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Respect of human rights by troops is sacrosanct, says commander 

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Nigerian Army

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, yesterday, said respect for human rights and protection of civilians by troops in theatre of war was sacrosanct.

Nicholas reiterated the position of Nigerian Army at the weekend, when Senior Human Rights Adviser of the United Nations System, Dr. Martin Ejidike visited him at Theatre Command Headquarters, Maiduguri.

He said: “Though military operations in the Northeast is asymmetrical, there are mechanisms in place to guide troops’ conduct in host communities. There are rules of engagement for the execution of troops’ operational mandate.”

He added that military hierarchy has zero-tolerance for violation of any of these provisions, which informed Nigerian Army to establish a standing Military Court Marshal to try erring personnel.

“Suspects are only arrested in the theatre, when they are found to have participated directly in acts of terrorism or acted to aid and abet acts tantamount to terrorism,” Nicholas said.

He said the Boko Haram suspects in custody were awaiting prosecution, noting that it did not fall within the military’s purview.

He said suspects, who voluntarily surrendered to troops and were still in custody, were currently being profiled for onward transfer to Operation Safe Corridor.

According to him, they would undergo deradicalisation and rehabilitation programme.

Responding, Dr. Ejidike, who was in the theatre to deliberate on human rights protection issues, said it was crucial to meet the commander to acquaint him with the developments on the establishment of a UN Human Rights office in the theatre.

 


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