We Are Not Recruiting Boko Haram Ex-Fighters Into The Military – Defence HQ

 

The Defence Headquarters has denied the absorption of some deradicalized Boko Haram ex-fighters into the Nigerian military.

In a press release signed by the Director Defence Information, Brigadier Onyema Nwachukwu, the military says the claims are not only bereft of the truth, but laced with mediocrity emanating from poorly researched and uninformed positions.

He adds that no Boko Haram ex-fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.

The de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration program Brigadier -general Nwachukwu further stated is a Federal Government program conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non-kinetic operation targeted at low-risk combatants and has become a classical example in the Lake Chad Basin region and West Africa.

He concluded that over 250 repentant insurgents who willingly abandoned their struggle and surrendered to federal troops have been de-radicalized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society by their respective state governments in conjunction with traditional and religious institutions.

READ ALSO: Army Releases 983 Suspects Cleared Of Alleged Links With Boko Haram

Below is the full statement as published by the Defence Headquarters

NIGERIAN MILITARY NOT RECRUITING BOKO HARAM EX FIGHTERS
The Defence Headquarters has been notified of false information peddled in some online media, insinuating that deradicalized Boko Haram ex- fighters are being absorbed into the Nigerian military. One of such insinuations is contained in a trending video footage published by Roots TV, where one Balhatu Musa Ezekiel claimed the Nigeria Army had recruited de-redicalized Boko Haram Ex-fighters into the Army and was therefore recycling insurgency.
The Defence Headquarters wishes to unambiguously state that Balhatu’s claims are not only bereft of truth, but laced with mediocrity emanating from poorly researched and uninformed position.

Contrary to his claims , no Boko Haram ex- fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.

The de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration program is a Federal Government program conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non- kinetic operation.

Nigeria’s De-radicalization model is a very effective one, targeted at low risk combatants and has become a classical example in the Lake Chad Basin Region and West Africa.

Over 250 repentant insurgents who willingly abandoned their struggle and surrendered to federal troops have been de-radicalized, rehabilitated and re-integrated into the society by their respective state governments in conjunction with traditional and religious institutions.

Nigeria’s De-radicalization model is therefore not new in the global community, as such model exists in Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where persons involved in violent extremism have been de-radicalized and rehabilitated . This process is therefore an internationally acceptable practice now.

So far in Nigeria, the de-radicalized ex-fighters are doing well in their respective communities, as no adverse report has been recorded against the de-radicalized repentant ex fighters by Operation Safe Corridor’s monitoring unit. There has not been report of molestation or harassment of any sort against them by members of the communities, where they are resettled. As a matter of verifiable fact, the reintegrated ex- fighters are doing well in their various endeavours and are positively impacting on their respective communities.

It is also expedient to state, that the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to prosecute BHT/ISWAP suspects in courts of competent jurisdiction and over 500 terrorists have so far been convicted. Meanwhile, the next round of prosecution of another batch of terrorism suspects is due to commence shortly.
Members of the public are therefore enjoined to please discountenance the misinformation and misguided views peddled by Balhatu Musa Ezekiel, as it constitutes outright aberration of extant recruitment procedures and practice of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

The Defence Headquarters reiterates its commitment to ensuring a well motivated, trained and equipped Armed Forces that is professionally responsive to national security commitments.
Please disseminate this information through your news medium.
Thank you for your cooperation.

138 Bandits Killed, 50 Victims Rescued In Two Months – Military

 

The Defence Headquarters has said that over 138 suspected bandits have been killed, while over 50 kidnapped victims were rescued by troops of Operation Hadarin Daji and the Joint Task Force Operation Thunder Strike between May to July 2019 in the Northwest part of the country.

Both operations were launched in May in a bid to tackle the spate of security challenges confronting some states in the North-Western part of the country.

At a briefing in Abuja to update journalists on the progress of the joint operation, the Director of Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu said that the troops also recovered firearms and ammunition during several mop-up operations carried out.

“Since inception, troops of OPHD have recorded strings of successes against the criminals, including a daring rescue operation in which troops neutralized 54 armed bandits in an encounter in fortified enclaves in Moriki, Madada and Dumburum forests in Zamfara state. Several assorted firearms were also recovered from the bandits.

“It will suffice to mention that in the last 2 months, since the commencement of the joint operations, the gallant troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have in series of successful encounters rescued over 50 kidnapped victims and neutralized about 78 armed bandits from various fortified enclaves in Zamfara and contiguous states.

