Gwoza Christians in Northern Nigeria published an open letter in three Nigerian national newspapers demanding answers for severe crimes committed against them. They also hope to inform the global community and world leaders, praying they will come to their aid as many suffer.
JTF(Joint Task Force): WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIAN MEN ABDUCTED IN BARAWA, GWOZA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF BORNO STATE?
The Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) wishes to draw the attention of Security Agencies, Civil Liberties Organization, Human Right Organizations, World Council of Churches (WCC), Human Rights Watch, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), National Assembly, other Religious Organizations and the entire Nigerian public at large to the disappearance of the following Christian men abducted at Barawa Village in Gwoza local Government Area of Borno State. The said men were last seen on 30th July 2013 about five months ago. They include:
1. Mr. Bukar Musa Barawa (Former elected Vice-chairman, Gwoza Local Govt)
3. Mr. Samaila Ayuba Tangwaya –Business man/Farmer
2. Mr. Samaila Dama Ayuba – An active youth leader
4. Mr. Mathias Ibrahim – A primary school teacher
5. Obadiah Wasuwe – A trader in Maiduguri
The first four on the list were abducted at Barawa by 10 young men posing as Civilian JTF whom we later discovered were sponsored by some politicians and traditional leaders purely on religious revenge missions against the Christian community in the area. The fifth was abducted in his shop at Wulari, Maiduguri. Our investigation has revealed that the above named persons have been arrested by the group while other Christian men and a woman who escaped their grasp have had their houses destroyed as the insurgent activities re-surfaced.
The so-called civilian JTF that carried out the said “arrest” include:
(1) Kalakwa Gwasa (2) Hamza Mamuda (3) Boss Mamuda Mbasuwe (4) Audu Gujengo (5) Usman Buba Gadaya (6) Hamman Tada Mbira (7) Arushe Ibrahim Ngwalighe (8) Manu Usman Drawa (9) Dauda Spa and (10) Hamidu Ibrahim Dugje.
The Borno state house of assembly member representing Gwoza was mandated by HE the Deputy Governor of Borno state to select suitable men to serve as civilian JTF for the area but, used that opportunity to recruit the above criminally oriented youths from the village of Barawa and environs. The 10 young men are members of the dreaded sect, Boko Haram, who ran away to Maiduguri in April and May 2013 when the military JTF entered Barawa to confront the insurgents operating in the area. They disguised as members of the genuine Civilian JTF for the purposes of picking up Christian men who either volunteered to serve as guides to the JTF or are prominent in the society for elimination.
After ‘arresting’ 3 of the above persons, the former vice-Chairman, Mr. Bukar Musa Barawa went to the military JTF at Chinene to explain to the army that the arrested men were not Boko Haram suspects but Christians; the fake Civilian JTF went ahead to arrest him for defending the innocent right in the JTF camp.
When the news filtered in that the former Vice- Chairman was also arrested, over 300 members of the Woman Fellowship drawn from different churches in their uniform organized a peaceful march to protest the arrests of the above with songs of ‘Jesus is my light and salvation’ and walked for 2 kilometer, till they reached the army JTF post at Chinene where the badly beaten Christian men were being detained.
It must be noted that when the unarmed protesting women approached the military post, one soldier cocked his gun threatening to shoot any woman that ventured. That action provoked one Mrs. Rahila Jacob Kwiza whose pastor-husband and her brother-in law were killed by the insurgents a few days earlier, went and grabbed the soldier by his collars and dared him to shoot her since she has nothing to loose. It took the intervention of other soldiers for the aggrieved widow to let go and the women were persuaded to go home with a promise of releasing the arrested Christians shortly. That did not happen till date.
They were instead transferred to Maiduguri by the JTF in the name of keeping them safe for security reasons and have not been seen since then. Several visits to the JTF commander by the Borno State and Gwoza Local Government CAN leaders have not yielded any result as non among them has either seen them nor knew their where about; but they were told by Sagir Musa (the JTF spokesmen) that ‘politics has taken them away’. Whatever, that means.
