This is a very sad story I received from a former classmate of mine at A.B.U. (1978-1982), now a lecturer at University of Maiduguri, Mrs Salamatu Tata Askira. The question the STF commander in Maiduguri should ask himself is whether this misbehaviour is typical of or exceptional among his men.
Salamatu is lucky that her children escaped death, but not so were many parents in Maiduguri who lost members of their families and property to JTF carnage. We salute the courage of Salamatu for speaking out. I implore other Nigerians to do the same in the face of tyranny.
Who is proud of soldiers that attack civilians, children and women? The President, CDS, JTF Commander or who?
The JTF in Maiduguri is fond of denying these atrocities. But denial will not help it win the confidence of the people it claims to protect. Maiduguri, as a result of this wild behaviour by the JTF soldiers, is suffering from two Boko Harams: the JTF and BH. May God save Maiduguri and all Nigerians from both.
Let us listen to Salamatu:
My driver, Mamman, and two of my daughters suffered a traumatic ordeal in the hands of JTF in Maiduguri, yesterday, 28 August, 2012.
I had sent them to the bank unaware that there was a bomb explosion earlier on in the town. Shortly after that they called to tell me the situation in town and that they were on their way back as the banks were closed. Barely 10 minutes later, I received another call from them but this time I could barely hear them as they were crying hysterically. The only words which I could pick out were ‘harbi, soja’ (bullet fire, soldiers) and then more cries. I tried severally to call them back but of course in their confusion, they didn’t pick the call. By this time, even those of us at home were crying. When eventually they were out of danger they called to say they were on their way. We waited anxiously at the gate for them.
According to Mamman, the military vehicle came from behind them, sped past them and one of the soldiers used the bottom of his gun to break the side mirror of the car. As soon as they had overtaken them, three of the soldiers at the back of the car opened fire at it directly. There was no other car in between. The soldiers fired several shots at the car but, Alhamdulillah, the bullets went through the bonnet and caused some damages there instead.
One of the bullets landed on the shoulder of a passenger in a taxi, which was behind our car. He bled profusely. I hope he survived it.
One of my daughters in her fright, opened the door of car and fled. The one at the back laid flat on the floor of the Sienna bus while Mamman, at the steering was in utter shock. In fact, he never thought he would come out of the ordeal alive. He didn’t even know that bullets had pierced the bonnet till he got home and inspected the vehicle. On realising how close to death he had been, he opened the car, laid his head on the seat and wept like a baby. Have you seen a grown up weep? At this time we were crying yet again.
I suffered a similar fate last May. I was on my way to the university and completely unaware of the JTF vehicle coming behind me, probably cause my windows were up. Apparently they were beckoning at me to stop but I didn’t know. When eventually I stopped, they all alighted from there car and surrounded me. One of them shouted that I refused to stop when they stopped me. I apologised and told them honestly I didn’t realise they were stopping me . The driver of the vehicle, NPF 2495C, then came down and pointed his gun at me shouting, ‘I will kill you now, I will shoot you’. He immediately used the bottom of his gun to smash the left headlamp of my car with so much rage. He then walked to the right side, repeated the same words and smashed the right head lamp. After that, he and the rest of his men entered their vehicle and drove off. This happened in front of Oasis bakery. Suffice is to say, other road users were shocked that they had actually attacked a woman.
I rest my case.
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