Nigeria: Vigilante Injustice


October 17, 2012: So far this year Boko Haram has made nearly 300 attacks and killed over 800 people. That’s more than half the 1,500 people the Islamic terror group has killed in three years of escalating violence. Nearly as many people have been killed by police operations against Boko Haram. These killings have made the police unpopular (they were never very popular to begin with) and helped Boko Haram to recruit.

Government efforts to eliminate Boko Haram are not having much success. The police and soldiers often do more harm than good, usually in the form of abusing or killing innocent civilians. This is largely the result of incompetent recruiting and training, as well as a culture of corruption in the leadership (especially in the police). The government has long talked about dealing with these problems but little has been accomplished.

Tribal violence continues in central Nigeria (Plateau State). Moslem nomadic Fulani tribesmen have been fighting with Christian farmers outside the city of Jos for years. The violence has gotten worse now and there have been nearly a thousand casualties so far this year. Boko Haram has now claimed involvement. The Fulani have long claimed that the government was sending Christian police to persecute them because of their religion (not because they were constantly attacking Christian farmers). So far this month there have been over a hundred casualties and police cannot seem to completely stamp out the violence.

October 16, 2012: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, troops killed 24 Boko Haram men while repelling several attacks by the terrorists.

October 15, 2012: In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Boko Haram set off about a dozen bombs, destroying schools and cell phone facilities. Troops rushed to the scene and encountered gunfire from Boko Haram. The shooting continued through the night.

October 14, 2012: In the north (Kaduna State) a village was attacked by a gang of armed men, who killed 23 people. The attack was apparently carried out to free four men who had been seized by local vigilantes. Survivors of the attack insist that the leader of the gang was a local policeman, who has since disappeared. Police often work with or even organize and lead criminal gangs. In this case the police were apparently upset with success of the local vigilantes against police-backed criminal gangs.

In the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Boko Haram made three attacks and killed an Islamic leader who opposed them.  Three others were Christians killed while leaving a church.

October 9, 2012: In the northern city of Kano, gunmen killed two policemen who were guarding medical personnel giving polio vaccinations. Many radical Moslems see these vaccinations as a Western plot to poison Moslems.



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