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DEFENCE

No Secret Graveyards: Army Breaks Down Details of Heroes burial at The Frontlines

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RE: SECRET MILITARY CEMETERY CONCEALS TOLL OF ISLAMIST INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA

The Nigerian Army has debunked a statement attributed to Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal” that the Nigerian Army has a secret cemetery that conceal toll of Islamist Insurgency.

The statement that was released by Deputy Director, Public Relations, Operation LAFIYA DOLE Colonel AD Isa stated that:

The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a mischievous Article titled, Secret Military Cemetery Conceals Toll of Islamist Insurgency in Nigeria, was written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in “The Wall Street Journal”.

The writer alleged that the bodies of dead soldiers are covertly transported from a mortuary, delivered by truck and laid by flashlights into trenches dug by infantry or local villagers paid a few dollars by shift.

It also alleged that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves.

Similarly, it alleged that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram. Likewise, it claimed that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer.

Additionally, it reported on one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it.

It further claimed that 2 soldiers from the late soldiers unit said the bottle was prepared to appease his wife.

Furthermore, the writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.

Having critically studied the allegations, it was obvious that the writer’s claims were baseless and intended to smear the good image of the NA and lower the moral component of troops in the ongoing Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations.

In this light, I wish to respond on behalf of the NA as follows:

Maimalari Military Cemetery is the only recognized place where burials are held in the Theatre.

The stretch of land where the cemetery is located and produce beyond belongs to the NA and not taken over from any person or group of persons as claimed.

This area like in other armies is secured to honour and give recognition to the sacrifices of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price by laying down their lives for the peace, security and unity of the country.

In our own case, a hall of fame was also built in the cemetery to honour the fallen heroes and act as reference point for posterity.

Burial procedure in the NA is entrenched in the NA Administrative Policies and procedures.

The procedures is triggered by first notifying the higher headquarters and NOKs of the deceased personnel for coordination.

It is a command responsibility and attended by officers and soldiers of the unit within the Theatre of operations.

The timings for all burials in the Theatre have always been before the flags are lowered in the evening.

Maimalari cemetery is partitioned into 2 to accommodate Christians and Islam faithfuls.

The graves are also partitioned, and grave pegs placed to mark each grave. Hence, the claims that soldiers were buried in unmarked graves at night in secret graves is unfounded.

Suffice to state that all deceased are also honoured with the 21 gun salute in line with the ethics and traditions of the NA.

As such, one wonder how the firing could be done in secret contrary to NA traditions.

Certainly, commanders on their own cannot carry the corpses to the cemetery without the knowledge and support of the troops.

If this is done with the awareness of the troops, certainly it would not have been a secret.

Likewise, if not done with their knowledge, the commander on his own would not be able to drive the vehicle, carry the corpses, dig the graves and also bury the bodies without any support.

Thus, this allegation is not only worrisome but also questionable. More especially when we have the Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, NOKs, families and members of the press that did attend funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes.

On the allegation that Nigerian Government last summer stopped reporting the deaths of soldiers in its fight against Boko Haram is also disturbing.

Generally, events and lessons learnt from battles have shown that death in combat is inevitable.

In as much as the NA tries to reduce casualties in the battle against the insurgents, it still happens as one of the hazards of war fighting.

Obviously, when such occurrences happen, it is made known to higher headquarters to trigger burial procedures and processing of benefits.

This is also done with the consent of the NOKs and not in the secret. Soldiers also move in pairs or in groups, as such one wonder how the corpses could be isolated without the knowledge of their colleagues, which would have dampened their morale to fight or take orders from their superiors.

The claim that the operational command holds the bodies of 1000 soldiers killed since the terror groups began offensive last summer is just unbelievable.

The questions are where, when, why and for what reason would 1,000 bodies be kept in the hide without anyone seeing it or perceiving the smell.

Curtaining, this allegation further buttress the fact that the writer intends to smear the good image of the NA and the Government.

The report that one Mercy Tamuno, who demanded to see where her husband was buried, and she was led to a spot marked with a plastic bottle with her husbands name written on it is again unbelievable.

Interestingly, 13NA/70/9866 LCpl Adah Tamuno, whose wife; Mrs Mercy Tamuno claimed her husband was buried in the secret grave gave false report.

The late gallant (soldier was serving with 119 TF Bn at Metele and died during combat.

He was officially buried on 29 Nov 18 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery with proper military honour by daylight with the grave well marked, not with a plastic bottle, alongside his colleagues.

The last burial in the Theatre was that of Capt A Mohammed who was killed on 17 Jul 19 in an ambush alongside with Col EE Elemele and 5 others along Jakana-Benisheik MSR.

