28 April 2013

Nigeria Orders Inquiries Into Boko Haram Killings

Photo: Vanguard
The Boko Haram group according to findings by security agencies has conscripted agents to attack selected government institutions and buildings in Abuja between Monday 26th September and October 1st 2011, when Nigeria would be celebrating its 51st independent anniversary.

Both President Jonathan and the Senate have ordered probes into last week's fighting in Baga.

Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 ordered a full-scale investigation into reports of high civilian casualties in the April 19, 2013 confrontation between the military and suspected Boko Haram militants, The Nation newspaper reported. The incident in Baga in Borno State on the border with Chad left at least 185 people dead.

Quoting President Jonathan, Presidential Spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, said in a statement that preliminary debriefing by the Military High Command indicated that the casualty figures being reported by the foreign media may be grossly exaggerated, but added that the Head of State places the highest possible value on the lives of all citizens.

The President also ordered the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA and Federal health agencies to liaise with the Borno State Government in taking urgent steps to provide immediate relief and medical support to all those who suffered losses and injury in the fighting. Similarly, the Nigerian Senate has directed its Committees on Defence, Police and National Intelligence to investigate the killings and submit its report within 14 days. Channels TV said the House of Representatives had earlier asked President Goodluck Jonathan to constitute a panel of inquiry into the killings. Lawmakers in both chambers condemned the deaths, saying there were unacceptable in a country that is not at war.

Meanwhile, Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has directed the State Ministry of Works to begin the reconstruction of houses destroyed during the fighting. P.M. News said the Governor also directed the immediate distribution of relief materials to the victims of the mayhem. Nigerian Tribune newspaper quoted Chadian and Niger officials as saying the military operation in Baga, a fishing community near Lake Chad in the northeastern part of the country, was led by about 100 troops from Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Nigeria's Defence Spokesman, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, said the joint multinational force was surprised at the firepower of the militants. Some 2,000 homes and hundreds of motor bikes and vehicles were reportedly destroyed in the fighting. Security sources say the Baga Strip has in the past served as a safe haven for Chadian insurgents.

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