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Amnesty International releases Gruesome Video Implicating Nigerian Military | Defence issues Statement

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Amnesty International - August 2014 - BellaNaija.com 01
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Amnesty International claims that the Nigerian military has committed atrocities in the North-East in its fight against Boko Haram.

In the video released today, the military is recorded on camera abusing civilians who are believed to be suspected members of the Islamist militant sect.

The video was obtained by numerous sources during a visit by a rep for Amnesty International. It provides fresh evidence of war crimes including extra-judicial executions, and other serious human rights violations

In one part of the video, detainees are seen having their throats slit one by one and dumped in mass graves by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian military and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF)

Video

Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information has sent out a press release:

Gentlemen of the Press,

Welcome to this press briefing which was compelled by the urgent need to clarify some developments arising from our counter-terrorism operations in the country.

The Nigerian military welcomes the interest being shown by international bodies and civil society groups on the observance of Human Rights in all aspects of ongoing counter terrorism campaign in Nigeria. Despite the highly challenging and peculiar nature of the variables in the operations, the importance of accountability for all actions has remained paramount. The Armed Forces of Nigeria is conscious of the nation’s obligation to observe all rules, regulations and commitments in all activities, and wishes to reassure the international community, bodies and citizens that it will not encourage or condone any form of violation.

It is expedient to particularly address the recent allegation of gross Human Rights abuses levelled against the military by the Amnesty International and those circulating video footage purportedly showing Nigerian military carrying out extra-judicial killing of suspected terrorists.

For the records, we must unequivocally state that the Nigerian military takes the issue of Human Rights seriously and will never condone any proven case of abuse by its personnel. Military authorities are deeply concerned about the set of video footage being circulated and which unfortunately has also become reference data for Amnesty International in its report. Much as the scenes depicted in these videos are alien to our operations and doctrines, it has to be investigated to ensure that such practices have not crept, surreptitiously into the system all to the detriment of expectations, in line with best practices to which the nation’s military has committed itself.

The Defence Headquarters considers these allegations too grievous to be associated with Nigerian troops, considering the doctrinal and operational contents of the training imparted to personnel on a continuous basis; emphasizing the importance of respect for Human Rights and dignity of human person as well as observance of humanitarian laws. Rather, the scenes in that video clip clearly depict a pattern consistent with the atrocious operations of the terrorists.

Notwithstanding the cases of impersonations that have pervaded the counter terrorism operations in Nigeria and many other related issues which cast doubts on the claims made in the video, the Defence Headquarters views those grave allegations very seriously, more so as it borders on the integrity of the ongoing counter-terrorism operation, which must be sustained in the interest of our national survival.

Consequently, the Defence Headquarters in addition to the already existing Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has constituted a team of senior officers and legal cum forensic experts to study the video footage and the resultant allegations of infractions in order to ascertain the veracity of the claims with a view to identifying those behind such acts. This will further determine and stimulate necessary legal action against any personnel or anyone found culpable in accordance with the provisions of the law.

You will recall that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was earlier constituted based on previous allegations of human rights abuse. The JIT is still in place and have regularly conducted visits to detention facilities. It is currently on tour of some of such facilities across the country. The JIT has also regularly forwarded names of those suspects who are culpable to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution. An additional list is currently being compiled to facilitate the decongestion of detention facilities.

These attempts at protecting the rights of detained terror suspects categorically point to the fact that as a professional institution with thorough-bred officers and men, the Nigerian military cannot be party to such degree of savagery, as portrayed in the video footage available to Amnesty International. The Nigerian military has over the years demonstrated a pedigree devoid of such acts in several operational theatres in and out of the country. There is no reason why this should change at this stage of our national life.

