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Cablegate: Nigeria: Niger State Police Arrest Thousands In

VZCZCXRO6791
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1518 2320645
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200645Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6831
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2059
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 1013
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 1827
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 001518

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KIRF KISL NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NIGER STATE POLICE ARREST THOUSANDS IN
RAID ON ISLAMIC SECT

REF: ABUJA 1436

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (SBU) Summary: Niger State security forces raided the
Darul Islam compound on August 15. Press reports indicate
police arrested approximately 4,000 people and detained them
for questioning. Although the operation was peaceful,
religious leaders and human rights activists allege that the
GON violated the rights of innocent people. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Darul Islam, an Islamic sect led by Amrul Bashir
Abdullahi, settled in Niger State, 17 years ago with the goal
to dedicate themselves to strict adherence of the Quran and
isolate themselves from distractions in mainstream society.
Nigerian press dailies reported that on August 15 a combined
team of police, immigration, and prison officers raided the
Darul Islam compound located near Mokwa in Niger State (about
100 kilometers outside state capital Minna). State Police
Commissioner Mike Zuokumor told local press that police acted
after receiving reports that the sect was forcibly holding
women and children. State Police Public Relations Officer
Richard Oguche added that action was taken to prevent a
re-occurrence of crisis similar to those caused by Boko Haram
two weeks earlier. Members of the sect co-operated with the
security officers and as a result no deaths or injuries
occurred. Local press claim at least 200 foreigners from
Niger and Sudan were among those arrested.

3. (SBU) Austin Njoku of the National Human Rights Commission
told PolOff August 18 that women and children were housed in
the Government Technical College Mokwa while police
investigated the compound. Police did not find any weapons.
Njoku claimed sect leaders were transported to Abuja for
questioning, but did not know the charges against them or if
they had lawyers. He also claimed many Darul Islam members
are "migrants" and maintained the GON acted reasonably and in
the best interest of the children by evacuating the
community. Other observers, however, including Executive
Director of the Human Rights Monitor, Festus Okoye, alleged
the GON may have violated the constitutional and human rights
of thousands of innocent people.
MCCULLOUGH

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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