By Innocent Anaba, Ikechukwu Nnochiri & Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI— Joint Task Force, JTF, weekend, killed no fewer than 50 suspected terrorists in Zabarmari Ward of Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, Maiduguri metropolis.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has issued a report, accusing the JTF and the Jama’atu ahlus sunnah lid da’awati wal jihad, JALISWAJ, otherwise known as Boko Haram, of complicity in the massacre that recently took place at Baga, a community in Borno State.
Also, three suspected terrorists who were on their way to Jigawa State and other areas in the North with the aim of unleashing terror were arrested at the Borno Express Motor park on Saturday by volunteer youths a.k.a Civilian JTF.
Speaking on the suspected terrorists killed by men of the JTF, a security source said: “Over the weekend, we received an intelligence report that several Boko Haram terrorists have regrouped and were residing or hiding in Zabarmari Ward. We then mobilized our troops to the area, and on reaching the place, the suspected terrorists upon noticing our presence, began to shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is Great) and started shooting at the JTF troops. We had no option than to repel the attacks while we succeeded in killing about 10 of the suspects.
“We decided not to take away any of their corpses as we left them in the area, but the following day when we mobilized our men to the area, we found out that hundreds of the terrorists were at one of the grave yards burying their dead members, and when we approached, some of them started shooting at our troops which led to the exchange of gun fire. We succeeded in killing over 40 of them.
“As I am talking to you now, our men are still in Zabarmari hunting for any suspected terrorists who might have escaped the deadly encounter”.
On the arrest of three suspected Boko Haram members who were on a suicide mission to Jigawa and other states in the North, the source said: “The men of the JTF are highly delighted with the zeal/effort being put in place by the vigilante youths popularly called Civilian JTF. Just yesterday, they were able to arrest three suspected Boko Haram suspects at the Borno Express motor park.
“They later handed them over to the JTF unit, and after torture, one of them who is now dead, said, they were from Bama Local Government Area on a suicide mission to Jigawa and other states in the North. In fact, the deceased before his death told us that, already, all their weapons of massive destruction have been transported to the target areas awaiting their arrival before they ran out of luck.”
The source added that though one of the arrested suspects was unconscious after the torture, the other suspect who seemed to be in stable condition promised to take JTF members to Bama to show them some of their members’ hideout.
Due to the total shut down of GSM network services in Borno State for almost two months, the JTF Spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa and the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gideon Jubrin could not be reached for confirmation.
Baga killings: NHRC indicts JTF, Boko Haram
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has accused JTF and the Boko Haram sect, of complicity in the massacre that recently took place at Baga.
In an interim assessment report on the Baga incident of April 16 and the situation in the North-East region, the commission warned about a looming humanitarian crisis in the area.
Besides, NHRC said it has established that it was members of the Boko Haram sect that initially carried out multi-faceted attacks on law enforcement agents.
According to the report, “In addition to systematic attacks on law enforcement and internal security assets; JALISWAJ, is also credibly alleged to have attacked communities, churches and places of worship.
“Victims reported the shooting of family members by young men who spoke the local Kanuri language. In many communities, women were reportedly prevented from going to the farms. Some who ventured were attacked or abducted.”
The commission also said that it found incidents of forced marriage perpetrated by members of the sect and spoke with witnesses whose family members were abducted and forced into marriage.
On the part of the JTF, the commission, said it received several credibly attested allegations of gross violations by officials of the JTF, including allegations of summary executions, torture, arbitrary detention amounting to internment and outrages against the dignity of civilians, as well as rape.
“In particular, we have received persistent and credibly attested allegations of indiscriminate disposal of dead human remains by personnel of both JTF and the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency (BOSEPA).”
NHRC accused the JTF of indiscriminately detaining people, thus abridging their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“Detainees are allegedly held in un-gazetted places of detention, with no or inadequate documentation and outside the safeguards provided for under applicable laws, including the Constitution of Nigeria and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“They are not allowed access to family, counsel or medical personnel,” the commission alleged.
It explained that most of the allegations against JTF related to the question of proportionality of the use of force vis-à-vis standards applicable to the conduct of the armed forces in internal security operations.
However, the commission urged the federal government to constantly ensure the rotation and renewal of troops deployed in the north-east with a view to allowing members of such troops to have enough rest and recuperate.
The report noted that the farming communities of Borno State lost the 2013 planting season due to fear of Boko Haram attacks.
“The consequences of this are far-reaching. The immediate result is the likelihood of a food security and nutritional crises in Borno and surrounding states that dependent on the. Agricultural output from its Lake Chad Basis,” the report added.
It called on the federal government to urgently deploy mitigation mechanisms in order to avert a food security and nutritional crisis in the area.