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Nigerian Army rescues 58 women used as sex slaves by Boko Haram – Official

The Nigerian army on Monday said it rescued 58 women used as sex slaves by Boko Haram in Modu Kimeri, Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Also rescued were 75 children and 15 men, it said.

Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director Public Relations Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this in a statement released in Maiduguri.

Mr Nwachukwu said the women were rescued by troops of 21 Brigade supported and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole.

“The troops rescued the hostages during an extensive Clearance Operation on Sunday 3 June, 2018, to rid the general area of Bama, Modu Kimeri and Gulumba Gana of fleeing elements of Boko Haram terrorists who had escaped from the ongoing troops’ onslaught in the Lake Chad Islands and fringes of the northern borders of Borno State.

“The rescued hostages, comprising 15 men, 58 Women and 75 Children revealed during a joint profiling and interrogations by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and other security agencies, that the Boko Haram terrorists had sexually violated the females and used them as sex slaves,” he said.

He said that two pregnant teenage girls were among the rescued persons.

“The rescued persons further disclosed that the men were not spared, as they were regularly engaged in forced labour while in the captivity of the terrorists.

“They will be promptly handed over to officials of Bama Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp for welfare and administration,”he said.

According to him, troops have also successfully cleared adjoining villages including China, Sabon Gari-1, Sabon Gari-2, Sabon Gari-3 and Sabon Gari-4 villages. Other areas cleared by troops along the axis of operation are Nguzoduwa, Falla, Bulangala, Botori and Bula Matawa villages.

“Additionally, troops recovered 22 Dane guns, one toolbox used for fabricating local firearms, four Boko Haram flags, a motorcycle and other items.

#BringBackOurGirls group tasks Army over claim of rescuing 1,000 Boko Haram captives

The #BringBackOurGirls group, Wednesday, raised questions which they want the federal government and the Nigerian army to answer over the claim by the army that it has rescued 1,000 people said to have been held captive by the Boko Haram terrorists.

The army through its spokesperson, Texas Chukwu, said on Monday that the people rescued were held hostage in some villages in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

Mr Chukwu, a brigadier general, said the hostages were mainly women, children and young men who were forced to become Boko Haram fighters.

The #BringBackOurGirls group, which is non-profit, has been putting pressure on the Nigerian government to find ways of bringing back home more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in April 2014 in Chibok, Borno State.

More than 100 of the Chibok girls have either escaped or freed by the Boko Haram so far, while others are still believed to be in captivity.

The #BringBackOurGirls group in response to the latest development, however, said the announcement by the army “as exciting as it sounds, raises grave concerns”.

In a statement signed by a former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, and two other leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls, the group raised four questions which they want the government and the army to provide answers to.

“The military has over the last 18 months regaled the country with reports that the terrorists have been ‘totally defeated’, how is it then possible for a defeated group to have capacity to hold 1,000 of our citizens captive?

Even more pertinent for the future, ‘How many more of our citizens does the Federal Government know may still be held captive by the terrorists?

“Is there a system for further verifying and confirming the true identities of the 1,000 citizens and a process including transparent plans for reuniting them with their families and communities?

“Can the military and Federal Government immediately publish print and electronic images of the 1,000 compatriots rescued?” the group asked, in their statement.

The group said reporting of abductions, rescues, and deaths deserve much more seriousness from the government and the army, adding that the federal government had in the past frustrated the group’s attempt to establish a “Missing Persons Register and Bureau”.

“Citizens must never accept opaque claims by our government without appropriate public scrutiny.

“The troubling record of contradictory statements by our military and government instruct caution on the part of the Nigerian public to be more circumspect in our reaction to mass rescue claims and such like,” the group said.

Army rescues 1,000 Boko Haram captives in Bama

The Nigerian Army said it had rescued about 1,000 captives from the Boko Haram terrorists sect after a special operation in Bama, Borno State.

An army statement said the captives were mostly women and girls and young males conscripted to fight for the terrorists.

Below is the full text of the statement:

1. Troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE has rescued over 1000 hostages from the Boko Haram Terrorists enclave.

2. The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), rescued the hostages from  Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

3. The  hostages consisted mainly of women, children as well as some young men who were forced to become Boko Haram fighters.

4.  Speaking with one of the rescued victims, Alhaji Gambo Gulumba from Amchaka village, thanked  the Nigerian military for  showing them   love and care.

5. The Nigerian Army wishes to remind the public of its resolve to rout out Boko Haram and rescued all hostages.

6.The public is also advised to  report any suspicious character to the appropriate authority for prompt action.

7. However, the rescued persons are being attended to in a military medical facility.

TEXAS CHUKWU

Brigadier General

Director Army Public Relations

Woman sends SOS to FG over suspected Boko Haram attacks

Christiana, the wife of a church leader in Iba, LASU-Igando area of Lagos State, Deacon Lucky Onakpoberuo, has sent a Save Our Soul (SOS) message to the Federal Government over threat to her life and those of her family members.

