“JTF killed 15 boys playing football,” says Sen. Zannah, as Army asks him to “just confess”

by Isi Esene

Senator Ahmad Zannah (Borno Central) who was accused by the Joint Military Task Force of sheltering a Boko Haram Commander in his house, yesterday fired a return salvo at the JTF accusing the outfit of killing 15 boys playing football in an open space.

The senator had on Sunday denied sheltering the Boko Haram commander, Shuaibu Bama, saying the suspect was apprehended in a house belonging the former governor of Borno State, Modu Ali Sheriff.

He alleged that the accusation was an attempt to frame him due to his outspoken posture against the illegal activities of the Joint Military Task Force in several parts of the North.

He said, “They are not operating in the way they are supposed to operate in that state. I’m sure you must have read a little of what has been happening: the burning of some houses and shopping plazas. This is just a small portion of what is happening, because all these things are not exposed.

“Let me tell you something, just the day before yesterday (Saturday), without any provocation, they went and killed innocent boys playing football at a field – about 15 of them. They just shot them all, everybody ran away and they took their bodies to the hospital.

“The constitution does not allow them to kill people at will. I have started exposing them. We have been quiet for some time and when we saw that nothing was happening, nobody is restraining them, so we had to speak out because people are just being killed unnecessarily.

“They don’t consult the leaders in Borno State at any given time. They went there and just started harassing people from the outset. They have never contacted or tried to sit down to discuss with the leaders of Borno. I am ready to stick out my neck to do anything that will bring security to this country.”

It is, however, not clear if the allegation made by Zannah against the JTF is true with regards the killing of 15 boys.

The JTF, through its spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, has severally denied any form of extrajudicial killing of innocent civilians saying “there was no arson and harassment by the JTF troops in Borno State.”

On Friday, the JTF had said that Bama, who was high on its list of wanted terrorists, was arrested by task force troops in a serving politician’s house in the Damboa Area of Maiduguri.

Reports say, Zannah, who admitted that Bama is his nephew, said that the JTF wanted to frame him up because of his stand against the task force’s excesses. He then cited the killing of the young football players as one of such excesses.

According to the senator, “They are not operating in the way they are supposed to operate in that state. I’m sure you must have read a little of what has been happening: the burning of some houses and shopping plazas. This is just a small portion of what is happening, because all these things are not exposed.

“Let me tell you something, just the day before yesterday (Saturday), without any provocation, they went and killed innocent boys playing football at a field – about 15 of them. They just shot them all, everybody ran away and they took their bodies to the hospital.

“The constitution does not allow them to kill people at will. I have started exposing them. We have been quiet for some time and when we saw that nothing was happening, nobody is restraining them, so we had to speak out because people are just being killed unnecessarily.”

“I will seek redress in court. The allegation is grievous and I will go to court to clear my name. My historic defeat of the former governor of Borno State, in the person of Ali Modu Sheriff, at the poll has not and will not go down well with many forces and individuals in this country.

“Therefore, this latest campaign by the Military Joint Task Force in Borno State to disseminate falsehood against me is a campaign to rope me into the JTF dragnet, declare me a Boko Haram member, financier, sympathiser, or even activist and declare my seat vacant.”

The director, Army public relations, Brig-General Bola Koleosho, denied Zannah’s allegation of frame-up saying, “Sincerely speaking, you don’t call a dog a bad name to hang it. Please does it add up? We are all stakeholders in this Nigerian project. There is nobody in JTF that can do that. Of course except if he is saying that everybody in JTF is mad.

“When does it become an offence or an illegality to play football? While we don’t want to join issues with the senator, this doesn’t simply add up.

“Look, the JTF has been in Maiduguri for quite some time and we have been facing the problem. What the senator is saying that the JTF wants to set him up because of his criticisms is not true. He has admitted that the boy is his nephew. He should own up that the boy was found in his house.

“The JTF still stands by its word that the boy was arrested in the senator’s residence; the JTF insists that the wanted terrorist leader was arrested in his house. You see, we are all Nigerians. What are we setting him up for? There is no need for that. Seriously speaking, the JTF cannot come down to such a level.”

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Comments (10)

  1. There are casualties in every war situation_1st of all all this wuldnt have happened if d so called leaders of bornu state_didnt. Form habour & finance BH_its a pity 4 d innocent citizens dying_but their blood will b on those people tht keep & feed BH people in their houses_weldone JTF arrest any1 found 2 keep BH_d senator neva said anyfin about extra judicial killings until JTF exposed him 2 b habouring BH leader_which is a son 2 his sis_and he never turned him in_even wen he knew his sis son was most wanted by d JTF 4 crimes against humanity & d state_senator sir_pls jst keep mute like u'v been & dance 2 d beating of d drums u bought thanks !

  2. The jtf's in borno r doing worse than what d senator has said.let them continue 2 deny,& 4 u borno state politician's takin side with d jtf just 4 ur own selfish interest while u know dat jtf are killin nt only boys bt even women & children.insha Allah God will start 2 punish u all 4 conievin wit d jtf b4 u reach him.more over nobody 'll stay permanently on earth.

  3. My friend ur now crying out 4, only 15 people d animals killed?when there were doing it in d niger delta it was fun I guess?u never see anytin e just dey start,I dey look dey laugh!!!

  4. JTF, pls stop killing innocent people. Remember you have your own family. If u refuse to stop, at the time u're set to eat the fruit of your Labour, your children/family will also be killed. There's no two ways about it, whatever you sow is what u reap. You're the reason the BH has refuse to cease fire because u keep killing the innocent. Pls stop!!!

  5. This is shocking,but more truth are coming out.Senator Zannah should say what he really knows.So,he agrees Bama is his nephew and now he is saying he (Bama) was found in his opponents house. Is he not trying to frame up another man.In my own opinion I don't think JTF has any reason whatsoever to go personal with him,even if he critisizes them.Many have been critisizing them.The Fed Gov. should look into all these facts the more.Where Bama was arrested should not be a source of confusion.

  6. Its now obvious though unfortunate that our dear nation nigeria is indeed held hostage by our trusted leaders.

  7. if their action is intentional, let them face the rite of law.

  8. @zanana why did it tak u dis lng 2 speak

  9. It is very true dat d JTF are seriously brutalising and killing ppl, they are there 2 bring peace not 2 kill and burn houses, this issue of boko haram is getting 2 4 years now and notin good has come out 4rm d JTF, bombing and killing is increasing day by day, dat shows the JTf are not helping matters, so they shld b withdrawn from that area, may b peace might find its way back 2 the area.

  10. We seriously don't need thr JTF no more in Maiduguri. They are do more harm than good.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail