Leadership (Abuja)

31 December 2012

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Report Alleges Extrajudicial Killings, Looting By JTF

A report by Sudarsan Raghavan published December 30, in the Washinton Post has said that in the fight against the Boko Haram, the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) has carried out extrajudicial killings, imprisoned hundreds on flimsy grounds, looted and burned shops and houses.

Quoting victims, local officials and human rights' activists, "The international monitored report titled, "In Nigeria, trapped between Islamist radicals and security forces" painted a cold picture of the reported extrajudicial killings.

The armed men dragged Musa Muhammad out of his house and ordered him to lie face down on the ground. Then they grabbed his son. After asking his name, the men issued their judgment. "I heard three gunshots - pop, pop, pop," Muhammad recalled, his voice trembling, his fingers in the shape of a pistol. "My son was dead, killed in front of me."

His assailants were not the radical Islamists who have brutalised this town. They were government security forces sent to protect the residents, the report said.

The report said, civilians were caught in a guerrilla conflict that has shattered families and communal relationships. The Boko Haram is assassinating people nearly every day, targeting Christians, soldiers, police, even astrologers as it seeks to weaken the Western-allied government and install Islamic Sharia law in this nation.

Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the security units, which are known as the Joint Military Task Force or JTF, denied the allegations. He said that soldiers follow appropriate rules of engagement and that there "has not been any established case of extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions or harassment by the JTF forces."

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