Nigeria in recent times has had to fight terrorist activities and only days ago an abduction and subsequent killing of a Briton and Italian by the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram who not only claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the foreigners, but allegedly
killed them when attempts were made to rescue them.
There has been wide spread belief that the group is getting assistance from foreign terrorist groups like the Al-Qaida group, in the Islamic Maghreb, (AQIM), and these claims have been corroborated by international security chiefs and agencies.
Only today, a Mauritanian news portal; Nouakchott Information Agency website, a medium which has always been used by Al-Qaida to send messages and publish press releases, published a statement that an Al-Qaeda group based in North Africa has declared that it is holding a German citizen captive after abducting him in Nigeria.
The statement published on Wednesday March 21, by the AQIM is demanding that German authorities release Oum Seif Allah Al Ansari, who the terror group said was being subjected to inhumane treatment in a German prison.
The German man, Edgar Fritz Raupach, an engineer was allegedly kidnapped in Kano state, in January and his abduction is believed to be the first time the terror group has kidnapped a foreigner in Nigeria.
Security in Nigeria has been under seige in recent times and kidnapping is not strange to citizens and foreigners living and working in the country. This is the first time an international group is openly claiming responsibility for any terrorist activity but my question is, how did they penetrate the shores of the country despite the assurances given by Nigerian security agencies that they are doing a lot to curb terrorist activities?
- Nigeria’s militant Islamists adopting a disturbing change of tactics (guardian.co.uk)
- Jerome Taylor: Al-Qa’ida or not, this spread of terror could be disastrous (independent.co.uk)
- Quick Thoughts on the Failed Hostage Rescue in Nigeria (thewasat.wordpress.com)
- British, Italian hostages killed in Nigeria rescue (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Nigerians on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 were awoken with the news that Islamist sect Boko Haram ruled out talks with the federal government.
A purported spokesman for the radical Islamist sect said on Tuesday, the group had “closed all possible doors of negotiation” with a government of “unbelievers” that it cannot trust, and called on Muslims to join the fight against it.
The statement to journalists in the sect’s heartland of Maiduguri in Borno State came two days after a Muslim cleric brokering initial peace talks pulled out, dimming hopes of a negotiated end to the insurgency.
The negotiations were aimed at ending months of bomb and gun attacks by Boko Haram that killed hundreds, mostly in the majority Muslim north, and have at times dominated Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency.
Lagos resident, Precious Ose Idehen who spoke to Reuters said it was not clear what Boko Haram is fighting for, so the group should enter into dialogue and state their demands.
“Their aim is just to destroy the present government, to destabilise Mr. President from getting up to what he has planned for the nation. That is the truth. There is nothing you will give to the Boko Haram that will make them say we are tired. If they want the dialogue, if there is anything they need, they should come out and say it. It’s their own nation, they should come out and say it.”
Success Olawale Martins, an unemployed graduate of Business Administration, said President Goodluck Jonathan had tried to keep peace with the sect long enough.
“For the sake of peace, for the sake of unity of the nation, he has given them a long rope. And at the end of the day, they are not coming. If, I think at this time, if he reacts against them, I don’t think he has done anything wrong.”
And insurance broker, Ambrose Ochonogor went even further to add that the government should openly fight Boko Haram.
“It is high time federal government resorted to jungle justice. If they can’t dialogue with them, then they should resort to other measures. They should fight them openly, make sure they eliminate them.”
Boko Haram has said it wants to impose Islamic sharia law across Nigeria, which is split equally between Christians and Muslims. But with the spate of killings in recent times, has cast a shadow of doubt over the group’s demands, hence the call for dialogue by the Federal Government.
Nigeria‘s military has harassed and obstructed journalists trying to report on unrest in recent days, according to local journalists and news reports.
On Sunday in the city of Jos, in Nigeria’s north central region, soldiers detained Jeremie Drieu, a videographer with French television station TF1, and local journalist Ahmad Salkida after they sought permission to film in the area, The Associated Press reported. The Nigerian federal government has been enforcing a state of emergency in Jos following bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians that have claimed the lives of at least two journalists, according to CPJ research.
Soldiers searched and interrogated the journalists and escorted them to their hotel, where they were forced to pack and leave Jos and Plateau state as night fell, the journalists told AP. “The official reason was security, which was absurd, because it is not safe to take the road at night,” Drieu told the AP.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, soldiers in the northern city of Kaduna seized the video cameras of Umar Uthman of the private station African Independent Television and another cameraman with the government-run Kaduna State Television, local media reported. Both journalists were covering the scene of a suicide bomb blast which had earlier rocked the city.
Isa Sa’idu, reporter for Daily Trust, told CPJ the soldiers ordered over 20 journalists to leave the area, preventing them from reporting the day’s events. “They drove all of us and asked us to move away from the vicinity and one of them threatened to shoot,” Sa’idu said.
“The Nigerian military has acted arbitrarily in blocking these journalists,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “We call on the military command to take decisive action to halt obstruction of the news media.”
In a phone interview with CPJ today, Ministry of Defense spokesman Col. Mohammed Yerima denied that the military is thwarting journalists from doing their job. “Is it not when a place is secured that you will allow them to go in and do their stories? I am sure it must have been when the tension was very high. But it would not have been deliberate to harm them or deprive them,” Yerima said.
The radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram seems to be considering dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria as state owned Nigerian Television Authority [NTA] reports that some alleged members of the sect have named some northern leaders to negotiate with the government on its behalf.
The sect which has been responsible for series of attacks across the country earlier launched multiple bomb attacks on Division I of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna, so far no deaths have been reported except for the suicide bomber who disguised as a military officer due to swiftness of the Army officials.
It would be recalled that after the Kano state Police Headquarters bombing which claimed lots of lives including that of the Kano State Correspondent of private owned Channels Television; Enenche Akogwu, the Federal Government offered to negotiate with the Islamic sect to put an end the unnecessary killings of innocent Nigerians but the sect has to identify itself before talks could commence.
The veracity of the video has not been verified by security agents but those named in the video on the National TV NTA, are: Sheik Abubakar Gero, Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, Alhaji Ali Bukar Ibrahim, the former governor of Yobe state.
The fourth name listed was not clear in the video to be identified.
According to local news agency, Vanguard, findings reveal that Boko Haram leaders have disowned the list of negotiators and that the said video did not originate from its organisation.
The tape which NTA claimed was delivered by an unidentified source featured two figures, fully masked in black. Only the voice of one was heard, while the other was silent.
“We here confirmed and accept the reported initiative of the President for a dialogue as a welcome development”, the speaker who did not identify himself said.
According to him, the group trusts the named leaders and said “the decision taken by these people can actually change the whole situation”.