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The Islamic State yesterday mentioned Nigeria in a statement it issued, claiming responsibility for coordinated attacks in different parts of Paris by assailants numbering eight, which resulted in the death of 129 people, and left at least 352 injured.
In an online statement distributed by supporters on Saturday, ISIS said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected areas in the French capital.
Nothing elaborate was however said about Nigeria, apart from a mention in a post on the terrorist group’s blog.
The statement, posted on ISIS’ blog, according to a tweet by TRACterrorisim.org, reads, “O people crusaders: when you deploy forces in order to control the city Saladin and dreaming of Mosul, Sinjar, Haul, Tikrit or Huwaijah or dreaming Mayadin or Jarablus or Karmah or Tel Abyad or Al Qaim or Darnah or dream to reclaim the wilderness in the interior Nigeria or master ‘Asy’asy Sinai desert sand, then surel, WE just want ROME and PARIS Insyallah before before ANDALUSIA (UKK).”
With ISIS claiming responsibility for the Paris attacks, investigation has moved beyond France as Belgian authorities made a number of arrests there in the first publicised apprehensions after Friday night’s bloodshed, a Belgian Justice Ministry spokeswoman said yesterday. Three people were reportedly arrested in Molenbeek district of Brussels in connection with the attacks.
France has vowed revenge for the attacks. President Francois Hollande deemed the shootings and bombings “an act of war.”
He said early Saturday, “We will lead the fight, and we will be ruthless.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathised with the government and people of France over Friday’s attacks and has called on world leaders to come together to confront terrorism.
This was contained in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
Buhari said Friday’s attack underscored the need for “all peace-loving nations of the world to intensify ongoing multilateral cooperation and collaborative actions aimed at bringing the scourge of international terrorism to a speedy end for the benefit of all nations”.
While condemning the dastardly act, the president described the attacks as an unacceptable affront to all human values and civilized norms.
“As a country which has borne the terrible human cost of terrorist attacks, Nigeria stands in full solidarity with the government and people of France as they mourn those who have sadly lost their lives in the attack on Paris,” he said.
ICC report lists war crimes against Army, Boko Haram
A preliminary report of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has listed eight war crimes against the Nigerian army and the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The ICC in the preliminary report published on its website, indicated that crimes against humanity and possible war crimes may have been committed by the Nigerian military and the insurgents in the last six years, in the country’s North-east region.
According to the report which was released by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, eight possible cases of crimes against humanity and war crimes under Ariticle 7 and 8 of its statute, had been identified to have been allegedly perpetrated by both the insurgents and the military.
A breakdown shows that while the military may be indicted for two of the cases, six of them were perpetrated by Boko Haram.
The ICC report listed indiscriminate arrest, detention, torture and extrajudicial killings of people suspected to be Boko Haram fighters and collaborators as well as its attack of civilian populations as well as the recruitment of child soldiers by pro-government militia called the Civilian JTF, as crimes allegedly committed by the military.
“During such arrest operations boys and men were reportedly arbitrarily targeted and arrested by Nigerian Security Forces. Since 2011, Nigerian Security Forces have reportedly arrested at least 20,000 people, mostly young men in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. Altogether, more than 7,000 people reportedly died in military detention since March 2011 due to illness, poor condition and overcrowding of detention facilities, torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions.
“Attacks against civilians form the subject of a second potential case against the Nigerian Security Forces. In the town of Baga, Borno State, up to 228 persons may have been killed following a security operation on 17 April 2013. 55 Human Rights Watch published geospatial images of the area affected, alleging that at least 2,275 dwellings were destroyed in the attack.
“Finally, although the central government prohibits the recruitment and use of child soldiers, it is reported that the Civilian Joint Task Force recruited and used children, sometimes by force. Further information on these allegations is however required,” the report stated.
The report mentioned indiscriminate attacks on civilians considered to be “disbelievers,”as the first instance of crime against humanity, by the insurgents.
“This case includes attacks conducted against civilians when taking control of towns and villages as well as bomb attacks launched against civilians in civilian areas.
“From January 2013 to March 2015, 356 reported incidents of killings can be attributed to Boko Haram in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Plateau, Kano, the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), Gombe, Kaduna, Bauchi in Nigeria as well as occasionally in Cameroon (since February 2013) and Niger (Dumba and Diffa, since January 2015) which led to the killing of over 8,000 civilians.
