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    Tuesday, August 6, 2013

    Crime Against Humanity: International Criminal Court Indicts B’Haram

    The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted the Boko Haram sect, saying that there is reason to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Nigeria, namely murder and persecution by the sect.
    A report issued by the Office of the Prosecutor’s Fatou Bensouda yesterday found that the group has, since July 2009, “launched a widespread and systematic attack that has resulted in the killing of more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians in different locations throughout Nigeria.
    “The scale and intensity of the attacks have increased over time,” said the report based on preliminary information through December 2012.

    The ICC stated in a news release that it is now assessing whether the national authorities are conducting genuine proceedings in relation “to those who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for such crimes, and the gravity of such crimes”.
    It added that the  prosecutor is still assessing three other phases of the situation in Nigeria, and, once completed, will decide if a situation meets the legal criteria established by the Rome Statute – the Court’s founding treaty – to warrant an investigation by the ICC.
    During the timeframe of the report, secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) repeatedly warned Boko Haram against attacks on civilians.
    President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May to fight Boko Haram. Related anti-insurgent operations and general insecurity have uprooted thousands of people in north-eastern Nigeria, with more than 6,000 of them fleeing to neighbouring Niger for safety, the UN High commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) reported in June.
    Located in the Hague, in the Netherlands, the ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern – namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – if national authorities with jurisdiction are unwilling or unable to do so genuinely.

    2 soldiers, 17 sect members killed as JTF repels attacks
    Thirty-five people were confirmed killed and several others injured in Borno State when suspected Boko Haram members attempted to take over security and military installations in the state.
    The federal government had, last week, deployed soldiers withdrawn from peacekeeping operation in Mali to the troubled state after the state government made request for additional troops to chase out the insurgents.
    The Boko Haram insurgents had invaded many local government areas of the state including Kukawa, Abadam, Biu, Kaga, Damboa, Mafa and Marte after they were said to have been uprooted from their Sambisa camp and within the state capital Maiduguri.
    In a statement yesterday by the spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, the sect was said to have attacked two towns, Bama and Malam Fatori where there was attempted takeover of security and military outfits in the areas.
    During the attacks, the insurgents were said to have suffered a heavy casualty of 32 dead and an undisclosed number of injured, while two soldiers and a policeman were reportedly killed.
    According to Musa, “Troops have successfully repelled Boko Haram terrorist attacks on Mobile Police (MOPOL) base and Bama town. Terrorists using sophisticated weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attacked at about 6:45am on 4 August 2013. The encounter led to the death of one policeman and 17 Boko Haram terrorists. Two soldiers were also wounded.”
    He added that, during the Bama incident, “troops recovered the following items: 4 Toyota Hilux vehicles, 10 AK47 rifles, 2 G3 rifles, 10 X 40 mm bombs, 3 RPG tubes, 85 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, an improvised explosive device, 3 motorcycles, 10 AK47 rifle magazines, a G3 magazine, among others.”
    Musa also said: “Similarly, at about 10am on 4 August 2013, some Boko Haram terrorists armed with sophisticated weapons attacked a Multi-national Joint Task Force location at Malam Fatori. The attack led to the death of two soldiers and 15 Boko Haram terrorists.”
    The spokesman added that the situations in both towns have been brought back to normalcy, and reminded the public to continue to assist the security agencies with timely and credible information, insinuating that this will go a long way to flush out terrorism.

    Sultan cautions elders against fanning embers of insecurity, violence
    In a related development, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has warned Nigerians against fanning the embers of insecurity and violence in the country.
    The Sultan gave the warning on Sunday when he hosted a 20-man delegation of the Kaduna-based Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigeria at a fast-breaking dinner.
    Abubakar noted that in time of crisis, the sons and daughters of the downtrodden Nigerians were always the victims of violence and mayhem.
    “These poor and vulnerable youths get killed or maimed while their colleagues in the wealthy and elitist families are often sent abroad for studies.
    “This is another form of injustice against the weak, indigent youths and it must be urgently stopped,” he added.
    Speaking on 2015, the Sultan stressed the need to pray for the country’s leaders ``who will take us out of our present predicaments as a nation’’.
    He added that traditional rulers are not politicians but” fathers and leaders in the political field...who would continue to pray for Nigeria and her leaders to lead the nation to the promised land.”
    The Sultan also commended members of the foundation dedicated to peace building in the north and Nigeria generally for doing a very patriotic job.
    “This is a group of youths from Islam and Christianity who are doing what the elders are supposed to be doing for the country to have peace, unity, security, stability, cohesion and understanding among all Nigerians,” he added.
    The monarch urged the youths not to allow themselves to be used by some selfish leaders as “preys”.
    The leader of the delegation, Mr Solomon Dalong, a lawyer and human rights activist, said the problems currently facing Nigeria were artificial.
    “These problems like insecurity, corruption and poverty, among others, were not created by God. We had lived peacefully with each other before and the situation now is unacceptable,” he added.

    JTF denies clash between Biu and Maiduguri civilian JTF in Biu town
    But the JTF in Maiduguri has denied a report in some media in respect of the killing of 19 civilian JTF members and slaughtering of eight innocent residents of Biu town last weekend following a feud between the Maiduguri civilian JTF and Biu civilian JTF over the tracking down of some suspected Boko Haram members terrorising Biu town.
    Similarly, the JTF has denied the occurrence of the said report in a national newspaper (not LEADERSHIP) in respect the killing of five civilian JTF in Biu town.
    The JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, told journalists in Maiduguri yesterday that all the media reports read or seen in newspapers or online were false.
    According to him, there was no incident as such except that the JTF men escorted some civilian JTF on operations mission in Biu town giving them security cover to and from Biu town following the incidences of Mainok and Kukawa to carry out their assignments in Biu.
    But on reaching Biu town, the Maiduguri civilian JTF had a misunderstanding with the Biu town civilian JTF leading to a squabble that left some injured; cars and buses hired by the Borno State government for the Maiduguri civilian JTF were damaged; the windscreens of some of the vehicles were damaged by the Biu town civilian JTF.

    No civilian JTF under the cover of the JTF was allowed to carry a gun, he said.

    “The issue of killing did not arise as there was nobody with gun and no shooting except that we heard the JTF shot in the air to disperse the warring civilian JTF but nobody was shot by the JTF as reported. No JTF killed anybody and no civilian JTF with gun killed or shot anybody in Biu town as reported. You people can quote me. This is what I say and was reported to me officially,” Sagir said.
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