The Nigerian Military has disassociated itself from the photos published on Facebook by a Muslim cleric alleging mass killings of civilians in Borno. The photos which have made their way into the media and were published on the front page of Blueprint Newspapers today, May 22, 2014, have created some sensation in the polity.
In a statement signed and released to journalists by Major General Chris Olukolade, Director of Defence Information, the Nigerian military says there are no Nigerian soldiers in the photos and the military has nothing to do with the alleged killings. He maintained that the location of the said killings is unknown and described the publication as a desperate attempt to tarnish the good name of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The full statement is below:
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has found the latest allegation of genocide against the Nigerian military by a Kaduna based cleric as not only diversionary but unfortunate. 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 Blueprint newspapers of 22 May 2014 edition entitled, “Alleged Killing field in Borno”.
While the military will continue to respect freedom of expression of Nigerians, it will 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.
The Nigerian military remains a professional force whose operations is guided by high standard of professional ethics and will not be party to such dastardly act. 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.
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 media are once again advised not to make themselves available to those who are desperate to tarnish the good name of the Nigerian Armed Forces.