The Capt was buried on 18 Jul 19 at the Maimalari Military Cemetery in accordance with Islamic rites.

The burial was attended by the families of the deceased and other sympathizers.

The writer made some derogatory comments on rotation of troops, gruesome punishments to suspected jihadists and declining morale of own troops.

Suffice to state that the NA has a standing policy on the rotation of troops in the Theatre.

The last rotation of de-inducted troops was conducted on 28 Jul 19 and the troops are currently at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji undergoing de-induction training.

The next batch of troops to be inducted are already at the Nigeria Army Special Forces Training School at Buni Yadi for induction training, after which they would be moved to the Theatre for deployment.

The pictures of the rotated troops are also available and hereby attached. In terms of the gruesome punishments to captured insurgents, one wonders why the writer decided to contradict himself in the article by reporting the immoral activities of the insurgents.

The NA is a professional Army and captured insurgents are treated in line with global best practices and in accordance with International Humanitarian Laws.

Above all, the morale of troops in the theatre remains high and not as reported.

It is obvious that the essence of the report is to distract own troops from maintaining the tempo in the ongoing operations.

The public is hereby advised to disregard the allegations as written by Joe Parkinson and released on 31 Jul 19 in The Wall Street Journal.

The NA remain resolute in its fight against the insurgents and will never be distracted by media propaganda.

The threat to the national security of our beloved country require that all hands are on deck to win the war against terrorism and insurgency.

Governor, Service Chief, Principal Staff Officers from Service Headquarters, Commanders, Next of kins, families as well as members of the Press attend befitting funeral ceremonies of fallen heroes with Gun Salute.

DEFENCE

NDLEA Seizes US, UK, Europe-bound Cocaine, Opioids in Lagos

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Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), have intercepted various quantities of cocaine and opioids such as tramadol, pentazocine injection, morphine sulphate and ketamine injection in Lagos.

A statement by the NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi on Sunday in Abuja said that the drugs were concealed in soles of shoes, clothes and other items being shipped to the United States, United Kingdom and Cyprus.

Babafemi said that no less than 250 grams of cocaine going to Cyprus was hidden in soles of custom-made shoes.

He said that over 5 kilogrammes (kgs) of opioids heading to the US and UK were discovered by  NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations, (DOGI).

“They were concealed in clothes and other household items meant to be shipped through some courier firms in Lagos,”he said.

In the same vein, a consignment of 440 grams of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis coming from Canada to Lagos was equally intercepted by operatives in one of the logistic companies.

Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives in Edo on Wednesday intercepted a vehicle marked Abuja GWA 273 DD at Ewu junction, Esan Central LGA following credible intelligence.

Babafemi said that the luggage of one of the occupants, Aminu Abdullahi, 32, was searched and found to contain custard containers, where 3,000 pills of tramadol 225mg were buried in the custard powder.

”He said that the suspect claimed the drugs were bought in Onitsha, Anambra and he was taking them to Mararaba area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to sell,”he said.

In another operation, operatives on Thursday raided the Ohen forest, Abudu area of Edo and destroyed 5,429.751kg of cannabis on 2.918 hectares of farmlands.

Babafemi said that four suspects: Godday Ariye, 37; Friday Okafor, 59; Obinna Nwosu, 48; and Yusuf Adamu, 27, were arrested.

Similarly, 300 kilogrammes of the same substance were recovered from Uzzeba Obi camp in Owan West LGA when NDLEA officers raided the location on Saturday .

Also, In Ogun, operatives on Tuesday recovered a total of 2,865 kilograms of cannabis at Afami Ibese while the suspected owner, Umar Ibese was currently at large.

He said that  not less than 2,455 kilograms of materials for the production of Akuskura, at New Psychoactive Substance (NPS), were recovered from a warehouse in Konduga town, Konduga LGA, Borno state on Tuesday July 9.

“NDLEA operatives in a joint operation with men of the Nigerian Army raided the area.

“The following  on Wednesday, operatives in Katsina State arrested a 54-year-old Sabo Sule with 47kg cannabis in Katsina town.

“In Lagos, operatives on Monday  raided a warehouse in VGC, Lekki where they recovered 148 cartons of non-medical nitrous oxide popularly called laughing gas.

“108 cartons of fast gas cylinder; 134 pieces of balloon and 109 cartons of infusion charger, among others were also recovered.

“A female suspect, Suliyat Abdulsalam was arrested in connection with the seizure,”he said.(NAN)

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DEFENCE

Army Deploys 177 Personnel to Guinea-Bissau for Peace Keeping

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The Nigeria Army on Wednesday announced the deployment of 177 personnel for a peace keeping mission in Guinea-Bissau.

The Chief of Operations, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Boniface Sinjen, made the announcement at the graduation ceremony of troops of Nigerian Company 3 ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in Guinea-Bissau, at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) Jaji.

