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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.

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Bomb blasts, 3 feared killed in Maiduguri, Borno State

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.

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.

20 Igbo traders killed by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Mubi, Adamawa State

Map of Nigeria showing location of Mubi

On 6 January, about 20 people were killed when gunmen suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram attacked Igbo traders in a town hall in Mubi, Adamawa State. At least another 15 people were wounded.

Mubi, the second largest city in Adamawa State, is about 175 km south of the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, which had been the base of Boko Haram and the epicentre of its attacks.

According to the Commissioner of Police in Adamawa State, Mr Ade Shinaba, the attack targeted a town hall where Igbo traders were holding a meeting before opening up their shops for business. The meeting was called to raise money for transporting the body of an Igbo man shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes the previous evening, back to his hometown for burial. The Igbo traders, some resident in Mubi for decades, are known to be Christians. Survivors said the attackers chanted: ‘God is great, God is great’ as they were shooting into the hall.

From Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, the BBC’s Abdullahi Tasiu reported that in the aftermath of the shooting, many Igbo traders in Mubi had closed their shops and were planning to flee the town.

The police say no arrests had been made and no group had claimed responsibility, but both police authorities and local residents believe the gunmen must have been members of Boko Haram. The sect had claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic church in Madalla near Abuja, which killed more than 40 people.

After President Goodluck Jonathan’s 31 December declaration of a state of emergency in 15 local government areas across four states, a Boko Haram spokesman, on 2 January, gave Christians and southerners a three-day ultimatum to leave the majority Muslim northern states of the country or face death. On 2 January, the Police Headquarters in Abuja dismissed that ultimatum and urged all law-abiding citizens to get on with their normal businesses wherever they lived in the country.

Three days later, on 5 January, unknown gunmen attacked a Deeper Life Bible church in Gombe, capital of Gombe State, killing at least six worshippers including the pastor’s wife, and wounding about 10 others. Less than 24 hours later, the attack on the Igbo traders in Mubi followed.

Gombe and Adamawa were not initially considered high-risk states and none of their local government areas were covered by the declared emergency.

Many Muslim leaders have condemned Boko Haram’s attacks, stressing that Islam does not tolerate attacks on non-Muslims, and especially their places of worship.

On 27 December, the Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual leader of all the Muslims in Nigeria, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, declared:  “There is no conflict between Christians and Muslims, between Islam and Christianity. It is a conflict between evil people and good people and the good people are more than the evil doers”.

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.

PROFILE: SENATOR MOHAMMED ALI NDUME

Senator MOHAMMED ALI NDUME

Mohammed Ali Ndume was born on 20 November 1959, in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. His father, Alhaji Ali, was a Muslim, while his mother, Magdaliya, was a Christian.

He attended Gadamayo Primary School, Gwoza, and Comprehensive Secondary School, Mubi, before proceeding to Kaduna Polytechnic where he obtained the National Diploma (ND) in 1980 and the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Marketing in 1982. He then went on to the University of Toledo, Ohio, USA, where he gained a Masters Degree in Accounting and Computer Science in 1990.

Returning to Nigeria, he became a Senior Lecturer at the Ramat Polytechnic in Maiduguri, Borno State, and Managing Director of Water Ventures Nig. Ltd, also in Maiduguri, until 2003, when he turned to politics.

In April 2003, Ndume was elected to the House of Representatives (Lower Federal Parliament) to represent the Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency of Borno State, on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP).  In April 2007, he was re-elected and appointed Minority Leader in the House.

Ndume was seen as a passionately ANPP man, one of the pillars of the party in the state, and vigorously opposed to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In an August 2010 interview, he said: “The PDP, in the last 11 years, has vandalized Nigeria; they have only introduced kidnapping, assassination, militancy, armed robbery, power degeneration and widespread religious crisis”. In a September interview, he again said: “The PDP government has been holding the Federal Government for 11 years now and they have done nothing, except cause chaos in Nigeria”. He praised the ANPP’s record in Borno State, especially for building roads and hospitals.

However, only three months later (in December 2010), Ndume decamped from the ANPP and crossed over to the PDP.  Explaining his action, he said he had not been given a level playing field in the competition with other ANPP aspirants in the contest for the Senatorial ticket. Apparently, he had fallen out with Governor Ali Modu Sheriff. His defection to the PDP was seen as a major blow to the ANPP.

Following Ndume’s defection, Alhaji Sanda Garba, who had been the only aspirant for the South Borno Senate seat in the PDP, stepped down to make way for him as the party’s candidate.

