Amnesty For Bandits: Hardcore Elements Should Face Justice – General Usman

Former Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight.


Former Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, has said that hardcore elements should face justice as part of efforts to curtail banditry activities in some parts of the country.

Some north-western states have been ravaged by bandits who attack, steal and kidnap for ransom, thereby forcing some governors to shut down some schools in the region.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight, Usman frowned at the idea of granting amnesty to bandits.

He said that many public assets have been destroyed by both terrorists and bandits in Monguno, Baga, as well as several lives, were lost, thereby leaving many people as orphans.

According to him, it is very difficult for the surviving families of the victims to accept the idea of reintegrating the repentant bandits and terrorists.

The retired general called for a system that will distinguish between those bandits that committed heinous crimes from those that were coerced into seeking repentance.

“There should be massive construction of engagement of the people so that they see the need that definitely we cannot go kinetic all the way. Now that non-kinetic efforts are paying the dividend,  how do we integrate that into the society,” he said.

“You have to talk about justice for the victims, justice for even the perpetrators of the crimes. Remember that it is not everybody that is in Boko Haram that deliberately entered Boko Haram. In those days, they capture towns and coerce people into it.

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“So the level of participation in their nefarious activities varies from one individual to another. Therefore, there should be a clear cut, system or process that will distinguish between those that committed heinous crimes and those that were coerced.”

Northwest and central Nigeria have for years been plagued by heavily-armed gangs called bandits who raid villages, kidnap residents and loot and burn homes.

Military operations are ongoing in the region, with the army saying it had “neutralised” scores of bandits, but attacks have continued.

Authorities suspended telecommunications last month in Zamfara, where most of the attacks take place, and parts of Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states, to disrupt the criminal networks.

Since late last year, bandits have increasingly turned to mass kidnappings of school children.

Similarly, Boko Haram jihadists also launched an attack last month on the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP)  militants on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, ISWAP’s bastion, seizing a strategic island, according to fishermen and a security source.

Since the death of Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau death in his Sambisa forest enclave, ISWAP has been fighting Boko Haram remnants who have refused to pay allegiance.

Hundreds of Boko Haram members have also since surrendered to the army along with families and children.

More than two million people have been displaced by Nigeria’s conflict since it began in 2009, and the violence has spread over the borders to Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Something Is Wrong With The Leadership Of The Nigerian Army – Ex-British Police Officer

Vince Onyekwelu believes a lot needs to change in the way the Nigerian Army operates.

A former British police officer, Vince Onyekwelu, says there is a problem within the leadership and operation of the Nigerian Army.

This, according to him, is a major reason why Boko Haram has remained undefeated.

The ex-British police officer said this on Tuesday during an interview about efforts to end the insurgency on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.

“With the current structure we have in the Nigerian Army operations and leadership, I do not see the fight against insurgency ending anytime soonest.

“The lapse within the leadership of the military is a key reason why Boko Haram has remained undefeated.

“The structure, the training, the operation, and then the tough secrecy is enshrined in that people don’t have access to information from the frontlines.

“Let’s just build that kind of resilience that we are here for the long haul.  We are not talking about anything ending this year, we are not even talking about anything ending next year,” he said.

Onyekwelu added that Nigerians deserve access to information within the Nigerian Army.

The Nigerian army has repeatedly been accused of rights abuses by some international human rights organisations. Just recently, it was accused by Amnesty International of shielding senior officers who misuse power in the course of prosecuting the Boko Haram war.

The army has consistently denied the allegations and insisted that its personnel in the North-East have been professional in their conduct.

Onyekwelu, however, disagrees with the army and rejected claims it was being targeted unfairly in reports.

He said, “It is not enough for the Nigerian army to continually say there is a plan of attack of calumny against them by the international community.

“It is not good enough for the Nigerian army to be trying to side-step these serious accusations.

“We need to know why there are military officers that are not brought to book, that are not brought to justice to have their day to explain to us what is going on with their abuse of power.

“The bottom line is something is wrong in the leadership, something is wrong in the operation of the Nigerian army, Nigerian lives are being lost, Nigerian soldiers are being killed.”

He further noted that the psychology of the soldiers at the war front remains questionable and urged the authorities to take proactive measures to ensure that Nigeria’s international borders become well-fortified.

‘Responding Adequately’

The Nigerian Army, however, does not agree with the assertions and allegations about its operations.

Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, who was also a guest on the programme, said that the situation in the northeast is calm, though relatively unstable.

“The military is responding adequately to all threats posed by the insurgents within the region.

“Just last week, there was re-strategising and injection of new commanders, so I can rest assure you that the situation is being normalised and becoming stable,” he said.

The army chief also added that all claims regarding officers not being properly taken care of are false. According to him, troops are in good spirit to see the war to a victorious end.

Nigerian Army Dismisses New Boko Haram Videos As Propaganda

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman

The Nigerian Army has described the two new videos released by Boko Haram as propaganda and called on Nigerians to disregard the “empty threats” of the terrorists.

Two new videos from the terrorist group emerged late on Friday.

In the first of the videos, one of the group’s commanders that were swapped for 82 Chibok girls, threatened among other things to bomb the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The second video showed some girls who the terrorists claimed are radicalised members of the abducted Chibok girls.

