Military denies abduction of 400 women, children
• Restricts movement of Al Jazeera journalists
The Nigerian military has said two journalists working for Al-Jazeera, an international television network were yesterday restricted into a hotel in Maiduguri when they were found wandering around the war zone without protection or due clearance.
A release on the Defence Headquarters website said the journalists “Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Andy were restrained following the increasing suspicion that their activities were aimed at interfering with the ongoing military operations in the area.”
“They were noted to have been moving around various locations including restricted areas in Yobe and Borno States and were also operating without any protection, accreditation or due clearance,” the statement reads.
Though the release did not state whether any material was found on the two journalists, it however, indicated that investigation is being carried out to unravel the motive and activities of these foreign journalists.
The statement reads further, “It will be recalled that foreign journalists have earlier been cautioned against unauthorised and unprotected movements around the military operations zone. This warning is hereby reiterated until formally reversed or lifted. Appropriate arrangements will however, continue to be made to assist duly cleared journalists to cover activities in the mission area within the limits of adequate safety, security and necessary procedures.”
“The Nigerian military which believe in press freedom is more concerned about safety of journalists operating in Nigeria and would endeavour to avoid unnecessary controversy in other climes especially when some Al Jazeera journalists were tried and jailed in Egypt for aiding terrorism during the turbulent days of Islamic Brotherhood’s reign in the country,” it said.
Meanwhile, sources at the DHQ have explained that part of the dictates of the MoU signed to institute the MNJTF was that troops from Niger Republic and Chad are charged with the responsibility of providing security and protecting the border town of Damasak, one of the strongholds of the insurgents in Borno State.
The town recently freed of the insurgents by troops of the MNJTF, was said to witness a raid on Tuesday by the terrorists, who allegedly kidnapped and abducted more than 400 women and children in the town.
Thence the clarification because the terrorists are rather fleeing from the town following the military operation to flush them out, it becomes curious then “how fleeing terrorists who were pounded by Nigerian Air Force sorties before being overwhelmed by forces from the two MJTF participating troops would pack over 400 individuals along with them in the process.
“Although we are not officially responding to such baseless assertions because it has become normal for some interests to manufacture something so that their media will have something negative to report about Nigeria. It is nevertheless important to let them know that troops from Niger and Chad have been in charge of protecting that town and we wonder how they would have allowed Boko Haram the luxury of such mass kidnapping?
“Were the abducted individuals herded away on foot or packed in trailers or small trucks?” the source wondered.
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