World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigeria's Jama'atu Nasril Islam group has asked Muslims in the restive northeast to defend themselves against rampaging militants.
"Muslims are strongly urged to defend themselves in an appropriate manner against any attack by insurgents and all other acts of violence by criminals," the group said in a Wednesday statement issued following a meeting of top Muslim leaders and scholars from across northern Nigeria.
"It is a religious duty to do so, particularly that government forces currently seem to be incapable," it added.
It also called for stepped-up security around mosques, churches and schools, along with other key facilities.
Muslim leaders also urged local communities to support the military.
The meeting was chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, who serves as president of Jama'atu Nasril Islam.
The military had described as "very dangerous" similar calls by the influential monarch of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, for Muslims to defend themselves against militants.
For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeastern region and claimed thousands of lives.
But 2014 has been the bloodiest year of the insurgency yet, with increasingly frequent attacks, higher death tolls and a deluge of displaced persons.
Jama'atu Nasril Islam insists that the security crises rocking Nigeria are "largely a result of the inability of the government to deploy effective strategies to tackle them."
It urged the government to deploy multi-pronged strategies aimed at tackling the security challenges.
"The government should consider alternative… solutions to the menace – such as infrastructure development, youth employment programs and stepping up the dialogue option – rather than depending on force alone, since this has so far proved ineffective," the statement read.
It also called on the government to "appropriately and speedily" attend to the welfare of troops and support local vigilantes and hunters who have been working with the military to defeat insurgents.
The group went on to urge the government to take all necessary steps to alleviate the suffering of internally displaced persons from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states "to forestall the deterioration of the social and security situation in those states."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Aralık 2014, 17:23