Mrs Onakpoberuo, in a press statement, expressed fears over the safety of her family after her husband had an encounter with some persons suspected to be sympathetic to the Boko Haram sect.

According to the statement, her husband and members of his family became targets of the suspected sect members after he joined some members of his church, the Logos Aflame Ministries, to pay a visit to a camp of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Adamawa State as part of a philanthropic outreach.

“Seeing the poor living conditions of the displaced persons, and hearing their tales of woes in the hands of Boko Haram, my husband broke into tears. He was not the same person by the time he returned home. He was still in the disturbed mood the following day when he ran into a group of people in the area discussing the Boko Haram menace, and expressing support for the insurgents.”

“My husband, a generally quiet and easy-going person, spoke angrily with them and expressed surprise that people could unleash the kind of venom that the IDPs are suffering on fellow citizens. My husband spoke innocently and left the group.

“About one hour after, one of the persons in the group came to our house and told us not to sleep in the house that night. He said that my husband’s speech drew the anger of the people and that he overhead them discussing plan to attack us.

“At first we disbelieved him, but wise counsel prevailed. We hurriedly left the town that night. The following morning, we received telephone calls from neighbours that a group of people chanting “Allahu Akbar” stormed our house that night. Angry that they did not meet us at home, they vandalized everything in sight. They searched for us from one room to another.”

She said: “A neighbour who got in touch with us on phone told us that the fanatics have sent word round their network of members in other states to look out for us,” and prayed for the intervention of the Federal Government in the provision of security for her family.

“Now, our children cannot go to school and we have gone underground. How can we be displaced in our country?” she asked, wondering when it became an offence for her husband to plead with the insurgents to stop abducting girls and discouraging them from acquiring education.

Boko Haram: US urges military to change tactics

Nigerian forces battling Boko Haram jihadists need a change of mindset to overcome an evolving guerrilla threat, US military officials said this week on the sidelines of an African security summit.

Boko Haram’s tactics — from improvised explosive devices to hiding within the local population — necessitate a shift away from conventional strategies, said Lieutenant-Colonel Sean McClure, the US defence attache in Abuja.

“We haven’t necessarily seen that kind of adaptation cycle,” he told AFP. “They’re trying to figure out how to do this.

“How they think in terms of combat, in my opinion, is still thinking of things as conventional warfare.”

As the United States steps up its military presence in Africa, it hopes to share lessons learned in the Middle East with Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel fighting extremist groups.

The Sahel region is host to a string of Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad area.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 180 million people, has been fighting Boko Haram since 2009 and has repeatedly claimed to have defeated the group.

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, declared on Tuesday there was “no doubt Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, they don’t have the capacity”.

But persistent attacks against soldiers and civilians, including a brazen new kidnapping of over 100 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Dapchi on February 19, suggest otherwise.

Meanwhile, the emergence of an IS-allied faction of Boko Haram, whose strategy is to provide an alternative government for people living in the impoverished region, poses a new threat.

“It starts to become a very wicked problem,” McClure said.

AFP

Terrorism has become a multi-billion dollar industry — Naj’atu Muhammad

Naj’atu Muhammad, a former senator from Kano state, says the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan spent a total of N2 billion daily on security.

Muhammad, who was in the first female senator from Kano, said despite the expenses, the insurgents continued their attacks unabated.

She said this on Saturday at the 2nd annual Chibok girls lecture organised by the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement, held in Abuja.

Muhammad blamed the “irresponsibility of the political and military elite” in Nigeria as the root cause for the continued Boko Haram insurgency.

She alleged that one of the “root causes” of Boko Haram is Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno state.

“We all know what started Boko Haram. It was started in Borno by the then governor, Ali Sherrif. He armed them as his political thugs,” she said.

“He even made one of them a commissioner but they become too powerful. The military came in and turned the north-east into cash cow; military jumbo budgets unaccounted for. I remember Jonathan was spending N2 billion every day on security but there was no security.”

She said the army “more than anything else has contributed to this terrorism.”

According to her, “terrorism has become a multi-billion dollar industry.”

“I have been part of a committee that investigated the atrocities of Boko Haram and the committee more than anything has indicted the military,” she said.

“There is no house in Borno that the military has not either killed or raped anyone in it.

The former senator also said Nigeria currently “has no government” because “the primary responsibility of any government is to secure the territorial integrity of the country and the lives of the citizens — something the government has failed to do.”

“As for our military, we are demanding a thorough overhaul of it. Anything short of this is to say our government are beneficiaries of the failure,” she added.

Muhammad had rejected her appointment as chairperson of the Federal University, Dutse by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I, Najatu Muhammad, wish to thank you so much for considering me worthy of being appointed the chairperson of Dutse Federal University. It’s however, unfortunate that I was not consulted before the announcement in the media. I also regret that I have to use the same medium to announce that I can’t accept the appointment for some personal reasons,” she had said in a newspaper advert.

