Saturday, 7 June 2014

Open Letter: Demand For Presidential Invitation Of The ICC To Nigeria (Part3)


His Excellency
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
President & Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
Federal Republic of Nigeria
The State House, Three-Arms-Zone
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria                      

Boko Haram Terror & Other Unlawful Killings In Nigeria: Our Opposition To Immunity & Impunity For Atrocity Crimes & Criminals And Insistence On International Criminal Justice Intervention-Part Three
This is the continuation of our letter to Your Excellency bordering on Boko Haram terror and other unlawful killings in Nigeria since July 2002 when the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court came into force. This is in accordance with Article 11 of the Rome Statute on jurisdictional competence of the Court.

Your Excellency will recall that our organization (International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety) had on 28th and 31st of May 2014, addressed parts one and two of this public important letter to Your Excellency. Our last correspondence with the courier firm we contracted to courier the letter under reference indicated that the two-part letter was successfully delivered to Your Excellency’s office at the State House, Abuja, FCT as at Monday, 2nd day of June 2014. It is also important to inform Your Excellency that the Office of the Chief Prosecutor for ICC has written us to acknowledge the receipt of its copies and their entry into its Information & Evidence Register for perusal and other expected actions. The ICC letter to Intersociety, referenced: OTP-CR-181/14 and signed by M.P. Dillon for Chief Prosecutor, was dated 2nd June, 2014. We have also replied the world respected body through ours dated 3rd of June 2014.

1,296 Nigerians Killed By Boko Haram In 66 Days: Between 1st April and June 5th  2014, a period of 66 days, at least, 1, 296 Nigerians including a first class Emir or Muslim traditional ruler have been killed by Boko Haram violent sect. The recorded 1st April and 5th June 2014 Boko Haram killings are:  10th April, 60 killed in Kala Balge, same day, 8 killed in Dikwa, 14th April, 71 killed in Nyanya Park bombing, Abuja, 1st May, 19 killed in second Nyanya Park bombing, 5th May, over 300 killed in Gamboru Ngala in Borno, 18th May, 4 killed in Kano, 20th May, 118 killed in Jos, 21st May, 25 killed in Chikongudo (source: Wikipedia May 2014).

Others are: 25th May, 54 killed in Yobe & Borno States (Wikipedia), 26th May, 20 killed in Kamuyya Village in Biu LGA, Borno State; 26th May, 21 killed in Waga Village in Madagali LGA, Adamawa State; 27th May, 14 soldiers, 11 policemen and 10 civilians killed in Buni Yadi in Gujba LGA, Yobe State and Chinene Village in Gwoza LGA, Borno State. The Boko Haram terror sect had in recent months gone by massacred between 55 and 59 boy-students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in Gujba LGA of Yobe State, who were asleep in their dormitories.

On 28th May, 35 innocent citizens were killed in Gamushi, Amuda and Arbokko villages in Borno State, 31st May, 40 killed in Kala/Balge (Wikipedia), 31st May, the Emir of Gwoza, Idrissa Tinta killed, 31st May, 42 killed in Kanari, Wadarde and Gula villages in Gamboru Ngala LGA of Borno State, 1st June 2014, 13 killed at the Church of Brethren, in Attangarra Village near Gwoza LGA of Borno State,  May 30th and 31st , 45 killed in Annari, Wodula and Warshele villages near Ngala town in Borno State with their food items and scores of livestock carted away by Boko Haram terror sect and on June 1st , 2014, 40 killed in a popular bar and brothel located near the Nigerian Army’s Special Operations Battalion in Kaban area of Mubi in Adamawa State.

