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Published On: Thu, Jan 29th, 2015

Amnesty, Army trade words over Baga attack

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Army-SoldierBy Joy Baba Yesufu

The military authorities and the Amnesty International have disagreed over the handling of the Baga attacks.

The Amnesty International had yesterday accused the Nigerian military of ignoring continual warnings of impending attacks on Baga and Monguno by insurgents by refusing to take necessary action to protect civilians and their properties.

Reports said Amnesty stated that commanders at the military base in Baga reliably informed the military headquarters in Abuja of threats by members of Boko Haram to attack and sought reinforcement to no avail between November and December last year.

Amnesty also claimed that residents were pre-informed of the attacks on Monguno and Baga early this year.

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa director said it was clear from available evidence that the Nigerian military leadership woefully and repeatedly failed in their duty to protect civilians of Baga and Monguno despite repeated warnings about an impending threat posed by Boko Haram,

But Wednesday, the Nigerian military described as misleading, unfair and inaccurate report by Amnesty International (AI) of human rights violations saying that it’s (AI) effort is to use these unfortunate activities of terrorists to find fault with the counter terrorism operations.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade yesterday in Abuja.

Olukolade said in actual fact, the protection of civilian population is the essence the entire counter terrorism operation adding that it therefore remains the priority in all the indeed, the troops were prepared and duly engaged the terrorists in all the instances referred to by Amnesty International.

He said the misleading conclusions by Amnesty International could have been avoided if they had made meaningful efforts to verify the inciting allegations.

 

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