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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Killing of soldiers – Army not doing enough in South East – Rights group

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Condemning as barbaric, despicable, and reprehensible, the reported killings of soldiers by persons the authority has chosen to identify as unknown gunmen,  the prominent non-political, non-profit, civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) through the National Coordinator  Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the Government and by extension military and police authorities should cover their faces in shame that for two years now, the phenomenon of Unknown gunmen has been allowed to fester and grow into a big profitable franchise. HURIWA wants government officials investigated for benefitting from the activities of unknown gunmen hence they have grown from strength to strength.
HURIWA has also frowned at the inability of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya to boost interactions, interfaces and conversations between credible Civil society organizations and the Department of Civil and Military Relations just as the Rights group lamented that the authority has allowed professional misconduct and indiscipline to overwhelm the Armed forces with many of the soldiers on internal security operations involved in unjust, extrajudicial execution and systematic killings of innocent youths with no strong deterrence imposed by the Service Chiefs.
HURIWA condemns this atrocious act of the gruesome killings of soldiers by armed attackers and we blame it squarely on the military and police chiefs unable to run proper intelligence-led operations so as to crack down on the appropriate criminals perpetrating the acts of killings, mutilation, and desecration of bodies of soldiers in the most appalling and heart-rending conditions and we are hereby tasking the military authorities to do more to improve their intelligence capacities so as to uncover the real perpetrators of these dastardly crimes because it is a sign of spectacular failures of leadership and intelligence that these sorts of unnatural killings can go on for years and even the military and police authority are not ashamed to call the attackers unknown gunmen.
HURIWA calls on government to eliminate the root cause of the phenomenal violence by freeing the unjustly incarcerated leader of the now proscribed INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and hold dialogues with aggrieved groups to lay down their arms and embrace constructive engagement.
HURIWA said thus:”We are asking the Chief of Army Staff to revive the dead department of civil and military relations and the Army’s human rights desks and make sure that these many cases of misbehavior and misconduct of soldiers in terms of gross human rights abuses unleashed on civilians during internal security operations are investigated and perpetrators identified and sanctioned to serve as deterrence.
“To continue to tolerate the use of extrajudicial execution of civilians by soldiers is to encourage the killings of soldiers by those the authority chose to call unknown gunmen. Reorganize the strategies for carrying out internal military operations to incorporate the observations involvement of credible Civil rights bodies to minimize human rights abuses and the extra-legal killings of civilians that have happened in Imo State and the rest of the South East of Nigeria. “
HURIWA condemns the Government for making nonsense of the reports of extrajudicial execution of civilians by soldiers and police in Imo State as compiled by Amnesty International and many other credible organizations operating within the South East of Nigeria.
HURIWA  said the impressions created by the rejection of these reports compiled from empirical evidence and eyewitness accounts is that the Federal Government does not care about the human rights of the citizens and if that is so, the government has created the very reason why soldiers and police operatives are continuously attacked and killed.
“Government must take steps to punish soldiers who are perpetrators of extra-legal killings of civilians and also build up the intellectual capacities of security agencies in the Country and also buy technological equipment to carry out military surveillance to generate actionable intelligence on criminals and perpetrators of attacks on strategic national assets and the citizens”.
HURIWA recalled that the so-called Unknown gunmen have killed a soldier and five other persons in Anaocha and Nnewi South Local Government Areas of Anambra State. It was gathered that five of the victims were killed at a restaurant in Obiofia village, Osumenyi, in Nnewi South.
The assailants, armed with automatic rifles, cutlasses, and other dangerous weapons, invaded a military checkpoint in Agulu on Saturday and opened fire on soldiers, killing one in the process.
HURIWA similarly recalled that two soldiers were reportedly beheaded by gunmen on their way to their wedding in Imo state.
HURIWA which referenced a chat obtained and made available on social media revealed that gunmen confessed to killing the couple and two others. According to him, soldiers have been killing innocent people and he has “eaten these ones” in revenge. A military source also told reporters that the couple was beheaded and their private parts were also mutilated.
Before his death, the Master Warrant Officer has compulsorily retired ahead of his wedding to the female junior officer who was also killed.
HURIWA which described as intolerable and condemnable the killings of even a female unarmed Igbo born soldier and her would-be soldier husband who is also unarmed said the government doesn’t care about the citizens or even about the soldiers being killed because, despite the deliberate failure of commanders and heads of security agencies to detect the exact perpetrators of the killings, the government has failed to even take administrative steps to dismiss these incompetent heads of security agencies showing that the government is part of the killings and therefore does not want to end the scenarios of deaths, bloodshed, pains and pangs of suffering.

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