FG worried as ICC steps up investigations against Nigeria

The Federal Government is worried that the International Criminal Court is unrelenting in pursuing eight cases against Nigeria, says the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubabakar Malami (SAN).

He said this on Thursday while playing host to the newly elected President of the ICC, Prof. Chile Osuji, at his office in Abuja.

Malami said the ICC had “escalated” eight potential cases against Nigeria from “the initial preliminary examination to preliminary investigation”.

Six of the cases were said to be against Boko Haram and two against the military.

He said the stepping up of the investigation against Nigeria was worrisome because the government had demonstrated its willingness and ability to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone that committed any offence that fell within the Rome statute of the ICC.

Malami said, “Presently, the ICC has escalated the eight potential cases against Nigeria – six against the Boko Haram and two against the military – from the initial preliminary examination to preliminary investigation.

“This is worrisome, as Nigeria has demonstrated beyond doubt, and in absolute cooperation with the ICC, that it is willing and able and, as a matter of fact, it is indeed arresting, investigating and prosecuting anyone that commits any offence that falls within the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“The above being the case, Nigeria views the escalation of the eight potential cases as uncalled for in the circumstance.”

He assured the ICC president that Nigeria being “a country that believes in the operation of the rule of law, fundamental freedom and the need to fight impunity in all ramifications” the escalation of the eight potential cases “would not deter us from further expressing and demonstrating support to the ICC.”

Responding, Osuji commended Nigeria for its support to the ICC and assured that the court would continue to work against injustice and abuse of powers in its area of jurisdiction.

US army trains Nigerian troops in Boko Haram fight

US soldiers, not less than 12, have trained Nigerian troops on a six-week advice-and-assist mission in Jaji, Kaduna State, Pentagon has said.

The US department of defence said Nigerian army’s 26th infantry battalion might be the next to deploy to north-east to confront Boko Haram.

The department, while documenting some accounts of the US soldiers during the training, said it was important to prepare the Nigerian troops for the threats they faced from the terrorists.

Saul Rodriguez, the most experienced of the 12 US soldiers, said: “Even in triple-digit heat and with AK-47 automatic rifles in hand, it’s easy to forget these soldiers are likely headed into imminent danger.

“My job is to train you as much as I can. Your job is to fight the bad guys out of your country.”

According to NAN, Kevin Martin of the 10th mountain division Fort Drum, New York, said the troops needed the skills as they faced real threats.

He said: “Yes. We are hard on them. We have to be. Their life depends on it. They might need these skills one day.

“They face a very real and lethal threat. We aren’t going to slow down; we are going to pack as much training in as possible.”

Stephen Gouthro said the life-altering responsibility to prepare Nigerian soldiers was not lost on him, adding one of the best parts of the mission was the lack of micromanagement.

Gouthro said: “What better way to demonstrate mission command. This mission isn’t only about the tactical.

“Everything our team does could have diplomatic effects. Out here, the team has to be professional, mature and disciplined. And we are.”

Buhari approves $1bn to fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgents.

Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, disclosed this at the end of the security meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the meeting was to review the security situation in the country.

“I can inform you that of recent, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1 billion,” he said.

Apart from Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, all other governors gave the federal government the approval to withdraw the money from the excess crude account.

Fayose had said Ekiti share of the money should be released for the fight against “Hunger Haram”, arguing that the $1 billion would be used for the reelection of Buhari.

Dan Ali also spoke about the specific issues discussed during the meeting.

“This is a normal meeting of security agencies in the country. As usual, we discussed the current activities that affected most of the states in the federation like Taraba, Zamfara and other states,” he said.

“We have operationalised a division in Sokoto, there will be a brigade in Katsina and another brigade in Zamfara that will take care of security situation in that area.

“The strength of security personnel has increased, including the Air Force additional quick response group, they have added enough manpower in that area.”

On the release of Leah Sharibu, the only schoolgirl in captivity out of the 119 students abducted in Dapchi, Yobe state, he said, “Well, we are making all available efforts to see that the girl is returned safely.”

Buhari offers amnesty to repentant Boko Haram insurgents

President Muhammadu Buhari says the government is ready to accept Boko Haram members who are willing to lay down their arms “unconditionally”.

The president said this on Friday when he received the 105 Dapchi schoolgirls recently released from Boko Haram custody.

The girls — abducted on February 19 — were released by the insurgents on Wednesday.

“While further efforts are being made to secure the release of every abducted citizen in Nigeria, government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram group, who show strong commitment in that regard,” he said.

“We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repentant members into the larger society. This country has suffered enough of hostility. Government is therefore appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country.”

He added that government remains determined to bring back the Chibok schoolgirls in the insurgents’ custody.

“While parents of the Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children, I want to appeal to the Chibok community never to lose hope or to despair,” Buhari said.