Monday, July 28, 2014
July 27th Nigerian SITREP (General And Boko Haram) by Fulan Nasrullah
23rd July 2014: Two bomb attacks hit Kaduna City the capital of Kaduna State about 200 Km north of Abuja. The first blast struck Murtal Square (a public square in the city’s central area while thousands of Sufi Muslims were exiting it after attending the last Ramadan lecture of Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, Nigeria’s leading Sufi cleric of the Tijjaniyyah Toriqoh (Path). Over 100 people die.
The official narrative is that the Murtala Square bombing was aimed at Sheikh Bauchi, but at the time the attack took place, the Sheikh had been gone from there for almost an hour. Thirty minutes before the blast, a trustworthy friend of mine who was taking his wife to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna (were the bodies and injured from both attacks would later be taken to), for her appointment with the doctor was held up for several minutes near Sheikh Bauchi’s house in Tudun Wada district of Kaduna, as the Sheikh and his massive entourage were moving across the junction into the road that leads to his house.
The Sheikh’s house is 3-4km away from Murtala Square, so by no chance was he around the square when the bomb went off. Preliminary investigations indicate the bomb was contained in a bag and was activated by radio remote.
The second blast was a VBED (Vehicle Borne Explosive Device) and was clearly aimed at General Muhammad Buhari, ex-military ruler, three time presidential candidate, highly regarded as one of two honest leaders Nigeria ever had 9the other being the late Murtala Muhammad), the most popular political figure alive today in Nigeria, and the person who most likely will unseat President Jonathan in next year’s elections.
The General was travelling from Kaduna to his hometown of Daura in neighbouring Katsina State when the attack occurred at Kawo, a district in Kaduna Metropolis.
According to the General, when he left his house in a three car convoy, he was informed by his Chief Security Officer that another vehicle has been spotted trailing behind them. As they entered into Kawo District, the new car accelerated and tried to ram into the car carrying the General, but was prevented by the convoy’s escort car which quickly assumed a blocking position, so it pulled off at the last moment. It would return to try again and again, chasing after the convoy which had switched to emergency security protocols as the General’s C.S.O rightly suspected an assassination attempt.
The blocking and chasing would go on for nearly 10-15mins until the chase reached Kawo Market and Motor Park and at to slow down because of a traffic Jam near the overpass there. At that moment, the VBED took advantage of the relaxiation of speed by the convoy and accelerated from the side towards the General’s car, slamming into the lead car which had maneuvered and intercepted its charge, before exploding. Over 39 deaths follow with scores reported injured.
Eyewitnesses insists that after the VBED detonated, a detachment of soldiers who had been waiting beneath the overpass opened fire on the General’s car and the surrounding area, leaving bullet marks on the armoured SUV (shown in picture) and killing most of those reported dead in the attack. Bullet riddled bodies were also alleged to have been picked up by the military and taken to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital at Comilla Barracks.
Another twist entered the whole incident when the driver of the VBED jumped out of the vehicle as it accelerated towards the General’s car and executed a dive-roll before trying to escape into the fleeing crowd. However he/she (I will explain) was captured by some youths who noted his /her dramatic exit from the vehicle, and they would have lynched him to death if not for the General’s surviving escorts who took him/her from the crowd and (when they arrived) handed him/her to the ssoldiers and police reinforcements.
The attacker who drove the VBED turned out to be a man who dressed up in pseudo-Muslim women’s dress (Muslim women in Kaduna don’t dress like you see him dress in the picture) complete with a pumped up bra. At first the military and police authorities tried to deny his arrest but admitted to it after pictures of him being escorted to an Otokar APC belonging to the military surfaced on social media.
Reaction Of The Citizenry
The general perception amongst people in most areas of Northern Nigeria is that the attempt on General Buhari’s life was ordered by the Presidency, while a few believe the President would not be so stupid as to even think of killing this man whose death had it happened in the attack would have triggered widespread chaos that would have engulfed this country in flames. A minority believe that the attack was orchestrated by a ‘third-party’ interested in sowing the seeds of a civil war, knowing that people would quickly jump to blame President Jonathan.
However the universal belief I have encountered in various interviews, social media, talkshows or press statements by various individuals is that the earlier attack on Murtala Square was a diversion to to tie the whole thing to Boko Haram, and disguise it as ‘Islamic extremism’.