“Following military operations since February 2015 during which territory previously held by Boko Haram was recaptured, mass graves or other sites with decomposed bodies were discovered allegedly containing the bodies of civilians killed by Boko Haram,” a part of the report read.
The second case against the insurgents according to the ICC is the case of abduction. The ICC stated in the report that it recorded 55 incidents of abductions committed by the Islamist sect between January 2014 and March 2015, involving at least 1,885 abductees mostly from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and that in 2014 alone 1,123 people were abducted 536 of them being female victims.
“Boko Haram reportedly also detained thousands of civilians in its camps and in towns under its control in Borno state and other undetermined areas in the north-east of Nigeria, including in the Sambisa forest, around Lake Chad, and near the Gorsi mountains in Cameroon. For example, in Bama town, hundreds of men were reportedly held by Boko Haram in the town’s prison for several weeks before being executed,” the report added.
The third instance of crime against humanity identified in the report was Boko Haram’s propensity of attacking schools and other educational buildings as well as attacks on students and teachers.
“School buildings were allegedly bombed, attacked with firearms and/or burned down by Boko Haram. Boko Haram allegedly targeted primarily state schools pursuant to a policy that such schools are the main conduits through which western values are being transmitted to the local society. From mid-2013, Boko Haram attacks on schools, on schoolchildren and teachers increased significantly.
“Between January 2012 and October 2013, 70 teachers and more than 100 schoolchildren and students were reportedly killed or wounded. In May 2014, Nigeria Union of Teachers reported that at least 173 teachers had been killed between 2009 and 2014; Borno State officials have cited a slightly higher figure of 176 teachers. At least 50 schools were either burned down or badly damaged and 60 more were forced to close. In March 2014, the Borno State government decided to close all secondary schools in the state in order to protect students and teachers from further attacks.
“In addition, as a result of direct threats from Boko Haram, 120 schools were forced to close in 10 districts of the Far North of Cameroon. Boko Haram was included as a new party on the list of the Secretary General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (2014) for attacks against schools among other alleged conduct,” the report further stated.
It added that Boko Haram’s policy of recruiting child soldiers constituted another instance of the sect’s alleged commission of war crime and crime against humanity.
“While there is no information available on the total number of child soldiers, the UN reported the recruitment and use of children as young as 12 years old by Boko Haram. Several witnesses reported that they saw children in the ranks of Boko Haram during attacks. Boko Haram reportedly pressured boys to join their group by threatening their families through cash payments. Others may be recruited through Quranic schools.
“Most of the children are allegedly used for intelligence gathering, tracking the movements of enemy forces, transportation of weapons and for participating in the attacks including for the torching of buildings dedicated to education and religion. In propaganda videos attributed to Boko Haram, child soldiers can be seen being trained to use firearms,” The ICC report indicated.
The report listed the sect’s attacks on girls and women as its fifth potential case of crime against humanity, noting that the increasing attacks on female subjects were for punitive reasons such as attendance of school and for reasons such as cooking, cleaning and other operational reasons.
The report observed that the abduction of 276 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state on 14 April, 2014, was the most notorious example of this crime and that the increasing use of women and girls as suicide bombers represented an escalation of the crime.
Attacks on places of worship constituted the Boko Haram’s sixth commission of war crime, the report said, pointing out that the intentional targeting of buildings dedicated to religion, including churches and mosques constitutes a sixth potential case against Boko Haram.
“According to the Office’s analysis, the number of destructions of civilian buildings, including churches and mosques, gradually increased since January 2014 and peaked between November 2014 and March 2015,” the report stated.
On what its next step of action would be, the office said it would continue to analyse allegations of crimes committed in Nigeria and to assess the admissibility of the potential cases identified, in order to reach a decision on whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met.
“Based on the cooperation with the new Nigerian authorities and any new information on relevant national proceedings, the Office will determine its next steps. The Prosecutor has repeatedly stressed the seriousness of the situation in Nigeria and the need to bring alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice. Ability and willingness to conduct national proceedings against all sides of the conflict will remain a key area of focus of the Office’s admissibility assessment.
“The Office is planning to carry out a mission to Abuja to inform the new authorities about the status of the preliminary examination and share information on the potential cases with the Attorney-General of the Federation as soon as the new cabinet has been appointed. The Office is devoting particular efforts to determine the gender component of crimes committed in Nigeria. This includes specific analysis of whether any of the alleged conduct constitutes the crime against humanity of persecution on gender grounds,” it said.