Military stings Amnesty Int’l on Dapchi girls

The Defence Headquarters has refuted claims by Amnesty International (AI) of foreknowledge on the abduction of Dapchi schoolgirls and described the indictment as “outright falsehood and misleading.’’

“It is pertinent to state that most of their narratives are outright falsehood and a calculated attempt to whip up sentiments and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians,’’ the Army said.

The Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, said on Tuesday that the Amnesty International’s posture was calculated to demoralise friendly nations and people collaborating with security forces to end the forces of evil in the North-East.

Amnesty International had alleged that the Nigerian Military and security forces were informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters were heading towards Dapchi in Yobe State to abduct some schoolgirls and failed to act on the information.

“For the avoidance of doubts, no security force was informed of Dapchi schoolgirls abduction as alleged by Amnesty International.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military and has attained the highest form of professionalism in line with international best practices. And so, could not have ignored the warning of Boko Haram attack only to work tirelessly to get the girls back,” the military said.

Nigerian Army also took a swipe at Amnesty International stating that it is not proper for the organisation to denigrate the reputation of Nigeria’s security forces.

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They also challenged the international group to expose the unit they informed about the impending attack.

“The question Amnesty International has not answered satisfactorily is: Which of the security forces and what unit was informed that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters heading towards Dapchi where they abducted Dapchi school girls?

“What was the telephone numbers used to inform the Military or the Police? Why has Amnesty International refused to communicate its findings with the Federal Government’s Committee set up to investigate what happened before, during and after Dapchi girls abduction? Is Amnesty International trying to undermine the outcome of this committee?” the Nigeria military questioned.

The Nigerian army, however, said the Armed Forces of Nigeria is poised to bring the activities of Boko Haram terrorist to a complete end and “no amount of discouraging fabrications aimed at deterring the military from achieving its constitutionally assigned responsibilities.”

Amnesty International had accused the Nigerian military of failing to prevent the abduction of 110 schoolgirls in Dapchi.

In its report on Tuesday, Amnesty International said security forces failed to act on advance warnings that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading to Dapchi town.

Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director, Mr. Ossai Ojigho, also accused the military of failing to respond while the insurgents conducted an armed raid on Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, on February 19.

“Evidence available to Amnesty International suggests that there are insufficient troops deployed in the area and that an absence of patrols and the failure to respond to warnings and engage with Boko Haram contributed to this tragedy,” the statement read in part.

Giving further details, Amnesty International claimed that testimonies from several credible sources showed that security forces received at least five warning calls up to four hours before the Dapchi raid.

It adds that during the attack, army officials, both in Geidam and Damaturu area of the state, were again alerted.

The military only arrived in Dapchi shortly after Boko Haram left.

Comparing the Dapchi raid to the Chibok episode, Amnesty International said, “Regrettably, no lessons appear to have been learned from the terrible events at Chibok four years ago.

“What happened in Dapchi is almost a carbon copy of what happened in Chibok, with the security forces failing to respond to warnings – and the same result for another hundred girls and their families.”

They, therefore, asked the Federal Government to investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed the abduction to take place without any effort to prevent it.


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