WHEN Osama Bin Laden beat the highly respected American security system and hit them in a coordinated terrorist attacks way back in September 11, 2001, killing scores of people within the Pentagon and World Trade Center buildings, the world got jolted at least for once at the dimension terrorism is taking in the modern global history.
The dust raised by this act in the history of mankind may have deceived many to think that terrorism made its inroad into contemporary world with that particular incident. The name Osama Bin Laden made instant trend in world discusses and he became different things to many people. To some, he was a rare bred summed in intelligence and courage, to others, he was nothing short of a lose cannon driven by religious extreemism in a cruel mission against mankind. To the Muslim world, he was a true hero of Islam who deserves seven maidens as wives in paradise, while Christians only perceived him as one in serious need of conversion and repentance. Whatever, his acts put him at crossroads with the law and he went into shameful hidding until he was killed in his manhunt by America’s anti-terrorism forces in Abboabad, Parkistan on May 2nd 2011..
But even before Osama episode, mind boggling acts of terrorism had been witnessed at different times and places as far back as 1920s.
A well documented successful counter terrorism video of Israeli forces on rescue mission against Palestinian Arab terrorists that hijacked Air France in Antebbe, Ugand,a way back in July 4, 1976, a week after the airline was held hostage, precisely on June 27, 1976, tells how old even the modern world has struggled under terrorism.
On September 5, 1986, Boeing 747-121 was hijacked while on the ground at Karachi by four armed Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organisation. 43 passengers ended up injured or killed in the process, including nationals from India, United States, Pakistan, and Mexico.
On December 21, 1988, a passenger airline, was bombed on ground, in Lockerbie, Scotland, having explosive device planted in it and detonated while it was still on ground. The act left 259 passengers, including crew members all dead, an incident that is uptill today remembered as the Lockerbie bombing.
Again In 1988, the hijack of American plane within the Lybian airspace that targeted Americans and Christians for extermination foretold a looming dawn in an emerging world sliding into Hobessian state.
Indian Airlines Flight 814, commonly known as IC 814, carrying 176 passengers was on December 24, 1999 hijacked by five gunmen after take off from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Nepal, Indian airspace at about 17:30 Indian Standard Time (IST).
Leapfrogging to 2019, Cable Network News report of January 22, 2019, announced a commercial flight bound for Moscow that had to make an emergency landing in western Siberia due to attempted hijack of the aircraft.
A Dubai-bound Bangladesh Airlines, flight carrying 156 passengers, on Sunday, February 24, 2019 made an emergency landing in southeastern Bangladesh after a man attempted to hyjack the plane with a toy gun, but was shot by special forces in rescue operation.
While there are catalogues of skyhyjacks, the trend seems to be shifting to ground operations. This comes in different ways but with the same objectives of either for ransom demands, armtwisting existing authorities in a bargain, forcing a condition on a government, group or targeted individual, or outright robbery. The recent killings of Christians in Sri-Lanka on Easter day right inside their worship centres are too gory and atrocious to be contemplated by any sane mind. But even as the world was still brooding in grief over such heinous act that cost over 300 lives and injured hundreds, another wave of terror unfolded at Synagogue in Poway, California, United States of America killing a 60-year old man and injuring three persons while they were worshiping, just seven days after the Easter mayhem. Last month, Christchurch, Newzealand witnessed shooting that killed fifty persons with scores injured. Six months ago, an attacker badged into Tree of Life Synague at Pittsburgh and killed eleven persons.
In Nigeria, terrorism was alien to the people’s life and culture until mid 2000. Though, there had been strife’s and communal clashes, life never took a deep turn into terrorism as obtains today. The Fulani invasions of villages at different places and times in a thorough terrorist fashion that were window-dressed as communal clashes, rapidly grew into terrorism and villages, towns and cities started life with no assurance of long term peace or life devoid of attacks. The blood of defenceless citizens massacred in Agatu, Benue State in Nigeria’s recent history is still echoing for acquiescence.
Records show that clashes had constantly characterised some parts of the state overtime. This had left scores dead and many displaced. The situation is not limited to Benue as the neighbouring Plateau, and states along the corridor down to Yobe are all in the same saddle. In Kaduna, terrorists in religious garbs had continued to have field day of bloodletting, such that compiling their occurrences will make an old volume. In Nimbo, Uzouwani, Enugu State, the guerilla invasion of the community in 2017, left trails of terrorism even when it was painted to be mere herdsmen, community clash. Kwara, Ebonyi, Kano, Gombe, Rivers, Adamawa, and some other parts of the country have terrorists related incidents to their credit.
Then, the Boko-haram terrorists that had been always referred to as insurgents by Nigerian government entered the fray, unleashing terrors on the country and its inhabitants for years now. In their trails had been massacres of innocent people from different sects and backgrounds, abductions of persons, including school pupils, kidnaping and robberies summed in their activities, all visited on the populace at intervals.
The states of Bornu, Adamawa and neighbouring north east states have lots to share in the devastation caused by these terrorists, while Nigeria remains the biggest loser in the whole episode. In terms of human loss, statistics of those who lost their lives only in Bornu State for the past six years can not be guaranteed to be accurately obtained, despite records made available from different sources.
Whether in Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan or America, the fact remains that entrance of terrorism changes the total life style of the affected climes and it takes extra measure(s) to put things back on the original track once infected by the social menace.
The entire world is mourning with Sri-Lanka presently, tears are still rolling down freely from people’s cheeks as bodies of worshipers decimated in the California Synagogue shootings are being taken to the morgues enroute final burial. One clear thing is, these people cut down in their primes had lots to offer to the development of societies, but never lived to achieve that anymore.
The question is, how long can the society be hounded by these merchants of horror?
The Islamic sect has come out to take responsibility of the Sri-Lanka attacks, with ISIS leader, Al- Baghdadi appearing in video again after disappearance for over five years now, to claim that attacks were to avenge the death of members killed while fighting. The same Islamic religion has been fingered to be deeply involved in sponsorships of major world terrorism activities. The ISIS, Elshabab, Taliban, Al -Quaeda, Harmas are all offshoots of religious driven terrorism groups, Islam being the vehicle upon which they ride to unleash mayhems on humanity.
Despite UN Secretary General’s voice of condemnation of the Sri-Lanka and California attacks, the need for a more action on global security cannot be more apt than now. The world comes together under the umbrella of United Nations, and if nothing urgent is done now to curtail the growing menace, chances are, the fight could spill even into the UN chamber, and then it would be too late to make amends.