Boko Haram And Nigerian Forces Killed, Maimed 881 Children In 2017 – UN

UNICEF, Boko Haram

 

The United Nations says 881 children were either killed or maimed by Boko Haram and Nigerians Security Forces in 2017.

This was contained in the UN Secretary-General’s report on ‘children and armed conflict’.

Many of the casualties were recorded after aerial bombardments and the targeting of children suspected to be carrying person-borne improvised explosive devices.

“The United Nations verified a total of 881 children killed (570) and maimed (311) in Nigeria, attributed to Boko Haram (620) and to Nigerian Security Forces (NSF) (261),” the report read in part.

Almost half of all casualties resulted from suicide attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram (including the use of children as carriers of person-borne improvised explosive devices) (411).

The report added, “With regard to NSF, casualties were caused by aerial bombardments (235) and the targeting of children suspected to be carrying person-borne improvised explosive devices (26).”

The Nigerian military has yet to respond the report, despite repeated calls and messages by Channels Television.

UN Council Must Prevent Syria 'Spiralling Out Of Control' - Guterres
 United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP

 

Among what the UN described as “grave violations” against children was their detention and recruitment by Boko Haram.

“A worrying trend was the continued use of children by Boko Haram as carriers of person-borne improvised explosive devices, with 146 cases documented in Nigeria and 57 in Cameroon. Almost three-quarters of the children used were girls (145),” the report said.

“The United Nations verified 45 incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence, affecting 131 children, including 9 boys. Cases were attributed to Boko Haram (9 boys, 116 girls) and NSF (6 girls). All child victims attributed to Boko Haram.”

Also in 2017, the UN said, “2,199 children were deprived of liberty for their or their parents’ alleged association with Boko Haram, in Nigeria (1,903), the Niger (239) and Cameroon (57)”.

Nigerian forces have been able to limit the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in recent years and the UN believes that has led to a decrease in the number of children recruited to fight in 2017.

It said, “The total number of verified cases of the recruitment and use of children decreased by almost 50 percent, from 2,122 in 2016 to 1,092 (738 boys, 353 girls, one unknown sex) in 2017.

“The main perpetrator remained Boko Haram (1,051). The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) recruited 41 children, all of whom were used in support roles. The decrease may be attributed to the loss of territory by Boko Haram, the displacement of civilians from areas controlled by the group and the CJTF action plan, signed by the group in 2017.”

 

 

UN chief António Guterres is outraged over the impact of the insurgency on children.

“Boys and girls have once again been overly impacted by protracted and new violent crisis.  Despite some progress, the level of violations remains unacceptable,” he said.

 

Amnesty International Plans To Publish ‘Malicious Report’ Against Nigerian Military – Defence HQ

Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim (File photo)

 

The Nigerian Military has accused Amnesty International of planning to publish a false report against members of the military operating in the North East.

According to a statement by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, the military has “credible intelligence” about the plan and that the report contains claims of fictitious rape incidents in internally displaced persons’ camps in the insurgency-ravaged North East.

The military is unhappy with what it says is becoming a frequent ritual by the human rights watchdog, which had previously accused it of rights violations.

In February and March, the military condemned two reports by Amnesty, the first accusing it of rights violations in its operations and the second accusing it of ignoring warnings about the raid by Boko Haram on Dapchi in Yobe State that led to the abduction of schoolgirls.

The military warned that the planned unsavory report by amnesty and such reports were capable of demoralising its members and hurting the war against insurgency.

“This malicious trend by AI is becoming a frequent ritual and it is rather unfortunate,” the statement read in part.

“In times like this, Amnesty International is expected to apply the natural law of liaison by working with security agencies as partners.

“This would have been the best way to ensure that insurgency and crisis are completely wiped off rather than engaging in falsehood, maligning the military and painting her in bad light at any slight opportunity.”

Amnesty International Plans To Publish ‘Malicious Report’ Against Nigerian Military – Defence HQ
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian soldiers sit on a military pick-up truck at a military base.

 

The military assured Nigerians that it remained committed to abiding by all human rights regulations endorsed by the country and carry out its constitutional role.

It, however, called on Amnesty to “desist from cooking reports from time to time to demoralise the entire military system and nation as a whole”.

Stressing that troops are sacrificing their lives in the fight against Boko Haram and other enemies of the country, the military called for an end to reports it described as fictitious.

“These false reports which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers must stop,” it said.

In March, while denying the claim by AI that the military failed to take action to stop the abduction of over 100 school girls from Dapchi, Brigadier General Agim had accused the human rights organisation of lacking credibility in its operations in Nigeria.

In his statement on Monday, he called on the organisation to carry out its activities with credibility.

“We are not in any way implying that AI should not do their job, but such must be done with a level of integrity and credibility by seeking clarification when the need arises,” he said.

“This way a lot will be achieved as both will form partners in the fight against extremism and other vices.”

Amnesty International has yet to react to the statement by the military.

Reactions Trail TY Danjuma’s Allegation Against Nigerian Military

 

Nigerians on Sunday took to social media to voice mixed reactions to the allegation of a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma (retd).

General Danjuma had accused the Nigerian Armed Forces of complicity in the killings in Taraba, Benue and other “riverine states” in the country.

He spoke on Saturday at the Taraba State University convocation in Jalingo, the state capital and claimed that the military was not neutral but was covering those behind the attacks which has claimed scores of lives this year alone.

The Nigerian Army in swift reaction rejected General TY Danjuma’s accusation explaining that the Nigerian Army has been living up to its constitutional responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

In reaction to this, many Nigerians took to Twitter to voice their opinion, leading to the trend #TY Danjuma.

Some Nigerians were of the view that TY Danjuma’s allegations should not be handled with kids’ glove as he is a retired Army General and there appears to be a problem somewhere. While others express over the allegations raised others saw the issue from a humorous angle.

Others, including Senator Ben Murry-Bruce seized the trend to call on government to take action.

 

Troops Repel Boko Haram Attack On Magumeri

troops4 Troops of 8 Task Force Division, Operation Lafiya Dole, have foiled an attack on Magumeri town, Borno State, on Wednesday evening.

The terrorists who came with some vehicles at about 6:00pm attempted to set the town ablaze and kill the residents but the timely intervention of the troops prevented that mishap.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman.

“The troops have neutralized quite a number of the attackers and those that escaped with gunshot wounds are being pursued.

“So far, the troops have recovered three vehicles and large quantities of arms and ammunition.

“While troops are still consolidating and mopping up, it is imperative to state that preliminary investigation shows that the attackers of Magumeri came from the same community.

“The terrorists that attacked the village are well known to the people”.

It was noted that the village was never attacked throughout the period of the insurgency, for some inexplicable reasons.

The terrorists and their collaborators hibernating in the area were never exposed, so there seems to be unholy alliance between the terrorists and the villagers.

“It is high time for the people to take up the fight themselves and help the Nigerian military and other security agencies to protect them.

“It is a grievous mistake and criminal offence to continue to shield or harbour any known Boko Haram terrorist in their midst.

“The terrorists must be exposed and their movements promptly reported to the security agencies, they are inhuman and barbaric, therefore, they cannot be trusted to spare anyone in perpetuating their inhuman acts”.

However, it is imperative that all communities in the North East especially Borno State, should fully cooperate with the military and the security agencies by exposing Boko Haram terrorists in their respective towns and villages.

UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

Military Pledges Continuous Support To President Buhari

Military Pledges Continuous Support To President BuhariThe Nigerian military has pledged its continuous support to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in the Presidential Villa.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made this pledge on Wednesday during a meeting of the Security Chiefs with the Acting President in the Presidential Villa.

He applauded the administration’s support in the fight against Boko Haram, and the welfare of troops in crisis-ridden areas in the northeast.

Mr Dan Ali disclosed that more equipment have been procured to strengthen the troop in the fight against the terrorists.

He stated further that over 2,000 people held captive by the terrorists have been released, with several high profile Boko Haram Commanders arrested.

The Minister said normalcy has also returned to Southern Kaduna, following the recent killings in Kafanchan.

He added that efforts are ongoing to construct a military barrack in Southern Kaduna area.

Present at the Security Council briefing are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, and the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Also in attendance are other Service Chiefs as well as Directors and Heads of Security Agencies.

Nigerian Air Force Regrets Accidental Bombing In Borno

Nigerian Air Force, Bombing, BornoThe Nigerian Air Force says it regrets an accidental air strike by its troops in Rann area of Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

The apology was contained in a statement issued by the force’s spokesman, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa.

The force condoled with the families of the dead, stressing that the ill-fated occurrence was extremely regretted.

The statement read: “The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is saddened by today’s accidental air strike by its fighter jet at Rann in Kala Balge area of Borno State in which some innocent lives were lost.

