The Nigerian Army on Saturday dismissed as misleading reports by the Amnesty International, alleging that 60 displaced persons were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents at Rann community in Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, made the clarification in a statement in Maiduguri.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Amnesty International in a report alleged that Boko Haram insurgents attacked the community sequel to the withdrawal of troops from the area.
Nwachukwu disclosed that there was no evidence of such attack as well as the murder of 60 persons by the insurgents on January 28; as claimed by the organization.
He said: “The attention of the Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE has been drawn to recent claims by Amnesty International (AI) that troops’ abandonment of their deployment led to the killing of 60 civilians in Rann on Jan. 28, 2018.
“Undoubtedly, it is disheartening that the situation of Internally Displaced Persons who are already traumatized, having been displaced from their ancestral homes by insurgency, is being further aggravated by recent callous Boko Haram attack on the IDP community.
“However; it is most unacceptable and unfair for AI to make such outlandish and unverified claims that troops abandoned their deployment a day before Boko Haram attack on the location, thereby exposing the IDPs to a deadly attack.
“This claim is not only bereft of truth, but in its usual mannerism, another futile effort by AI to portray the Nigerian military as incapable and project the Nigerian government as not protective of her people in the eyes of the global community.
“It is, therefore, inevitable to address this misinformation being peddled and fed the public from AI’s obviously uninformed report’’.
Nwachukwu explained that the insurgents attacked the community on Jan. 14, as against Jan. 28, as claimed by the Amnesty International.
He added that during the encounter with the insurgents on Jan. 14, the troops proved their gallantry, neutralized two suicide bombers and three Boko Haram fighters, while several others fled with gunshot wounds.
The army spokesperson revealed that the Theatre Commander, Maj. Gen. Benson Akinroluyo, accompanied by the Commander Sector 1, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Brig. Gen. Bulama Biu, conducted a long-range patrol and battle damage assessment exercise at Rann and other adjoining communities in the area.
He observed that the report of the assessment exercise indicated that there were no records of 60 persons killed in the insurgents’ attack as claimed by the AI.
“Contrary to AI’s claims, at no point of the assessment indicated the killing of 60 persons made either by members of the community, whom the Sector Commander interacted with or by the members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), who were there during the assessment.
“Again, the alleged 60 dead bodies were not recovered during search and rescue operation conducted after the attack, as AI would want members of the public to believe.
“The troops commenced a clearance operation in villages surrounding Rann and destroyed Boko Haram terrorists’ camps that were uncovered during the operation.