DHQ to Amnesty Int’l: You’re supporting Boko Haram, ISWAP

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has accused Amnesty International of supporting the violent activities of.Boko Haram as welll as the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East. The military made the allegation in reaction to a recent report by AI wherein, the global human rights watchdog accused soldiers of razing territories, and unlawfully detaining locals. Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who.conveyed the position in a statement, Friday, said nothing could be further from the truth.

The military described AI’s report as a campaign of calumny designed to undermine the ongoing counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in the North East. “The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has taken cognizance of yet another falsified report by Amnesty International (AI) in a campaign of calumny targeting the Nigerian Military and deliberately supporting the callous acts of terrorism perpetuated by Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP)”, Nwachukwu said. According to him: “This inglorious campaign is contained in a recent report alleging employment of unlawful tactics of razing down villages and unlawful detention of locals by troops.

This is line with the AIs usual mannerism and tenacious efforts aimed at disparaging the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN). “The Defence Headquarters wishes to state unambiguously that the allegations being touted by AI is nothing but a betrayal of its lack of in-depth knowledge of the goings-on in the North East (NE) theatre of operation. It is expedient to state that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole who are conducting Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Operations in the NE do not employ arson as an operational tactic.

It is a well-known fact, going by the modus operandi of BHTs, that they, have more often than not engaged in the atrocious acts of looting and burning of villages, as well as destroying infrastructure. It therefore, beats ones imagination that AI is attributing these atrocities to AFN troops who are legitimately defending the country guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct.

“AI must understand the fact that Nigeria is at war against terrorism in the NE and that the troops have a constitutional mandate to protect lives and property, even if it means conducting an evacuation to save and secure lives of civilians in the conflict.

Protecting civilians by evacuating them from the line of fire during combat is not a violation of the international law of conflict or a war crime. It is rather a commendable effort by the troops to prevent collateral damage during combat. Our troops should therefore be commended for making deliberate efforts to evacuate civilians in order to protect their lives and property.

“It is also crucial to point out, that troops deployed to fight terrorism in the NE do not attack or raze down villages, communities or settlements, rather they launch offensive on terrorists camps, enclaves and hide outs.”

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