Without mincing words, the Nigerian Armed Forces cannot condone any action or inaction that tramples on the right to life of any Nigerian. The ultimate objective of Nigeria’s counter-terrorism operation is the complete cessation of the heinous and barbaric activities of the terrorists and to stamp out every vestige of terrorism in our country with the application of international best practices in such operations. It will, therefore, be absurd for the Nigerian Armed Forces as an institution to perpetrate such unprofessional acts in the manner and level depicted in that video as alleged by Amnesty International. Respect for the sanctity of life is always boldly emphasized in our doctrinal trainings. Indeed, that level of barbarism and impunity has no place in the Nigerian military. It must thus be reiterated that the Nigerian military is a very well organized professional body of troops whose conducts in war and peace times are guided comprehensively by law.

We assure Nigerians and indeed the international community that the Nigerian Armed Forces recognizes the concern of Amnesty International as well as other similar bodies and therefore remains committed to the observance of the rules of engagement and human rights in its counter-terrorism operations.

35 Comments

  1. Musa

    August 5, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Those are not Military Men. Boko Haram In disguise. The Military cant do such….Get your facts straight

    • Me

      August 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Dear Musa, This is Africa. Our armies, can, will and have done unspeakable acts such as this? Do you forget the time of Mr. Abacha? Please do not bury your head in the sand like an ostrich

    • Busarni

      August 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      even if they do; do you know how many of them have lost their colleagues. What about the video where an army official was being butchered. In as much as i condemn the act, these soldiers go through a lot.

    • C'est moi

      August 5, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      BH wouldn’t bother digging graves trying to cover it up

    • Iris

      August 6, 2014 at 3:46 am

      Why can’t the military “do such”? Where are your own facts? Was it not the military that ran Nigeria to the ground for 30 years and killed people like chickens? Was it not soldiers that burnt BRT buses last month? If you have proof that this is Boko Haram bring it forth and stop operating on baseless sentiment.

  2. chimi

    August 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    God have mercy. the astrocities of this world is to much. only you God has the answer.

  3. carphy

    August 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hmmmmmmmmm…God, please help us.

  4. Mz Socially Awkward...

    August 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I wanted to dig out my earphones so I could watch the video and then got distracted by the press statement, and then got even more side-tracked when I saw this:- “For the records, we must unequivocally state that the Nigerian military takes the issue of Human Rights seriously and will never condone any proven case of abuse by its personnel.”

    Now I don’t know if the uniformed men in the video are or aren’t proven personnel of the Nigerian military force but to baldly make the above statement with a straight face…. He must surely be having a laugh. Surely.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      August 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Found said earphones and watched it. What kind of in-human, two-legged animals do we constantly have running loose and uncontrolled in Nigeria?

      To the 1st commenter, when you consider that 4 boys were condemned and summarily killed in broad daylight by civilians just like them and on the basis of absolutely no evidence, with police officers standing nearby… can you completely refute the possibility that army officers were involved in this? Think about the Nigerian army with the amount of thuggery they often inflict on everyday citizens, getting the opportunity to deal with suspected Boko Haram members and without the fear of discovery. Think about it and tell me you don’t entertain any iota of belief that its either drugged-up army personnel in this video or even more intoxicated vigilantes hired to do their work for them.

      Its a sickening way to inflict justice; nobody is in charge of this country which is why people keep getting slaughtered like animals (whether by Boko Haram or otherwise) everyday. And as we keep watching, Nigeria continues burning to the ground, very, very quickly.

    • Tbaby

      August 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      @Awkward “as we keep watching” (in quote). What do u expect d common man to do? As an individual, what are u doing about it? Is it only to come n social media n throw tantrums? Pls. Nigeria is sickening as it is.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      August 5, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Bia, nwa madu. Riddle me this- in responding to my comment, what part of yours did you use to outline what YOU have done to help the situation?

      Your query is similar to me asking BN why they’ve uploaded a video inciting our outrage instead of DOING something about it. Or asking Amnesty international why they’ve gone public with the atrocity and are shaming the military instead of stopping the violence.

