Army stings Amnesty International over 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.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“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.
The 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, but the Army
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 accuses the military of failing to respond while the insurgents conducted an armed raid on government girls science and technical college on February the 19th.
“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 claims that testimonies from several credible sources show 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 says, “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 what it describes as inexcusable security lapses that allowed the abduction to take place without any effort to prevent it.
“The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it,” Ojigho said in the statement.
Amnesty International also said further that it gathered testimonies from multiple credible sources showing that the Nigerian army and police received multiple calls up to four hours before the raid on Dapchi, but did not take effective measures to stop the abduction or rescue the girls after they were taken by Boko Haram fighters.
The sources told Amnesty International that a list of Nigerian security officials who were alerted on February 19, before and during the raid on the Government Girls Science and Technical College.
The sources and eyewitnesses in Dapchi confirmed that approximately 50 Boko Haram fighters arrived in Dapchi in a convoy of nine vehicles with Arabic inscriptions on them, seven Landcruiser trucks, one Hilux and a Canter truck. (NAN)