The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has dismissed links to trending pictures and videos in circulation showing dead bodies into mass graves, purported to be bodies of bandits killed in military operations.
Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, Director, Defence Information, dismissed the pictures and videos in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Sawyer, while noting that the military is presently conducting an intensive operation against bandits, kidnappers and other criminals terrorizing the peace of the state in line with it’s constitutional roles, however, noted that the operations are being conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity.
The statement reads: “The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), have been notified on a trending picture with the caption “Alhamdulillah. ZamfaraMustSecure” and several other viral gory pictures and videos of dumping into mass grave of persons purported to have been killed in the ongoing military operations in the North West and North Central geographical zones of the country.
“It is pertinent to state that the allegation is false and malicious and has no link whatsoever with the operations being conducted by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).
“However, it is true that the AFN is presently conducting a successful military operation against bandits and kidnappers in line with its constitutional roles. These operations are conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity.
“The viral pictures being circulated have nothing in common with the ongoing operations. This callous action of linking ongoing operations with falsehood is deliberate and thus, seeks to tarnish the good image and reputation of the AFN.
“For the record, the AFN conducts a fortnightly defence media operations brief in which pictures of the operations are displayed to complement achievements in the ongoing operations. Any attempt therefore to portray the AFN in a bad light as a crude force is unacceptable and unpatriotic.
“We therefore urge the general public to please disregard the gory pictures. The AFN will not rest on it’s oars in performing the Constitutional mandate of ensuring that our nation remains safe and peaceful for all law abiding citizens.”