By Ehi Ekhator, Naija Center News
The Nigerian military has responded to the accusation by the Amnesty International that its men have committed war crime by slitting the throat of suspected terrorists, in a video footage released by the group.
Amnesty International has released a video on Tuesday showing a group of military men with Civilian JTF slitting the throat of some arrested suspected members of Boko Haram.
The Nigerian military said that the Armed Forces observe all rules, regulations and commitments in all activities and reassured the international community, bodies and citizens that it will not encourage or condone any form of violation
Olukolade denied knowing the scene shown in the video and promised to investigate to make sure that such practice are not swept under the carpet.
Olukolade said ‘’ 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.