On 2nd June, 2014, at least, 300 villagers were reported killed in three communities around Gwoza local government area of Borno State when gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram but fully kitted in military fatigue uniforms attacked them, eyewitnesses and security operatives said.A few villagers in Danjara, Agapalwa and Antagara who managed to escape the attack are currently taking refuge in the rocky Gwoza hills, while others mostly women and children who were spared by the attackers have found their way into Cameroonian territory. A State lawmaker representing the area in the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Biye, told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that “they (Boko Haram) opened fire on villagers and burned houses and churches to the ground” and dozens of people were killed in each attack.  Another indigene of the area from Attangara village, Mr. Andrew Tada, who lives in Maiduguri, the State capital, told the BBC that he lost two cousins in the attack, noting that residents had told him they were preparing to bury 45 people from that village alone.

Impeccable sources who saw it all told LEADERSHIP that the gunmen that attacked the villages pretended to be soldiers who had come to protect them from further attacks, but when the fake soldiers managed to gather all the villagers at the centre of the village in Attangara, they opened fire on them, killing hundreds and injuring several others. “They came in military Hilux vans, and we all thought they were the soldiers that we earlier reported to that the insurgents might attack us; when they came in over 10 Hilux vehicles we all felt relieved that, at last, the military had arrived. So we went to them and they told us that ‘we are soldiers and we are here to protect you all’. They then urged all of us to converge at a particular spot at the centre of the village; we all complied. But when they saw that a sizeable number of us had converged, they began to shout ‘Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar’ on top of their voices, then they began to fire at the people continuously for a very long time until all that gathered were dead,” said a community leader who would not say his name for fear of his safety. “I lost four of my blood brothers in the massacre. I was lucky to escape because I was not very close by when the gunmen started shooting at our people. I was going round to inform people that the soldiers had come and they wanted to address us. I managed to escape through villages in Adamawa State and later made it to Maiduguri”.

The source said while the gunmen were killing the villagers in the three villages, some others who were riding on motorcycles lay in ambush outside the villages and continued to pick on the fleeing villagers.“When some of the villagers managed to escape, they were unfortunately waylaid outside the villages by some gunmen on motorcycles who would catch and slaughter the men and young boys; they only allowed women and children to go,” said the source. The source added that Boko Haram gunmen had for over a month now hoisted flags in attacked villages like Ashigashiya and Chinene, but each time they ran to the military to report their plights, “the military personnel in Gwoza would say they have not been given order to go to that area; even when they are hearing the sounds of their guns, they really don’t care.

“But on Monday, when we went to tell the soldiers that we got information that the insurgents would be coming to attack us, they assured us to go back and that they would come to join us in the village. That was why we thought that those that came to attack us were soldiers, because they came in military Hilux and they were all dressed like soldiers. But it turned out that they came out to massacre us.” The source said: “Corpses still litter everywhere in the villages and in the bush; some women whose husbands were killed before their eyes had to return to dig shallow graves to bury their husbands so that their bodies would not be preyed upon by vultures or wild animals. I can confidently tell you that over 300 persons have been killed” (Sources: Intersociety, News Express, the Leadership, Wikipedia, local residents and other local media).  The latest Gwoza massacre above is totally targeted and directed at Christian communities in Borno State. Also, on 5th June, 2014, at least, 45 people were killed in Bargari village in Konduga LGA of Borno State when Boko Haram murderous elements opened fire on innocent people after disguising as “preachers of Islamic teachings”.

Our Opposition To Immunity (amnesty) For Boko Haram Terror Sect: Granting immunity to Boko Haram butchers and encouraging a culture of impunity for atrocity crimes committed and being committed by the murderous Islamist sect is graver than passing through devastating and destructive natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami. It is shocking and reprehensible to observe some groups and individuals calling for canonization of atrocity criminals in the form of “amnesty” or immunity.  At this juncture Your Excellency, we condemn strongly the reported calls or moves by the likes of Shehu Sani of Kaduna based CRC and other groups for amnesty or immunity from criminal responsibility to be given to Islamist violent sect called “Boko Haram” armed opposition group. Our opinion is that “immunity/amnesty for Boko Haram should be granted only in exchange for restoration of all innocent civilian lives and private and public properties lost and destroyed by Boko Haram sect”. We believe also that such calls are made out of ignorance and ulterior intents.

