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Friday, July 15, 2011

Discourse 322. Rape Spree in Maiduguri

Discourse 322
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

RAPE SPREE IN MAIDUGURI

When I wrote Boko Haram and the Military three days ago, in my heart the accusation of rape against the Nigerian military was the weightiest of all the allegations. The obscenity of the act is what every normal citizen should abhor. I then based my evidence on eyewitness accounts of people fleeing the town. Listeners of early morning VOA or BBC Hausa service programmes can recall the voice of a woman who was fleeing Maiduguri for Misau in Bauchi State. This is what I can recollect from her conversation with the reporter:

“We have to flee. Soldiers are bursting into our houses, killing our husbands and committing obscenity with the women. What can we do other than to flee to where we will feel safe?”

I did not doubt her. Though she did not mention rape in Hausa for reasons of shyness, the words she used left no one in doubt of what she meant. What obscene thing would make a woman shy from its mere mention though it caused her to abandon her residence?

When the I published the article in my blog (http://fridaydiscourse.blogspot.com), a reader, apparently a military officer, wrote this anonymous contribution and doubted the veracity of the rape allegation. He politely said:

“I doubt very much the allegation of rape. Please check your facts very well.”

Another contributor, from the military it looks, also said:

“I would suggest that you refrain from comments that would depict our soldiers as barbarians thereby causing them to lose the public support they require to carry out their duties effectively…They certainly do not deserve the castigation you are pouring out to them. In the case of reported atrocities by these soldiers, I will suggest you take your time to investigate before you go public and not base your write up on hearsay."

Let me pause to assert that our military counterparts should please appreciate that we are living in a democracy in which freedom of expression is cornerstone. When actions of soldiers contravene fundamental human rights enshrined in our constitution, we are bound to speak out. That is the life of a bloody civilian. He doesn't carry arms. All he can do is to talk, and the talking is what we are doing here. As civilians, we expect the soldiers to protect us, not attack us in the middle of our sleep, killing our men, burning our houses and cars, beating our women and raping our daughters. They have not met this expectation in Maiduguri, and hence our complain.

Now before I could investigate, I was vindicated by the Borno Elders Forum. In an appeal to the President reported in the Daily Trust, the elders categorically mentioned rape among several atrocities committed by the soldiers:

“The soldiers have been burning down cars, killing innocent passersby, looting private property, harassing innocent passerby and even raping young girls.”

The veracity of the accusation can be driven from the weight of the personalities that made it:

“Shettima Ali Monguno, the Imam Idaini of Borno Imam Baba Gana Asil, Alhaji Garba Abba Satomi, Alhaji Bukar Bolori, Alhaji Usman Gaji Galtimari, Alhaji Kyari Sandabe, Brigadier General Abba Kyari (rtd), Air Vice Marshal Al-Amin Daggash (rtd), Shettima Ali Kidaji…Ambassador Ahmed Yusufari, AIG Zanna Laminu Mamadi, AIG Muktar Alkali, Alhaji Tijjani Bolori, Alhaji Bulama Mali Gubio, Alhaji Umar Abba Shuwa, Alhaji Ibrahim El-Zubairu, Malam Ibrahim Mustapha and Alhaji Gambo Vubio.”

These people are qualified to be senior citizens in any country. Their words cannot be dismissed as simple hearsay.

The military authorities were quick in denying the atrocities leveled by the Borno Elders Forum. However, reports continue to assert the issue of rape. This article is even prompted by a mail I received from a noble sister with relations in Maiduguri, sounding helpless over the atrocities that have not ceased, causing her sisters to go into hiding:

“My dear brothers and sisters, please we need your prayers. Young girls in Maiduguri are in great danger. My sisters and some other young girls have fled from their homes. Our parents are all hiding their female children because soldiers are raping them. Oh Allah save our generation.”

For a commentator I think this is enough to take the allegation of rape seriously. I do not need to catch the soldier in the act before I comment on it. I am not a policeman. Just as no President in the world, other than the coconut headed ones we have in Africa, would go to sleep in the face of this quantum of allegations and complaints.

However, in Nigeria the complaints were answered with an air of impunity as usual. Major General Azazi (rtd) said, in reply to the Elders, he said that government will not withdraw soldiers from the streets of Maiduguri. He even concluded his statement without the usual false palliative of investigating the allegations to fray the nerves of the population. In other words, you do not deserve it, bloody civilians.

Today so many human rights groups have jointly signed an appeal to the government for investigating the atrocities and putting an end to them.

