08 December 2008

Sinking to new lows

In a recent interview, JTF Brig. General Rimtip essentially confirmed that his forces had been given the go ahead to "shoot-on-sight" any suspected oil bunkers and militants. He further explained that the army would not leave the Delta until all arms had been surrendered and illegal activity ceased. This raises the question: how will the army determine who is a militant or bunkerer? If they are going to be shooting and asking questions later it seems very likely that many innocent civilians will be maimed and killed in the pursuit of these brigands. Furthermore the withdrawal of troops should be a political decision, not one made by the military itself. If the policy articulated by the general, is in fact coming from the upper echelons of the government via the Defence HQ, then it shows just how unwilling the Federal government is to negotiate the peace. If there is to be a genuine push towards lowering the violence in the Delta, then the government must stop sending mixed signals--creating commissions and ministries on one hand, and granting license-to-kill to the army for the indiscriminate destruction of communities.

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