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Army faults Amnesty report on rights abuses

07 November 2012, 13:14

Abuja - The Army has condemned the recent Amnesty International reports which accused the Joint Task Force (JTF) of gross human rights violations in some parts of the North.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, told reporters in Abuja yesterday that the methodology used by the International Human Rights Group was faulty.

Represented by the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Maj.-Gen Bitrus Kwaji, he described the report as unbalanced and highly subjective in favour of the aspirations of Boko Haram.

He said the military was never contacted or consulted when the Amnesty International was gathering information and conducting interviews from members of the sect from which they concluded their report.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that Amnesty International last week in a report entitled: “Nigeria: Trapped in the Circle of Violence’’, highlighted the nation’s security challenges, oil spills and demolition of houses.

“The serious human rights violations carried out by the security forces include; enforced disappearance, torture, extrajudicial executions, the torching of homes and detention without trial,’’ the report said.

Gen. Ihejirika, however, debunked such allegations as biased and ill-conceived with the intention of rubbishing the efforts which the military had been making to restore peace, protect lives and properties, law and order.

According to him, I am happy to observe that Amnesty International recognised that all the acts of Boko Haram are against Nigerian laws.

“They also recognised the fact that Boko Haram attacks were against civilians, this was a crime against humanity.

“We, however, disagreed with the mythology used to get the reports which did not give the military fair hearing.

“In their report regarding the methodology used, it admitted it spoke with affected members of the public in Borno, Bauchi, Kano and Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

“The Amnesty International also read newspaper reports and statements from Boko Haram.

“No where did they state that they got in touch with us. They never made any effort to reach us. We have our modes of operation, which were being complied with by our officers.”

“There have not been any reports of violation or our officers going outside their rules of engagement,” he noted.

He said, “we want to say that we have not been contacted by Amnesty International on any act of high-handedness by our soldiers, of which their commander is a battle tested professional.’’

He emphasised that the Amnesty International should have felt the pulse of the military.

The Army Chief said that Amnesty International report was skewed in favour of Boko Haram, not taking into cognisance of military efforts to ensure peace and security of law abiding citizens.

He debunked the allegations that JTF was in anyway involved in the killing of the civil war hero, Gen. Mohammed Shuwa.

Gen. Ihejirika said, “such allegations casts doubt on military patriotism and that they (JTF) cannot kill one of their own.



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