Upsurge in killings by police and vigilantes ‘sickens’ Nigerian citizens


( – In an unprecedented upsurge in deadly violence, some 30 civilians were shot dead by uniformed troops in northern Nigeria, Maiduguri city, recently when a rogue contingent of soldiers began firing their guns indiscriminately, laying waste to the busy Lagos Street area, setting homes and shops ablaze in apparent retaliation for a recent attack on a military van.

Military officials have denied that civilians were killed. But Maiduguri General Hospital reported  that 32 bodies were dropped off by a truck and that the bodies lay on the floor of the morgue for hours.

An improvised explosive device reportedly blew up the military van, killing or wounding between two and six soldiers.The area is known to be the stronghold of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which wants Sharia law in Nigeria.

Similar accounts of security forces arresting and killing local residents following militant attacks have been heard over the past three years of Boko Haram violence.

Elsewhere, in a deeply disturbing incident, four university students in Port Harcourt were “necklaced” by an irate mob over the alleged theft of a laptop and a Blackberry handset. A video on YouTube shows the brutal beating of the four young men, who were stripped naked, doused with kerosene and burned alive.

Niger Delta activist Annkio Briggs, interviewed on Channels TV, lamented: “I was sick to my stomach to see a grown man pushing tires down the necks of children that could be the age of my son. But you see, this is the level of impunity in this country with government, with corruption, with a lack of accountability. There is no human decency anymore.” Comments on several news sites echoed her sentiment.

A moving statement by the grieving mother of Chiadika Biringa, a second year student of Theater Arts, killed by the vigilantes, was printed widely:

‘’My son turned 20 years old this week and we gave him pocket money to celebrate… On Friday morning, my second son called to say that villagers had murdered four students. I immediately rushed to the scene only to see my son’s dead body being taken away naked to a mortuary… I could not believe my eyes and collapsed,” she wrote.

She dismissed the stolen items story. “My son had a Blackberry and a laptop since he was in primary school. No way could my son steal a cell phone which every village woman now owns…

‘’To waylay them and beat them with planks until they died like chicken is the most savage thing one can witness in Nigeria of 2012. What savagery and bestiality.

‘’My husband and I want only two things: To clear the name of Chiadika, and to see justice… Those who murdered my son must face the wrath of the law.” (Signed) Heartbroken mother.’’

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