A respected Nigerian newspaper has reported that 15 senior Nigerian Army officers have been convicted by court-martial of abetting Boko Haram. The Defense Ministry initially hedged, then denied the report. But John Campbell, a career Foreign Service Officer and former US Ambassador to Nigeria, certainly thinks something is going on:
The belief that certain elements in the upper reaches of the military in collusion with northern politicians are using Boko Haram to make the northern part of the country ungovernable in the run-up to the 2015 elections is widely held, especially in the southern part of the country. If the court martials are taking place, and if they are credible, then there would, indeed, be evidence of some military collusion with Boko Haram, if not necessarily with northern politicians. But the “ifs” are important here. Assuming trials are taking place, and the defense spokesman reference to “a lot is happening” would seem to indicate that some sort of military judicial process is underway, despite statements to the contrary, the issue would be their credibility. That remains to be seen.
As Campbell notes, denials from the Nigerian military have been qualified to the point of arousing suspicion. He further noted that “Boko Haram operatives wear Nigerian military uniforms, use weapons from Nigerian armories, and have attacked military facilities where gates were mysteriously left unlocked.”Suspicions will intensify after this week. According to the AP, militants drove into villages near Maiduguri dressed as soldiers and told the locals they were there “to protect you all.” The villagers thought their disguised executioners were members of the national Army, whose assistance they had previously requested, and obeyed the “soldiers'” orders to assemble peacefully. The attackers then cried “Allahu akhbar” and machine-gunned more than 200 people.This was not the only instance of subterfuge and slaughter this week. The Islamists killed another 45 people in the village of Barderi while dressed as preachers on Tuesday, and burned villages and carried out drive-by shootings around Maiduguri throughout the week. The government responded Wednesday with aerial bombings of the militants’ bases in the Mandara Mountains near the border with Cameroon. The Western media may have lost interest now that the “save our girls” social media furor has abated, but the fires of Africa’s “God Wars” still burn.