The Army, however, said in a statement issued by its Director of Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, that the claims were boastful, spurious, out of tune with current realities and aimed at seeking relevance and attention.

Calling on Nigerians to ignore the freed Boko Haram commander, the Army said, “We would like to assure the public that the Nigerian Army is totally committed to the Federal Government’s determined efforts of rescuing all abducted persons and peace in the country.

“We will not relent our determined efforts of clearing the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists as manifested through the ongoing clearance operations.”

To completely eliminate the terrorists, the army called on Nigerians to shun their propaganda and show more support, cooperation and understanding with it.

“We should not give in to terrorist’s propaganda and empty threats. We have come to a very critical stage of the fight against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria that requires more patriotism and security consciousness by all and sundry,” it said.

Troops Intercept Suicide Bombers In Maiduguri

Suicide bombersNigerian troops on Friday intercepted and neutralised Improvised Explosive Devices of some suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers at Madiyari village and Jimini-Bolori village in Borno State.

The troops of 101 Battalion of Seven Division made the interception after they received a tip off about impending attack in Maiduguri city by four suspected Boko Haram terrorists, suicide bombers from Sambisa forest through Cashew Plantation.

Three soldiers sustained injuries in the process and they have been evacuated to the unit’s Regimental Aid Post (RAP), for treatment, a statement by the army spokesman, Sani Usman, said.

According to the Army the two unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on the suicide bombers were safely defused by a combined team of Nigeria Police and our Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) experts.

In a related development, the troops also arrested three suspected Boko Haram terrorists at Nwagafete village comprising two women and a 16 year old boy who were connected to suspected terrorists’ food vendors earlier arrested.

Troops Kill Four Suspected Insurgents, Rescue 54 Persons

troops kill Boko Haram membersAt least four suspected insurgents have been killed and 54 persons rescued when troops and some vigilantes carried out a terrorists’ clearance operation along Bita-Madube Ciki-Njubul.

A statement by a spokesman for the Army, Sani Usman, said troops of 114 Task Force Battalion, 28 Task Force Brigade, in conjunction with some vigilantes carried out the operation.

“During the advance, two soldiers unfortunately stepped on a buried Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that seriously injured one of the soldiers.

“Nevertheless, the troops continued the advance and had contact with the terrorists and cleared them out of Madube Cikin, killing four insurgents, destroying two vehicles and two motorcycles belonging to the terrorists,” the statement read.

Mr Usman said that the troops also recovered two cylinders, one AK-47 rifle, three boxes of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, two bicycles and bags of grains.

The rescued persons were held hostage by suspected members of Boko Haram.

They are being screened while the wounded soldiers have since been evacuated for proper medical care.

Counter-terrorism operations are ongoing in Nigeria’s northeast to end the over six years insurgency in the region that has displaced over two million persons.

Troops Kill Suspected Boko Haram Suicide Bomber

Suicide Bomber Troops of 25 Task Force Brigade ambushed and killed a Boko Haram terrorist suicide bomber at Kumala and Musafanari villages’ general area.

According to the army, the operation which took place on Saturday led to the saving of lives and property of some residents of the area.

A military spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, said the troops, after receiving a tipoff, laid an ambush for the terrorist at suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ crossing point, engaged the terrorist who was obviously on suicide mission, from Sambisa general area.

“The suicide bomber paid the price of his wicked activities as he was dealt with decisively.

“The troops recovered a motorcycle, 12 primed Improvised Explosive Devices and a hand bag containing personal effects which included a hijab obviously meant for disguise and concealment of explosives for the intended nefarious act,” he said.

The army spokesman further reassured Nigerians that the morale of the troops had remained high, as they continue to mop up all surviving terrorists.

Woman Gives Birth Minutes After Her Rescue From Boko Haram

Rescued-persons-from-Boko-HaramA pregnant woman rescued from suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s northeast gave birth to a baby boy few minutes after her rescue, a military official said on Saturday.

The woman, whose name was not given by the spokesman for the army, Colonel Sani Usman, was one of the 27 persons, who escaped from Mayo Ali village.

Colonel Usman said troops of 117 Task Force Battalion made the rescue during a patrol around Mildo, Vapura, Mildo, Shelmi, Gubla, Dar and Hyambula settlements in Adamawa State.

Both mother and child are being cared for at the unit’s Regimental Aid Post and are doing fine.

He said that the patrol was part of clearance operations against remnants of Boko Haram terrorists terrorising communities in the northeast.

Within the last 48 hours, the troops were able to clear Boko Haram camps, killed several of the terrorists, recovered vehicles, weapons, equipment and also rescued some persons.

The troops of 151 Task Force Battalion also cleared terrorists hideouts in Izza and eight surrounding other villages while troops of 121 Task Force Battalion deployed at Pulka came under attack from suspected Boko Haram terrorists fanning out of Sambisa forest to escape sustained aerial bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force pilots.

The troops successfully repelled the attack, killing 17 suspected Boko Haram terrorists.