      Hopefully neither one of us is too foolish to realize these news items are posted to spark debate on the state of the country. And not too dimwitted to understand my statement about “watching” the country burn wasn’t directed at the powerless common man but at those deemed to be managing the state of the nation. I can only hope that one of us wasn’t too slow to get what was inferred without having to TYPE it plainly like this in so very many words. Narnsense…

    • Meddy

      August 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I am with you on this.. Very Sad!

  5. deb

    August 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I guess the people are under the disguise of the Military. These are militants/terrorist &not the military.

  6. Dee

    August 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    It’s a known fact that the Nigeian army sometimes engages in extra judiciary killings. For crying out loud even in non conflict areas we’ve seen cases of soldiers. Killing civilians. This is truly sad, i

    • Shadie

      August 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      @Dee case in point the Ikorodu Rd incident, where soldiers burnt down so many BRT buses, brutalised innocent civilians and killed some. In this video they are guilty. Animals in military uniforms.

  7. benny

    August 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Shoot at sight? Yes! Flog mercilessly? Yes! Give painful punishment? Yes! But carry hand and knife to slaughter is not our military M.O.
    This is notthe nigerian military please. Back when I was in uni in the north; b4 this full blown BH madness, these people used to import military uniform In huge numbers so they could disguise and wreak havoc. It got so bad that soldiers doing peace keeping in plateau state had to switch to their ecowas peace keeping uniforms so we could tell the difference and run for our lives.

  8. Senavoe

    August 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Firstly, i doubt the authenticity of the claims, it is against military protocols to go on missions with varying shades of camouflage. Any which way, just like the issue of jungle justice, one can’t totally place all the blames on the perpetrators of this unfortunate act. But look at things from this perspective, boko haram members have being in the captivity of the DHQ since 2009 continuously, most of them are been freed after a while, chris olukolade nor his bosses aren’t in the front line of this war, they aren’t the ones losing colleagues and friends, or the ones been raided often at there camps.

    If indeed this is true, it shows even the laudable men on ground zero no longer rely on our ebola infested judicial system, why then send them to congested prisons when you can easily carry out acts to avoid future attacks, this is definitely bad, but i insist it is understandable with this useless government.

  9. .com

    August 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I believe this video. Case that comes to mind was the recent arrest of the transgender who was arrested during the bombing and whose only visible offence at that time was wearing female clothes. Now I don’t support Boko haram but the was the military treat citizens in regular states (Lagos) is appalling not to talk of theses warring states.

  10. mrs chidukane

    August 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    The Nigerian military will beat you to death or shoot you but slit your throat?i highly doubt that. I’ve not watched the video but I doubt if it’s Nigerian soldiers.

  11. ify

    August 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Why are we Nigerians so rude, aggressive and wicked? I don’t get it. I wasn’t born in Nigeria but have met a lot of my own and without fail, they all exhibit such traits. I know you will rain insults on me for saying the truth and judging ALL Nigerians based on the few I have met but I don’t care. It is in the blood some how. This is not right. There are many acts like this in other countries too and I know but I am not from there and want to mind my business. Who gave us the right to kill. We are so quick to kill. Burning humans for crimes. Who made us judges?….smh….
    And we are the African country with the biggest powerful churches. …hypocrisy at it’s best. ..

    • Tbaby

      August 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Abeg park well n sharaaaap. Its only Nigerians that kill all over d world bah? I blame u? Everybody can sit behind d phones, ipads n tablets to spill rubbish. There are matters on ground seeking answers from worried citizens here in Nigeria, u re there generalising n typing nonsense.

  12. No wonder

    August 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    This is not the Nigerian military. They came out few weeks ago to warn that some people would try to blackmail them by releasing doctored videos and they warned members of the public to take note. Haba, Nigeria at least make una support una own for once. I reiterate, this is not the Nigerian military. Again we know that boko haram usually carry out heinous acts using the army uniform and even equipments. That is why the military is always against people wearing their colour of uniform even if its for fashion.

  13. mulikat

    August 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Boko Harm Men do more than this, eye for eye, they are killer those Boko Harms and their wivies,so Amry are tried and aggrey they buy thier way out,none in jail,so they kill them immedately-1.

