From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
The Nigerian Air Force has vowed discipline it’s personnel who allegedly featured in a video clip on circulation using corporal punishment on the arrested and disarmed bandits in Shinkafi local government area of Zamfara state should they be found culpable.
In a statement by the Director Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola and made available to our correspondent in Gusau the state capital, the embattled personnel were part of a joint team stationed at Galadi Subsector when the incident occurred.
“The joint team, sequel to intelligence reports, intercepted a group of suspected armed bandits including some fighters from across the border at their Sububu forest hideout, whislt they were on the verge of executing an attack against innocent civilians in Shinkafi.
“In the process, the team recovered one AK47 rifle along with three loaded magazines and three Dane guns from the bandits. In an effort to obtain further information on the criminals’ plans and location of their armoury, the troops employed unauthorised, crude corporal methods.
“The NAF wishes to state unequivocally that the trooos’ actions of flogging and physically assaulting the disarmed suspects were totally unacceptable and not consonance with the Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) guiding the conduct of the operation. Our personnel have always been directed to respect the rights of innocent civilians as well as captured combatants, no matter the provocation”, the statement read.
It further informed that, the NAF, being Constitutionally decent organisation, has zero tolerance for human rights violations, the reason it said has already initiated an appropriate action to address the anomaly, adding that, “In this regard, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been set up by the headquarters Special Operations Command to determine the remote and immediate causes of the incident”.
According to the statement, the effort is with a view to ensure appropriately disciplinary action is taken against all NAF personnel found culpable as that will serve as deterrent to others so much that respect for laws and discipline would be maintained while discharging their constitutional duties for the betterment of the country.
The statement further reads, “The NAF, as an organization, wishes to state that it remains a professional fighting force that will continue to operate within the ambits of all relevant laws and procedures, as well as in line with international best practices, whilst remaining fully accountable to the Nigerian people.”