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.
On 6 February, multiple blasts occurred at the Gamboru market and a nearby pharmaceutical store in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State. There had been no official casualty report, but three persons were feared killed with several vehicles and shops razed.
Local sources said three blasts hit the ‘Yan Robobi area of the market and two others struck D.K Pharmacy, one of the biggest pharmaceutical stores in the city. The sources said the owner of the pharmacy and two of his employees were killed, as the explosives destroyed the building that housed the store.
Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, chief operations officer of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, confirmed the explosions at the market to some newsmen but reportedly gave no further details.
Maiduguri is the base of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group responsible for a series of bomb and gun attacks against security operatives and institutions as well opposing Muslim clerics and Christians in several northern states of the country. Its attacks have killed more than 200 people in the past five weeks since the beginning of the year.
However, no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the market and the pharmacy store – or for the assassination of two persons in the Ummarari ward of the metropolis the previous night.
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.
On 1 February, six people believed to be students, were feared killed in clashes between rival cult groups at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The fighting groups, identified as the Eiye Confraternity and the Buccaneers, have had a long history of rivalry and violence in the city.
It is not known what sparked the latest waste of youthful lives, but local sources say hell was let loose after the Eiye Confraternity had allegedly killed a member of the Buccaneers on Tuesday 31 January.
Seeking to avenge the killing of their member, the Buccaneers stormed the Onikolobo area of the city, where many student-members of the Eiye Confraternity live off campus, and engaged them in a deadly fight. Guns and other dangerous weapons were freely used. After several hours, five people reportedly lay dead.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ogun State Police Command, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the clashes to newsmen, but said he was aware of only one death.
He said: “We heard the deceased was either a Yahoo guy (Internet scammer) or a cult member. What is certain is that the two groups are devilish”. He said the police had swung into action, stopped the fighting and restored normalcy.
The area remains tense. Many residents of Onikolobo, Adigbe, Oloke, Oluwo, Ibara, Panseke and other communities around the school, fear there could be more reprisal attacks. Many students have fled the campus – and even the town. A fleeing student asked: “What kind of bloody education is this?”
On 30 January, at least two persons were killed in a bloody fight between Fulani herdsmen and members of Ohoro community in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. The two victims were said to have died of machete wounds.
There were reports that two other members of the community were shot dead by soldiers deployed in the area to restore peace; but the Media Coordinator of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Lt Col Timothy Antigha said: “There was no such thing”.
Local sources said trouble started when the herdsmen’s cows strayed into farmlands belonging to the community, and damaged crops. Angered by the trespass and damage, the farmers confronted the nomads. One source said the nomads suddenly attacked two of the farmers with daggers, killing them on the spot.
As news of the incident spread, youths in the community mobilized and went after the killers, in a bid to avenge the killing of their kinsmen; but they were unable to find the fleeing nomads. The youth then turned their anger against all Hausa-Fulani in the community, and sent many of them fleeing the area.
The near breakdown of law and order caused a major traffic gridlock along the Delta-Bayelsa stretch of the East-West Road. Reports of the incident also raised tensions as far as the state capital, Asaba, and other towns with Fulani residents.
This incident, coming at a time when many southerners are already fleeing deadly attacks by Islamist militants in the predominantly Hausa-Fulani far north of the country, could aggravate ethnic and religious relations in the Niger Delta.
However, the JTF said it had taken measures to restore peace in the Ohoro community and other towns in the area. Col Antigha said: “JTF is at the scene. Efforts are being made to calm down nerves with a view to commencing investigations”.
On 26 January, unidentified gunmen waylaid and killed 15 traders and then set their bodies ablaze near Birnin Magaji town in Zamfara State.
Local sorces said the traders were attacked as they were returning from a market in neighbouring Katsina State. They said the gunmen, numbering about 100, sprang from the bush and forced the open truck, in which the traders were travelling, to stop.
The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State, Mr Tambari Yabo Mohammed, said: “The armed robbers waylaid the traders travelling back in an open truck and opened fire on them. They then loaded the truck with 14 bodies and burnt them”. He said a 15th victim died in hospital.
Although the Police chief suggested the attack may have been a case of armed robbery, local sources said it may be linked to some earlier incidents in Lingyado village in Zamfara State.
On 10 August 2011, vigilantes from Lingyado had evicted a group of people from the village whom they suspected of being behind a series of cattle and other robberies. Those evicted regrouped and attacked the village on 2 October, killing 23 villagers.
Commenting on that attack, the governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, had said: “From the information I have received, the attackers who are nomadic Fulani, invited their comrades from as far as Central African Republic, for the raid”.
On 23 January, the Kano State Police Command reported that 29 policemen were among the 186 persons it confirmed killed, in the multiple bomb attacks staged by the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram, on Friday 20 January.
In a statement, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said apart from the police casualties, the breakdown of other victims was as follows: three operatives of the State Security Service (SSS), one Customs officer, two Immigration officers, one journalist and 150 other civilians.
The statement listed the areas targeted by the attackers as the Police zonal headquarters along Bayero University Road, the Farm Centre and Zaria Road police divisions, the Immigration office located at Farm Centre, SSS headquarters at Giginya quarters, the official home of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 1 (Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States) and St Louis Secondary School. It said the attacks were launched simultaneously by several suicide bombers.
The statement further disclosed that the state Police Command had recovered 10 motor vehicles loaded with improvised explosive devices, in different parts of the metropolis.
