Monday, September 28, 2015

Counter-insurgency: We were not referring to Borno elders group, Army insists

The Nigeria Army on Monday maintained that its warning to saboteurs of the ongoing operations in the North-East was not directed to the Borno Elders of Thought (BELT), a socio-political group. The Acting Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in a telephone interview in Abuja that the warning was misrepresented by a section of the media. He said that the Army command was explicitly clear on the matter and did not mention the names of any individual or group in the statement. According to Usman, the warning became necessary following series of malicious comments made in the social media about the ongoing operations. “I can categorically tell you that the Nigerian Army has credible information that certain individuals and groups are making efforts to undermine and discredit the renewed fight against Boko Haram. “Their comments in the social media are indicative of this fact and there is no doubt as to what their motives are. “ Of course, they are not happy with our successes because they are benefitting, one way or the other, from the crisis. “These people know themselves; we certainly were not referring to the Borno elders as contained in some of the media reports. “ So, it is wrong for anybody to now infer that we accused the Borno elders of undermining our efforts. “This is wrong, I will continue to state as I have stated in our previous releases that, we enjoy the support of the elders and those who are interested in peace, so the reports are false.’’ Usman insisted that the Army would not spare anyone that was bent on frustrating the efforts of security agencies in the war against Boko Haram. He said that the Army would act in accordance with the relevant laws, if those involved in the alleged sabotage refused to desist from the act. “Like I have said, we have warned and the next thing is to act in accordance with the laws, if they don’t stop. “The anti-terrorism act is there and the punishment for anyone found culpable of acts of terrorism will be made to bear the consequences. “Therefore, it is not a question of what are we going to do, anybody that is associated with terrorism or related acts and is found guilty will face the law.’’ He solicited for the continued support of the public to meet the timeline given by President Muhammadu Buhari to end Boko haram and restore peace to the North East. NAN recalls that the Army command had alerted the public about some individuals and groups, whose activities, it said, was inimical to the military operation in the North East.

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