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Human Rights:COAS Gives Testimony, Berates Reuters Over Report

Chief of Army Staff

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk  Yahaya, on Saturday in Abuja testified before the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East, where he berated Reuters News Agency report accusing the military of human rights violations.

Yahaya who served as Theatre Commander in the fight against insurgency before his appointment as COAS, challenged Reuters to bring evidence to substantiate it claims against the military.

He accused Reuters of acting a script to rubbish the successes recorded in the North East in the fight against insurgency.

“Some people are gifted in writing just like in novels, describing what they never witnessed forgetting that in the military if you waste any ammunition you will be court martialed. We are not a mercenary Army, we are a professional Army.

“We are succeeding and not many are happy that we are succeeding, they cannot reverse our successes therefore they rubbish it.

“Sometimes, they are playing other peoples script. We are not Boko Haram terrorists, we are trained to be professionals and the training is continuous.

“May be they don’t know we are operating under the government. The National Human Rights Commission follows what is being done in the military and what we are doing is internal operation; we are operating in our country.

“The Army is Nigerian Army and we are not like Boko Haram that does not operate under code of conduct”, the COAS added.

He noted that the Nigerian Army is focused on fighting the insurgency and restoring peace in the North East and therefore could not have abandoned this noble cause to engage in abortion of 10,000 pregnancies.

The COAS explained that the Army was fully aware that it was fighting  Nigerian dissidents and remained committed to all rules of engagement regarding handling such conflict.

He told the panel chaired by Justice Abdu Aboki (rtd), that Reuters report does not reflect the reality on ground and can be best described as “textbook solution” to the insurgency crisis in North East.

When asked by the panel’s Secretary, Mr Hilary Ogbonna to explain Reuters’ claim that that soldiers massacred many children perceived to have been fathered by Boko Haram, the COAS described the allegation as “laughable”.

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