Should that be the case, such an alleged Boko Haram tie has been discredited since it is well known that the Boko Haram groups have absolutely no benefit from killing the General nor do they have any reason to want to kill him. They respect him and praise him as a ‘honest and principled man’. As a matter of fact, when the Jamaa’atu Ahlis-Sunnah of Sheikh Bukar Al-Barnawi wanted to hold negotiations with the Federal government, he was the only one they accepted from the government side as he was the only person they could accept as ‘trustworthy, honest, incorruptible and impartial’.
24th July 2014: Two small bombs went of at a bus park and near a popular local cinema (El Dorado Cinemas) respectively in Sabon Gari district of Kano Metropolis. Two people confirmed dead.
23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th July 2014: Nigerian Army makes several attempts to recapture Damboa Township and surrounding areas. A dozen or more troops are killed and the soldiers are forced to retreat due to the heavier firepower of the rebels.
Meanwhile, fighters from Jamaa’atu Ahlis-Sunnah of Abubakar Shekau attack several villages in Biu LGA, killing over 72 people including 62 civilians and more than 10 CJTF (Civilian Joint Taskforce) fighters Hundreds evacuate to safer areas.
25th July 2014: Soldiers open fire on a peaceful procession of Shias and Sunnis marching in solidarity with the people of Gaza, killing over 40 people including women and children The march in Zaria (60km north of Kaduna City) was organized by.the Islamic Movement, a politico-religious group of Shias, Sufis and Sunnis run by Sheikh Ibrahim Az-Zakzaki (Zakzaky) the leader of Shias in Nigeria. Amongst the dead are Mahmud Zakzaky a son of the Sheikh, a friend of mine who was part of the procession and a woman who was shot along with her baby on her back. Two more friends of mine and over a hundred people were dragged into detention.
By 10:00pm same day news emerged that Ahmad Zakzaky another son of the Sheikh who was shot and also detained had died in military custody. Sheikh Zakzaky who later address the press in the evening on 26th July and confirm reports that the soldiers came to his house and picked up three of his sons; Hamid, Ali and Ahmad, and that all three were shot, while Ahmad and Hamid had died in custody earlier in the day.
Sources have confirmed that previous reports that the soldiers who carried out the shootings and arrests were not part of the regular units deployed in Zaria or Kaduna which is the headquarters of the 1st Mechanized Division (that has operational control over Zaria), rather they were from Abuja based units under the Brigade Of Guards. Other sources confirmed that they had the insignia and flashes of the 176 Special Forces Battalion, the special operations element of the Brigade Of Guards, trained by United States Special Operations Command subordinate units. On the morning of 26th soldiers passed by a study centre of the Shia which also houses an office of the Islamic Movement and sprayed gun fire into the building killing three more people.
Gyallesu the suburb of Zaria where Sheikh Zakzaky and the Shia in Nigeria have their headquarters was cordoned off for a shortwhile but has now been re-opened, however there is still a heavy military presence and the situation in Zari remains very tense.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his followers have for years maintained a trained but informal small militia that has upto a thousand fighters. They are also known to maintain an extensive small arms arsenal plus substantial amounts of crew served weapons. Iran since 1998 has assisted the Sheikh with weapons and advisers. However apart from some minor clashes which nearly led to heavy fighting between Shias and Izala Muslims several years back over the Shia practice of cursing Aisha (RA) and the Compaions of the Prophet (SAWS),a practice which is widespread amongst Nigerian Shia but has been condemned by Ayatullah Khamenei Iran’s Supreme Leader in one of his fatawa (fatwas), Zakzaky and his followers have not turned their weapons on anyone.
The fear now is that this attack on Zakzaky and his followers may end up leadig to another Boko Haram insurgency, and this is a widely shared sentinment.
In 2009 Muhammad Yusuf and his followers were attacked by soldiers several times while they were in funeral processions to go and bury their dead., until they could take the repeated unjustified murder of their people and they rioted, an opportunity which the Nigerian government seized to launch a full scale assault on the Yusufiyya members based on faulty intelligence supplied to Nigeria by the US, UK and Israel.
Pictures of the VBED driver who dressed up as a female Muslim:
Bullet riddled SUV of General Buhari: