Nigerian Military Discredits Amnesty Report

Nigerian military, AmnestyThe Nigerian military has described as false, the recent Amnesty report which says that at least 149 detainees have died “in horrendous conditions” at a military detention centre in northeast Nigeria in 2016.

The disclaimer was made by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Rage Abubakar, who said the report was an ‘attempt to score cheap point’.

According to him, contrary to the claims of Amnesty, the International Human Rights Organisation and other organisations have had access to the detention centre.

“A Place Of Death”

Abubakar stated that some of their recommendations had been implemented, wondering where the report emanated from, especially when the writer claimed he did not have access to the facility.

He urged the international organisation not to work as a distraction to the military, as it enters its final phase in the war against terror.

In the report, Amnesty said 11 of those who died at the Giwa Barracks were young children, including four babies.

The organisation called the centre “a place of death” and said it should be closed.

Military Says Report On Killings In Kukuwa-Gari Not True

Rabe-AbubakarThe military in Nigeria says the reported killing of about 50 villagers from Kukuwa-Gari in Yobe State in north eastern Nigeria is not true.

Commenting on the reported killing, the Director of Defence Information, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, told Channels Television’s defence correspondent, Amaka Okafor, that the report on AFP was completely false.

The news agency had reported that 50 people were killed by Boko Haram terrorists, many of them mostly women and children.

They had quoted eyewitness as saying that the gunmen were escaping bombardment from the military before they moved into the remote village of Kukuwa-Gari, opening fire on the villagers.

But colonel Abubakar said the story was fabricated, untrue, utterly scurrilous and very misleading.

In a statement, the Defence Headquarters said: “The truth of the matter is that the military got an intelligence report concerning a planned attack by Boko Haram on Kukuwa-Gari village in Yobe State.

“Following the tip-off, troops and civilian JTF laid ambush between Kukuwatashi and Kukuwa-Gari villages.

“The insurgents ran into them and a gun-battle ensued in which four Boko Haram members and one civilian JTF lost their lives”.

The military further stated that at the end of the encounter, 2 x AK 47 rifles and 2 x motorcycles used by the Boko Haram terrorists were recovered from them.

In the statement, the Armed Forces implore the media to always seek clarification of stories before going to press, as most of these unsubstantiated reports tend to embolden or encourage the terrorists to believe they are invincible, thus instilling perpetual fear in the minds of the citizens, especially, those in the contested areas of the North East.

“The military is doing all within its power to protect lives and property of Nigerians in any part of the country and thus, solicits cooperation and understanding of the media to be partners in progress in this noble task,” the statement further read.

Twin Explosion Kills 7, Injures Dozens In Borno

bomb-explosionA twin explosion has killed seven people and left dozens injured on Friday morning, at Tashan Alade in Hawul Local Government of Borno State, North-east Nigeria.

According to report, the incident occurred at about six in the morning during a wedding ceremony.

Tashan Alade has come under severe attack from insurgents in recent time.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, had said in a statement on Thursday, that  a cordon and search operations conducted by troops in Gombe State, also in the North-east, yielded the arrest of 3 bomb making experts.

He said that the cordon and search is continuing in certain localities and would be intensified along with mopping up operations in locations where offensive operations are being conducted.

A youth vigilante in Tashan Alade, Ibrahim Saleh, said a suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Nigerian Troops Nab Three Bomb Makers In Gombe

TroopsThe Nigerian troops have arrested three suspected bomb producers in Gombe State, North-eastern part of the country.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement on Thursday, that “A cordon and search operations conducted by troops in Gombe yielded the arrest of 3 bomb making experts”.

He explained further that “the arrested persons are suspected to be members of the terrorist group in search of soft targets for attack after being dislodged from the stronghold in Sambisa forest and other enclaves”.

On items recovered from the suspects, the military Spokesman revealed that “Items recovered from the apprehended include a tricycle and materials for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The suspects are currently undergoing interrogation”.

Reassuring Nigerians of safety, Olukolade stressed that “Cordon and search is continuing in certain localities and will be intensified along with mopping up operations in locations where offensive operations are being conducted. The essence is to apprehend the terrorists who have been dislodged from their sanctuaries and in search of escape routes or resorting to attacking soft targets.

“In line with this development, the public is enjoined to be extra vigilant and to report suspicious movements or activities within their environs, as the military is poised to ensuring that the ongoing operations are duly aligned with security arrangement nationwide.”

Military Wipes Out Boko Haram From Sambisa Forest

Military fighting terrorists in Sambisa ForestThe Nigerian troops fighting terrorists in the north-east have inflicted another crushing defeat on Boko Haram militants at the Sambisa Forest, in a major offensive against insurgency.

