The Defence Headquarters has said it would look into allegations of human rights abuses leveled against Nigerian troops in the ongoing war against terrorists in the northeastern part of the country.
This is sequel to a recent report by Amnesty International, which stated that over 1500 persons were killed in conflicts in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, currently under emergency rule, in the first quarter of 2014 alone.
The DHQ said the allegation would be investigated with a view to establishing the veracity of the claim and taking necessary action to address any case of human right abuse on the part of troops.
Amnesty International, in the report, had blamed the Nigerian troops and the Boko Haram insurgents for the killings.
But the military has maintained that the report was not a true reflection of the actual situation on ground.
However, in a statement Friday by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, the Nigerian military authorities described the allegation as too confounding to ignore.
“This report is a new dimension to the well-known fact that the security operation in that part of the country was necessitated by the need to address the gross abuse of human rights being perpetrated against Nigerians by the terrorists.
“It is noteworthy that despite the peculiar asymmetric nature of the security challenge, measures have been put in place to ensure compliance with tenets of human right and rules of engagement by troops involved in the conduct of the mission.
“Apart from inculcating the necessity for observance of human rights in troops, regular programmes have been conducted to review the human rights situation related to the conduct of the operations”, the statement said.
The military said it was in strict adherence to respect for human rights that most of those arrested in the counter-terrorist operations are being kept in custody.
The statement continued: “These detention facilities have been visited by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) including International Committee of the Red Cross and others to verify the conditions of detainees.
“This is even in the face of destruction of relevant amenities by the terrorists who have burnt down prisons, courts and government facilities in that part of the country in the course of their ceaseless attacks.
“The claim contained in the Amnesty International’s report attributing gross abuses of human right of Nigerians to both the terrorists and the security forces is quite confounding.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the report is not consistent with the actual situation on ground, the security authorities will ensure that the allegation as it affects the government forces is duly investigated”.
The military authorities however assured that while carrying out the mandate of ridding the country of any vestige of terrorism, necessary efforts would be made to respect the fundamental rights of all citizens.