The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Friday urged the Amnesty International (AI) to stop its “reckless distortion of facts on the military campaign against terrorism in the North East.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who made the call in Abuja, accused the rights watchdog of targeting the military in support of the Boko Haram/Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
He said: “We urge members of the public to please discountenance AI report, as it is not a true and realistic reflection of troops’ counter terrorism operation in the North East.”
The Defence spokesman described the recent report by AI, alleging employment of unlawful tactics of razing down villages and detention of locals by troops as false.
According to him, the allegation is line with the watchdog’s usual mannerism and tenacious efforts aimed at disparaging the military.
He added: “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 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 North East do not employ arson as an operational tactic.
“It is a well-known fact, going by the modus operandi of Boko Haram terrorists, 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 the armed forces who are legitimately defending the country guided by extant rules of engagement and operational codes of conduct.”
According to him, AI should understand the fact that Nigeria was at war against terrorism in the North East.
He added that the troops had a constitutional mandate to protect lives and property, even if it meant conducting an evacuation to save and secure the lives of civilians in the conflict.
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