I tried to figure out the justification behind this truly barbaric behaviour in the 21st century. Despite the fact that Nigerian soldiers have consistently shown this level of human rights abuse before, as I was quick to point out in my last article on the matter, I was shocked to discover a justification from an ethnic angle consistently opened to me by one of my readers of Igbo extraction, Ike Agbor. On the point I made that “killing of civilians under any circumstance is a massacre…punishable under the Geneva convention, he said this, apparently in justifying the actions of Maj. General Jack Nwachukwu’s soldiers in Maiduguri:

“Where do we start? A revisit of the massacre by Nigerian soldiers under Murtala at Asaba, the massacre of a congregation at a church once Nigerian soldiers entered into Onitsha, or the every other massacres orchestrated by Nigerian soldiers inside Biafra?... I will be glad if you hold my hands and take me to the sections of the Geneva Conventions that were contravened by the Northern civilians, and the soldiers, who took part in the orgy of killings in the North, the starvation of civilians in Biafra and the near equal frenzy of massacre of Biafrans and the rape of women at the end of hostilities in January 1970.”

After reading this mail, I simply sent him a question whether the atrocities committed in the past should determine what our soldiers should do presently. No reply.

Are some elements in the Nigerian military 'justifiably' under a revenge mission in Maiduguri, if Ike is right?

The government, if I must reiterate, should commence investigations into these allegations and request Maj General Jack Nwachukwu and his soldiers to become more vigilant of the possible bad eggs in their ranks. Saying that miscreants or Boko Haram members carry out the rapes simply does not click. Everybody is mentioning soldiers, soldiers and soldiers alone. It is possible there could be fake soldiers on the streets, as was witnessed whenever there is a religious crisis in Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna. Only investigations by the military will bring out the true identity of the soldiers. Lending a deaf ear to the appeals, therefore, will not help the situation.

Whoever is behind the rapes and whatever are his reasons, I will not hesitate to warn the Nigerian government of the consequences of continued insensitivity to the complaints. A point may be reached when the population of Maiduguri would entirely come out on the streets and revolt against the soldiers. This is the easiest thing that the progenies of Mai Idris Alooma and El-Kanemi can do when pushed to the wall. Here, it will be apt to advise the military not to take the level-headedness of the population for granted.

“If you see the teeth of the lion exposed”, said my favourite Abbasid poet, Al-Mutanabbi, “don’t think that the lion is laughing.”


Abuja
15 July 2011

23 comments:

Abubakar said...

Dear Dr,
I wonder why you had to reply the seeming Khaki boys. The confused politicians have adopted the same failed and wrong approach that emboldered the Boko Haram issue to escalade. The killled Yusuf and CO because they had guns and now they have gone wild simply because GEJ ordered them to keep peace. While i do not condone lawlessness i however detest a crude misuse of power on innocent citizens. Goodluck, Azazi and every who is who in the current killing spree in Maiduguri should be ready to face the International Court Justice sooner than later. I assure you DR Tilde and other readers pictures of these violations of human rights are daily being captured. Reports, Condemantions and exposure of bad deeds will come to the open. I cry for my dear country!

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

Malam Abubakar,

if these pictures and other materials are available please don't wait for the Haig. Publish them on the internet or circulate them via multimedia in handsets. A single picture may be more powerful than 1000 articles. Doing so will help to stop the atrocities NOW. This is what we expect the educated people in Borno to be doing right now. Information is the most lethal weapon today. If you have it don't keep it. Circulate it please.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha! Tilde..Tilde. Have you been corked or bottled in a wine cellar? Boko Haram came all the way from Maiduguri to bomb Jos. They caused some evidently biased soldiers to come and denigrate, kill, maim, rape, loot and destroy the dignity of Plateau in the name of security.
What more? Boko Haram have promised to return and rain more bombs on Jos which they have condemned as western:haram right? Just where were you? And those seasoned elders from Maiduguri who went to see Mr President, do they know where there children and grandchildren are? You ask them.Are Boko Haram conscripts ghosts?
Boko Haram should know that for as long as they continue to drop bombs on churches,mosques and innocent people, so will soldiers continue to zip down on those irresistible Kanuri and Shuwa damsels.
Dr Tilde, its your turn for the jackboot pudding. Bon appetit Maiduguri!

Babanhajiya said...

I have uploaded a video evidence of human rights violation in maiduguri on youtube and facebook last week search for "CIN ZALIN TALAKAWA" or "human rights violations in nigeria" on youtube you will see it.

Abdulkadir said...

Yes!!! Malam Abubakar kindly expedite action in publishing whatever pictures you have, especially the motion ones. They are more useful now rather than later.
As for people like Ike Agbor, i really can't comprehend how our cotenants on the other side of the divide think. How can one justify evil simply because something similar was metted out to him in the past? Two wrongs will never make a right. It is sad!!

mujtaba said...

Allah is my witness, my heart bleed when i red this article. May Allah come to the rescue of our brothers and sisters in maiduguri. May him the almighty punish whoever inflict pain on innocent people.

Human right supporter said...

If those in authority dont take heed of the complains coming from individuals on the atrocities committed by soldiers in Maiduguri, let them be informed that George W. Bush and his cohorts would soon be prosecuted for human rights violations and they will not be an exception. Buba Sani

Muhammad said...

The reported rape spree in Maiduguri is a very sad thing. Rather than justify the wrong doing of the soldiers, all those in authority and people of good conscience should condemn this nefarious act. Those in authority have an added responsibility to checkmate wrong doing and bring perpetrators to justice. This is a leadership call that those in authority have canvassed for and sworn to exercise. At end, God Almighty is with those who are treated unjustly.

Muhammad Bello

Anas Galadanci said...

I pray Allah swt rewards you in abundance.
Malam you should concentrate more on why everyone is suppose to bear his fathers name,perhaps we can solve our problems in our own way.lets take examples from other countries of the world.
The people you are talking to appear to be deaf and dumb because they are not of the northern extraction.
Afterall it's never a devine injunction that we must leave together.oncentrate more on why everyone is suppose to bear his fathers name,perhaps we can solve our problems in our own way.lets take examples from other countries of the world.
The people you are talking to appear to be deaf and dumb because they are not of the northern extraction.
Afterall it's never a devine injunction that we must leave together.

Anonymous said...

Subahannallah, Totally i dnt beleive that those soldiers ar real soldiers, dey killed innocent ppl, collecting money from Bussiness man/women's b4 dey open their shops, drivers on the road...they mst irritative things is to Rape young gals n killed the entire males in the house, *cryn* pls why? Yz2day bomb we were arranged outside dey almost to killed us, our failure MOPOLS n Allah's rescue us. I doubt are dey not those CAN soldiers? Are they not here to fight agains Muslims? Please readers take alook n made an investigation on this. Allahu.

Dauda Lawan said...

Let the Nigerian Government know that it's the duty of the Government to the citizen in any situation but if the Government fail to protect it citizen,it's obligatory upon the citizens by any MEANS to protect themselfs.....

Anonymous said...

Inna lillahi wa Inna ilayhi rajiun

Anonymous said...

Even though it may be difficult, I think Maiduguri settlers should abandon the entire state so that the government now will have a wider problem of having to take care of refugees. Let the Government rule a Ghost Town and let the Military rape Ghosts .I believe no sane Government would like to leave its citizens suffering unless otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Salam. Innalillah wa inna ilaihi raji'un. Sum tyms u cnt hlp bt thnk dat There's really Haram in this Boko. D last tym i chk'd i was told d current DMI Dir's 4rm Borno. Sum tyms again u thnk u hv ppl 2 protct ur constituency, bt in actual sense u dnt. It wont surpryz me if sum ov our muslim soldiers ov northern extraction re involvd in ds nefarios act. Thse guys re so brainwashed n traind in an unislamic fashion, thy ve little or no Imaan at all. Ths d situatn we re in. Our elders, leaders n state men alyk, al pay lip service 2 hw ur vry own is chngd in2 an animal, n d worst now is, they re turnin them loose on us. Wat eva can we do? Pray, chng our ways, Pray, chng our attituds, Pray! Pray!! PRAY!!!
NB:D writer 4rm Jos shud pls post a list ov thos he knw ve slept wt his sisters, wives, mum, aunties etc. I dnt doubt his acusations, bt let hm mention names n bring evidence, coz those re sum ov d Harams in d Boko. I bliev no local peasant lackin in western education can buy a 'Love Nest' 4 his wkend leisure wt gals in Jos. Spade must be cal'd a spade. If we must beat ths wild fire tht just ignite engulf Borno, we must put our house in order. May be this is 4rm their 'Original Sin'. May be they re nt worthy of bein our elders any more. And may be they re still unrepentant. May be this is all 4rm their negativ attitudes. Otherwise, Borno wud just be d beginnin. Who knws whr next?'kama tadinu tadanu'. For those girls n young women in Borno n byond who re caught in ths fracas I said 'Innalillah wa inna ilaihi raji'un'.

segzy said...

Words are powerful and so are pictures. I suggest that you take every story you hear with a pinch of salt before you put pen to paper. As a very educated person, I believe that you know that as these stories of alleged rape by soldiers spread, we are all in danger of been drowned by the tsunami of reactions that could follow.
In a country where sentiments based on religion and ethnicity runs deep, caution is the word. Nigerian soldiers have participated in operations (war situations not peacekeeping)outside this country and there has never been reports of rape from any quarters. I cannot imagine that they would rape their own fellow citizens in 21st Century Nigeria. If Boko Haram is committing these heinous acts of rape in military uniforms in order to disparage and discredit the military who are on legitimate duties is opened to investigation. But please lets be cautious of our words especially now when tensions are so high in a country easily given to explosive reactions by 'aggrieved' citizens. The situation calls for measured reaction, caution and prayers for the truth to be unraveled sooner than later.

