Sunday, June 3, 2012
POLICE (BOKO HARAM) Kill Our People.
. Police killed my people – Leader . Boko Haram killed your people – Police There is apparent confusion in Potiskum, the economic nerve centre of Yobe State following another round of killings at the residence of Malam Mustapha Lawan, the representative of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the national leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). Mustapha is also the leader of the Movement in Potiskum and he told Sunday Trust how enraged he was over what transpired on Sunday, 26th May, 2012 shortly after Maghrib (sunset) prayers in front of his residence at Tsohuwar Tasha in Potiskum. The cleric said he was fully convinced that the assailants that descended on his house around 7.30pm on that fateful day are security operatives. He went ahead and pointed accusing fingers at the police, whom he claimed are vent on “annihilating him and his members.” Malam Mustapha alleged that the police wanted to eliminate him and his followers because of the sacrifice they are making in creating awareness among the Muslim community in Potiskum, whom he said are “under siege by excesses of security agencies.” According to him, “It really beats my imagination when top ranks of the police summoned the audacity and went public denying that their men attacked us when there are ample pointers that buttress their culpability,” the cleric said, noting that he was ready to prove his argument anywhere. He added that he has incontrovertible evidences to prove that the police killed three members of his group and injured five others. But the police in Yobe State fired back at the cleric and stressed that Malam Mustapha was just trying to cause confusion. Police commissioner Moses Onirepi said there was no way his men could kill people without any provocation, stressing that his men did not carry out the attack. “The Shiite (Islamic Movement) group should sort out their grievances with Boko Haram members because we learnt that they (El-Zakzaky’s followers) were preaching against their (Boko Haram) killings,” the commissioner said. “The fact is that the Shiites are only trying to cause confusion, they should leave Police alone,” he added. Our correspondents report that shortly after the attack on Sunday, there were many claims that the police carried out the attack. “The facts are there”, Yusuf Ali, a resident of Potiskum, whose house is not far from the scene of the attack remarked. “A curfew has been fixed in Potiskum whereby except security men, no individual or vehicle is allowed to move between 6pm and 6am of the next day. It is therefore appalling that any other group could drive in a convoy of cars and go and launch attack and then go away without any resistance, I bet you something must be wrong,” he said. Yusuf added that there were so many roadblocks in Potiskum and that it will be difficult for any assailant to use vehicle and then have his way. “In fact, it will be difficult to see somebody malingering around 5.30pm, not to talk of 7.30pm when many people have forced themselves to sleep,” he added. Fielding question on the evidences which the Islamic Movement said it has in its custody, the commissioner argued that, “If they have any evidence of that kind, then they should report it to the appropriate authorities or file a legal action. “They should do the right thing rather than making inciting comments and uncomplimentary remarks,” he said. The commissioner said that the last time the JTF raided a black spot in Potiskum was a day to the attack at the cleric’s residence. “The place we raided was Shago Tara, behind FCE Guest House which is opposite to where the Shiites group was attacked, so they should leave Police alone,” the commissioner insisted. Narrating his ordeal to Sunday Trust, the Islamic Movement leader in Potiskum said the attackers laid siege after he and his members had completed the Maghrib (Sunset) prayers and were waiting for the time of the last prayer of the day (Isha’i) “It is a usual practice that we utilize the little time we have between the two prayers and engage in prayers, learning of the Qur’an and jurisprudence,” he said. It was gathered that the frontage of the house of the clerics also serves as the mosque as well as a learning centre of the movement which has a large followership in Potiskum and environs. He said it was while he was seated together with about ten of his members that they began to hear thunderous sounds of gunshots. “As Allah pleases, we were not scared or rattled and we consoled ourselves not to flee because we don’t know what will happen if we attempt to move from the scene,” he said. It was after the shooting temporarily subsided that we decided to move into the outer room that is attached to my house,” he said. He said that when the shooting continued