- The Nigerian defence headquarters has confirmed that there is an intense military operation going on in the north against bandits
- However, Benjamin Sawyerr, the defence spokesman, said some gory pictures being circulated online have nothing to do with the military operations
- Sawyerr said the troops are carrying out the operations in line with the rules of armed conflicts and respect for human rights
FCT, Abuja - The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has dismissed trending pictures and videos in circulation showing dead bodies dumped into mass graves, purported to be bodies of people killed during military operations in Zamfara.
PM News reported that the director of defence information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, dismissed the pictures and videos in a statement on Sunday, September 12, in Abuja.
Sawyer said that a picture with the caption, “Alhamdulillah, Zamfara Must Secure” and several other pictures and videos were purported to have emanated from the military operations in the north.
The defence spokesman said the viral photos and videos had no link whatsoever with the operations being conducted by troops of the Nigerian military.
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Troops truly conducting military operations against bandits
Though Sawyer dismissed the trending photos, he said it is true that troops are currently conducting successful military operations against bandits and kidnappers in line with their constitutional roles.
He said the military operations are being conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity, Premium Times also reported.
Sawyerr, therefore, urged the public to disregard the gory pictures.
Reacting to a copy of the statement posted on Facebook, Haruna Lawal said:
"I will like to say this clearly “bandits do not have human rights” and if anybody start shouting breach of human right he should be jailed and prosecuted as a pro bandits.
"We cannot allow people to play with our heads while our National security is threatened. May Nigeria defeat her enemies."
Pius Angbo said:
"We the masses are pleased with the AFN operations to rid the country of all illegal arm bearers and criminals.
"Our only concern is that, let no arm group, bandit, militia and kidnapper be spared because one Oga say " leave that area". Crime is crime and the consequences should be same."
Dabbit Bulus Tanquo said:
"Whether the pictures and videos are gory or grotesque or however you describe them, does not matter since they were bandits.
"Have they not also killed innocent people that way? Please no retreat no surrender. You can even code it operation total elimination!"
No case of human rights abuse by Nigerian troops, defence minister tells US diplomats
In another related report, Bashir Salihi Magashi, the minister of defence, has denied the reported cases of human rights violations levelled against the country by the international community.
General Magashi denied the allegations when the United States acting ambassador to Nigeria, Kathleen Fitz Gibbon, paid a visit to the Ministry of Defence's headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, August 19.
In a statement released and signed by his media aide, Mohammad Abdulkadri, the minister told Gibbon that the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, respects domestic and international laws that forbid abuse of human rights.
Nigeria signs military agreement with Russia
In other news, the Nigerian government has signed a military-technical cooperation agreement with the Russian federation.
A statement released on Wednesday, August 25, by the Nigerian Navy indicates that the minister of defence, Major General Magashi, who is on an official visit to Russia, signed on behalf of Nigeria.
Legit.ng gathered that the director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugaev, signed for the Russian federation.