National News

Army rescues 195 persons

By Guardian

TROOPS yesterday said they had rescued 195 persons captured by the Boko Haram insurgents and recovered 630 different domestic animals, while more enclaves of the insurgents had been cleared in the North-East.

A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Col. Sani Usman, said the troops of 7 Division Garrison comprising 112 Battalion and Armed Forces Special Forces carried out a joint “clearance patrol on suspected Boko Haram terrorist locations at Kwaptara, Mijigete, Garin Boka, Mosole, Ngubdori, Ma’asa, Dukje and Gulumba in Dikwa and Bama local councils of Borno State.”

The statement said: “In the course of the unprecedented result yielding operations in these areas, following a tip-off by some people in the locality, a terrorists camp was discovered where there was also a patent medicine store and a major market in Gulumba, Dikwa Local Council of Borno State. In the ensuing encounter, several of the members of the insurgents were killed, while several items were also recovered, including “2 logistic trucks, 180 motorcycles, 750 bicycles and various perishable and non-perishable items such as a 100 KVA Mikano generator and grinding machine.

“In addition, they also rescued 195 persons held hostage, recovered 300 cows, 200 sheep and 130 goats rustled by the insurgents. The troops also recovered military items such as camouflage uniforms as well as rifle magazines and grenades.”

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of incessant complaints of gross human rights violation against the Army, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Buratai, has given assurance that all such cases would thoroughly be investigated under his watch as human rights compliant desk had been established under the Department of Civil-Military Relations.

While enjoining the public to volunteer useful information to the Army in order to free the country of unwanted elements, Col. Usman said the fight against terrorism is a collective responsibility of the Nigerian people.

Buratai, who said the reports of human rights abuses against the Army, especially regarding their operations in the North-East has generated so much attention locally and internationally, said: “The concept note for the efforts of the human rights office in the Army Headquarters (AHQ) has as a result of increasing interest of local and international human rights organisations and institutions in the Nigerian Army human relations footprints but specifically in areas of our operations in North-East.”

Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs (CCMA), Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, at the commissioning of the Desk yesterday, said the event marks another important day in the history of Nigerian Army “by establishing the human rights office”, which is the first of its kind in the Nigerian military.

Earlier, Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Ben Angwe, represented by a director at the NHRC, Mr. Saka Azimazi, commended the leadership of the Nigerian Army for the novel initiative.

Also reacting, Senior Human Rights Adviser to the United Nations (UN) Resident Co-ordinator and UN Country Team in Nigeria, Martin Ejidike, in commending the army said: “This Nigerian Army is setting important precedence for the human rights work in Nigeria. This will create a context of engagement and information exchange between the CSOs and the Army.”

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