In the election, Ndume won 146,403 votes, beating the ANPP candidate, Dr Asaba Vilita Bashir, who scored 133,734 votes and Alhaji Unaru Ibrahim of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), who got only 20,414 votes.

Arriving at the Senate in June 2011, Ndume said his agenda would focus on ensuring the supply of portable drinking water in each local government of Borno South; providing health care, especially free eye surgery; and creating opportunities that would facilitate access to public, private or self employment for his constituents, especially the youth. He said he was also committed to promoting education and security, especially in Southern Borno.

On 2 August, the Federal Government appointed him a member of the seven-man Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-East Zone of the Country, otherwise known as the Galtimari Committee. The committee studied the Boko Haram crisis and submitted its report to the government on 26 September.

Ndume is married to two women – Aishatu and Maryam – and has 10 children.

On 21 November 2011, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga, a former political thug and spokesman of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, who had been arrested by the State Security Service (SSS), named Ndume among politicians whom, he alleged, had been sponsoring his group’s violent activities.

Boko Haram spokesman names top politicians sponsoring sect

On 21 November, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga, a former political thug and spokesman of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, arrested recently by the State Security Service (SSS), named a serving Senator and a former governor among politicians in the north-east sponsoring his group’s terrorist activities.

Konduga, currently detained by the SSS, was paraded before newsmen in Abuja. He said he was named Usman Al-Zawahiri by his political sponsors, in order to portray him as an extremist and thus conceal his real identity from security agencies. (He was apparently named after Ayman al-Zawahiri, the well-known Islamic militant, who was elected to take over leadership of al Qaeda after the killing of Osama bin Laden last May).

The Deputy Director (Public Relations) of the SSS, Mrs Marilyn Ogar, told newsmen that Konduga was arrested on 3 November, during a joint security operation in Gwange area of Maiduguri, Borno State. She said Konduga had made several revealing confessions. Among other things, she said the suspect had confessed to the following:

  • He was a former political thug operating under a group widely known as ECOMOG.
  • He was recruited by a political party stalwart in Maiduguri, Borno State.
  • Following the compulsory registration of all SIMs nationwide, he was asked to steal a SIM which he used in sending threat text messages to several prominent persons.
  • The pseudonym, Usman Al-Zawahiri, was given to him by the said politician to portray him as an extremist as well as conceal his true identity.
  • One of his benefactors promised to pay him N10 million to work for his party, but by stint of fate, the sponsor died on his way to deliver the part payment of N5 million to him.
  • Consequent upon this, a serving member of the National Assembly took over the running of his activities. The Senator was behind the threat text messages he sent to the Justice of the Election Petition Tribunal in Maiduguri, with the objective of ensuring that the tribunal sacks the present government in Borno State.
  • He was also behind other threat messages sent to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Ambassador Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Justice Sabo Adamu, Chairman of the Election Petition Tribunal in Borno State.
  • Most of the threat messages he sent to Justice Adamu were scripted and relayed to him by the Federal legislator.
  • The same legislator promised to send him some telephone numbers of members of the Galtimari Committee on Security in the North-East, before he (Konduga) was apprehended.
  • The telephone number and content of the text messages sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice were also given to him by the legislator to compel him (AGF) to influence the judgment of the tribunal against the government in Borno State.

Speaking with newsmen during the session, Konduga said he was once a student under the former Boko Haram leader, the late Mohammed Yusuf who was killed in controversial circumstances after the group’s bloody uprising in July 2009. He further disclosed that the sect now has three official spokespersons, namely Abu Kaka, Abu Darda and Abu Zaid. He said he was recently suspended by the group, on suspicion that he was passing information to security agencies. But Ogar said the security agencies never received any information from Konduga before his arrest.

Konduga further named Senator Ali Ndume, former Borno State Governor Ali Modu Sheriff and late Ambassador Saidu Pindar, as the financial backers of his group.

Ndume was once Minority Leader in the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). He defected to the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) shortly before the April 2011 elections.

Sheriff was governor of Borno State from 2003 to 2011.

Pindar, from Biu in Borno State, was appointed Nigeria’s pioneer ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe in 2000. He retired from the Federal Civil Service after 32 years and was conferred with a national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2004. He died in a motor accident on the Kaduna-Zaria road on 31 August this year.

The SSS spokesperson said analysis of communication on Konduga’s phone had confirmed constant communication between him and the Senator he named.

She said the arrest and investigations, thus far, “further confirms the Service’s position that some of the Boko Haram extremists have political patronage and sponsorship”. She reiterated the commitment of security agencies towards addressing the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other violent groups.

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