“The troops have also recovered a total of 39 firearms which include 16 AK 47 rifles, 1 Light Machine Gun, 14 Dane guns, 2 Pump-action rifles, 3 semi-automatic rifles, 3 pistols and 2,437 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.”

READ ALSO: 15 Reported Killed After Gunmen Attack Katsina Village

He added that over 25 suspected bandits have been arrested and are undergoing investigations.

Colonel Nwachukwu explained that the bandits used cattle rustling to fund their criminalities and the troops began anti-cattle rustling operation, which led to the interception of 2,278 cows.

“On the realization, that bandits were generating financial resources through cattle rustling to fund their criminality, troops of OPHD also embarked on anti-cattle rustling operations, which led to the interception and stalling of cattle rustling activities. This culminated in the recovery of 2,278 cows, which have been duly returned to their respective owners.

“The troops have also recovered a total of 39 firearms which include 16 AK 47 rifles, 1 Light Machine Gun, 14 Dane guns, 2 Pump-action rifles, 3 semi-automatic rifles, 3 pistols and 2,437 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.”

He also revealed that kidnappers, bandits, cattle rustlers along major highways and adjoining villages around Kaduna-Abuja axis were not spared, as troops identified flashpoints and arrested 14 suspected kidnappers and recovered arms and ammunition.

“These operations led to the successful interception and arrest of 14 suspected kidnappers, while 6 bandits were neutralized. In a unique occurrence, troops while on aggressive patrol along Abuja-Kaduna highway discovered a group of bandits dressed in military camouflage who would have been ordinarily perceived by unsuspecting members of the public as military personnel on routine checks along the highway mounted an illegal roadblock. The courageous troops moved tactically to the scene, engaged them in a firefight and neutralized the bandits.

“The troops have so far recovered a total of 38 firearms comprising, 11 AK 47 rifles, 1 Semi-automatic rifle, 1 Revolver Pistol, 23 Dane guns, 2 locally made pistols, 157 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition, 8 cartridges, 2 AK 47 magazines, 5 Mobile phones, and 4 solar panels. “

Other recoveries made by the troops include “seven Motorcycles used by bandits and 695 cattle.

“The cows have been returned to their respective owners,” he added.

Army Claims Victory Over Armed Herdsmen In Benue

Brigadier General John Agim

 

The defence headquarters says all territories in Benue State which were deserted due to attacks by armed herdsmen have been recovered by the owners and more residents are returning home.

Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, who disclosed this on Saturday, explained that the development was as a result of the Army’s counter-insurgency activities through Operation Whirl Stroke.

According to him, all known armed herdsmen camps in the state have been destroyed.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Army Confirms Attack On Soldiers, Warns Of Boko Haram Propaganda

Agim said the operation recorded success not only in Benue but also in neighbouring Taraba and Nasarawa state.

According to Agim, no herdsmen territories are standing in Benue and farmers who fled their communities are returning to their ancestral homes.

Agim also said the activities of militia groups in the state have been degraded, rendering them incapable of carrying out attacks.

‘No Rapists Among Us’, Military Tells Amnesty International

‘No Rapists Among Us’, Military Tells Amnesty International
A file photo of an IDP camp

 

The Defence Headquarters has responded to the allegations of sexual offences levelled against the military by Amnesty International.

Addressing a news conference on Friday in Borno State, the Director Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, warned that the military would no longer tolerate such accusations.

He stated this after leading a team from the DHQ to Maiduguri, to investigate the allegations of rape and other sexual offences allegedly by soldiers positioned in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

Brigadier General Agim told reporters that the team visited caregivers, camp officials, and women leaders in the camps, after which the military concluded that Amnesty International’s claims were untrue.

“I have interacted with the stakeholders in the camps that the Nigerian Armed Forces has neither molested, sexually assaulted nor raped any IDP as alleged by Amnesty International recent concocted report,” he said. “In the Armed Forces, we maintain that we do not condone rape and do not have rapists among us.

“You have also established that soldiers are not deployed inside the IDP camps; hence, the need to take you round the two most populous camps in Borno State which are Bakassi IDP Camp with over 35,000 displaced persons from five different local governments areas namely: Marte, Monguno, Gwoza, Gwuzamala and Nganzan, as well as Dalori IDP Camp with over 7,800 persons from Bama and Konduga local governments respectively,” the military spokesman added.

File photo: Brigadier General John Agim

 

He explained that on gender-based violence, the DHQ specifically considers rape as an outright aberration and a grievous offence that cannot go unpunished.

The Brigadier General, however, decried allegations contained in the report of the human rights group as ineffective methodologies to address the matter.

