World Bulletin / News Desk
The Nigerian army vehemently denied on Tuesday accusations by an influential Muslim umbrella group of targeting Muslims for extrajudicial killing.
"The statement issued by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, alleging extra-judicial killing of Muslims and people of Fulani ethnic group by the Nigerian military is spurious and inflammatory," spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
"Much as the military is reluctant to join issues with a respectable religious organization like JNI, the need to set the records straight makes this response imperative," he added.
JNI is a major Muslim umbrella organization that covers all of northern Nigeria. It is chaired by Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Abubakar Sa'ad III, considered the leader of the country's Muslims.
In a strongly-worded statement issued late Monday, the group accused the army of exploiting the ongoing state of emergency in three northern states to kill innocent Muslims.
"The dimension of extrajudicial killing of Muslims by the military on unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired, which clearly depicts that Muslims have become an endangered species – murdered and maimed indiscriminately under the guise of fighting terrorism," the statement read.
A state of emergency currently remains in place across the northeastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where Boko Haram insurgents have killed thousands since 2009.
Emergency rule, declared last May, is set to expire this month. It remains unclear whether it will be extended further.
The JNI also accused the military of failing to adhere to the accepted rules of engagement as it prosecutes its war or terrorism.
"Where is the human rights compliance and rules of engagement by the military personnel involved in maintaining peace and security?" the group asked. "Why are defaulting military personnel not brought to book?"
The JNI warned the army against taking any actions that threatened to divide the nation's security agencies along ethno-religious lines.
Olukolade, the army spokesman, refuted the accusations.
"The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty," he said.
"If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines," he added.
Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday accused security agencies of unlawfully killing civilians suspected of being Boko Haram insurgents, ordering that compensation be paid out to victims.
It also chided security forces for being trigger happy, insisting that claims by the latter that they had been acting in self-defense were "inconsistent and could not be accepted."Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 10:14