Sunday, 26 February 2012

Boko Haram Set School On Fire, Violence Rages: US Offers to Help

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As reported a primary school situated at Abaganaram ward of Maiduguri metropolis was set ablaze on Wednesday night by suspected members of the Boko Haram sect, residents of the area alleged.
When Nigerian Tribune went to the area at about 4.00 p.m., it was discovered that the fire started at about 12.00 p.m until the morning on Thursday.
A resident, who spoke to Nigerian Tribune on the incident, said
people were alleging that the fire was set by members of the Boko Haram sect. "We saw the smoke and we began to wonder because earlier, there were gunshots around here and people locked themselves in their homes. Later, somebody said there was fire on a building. We were all afraid to go out but this morning, they were saying it was Boko Haram, so, we did not know whether it was Boko Haram or those boys that always smoke Indian hemp at the school," Maman Bala told Nigerian Tribune.
 According to her, some young men are in the habit of smoking Indian hemp at the primary school, adding that the police had come on many occasions to arrest them but they would be released later and they would return to the school to smoke.
She wondered why Boko Haram would set a school ablaze when there was nobody in the school.
"I don't think this was Boko Haram. They always say Boko Haram for everything now, but I think those boys smoking were responsible for the burning.''
The police, on Thursday, again fell victim to the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect in Kano and Niger states, as members of the sect killed four policemen while two others sustained varying degrees of injury.
The police command said 15 suspects had subsequently been arrested.

However, there were conflicting report as to the actual location where the four policemen were killed. A source said that the attack was very close to the new Inspector of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, a police source disclosed that the incident occurred on the Bayero University Kano (BUK) road, after Gidan Murtala in Kano metropolis.
According to a statement issued and signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Magaji Musa Majiya and made available to the Nigerian Tribune, gunmen killed two policemen, injured two others who were on patrol on the Bayero University Kano (BUK) road.
He said: "Today, Thursday, February 23, 2012, at about 08:30hrs, on BUK road by Island after Gidan Murtala, unknown gunmen on four motorcycles attacked our policemen on foot patrol.
''As a result of the attack, two died on the spot, while two were injured and are now receiving treatment at Hospital.''
ASP Majia added that military helicopter was sighted hovering over the area, while the road is also jampacked with heavy traffic due to through search and check by the combined team of the policemen and soldiers.
The spokesman for the Joint Task Force in Kano State, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the arrest, saying the security operatives searched the area and arrested four suspects.
He disclosed that the suspects were arrested during a gun duel at Hotoro General area and declined to give further details of causalities during the attack.
In a related development, an unconfirmed report said that on Wednsday night, at Naibawa park, on the outskirts of Kano, four gunmen killed a civilian and went away with his Toyota Camry car.
An eyewitness said the four gunmen shot the owner of the car while he was about to open the door of the car.
He said that immediately they shot the man, he fell and the suspected gunmen drove away the car.
However, all efforts to confirm the incident proved abortive.
In Niger State, tragedy struck in Minna, on Wednesday night, following the killing of two policemen attached to the state police command by suspected members of Boko Haram sect, while the slain policemen were on a stop and search duty at the city gate on the Minna-Paiko/Suleja expressway on the outskirts of the state capital.
The killing of the two policemen occurred barely one week after a similar incident occured in the state capital, when some fleeing gunmen suspected to be members of the sect killed three policemen, including an Inspector of Police and a police sergeant, at the General M.I Wushishi Housing Estate, at the Eastern bye-pass area of the state capital and a police corporal at Maje community, in Suleja Local Government area of the state.
Nigerian Tribune investigation further revealed that the attack on Wednesday had caused apprehension among the residents in the state.
Nigerian Tribune further learnt that the two policemen, whose identities were unknown at the time of filing this report, were killed by some fleeing gunmen at about 9.30 p.m. at a police nipping point in Minna.
Meanwhile, when contacted by telephone, the spokesman for the state police command, Mr Richard Oguche (ASP), confirmed the attack but declined to give further details.
He said: "Please, I will call you back. I am going to see my commissioner. Two of our men have just been killed at Tunga. I will call back to give details.''
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria said, on Thursday, that his country was offering support for the Nigeria's fight against the Boko Haram sect, but ruled out sending troops into a region vital to American oil supplies.
Ambassador Terence McCulley said the United States (US) was encouraging Nigeria to reach out to residents in the North while using security forces to target and apprehend terrorists.
He said the US was also considering opening a consulate in Kano, the biggest city in Nigeria's North, to burnish America's own image in a region where many people were still suspicious of the Western influence.
However, he was unequivocal when asked in an interview with the Associated Press whether US troops should be deployed in Nigeria.
"That's not on the table. No, absolutely not.
"It's of a great concern to us. We've seen an increase in sophistication, we've seen increased lethality. We saw at least a part of the group has decided it's in their interest to attack the international community.
"It's not going to be solved exclusively by treating it as a security issue," McCulley said, adding that "it needs a holistic solution. Government needs clearly to have a targeted approach on security that targets the bad guys that target perpetrators of these horrible attacks and don't injure innocent civilians or damage property."
While McCulley declined to give details, he said that "adequate systems" were now in place to receive such warnings and that the US maintained "robust relations" with Nigerian intelligence agencies. Source: Tribune

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