By Ndahi Marama & Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS—The Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has said the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria were becoming more sophisticated and deadlier.
This came as eight suspected kidnappers of Chibok school girls and 14 other Boko Haram makers of Improvised Explosive Devices, EIDs, including three commanders, were yesterday arrested and paraded at Borno Police Command in Maiduguri.
Chambas, who is Head, UN Office for West African and the Sahel, UNOWAS, in a report presented to the UN Security Council, said the violence was a major security threat in the region, warning that it risked changing into terrorist attacks.
“Violence between farmers and herders is increasingly a major security threat in the region and risks morphing into the terrorist attacks that have defined the security landscape.
“Farmer-herder conflicts are becoming more sophisticated and deadlier, especially in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.
“During four days in June, new spates of attacks and retribution killings between herders and farmers in this region resulted in scores of deaths,” the UN envoy said.
He said in the Lake Chad Basin, the gains made by the Nigerian armed forces and the Multinational Joint Task Force have not stopped Boko Haram from remaining active.
Child suicide bombers
The envoy said: “The trend of Boko Haram, using female suicide bombers continues, and reportedly almost one in five suicide bombers is a child.
“The most recent attacks on a Nigerian military garrison in Yobe and the ambush of a military convoy in Borno are the latest manifestations of the threats still posed by Boko Haram.
“There is need for increased support to diplomatic, security and humanitarian responses to Boko Haram, in a holistic manner.
“To this end, UNOWAS is providing technical support for a joint summit of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, on July 30, as called for by Security Council resolution 2349 (2017).’’
He explained that the severe depletion of Lake Chad had led to environmental degradation, socio-economic marginalisation and insecurity for 45 million people.
According to him, an estimated 2.3 million people remain displaced by the aggregate effects of insecurity and climate change.
Chambas appealed to member states to support the humanitarian response to the Lake Chad crisis, which remained critically underfunded and revitalisation of the Lake Chad Basin.
“Let me stress that any military response to security challenges in the region needs to be matched by the implementation of comprehensive strategies linking security and humanitarian interventions to development and human rights initiatives.
“There is also need to increase our collective efforts to address the challenges facing the Sahel region with actions that combine politics, security and development,” he said.
He said the period under review saw an upsurge in popular discontent in the region manifested through often violent demonstrations, calling for political and economic reforms.
The envoy said further: “The sometimes violent conduct of security forces, notably in dealing with popular demonstrations, has also fuelled political tensions.
“Commitment by countries of the region and support from the international community will be key to ensuring the effectiveness and accountability of security sector institutions as part of broader security sector reform efforts.
“Several countries continue to struggle with justice, national reconciliation and human rights challenges.
“Among those is the concerning number of high-profile arrests, judicial prosecutions and convictions against political and civil society actors.
“We must collectively continue to urge member states to provide an enabling environment for the exercise of the freedoms of expression and assembly, which were critical in consolidating democracy and good governance.’’
He said UNOWAS would continue to closely monitor the situation, with forthcoming elections in Nigeria, Mauritania and Senegal.
“In some countries of the region, including Nigeria, UNOWAS is working closely with ECOWAS and other partners to support the establishment of national peace architectures that can provide a systematic and inclusive approach to the prevention, management and resolution of conflict,’’ Chambas added.
Chibok girls’ kidnappers
Meanwhile, Borno State Police Command, yesterday, paraded eight suspected kidnappers of Chibok school girls and 14 other Boko Haram makers of Improvised Explosive Devices, EIDs, including three commanders in Maiduguri.
Also paraded were two logistics suppliers and other fighters based on intelligence, led by Deputy Commissioner in charge of Intelligence Response Team, IRT/ Special Operation of the force, Mr. Abba Kyari and other members of the command.
The arrests were made at various locations in Borno which is the epicentre of the Boko Haram sect and Yobe State between July 4, 2018, to date.
Briefing journalists at the Police Headquarters in Maiduguri, the state capital, the Police Commissioner, Mr. Domain Chukwu, flanked by Kyari, said all the suspects confessed to have participated and responsible for the kidnap of the school girls, several suicide attacks and bombings, as well as ambushes/ killings of innocent Nigerians, including security personnel, in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other states in the North East.
The CP said: “22 dreaded Boko Haram Terrorists, BHT Group, members and leaders responsible for the kidnap of Chibok school girls, including logistic suppliers and IEDs makers, were arrested at various locations in Borno and Yobe states.
“They were also linked with participating and coordinating over 50 suicide bombings within Maiduguri in Borno State and Adamawa State; invasion of Bama and Gwoza, several attacks/ambush and killing of thousands of innocent Nigerians, including security agents and civilians in Borno and other North Eastern states.
