We don’t bomb civilians during operations – Military

The General Officer Commanding 8 Division and Commander Joint Taskforce (North West) Operation HADARIN DAJI (OPHD), Maj.- Gen. Godwin Mutkut, says the military doesn’t bomb civilians during its operations.

General Mutkut said the military takes precautionary measures to ensure that its minimises civilian casualties during operations.

The General stated this Tuesday in Sokoto while answering questions from defence correspondents who are on tour of Operation Hadarin Daji in the North West.

Speaking specifically on Bayanruwa community in Zamfara where it was alleged that the military bombed civilians, General Mutkut said all the people that were bombed in the community were bandits.

“I know you are asking this question because of Bayanruwa where they said we bombed civilians. Everybody we bombed there were bandits.

“Everybody in Bayanruwa is a bandit, I am the one saying this, there is nobody in Bayanruwa that is not a bandit. If there is anyone saying Bayanruwa is not for bandits let him come let’s take him there, all of them there no exception and i know they are going to hear this are bandits,” he said.

He disclosed that the military working with Department of State Services, Police and locals gather accurate intelligence on bandits location before embarking on bombings and airstrikes.
He said: “We don’t bomb civilians in our operations. We take precautionary measures to ensure that we avoid civilian casualties.

“The reasons why we carry out these operations in the first place is to protect civilians so they can go about their businesses. The civilian population are central to our operations.

“We try as much as possible to make sure that these civilians don’t mix with the bandits. We ensure they don’t stray into areas where the bandits are.

“We go as far as protecting them in their farms. We had a programme last year where we protected civilians in their farmland. We rotated it among communities so we can have more men to protect them. That yielded a lot of results and also led to bumper harvest. I think it’s something that is worthy of emulation by others. At all times the civilians are the key people that we protect.”

Earlier in his remarks, Deputy Director Coordination Media Operation Brig Gen Mohammed Dahiru Abumawashi said the essence of the tour was : “To give true perspective of our operational activities and also to avoid manipulation of our operational occurrences by enemies of the Nigerian state to perpetrate their evil acts of portraying the country in a bad light.

“Also to deepen the relationship between the army and the media by spearheading media access to enable direct interaction with the frontline formations and units, so as to have the true picture of things.”