FOR what it termed “illegal detention” of five of its members, the Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Gwoza local council has petitioned Governor Kashim Shettima over the activities of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and Police since June this year.
The petition, dated August 9, 2013 and signed by CAN Coordinating Secretary, Rev. Joel Y. Ndirmbita, and exclusively made available to The Guardian yesterday in Maiduguri, was also copied the Police Commissioner, Lawal Tanko, the Director of State Security Services (SSS), JTF Commander and Gwoza Emirate Council for appropriate investigation and action.
Also, the youth in Kajuru community in Kaduna metropolis yesterday protested the arrest of nine villagers who were allegedly linked to the attack by the unknown gunmen who killed three policemen in a recent raid on a police station in the area.
They barricaded the major roads and highways leading to Kajuru town, forcing motorists and commuters to turn back. The community claims that it rose to the occasion, arrested two suspects in connection with the attack and handed them over to the police when the police were helpless.
However, the Kaduna Police Command Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Aminu Lawal, said that when “the people you have in custody give you information, you will make progress,” adding that they have no other person in custody than the two arrested by the people.
Meanwhile, the JTF in Borno has attributed the killing of 26 members of the Borno Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG) at Monguno last Friday and the missing 36 others to not seeking JTF security and escort in their manhunt of fleeing Boko Haram insurgents.
JTF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, disclosed yesterday in Maiduguri in an interview at their headquarters that the Nigerian Army has commenced investigations into the killings. He noted, however, that the Nigerian Army was disturbed at the killing of innocent youth who were protecting lives and property.
He added: “We have always made it clear to the vigilance youths that they should not operate on their own but always seek military backing for security and appropriate guidance in the hunt of fleeing insurgents.
Recalling that it wrote in July intimating of threats to their lives and property, CAN urged further investigation.
According to the petition, “on July 30, 2013 some group of people under the auspices of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), who are Dughwade by tribe in Gwoza council area and reside in Kasuwan Shanu ward of Maiduguri travelled to Barawa and arrested five of our members – Bukar Musa Barawa, Mathias Ibrahim, Samaila, Rev. Ayuba Tangwaya, Samaila Ayuba Gwaya and Obadiah Wasuwe – claiming that they belong to Boko Haram.”
Ndirmbita alleged that the members were subsequently handed over to the JTF headquarters in Maiduguri.
He noted that all the arrested persons are Christians and have never been associated with any act of criminality, nor can they be linked to Boko Haram.
The petition denied that they were paraded as Boko Haram members and queried why the five were arrested and detained by JTF when none of them was found in possession of arms and ammunition.