They also recovered 12 AK-47 rifles, six AK-47 rifle magazines, one General Purpose Machine Gun, one Browning Machine Gun, one Toyota Hilux vehicle, a 60mm mortar tube, six pieces of 60mm mortar bombs, one belt of 12.5mm ammunition and nine belts of 12.7mm (NATO) ammunition.

Others were three hand grenades and seven boxes of .50mm ammunition.

Troops of 114 Task Force Battalion while on patrol along Bitta-Pridang-Manawashe axis also rescued 95 persons suspected to have escaped from Madube and Shuwari general area.

The rescued persons are being screened and profiled.

Also, troops of 115 Task Force Battalion accompanied by some members of the vigilante group in their area also conducted patrol to Dogwaba, Dutse, Mayolarde, Musa A, B and C villages without any contact with terrorists. They have, however, continued to dominate the area and make it secure.

Army Discovers Boko Haram Market In Borno

Army-Troops-The Nigerian Army has rescued 195 captives, discovered a patent medicine outlet and also a major market operated by members of the Boko Haram sect at Gulumba in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

The Army spokesman, Sani Usman, said that a number of insurgents were killed and a lot of items recovered during a raid carried out by troops of Seven Division Garrison, comprising the 112 Battalion and Armed Forces Special Forces on Wednesday.

The Army carried out the raid on suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ locations at Kwaptara, Mijigete, Garin Boka, Mosole, Ngubdori, Ma’asa, Dukje and Gulumba in Dikwa and Bama Local Government Areas of the state.

Items recovered from the terrorists were military items – camouflage uniforms – rifle magazines and grenades – two logistic trucks, 180 motorcycles, 750 bicycles, 100 kva Mikano generator, grinding machine and various perishable materials.

Army Rescues 90 From Boko Haram Captivity In Borno

army rescues 90 peopleThe Nigerian Army on Friday said it has rescued 90 people including women and children, after dislodging Boko Haram members from two villages in Nigeria’s restive north-east region.

Acting Army Spokesman, Sani Usman, said in a statement on Saturday that troops rescued 23 men, 33 women and 34 children from the terrorists in the villages of Dissa and Balazala, which lie in the vicinity of the town of Gwoza in Borno State.

Gwoza was where Boko Haram declared caliphate last year before the strategic town was recaptured by government troops in March.

The military added that it had reopened a primary school in the town which had been shut down because of the insurgency and pledged to implement security measures to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers.

The military also said it intercepted several Boko Haram fighters fleeing the battle zone disguised as internally displaced people.

Nigerian Army Reinstates Over 3, 000 Soldiers

ArmyThe Nigerian Army on Thursday reinstated 3,032 soldiers, who were dismissed from the army for their alleged indiscipline ‎in the ongoing war with Islamic militants Boko Haram in Nigeria’s North East.

Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, told a news conference in Abuja that the panel set up to review their cases concluded its sitting last week and made recommendations that led to the reinstatement .

According to him, 3,032 soldiers out of the 5, 000 cases that were reviewed were reinstated and the soldiers have shown their total readiness to be re-launched into the theater to combat insurgency as they have now commenced re-training exercise at the Nigerian Army Training Centre, Kotangora, Niger State.

Mr Usman also gave the assurance that military will decimate the Boko Haram terrorists before the expiration of the three-month presidential deadline in November.

NHRC Summons Army, Police At Madonna University Over Alleged Torture

NHRCThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has summoned the Nigerian Army, the Police and the management of Madonna University to bring officers of the various organization alleged to have tortured and violated the rights of civilians.

The Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Bem Angwe, summoned officials of the commission over some newspaper publications showing pictures of violation and molestation of individuals by the officers of the said organizations.

According to Professor Angwe, failure to appear before the commission within 72 hours would attract the full weight of the law as provided by the NHRC Act.

Reacting to the order, Director, Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, said that the incident was highly regrettable and that investigations were being carried out in line with military regulations after which they would be released to the commission.

He, however, explained that the incident does not give credence to earlier allegation of violation of human rights by the Nigerian Army and it is by no means a reflection of the military.

In recent times, there had been reports of alleged extra-judicial killings by the Police and torture by the military.

The NHRC believes that if Nigerians report such cases to the appropriate authorities, the menace would be nipped in the bud.

Two Soldiers Accidentally Killed In Jos Explosion

bomb blastTwo Nigerian soldiers have been killed accidentally in an explosion at the Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, three Armoured Division, Rukuba Barracks in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, says some of the unserviceable ammunitions exploded in the process of moving them to the demolition site in the bush.

“The explosion heard in Jos, Plateau State this morning  was from an accident that occurred while troops authorized to destroy unservicable ammunitions were transporting the bad ammunition.

“Some of the unserviceable ammunition  exploded in the process of moving them to demolition site in the bush,” he said.

Colonel Usman in a statement added that the explosion did not affect the barracks or neighbouring communities.

He, however, said: “Unfortunately, two soldiers lost their lives and one sustained injuries. Normalcy has returned to the area”.

Panic spread through the Jos and Bukuru metropolis in Plateau State following the blast.

Plateau State has witnessed a series of deadly bomb attacks in recent months. A blast at a bus station in Jos, late February killed 13 people and injured 14 others.