The JTF said it will sanction its erring soldiers in the community.
Residents of Jiddari-Polo in Maiduguri, the troubled capital of Borno State, on Wednesday protested alleged move by soldiers to forcefully evict them from their homes.
The soldiers, members of the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri, wanted the Ward Head of Polo, Bulama Abbu, to sack everyone who has resided in the area for less than two years; some of whom are suspected to be Boko Haram members.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. Abbu, who declined carrying out such instruction, was threatened by the soldiers, who vowed to arrest and shoot him dead, if he failed to carry out their order in the next two days.
A resident of the community, Ardo Konduga, confirmed the current situation to PREMIUM TIMES.
“Our neighbourhood has been one of the most peaceful since this insurgency began. We had no celebrated cases of killings and attacks
here except for two selected cases sometimes last year. Now the soldiers have threatened the life of our Ward Head asking him to send
anyone who newly came to live here in the last one year, that they are Boko Haram,” Mr. Konduga, a lawyer said.
The residents also lamented how the soldiers had forced a 5 p.m. curfew on them even when the official curfew in the town starts from 9 p.m.
“Every day we are being beaten up and humiliated by soldiers for violating the illegal curfew hours that we are not aware of. A
70-years-old man was two days back tied up and flogged by soldiers for not just cause other than defying the illegal curfew they imposed on us,” said Mr. Konduga who spoke on behalf of other angry residents.
The residents vowed to resist any further molestation from the soldiers. “We will no longer tolerate this any longer,” said one Bishara Uba, a retired civil servant. “The commander of JTF should immediately call these newly deployed soldiers to order, or else we would be forced to protect our wives and children from the terror of these soldiers even if it would cost us our lives’
PREMIUM TIMES contacted the JTF spokesman, Sagir Musa, who denied knowledge of the development in Jiddari-Polo.
“Officially curfew starts by 9pm to 6 am. However, a local commander in charge of an area, on reasonable ground, may enforce it even before 9 pm. But 5 pm seems to be too early, I will surely discuss this with commander of the area,” Mr. Musa, a Lieutenant Colonel, said in a text statement sent to journalists in Maiduguri.
“As to the alleged eviction notice to residents who are not up to 2 years in Polo area, I want to state that it is not the position of d
JTF and troops in the affected area who might indulged in that will be sanctioned appropriately,” he added.
He urged the residents “not to heighten tension as envisaged anymore.
We said it many times, that JTF will not condone or encourage unprofessional conduct or indiscipline and where it happens we apply sanctions immediately and appropriately.”
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