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Military denies targeting Muslims in its operations

09 April 2014, 10:42

Abuja - The Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday said that no religion or ethnic group was targeted at the ongoing counter terrorism campaign in the country.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, in Abuja.

Olukolade said that the Armed Forces comprise Nigerians from all religious persuasions and could not be used against any particular religion as purported.

He condemned the statement issued by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Aliyu.

Aliyu had in the statement alleged extra-judicial killing of Muslims and people of Fulani ethnic group by the Nigerian military.

Olukolade, however, described the statement as “spurious and inflammatory”.

He said that much as the military had been “reluctant to join issues with a respectable religious organisation like JNI, the need to set the records straight makes this response imperative.

“The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty.

“If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines.

“Contrary to the false claims, no law abiding individual, faith, ethnic group or organisation is being targetted as alleged by JNI.

“It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from respectable and responsible organisation like JNI,’’ he said.

Olukolade urged the body not to join in the fray of propagandists bent on discrediting genuine efforts at finding solutions to the nation’s security challenges.

He said that the military would continue to be driven by patriotism and commitment to the cause of the nation and its law abiding citizens.

According to him, all responsible organisations are requested to cooperate in the efforts at addressing the nation’s security challenges rather than compound the problem.

He said the military would not be distracted by unfair imputations from any quarter.

The spokesman said ``that for the avoidance of doubt the military and other security agencies do not have any policy, agenda or plans to perpetrate massacre or extra-judicial killing of law abiding citizens.”

He said the authorities had no reason to take side or shield anyone from justice.

"Individuals apprehended in the course of counter-terrorism campaign will continue to have access to justice as provided by law,”  he said

-    NAN

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