Tag: Borno State

Christian Student Killed in Spate of Boko Haram Attacks in Northeast Nigeria

Student ministry quarters targeted.

Ambore Gideon Todi. (Morning Star News via Facebook)

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Among several Boko Haram bombings that have put northeastern Nigeria on edge this year was a suicide attack on Christian student organization quarters that killed a Christian student, sources said.

Ambore Gideon Todi, a 21-year-old student at the University of Maiduguri in Borno state, was staying in the Evangelical Church Winning All’s student ministry tent when Boko Haram suicide bombers detonated explosives in mid-May, according to leaders of the school chapter of the student ministry.

Joseph Kamida Cham, a Christian leader from Todi’s native Gombe state, told Morning Star News that a friend of Todi’s also staying in the Christian student quarters had decided to travel just prior to the bombing.

“When Ambore’s friend returned from his trip and could not find him during the student ministry fellowship, that made him to start asking questions,” Cham said. “It was later disclosed that Ambore was mistaken for one of the suicide bombers that died.”

School authorities had reported that one army member along with three suspected suicide bombers were affected by the blasts. The school decided against announcing that any students were affected, fearing the school would be closed, Cham said.

Leaders of the university ECWA student ministry confirmed the killing shortly after his death, Cham said.

“It is believed that he was not the only one affected by the bomb blast, as there were others involved and were in their fellowship program,” he said, saying he was close to Todi’s family. “The authorities did not say anything about their demise till after nine days. We knew of his death because he is from my state.”

Only after Todi’s friends alerted authorities to his disappearance nine days after the bombing was he identified as a victim of the bombing, he said.

“He was identified as a victim through his shirt found at the scene of the attack,” Cham said.

Williams Abba Todi, the student’s father, announced the killing in a post on Facebook on May 22.

“KILLED BY BOKO HARAM,” he wrote. “The management of the University of Maiduguri has today officially informed us of the death of our son AMBORE GIDEON TODI killed in the suicide bombing. Ambore rest in the LORD as you were killed in the Church on active service give us consolation you are on the right hand of GOD.”

Williams Abba Todi could not be reached for comment.

Cham said Todi was the only member of his family to have gone to university and the only male child.

“He was the only child of the family who went beyond secondary school,” Cham said. “He was in Physics Department and in his 100 level.”
The family is from Biliri, Gombe state.

Maiduguri has been the site of a series of bombings and attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who aim to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria. They have also attacked predominantly Christian towns of Borno state such as Chibok, Gwoza, and Uba since January.

In an attack on a mosque in Maiduguri on Monday (July 17), at least eight people were reportedly killed when a female suicide bomber detonated explosives. Since being driven out of captured territory by military counter-insurgency operations, Boko Haram has increasingly used women and girls, presumably kidnapped, to carry out suicide attacks.

The previous week, four women reportedly detonated explosives in a suicide mission in the Molai Kolemari area of Maiduguri, killing 19 people and injuring 23 others.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims account for 45 percent.

Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Source: Morning Star News



Boko Haram: Nigerian officials ‘sexually abusing’ victims

Women and girls in several camps in the Nigerian town of Maiduguri are being sexually abused by officials, a rights group says.

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More than 16,000 people live in this makeshift camp outside Maiduguri

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it had spoken to 43 victims who had been raped or sexually exploited by vigilante groups and security officials.

The president has ordered an investigation into the alleged abuses.

Islamist militant group Boko Haram’s insurgency has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced.

Many of those forced from their homes have fled to camps around the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

However, the HRW report says some of them have suffered abuse in those camps.

Some said they had been coerced into sex and abandoned when they became pregnant.

“It is disgraceful and outrageous that people who should protect these women and girls are attacking and abusing them,” said HRW’s Mausi Segun.

The group said irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine and other essentials in internally displaced camps in Maiduguri had made women and girls – many of whom are widows and unaccompanied orphans – more vulnerable.

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In response to the report, President Muhammadu Buhari said he was “worried and shocked” and vowed to protect those in the camps.

He ordered the police and state governors to investigate.

Hundreds of refugees, including children, starved to death in one of the camps earlier this year, causing a “catastrophic humanitarian emergency”, according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

‘Drugged and raped’

Four people told HRW they had been drugged and raped; 37 others said they had been coerced into sex through false marriage promises and material and financial assistance.

A 16-year-old girl who fled a brutal Boko Haram attack on Baga in northern Borno in January 2015 said she had been drugged and raped by a vigilante in charge of distributing aid in the camp.

“He would bring me food items like rice and spaghetti so I believed he really wanted to marry me,” the girl said.

“But he was also asking me for sex. I always told him I was too small [young]. The day he raped me, he offered me a drink in a cup. As soon as I drank it, I slept off.

“I knew something was wrong when I woke up. I was in pain and blood was coming out of my private part. I did not tell anyone because I was afraid,” she recounted.

She said she became pregnant but her attacker fled the camp when he heard she had delivered.

Source BBC News



Nigeria Boko Haram: Scores of refugees starved to death – MSF

Nearly 200 refugees fleeing Boko Haram militants have starved to death over the past month in Bama, Nigeria, the medical charity MSF says.

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Aid workers say one in five children is severely malnourished

A “catastrophic humanitarian emergency” is unfolding at a camp it visited where 24,000 people have taken refuge.

Many inhabitants are traumatised and one in five children is suffering from acute malnutrition, MSF says.

The Islamist group’s seven-year rebellion has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced.

Nigeria’s military has carried out a large-scale offensive against them but Boko Haram still attacks villages in the north-east, destroying homes and burning down wells.

Displaced people in Bama say new graves are appearing on a daily basis, according to a statement from MSF.

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MSF’s visit to the camp was only possible with an army escort

It quoted inhabitants as saying about 30 people died every day due to hunger or illness.

