Nigeria resumes massacres
Rafiu Oriyomi | IslamOnline.net | September 10, 2009
Many Muslims complain of being arrested for only growing bears and wearing short trousers.
LAGOS — Nigerian police have been accused of indiscriminate arrest and harassment against Muslims across the country since clashes with the militant Boko Haram group killed at least 600 people…
In July, Boko Haram, a militant group opposed to anything modeled after the West, went on rampage in three north-western states attacking police stations and other facilities.
A massive security operation resulted in the killing of hundreds of militants including their leader Mohammed Yusuf and alleged financiers.
There have since been reports of constant police harassment of Muslims on the streets across the country.
“What qualified me for this wicked charge is my beard and attire,” fumed Saleh, 29, who met a number of other Muslims at the police station, arrested on the same charge.
“What this means is that all Muslims are members of the Boko Haram,” he stressed.
“And if that is the case, then there is a danger lurking around because we won’t take this from the government.”
“Prolonged detention is capable of inflaming tempers in an environment already soaked in fuel and sitting on a keg of gunpowder,” Akintola warned.
The harassment is not limited to Borno or Yobe. Earlier this week, at least 11 bearded Muslims were rounded up by policemen at Ijaiye, a suburb of Lagos, on charges that they are members of Boko Haram.
Sulaiman Idris, one of the detainees who police said will be charged on illegal association and terrorism related charges, told IOL he was going to work when arrested.
“I can’t remember doing anything contrary to the law,” a tearful Idris sobbed, alleging torture.
He said others are going through the same ordeal.
“I have known Idris as a peace-loving Muslim who keeps beard and wears short trousers. His arrest is a slap on fundamental human rights,” said Shakirat Adedo, a work colleague.
“I’m told 11 of them were arrested. I think this is getting out of hand.”
When contacted, Lagos Police spokesman Frank Mba denied knowledge of the arrests and pledged to investigate the matter.
Two Muslim journalists working for the Lagos-based Islamic publication Al-Minbar were arrested last week and are still being detained in Yaba.
The arrest is linked to publishing an article entitled “Every Muslim Is A Boko Haram,” in response to police action.
Money for Justice
What adds insult to injury is that Muslims have to buy their freedom from police custody.
Asked how he regained his freedom, Saleh said his relatives “had to pay through their noses to get me released.”
“This means the Nigerian police want to hide under the Boko Haram incidence to feed fat on us,” he charged.
Mallam Zakari Adamu, Chairman of the Movement of Justice in Nigeria (MOJIN) Yobe chapter, confirmed the ugly trend.
“Our great problem is that if your innocent relation is detained for alleged involvement in Boko Haram, if you don’t have money to give him, you then sacrifice him or her to remain in cell,” he told IOL.
“Even when they have finished their interrogation and find him not guilty, you still have to bribe for him to regain his freedom,” contended the rights activist.
“I know of a boy who was shot; he is an innocent businessman. His father told us that he has spent N240,000 yet he could not even see the face of his son, this is unjust.”
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a countrywide network of Islamic activists, is raising the issue with the government, warning that the clampdown could trigger another bout of violence…
Update - Press TV – December 29, 2009
Thirty-eight members of the Boko Haram extremist group, including their leader, have been killed in clashes with a joint military-police force in the city of Bauchi in northern Nigeria.
Bauchi Police Chief Atikur Kafur told reporters on Monday that one soldier and two innocent people were among the dead in the Zango district of the city. He added that 14 people were also injured.
Twenty suspected militants were arrested, including nine adults and 11 juveniles.
The police chief identified the Boko Haram leader as Malam Badamasi.
Background – July 31, 2009