DHQ: Military denies killing fishermen during airraid in Lake Chad - OPID News

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Friday, 1 October 2021

DHQ: Military denies killing fishermen during airraid in Lake Chad

 DHQ: Military denies killing fishermen during airraid in Lake Chad

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday insisted that it bombed an identified Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) camp on the fringes of Lake Chad, and not fishermen, as reported.

The DHQ’s statement faulted the claims that 20 fishermen were killed in an airstrike conducted by the air component of Operation Hadin Kai at Kwantan Daban Masara general area around the Lake Chad.

A statement by the Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Benard Onyeuko, said the air interdiction was carried out after careful “Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) missions revealed the activities of ISWAP elements in the location”.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to media reports making rounds in social media alleging that the ‘Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai on Sunday, September 26, 2021, killed 20 fishermen in air strike at Kwatan Daban Masara general area in the fringes of the Lake Chad.

“It is, therefore, important to make clarifications regarding the air interdiction mission conducted in the general area.”

“For the records, it is pertinent to state that the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, on September 26, 2021, acting on credible actionable intelligence on the activities of terrorists in an identified ISWAP camp at the said location, conducted air strike on the target. This was after careful Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions revealed the activities of ISWAP elements in the location.”

It added: “Consequently, the intelligence gathered was processed and carefully analysed between the period of August 19 and September 23, 2021. Persons wearing combat vests and uniforms identified as ISWAP-styled uniforms were seen within the camp.

“Furthermore, neither women nor children were noticed in or around the camp, just as no fishing activities were seen. Instead, canoes loaded with unidentified items were seen parked but not engaged in any fishing activity, an indication that they were to be ferried to another location.

“Having carefully ascertained that nearby civilian settlements were not in the line of fire and a precision strike would disrupt ISWAP logistics movement and neutralise them, a decision was made to conduct a strike on the ISWAP camp. Although casualty figures could not be ascertained, the strike was verified to be successful in disrupting ISWAP logistics movement and foot soldiers.

“It is important to state that the location is a well-known ISWAP enclave and there is an existing ban on fishing activities within the area. Additionally, the general area is known as a gateway for movement of logistics by ISWAP elements, especially from Kirta and Wulgo locations.

“Therefore, the Nigerian military wishes to state categorically that necessary steps were taken to ensure that the presence of the terrorists was ascertained and the strike was precise and professionally executed. The Military High Command will continue to ensure that its troops safeguard lives and properties of innocent citizens.

“It appreciates the general public for their continuous support and further encourages all to avail the military with credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements in the fight against terrorism.

“You are, please, requested to disseminate this information through your medium for the awareness of the general public.” THE NATION

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