unabated and one of his people was killed before he got into the room. “About five of us succeeded in getting into the room and locked the door but the police targeted their rifles and fired countless gunshots…the bullet hit two of my people again,” the cleric said, describing the incident as “barbaric reprehensible and condemnable.” “Honestly speaking, the police are not helping matters; in fact they have made life unbearable to us because of their excesses. We don’t want the police, we don’t want the soldiers, in fact we don’t want the JTF here,” he said. “What we have at our disposal is enough evidence to prove to the world that the attackers were men of the Nigeria police in plain clothes,” he said. “We recovered bullets, magazines, and a rifle painted in police colours, belonging to the mobile police. Please what other evidence can we produce?” he asked, rather rhetorically. I still want to repeat! The extra judicial behaviour of the joint task force is reprehensible, unlawful and condemnable in its totality. The military action is an affront on our fundamental human right of worship and peaceful assembly,” he said. He expressed disgust that the very security men sent to ensure law and order in Potiskum are the same people that have turned their guns against the civilian population they are detailed to protect. “We now know that the federal government has sent military and police to kill our people; and no going back; we are going to defend ourselves and take any necessary action on the recent attack by JTF and killing of our members as soon as we conclude our investigation,” he said. “It is the wish of Allah that I am talking to you now, otherwise I would have been dead,” he said, adding that his colleagues had attempted to resist the onslaught. “One of us summoned courage and captured one of the assailants but when the others realized that one of them was at hand, they shot him dead and left,” the cleric said. “And as they were about to flee, they remarked that they have succeeded in shutting off our mouths,” he said. “But nobody can shut my mouth, provided I am alive and hale and hearty. Wallahi nobody can threaten me to keep quite from preaching what Allah said we should preach. I know we are into an expensive and risky venture but so be it. I know I could be killed but I have the strongest conviction on what we are doing. Allah is our surety,” he said. A source said the attackers arrived in four vehicles and opened fire at the worshippers and when they left, the injured were rushed to hospital for medical attention. Corroborating, Mallam Mustapha said the attackers once again ambushed the vehicles heading to the hospital and opened fire again. “By all indications, we were attacked by the people assigned to protect us but we would never relent, no going back,” he said. He gave the names of those that were killed as Abdullahi Zakar (33); Zakari Ali (43) and Mukhtar Lawan (42). Those that sustained serious gunshots include: Musa Lawan, Murtala Ashafa (a young Almajiri, Tsangaya School pupil); Hashimu Abdullahi, Abu Tallib Mohammad and Lawan Muhammad. “All the injured escaped death by the whiskers because one of them sustained 11 gunshots in his body. We are really grateful to Allah,” he said. He recalled that more than 100 gunshots were fired into the room he and few of his members entered. “Alhamdu Lillah, as you can see, we are alive because our lives are in the hands of God. We pray that He will grant Aljannatul Firdaus to our colleagues that died,” he said. Sunday Trust gathered that one of the deceased, Mukhtar Lawan was a younger brother of the cleric. “All the deceased were buried the next day amidst emotions and sympathy. They were brutally killed but Allah knows the best,” Salisu Abubakar, a sympathizer from Gombe State said. It would be recalled that the JTF in Potiskum came under severe criticism about four weeks ago following an attack at a cattle market, the largest in the northeast part of Nigeria which led to the killing of over 100 people. The Senator representing Yobe South, Senator Alkali Jajere had shortly after the attack at the market blamed the JTF of insensitivity. “We really have so many questions that are yet to be answered. The market was surrounded by military and police men, their duty posts are all over, it is difficult for me to believe that such a killing will happen without any resistance,” Jajere said. He also accused the federal government over its insensitivity to the plight of the people of the North and even called for the resignation of President Goodluck Jonathan. “The most painful part is that apart from prominent people that are directly related with the victims of all this incidents, nobody from the federal government cares to come and sympathize with us, this is really a big mess,” Jajere said. Source Sundaytrust.