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Highlights Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs