Johan Viljoen, Rea Tloubatla
8 September 2023

In this week’s update highlights the role of the State, Army, and Police in the ongoing violence in the South East of Nigeria.

Report highlights killings of civilians in South East by Army and Police

According to a recent report, the never-ending violence in the southeast of Nigeria is fuelled partly by the behavior of law enforcement officers towards civilians. A joint report compiled by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, working with the Ekwenche Research Institute in Chicago Illinois USA, and the Global Igbo Leaders Coalition United Kingdom, stated that over 6500 civilians have been killed in the area, with over 3000 homes burnt and destroyed since the year 2021. The report was focused on finding on “who is killing who outside the law in Igbo land” since 2021. According to the report, “Anti-Igbo deadly clampdown by the military and the police crack squads and delayed justice have escalated agitations in Igbo Land. No fewer than 200 Igbo communities are being forced into Islam through sundry inducements and threats of violence using the drafted Muslim-dominated and controlled security forces and their commanders in Igbo Land. This joint report has a full page containing selected victims of unlawful killings and burning outside the law perpetrated by government-linked armed groups in Igbo Land. The seven Igbo-controlled states of Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Rivers, and Delta have lost a whopping N2.1 trillion to armed state and armed non-state criminal entities since Jan 2021. No fewer than 6500 unarmed and defenceless Igbo citizens have been killed outside the law by security forces, government-linked armed entities an others. Over 3000 defenseless civilian houses and tens of personal belongings burned down or destroyed and looted mostly perpetrated by the drafted military personnel and police crack squads in Igbo Land since Jan 2021. The security forces, paid to protect the Igbo vulnerable populations and their counterparts across regions have been compromised into joining forces with jihadists to ‘terrify, terrorize, kill, maim, abduct, disappear, torture, humiliate, loot, plunder, invade, seize, occupy, burn, destroy and Islamize the defenceless citizens, territories, and properties across Igbo Land.’ Igbo governors are also collaborators. Under these governors too, the citizens’ territorial security, safety, and welfare are comparable to the ‘Biafra-Nigeria Civil War Period’. Apart from heightening insecurity, Igbo governors have monumentally failed to offer good and accountable governance premised on ‘Human Security’ and its economic security, environmental security, food security, health security, community security. Personal security and physical security. Subversive state security elements are part of those in the killings and burnings in Igbo Land. That security Commissioners and Security advisors are distributers of funds and personnel in the killings and burnings perpetrated by government-linked private armies and political death squads in Igbo Land. That more than 60 Nigerian security forces formations in Igbo Land are involved in the killings and burnings outside the law. That Igbo Land passenger using commercial vehicles are forced to disembark at Army Roadblocks and trek for kilometres under torture and other degrading threats in the daytime and run a high risk of being abducted and disappeared without traces.”



25 Soldiers killed by insurgents. Chief of Defence vows revenge

Following the deaths of 22 military troops, including a Major, two NAF helicopter pilots, and 19 soldiers, a funeral was held for them on 25 August. They were among the 25 officers and soldiers killed in an ambush near Zungera, Niger state, in which they were trying to rout terrorists and bandits that were besieging communities in the area. At the funeral, Chief of Defence staff, Major General Christopher Gwabin Musa, vowed to avenge the deaths of the soldiers, saying those responsible will be found. “They would be hunted down by all means. Those that did this and those that have continued to attack, kill our men, wherever they are; we will get them out, we will smoke them out, and we will ensure that they never have any other opportunity to kill any other person, that I assure you.” Based on a report released by Nigerian Security Tracker (NST), between the months of May and August 2023, at least 1406 people in Nigeria have been killed. This includes 94 deaths in May, 690 in June, 415 in July and 207 in August. These deaths are attributed to terrorism, banditry, herder/farmer clashes, community crisis, cult clashes and extra- judicial killings. In his inauguration speech, President Bola Tinubu promised to make security a top priority for his government, stating that development without it will be difficult. “Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence. To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security doctrine and its architecture. We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number. We shall provide better training, equipment, pay and firepower,” he said at his maiden speech on 29 May.



Senior Navy Intelligence Officer highlights role of Buhari government after report claims 53 000 Nigerians killed during his tenure

According to the Nigerian Security Tracker, more than 53000 Nigerians have lost their lives to non-state violence between 2015 and 2022, the tenure of former president Muhammadu Buhari. Of those, 23000 were recorded in the north-east, attributed to BokoHaram and its affiliates. Another 13500 were killed in the north-west, with 2000 of those being from Katsina State, the former presidents home state. President Buhari has said Nigeria spent more than $1 billion to buy weapons to use in the combatting of terrorism in the country, even though the country has not been able to stem the growth of Islamist extremism, such as Boko Haram, Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP), and others. Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, a senior military officer of 35 years working in intelligence and counterterrorism, said in 2021 that president Buhari’s government was deliberately refusing to fight the terrorists because some of his cabinet members, some members of the Nigerian senate and some governors were in fact involved in the home-grown insurgency. “You remember this Boko Haram issue started in 2012, and I was in military intelligence at that time. We arrested those people. My organization actually conducted interrogations, and they mentioned names. I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in government, but I know that the boys that we arrested mentioned them. some of them are governors now; some of them are in the government. Religion is one of the tools employed by terrorists to cause carnage in the country. I served as the Deputy Director, Defence Administration, between 2015 and 2017. Throughout my two years at the defence headquarters, I received visitors twice because of the strict security architecture there, but every Friday, the gate of the defence headquarters is thrown open for everybody to come in and observe Jumat (Friday prayers). That is when the terrorists have the time to profile our security environment. It has always been the case. I have served in military intelligence for the past 35 years. Our problems are religious and socio-cultural. Groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Fulani herdsmen of West Africa are all active throughout Nigeria. corruption-by-security-chiefs-under-buhari-escaped-public-scrutiny/

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