UN Urges Buhari To Investigate Boko Haram, Army Crimes
THE United Nations’ (UN) top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate and prosecute “horrifying” allegations of executions, rape and amputations of children by Islamist insurgents, Boko Haram.
He also said reports of violations committed allegedly by Nigerian armed forces should be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice.
“Civilians in northeast Nigeria have been living through horrifying acts of cruelty and violence by Boko Haram. These include wanton killings, summary executions, forced participation in military operations including the use of children to detonate bombs; forced labour, forced marriage and sexual violence, including rape,” Al-Hussein said, citing eyewitness testimonies gathered by his office.
In the last one week of the new administration, Boko Haram insurgents have killed over 60 persons and destroyed properties worth millions of naira in attacks in Maiduguri, Borno State, and Yola, Adamawa States, among others.
In Yola, the number of people killed in Thursday night’s bomb blast at the Yola Ultra-Modern Market has risen to 45, as more victims died on their hospital beds and other dead bodies discovered in the early hour of yesterday at the site of the blast.
The market was shut down yesterday as all the three gates were locked and heavily-armed police manned the entrances.
Adamawa State Police Command spokesman, Usman Abubakar, confirmed that 29 dead bodies were discovered between Thursday night and the early hours of yesterday by a combined team of security agents and officials of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the state.
“I was told by the leader of the Police team that 29 dead bodies were discovered at the site of the bomb blast, but the state coordinator of NEMA has told the Inspector General of Police (IGP), who is in the state to see things for himself, that 10 more people died this morning,” he said.
Abubakar said the Police and other security agents and the Anti-bomb Squad have taken over the area to ensure that security measures were put in place before members of the public would be allowed to come to the place.
He confirmed that a suicide bomber, who also died in the blast, carried out the bomb blast.“Based on my briefing by the special anti-bomb squad, the suicide bomber, dressed like a woman, came in a three motorised scooter,
popularly called keke napep.
“After coming down, he rushed into the busy night market by the road-side near the market branch of a second generation bank and detonated the bomb he tied to his waist,” Abubakar stated.
A top Police officer who was among the first rescue team to arrive at the scene, told The Guardian on condition of anonymity, that 35 dead bodies were discovered on Thursday night.
He said the badly injured victims were taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola for treatment, but some could not make it to the hospital as they died on the way.
“From what I saw here, the number of people that died are over 70, because the rescue teams were working in different areas, considering the big size of the place.
“So, what the Police are saying, I think, is the number of people they saw, which is different from what NEMA and others discovered. Everybody in Yola knows how highly-populated that place can be in the night, so anyone that tells you that only 40 or 50 people died may not be accurate,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly has urged security agents and the state government to fashion out necessary security strategies that can forestall the re-occurrence of such incident in the state.
Speaker of the House, Alhaji Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, said it was the constitutional responsibility of government to protect lives and property.
At the time of filing this report, Governor Umar Jibrilla Bindo was yet to make a public statement on government’s next action on the blast in the state, which is the first since the insurgency started.
When The Guardian visited the Yola Specialist Hospital, seven bodies were placed on the floor because of lack of space in the mortuary. A mortuary attendant said all the other dead bodies were taken to the FMC.
At the FMC mortuary, security operatives prevented both journalists and new staff of the hospital from gaining access to the bodies in the mortuary. “We are working on instructions,” one of the policemen said.
The Defence Headquarters yesterday disclosed that two suicide bombers leading a band of terrorists were among over a score of those of them that died as troops succeeded in repelling their attack on Shetimari in Borno State on Thursday evening.
A press statement by Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information (DDI) noted that over 12 rifles and one machine gun were captured from the terrorists during the foiled attack. Also recovered from them were rocket-propelled grenades and some bombs.
“Troops conducting mopping up operation are still combing the area, while others are in pursuit of those who are on the run. Incidents of suicide bomb attacks were also recorded in Jimeta, Yola and Maiduguri yesterday evening,” he stated, adding that details were being expected.
Meanwhile, the statement said offensive operations in Sambisa and other forest enclaves of the terrorists were continuing, with intelligence activities, aerial surveillance and highly-coordinated air bombardment, backed by ground assaults.