Rape allegations mischievous – DHQ

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Following the allegation leveled by Tiv Cultural and Social Association (TCSA) against the military in Taraba state, the Defence Headquarters has described the allegation as mischievous.

The group had alleged that the Nigerian military raped and killed Tiv women under the guise of anti-banditry operation.

But the DHQ insisted it would rather not join issues with the group, saying that it was pertinent to state the facts so as to set the records straight.

The spokesperson of the DHQ, Major General John Enenche in a statement said the military indeed conducted a dawn raid at Rafin Kada in Wukari LGA and Yojaa in Donga LGA of Taraba State on 29 June 2020 but the raid was on a confirmed bandits’ hideout based on actionable human and technical intelligence on the bandits’ activities in the general area.

“This intelligence was gleaned from both military intelligence sources in the field, as well as credible local sources in those same communities, who affirmed the activities of the bandits as it were.”

“Again, during the actual operation, the troops came in contact with suspected Tiv militias at Tse Juku village. The armed militias opened fire on sighting the troops who responded with superior firepower thereby neutralizing four of them in the process while unconfirmed number escaped with gunshot wounds.

“Troops also recovered 2 locally made rifles, 55 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 117 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 3 mobile phones, 3 AK 47 magazines, 2 motorcycles, one military shirt uniform, one Peace Corps ID Card belonging to one Mr Anyor Fidelis and some charms. When one considers that Nigerian soldiers engaged and neutralized four bandits and recovered the above-mentioned items from them, it is difficult to see or understand what ‘innocent civilian families’ would be doing in the midst of armed bandits, as claimed by the TCSA.”

“It is an act of mischief and deliberate attempt to discredit the concerted efforts of Nigerian troops in the theatre, as well as tarnish the image of the Nigerian Military”.

“Also, disheartening,” he stated further, “is the allegation that troops are colluding with Jukun militias to exterminate Tiv people. Clearly, the TCSA’s claim is incredible to say the least, as it makes no sense that the military which has devoted so much resources in terms of manpower and equipment to protect the good people of Taraba State, would at the same time want to exterminate these same people.

“For all intents and purposes, it is to be noted that that Armed Forces of Nigeria have a mandate to go after armed bandits, herdsmen, militias, and all other criminal elements, be they Tiv, Jukun or from any other ethnic group for that matter.

“Troops are strictly guided by Rules of Engagement (ROE), in addition to the International Laws of Armed Conflict, and International Humanitarian Law, amongst other constitutional provisions which guide the conduct of our troops in any engagement.

“It is mischievous to suggest that soldiers are raping their wives and daughters, and also destroying their properties in the name of manhunt for bandits in Southern Taraba.”

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