• Says operations are in “strict compliance” with rules of armed conflicts, rules of engagement, professional and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity

The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) on Sunday said the “viral (gory) pictures being circulated” purporting to be terrorists, bandits’ victims of the ongoing operations in Northwest and Northcentral regions of the country is callous, deliberate falsehood being peddled “to tarnish the good image and reputation of the AFN.”

Denying any link with any mass grave especially in the two regions, Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, said its “operations are conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity.”

According to the statement by General Sawyerr, “the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), have been notified on a trending picture with caption "Alhamdulillah. ZamfaraMustSecure" and several other viral gory pictures and videos of dumping into mass grave of persons purported to have been killed in the ongoing military operations in the North West and North Central geographical zones of the country.

“It is pertinent to state that the allegation is false and malicious and has no link whatsoever with the operations being conducted by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN).

“However, it is true that the AFN is presently conducting a successful military operations against bandits and kidnappers in line with its constitutional roles. These operations are conducted in strict compliance with the rules of armed conflicts, utmost professional manner, strict adherence to rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights and dignity.

“The viral pictures being circulated have nothing in common with the ongoing operations. This callous action of linking ongoing operations with falsehood is deliberate and thus, seeks to tarnish the good image and reputation of the AFN.

“For the record, the AFN conducts a fortnightly defence media operations brief in which pictures of the operations are displayed to complement achievements in the ongoing operations. Any attempt therefore to portray the AFN in a bad light as a crude force is unacceptable and unpatriotic.

“We therefore urge the general public to please disregard the gory pictures. The AFN will not rest on it's oars in performing the Constitutional mandate of ensuring that our nation remains safe and peaceful for all law abiding citizens.”