Military authorities said ground troops and fighter pilots on Sunday, killed a large number of the terrorists in an operation described as ‘merciless’.

Thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced by the militant group in the last six years, which at its height, saw the terrorists control some towns in Nigeria’s North-east region.

Meanwhile, the troops overran 10 camps used by the Islamist terrorists in the Sambisa Forest on Saturday, prior to the Sunday offensive.

Speaking in an interview with media in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, revealed that four of the camps were located at Izad, within the Sambisa Forest, while three others were being established by the terrorists, before the military assault began.

“The Nigerian Air force is maintaining an active air surveillance to track the movement of terrorists for appropriate action as the operation continues,” the army spokesman said in a statement.

A soldier was said to have died in the encounter, while two others sustained serious injuries.

However, the military’s renewed offensive in the area is in line with the government’s promise of cleaning up the Sambisa Forest before the handover date of May 29.

Nigerian Troops Invade Sambisa Forest

Nigerian Army-Boko HaramNigerian troops backed by warplanes have invaded Boko Haram’s last known stronghold, the Sambisa forest in an effort to finally rout the insurgents.

An official in the Chadian Army said the Chadian and Cameroonian troops were ready to attack Sambisa forest, which lies near the Cameroon border, from the other side and would move in soon.

A Cameroonian Army official also said Chadian troops are assembling in Mora, northern Cameroon, ahead of the joint operation.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said the Boko Haram terrorists had run out of arms and ammunition.

The military spokesman noted that the Boko Haram terrorists have only bows and arrows, machetes, daggers and other local weapons.

He added that the terrorists were roaming about in the bushes of the villages along the fringes of Sambisa forest.

Nigerian, Cameroon, Chadian and Nigerien armies have in the past two months launched combined operations to crush the Boko Haram insurgents, who have killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds in the past few years in their course to establish an Islamic state.

The Sambisa forest is a vast former colonial game reserve in the north eastern region of Nigeria, which is about 100 km (60 miles) from the Chibok village where the terrorists group kidnapped more than 200 secondary school girls on April 14th, 2014.

Olukolade Dismisses Shekau’s Threat, Assures Nigerians of Security

mongunoThe Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade has dismissed Abubakar Shekau’s threat of causing mayhem during the 2015 general elections, giving strong assurances that the military will be able to secure Nigeria during and after the elections.

General Olukolade on Wednesday told Channels Television that no amount of threat will deter the military’s operations from taking place in the North East or anywhere in the country.

He also said a lot of success has been achieved in the past week, in the fight against insurgence adding that Mongunu and other towns hitherto controlled by Boko Haram have been recovered by the Nigerian Military.

Recently, the Nigerian Military took delivery of some military hardware to enable it fight the terrorist to a standstill.

In a video posted on Reuters, Abubakar Shekau condemned states government for not following sharia law, and threatened to stop the elections from holding.

The presidential election has already been postponed from its initial date of February 14 due to security concerns.

According to the video, Abubakar Shekau said “you are claiming that we don’t know how to fight, but we forced your forces to flee from their bases and we freed our imprisoned brothers from the prisons that you oppressed them in, only praise be to Allah”.

Shekau’s who titled the video “A Message to the Leaders of the Disbelievers”, also threatened to attack neighbouring countries who are contributing troops to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) like Chad and Niger.

Olukolade Explains Delay In Ending Insurgency War

OlukoladeThe military has been explaining the reasons behind the seeming delay in bringing an end to the ongoing insurgency in the north east of Nigeria.

The Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, told Channels Television in an interview that the security forces are operating within the operational limits of conventional warfare.

He said, “The motivation of the Nigerian soldier is based purely, first of all on patriotism and service to fatherland.

“In that case, the motivation here will be different from somebody who is driven by suicide instincts, people who believe they are just there to die for whatever ideology they are holding on to.

“The implication of this is that whatever is motivating us is parallel. We will keep working for our country and protecting our people from those characters that seem to be driven purely by suicide.”

The Army Spokesperson also reacted to the issues being raised about the quality of weapons available to the soldiers at war with Boko Haram.

“On the issue of weapons, on a constant basis, the needs are being addressed. Its not as if the needs are not acknowledged, but after being acknowledged the important thing that should interest us is ‘are there efforts ongoing?’ Surely efforts are ongoing.

“Judging who has superior weapons or not is another issue. This is a conventional army that has to fight conventionally. There are weapons to be deployed at personal level, there are weapons that could only be deployed at platoon, company and battalion levels.

“Efforts are on to ensure that these weapons are available and working. Yes at a point they may not be enough because there is wear and tear once there is battle ongoing.”

Major General Olukolade also gave the assurance that the rescue of the Chibok girls remains a key part of their mission.