On 22 January, at least 10 persons, including a soldier and a policeman, were confirmed killed by gunmen in early morning attacks on a community in Tafawa Balewa town, Bauchi State. Tafawa Balewa is 86km south-west of the state capital, Bauchi city.
Early reports had said the attackers targeted a police station and that the police repelled the attack, followed by prolonged gunfire, apparently from a duel between the attackers and security forces. But an update confirmed a community was also targeted, with at least 10 people killed and 12 wounded.
Barrister Bukata Zhadi, an elder and community leader in the largely Christian Sayawa ethnic group, said several persons were still unaccounted for. “We are going round the town checking”, he said. “So far, we have ten people dead and 12 wounded”.
Providing some details of the incident, he said the attackers threw improvised hand grenades into houses in the community while people were still sleeping, and shot at those trying to flee.
Police later responded to the attacks. The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Mohammed Barau said: “In the exchange of fire that ensued, a policeman, a soldier and eight unidentified civilians were killed by stray bullets”. It is not clear whether these were the same as the 10 casualties Zhadi had mentioned. The police spokesman said six suspects had been arrested.
Zhadi, who is the Secretary of the Sayawa Elders’ Council, said witnesses believe the attackers were Muslim Hausa-Fulani. The predominantly Christian Sayawa have had a long history of conflicts with Muslim Hausa-Fulani in the area. On 27 January 2011, suspected Hausa-Fulani invaders sacked about 50 villages in the Tafawa Balewa and Bagoro Local Government Areas of the state. Over the three-month period leading up to 19 November 2011, a total of 12 people were killed in several attacks on Gangere village in Bogoro Local Government Area.
In other updates, the three explosions heard in the state capital, Bauchi, around 2.30 am, are said not to have been bomb blasts. Early reports had suggested they were probably part of an attack by the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram, but some later reports said they were caused when a faulty electric transformer blew up.
On 20 January, Enenche Akogwu, a reporter with the Lagos –based, award-winning private television station, Channels TV, was shot dead apparently by Islamist militants in Kano, capital of Kano State. Channels TV confirmed his death during its News @10 programme later in the evening.
He died after the commercial city of Kano had come under an unprecedented multiple bomb attack, launched by members of the militant Islamist sect, widely known as Boko Haram.
Details of Akogwu’s death are still sketchy, but one account said he was recording the locations of the multiple bomb attacks across the city when he was killed.
According to the account, Akogwu had gone out to the scene of the Farm Centre police station blast, soon after the first explosion at the police zonal headquarters.
Shortly after getting there, he asked a few people loitering around if they could offer eye witness accounts of the blast. One of the young men around, apparently an Islamist militant, pull a gun and shot him at point blank range. He died on the spot.
On his Facebook page, he had written of himself: “My love for Nigeria has been a compelling impetus, charting the course of my life”.
He added that he was “courageous in the face of adversities, hopeful when confronted with despair and delighted when the society makes appreciable progress”.
It is tragic that he died without seeing the progress he so passionately wished for Nigeria. He was aged 31.
On 18 January, a Nigerian, Mr Amamchukwu Chukwuma, 28, who killed his Singaporean lover, Angela Liu Shuhui, 25, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The High Court, presided over by Justice Lee Seiu Kin, heard that Chukwuma entered Singapore on a social visit pass to explore business opportunities in October 2007, but stayed on illegally after his pass expired in February 2008. Also known as Ben, he was said to have started his relationship with Angela, then a cashier in a supermarket, almost as soon as he arrived the country. The affair was turbulent from the onset.
The court was told that in April 2008, the two lovers rented a room in Bukit Panjang, but that the landlord evicted them when he could no longer put up with their constant quarrelling.
In September 2008, Angela moved back to her parents’ home, while Amamchukwu made a makeshift home with wooden boards and newspapers in a forested area in Bukit Panjang Park, in order to remain close to her. In June 2009, he acted on a plan hatched by Angela to cheat a Filipino maid of her money, successfully duping her of about 2,000 Singaporean dollars.
Between August and September 2009, Amamchukwu found out that Angela was seeing another man. That discovery wrecked their relationship and they went their different ways. Angela left Singapore to India where she joined her new boyfriend. Amamchukwu resumed a relationship with another woman from Malaysia, known as Siti, and moved into her flat in Boon Lay.
In mid-December 2009, Angela returned to Singapore. She called Amamchukwu and they met on 22 December. After he retrieved his old clothes and photos that were still in her home, he suggested they go to his former makeshift home in the nearby park.
But as she lit the path in the forested area with her mobile phone, Amamchukwu scolded her, sparking a quarrel, and then a scuffle. After Angela kicked Amamchukwu in the groin, he retaliated by strangling her to death. He removed her clothes and burnt them, and then sold her mobile phone.
Meanwhile, Angela’s boyfriend in India had contacted her father, claiming that Amanchukwu had kidnapped her, and the matter was reported to the police. Seven days later, Angela’s highly decomposed body was found. Shortly after, police traced Amanchukwu to the flat of his other (Malaysian) woman, Siti, in Boon Lay, and arrested him.
Before Amamchukwu was sentenced, his lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong, had pleaded with the judge, that a jail sentence of 10 years or less would be appropriate, considering the “grave and sudden provocation” by the victim, “which deprived him of his self control”.
Justice Lee accepted that the murder was not premeditated and that there was some degree of provocation by Angela. But he maintained that Amamchukwu had “intentionally (caused) her death and cruelly snuffed out” her life. In sentencing Amamchukwu to 12 years, he said there was a need to “balance retribution and rehabilitation”.