Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nigerian Troops Massacre Civilians, Boko Haram Church Suicide Bombing, Kalabari-Bayelsa Border Row, Biafra Abductions: Nigeria Separatism Update, 28 October - 3 November 2012

The aftermath of an attack in Kaduna

Numerous witnesses in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, in Borno State, say that federal troops murdered dozens of young men over the night of October 31st–November 1st in a series of house raids and in a chillingly described summary execution in a field.  Many of the men—at least 39 of them, according to a local morgue, and perhaps as many as 70—were killed in front of their parents.  The men, aged 18 to 25, were apparently accused or suspected of membership in Boko Haram, the Islamist insurgency in northern Nigeria.  The Nigerian military says it knows nothing about it, but a new report by Amnesty International, coincidentally released the morning after the killings, takes the Nigerian government to task for its heavy-handedness, concluding, “We found that the very grave human rights abuses by the armed group Boko Haram are being met with serious human rights violations by security forces in their response to Boko Haram.”  The report mentions not just killings or disappearances but detention without trial, torture, and military retaliation against entire neighborhoods, including bulldozing of homes.

A retired general was assassinated at his home in Maiduguri on November 2nd, according to the military, in what may have been retaliations for the military massacres.

Boko Haram Spokesman Offers Nigeria Peace Talks, with Conditions.  Journalists in Maiduguri, in Borno State, held a conference call November 1st with a man claiming to be a Boko Haram leader named Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, who offered Nigeria’s government the chance to engage them in peace talks, but on strict conditions.  The conditions were that the talks must take place in Saudi Arabia and must involve Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s former military ruler, who is a Muslim from the northern Fulani ethnic group.  Abdulaziz claimed to be speaking on behalf of Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.  Nigeria’s federal anti-terrorist Joint Task Force (J.T.F.) has rejected the conditions.

Abubakar Shekau
Jeep-Bombing of Northern Nigerian Church Kills 10; Christian Mob Kills 3 Muslims.  At least 10 people were killed in a suicide car-bombing of a Roman Catholic church in Kaduna, in north-central Nigeria, on October 28th, and over 140 were injured.  The bomber used a jeep to ram the church before detonating himself and much of the building.  No one has claimed responsibility, but Boko Haram is suspected.  In reprisal, a mob of young Christians with sticks and machetes rampaged in the city, beating three Muslims to death.  Kaduna is in the Middle Belt region where Christians and Muslims live side by side.

Boko Haram Arsonists Attack 2 Schools, Police Station in Remote Village.  Gunmen suspected of being members of the Islamist militia Boko Haram set a police station, two schools, and a telecommunications tower on fire in Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State, on October 30th.  Witnesses said they arrived in Volkswagens and threw Molotov cocktails while shouting, “God is great!”  Youths with bows and arrows chased the terrorists out of town.  There were no injuries, but the fires raged uncontrolled, since the village has no fire department.

Kalabari Kingdom Accuses Bayelsa of Altering Maps to Grab Resources.  A leading chief from the Kalabari Kingdom (a.k.a. Calabar) in southeastern Nigeria’s Rivers State, in the Niger Delta region, said at a news conference in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on October 29th that he opposed plans by Bayelsa State, which borders Rivers to the west, to annex part of its traditionally Kalabari-ruled territory.  The chief, Emmanuel Awoyesuku, chairman of Akulga Local Government Area, blamed the effort—first introduced without comment via an altered map, he said—on Bayelsa leaders’ attempt “to exert economic control over the oil and gas rich communities within Kalabari territory.”  Bayelsa is the home state of Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw, who has been accused of supporting Bayelsan separatism (as reported in this blog).  The Bayelsa State government denies the charges and also says Jonathan does not support annexation either.  The five communities Awoyesuku accuses Bayelsans of coveting are Ijaw, which is the dominant ethnic group in Bayelsa but not in Rivers or in the Kalabari Kingdom.  Meanwhile, the Kalabari Kingdom is also involved in a territorial dispute on its eastern flank, where the Bakassi Peninsula has been ceded, against residents’ will (as discussed in detail in this blog), to the Republic of Cameroon.

Kalabari activists in Abuja
Human-Rights Group Sues Nigerian Government over Denial of Biafran Independence.  Trial began in Owerri, Nigeria, in a lawsuit brought by a human-rights group against the federal government for the suffering and death caused to the indigenous Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria during the Biafra War of 1967-70.  The plaintiff, listed as Bilie Human Rights Initiative, is asking for nothing less than a court order for the government to implement “the self-actualisation and self-determination of the People of Biafra.”  The attorney general and president of Nigeria are listed as the defendants.

Biafra “Zionists” Claim Leader, 3 Others Abducted by Rival Igbo Separatist Group.  Just a few days before its planned declaration of independence from Nigeria (as discussed earlier in this blog), the leader of a fringe Igbo separatist group, the Biafra Zionist Movement (B.Z.M.), was abducted by members of the more mainstream separatist groupMASSOB.  The leader, Benjamin Onwuka, a lawyer, was one of four members kidnapped, according to Cornelius Anyanwu, the B.Z.M.’s “director of mobilisation.”  The other three were the organization’s national chairman, Samuel Edeson; its national secretary, Nweke Nweke; and another member named Chukwuma Orienta.  For its part, MASSOB—or, in full, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra—claims that it was not an abduction but an “invitation” to a meeting about the planned declaration.  One of the abducted men called Anyanwu to tell him they had been snatched from their homes and were being driven to Imo State, where MASSOB’s leader, Ralph Uwazulike, lives.  But B.Z.M. spokesmen said the declaration of independence would occur on the 5th as scheduled, in Enugu.

Members of the Biafra Zionist Movement

[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with my forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  The book, which contains dozens of maps and over 500 flags, is now in the layout phase and should be on shelves, and available on Amazon, by early fall 2014.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.  Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even though you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook.]

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