By Doris Esa
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has warned that flogging and physically assaulting disarmed suspected bandits were totally unacceptable.
Such action meted on disarmed bandits it said was not in consonance with the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) guiding the conduct of the operation.
NAF’s spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, described as “totally unacceptable’’, the reported flogging and physical assault of suspected bandits by some Military personnel in Zamfara.
Daramola said in a statement in Abuja that, “the attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to a video and some pictures circulating on some social media and online platforms showing some military personnel flogging suspected armed bandits at Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA) in Zamfara State’’.
” The NAF has discovered that some of its personnel were part of the joint team stationed at the Galadi Sub-Sector at the time.
” Our personnel have always been directed to respect the rights of innocent civilians as well as captured combatants, no matter the provocation.
” The joint team had, sequel to intelligence reports, intercepted a group of suspected armed bandits, including some fighters from across the border, at their Sububu Forest hideout whilst they were on the verge of executing an attack against innocent civilians in Shinkafi.
” In the process, the team recovered one AK-47 rifle along with 3 loaded magazines and 3 dane guns from the bandits.
” In an effort to obtain further information on the criminals’ plans and the location of their armoury, the troops employed unauthorized, crude corporal methods,” he said
Daramola said the NAF has zero tolerance for such human rights violations, adding it has since initiated appropriate action to address the anomaly.
” The public is to please note that the NAF has zero tolerance for such human rights violations and has since initiated appropriate action to address the anomaly.
” In this regard, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been set up by the Headquarters Special Operations Command (HQ SOC) to determine the remote and immediate causes of the incident with a view to ensuring that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against all NAF personnel found culpable.”
The spokesman said the public would be kept informed on the outcome of the investigations.
He said: “The NAF, as an organisation, remains a professional fighting force that would continue to operate within the ambit of all relevant laws and procedures.’’
Daramola said the NAF would also continue to operate in line with international best practices, whilst remaining fully accountable to the Nigerian people.