Sinjen said, “Guinea-Bissau is grappling with political instability and institutional crisis, which poses a significant threat to peace and sustainable development in the sub-region.

He, however, said the Nigerian Government, through ECOWAS, stood united with the Government and people of Guinea-Bissau.

Sinjen said the graduation reaffirmed their unwavering commitment in supporting the Government of the Republic of GuineaBissau to consolidate its authority.

This is in order to address the security challenges, strengthen democratic governance and foster stability in the country.

” This deployment is in line with the mandate of the mission which has been extended severally to consolidate the relative peace and stability in the country.

“You gallant men of the Nigerian Army have been trained by this renowned Centre of Excellence to play that critical role.

“This Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) has equipped you with the necessary tactical skills and knowledge to support the government of Guinea-Bissau in stabilizing the country.

” I therefore urge you to remain committed to upholding the principles of ECOWAS peacekeeping operations, “he said.

The chief of operations charged the troops to conduct themselves   professionally in accordance with these guidelines of the mission.

“You will be operating in a complex and diverse environment, where various ethnic groups coexist.

” I implore you to maintain the highest level of professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights and the sovereignty of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

 “As ambassadors of Nigeria, your behaviour will reflect on the nation’s image, so I urge you to uphold the highest standards of conduct and maintain the integrity of our esteemed profession,” he said.

Sinjen urged them to embody the core values of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and refrain from any actions that could compromise the mission’s objectives or undermine our nation’s reputation.

He emphasized that the Armed Forces of Nigeria have a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Any personnel found guilty of such offenses will face severe consequences,” he warned.

 Sinjen cautioned that drug trafficking and abuse were grave offences that would not be condoned in any form.

“The Nigerian Army’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of discipline and integrity remains unbroken,” he added.

Sinjen appreciated the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed  Lagbaja,  for his unwavering commitment towards enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping troops through realistic training which was one of the key pillars of his command philosophy.

“His leadership and vision have been instrumental in shaping the readiness and capabilities of our troops and I am deeply appreciative of his support, “he said.

Earlier, the Commandant, MLAILPKC, Maj.-Gen. Ademola Adedoja, said the PDT that began in May. 19 , was designed to prepare the contingent on contemporary peacekeeping operations for a successful tour of duty in Guinea-Bissau.

Adedoja said during the course of the PDT, the troops were exposed to a series of lectures on contemporary peacekeeping operations with emphasis on the peculiar nature of the security challenges facing Guinea-Bissau.

He said the training package also included comprehensive lectures on the background and current situations in the mission area as well as the mandate of the mission.

“Additionally, the troops were exposed to mentally and physically engaging exercises to equip them with the necessary knowledge and tactical skills required in peacekeeping operations in line with the United Nations Core PDT modules.

“As you stand ready to embark on this critical mission, I urge you to carry the spirit of excellence with you.

”Your contribution to the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission will be instrumental in shaping the future of Guinea-Bissau, thus promoting peace, stability and development in West Africa.

“You are not just representing the Armed Forces of Nigeria but also serving as ambassadors of our great nation, “Adedoja said.

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CRIME

Military Kill Bandit Leader While Attempting to Rustle Cows

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From Dan Amasingha,  Minna 

Gallant  Military personnel have repelled an attempt by some  bandits  to rustle  cows and  neutralized the criminal  gang leader .

Two of the Military Personnel who participated in the operation however, sustained gun shot injuries.

 

DAILY ASSET  gathered that, the incident  happened at the early  hours of Monday  at a military base in Tegina, Rafi local government area of Niger state.

During the early hours fire fight between the security personnel and the  criminals,  one of the bandits suspected to be their leader was killed in the process when they came under superior  fire power.

It was reliably gathered that the said criminals were allegedly crossing towards Mashegu and Wushishi local government areas of the state to rustle a targeted groups of cattle in those areas.

The Chairman of Rafi local government council, Alhaji Ayuba Usman Katako confirmed this in a telephone interview in Minna.

He said the two soldiers shot were responding to treatment at IBB Specialized Hospital Minna while one of the bandits suspected to be their leader was neutralized.

Ayuba Katako further revealed that the military, police and vigilantes are trying their best in ensuring peace and security of lives and properties in the state and deserved to be commended.

He decried the continuous  attacks on security personnel,  but called  on citizens for patience, support and prayers to overcome the menace of insecurity bedeviling the state and Nigeria at large.

The Niger state military cantonment in  Minna could not be reached at the time of filing in the report.

Niger East Senatorial District has been  bedeviled by  insecurity with bandits  targeting schools,  vulnerable farming communities and public institutions  in the last seven years. 

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