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Soldiers kill 8 Boko Haram fighters in Maiduguri, Borno State

On 20 February, the military Joint Task Force (JTF) said it killed eight Islamist insurgents who had attacked civilians in a market in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Local residents said the Boko Haram attack on the market was apparently a reprisal against the arrest of a member by some traders four days earlier. On 16 February, a lone gunman had walked into the market on a killing mission; but as he was about to pull the trigger of his AK-47 rifle, some traders over-powered him. A local source said the group probably went back to the market to “teach the traders a bitter lesson” over their action, attacking them with explosive devices which then attracted the JTF’s intervention.

The spokesman for the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, said: “This afternoon, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram sect members attacked three civilians at the Baga Road Fish Market. The JTF men came on a rescue operation, engaged the suspects in a shoot-out and succeeded in killing eight of them”.

He further stated that “The JTF detonated three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and defused several others recovered from the attackers. We also recovered large number of arms and ammunition from them”. He said the JTF had cordoned off the entire area and a “come down and search operation” was going on to uncover any hidden weapons and IEDs. He added that no JTF soldier was wounded or killed in the shoot-out.

Boko Haram confirms slaughtering 6 “traitors”, threatens more “executions” in Maiduguri, Borno State

On 2 February, a spokesman for the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, confirmed that it was his group that killed the six men slaughtered on the night of Wednesday 1 February, in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

The six men were killed in the Shehuri north area of the city, by assailants who trailed them to their houses around midnight and slaughtered them with knives. In a statement following the killings, the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt Col Hassan Mohammed, had said preliminary investigations revealed the men were “slaughtered by persons suspected to be their fellow sect members”. He had also suggested that the killings “may have been as a result of division among sect members”.

In a telephone interview with some journalists in Maiduguri, the Boko Haram spokesman who identified himself as Abul Qaqa, confirmed the JTF’s revelation. He said the six men were slaughtered because they were among the traitors who betrayed 11 members of the sect, leading to their elimination by JTF four days earlier.

He further disclosed that the six men slaughtered were only part of a longer list of persons whom the group plans to eliminate. He said: “We have earmarked 30 of them for execution because they betrayed our group”.

It will be recalled that on 28 January, 11 members of Boko Haram were killed by JTF in Maiduguri. In the wake of those killings, the victims’ families had claimed that the men killed were not members of the militant sect, alleging human rights violations and demanding a probe.

The confirmation by the Boko Haram spokesman seems to have put paid to those denials and demands. It also seems to confirm the JTF’s suspicion of a feud within some members of the sect. It thus raises fears of further factional killings within the group in Maiduguri.

6 killed in suspected feud within Boko Haram in Maiduguri, says JTF

On 2 February, six persons were killed by unknown assailants in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. The military Joint Task Force (JTF) said the victims were probably members of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram, and may have been eliminated by their own colleagues.

The six people were killed while sleeping in their homes in Shehuri North, a northern part of the city known as the base of Boko Haram.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the JTF, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, said the victims may have been killed by people suspected to be members of Boko Haram, as a result of a division within the sect.

Colonel Mohammed said: “Preliminary investigations reveal that the six deceased persons were suspected to have been slaughtered by persons suspected to be their fellow Boko Haram members….The killing may have been as a result of division among Boko Haram sect members”.

In other incidents, multiple blasts occurred in parts of the city early in the day. Col Mohammed confirmed that they were caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) but said there were no casualties. He said the JTF had also defused some unexploded devices and advised residents to remain security conscious and alert.

Two university students shot dead by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Maiduguri, Borno State

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 6 January, two students of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) were shot dead by three gunmen, suspected to be members of the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram, in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The students – male and female – were Christians, from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.

Briefing newsmen on the serial attacks on residences of people living in Dala and Mairi Wards of Maiduguri Metropolis during the week, the Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Mr Simeon Midenda, said the students were shot at about 8pm on Friday night, in their Mairi Ward residences, south of the university campus.

He said the attakers came in an unmarked vehicle with two Kalashnikov rifles hidden under their flowing gowns, and that they fired several shots into the heads and chests of the students.

The police chief said the sectarian attacks in the area had taken a different dimension, with gunmen targeting not only the patrol vehicles of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) and the police, but also the residences of policemen and Christians in the Jere, Bama and Biu Local Government Areas of the state.

The three council areas, along with Maiduguri Metropolitan and Gambouru/Ngala, are the parts of Borno State over which President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on 31 December 2011. On the whole, that declaration covered 15 local government areas in four northern states of the country

Mr Midenda said no arrests had been made in connection with the assassination of the students, but that investigations were underway.

President Jonathan declares state of emergency in 4 violence-hit states

President GOODLUCK JONATHAN

On 31 December, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in troubled areas stretching through 15 local government areas in four states, namely Borno, Yobe, Niger and Plateau.