“Irked and worried by the persistent suicide bombings and killing of innocent citizens in the North East by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group terrorising North Eastern Nigeria, IGP Ibrahim Idris equipped and deployed the special operatives of the IGP Intelligence Response Team IRT with enough credible technical intelligence to Maiduguri, Borno State, to trace and arrest all the terrorists responsible for the suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in the North East.
“After a lot of planning and use of advance technology, Between 04/07/18 and 09/07/18, IRT Special Teams, with support from SARS/CRACK team of Borno State Command, swung into action and eventually succeeded in arresting 22 confirmed Boko Haram Terrorists, BHT, who confessed to several suicide bomb explosions within Borno and Adamawa states, kidnapping of Chibok school girls, invasions of Bama/Gwoza, among many other crimes.
“The suspects narrated various roles each of them played. Amongst them are the commanders and coordinators of suicide bombings in Borno State, coordinator and members of the Chibok school girls kidnap gang, ambushes on security agents, logistics suppliers and their receivers of gold, international currencies, cows etc.
“Suspects arrested are Mayinta Modu, a.k.a, Abor, 23, from Bama LGA of Borno State. He confessed to being one of Boko Haram commanders who coordinated and led the kidnap of the Chibok school girls in 2014 and several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.
“Also arrested was Adam Mohammed, 20, from Bama LGA of Borno, who confessed to have participated in Chibok school girls kidnap and coordination of suicide bombings; Gujja Jidda 21, from Bama LGA of Borno State, who also confessed to have participated in the Chibok school girls kidnap and coordination of suicide bombings; and Mamman Wardi, 25, also from Bama LGA of Borno State, who was equally a participant.
“Similarly, Alhaji Modu Jidda, 29, from Bama LGA of Borno State, confessed to have participated in the Chibok school girls kidnap and coordination of suicide bombings.
“Others include Ajiri Bulama Dungus, 22; Mohammed Abba, 20; Fannami Mustapha, 22; Adam Mustapha, a.k.a Ba’Adam, 20, native of Kalabalge LGA, the overall coordinator and kingpin of suicide bombings in Maiduguri and Adamawa State.
‘’He conveys female and male suicide bombers from Sambisa Forest to different locations in Maiduguri and Adamawa states to detonate bombs. He also confessed to be mastermind of the suicide bomb blasts in Baga road, Bulunkutu, Custom, Post Office, 3-3, Muna etc in Maiduguri that led to the destruction of lives and properties.
“Mustapha Kanimbu, a.k.a Aaramma, 20, native of Mobbar in Borno State. He is one of the Boko Haram terrorist commanders who supply logistics to the group members in Sambisa and also confessed to have participated in several attacks and killing of hundreds of people in Maiduguri.
“Ibrahim Mala, 48, native of Gwoza LGA of Borno State. He is one of the BHT commanders who lives in Dalori karekere MMC, Borno State, and supplies food and logistics to his members in Sambisa Forest.
“Abdullahi Mohammed Gawi, 23, from Bama LGA of Borno State, confessed member; Maina Adam, 35, from Bama LGA of Borno State, confessed member.
“Others are Wano Musa, 27, native of Bama LGA of Borno State, confessed member and coordinator suicide bombings; Ishaka Musa, 26, from Bama LGA , confessed member; Abubakar Mohammed, 28, native of Nganzai LGA of Borno State, confessed member; and Usman Umar, 28, native of Bama LGA Borno State.
“Also arrested are Maina Abba, 27, native of Ngazai LGA Borno State; Maina Gambo, 24, native of Nganzai LGA Borno State; Abubakar Kori, 25, native of Nganzai LGA Borno State; Bukar Abatcha, 39, Kanuri by tribe from Marte LGA of Borno State, also a confessed member and major logistics supplier to BHT commanders living in the bush; and Muhammad Bashir, a.k.a Kalijango, 35, from Gamboru Ngala, a civilian JTF aiding and assisting BHT to supply logistics.
“All the terrorists were arrested in different locations within Borno and Yobe states.”
He noted that the suspects were helping the operatives with useful information that could lead to the arrest of other fleeing BHT commanders.
One of the leaders and kidnappers of the Chibok girls, who gave his name as Mayinta Modu, confessed, on interrogation, to being one of the Boko Haram commanders who coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls in 2014 and several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.
Modu also revealed that one of the remaining Chibok girls was in his custody in Sambisa Forest before he relocated currently to Gulumba village of Bama Council Area.
Chukwu also confirmed Tuesday’s arrest of one of the controversial politicians and PDP governorship aspirant in Borno State, Mr Grema Terrab, who had for sometime, been declared wanted by the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, operatives for alleged murder.