Why Amnesty or Immunity For Al-Qaeda-linked Boko Haram Will Fail: It is important to inform Your Excellency that circumstances under which Boko Haram Islamist violent sect finds itself presently makes it near impossible for the violent sect to concede to the so called “amnesty” being rumored or championed. It is an elementary knowledge Sir that it is easier to join an organized drug criminal cartel but very difficult to opt out. Those championing immunity or amnesty for Boko Haram violent sect should first of all, study the Al-Qaeda and its global membership. This is without prejudice to any hostage negotiation for the freedom of over 200 Chibok girls taken hostage since 14th April, by the violent sect provided it is premised on international hostage negotiation norms, which must exclude immunity from criminal liability for leaders and members of the violent sect over atrocity crimes committed. Swapping five Taliban Islamic fighters for one US soldier must not be misconstrued or misinterpreted because under the four Geneva Conventions or War Conventions of 1949, exchange of war prisoners is allowed.  Chibok girls are not war prisoners or POWs.

As Your Excellency may be aware, Al-Qaeda (meaning The Base) is a global militant Islamist and takfiri organization formed around August 1988 and end of 1989 by a group of Islamic radicals  led by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri, Osama bin Laden, Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, Saeed al-Masri, Mamdouh Mamud Salim and Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif. The fiery and murderous group is traceable to Arab volunteers, who went to fight the defunct Soviet Union in Afghanistan to unseat its puppet regime in Kabul led by Dr. Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai (1987-1992) over its “un-Islamic” influences in the country. The Al-Qaeda forefathers are the “Mujahedeen” and the “Taliban” Islamic freedom fighters that fought “Jihadist” wars in Afghanistan and some former Eastern European countries including defunct Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The Taliban, which came from the Mujahedeen, is led by invisible and fiery Islamist, Sheik Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Today, there are over 33 “Al-Qaeda by nationality” operating in countries like  Afghanistan, Algeria, USA, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Comoros, Egypt, UAE, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kurd, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Moldavia, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Spain, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey and Yemen. It shares same traits with other radical Islamists, which operate in over 52 countries (Islamists by nationality). Al-Qaeda’s radical Islamic Conquest and World-wide Islamic Caliphate ideologies have roots in hitherto radical OIC formed to challenge the conservative Arab League especially the latter’s position over the State of Israel and people of Jewish origin. The two radical Islamic ideologies later led to successful Islamist revolutions and military takeovers in Pakistan (under Zia ul-Haq 1978-1988), Libya (under Muammar Gaddafi 1969-2011) Iran (under Ayatollah Khomeini 1979-1989), Sudan (under present Omar Hassan al-Bashir 1989 -present) and Afghanistan (under Mullah Mohammed Omar 1996-2001).

The Al-Qaeda operates a global network comprising both multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad and strict interpretation of shariah law as well as breaking up of all foreign influences in Muslim countries. The Base or Al-Qaeda has since been designated as a terrorist organization by UN Security Council, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), Russia, USA, UK, the EU, India and host of other countries. Over 19 of its key leaders including Osama bin Laden (2011) have been assassinated globally. Its funding is strongly believed to have come from some Islamic countries like Iran and some radical oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Other radical Islamic organizations and Islamists in Europe and Americas are also believed to be funding the terrorist sect using some globally undetected malicious money laundering enterprises such as, some say “e-Gold” and other malicious sources.

Boko Haram Islamist Violent Sect: As Your Excellency may be aware, this violent group is actually called: “The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism & Jihad or Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad. It was founded in 2002 by late Mohammed Yusuf and Fuji Foi, former commissioners in Ali Modu Sherif civilian government in Borno State. The violent sect began as a ragtag armed group and resorted to bank and armed robberies and looting to survive. It operates in northeastern Nigeria, north Cameroon and Niger Republic and is fighting for pure Islamic State rule by shariah law and an end to “westernization”. Today, the violent sect has been internationally connected to Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the global Al-Qaeda, Al-Shaabab in East Africa and the Movement for Unity & Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). It is also associated with Mokhtar Belmo Khtar’s violent Islamist sect faction and other militant Islamist groups operating outside the country.