He noted that it was about time the issue was addressed squarely, rather than resorting to blanket allegations.

The Defence spokesman further questioned the motives of Amnesty International for repeatedly making allegations allegedly capable of presenting the Nigerian Army personnel as monsters.

To this end, he alleged that the organisation has not only positioned itself as an enemy of the Nigerian Army but the country as a whole.

“If you look at what happened this year from January to this moment, every month Amnesty brings out a report; before now we used to hear about their annual report.

“It is intended to ensure that foreign countries that are ready to collaborate with the military in the fight against insurgents do not do so – it is the same kind of report that made the US not to sell us weapons in 2014/2015.

“Why are they doing that, because they want the crisis not to finish? So, we also are compiling the activities of Amnesty International and by the time the military command looks at what they are doing, there may be a time that they will take action,” Agim said.

Amnesty International Plans To Publish ‘Malicious Report’ Against Nigerian Military – Defence HQ

Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim (File photo)

 

The Nigerian Military has accused Amnesty International of planning to publish a false report against members of the military operating in the North East.

According to a statement by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, the military has “credible intelligence” about the plan and that the report contains claims of fictitious rape incidents in internally displaced persons’ camps in the insurgency-ravaged North East.

The military is unhappy with what it says is becoming a frequent ritual by the human rights watchdog, which had previously accused it of rights violations.

In February and March, the military condemned two reports by Amnesty, the first accusing it of rights violations in its operations and the second accusing it of ignoring warnings about the raid by Boko Haram on Dapchi in Yobe State that led to the abduction of schoolgirls.

The military warned that the planned unsavory report by amnesty and such reports were capable of demoralising its members and hurting the war against insurgency.

“This malicious trend by AI is becoming a frequent ritual and it is rather unfortunate,” the statement read in part.

“In times like this, Amnesty International is expected to apply the natural law of liaison by working with security agencies as partners.

“This would have been the best way to ensure that insurgency and crisis are completely wiped off rather than engaging in falsehood, maligning the military and painting her in bad light at any slight opportunity.”

Amnesty International Plans To Publish ‘Malicious Report’ Against Nigerian Military – Defence HQ
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian soldiers sit on a military pick-up truck at a military base.

 

The military assured Nigerians that it remained committed to abiding by all human rights regulations endorsed by the country and carry out its constitutional role.

It, however, called on Amnesty to “desist from cooking reports from time to time to demoralise the entire military system and nation as a whole”.

Stressing that troops are sacrificing their lives in the fight against Boko Haram and other enemies of the country, the military called for an end to reports it described as fictitious.

“These false reports which are capable of derailing the good work being done by our patriotic and selfless soldiers must stop,” it said.

In March, while denying the claim by AI that the military failed to take action to stop the abduction of over 100 school girls from Dapchi, Brigadier General Agim had accused the human rights organisation of lacking credibility in its operations in Nigeria.

In his statement on Monday, he called on the organisation to carry out its activities with credibility.

“We are not in any way implying that AI should not do their job, but such must be done with a level of integrity and credibility by seeking clarification when the need arises,” he said.

“This way a lot will be achieved as both will form partners in the fight against extremism and other vices.”

Amnesty International has yet to react to the statement by the military.

Dapchi Abduction: Nigerian Army Describes Amnesty’s Claims As ‘Outright Falsehood’

The Defence Headquarters has refuted the claims by Amnesty International (AI) that the Nigerian military failed to prevent the abduction of 110 schoolgirls in Yobe State despite being warned.

The Nigerian Army on Tuesday said this claim by Amnesty International is outright falsehood and misleading.

“It is pertinent to state that most of their narratives are outright falsehood and a calculated attempt to whip up sentiments and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians. To demoralise friendly nations and people collaborating with security forces to end the forces of evil in the North-East,” they said.

Amnesty International had earlier alleged that the Nigerian Military and security forces were informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters were heading towards Dapchi in Yobe State to abduct some schoolgirls and failed to act on the information.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Military Alerted Before Dapchi Abduction – Amnesty International

In reaction, the Nigerian Army, in a statement signed by the Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, denied this claim and said that they were not informed by Amnesty International.

“For the avoidance of doubts, no security force was informed of Dapchi schoolgirls abduction as alleged by Amnesty International.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military and has attained the highest form of professionalism in line with International best practices.  And so, could not have ignored the warning of Boko Haram attack only to work tirelessly to get the girls back,” the statement read in part.

Nigerian Army also took a swipe at Amnesty International stating that it is not proper for the organisation to denigrate the reputation of Nigeria’s security forces.

