‘We’re Professionals’ — Army Chief Dismisses Report Of Alleged Massacre Of Children By Soldiers

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya on Saturday, dismissed a Reuters report about how soldiers allegedly massacre children in the war against terrorists in the north-east.


Yahaya appeared before the hearing session of the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter-Insurgency Operations in the North East which is sitting at the National Human Rights Commission headquarters in Abuja.

Like other military officers that had testified before the panel, Yahaya equally denied the Reuters report which also claims that the military allegedly aborted over 10,000 babies by women and girls rescued from insurgents.

The army chief accused the media platform of “acting a script” in view of the military’s dominance over Boko Haram insurgents in recent years.

He said that the areas cited by Reuters are heavily guarded and would require military escorts for anyone to pass through.

He wondered how only Reuters got the story without the knowledge or similar reports from about 200 NGOs in the northeast.


In general, the army chief maintained that the Nigerian military is one of the best in the world whose operations are guided by rules in line with fundamental human rights.

“The armed forces are professional armed forces guided by rules and regulations under an elected government with the Commander in Chief and institutions that are there, we all know.

“Some people think we are on top of trees, and that’s why they are writing what they are writing, sometimes. This army is a professional army, armies’ work is universal, we have gone on courses, and there is nowhere we have gone that we have not performed. If you go to institutions in the world including the US, and UK, you will see Nigerians there, professionals.

“We see nothing good in us, everything good in them. Whatever is done in other places we don’t ask questions, we just say it’s US, UK,” he said while calling for further probe on Reuters.

Earlier, a lawyer from Reuters, Clifford Kalu, joined the panel during its sitting on Friday.


The NHRC described Reuter’s attendance as “unannounced”, adding that the news agency had written to the Commission about its inability to attend the hearing.

“On March 21, 2023, Reuters, through the services of Olumide Babalola chambers, wrote a letter to the Commission titled, “Notice of objection to summons to witnesses dated the 16th day of March 2023 issued on Paul Carsten, Reade Levinson, David Lewis, Libby George, and Christophe Van Der Perre brought pursuant to Section 6 (2)(b) (e) of the National Human Rights Commission Act 2010. In the letter, Reuters claimed that the witnesses do not have any physical or business presence in Nigeria and, by extension, are outside the territorial jurisdiction of the panel,” NHRC stated on Friday.


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