Sunday, June 8, 2014

Nigerian Army attacks newspapers for reporting on kidnapped girls

Western media have reported that the Nigerian Army, showing a dexterity not seen in its efforts to contain terrorists, has raided newspaper distribution centers throughout the country.

 Nigerian Information Minister Labaran Maku had warned media to stop giving “free publicity” to the terrorists and “define the lines between the urge to report the interest of our nation,” the BBC reported.

 The Nigerian Guardian reported: “A military official said the action would continue until Defense Headquarters was satisfied. He was, however, unwilling to explain what he meant.” Newspapers were seized two days in a row, the Vanguard said.

 Nigeria, since independence, has experienced conflict between the largely Muslim north and mostly Christian and animist south. A war claimed a million lives between July 1967 and Jan. 15, 1970.

 Boko Haram is accused of killing thousands of bombings and assault as well as kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls. In a recent case reports said they had tricked villagers into a meeting that turned into a Johnstown-style massacre.

 Police had briefly banned protests demanding that the girls be rescued.

 On Friday, Associated Press reported copies of at least four national newspapers were destroyed.

 Five papers said they had been hit, Punch, Leadership, Nation, Daily Trust and Vanguard.

 The Weekly Trust also told AFP: “soldiers blocked a number of its worksites.

 “The soldiers, who were fully armed, insisted on carrying out the ‘order from above’ to flip through each of the several thousand copies of Weekly Trust in search of alleged ‘security risk material.’”

 Sue Valentine of the Committee to Prot

ect Journalists condemned the attacks. She said blocking news "sows the seeds of rumors and distrust".

 "While we recognize that Nigeria faces security threats, these can never effectively be addressed by media blackouts or persecution of journalists," she said in a statement. We call on authorities to respect the vital role that media play in circulating information and holding government to account."

 Allvoices correspondent Johnthomas Didymus, in a column a day ago, said there has been a "dearth of information in the Nigerian media about new developments …”

 Despite belated acceptance by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to accept aid in finding the 300 missing girls they remain in captivity. A few have escaped.

 The US has said the Nigerian Army is so ineffective, brutal and corrupt that people are not cooperating in the search.

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