AFRICANGLOBE – The Nigerian army has dismissed a report by Amnesty International, released early on Wednesday, calling on authorities to investigate top military commanders for war crimes in the north-east of the country.
“The Defense Headquarters has noted with dismay the gruesome allegations made by Amnesty International against some serving and retired senior military officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces,” Nigerian Defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
The statement follows a report by the Western “human rights” watchdog in which it demanded the investigation of Nigerian army chiefs whom it claimed may have been complicit in war crimes committed against Boko Haram terrorists.
“Amnesty International is advised to stop playing the role of an irritant coming up loudly only when the terrorists are losing and remaining silent or complacent whenever the terrorists intensify their atrocities,” Olukolade said. “It is very unfortunate that Amnesty International has chosen to ignore all the responses and clarifications provided to its enquires by the authorities.”
According to the Amnesty International, up to 8,000 terrorist suspects died of torture, starvation, suffocation or extra-judicial executions by soldiers in detention facilities.
“It is unfair to rely on records or reports, provided by certain disgruntled elements or faceless collaborators who have an axe to grind with the system, as evidence against officers who have been conscientiously doing their duty to defend the nation and her citizens,” Olukolade said.
The Nigerian army insisted that the allegations fall within a pattern by Amnesty International of seeking to vilify the country and its army.
“The loud publicity given to these damning allegations suggests an intention to blackmail the military and particular senior officers rather than sincerely advise the government,” Olukolade said.
The army accused the so-called human rights group of “extreme bias” in its report which the military said did not reflect its own side of the narrative.