The military yesterday, denied allegation of genocide leveled against it from some quarters in the North, saying that soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgents had never involved themselves in such act.
According to the military, “at no time or event in the course of the counter-insurgency operation have the troops embarked on the extra-judicial killing of civilians as exhibited in the gory pictures” presented by a newspaper ( not Daily Sun).
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said it found the allegation of genocide against the Nigerian military by a Kaduna-based cleric as not only diversionary but unfortunate.
A statement from the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade read: “The DHQ wishes to unequivocally dissociate the Nigerian military from any involvement in the alleged genocide as depicted in the graphic pictures, which appeared in the front page of the newspaper of May 22, 2014 edition entitled, ‘Alleged Killing field in Borno.”
General Olukolade said while the military would continue to respect freedom of expression of Nigerians, “it would not submit to ‘desperate blackmail and propaganda’ aimed at diverting attention and pitching public opinion against the armed forces.
“Although the real motive of the report and presentation with the apparent intention to impute military complicity in the event depicted in the pictures is yet to unfold, the DHQ sees this allegation as the manifestation of yet another grand design to tarnish and denigrate the image of Nigerian Armed Forces,” he stated.
He said that the Nigerian military remained a professional force, whose operations are guided by high standard of professional ethics and would not be party to such dastardly act, adding: “The location and occasion where the events captured in the pictures were taken is unknown and has no bearing whatsoever as insinuated in the report by the Blueprint newspaper. The individual holding stick which the paper mischievously described as ‘a soldier stand(ing) guard…’ is certainly not a Nigerian soldier neither is any of those captured in the pictures.”
The Defence Headquarters however, advised the media not to make themselves available to those, who are desperate to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Armed Forces.