The violent Islamist sect was designated as a terrorist group by the USA on November 13, 2013 and on 22nd May, 2014, the United Nations Security Council added it in the list of global Al-Qaeda entities placing it on funding, weapons and traveling sanctions. Its funding is divided into three: primary, secondary and tertiary. Its primary funding came from violent criminal activities like armed and bank robberies, looting and mandatory financial contributions from its members and voluntary and forced supporters. The primary funding held sway during its surviving years. Its secondary funding is believed to have come from its big local sponsors especially from northern elites. Its tertiary funding comes from overseas including from radical rich Islamists and Islamic bodies in oil rich countries and western world. It is also strongly suspected that the terror Boko Haram sect receives fat funding from Al-Muntada Trust Fund and the Islamic World Society (sources: Wikipedia & Intersociety Nigeria June 2014).

The import of the above analytical information Sir is to keep Your Excellency abreast of the international sophistry of the violent Islamic sect called “Boko Haram” and for Your Excellency to understand the near impossibility of getting it surrendered and disbanded under the so called “amnesty program” being rumored or championed. The local and international circumstances under which the violent Islamist sect is now, is a clear departure from that of MEND or NDVF in the Niger Delta. This is because the Boko Haram violent sect has been internationally indoctrinated, hardened and radicalized by virtue of its membership of Al-Qeada Islamist network and its exposure to a basket of big international malicious funding organizations and individuals. This is more so when it has never been heard or recorded that a member of Al-Qaeda or other global Islamist networks has been amnestied to the point of its surrendering and disbandment. This is why we hold a belief that those championing illusive amnesty for the violent sect are doing so out of ignorance.

Moreover, meeting all their conditions for amnesty or things like that expressly means making it to achieve its radical ideologies of Islamizing the country and establishing Islamic caliphate at Aso Rock as well as turning Nigeria into Afghanistan where it is a taboo under the Mullah Mohammed Omar’s Taliban rulership to access formal education and live a free life and enjoy civil liberties. Even if the presidency of the country is conceded to them, it will be seen and treated as “Boko Haram Terror won presidency”. If the people of Nigeria elect a Muslim northerner in February 2015 presidential poll, so be it, provided it is not gotten through the barrel of gun or an IED originated from the terror group’s barbarous and butchery uprising against Nigeria and Nigerians.

While dialogue remains a major tool in conflict management and transformation, the best options left in Your Excellency’s hand as Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief is to join and consolidate membership of the global coalition against terror, overhauling and digitalizing the internal and national security establishments and invocation of the global criminal justice sanctions against those responsible for the atrocity crimes under reference, be they those in the Boko Haram violent armed opposition group or those in the country’s security and political establishments. The souls of thousands of innocent citizens murdered in the ethno-religious cleansing under reference will eternally haunt the State of Nigeria if those responsible for butchering them are canonized and red-carpeted. There is also a compulsory need for the State of Nigeria to set aside a period for “National Sorry feast” so as to sooth the vengeance souls of those butchered and forgotten. Payment of reparation or compensation by the State of Nigeria to members of the immediate families of those butchered must also accompany the “National Sorry” mechanism under recommendation.

Yours Faithfully,
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge-Onitsha 430003
Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
+2348100755939 (text 24/7, call Mon.-Friday: office hours)

1. Mr. Ban Ki-moon,  Secretary General of the United Nations, New York, USA
2.  Ms Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor for International Criminal Court, Hague, The Netherlands
3.  The United Nations Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
4.  Secretary General of Amnesty International, London, UK
5.  The Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
6.   Nigeria’s Permanent Rep to the United Nations

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