17th July, 2011
MILITARY EXCESSES IN BORNO STATE
There have been reports of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture of innocent people in Maiduguri in the past few days. Both indigenes and non-indigenes fleeing from the city now do so more from the fear of military high-handedness than from that of the Jamaatu Ahlis-Sunnah Lil-Da'wat wal-Jihad popularly known as Boko Haram. Human rights organizations have accused the military of excesses.
The locals have cried out against systematic rape by soldiers drafted to the troubled city to curb Boko Haram escapades. One of the women fleeing Maiduguri reportedly told BBC or VOA, "We have to flee. Soldiers are bursting into our homes. They are killing our husbands and committing obscenities with the women.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is constrained to join the call for the immediate withdrawal of the military. This call was first made by a committee of elders from Borno State. It has since been repeated by other groups including international bodies. The governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, in an interview with the BBC today confirmed military excesses.
Nigerian soldiers are ignoring well known rules of engagement. The use of rape as a tool for frightening the opponent is a crime against humanity. It is an unacceptable amplification of violence against women. There is no justification for this atrocity. It is barbarism taken to the Stone Age.
MURIC therefore demands the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of soldiers from Maiduguri streets. By unleashing marauding and undisciplined soldiers on innocent civilians at a time when it was talking of the possibility of dialogue, the Federal Government of Nigeria is also guilty of double speaking, belligerence and unnecessary use of force. We also demand compensation for innocent citizens whose houses and vehicles were destroyed by the rampaging soldiers.
We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that the killing of innocent civilians is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional. We affirm that raping women during military operations is a crime against humanity. We call for investigations into the operations of the military in the city with a view to ascertaining the extent of criminality and culpability or otherwise of the security agencies during their anti-Boko Haram operation.
MURIC charges the international community, particularly the United Nations, to call the Nigerian authorities to order before the country descends into the abyss of humanitarian disaster.
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace