- The Nigerian army has denied killing anybody during its Operation Python Dance in the southeast
- The army insisted that claims that anyone was killed in Aba or Umuahia are just rumour with no evidence
- The army announced its plan to begin the Operation Crocodile Smile in Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo, Ogun and the creeks of Lagos soon
The Nigerian army has denied killing civilians, especially members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) during its Operation Python Dance II in the southeast.
Colonel Sagir Musa, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, in an interview with punch said there are no evidence that the army killed anybody during its operation in Aba and Umuahia.
Musa said claims by the IPOB, a group which has been recently proscribed by the government, that its members were killed by the army, are all rumours and should not be taken seriously.
He said: "People were said to have been killed but these are hearsays, these are claims, these are assertions, these are rumours, with no evidence. Can you show me the dead bodies? And can you tell me who is responsible? Certainly you cannot do that. So I think the best option is to go to another question that we can verify."
On the IPOB claims that its members were killed, Musa said: "When whichever group, even outlawed ones, say so-and-so number of persons was killed, another group somewhere else will give you a number more than that or lower than that. But you know, the Nigerian Army, is a respectable, God-fearing and very responsible organisation. For that matter, I don’t think that in the service of our nation, we should descend so low to be exchanging words or taking issues with outlawed groups."
Colonel Musa, when asked if he is certain that no one was killed during the operation in the southeast said: "I don’t have any records or any verifiable evidence to tell you or to confirm that yes, the Nigerian Army, during Exercise Egwu Eke 2 (Python Dance 2), killed somebody, not only in Aba or Umuahia. If I had such evidence, I would tell you."
He added that videos and pictures of alleged murdered members of IPOB being circulated online are mere propaganda and social media hype.
Colonel Musa said: "Circulated where? On the social media? Can you in all certainty accept 100 per cent, without question, what you see trending on the social media? Would you accept it? If you cannot accept it, I, as a security agent, I don’t think I will rely on social media hype, especially when it comes to issues of life or death. It is an unreliable, sourceless, disreputable source of information which I don’t like to accept.
"Let me make it categorically clear. With all sense of responsibility, there was no war crime because, in the first instance, we were not at war. There were no atrocities, as alleged by the outlawed group called IPOB. Remember, the same group has churned out malicious photographs to use for propaganda on social media, and made very irresponsible claims of rights violations, which as of today, have been found to be fallacious.
"I want you to understand that photographs can be photoshopped and cropped, just to serve a peculiar group’s interest. The same thing was in play when we started this operation, but gradually, the end of the game is proving what it is to us – propaganda or unnecessary claims to slow down our operations. And at the moment, under the present leadership of the army in the division, they cannot succeed and that’s why we are seeing the situation normalising at a great speed, if it is not 100 per cent normal."
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Meanwhile, United Kingdom has reportedly asked the Nigerian government to clarify the status and whereabouts of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
According to the report, the British government said it had asked the Nigerian government if the British/Nigerian national was alive or dead.
This was made known by the press officer, United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku.
Watch NAIJ.com TV video of Nnamdi Kanu's father talking about the activities of his son as IPOB's leader: