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The Defence Headquarters DHQ on Sunday evening distances itself from the trending virtual picture of mass burial of victims of the ongoing military operations in Zamfara State.
The Armed Forces of Nigeria said that the allegation is false and malicious and has no link whatsoever with the operations being conducted by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria(AFN) in Zamfara State.
Director Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, while dismissing the trending virtual picture in a statement, explained that the operations are being conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity.
Recall that some human rights activists had earlier raised concerns that the communication blockade in the area may not be unconnected with an attempt by the military to violate the rules of engagement under the cover of darkness.
According to the statement, “The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), have been notified of a trending picture with caption “Alhamdulillah. ZamfaraMustSecure” and several other viral gory pictures and videos of dumping into mass grave of persons purportedly to have been killed in the ongoing military operations in the North West and North Central geographical zones of the country.
“It is pertinent to state that the allegation is false and malicious and has no link whatsoever with the operations being conducted by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria(AFN).
“However, it is true that the AFN is presently conducting a successful military operations against bandits and kidnappers in line with it’s constitutional roles. These operations are conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity”.
The Defence Spokesperson further asserted that the viral pictures being circulated have nothing in common with the ongoing operations, stressing, “This callous action of linking ongoing operations with falsehood is  deliberate and thus, seeks to tarnish the good image and reputation of the AFN”.
The statement added, “For the record, the AFN conducts a fortnightly defence media operations brief in which pictures of the operations are displayed to complement achievements in the ongoing operations. Any attempt therefore  to portray the AFN in a bad light as a crude force is unacceptable and unpatriotic. We therefore urge the general public to please disregard the gory pictures”.
General Sawyerr concluded that the AFN will not rest on it’s oars in performing the constitutional mandate of ensuring that Nigeria  remains safe and peaceful for all law abiding citizens.


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