Military debunks Amnesty International’s report on IPOB
The Nigerian Military has debunked a report released by Amnesty International (AI), which alleged the unlawful killing of at least 40 pro-Biafra protesters under the umbrella of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), saying it is another attempt to rubbish Nigerian security forces.
The military further described AI’s report as “an anecdote of unverified narratives in order to discredit the Nigerian Army in the course of carrying out its constitutional duties.”
A statement issued yesterday by Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Col. H Gambo, said “the sustained biased interest” of AI in Nigeria on matters that border on national security, “without recourse to fairness and objectivity” smacks of “trying albeit unsuccessfully to be relevant and justify funding.”
AI had issued a statement in the early hours of yesterday with the title, “Nigeria: Killing of unarmed Pro-Biafra supporters by military must be urgently investigated” where it claimed that it “received reports from various sources on the ground alleging that at least 40 people were killed and more than 50 injured” during IPOB’s protest on May 29/30, 2016.
The Country Director of AI, M. Ibrahim, in the statement alleged that soldiers opened “fire on peaceful IPOB supporters and bystanders who clearly posed no threat to anyone.”
Gambo, however, explained that “on fateful day, some elements of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and IPOB engaged in violent protests, which led to outright breakdown of law and order.”
Gambo’s statement added: “The pro-Biafra protesters who had chosen the day to mark the 50th anniversary of Biafra perpetrated a number of unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of Anambra State.
“A number of persons were selected for attack. Two personnel of the Nigeria Police were killed, several soldiers were wounded and a Nigerian Police vehicle was completely burnt down while another belonging to the Nigerian Army was vandalised.
“The strategic Niger Bridge at Onitsha was at the verge of being captured particularly with the coordinated reinforcement of the violent protesters from the Asaba end of the bridge.
“In addition, the protesters who employed firearms, crude weapons as well as other volatile cocktails such as acid and dynamites brazenly carried out wanton destruction of lives and properties. In consequence, law, order and security were grossly threatened across the state and beyond.”
Gambo said the coordinated activities of the protesters threatened the security of the entire region, adding that other security agencies synergised with the Nigerian Army and “acted responsively in order to de-escalate the deteriorating security situation.”
He said the forces, “exercised maximum restraints against the odds of provocative and inexplicable violence that were employed against them by the pro-Biafra protesters.”
“The military and of course the other security agencies acted professionally within the extant Rules of Engagement to successfully de-escalate the budding anarchy. It is rather inconceivable for any individual or group to have decided to inundate the general public with an anecdote of unverified narratives in order to discredit the Nigerian Army in the course of carrying out its constitutional duties despite the premeditated and unprovoked attacks in the hands of the violent pro-Biafra mob as Amnesty International is determined to do,” Gambo added.