Nigeria’s Military Refutes War Crimes Claims

Nigerian ArmyNigeria’s military authorities have refuted a media report that 4,000 people died in military custody.

British newspaper, Daily Independent, claimed that Nigerian soldiers committed war crimes by terrorising local residents in areas worst-hit by Boko Haram insurgency.

A statement issued by the Defence Headquarters accused the British paper of disdain and bias against Nigeria.

Part of the statement reads; “The report credited to the British newspaper, Daily Independent, UK, in which it claimed that ‘Nigerian Government committed war crimes by terrorising some of its citizens in the war against insurgency’ is to say the least, unduly judgemental and quite consistent with the disdain and bias with which a section of the western media reports Africa.

Is it not preposterous to even suggest that ‘4,000 people have died in military custody…’ when it is on record that suspected terrorists are held in various facilities while being processed for prosecution?

At what point then did 4,000 people die in military custody?

This ludicrous report did not come as a surprise to anybody since this biased mind-set against Nigerian Government has always characterised this newspaper even before the commencement of the ongoing counter-terrorist operation.”

The Nigerian military also urged Nigerians to ignore the British newspaper report or any future video it may post on its website.

Nigerian Military Refutes Mutiny Claims

Mutiny-Nigerian-Army

The Nigerian military has refuted claims by an anonymous soldier that there is an impending mutiny by some disgruntled soldiers over the lack of quality equipment.

The soldier, who requested anonymity, told the BBC that a group of soldiers in north-eastern Nigeria was refusing to fight Boko Haram militants until they receive better equipment.

“Soldiers are dying like fowl,” the soldier, who said he and his colleagues were just outside Maiduguri, told the BBC Hausa Service.

“The Nigerian Army is not ready to fight Boko Haram,” he said, explaining that soldiers were not being given enough weapons and ammunition to take them on.

“Boko Haram are inside the bush, everywhere,” he said “they [senior commanders] are sacrificing soldiers,” he said.

However, the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said that the soldier’s claim reeked of cowardice as soldiers do not ignore orders once given.

“The degree of cowardice is not in the character of real soldiers of the Nigerian Army. The series of lies contained in the alleged responses of the faceless person referred to as a soldier confirms the whole arrangement as another step of the mischief makers working for the terrorists.

“No soldier has been sent on any mission without being armed. Each soldier answers for his action in terms of discipline,” General Olukolade said.

Nigerian Soldiers’ Wives Protest Husbands’ Deployment

Nigerian Soldiers' WivesHundreds of Nigerian soldiers’ wives who took to the streets in Maiduguri on Monday to protest the deployment of their husbands for military duties in Gwoza, in Borno, were asked to return home as their husbands were under oath to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

The Nigerian soldiers’ wives, who eventually settled at the main military barracks in north-eastern Maiduguri city, had questioned the insistence of the Federal Government in continuing to wage war against the insurgents despite limited military facilities.

The Director of Defence Information, Major -General Chris Olukolade, told Channels Television that the issue being raised by the women was unacceptable.

According to him, “It is not normal or proper for any officer or soldier to decide where he or she would be deployed, neither would such demand be encouraged from spouses in a period of serious operation.”

He also explained that the entire nation was depending on the Army to address the security challenges, therefore it was wrong for spouses to begin what he called a cowardly act which was capable of demoralising the military.

Nigerian Forces Seek Media Cooperation In Information Sharing

Military-Nigeria2Media organisations in Nigeria have been asked to cooperate with the Armed Forces in information sharing and reportage to ensure that the reports conform to needs for accuracy, security and promote propriety.

At a meeting with journalists in Lagos on Friday, the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, urged media organisations to confirm from the forces the authenticity of their report before disseminating same to the public.

Major General Olukolade told the reporters that “although it takes time to establish this, it’will help ensure that there was quality in any form of information that gets to you and to the public”.

“It is not meant to delay you but the outcome of this forum has also helped us to establish better means of ensuring that we facilitate the passage and usage of information.

“Before we give you any information, we want to ensure, at least, from our own end, that this information conforms to the needs for accuracy, for security, for propriety and the policies.

“Be more forthcoming in giving us the room to explain ourselves and believe us because we really have no reason to deceive Nigerians,” he said.

The army spokesman, who is also the chairman of the forum of Spokespersons of Response and Security Agencies, also insisted that Nigerian security agencies were capable of curbing the activities of insurgents in the north east.

“We still insist that there is no basis for comparison. The Nigerian forces remain capable and competent to use the equipment at their disposal to achieve the results that the nation wants,” he said.

The meeting was attended by spokespersons of all security and response agencies in Nigeria from the Army, Airforce, Navy, Police to the Federal Road Safety Corps.