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• Rights Council: Boko Haram activities are war crimes • 15 killed in fresh Borno market attack

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“He does not want any government to be better than his own and goes all out to frustrate, criticise and sabotage his successors. Look at him going up and down blackmailing the government that they must follow his script.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the military proved abortive as the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major-General Chris Olukolade, refused to comment on the matter.

Sect’s Activities are War Crimes

Meanwhile, the Governing Council of NHRC yesterday said Boko Haram activities in the North-east constituted “a pattern   of war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

In a statement issued after its second statutory meeting held in Gombe State between 13th and 15th June 2014, the council undertook a comprehensive analysis of the deteriorating human rights situation in the North-east, including the abduction of the over 200 students from Chibok in Borno State.

NHRC said the deteriorating situation had led to serious and massive violations of human rights, including the loss of many lives among the civil populace and security agencies, mass casualties, exponential growth in forced displacement, abduction of girls and women, and resulting in food insecurity and humanitarian crises. The council however acknowledged the efforts of government at both the federal and state levels as well as those of security agencies in addressing these security challenges.

It also welcomed the support from regional and international partners towards the search and rescue operations of the Chibok girls as well as other measures taken to enhance the protection of lives and property in the affected states.

It further called for sustained and multi-dimensional responses in respect of the following: “Regular and continuing inter-governmental cooperation and dialogue in resolving these difficult challenges, in addition to putting in place effective measures to ensure accountability by the perpetrators.

“Development and urgent deployment of a comprehensive humanitarian plan for the North-east particularly one aimed at addressing the food security crisis, access to trauma care and support, and forced displacement.

“Deepening and sustaining regional and international cooperation to ameliorate the situation and sufferings of the victims in North-eastern Nigeria and accountability by the perpetrators.”

The council also said it had considered and disposed of 134 cases and complaints mostly concerning allegations connected with demolition exercises and forced evictions, as well as violations of rights of women and children.

It expressed concern about the growing abandonment of children, neglect of parental responsibilities and the absence of effective institutions to address these as provided by laws such as the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act.

On the legality of the provisions of the Same Sex Prohibition Act, council said it was unable to comment on this because of pending cases in court.

At the meeting, the annual report of the commission for the year 2013 and the State of Human Rights in Nigeria Report were approved, while the executive secretary was mandated to transmit copies to the president and the National Assembly.

15 Killed in Borno

In confirmation of NHRC’s report on the sect, no fewer than 15 people including traders were killed yesterday when some suspected terrorists belonging to Boko Haram stormed a local market in Daku village of Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State, while several shops, houses, vehicles and motorcycles were set ablaze.

Askira Uba shares local boundaries with Biu, Chibok, Gwoza and Hawul council areas, and is about 190 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

It was gathered from sources that about 20 gunmen armed with AK47 rifles, improvised explosive devices and petrol bombs invaded the market square using motorcycles and one Hilux Toyota vehicle at about 11 am and opened fire on traders, killing 15 of them before they carted away food items and unspecified amounts of money.

They were reported to have fled towards Sambisa forest after the attack.

US Offers $18m Bounty

However, as the spate of attacks by Boko Haram and other terrorists organisations show no sign of abating, and the United States’ Department of State Rewards for Justice Programme has placed a bounty of $18 million on four terrorists operating in West and North Africa, including Khalid al-Barnawi, reportedly a leader of the Nigeria-based terrorist group known as Ansaru.

Through the Secretary of State, John Kerry, it authorised rewards of up to $5 million each for information leading to the location of al-Barnawi, Hamad el Khairy and Ahmed el Tilemsi, as well as a reward of up to $3 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Abu-Yusuf al-Muhajir. Providing more insight on the terrorists it wants found dead or alive, the US State Department said at Barnawi is reportedly a leader of the Nigeria-based terrorist group, Ansaru, and is a former senior member of the Boko Haram terrorist organisation.

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