  14. RO2

    August 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    There is a term used in this video “Na him be Armourer ba ?” It is the term used by Arm forces for Arms and Ammunitions custodian. this makes me think Nigeria Army should rather be diplomatic by accepting responsibility to INVESTIGATE and COURT-MARSHAL all involved if they are indeed Nigerian Army. They should condemn the atrocious act and tell the World this is not what Nigeria Army represent . Denial would only make the fight against Boko Haram more difficult and I bet no Country in the world will support army that does this.
    .

  15. Wale

    August 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I am speechless…

  16. le coco

    August 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    my only fear is that th military is doing this to innocent ppl.. but if indeed the people they r torturing r members of boko haram then kudos to them.. amnesty international shld not come n tlk bout human rights wen th lyks of boko haram is involved.. these r not th kind of criminals u arrest nd giv a fair trial.. these r the ppl that shld b burnt nd killed on the spot.. (that is if trully they r members of boko haram)

  17. Victoria

    August 5, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    they are terrorist disguised in Army Uniforms. The Nigerian Army cannot commit such barbaric acts

  18. TheresaO

    August 6, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Like few people have said, it is highly unlikely for Soldiers to slit the throats of suspects. What are their guns for? They would have lined them up and quickly shot them. Why bother with the tiring effort of individually slitting throats?
    Guys let’s be reasonable, who are the people who enjoy this barbaric act, even beheading? Who are the people who attacked little boys as they slept in their school dormitories, slitting their throats and burning them to death? Who are the people who have routinely deceived villagers by dressing in Army uniforms and attacking them?

    Just because Amnesty released the video doesn’t mean it isn’t doctored. Whoever recorded and sneaked in the video to them did it to cast aspersions on the Military who have suffered at the hands of these terrorists. There are many wild conspiracy theories flying about regarding Boko haram and their sponsors. This video is another tool that is aimed at rubbishing the efforts of the Military leading to suspicion and uncooperation from the public. Sadly this unconfirmed video has been sent to many media organizations. I even saw it on the UK Daily Mail online.
    May God help Nigeria, her enemies are many.

  19. Ngcore

    August 6, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I wonder when Nigerian military will stop being in denial. Soldiers burnt Lagos State government buses and the military quickly denied that soldiers were involved. Amnesty International cannot put up this video and accuse the military if they are not sure. This is disgusting and I hope some people are prosecuted for war crime..I know we are frustrated with this Boko haram thing but that’s enough to round up people and cut their throat.

    • ezigbo

      August 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

      THANK YOU. any Nigerian that says these are not Nigerian soldiers is living in denial. I am a very young doctor and in my one year of practice I have seen at least 2 episodes when Nigerian police kill supposed armed robbers in groups of 5 or 6 and brought them to the hospital just so I certify them dead, Of course they lie that they found them shot dead, but they can”t explain all the assault marks evident on their bodies, the gunshot wounds, or the reason they are covered in red sand. Puh-lease, like red sand can hide all those marks? If the common police can do this, please fear these military men. One can’t deny that the accents of the people in the video is typical NAIJA. I can stick out my neck anywhere and say these are the Nigerian military, no pun intended. So so shameful.

  20. Bullet

    August 6, 2014 at 6:50 am

    ……i think these people are not Nigerian military men, ……even bokoharams wear military camouflage too.

  21. Omo1

    August 6, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Military do not butcher with knife, they would have simply shot them all and throw the bodies into a mass grave, I am not saying the military is not capable committing atrocities, but let’s not forget that boko haram are disguised as well to carry out their evil deeds., they could be terrorist, militants..

    At a time like this though, we can never be too sure!

  22. Eyo

    August 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Can belive that nigeria army can do such thing.may be so call boko haram boy.

  23. Eyo

    August 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Way all this killing of innocent soul everday. Is that there no military action over d.up nigeria army justice have to be done

  24. dfd

    August 9, 2014 at 4:45 am

    mallam must go (MMG)

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