does the pope shit in the woods? is a bear catholic?

Hopefully you saw Nigerian Army Facing Questions as Death Toll Soars After Prison Attack, Adam Nossiter, NYT, Mar 20 2014, when I posted it in Mar 21’s casualty medley – RB

Did Nigeria massacre innocents and call them ‘Boko Haram’?
John Campbell, CSM, Mar 24 2014

On Mar 14, insurgents labeled “Boko Haram” attacked the Giwa Barracks, a major army facility in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. At the time, Nigerian military spokesmen said that a significant number of “Boko Haram” members were killed. However, in a horrific article in the Mar 21 NYT, Adam Nossiter reports that the victims of the killing spree outside the gates of the Giwa Barracks were young men who had previously been indiscriminately rounded up and detained in Giwa Barracks without charge. According to the Army story, “Boko Haram” allegedly managed to break into the heavily fortified military installation, release those imprisoned, and then the attackers and the detained were killed as they fled. The military attacked with both aircraft and soldiers on the ground. It should be noted that the military identifies the assailants as “Boko Haram,” but no spokesman for Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. It is also unclear how such a powerful facility could be breached so easily. Nossiter cites credible local NGOs who place the casualty numbers as high as 1,000. If that is correct, the Mar 14 death toll is the highest ever for a single day. Nossiter also quotes the senator from Maiduguri, Ahmed Zanna:

Yes, they bombed the detainees. When they went out of the barracks, that is when gunfire was opened on them. And that is how most of them died. 90% to 95% of the detainees were innocent people. They were just rounding up people. People were just rounded up and taken into custody. They managed to eliminate those who were in detention. The whole episode is to kill the inmates. That’s all.

In the past, Western media, including the NYT and the WSJ, has reported that the army detained large numbers of young men without charge at Giwa Barracks under horrific conditions. Because it is so difficult to tell who is “Boko Haram” and who is not, the military and security services appear to be highly indiscriminate in whom they arrest. Such an atrocity as apparently took place at Giwa Barracks will undermine support for the Abuja government and perhaps for Nigeria’s so-called “democracy.” To me, it is noteworthy that Senator Zanna, likely an established member of the northern Nigerian establishment, has been so outspoken.

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