The also challenged the international group to expose the unit they informed about the impending attack.

“The question Amnesty International has not answered satisfactorily is; which of the security forces and what unit was informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters heading towards Dapchi where they abducted Dapchi school girls?

“What was the telephone numbers used to inform the Military or the Police?  Why has Amnesty International refused to communicate its findings with the Federal Government’s Committee set up to investigate what happened before, during and after Dapchi girls abduction? Is Amnesty International trying to undermine the outcome of this committee?,” the Nigeria military questioned.

The Nigerian army, however, said the Armed Forces of Nigeria is poised to bring the activities of Boko Haram terrorist to a complete end and “no amount of discouraging fabrications aimed at deterring the military from achieving its constitutionally assigned responsibilities.”

Defence Headquarters Gets New Spokesman

Defence Headquarters Gets New Spokesman
L-R: Major General John Enenche and Brigadier General John Agim

 

Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters military has appointed a new Director Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim.

The military announced this in a statement from the DHQ and signed on Monday by Wing Commander O.O. Ademosu

Brigadier General Agim replaces Major General John Enenche who is now the Commandant at the Army War College, Nigeria.

Until his appointment as the new DHQ spokesman, Agim was Commandant of Nigerian Army School of Public Relations.

According to the statement, his appointment takes immediate effect.

 IPOB Denies Being A Terrorist Group

The Indigenous People of Biafra has reacted to the declaration by the Defence Headquarters that the group is a terrorist organisation.

In a phone interview with the Channels Television, the group said it is a non-violent movement and that it has never carried arms or killed anyone.

“It is very, very laughable that that is coming from a military intelligence officer. One, IPOB is a non-violent movement,” Prince Kanu, the younger brother of IPOB leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who spoke on behalf of the group said.

“We do not carry arms; we’ve never asked anyone to kill for us neither have we killed anyone. If you look at our records, our records are clean and straight.”

Reasons given by the Defence Headquarters for declaring the group a terrorist organisation include the formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads; extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks, and militant possession and use of weapons (stones, Molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles among others) on a military patrol on September 10, 2017.

But the group denied the allegation, insisting that it had neither carried arms nor harassed civilians.

“From inception, Nnamdi Kanu made it clear to the whole world that we are non-violent freedom fighters and that is the way it has been,” Prince Kanu said.

Boko Haram Relying On Collaborators For Fresh Attacks – DHQ

Boko Haram Attacks Based Strongly On Collaborators – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters has blamed the pockets of Boko Haram attacks in Borno State on the information the insurgents get from informants.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, stated this on Monday on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

An exploration team – including five lecturers of the University of Maiduguri, about 15 soldiers, 11 members of the civilian JTF and some staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – was ambushed by the insurgents on Tuesday last week.

Reacting to the attack, Major General Enenche noted that unless the terrorists were given adequate information about the progress of the exploration exercise, the team would not have fallen into the ambush.

“These things happening now are information bound strongly and I still want to state that there are informants, there are still collaborators who are collaborating [with the terrorists]. How come they did not attack them on the first day when they started the exploration exercise with the soldiers [until] when they have finished and are going back?” he questioned.

The DHQ spokesman insisted that some people must have been monitoring the oil workers and their escorts, stressing that conspirators ensured the attack on the team was successfully carried out.

He, however, called on the public to support the onslaught against the insurgents by availing the military with useful and prompt information to wipe out the terrorists.

“What is an ambush? You conceal yourself, pass through people, hide your weapons and waylay them; that is it. So it is the work of conspirators and we need the cooperation of the people seriously.

“These people that ambushed this team did not just come from the sky, they passed through people and they got information. Some people must have told them [monitor them (the team), they are moving from here to there] and they are collaborators”, he added.

The major general noted further that the insurgents are not back in full force contrary to reports and called for more information on fleeing terrorists in order to completely rid them of the region.

“It’s not full force; if they were back full force, they would have been controlling territories. They are not back full force but we need information to begin to clear them until we clear them completely”.

Inappropriate Marking Of IDP Camp Caused Rann Bombing – DHQ

Rann Misfire: Air Force Panel Dialogues With Traumatised Survivors

The Defence Headquarters has responded to the Rann bombing which took place at the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camp in January 2017.

According to the defence spokesman, Major General John Eneche, the lack of appropriate marking of the IDP camp was responsible for the accidental bombing in Rann, a community in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno State.

He told journalists in Abuja on Friday that an IDP camp was not supposed to be built in that community, saying it was not marked on the operational map.

