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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Civilian JTF Tortures Suspected Boko Haram Members

The Joint Task Force, JTF, was formed by the Nigerian government and comprises various armed forces (army, navy, airforce, state secret police) whose mandate is to tackle the Boko Haram terrorists. Due to the initial failure of the JTF to curtail the Boko Haram menace, the youths of Maiduguri in Borno state, which is the hotbed of Boko Haram's activities, formed the Borno Youth Association of Peace and Justice, also known as the Civilian JTF, to basically do what the federal forces could not do. Their arsenal includes locally made guns, machetes, and bows and arrows.
Just like other militia/vigilante groups before them, such as the dreaded Bakassi Boys in south eastern Nigeria, and the Odua People's Congress, OPC, in the south west, the Civilian JTF are given to excess, and in the video below, released exclusively by saharareporters.com, they showed their brutal side. The video may be upsetting to some viewers, so be warned.


Jungle justice is not uncommon in Nigeria, and a simple google search will reveal quite a number of gruesome videos, most notably that of the 'Aluu 4' (please be warned, another gruesome video). While the anger of the young men who comprise the civilian JTF is understandable, it does not justify the treatment meted out to the two men in the video. These young men have been failed by their country in so many ways - they have little or no education, no jobs, no decent healthcare in place, and the opportunities are not even available for the enterprising. Their frustrations, which have a solid foundation, needs an outlet; but it is not torturing their peers simply because they could be Boko Haram members.
This video is another indictment of the Nigerian state's abdication of its responsibilities to its youth, and populace in general. Most of the Civilian JTF members were productive members of society, but like many in the state, they have in one way or another been affected by the reign of terror; they have lost family, friends, and economic opportunities. They have been pushed to the wall and have decided to fight back, and since they have lost faith in the government forces ability to put Boko Haram to rout, they have become a law unto themselves. And this is a glimpse of their justice system.