The current Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the anti-insurgency operation in the Northeast, Major General Ibrahim Ali has said that Reuter’s allegations of secret, systematic and illegal abortion of 10,000 pregnancies, massive killings of children and deliberate violation of rights women “Is not just possible”.
Ali while stating that they even arrested the pregnant wife of the leader of the terrorist group Abubakar Shekau that fled during an attack without his wives, notes that the woman later gave birth without harassment from the Army.
Testifying before the 7-Member panel chaired by Justice Abdu Aboki (rtd), Major General Ali said that the military is doing its best to restore peace and normalcy in the region, noting that when he took over, most of the segments in the area had remained peaceful and that hitherto “terrorists were in the city going to various houses and we made sure we arrested them.”
He said: “When I came on board an officer was shot in the mouth inside Damaturu by the insurgents in an unsuccessful attempt to kill but he escaped and later on, there was a bomb blast because the enemy’s vehicle was laden with explosive device.”
The further narrated to the panel how he was injured by the insurgents on two different occasions while trying to defend his fatherland, stating that the insurgents were living in the cities with their families and later occupied the bushes, and “the military moved against them and neutralized those who wanted to kill us.”
He added that: “When we attacked them at one point during a clearance operation, the leader, Abubakar Shekau escaped leaving his wives and we arrested and brought them to the State government lodge.”
He disclosed that one of Shekau’s wives was pregnant at that time and I think she even delivered successfully and I never had the experience of clearance operations targeted at women and children.
“We don’t arrest the women in the cities but rather focus on the men that carried arms against the State.”
On the allegations of massive killing of children on the premise that they were fathered by Boko Haram and that the one way to cleanse their mothers of the stigma is to kill them off, Ali, the erstwhile Deputy Director of Logistics at the Army Headquarters said the military is highly professional and have regards for human life.
Responding on the capacity and efficacy of military facilities in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa where he had served at different times in different capacities, to carry out certain medical procedures, the former GOC Jos, disclosed that the military medical facility in Damaturu was not equipped to do surgery, therefore we refer women to the University of Maiduguri when the need arises.
Similarly, the Borno State Coordinator of Civil Joint Task Force (CJTF), Mr. Abba Aji Kalli in his oral evidence before the panel said that they assist the military to navigate through the pathways in the communities since they are familiar with the terrain as the indigenes of the state.
According to him the CJTF members took an oath to remain fair to every member of the public, irrespective of whether they are friendly with them or not, saying that the military is professionally minded in their operations in the battle field and elsewhere.
He therefore affirmed that Reuters’ report of abortion of pregnancies and massacre of children is false and that his members are living witnesses to the efforts of the soldiers in rescuing women and children as a result of the insurgency.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja