Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Boko Haram Ranks Second On Global Terror List

• Killed 1,132 in 364 attacks, says U.S. report

• Group’s, Talibans’ record higher than killings by Al-Qaeda, Maoists, Al-Shabaah

• Outrage at ACN’s opposition to ban on group

• PDP accuses party of support for insurgents

WITH only the Talibans in Afghanistan ahead,Boko Haram is now the second widely known perpetrator of terrorism in the world, according to a report by the United States (U.S.) government.

Just last week, the U.S. State Department announced a $7 million bounty for information that will lead to the capture of the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

And in Nigeria, there is outrage at the opposition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to the Federal Government’s ban on the group. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday accused the ACN of trying to use the press as a subterfuge to hide its support for insurgents and to whittle the efforts by the Federal Government to end acts of terrorism in the country.

The ruling party, which threw its weight behind President Goodluck Jonathan, said contrary to the claims by the ACN, no part of the presidential order proscribing terrorist groups, directly or indirectly violated any provision of the constitution or impinged on the freedom of the press in the country.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Monday described the allegation by the ACN that the order was aimed at gagging the press, as despicable and a clear indication of how far the opposition party could go to distort facts to support violence and cause disaffection among Nigerians.

The PDP in Ondo State and the Niger Delta Professionals also faulted the position of the ACN.

An annex to the U.S. government report on terrorism last year, just made available to The Guardian, shows that besides the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria had the highest number of terror attacks last yearand killed also the second highest number of people.

The statistical report called ‘START’ conducted by the University of Maryland for the American government on global terrorism in 2012 has revealed that while the Talibans killed 1,842 people in 525 attacks last year, and came tops on the infamous ranking, Boko Haram came second killing 1,132 in 364 attacks.

Both the Talibans and Boko Haram killed more than Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Maoists in India, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula among other global terrorist groups.

Commenting, the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans (CANAN) noted that based on these statistics of the U.S. government, the refusal of the State Department to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) continued to be unsettling.

A statement from the group on Monday in New York said: “The statistics that were computed at the instruction of the U.S. government by a reputable university deemed a centre of excellence by the U.S. government show proof why Boko Haram should be designated.”

CANAN added: “This is a further evidence that our demand to the State Department to designate Boko Haram an FTO is a position backed up by facts and reality. Our hope and expectation is that soon, the State Department will do what is right.”

The statistical report also revealed that of the top 10 countries with the most terrorist attacks last year, Nigeria came fifth because of the activities of Boko Haram.

Besides, Nigeria ranked fourth in number of deaths from terrorist attacks. According to the statistical information attached to the recent “U.S. Terrorism 2012 reports”, last year alone, there were a total number of 546 terror attacks in Nigeria with 1,386 killed.

“The average lethality of terrorist attacks in Nigeria (2.54 deaths per attack) is more than 50 per cent higher than the global average of 1.64.”

The statistical report revealed that in 2012, the majority of highly lethal attacks -159 in all -, took place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria, killing a total of 2,880 people.

The report stated that Boko Haram “was responsible for a number of highly lethal attacks in 2012, including a series of co-ordinated bombings and armed assaults in Kano, Nigeria, on January 20 that killed an estimated 190 people.”

The ‘START’ was conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, based at the University of Maryland. The consortium is deemed a U.S. Homeland Security Centre of Excellence for Science and Technology.

The U.S. laws require the government in its yearly terrorism reports to include complete statistical information on number of individuals killed, injured or kidnapped by each terrorist group during the preceding year.

Last year June, the U.S. State Department contracted the consortium to collect the statistical data.

A statement by the Ondo State Director of Publicity of PDP, Ayo Fadaka which was made available to The Guardian in Akure yesterday, expressed “total disappointment” over the ACN’s position on the Boko Haram issue.

The statement read in part: “The activities of terrorist groups represent a grave challenge to the corporate existence of the nation and its only goal is to systematically pursue a programme that would have completely led to its disintegration.

“In tackling this development, President Goodluck Jonathan certainly did explore all available avenues to make Boko Haram and its accomplices to embrace peace and even conditionally disarm its membership and this was rebuffed continuously.

“It was when it became almost impossible to call them to order that the Federal Government finally declared a state of emergency in the prime theatres of their action and even when that happened, the ACN was the only party that condemned the action of government as if the programmes of these anti-system groups are synonymous with its goals.

“Again, the ACN has pushed further its frontiers of clandestine support for these groups by needlessly criticising the Federal Government gazette of the ban of these agencies saying it will infringe on the liberty of people, we wonder if there are elements in that party that are accomplices of Boko Haram.

“Therefore, we call on the people of the South-West to take due cognisance of the activities of the party and be circumspect in appreciating same. There are ominous signs that there are more than meet the eyes in its style and operations. In the South-West, we take pride in our tolerance level and ability to accommodate our diverse feelings but if feelers from Osun State are anything to go by today, religious sentimentalism is being promoted by the ACN government of Rauf Aregbesola and this is sad and absolutely reprehensible.

“In playing politics, we expect that issues that promote the development and health of the nation must dictate the views of political parties and not sectarian and parochial issues that will certainly do more damage than ordinarily anticipated.

“Parties thrive today because there is a nation where peace and orderliness reign and that must be a goal of every citizen to preserve.

“We restate that anyone who is conscious of all the evils perpetrated on citizens and corporate organisations in this country by Boko Haram and its accomplices and continues to seek to express support for these organisations in whatever manner is anything but patriotic.

“We equally remind the ACN that its desire to make any political gain in Nigeria is certainly predicated on the peace and well-being of the nation.”

In their reaction to the ACN’s position, Niger Delta Professionals said that the party’s attack was an insult to the Nigerian people.

In a statement by National Co-ordinator, Mr. Onoriode Izomo and National Secretary, Mr. Andrew O. Ugbovoro of the group, they said that the ACN’s action had proved its desperation to rule the nation.

“Or how else would you explain such an open support for violence and killing of innocent souls and destruction of property by a group that has no value for life? Is ACN indirectly unveiling part of their agenda for their proposed coalition with the APC? Buhari attacked the Presidency by his utterance, the whole world condemned him, now his supposed coalition partner decides to join his wagon of senseless utterance and publicly attack the President again. These are the same people who had consistently criticised the President on his peaceful approach to the handling of fear and terror created by the same group in Nigeria,” the group said.

It added: “We want to let the ACN know that Nigerians may be gullible but not totally silly, any one or group who could support the Boko Haram despite all the havoc they created in this nation is not only violence-oriented, but is an enemy of peace and does not deserve to be given the slightest opportunity to go near Aso Rock let alone enter into it. God has only shown Nigerians the make-up of people seeking our votes to rule us. By this singular act, we are no longer deceived by the below par performance of some of the ACN governors, it’s merely a ploy to lure Nigerians to their own doom. ACN or APC if given opportunity to run the affairs of this nation would use Boko Haram to terrorise Nigerians. Note that any man or group that supports evil is himself or herself evil.”


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