Although the area has been unsafe to travel through, MSF says one of its teams reached Bama on Tuesday.

It went in with a military convoy from the city of Maiduguri in Borno state.

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“This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical,” said Ghada Hatim, MSF head of mission in Nigeria.

“We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors,” he said.

Source: BBC News



Second Chibok girl rescued, says Nigerian army

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This blurred photo is believed to show Serah Luka, the second Chibok girl reportedly rescued this week. Nigerian Army / Twitte

Nigeria’s army says that it has rescued a second Chibok schoolgirl, two days after rescuing Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, the first of the 219 kidnapped girls to be found alive.
“We are glad to state that among those rescued is a girl believed to be one of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls that were abducted on 14 April 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists,” said a statement issued by Acting Director of Public Relations, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman.

Serah Luka is believed to be the daughter of a pastor, says the statement, and is currently receiving medical attention at the medical facility of Abogo Largema Cantonment in Biu, Borno state.

But parents of the kidnapped Chibok girls and the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group have not been able to confirm the information.

Some 97 women and children held captive by Boko Haram were also rescued during the operation, near Shettima Aboh in the Damboa Local Government Area of Borno. Recent military operations by Nigerian forces have led to territorial gains and paved the way for reconstruction efforts.

But for hundreds of women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants, their ordeal did not end when they escaped, nor when Nigerian soldiers rescued them and reunited them with their families.

Instead of being admired for their bravery, many have become outcasts in their communities, stigmatised due to their perceived association with Boko Haram, reports humanitarian news agency IRIN.

Moreover, others – pregnant after rape by their captors – have been “shamed and are now accused of spawning or seeking to spawn future Boko Haram fighters,” continues IRIN.

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Ninety-seven women and children were rescued during the latest operation, near Shettima Aboh in Borno. Nigerian Army / Twitter

This bodes ill for the Chibok girls. One recent Christian returnee, Tabitha, told The Nation she had met some of them in her camp and that many have become Boko Haram fighters.
This all backs up Angelina Jolie’s message of “rape as a ‘policy’ aimed at terrorising and destroying communities”, which she repeated again this week when she gave a keynote address in London about the conflict and insecurity that are the root causes of the mass movement of refugees.

It’s a message she first spoke about in the UK Parliament last year.

“[Islamist groups such as] Islamic State are dictating [it] as policy … beyond what we have seen before,” said Jolie, a UN Special Envoy. The Hollywood actress said the groups know “it is a very effective weapon and they are using it as a centre point of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families, and attacking and dehumanising.”

Jolie earlier shared stories of girls she had met in war zones, who had been repeatedly raped and sold for as little as $40. In 2014, she co-hosted a global summit in London, attended by representatives from more than 100 countries, aimed at raising awareness and tackling the issue of sexual violence in conflict, especially rape as a weapon of war.

Meanwhile, the report, Our Bodies, Their Battleground: Boko Haram and Gender-Based Violence against Christian women and children in North-Eastern Nigeria since 1999, sheds light on Boko Haram’s ultra-Salafist ideology, which promotes the use of rape as a weapon.

It reveals how tremendously effective and efficient it is to focus attacks on women and girls – because the knock-on effects are devastating to the community. Entire families and Christian communities are thus “dishonoured”, regularly leading husbands to reject wives who are victims of rape, and embarrassment and shame for their children.

The fact that Christian women and children suffer at the hands of Boko Haram is a carefully calculated part of the movement’s multi-pronged front-line offensive, designed to intimidate the population into accepting political-religious change, points out the report.

The use of rape was also justified by Boko Haram militants on the basis of “sex as jizya”, a reference to a tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects for their own protection.

Source: World Watch Monitor



Chibok girls: Rescued Amina to meet President Buhari

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Amina was found with a four-month-old baby

The first of the missing Nigerian schoolgirls to be rescued since her capture two years ago is to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, was found with a baby by an army-backed vigilante group on Tuesday in the huge Sambisa Forest, close to the border with Cameroon.

She was one of 219 pupils missing since they were abducted from a secondary school in eastern Chibok in April 2014.

They were taken by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

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Amina Ali Nkeki was one of 25 abducted girls who came from the same town

On Wednesday, Amina and her four-month-old baby were flown by the Nigerian Air Force Maiduguri – the capital of Borno state.

Earlier, they were examined at a local military facility.

Amina – who has had an emotional reunion with her mother – is expected to arrive in the country’s capital Abuja later on Thursday to meet President Buhari.

Mr Buhari’s spokesman said the young woman would then be helped to reintegrate into society.

Amina was reportedly recognised by a fighter of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), a vigilante group set up to help fight Boko Haram.

She was with a suspected Boko Haram fighter who is now in the Nigerian military’s custody. Named as Mohammed Hayatu, he said he was Amina’s husband.

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Hosea Abana Tsambido, the chairman of the Chibok community in the capital, Abuja, told the BBC that Amina had been found after venturing into the forest to search for firewood.

“She was saying… all the Chibok girls are still there in the Sambisa except six of them that have already died.”

During the April 2014 attack, Boko Haram gunmen arrived in Chibok late at night, then raided the school dormitories and loaded 276 girls on to trucks.

More than 50 managed to escape within hours, mostly by jumping off the lorries and running off into roadside bushes.

A video broadcast by CNN in April this year appeared to show some of the kidnapped schoolgirls alive.

Fifteen girls in black robes were pictured. They said they were being treated well but wanted to be with their families.

The video was allegedly shot on Christmas Day 2015 and some of the girls were identified by their parents.

The Chibok schoolgirls, many of whom are Christian, had previously not been seen since May 2014, when Boko Haram released a video of about 130 of them gathered together reciting the Koran.

The abduction led to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which was supported by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

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Source: BBC News