“While available information is sketchy, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole is taking appropriate steps to avail us with details of the incident.

“The loss occasioned by this unfortunate incident is deeply regretted.

“The NAF commiserates with those affected and their families and would update the public as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation”.

Buhari Consoles Families Of Borno Accidental Bombing Victims

Muhammadu Buhari,Borno, Bombing, MilitaryPresident Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with families of those who died in the accidental bombing of a civilian community in Rann, Borno State.

A Presidency statement said the President received with deep sadness and regret, the error committed by some troops of the Nigerian Air Force who engaged in the final phase of mopping up operations against insurgents in the northeast.

Regrettable Operational Mistake

He also wished the wounded divine succour that would lead to full recovery and sympathised with the Borno State government.

President Buhari pledged the Federal Government’s support to the state government in attending to “this regrettable operational mistake,” and pleaded for calm.

In the statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, the President prayed that God would grant repose to the souls of the dead.

The accidental bombing had occurred earlier on Tuesday.

The spokesman for the military, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Tuesday, admitted that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.

He, however, said that the incident did not occur in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp as being reported in some quarters, but a settlement said to be occupied by civilians.

General Abubakar explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists before the unfortunate occurrence took place.

Scores Feared Dead As Nigerian Jet Accidentally Drops Bomb On Borno Settlement

Nigerian Air Force Acquires More Combat HelicoptersA Nigerian military plane accidentally dropped a bomb inside a settlement in Borno State, killing several persons, military authorities said on Tuesday.

The spokesman for the military Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He explained that that it was an error deeply regretted by the military.

The military spokesman said the incident did not occur in an Internally Displaced Persons’ camp, as being reported by in some quarters but a settlement said to be occupied by civilians.

Brigadier General Abubakar explained that soldiers got information of movement of Boko Haram members in the Kala-balge area and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.

According to him, it was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb.

In a statement, the Nigerian Air Force commiserated with those affected and their families, promising to give update on the incident as soon as detailed facts emerge from the investigation.  

Hospitals in Maiduguri have been told to be prepared to receive and promptly treat the injured.

The incident happened on a day Boko Haram terrorists claimed responsibility for suicide attacks on a university in Maiduguri in Borno State, killing four persons including the suicide bombers.

In an audio recording released on Monday and purportedly recorded by their leader, Abubakar Shekau, the group said: “There is no need for long explanation. The bomb that went off in the University of Maiduguri today in the morning, our brothers detonated them. May Allah accept their souls.

“Do not deceive the people by saying it is a mosque. What mosque? Where you carry out unbelief? Has the prophet ever done anything like democracy in his mosque? You keep disrespecting the Prophet Mohammed”.

Clearance of Boko Haram terrorists is ongoing in the region, with the Nigerian Air Force carrying out aerial bombardment of fleeing members of the group weeks after they were chased out of their last bastion in Sambisa forest.

On Monday, the Air Force released a video of a strike on a location it described as Boko Haram’s new hideout about one nautical mile south of Tumbum Rego in northern Borno.

Fighter jets and helicopter gunship of the Air Force assaulted the location in a coordinated day and night operation following Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) report that Boko Haram insurgents who attacked own Surface Forces at Kangarwa the night of January 12, 2017 had withdrawn to the said location.

The footage of the Battle Damage Assessment released by the NAF indicated that the operation was successful as the insurgent’s hideout was successfully destroyed.

The NAF had of recently intensified aerial patrol over the entire operation in the northeast, as well as offensive mission around the Green Belt region near Niger and Chad Republics.

Southern Kaduna Attacks: Military On Cross Border Patrol

Southern Kaduna Attacks: Military On Cross Border PatrolThe Nigerian military are embarking on a cross-border patrol of Plateau and Kaduna states to prevent any spillover of recent attacks in Southern Kaduna region.

A joint security operative with the special task force, Operation Safe Haven is doing this in collaboration with 1 Division command of the Nigerian Army to also build confidence among the affected communities that peace has returned to.

Commander of the special task force, Major General Rogers Nicholas said that the cross border patrol is to assure citizens of adequate security.

He followed it with an appeal to the people to always report strangers and unusual movement of any group of people to security agents promptly.

“We are from special task force in Plateau state; troops of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army are already deployed here.

“We crossed over to Kaduna state primarily to support and synergize so that such attacks do not happen again.