In a televised broadcast, Jonathan said the declaration had become necessary due to “the security challenges which the activities of the Boko Haram sect have foisted on the country”. Boko Haram, a militant Islamic sect demanding the installation of Islamic government under Sharia law in the predominantly Muslim north of the country, has carried out a sustained campaign of assassinations and bomb attacks, including suicide attacks on the national police headquarters on 16 June and on the United Nations office complex in Abuja on 26 August.

Jonathan said the declaration of emergency was in accordance with the provisions of Section 305(1) of the Constitution. He said details of the proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly for necessary action, as soon as the federal legislators reconvene from their current recess.

The states and local government areas affected by the declaration are as follows:

BORNO STATE: Maidugiri Metropolitan, Gamboru Ngala, Banki Bama, Biu and Jere.

YOBE STATE: Damaturu, Geidam, Potiskum, Buniyadi-Gujba, and Gasua-Bade.

PLATEAU STATE: Jos North, Jos South, Barkin-Ladi, and Riyom.

NIGER STATE: Suleja.

President Jonathan ordered an interim closure of those stretches of the nation’s land borders “contiguous to the affected Local Government Areas so as to control incidences of cross border terrorist activities”. He also directed the Chief of Defence Staff and Inspector-General of Police to work out appropriate measures that would ensure the protection of lives and property of residents in the affected states and local government areas. He urged political leaders in the affected areas to give maximum cooperation to the law enforcement officials deployed to their communities, in order to bring the situation under control within the shortest possible time.

The President further disclosed that: “The Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with other Service Chiefs, has also been directed to set up a special force unit within the Armed Forces, with dedicated counter terrorism responsibilities”.

Later elaborating on the President’s declaration, the National Security Adviser, retired General Andrew Azazi, said democratic institutions in the affected areas would not be suspended. But he said the security forces being deployed to the affected local governments would have extra powers to conduct stop-and-search procedures and arrest persons.

Apart from the affected areas, the NSA said security agents are also working hard to monitor places where reports of possible threat have been recorded, including Lagos State.

ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT JONATHAN DECLARING STATE OF EMERGENCY IN PARTS OF NIGERIA, 31 DECEMBER 2011

DR GOODLUCK JONATHAN President of Nigeria

1. Fellow Nigerians, it has become necessary to address you on recent events in some parts of the country that have threatened our collective security and shaken the foundations of our corporate existence as a nation.

2.   You are all aware of the security challenges which the activities of the Boko Haram sect have foisted on the country. What began as sectarian crises in the North Eastern parts of the country has gradually evolved into terrorist activities in different parts of the country with attendant negative consequences on our national security.

3.   Government, in an effort to find a lasting solution to the security threats occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, constituted a Presidential Committee under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the crises. While efforts are being made to implement the recommendations of the Committee, the crises have assumed a terrorist dimension with vital institutions of government including the United Nations Building and places of worship becoming targets of terrorist attacks.

4.   While the search for lasting solutions is ongoing, it has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country especially within the affected communities. Consequently, I have in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of Section 305(1) of the Constitution, declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation, namely:

(i)  BORNO STATE

a)  Maidugiri Metropolitan LGA

b)  Gamboru Ngala LGA

c)   Banki Bama LGA

d)  Biu LGA

e)   Jere LGA

(ii)  YOBE STATE

a)  Damaturu LGA

b)  Geidam LGA

c)   Potiskum LGA

d)  Buniyadi-Gujba LGA

e)   Gasua-Bade LGA

(iii) PLATEAU STATE

a)  Jos North LGA

b)  Jos South LGA

c)   Barkin-Ladi LGA

d)  Riyom LGA

(iv) NIGER STATE

a)  Suleja LGA

The details of this proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly as soon as they reconvene from their current recess, for their necessary action.

5.  The Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police have been directed to put appropriate measures in place to ensure the protection of lives and properties of residents in the affected parts of the country. I therefore urge the political leadership in the affected states and Local Government Areas to give maximum cooperation to the law enforcement agencies deployed to their respective communities to ensure that the situation is brought under control within the shortest possible time.

6.  The Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with other Service Chiefs, has also been directed to set up a special force unit within the Armed Forces, with dedicated counter terrorism responsibilities.

7.  As part of the overall strategy to overcome the current security challenges, I have directed the closure of the land borders contiguous to the affected Local Government Areas so as to control incidences of cross border terrorist activities as terrorists have taken advantage of the present situation to strike at targets in Nigeria and retreat beyond the reach of our law enforcement personnel.

8.  Let me assure our neighbours, especially within the ECOWAS sub-region, of Nigeria’s commitment to its international obligations as provided by the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges and will be reviewed as soon as normalcy is restored.

9.   I commend the efforts of our political leaders at various levels as well as our traditional and religious leaders for their support for the various conflict resolution mechanisms and peace building measures that have been initiated by this administration. We call on the citizenry to continue to provide useful information to our law enforcement agencies to enable us arrest the situation.