READ ALSO: Scores Feared Dead As Nigerian Jet Accidentally Drops Bomb On Borno Settlement

Major General Eneche stressed further that because it was not marked an IDP camp, it appeared to be a place for terrorist activities when a mass movement was noticed via satellite.

He added that the various boards of inquiry into the incidence have recommended that all locations should be marked appropriately on the operational map.

The panels also asked all agencies participating in the operations in North East Nigeria to share timely information such as locations of IDP camps.

According to them, this would help to prevent confusion for other participants in the operations, especially the military.

Rann Bombing: Buhari Warns Against Re-occurrence

The clarification from the Defence Headquarters came six months after a military plane accidentally dropped a bomb inside a settlement in Borno State, killing several people.

A spokesman for the military, who confirmed the incident to Channels Television on January 17, acknowledged that the incident was an error deeply regretted by the military.

He, however, claimed that the incident did not occur in an IDP camp as reported in some quarters but a settlement said to be occupied by civilians.

He explained that soldiers had gotten information of the movement of Boko Haram members in the Kalabalge area and deployed ground troops and air cover to tackle the terrorists.

According to him, it was the air support that mistakenly dropped the bomb.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent his condolence message to victims of the misfire and the Borno State government.

The Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, conveyed the president’s message when he led a Federal Government delegation on a condolence visit to the state.

President Buhari, however, warned the military to ensure that adequate measures were put in place to prevent any reoccurrence of such incident.

Niger Delta Ceasefire: Military Warns It Will Respond To Any Attack On Its Location

Crocodile-smileThe Defence Headquarters has warned militants in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region against attacking its location in the area even as they adhere to ceasefire while the militants negotiate with the Federal Government.

The military re-emphasised that it would continue to abide with the ongoing negotiation effort of the Federal Government with militants in order to have peaceful settlement of the Niger Delta problem.

In a statement by the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Rabe Abubakar, the military warned that while trying to end the crisis in the oil-rich region, it would not take kindly with any individual or group taking military’s good gesture of adherence to ceasefire and peaceful disposition to the impasse for granted.

“Otherwise the military will respond proportionately to any armed attacks against its location in a decisive but professional manner in line with its constitutional mandate of defending innocent citizens as well as national critical infrastructure,” the statement read.

The military further emphasised that it had the capacity to defend itself “just as it did recently when a group of misguided elements under the militancy guise attacked its location at Efut Esighi waterfront in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State where they paid dearly for their evil act”.

The Armed Forces also warned various belligerent groups in either the Niger Delta or any other part of the nation to desist from any act capable of jeopardising peace and security of Nigeria or “they will regret the consequences of their evil action”.

It reassured Nigerians that it would continue to partner with peace-minded groups and stakeholders to bring lasting peace in any security threatened areas or locations.

The military had launched Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile in the region to contain the activities of militants that resurfaced over a year ago.

There have been several attacks on oil facilities in the region, leading to a drop in oil output of the nation that relies largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Recently, it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

But weeks after the ceasefire was declared, the group attacked another oil facility, saying it was carried out in protest of military harassment of youths in the region.

Stop Hiding Under Regional Agitation To Commit Crimes, Military Warns Militants

Military, Militants, Niger DeltaThe Nigerian military has warned the various militant groups in the Niger Delta region against hiding under regional agitation to commit all manners of crimes and atrocities.

The Defence Headquarters gave the caution on Tuesday in a statement to alert the general public of the disturbing spate of crimes allegedly committed by the groups.

They pointed out the latest of the groups, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), claimed responsibility for blowing up an oil pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation few days ago in south-south Nigeria.

The same group, according to the military, has come out again, demanding that residents living near oil and gas infrastructure should vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.

Olive Branch To Broker Peace

The Defence Headquarters stated in clear terms, “that no group or individual has the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria, to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’s selfish and devilish interest.

“It is more worrisome that despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and proffer solution to the lingering Niger Delta problem, some groups are still fanning the ember of war.

“The military and other security agencies would remain focused, un-intimidated and will display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property”.

Enhancing Civil-Military Relationship

While the military respects the government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, they explained that their exercise and operations in the area were not targeted at any group or meant to make life difficult for the inhabitants.

“The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them.

“The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.

“The Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region,” the statement read.

The military and other security agencies also reaffirmed their total commitment to ensuring security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but across Nigeria.

They solicited the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve the feat.

The Defence Headquarters also urged the public, especially those residing in Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat, asking innocent citizens and residents to go about their legitimate businesses.