Unic Press UK: Theophilus Danjuma said the country’s armed forces are collaborating with armed criminals in a manner that has the signature of ethnic cleansing.
The retired lieutenant-general aired his views on the widespread killings in the country while speaking at the ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the Taraba State University, Jalingo. He said:
“There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in this state and of course in all the riverine states’ of Nigeria, we must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up. The armed forces are not neutral, they collude, they collude, they collude with the armed bandits. They kill people. They kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movement, they cover them. If you are depending on the armed forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop, in Taraba State must stop, in all the states of Nigeria, otherwise Somalia would be a child’s play. I ask every one of you to be alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state. You have nowhere else to go. You have nowhere else to go. God bless our country.” (Theophilus Danjuma: 24 March 2018).
Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma served as Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from June 1999 to March, 2003; and was the Chief of Army Staff from 1975 to 1979.
In January, Amnesty International, a renowned human rights organization, accused the Nigerian armed forces of deliberate use of lethal force, causing the death of hundreds of civilians when materiel were used to attack villages – Kodomti, Shafaron, Lawaru, Dong, Nzuruwei – during air raids in Adamawa State, in the North East Region of Nigeria. There were similar reports on the use of lethal force in the South East region, and in Kaduna State against Shiite Muslims.
On New Year’s Day, the 1st January 2018, nomadic pastorialists suspected to be of the Fulani ethnic group, attacked communities in Benue State, killing many farmers and other locals in Guma local government area (LGA) and Logo LGA, Benue State, Nigeria.
In the case of Adamawa, Amnesty International said:
“Satellite and aerial imagery secured and analysed by Amnesty International confirm the devastating cumulative effect of the herders and Air Force attacks, with at least eight villages heavily damaged or completely destroyed by fire. An Amnesty International team documented the impact of the air raid on the ground. In Nzuruwei, the team saw metal tears on a vehicle and motorbike which were likely caused by rocket fragmentation. Witnesses said they found remnants of the rockets nearby. Experts identified the munitions as French-made SNEB rockets which are known to be used by Nigeria’s Alpha Jet aircraft.”
In its report ‘NIGERIA: ANALYSIS OF THE AIR FORCE RAID IN ADAMAWA STATE’ published on 30 January 2018, Amnesty International also revealed that the military equipment that were used by the Nigerian military to attack the villages in Adamawa State included fighter jets, rockets, bombs, guns.
“The helicopter and the jet started releasing bombs. Houses started burning. Children started running for their lives. Mothers packed up their children and escaped with them. We men were unable to fight back and we started running too. This jet burnt our houses and properties to ashes,” one of the witness told Amnesty International.
In a statement in January, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) flayed the Nigerian government, saying that the pattern of attacks seemed to indicate “collusion of the Security Units with the Islamists militia operating under such names as Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram, “unknown gunmen”, and “group of vandals”.
On 17th January, 2017, the Nigerian Air Force “accidentally”, in broad daylight, bombed a Christian IDP Camp and killed over 200 Christian refugees in Rann, Kala-Balge Local Government in Borno State. In December 2017, an Air Force spokes person confirmed that the Nigerian Air Force sent an Alpha Jet and an EC 135 attack Helicopter to fire “warning” shots at Islamist militia attacking Christians in Numan, Adamawa state, but not to kill them! The villagers were later to report that the Jet actually bombed the Christian villages resulting in the death of over 50 people, while, the Nigerian Air Force said it merely fired warning shots at the Islamist militia attacking the villagers. This is jihad as we cannot understand fired warning shots in the narrative of this attack.” (Christian Association of Nigeria: 16 January 2018)