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Defence Headquarters dismisses Amnesty’s report, insists Shi’ites attempted to steal military weapons

Valentine Chinyem

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The defence headquarters (DHQ) has debunked claims made by Amnesty International (AI) on its alleged use of excessive force on protesting members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

This was made known in a statement issued by Defence Spokesman, Brig. Gen. John Agim, who described the report by the human rights watch as not portraying the true story.

The military and IMN members better known as Shi’ites had clashed within the federal capital territory (FCT) for three days.

Amnesty International had accused security agencies of using excessive force by firing live ammunitions on peaceful Shi’ites prostesters in a bid to kill them.

However the DHQ said the protesting Shi’ite members confronted troops in Zuba area of Abuja, who were transporting live ammunition and missiles to a military formation in Kaduna with the aim of stealing the weapons.

It added that the protesters deliberately confronted soldiers at a popular checkpoint along Nyanya – Maraca road leading into the FCT, with the intention of causing trouble.

The statement read: “The Defence Headquarters wishes to respond to Amnesty International (AI) reports in which the group alleged that the Nigerian military and the police engaged in horrific use of excessive force that led to the killing of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shi’ites during ‘peaceful’ protests.

“The worrisome narrative of the Amnesty International (AI) in matters of national security and cohesion of Nigeria has continued unabated in spite of verifiable evidences to the contrary.

“The Amnesty international’s hate and disdain for peaceful co-existence of Nigerians is manifested in the ways it consistently fabricates lies and gives negative narrative of issues related to Nigeria’s national security and its military.

“The DHQ wishes to emphasize for the umpteenth time that the narratives of the AI are outright falsehoods and calculated attempts at whipping up sentiments and misleading unsuspecting Nigerians as well as demoralizing friendly nations.

“The intentions of AI in Nigeria have remained suspect as the organization is always silent on the other side of issues.

“Nigerians who witnessed how military troops on legitimate duty came under unprovoked attacks from IMN members both in Zuba area of the FCT on Sunday, 28 October 2018 and at a security checkpoint in Mararaba, Nasarawa State on Monday, 29 October 2018 have videos and images of wounded soldiers and damaged military vehicles with audio commentaries. These are available in the public domain.

“Unfortunately, Amnesty International did not see anything wrong with these unprovoked subversive attacks on Nigerian military and other innocent passersby but was quick to refer to the activities of IMN from whom dangerous weapons and ammunition including Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), guns, knives and cutlasses were recovered as a peaceful protest.

“This goes further to prove the point that Amnesty International does not mean well for Nigeria. This is also in tandem with their previous reputation of denigrating the security forces anytime they make gains against the forces of evil to incite the Nigerian public and international community against the Military.