Olusegun

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

Dear Dr. Tilde,
What is happening in Maiduguri is very very unfortunate and too sad. Do these soldiers have the fear of God? The Federal Government should urgently investigate these allegations and make the perpetrators of this irresponsible act to be purnished.
18th July 2011.

Anonymous said...

Whatever is wrong will always be wrong.Nobody from Maiduguri authorisedt he wrong deeds of soldiers in Plateau as an anonymous writer is trying to project.Plateau people should seek redress but not justifying what the military is doing in Maiduguri. Rape is is heinous act anywhere wheither its done during war or peace mission,its condemnable.This is a burden on the top heirachy of the Nigerian military.This issues should not be allowed to go just like that in as much as they( the Military) need public assistance and cooperation in the discharge of their duties, not only in Maiduguri but anywhere .

muslimah said...

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un(3x) Allahumma Ajirni fi musibati wukhlufli khairan minha. Ya Allah protect us, our brothers and sisters in maiduguri and the entire ummah from the hand of the oppressors, Amin. i cry my heart out, i can imagine the trauma they are going through.

Sarkiyaki Mohammed said...

Subhanallah!!!
I urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to investigate as a matter of urgency this grievous allegation of our soldiers’ wrong doings before it gets out of hand.
As to our writers and readers alike, our only contribution at least for now is to share information. Almost anything we do seems insignificant, but it's very important that we do it(so long its lawful) as the change of the world starts from insignificant action. I urge the rest of us to join the Dr. in the struggle. Information is Power. Knowing where we are going is the first step getting there.

Abuabdurrahman said...

Extremely very sad! This is post Dambazau era in the Military. They promised us NEW DAWN. We're harvesting the EVIL DAWN. Subhallah

N GWADABE said...

Welldone DR, let the truth be told, i dont know why our Soldiers always dont want accept their mistakes,this had happened bcos these elders you made mentioned will not in any way tell lies.I strongly support the withdrawal of soldiers from that state for the intrest of the people of the area and to allow peace reign supreme.

Anonymous said...

First of all in Jos boko Haram did not drop the bomb,the so called website was from Abuja and was knock down by the owner,secondly the bomb that blew up in the Bar was fix by insiders because the owner of the Hotel is still alive can can tell weather they are Muslims or not since he spoke to them it was before he returned to his hotel that the bomb blasted.2. A soldier rape a Christian girl in Jos and the soldier told her that he is a Muslim to cover his tracts and she reported to her father who eventually is a retired military officer on investigation it was discovered that he indeed rape her,but since he is a Christian did you hear it again?Ja ya fadi ja ya dauka. Check it out and you will get the facts. we have brothers in the Armed Forces so no information hiden nowadays. You also should know that the DMI is not from Borno State. I have listen to BBC World have your say on the issue of the military operation in Borno State and one John sain 'there are three catigories of Boko Haram,one Active members,2 their simpatiser, and 3 all Muslims. hence i can see the perpective of some Christians who may also be in the security forces. Oh Nigeria.

Abu amuhammad al kanawy said...

Salam is due to the Doctor,Having learned from the past how the Military behaved whenever there is a situation such as this on the ground,its certain and very unlikely that anything will be done to make the conditions of life for the poor better,hence an advice to the Boko Haram people to re-channel their war as to avoid the ongoing atrocity meted on the poor or at least reduce it.Whoever is conversant with what is going on in Afganistan, Iraqi,Algeria,et al will bear witness to what obtains their in,of course bombs are sometimes placed in a place to cause civillian casualty,this is normally done by the Military,and they still deny it.The Military should also not forget that they are the major instrument that keep democracy and ongoing,hence should not forget the tendency of any right thinking bloody civilian as the Dr. borrows to resort to joining the Boko haram as the only alternative having failed to understand who really should be trusted.but the obvious is:the accusing finger is almost always on the Military.The Military should not forget that there are un-winnable wars such as the one they are fighting in Maiduguri,where the the enemy is un-identifiable,there-by rendering all efforts to fight useless and creating enemies of the civilians who are the only hope for which the war is being fought.Real dialogue is therefore an alternative,which the Americans could not even get in Afganistan after ten years of wasted effort through the mis-use of Military power,Money,Drawn attacks usually leading to civilian casualty and hence causing chaos to assume the order of the day,and eventually an absolute failure on the side of so-called Democracy to make any meaning to all people of reason civilian or Military.Allah save His servants should be the prayer of all.Abu Muhammad alkanawy.