Posted on May 31, 2014
The Nigerian army has denied that its troops were involved in an incident that was captured on video showing men in military uniform beheading suspected Boko Haram members. The Nigerian army has denied that its troops were involved in an incident that was captured on video showing men in military uniform beheading suspected Boko Haram members. The video, which sparked public outrage after being posted on YouTube earlier Friday, shows what appear to be soldiers beheading the men, who had been ordered to lie on the floor. YouTube has since removed the video "as a violation of YouTube's policy on shocking and disgusting content." The gory images later obtained by AA showed a mixed team of what appear to be soldiers and civilians - some of them masked - slaughtering their victims one after another before throwing their bodies into an open pit. Defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a Friday statement that the video had been doctored and circulated at the behest of a prominent politician in one of the country's three northeastern states currently under emergency rule. "[Defense] headquarters wishes to reiterate its rejection of pictures and video footage from unverifiable sources claiming to reflect activities or so-called atrocities purportedly perpetrated by Nigerian security forces," Olukolade said. "It must be emphasized that the dastardly acts of terrorism are against all Nigerians and all peace-loving people all over the world. No amount of propaganda by apologists of a terror group can justify the evil acts of terrorism by attempting to cast the Nigerian military and security forces in bad light," he added. Olukolade linked the video to a plot to tarnish the army's image, which relies on "heavily doctored and falsified audio visual materials, some of which are already trending in the social media." The campaign is "coordinated and funded by a prominent political leader whose state is presently under the state of emergency," he alleged without naming the leader in question. The northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are all under emergency rule, which was renewed this month for a further six months ending in November. All three states had opposed the extension. Kayode Ogundamisi, a prominent civil rights campaigner, expressed shock over the video and called for an urgent investigation. "Any human rights violation either committed by Boko Haram terrorists or the Nigerian state should be exposed and condemned," Ogundamisi told Anadolu Agency. Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in Nigeria's local Hausa language, first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption. The group later became violent, however, after the death of its leader in 2009 while in police custody. It has been blamed for numerous attacks - on places of worship and government institutions - and thousands of deaths.
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