10. Terrorism is a war against all of us. I call on all Nigerians to join hands with government to fight these terrorists.

11. I wish all Nigerians a very happy New Year.

12.   Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Three explosions reported in Maiduguri, but JTF said no casualties

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 30 December, three explosions were reported in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, but military authorities said no one was killed.

Initial reports had said that one of the explosions occurred near a mosque after the Friday afternoon prayers and set off a massive stampede, and that about four people may have been killed. 

BBC had quoted the Director of Army Public Relations, Maj Gen Raphael Isa, as confirming there had been a “major incident” which had caused casualties.

However, the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force in the state, Lt Col Hassan Mohammed, while confirming the blasts to newsmen, said none of them occurred near a mosque. He said the explosions occurred near market areas in different parts of the city but that no one was killed.

The explosions occurred only five days after the Christmas Day bomb attacks on churches in Madalla, a town in Niger State close to the federal capital, Abuja, and also in Jos, capital of Plateau State. Those attacks killed at least 42 people, mostly Christian worshippers at the St Theresa’s Catholic church in Madalla. The government blamed the attacks on the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram; a spokesman for the group also reportedly claimed responsibility.

About 24 hours before the latest blast, the group had emailed a statement to some media houses saying: “If God is willing, we will carry out further attacks”.

Three die in explosion at bomb factory in Maiduguri, Borno State

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 17 December, three men suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect commonly known as Boko Haram, were killed in an explosion inside a bomb factory in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Briefing newsmen on the incident, the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt Col Hassan Mohammed reported that at about 9 am, an explosion occurred in Shehuri II area of Bolori in Maiduguri metropolis. He said JTF operatives rushed to the scene of the blast and found that it occurred in a house inhabited by unidentified men, suspected to be members of Boko Haram. They also found three mangled corpses at the scene.

Hassan said the area was immediately cordoned off while the Police Bomb Disposal Squad was called in for detailed investigations. He said the investigators confirmed that the house was being used by suspected members of Boko Haram as a major factory for the production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

He further stated that large quantities of unused IED-making materials, including three drums containing gun powder, two AK-47 riffles, ammunition, remote controls, uniforms of the Police Mobile Force with ranks, injecting syringes, Jerry cans loaded with gas, one grinding machine, assorted containers of gun powder, tapes with Islamic inscriptions, laptop, video camera, GSM handsets, wall clocks and several prepared IEDs.

Bomb explodes, gunmen kill 2, in Maiduguri, Borno State

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 15 December, a bomb exploded in Gwange area of Maiduguri, Borno State, just as gunmen suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, killed two people and injured three on Santimari Polo Road.

According to the spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt Col Hassan Mohammed, some members of Boko Haram detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Gwange ward at about 7.45pm. He said the men had targeted a JTF patrol vehicle, but that the vehicle had left the area by the time the device went off and that there was no casualty.

In the shooting incident, residents said at about 8pm, some gunmen came in an unmarked Volkswagen Golf car and opened fire on people playing cards in front of a shop owned by a GSM recharge card dealer.

One witness said he heard the gunmen saying to people: ‘Don’t run, don’t worry, we are not here for you. We have our target’. They shot two men to death, including the Head Teacher of COCIN Church Primary School in Polo. One report suggests they may have been targeting a security officer who usually comes to the shop, especially at night.

Col Hassan confirmed the incident. He said JTF men pursued two of the suspects who then abandoned their car and fled into the night. He said no arrest had been made, but that normalcy had been restored to the area.

Another bomb explosion in Maiduguri, Borno State: 4 killed, 11 wounded

Map of Nigeria showing Borno State

On 13 December, an explosion killed four people and wounded about 11 others in the London Ciki ward of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Local sources report that the blast came from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which had targeted a patrol vehicle of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), along the busy Tashan Bala Road.

They said a suspected member of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram, who was trying to detonate the explosive, was killed by the blast. Among others killed was a 9-year-old child. Eleven other persons reportedly suffered serious injuries. The residential house of the Imam of Maikatanga mosque, Mallam Goni Modu, was burnt down.

The JTF’s Field Operations Officer in Borno, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, confirmed that an IED was targeted at a military patrol vehicle near a densely populated residential area; but he said the device did not hit any JTF men or operational vehicles.

He said: “We heard the explosion around 9 am, after which we quickly rushed to the scene of the incident where we discovered that a suspected Boko Haram sect member died in the process of detonating an explosive device”. He also said the JTF men recovered some arms and ammunition from the vehicle which the suspected bomber drove before the explosion went off. He said the JTF men “were able to rescue some women and children from one of the houses that was set ablaze as a result of the explosion”. However, he gave no casualty figures.

Ebhaleme said: “Right now, there is no need to panic. We have brought the situation under control”.

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