We can still recall the agony we went through when the same set of so-called Civilian JTF went and arrested four of our prominent Christians in Adamawa State on 17th September 2013 labeling them as Boko Haram, until we stood our ground through the leadership of CAN Adamawa State and some good individuals before the Adamawa JTF released them on 19th September 2013. The same group of people went to Ngoshe village in Gwoza local government and arrested 7 faithful Christians Brothers on 4th November, 2013 naming them as Boko Haram, after tireless effort from different organs of Christian bodies they were finally released on 14th November 2013 after being tortured.
We also have facts to present about the murder of a vibrant dedicated Christian youth called Ali Ishaku who was killed by the same imitators of Civilian JTF on 30th August 2013, it was also alleged that he too was a member of Boko Haram, after painstaking effort to locate his remains by friends and relations, his remains was found in the mortuary amidst Boko Haram corpses, when the Army discovered that he was a Christian through church Baptismal ID card found in his pocket before the body was released for burial. He was buried according to Christian injunctions at COCIN church Kirkasama, Maiduguri.
As we write this, we want the general public to know that the so-called Civilian JTF are not only harmful to Christian community in Gwoza, but to the nation at large. For instance, on 2nd December 2013, a so called Civilian JFT went and killed Yohanna Salihu (FAAN Staff) they met him in FAAN Quarters at Maiduguri, murdered him, burnt his remains and tossed him away as Boko Haram. It took vigorous assessment to obtain the release of his remains for burial. Finally, his family members took the matter to the Police commissioner in Maiduguri. It was then discovered that the young man was completely innocent and dedicated Christian.
Later, the ECWA church was allowed to take the remains to his home village in a coffin bought by Nigerian Air force in Maiduguri. When his remains reached the church premises in Maiduguri from the mortuary, his local pastor who was to conduct the internment prayers, fainted and was rushed to hospital because of the level of torture and burns on the body.
In spite of all those happenings, the security could not bring these mischievous atrocities to book. However, more attacks on Christian communities are being recorded. When this incidences started against Christians in Gwoza we published an open letter to HE The President Federal Republic of Nigeria on advertorial page (52) in The Nation Newspaper on 13th May 2013.
We wrote another letter to HE President Good Luck Jonathan on the illegal arrest of these five Christian men, dated 6th August 2013. A copy was also sent to the Presidential Committee on Boko Haram Amnesty and to the CAN president of Nigeria, but we are yet to get positive responds.
Another letter was written to His Excellency Governor Kashim Shettima on 9th August 2013 signed by CAN coordinator in Gwoza Local Government through the State CAN chairman, on behalf of the Christian community in Gwoza to look into the illegal detention of these men. Copy of the letter was also sent to the Borno state Police Commissioner, Director SSS, JTF Commander, Gwoza local council and the Police DPO Gwoza, but to date none among the said agencies responded to our letter.
The GCCA wishes to stress that certain individuals against the Christian Community in particular sponsor the insurgency in Gwoza. We had stated this earlier in our publication of 11th November, 2013, page 25 of the Daily Trust Newspapers. We reiterate here that the plan to annihilate the Christians has been hatched over the years and has the active support of the so-called political and traditional leaders both within and outside the state.
Now, the GCCA wants to know the whereabouts of their Christian brethren who were wrongfully abducted by identified Boko Haram members disguising as Civilian JTF and handed over to the Military JTF for custody. How can politics take someone away? How can a trained army officer posted to contain insurgency in Borno State make such unguarded statement to Christians over the lives of innocent citizens whom he knows are not Boko-Haram. With such attitude, one will guess why the insurgent activities are still on the increase.
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled to such as: the right to life, liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equal treatment before the law, among others. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law. Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has inspired a rich body of legally binding international human rights treaties. It continues to be an inspiration to us all whether in addressing injustices, in times of conflicts, in societies suffering repression, and in our efforts towards achieving universal enjoyment of human rights.
It represents the universal recognition that basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status, the international community on December 10 1948 made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all of us. Therefore we ask, where are our brothers are being kept? We want to know.
Elder, Ayuba J. Bassa
Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA)
(Motto: Building One Another in Christ)
Web site Address: http://www.gwozacca.org
Email Address: email@example.com
Phone Number: +234 7081962004