Scattered feathers in my garden bothered me.
They had not been around when I went to bed the night before; which was late. Three o’clock. Puzzling. Through the kitchen window I noticed fresh blood; still clear like when you accidentally spill any red liquid. Wine. Ink. Juice. I opened the door to explore. Perhaps there might be a wounded creature. Staggering. Many smaller, fresh feathers, white and grey, laid by the door step. Soft like cotton wool. A wing with a slightly broken bone laid by the corner, close to the wooden wall separating my neighbour’s house. It was troubling. I was curious. How did the pigeon get killed? Foxes? But how would a fox kill a pigeon? Surely the bird could have flown off. No. This was a bigger bird. Big birds of prey: pelicans and seagulls that attack pigeons across London.
It brought childhood memories, growing on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro; witnessing hawks and falcons diving in to catch terrified chicken. My mother used to dislike falcons. Mwewe. Chickens would shriek and warn each other. Warning, worrying and terror is the life of birds.
On this very same day as I sat, sipping tea, I observed a man with a determined expression on TV speaking to journalists in French. I had not seen him since 2007. His son had been found dead in a Paris hotel. Allegedly, asphyxiated to death. Death. King of all horrible deeds.
Brahim Deby, 27 year old son of Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno (pictured above) was allegedly murdered by a fire extinguisher. I recall watching the news on the French channel seven years ago. Now President Idriss Deby was on the news again, nonetheless, with a different message. Chad is rarely on the news.
“We shall show that Africa is capable...” President Idriss was saying. Fresh hope for what is going on in Northern Nigeria. No other leader has recently spoken with such confidence since Boko Haram began murdering citizens in September 2010.
According to a study by Professor Clionadh Raleigh of Sussex University, 2,265 civilians have been killed in the past 12 months alone. Death. Queen of all nasty crocodiles. Murder. Including capture of 200 school girls at Chibok, in April 2014.
What bothers everyone and Professor Raleigh asked in his paper (published recently), is why the Nigerian government keeps asking for outside help. So it seemed hilarious that President Goodluck Jonathan was visiting Maiduguri, an area savaged by Boko Haram last week. South Africa’s main online newspaper, News24, quoted Nigerian journalist Mohammed Salihu commenting: "Nigerians have been dying on a daily basis in three states of the north-east being battered by Boko Haram, without the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces making out time to visit any of these places.”News24 went on saying that President Jonathan's visit was seen by analysts as a bid for votes in next month's general elections “...Nigerians are no fools, this visit does not impress anyone,” the journalist hissed.
Criticism has also been levelled by neighbouring Cameroon whose troops were restricted from chasing the terrorists after committing atrocities. Some other allegations even speculate that Nigeria’s government is deliberately not arming its soldiers “to avoid coup d’états.”
Meantime, some promising developments.
Chad mobilised its army and that is why President Deby spoke with confidence. The Chadian army is supposedly better organised and has a history of fighting rebels. Chad helped France combat terrorism in Mali. Chad defeated Muammar Gaddafi’s supported rebels in the Toyota War of 1986. Libya lost 7,500 soldiers while Chad had only 1,000 dead. Death is ugly. Wars are about people, ammunition and money. Libya, reportedly, lost US 1.5 billion dollars worth of military equipment.
Speaking of military hardware, global security and CIA ranks the Chadian army at number 88. Whereas Chad spent 300 million dollars, Nigeria (ranked at 47!) allegedly spending over 5 billion dollars. Cameroon is ranked no 97 and said to spend 370 million on the army. Compare. On paper, at rank 47, Nigeria is subsequently, statistically, with around 130,000 soldiers, better equipped to deal with these 9,000, BH terrorists.
So why not, the Professor wondered.
Historically, it is not the first time; Nigeria is in civil war. During the Biafra conflict of 1967, the army killed 700 innocent Igbo civilians in what is known as the Asaba Massacre.
Colonel Ojukwu declares Biafra independence in 1967....Read More.
The late Mwalimu Nyerere once predicted that future wars won’t be between nations, but within communities. Tanzania has not seen civilian conflict for over 100 years. Thanks to a disciplined army that allegedly ranks 106 worldwide with a budget of only 220 million US Dollars. Tanzania has assisted civilian troubles in Uganda, Mozambique, Comoro, Congo and Sudan. We are exemplary. Let us stay that way. Let us also hope President Idriss Deby’s Chad will be an example for Africa. Goodluck to Chad, Cameroon and all forces helping Nigeria’s crisis.
-Published on 23rd January, 2015 in Citizen Tanzania