There is continuing outrage over the massacre of over 185 persons including women and children in a shoot to kill encounter between soldiers from Nigeria, Chad and Niger Republic and Hausa/Fulani Islamic terrorists in the Baga, area of Borno State last Friday. Baga is a fishing village near Lake Chad.
In the age old style of lying and misrepresentation of the fact which have characterised such mass slaughter in the past, the Nigerian military issued a statement saying that only six civilians, one of their soldiers and 30 armed died, while another 15 were injured in the operation.
Both the United Nations and the United States government have expressed their shock and sadness at the high number of civilian casualties in the operation and called on all extremist groups to cease their attacks in the country. As is now the tradition following such atrocity, the Nigerian Senate has once again commenced yet another inquiry. Their report into similar shoot at sight and random killing of civilians across Nigeria, of which the most notorious is the Ezu River bodies, is yet to be published. They investigate atrocity after atrocity but in the end nothing ever comes out of it.
A Nigerian Army spokesman Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade was quoted by Reuters as saying that the a joint force from Nigeria, Niger and Chad, comprising over 100 soldiers was assembled after intelligence was received that Islamist militants Boko Haram had moved into Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad. According to the Yoruba Brigadier-General Olukolade “The force that hit them was a multinational force involving Chadian and Nigerien troops who has been cooperating on the border for about a decade”, he said. There is confirmation from both the Nigerian and Chadian officials that both their armies were involved, adding that they were surprised by the firepower they faced there.
There is still no official confirmation of the number of those killed by this combined multinational force and there is no official military pact between the participating countries. The Red Cross reported a death toll of 187, many of them civilians, with dozens more wounded. Again President Goodluck Jonathan has in his usual manner ordered a “full-scale” probe of the killings. He asked the investigation to determine whether or not the military complied with the established rules of engagement during the operation. He forgot there are rules of engagement in the Nigeria military because most of the foot soldiers can hardly read or write talk less of understanding what military rules of engagement are. As with previous episodes of industrial massacre in Nigeria, Odi being a prime example, it was proven that Nigerian army only understand two instructions in English language, open fire and cease fire.
The dubious nature of military assignment in Nigeria meant that mission to kill armed civilian Hausa/Fulani people was led by Brigadier-General Austin Edokpayi a non Hausa/Fulani man from the Southern part of Nigeria. The same way the massacre at Odi and invasion of Niger Delta at the orders of Musa Yar’Adua were led by Hausa/Fulani trigger-happy Generals. When it comes to the business of death in Nigeria it is always more effective to send troops comprised of men from other ethnic nationality to maximise carnage as most of the soldiers see it as an opportunity to get even for past ills.
Brig-General Austin Edokpayi who led the killing mission on behalf of Nigeria said that only six civilians lost their lives while 10 others sustained injuries.
According to Edokpayi, “one soldier was killed, five were injured while 30 Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives, as five were arrested with many escaping with bullet wounds”.
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The non-Muslim Commander who led the assault that resulted in the death of hundreds of Muslims Brig-General Austin Edokpayi who gave an update on the encounter said: “Multi National Joint Task Force troops on routine patrol at Baga – Mallam Garati Road had an encounter with Boko Haram terrorists at about 7.30pm on Tuesday, 16 April, 2013”. “During the encounter, one soldier was killed and 5 other soldiers were injured. While 30 Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives, five were arrested and many escaped with bullet wounds. Unfortunately, six civilians lost their lives and 10 other civilians were injured in the crossfire”. The following items were recovered: “Three Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launchers, two Rocket-Propelled Grenade Bombs, four AK 47 rifles, 435 assorted ammunition, several quantities of IED materials, while three Land Cruiser Vehicles of the terrorists were damaged”.
A further statement signed by Brigadier-General Olukolade added that: “Contrary to media speculation that hundreds of houses were burnt, instead, it was the explosion from Boko Haram terrorist Rocket-Propelled Grenade Bombs, Anti-Aircraft Guns and sophisticated IED materials that triggered fire to about 30 thatched houses in the predominantly fishing community”. Lies, lies and more lies from Nigeria and her institutions.