DHQ Denies Amnesty Int’l’s Allegations Of Abusing Boko Haram Survivors

The Defence Headquarters has challenged Amnesty International, AI, to substantiate the allegations levelled against the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, in its recent report.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, made the call in a statement in reaction to the allegations on Monday in Abuja.

AI had in its recent report accused soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, of abusing Boko Haram survivors while in detention.

It alleged that Boko Haram survivors said they were insulted and beaten by soldiers and witnessed the beatings of others during their detention in all facilities where they were held by the Nigerian military.

According to the report, in some facilities, CJTF members played supporting roles.

Reacting to the allegations, Mr Buba said the armed forces of Nigeria was a professional military force that operated within the ambit of International law of armed conflict and adheres to humanitarian law and principles governing human rights.

According to him, the military elects not to join words with organisations such as Amnesty International, rather would encourage them to approach the military high command to substantiate their allegations.

“The military has self regulating mechanisms with which it administers the military justice system to address any proven case of misconduct of personnel.

“It is worthy of note to state that, the AFN led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa OFR, has zero tolerance for indiscipline and any form of improper conduct during operations across the country.

“It is for this reason that, there are standing court martials to treat any form of misbehaviour by erring personnel, especially those that portray the military negatively to the general populace,” he said.

Mr Buba said the military would remain focused on its objective, saying it would remain unperturbed by such “self serving statements targeted at dampening the moral of troops in operational theatres.”

He added that the military would engage constructively with Amnesty International, where available.

“Overall, we will continue on the trajectory of conducting operations assiduously to defeat terrorism in our nation,” he added.