“More soldiers are to be deployed into the affected areas and (we have) also discussed with members of the communities so that we can come up with strategies on contacting security personnel when strangers are noticed in their communities.

“There should be proper channel of communication in securing the areas through the cooperation of the people,” he said.

Top military officers including senior officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the State Security Service as well as Police officers visited various communities that were affected by the several attacks.

The team was at the palace of Tum Nikyob of Kaninkon Chiefdom in Bakin Kogi, HRH Mallam Tanko Tete, as well as the palace of the chief of Godogodo where appeals were made for adequate security that will ensure that people that fled their communities can return.

The Tum Nikyob of Bakin Kogi assured the people of support as he asked for military presence so that the people that fled their ancestral homes can return and resume their farming and harvest crops that are ready for harvesting.

In addition to the presence of military personnel on ground, arrangements have also been concluded for day and night patrol by the military to ensure peace within affected communities.

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – Army

Purported Boko Haram Video Mere Propaganda – ArmyThe Nigerian Army has dismissed a video clip released by Boko Haram terrorist group from an undisclosed location on Thursday, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.

In the video, the man usually identified as Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly claimed that reports of the group being crushed by the Nigerian Army during the capture of its Sambisa forest stronghold Camp Zero were untrue.

He also claimed that the group is safe and far away from any location where the Nigerian military can capture its members or defeat it.

“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.

The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said that effort is ongoing to subject the video for further forensic analysis to determine its authenticity.

He maintained that the Nigerian Army “has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest”.

“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.

“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.

“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the northeast have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.

“Consequently, the public are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious.

“They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.”

President Buhari, had in his Christmas message to Nigerians, announced Boko Haram’s “final crushing” in Sambisa forest.

President Buhari said the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, informed him that the last camp fell at about 1:35 p.m on Friday, December 23.

Chibok Girls: Presidency Labels Release ‘A Show Of Faith’

Chibok Girls, Boko Haram, PresidencyNigeria’s Presidency has described the release of 21 out of the over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists as ‘a show of faith’ on the part of the insurgents.

Mr Femi Adesina, who is a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, clears the air on the release which had triggered rumours that it was a swap deal between the Nigerian government and the terrorist group.

He told Channels Television on Friday that the development was a confidence building step that would lead to bigger things.

“I have heard and read so much about what we gave and what we didn’t give.

“This is just a confidence building step that will lead to bigger things.

“In the past, there have been many of such meetings that would have led to releases but along the line, discussions broke down.

“Maybe they (the terrorists) trust the (new) process and they believe that they do this as a show of their trust and faith and believe.

“For now, what we have been told is that there was no swap and the girls were released just as a show of faith, a confidence building measure and I think it is good enough for us to believe,” he said.

“Many More Releases”

Mr Adesina asserted that there would be more releases, describing the freedom of the 21 girls as a giant leap for humanity.

“As we have been told, this is just one step which I will also call a giant leap for humanity.

“You can be sure that there will be many more releases and as many of the girls that are alive would definitely return to their parents,” he said.

chibok-girls-released1
Some of the rescued Chibok girls

End Of Insurgency

The President’s spokesman says the government is winning the war against the dreaded insurgents, stressing that they have been largely degraded.

“They used to attack army formations, police formations, schools (and) different types of target but they don’t do that anymore because their capacity to do that has been largely degraded.

“I think a lot of progress has been made (and) we can simply say we are at the end of this insurgency and this is just the mopping up process,” said Adesina on Sunrise Daily.

At least 200 girls were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists from their hostels at the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State on April 14, 2014.

In the heat of the over six-year insurgency, Borno State, in northeast Nigeria became a strong hold of the dreaded insurgents.

Since the abduction of the girls, pressure has been mounted on the Federal Government to rescue them, including demands for a swap with members of Boko Haram in detention.

After much push for the girls’ release, 21 of them were freed on Thursday.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, confirmed the release of the 21 girls.

recession
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, confirmed the release of 21 Chibok girls

He stated categorically that the release was not a swap, but was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the security agencies, a friendly European country and a renowned International Humanitarian Organisation.

In their reaction, the #BringBackBackOurGirls Campaign Group welcomed news of the release of the Chibok girls while praising the military for the efforts so far.

The group said in a statement that the “wonderful development” confirmed what was known about the effort of the government to rescue the Chibok girls.

They added that while they await further details, they salute the work of Nigeria’s security services at the front lines and the tireless efforts of members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the Civilian JTF.