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ICC’s probe of the Boko Haram war

THE call by Amnesty International, AI, for a full-blown investigation by the International Criminal Court, ICC, of the atrocities committed since the Boko Haram insurgency started is welcome.

There are so many issues that have been thrown up by the conflict which only a credible international body such as the ICC could unravel to the satisfaction of most stakeholders.

In the preliminary investigation already done by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC headed by the Chief Prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, over the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course of the violence, six cases have reportedly been established against the terrorists.

These include mindless murders of unarmed civilians, massive abductions (especially of women and young men), destruction of schools and places of worship, sexual abuses and the use of children in the conflict, particularly as suicide bombers.

The ICC Prosecutor has also pinned culpability on the Nigerian Armed Forces in the areas of mass arrests of civilians, detention of suspects, abuses, tortures and alleged summary executions.

Apart from these two areas already delved into, the public will also like the ICC to unravel the circumstances behind the frequent resurgences of Boko Haram, mostly when Nigerians are given to believe they are on the verge of being exterminated.

It is also strongly believed that some elements involved in the war on Boko Haram are secretly supporting them. Who are these people? Is it true that some people are now profiting from this war?

What is the truth behind the abductions, particularly of the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls?

Up till today, the Nigerian government has not been able to unmask those behind the sustenance of the jihadists in their ignoble quest to take over the West African sub-region through violence and bloodshed.

Only a body like the ICC can help expose the alleged blacklegs within the ruling establishment helping Boko Haram to kill Nigerians and render millions of people homeless.

The ICC should also examine the negotiations for the release of hostages abducted by Boko Haram. Have they in any way helped in strengthening the terrorists and prolonging the violence?

The focus of investigations should not just be to establish the extent to which international law has been violated.

Full disclosure will help in refocusing strategies to tackle the terrorists. We believe that with the picture made clearer over the litany of questions surrounding this conflict, it will be easier to mobilise more international support to root Boko Haram out of Nigeria and surrounding countries.

With the Al Qaeda and Islamic State terror networks now active in the Lake Chad area, nothing short of massive international efforts will be required to get rid of the terrorists.

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