The Defence Headquarters has accused Amnesty International (AI) of deliberately supporting the acts of terrorism perpetrated against Nigeria by the Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African State (ISWAP) terror groups.
The acting director, defence information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement, cautioned the group to put an end to its reckless distortion of facts in its bid to satisfy “its puppeteers by undermining Nigeria’s military campaign against terrorism in the North-east.”
According to the statement, “The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has taken cognisance 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).
“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 are nothing but a betrayal of its lack of in-depth knowledge of the goings-on in the North-east theatre of operation.”
Continuing, it read: “It is expedient to state that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole who are conducting Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Operations in the North-east 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 infrastructures.
“It, therefore, beats one’s 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.
“We urge members of the public to please discountenance AI’s report as it is not a true and realistic reflection of the troops’ counter terrorism operation in the North-east.”