Borno IDPs, Officials, Military Deny Amnesty Internatio­nal Rape Allegation

- Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Michael Olugbode, in Maiduguri

Officials and internally displaced persons at camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Friday defended the Nigerian military over the allegation of rape and sexual assault raised by Amnesty Internatio­nal.

This is as the military in a separate forum, again denied that its personnel neither molested, sexually assaulted nor raped any Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) as alleged by Amnesty Internatio­nal recent report.

Amnesty Internatio­nal in its most recent report had alleged that teenage girls were randomly raped by soldiers guarding internally displaced persons camp in Borno State.

The body also alleged other infraction­s committed by the soldiers against the society, in the report that drew the ire of military authoritie­s in the country.

A visit to two camps, Dalori I and Bakassi, in Maiduguri by a team of media correspond­ents in the town, showed that the soldiers were restricted to their sentry, mounted outside the fence of the camps.

Some of the women and officials interviewe­d, said they had never witnessed any case of sexual harassment especially from the military deployed to guard the camp against invasion.

One of the officials at Dalori I IDPs camp, Alhaji Bukar Lambari, the Camp Chairman in charge of Bama and Konduga councils IDPs, said, “We have about 7000 IDPs now in camp from both Bama and Konduga LGAs and have never heard or receive any rape case involving any military man".

"All we know about the military at the camp is security and nothing more. This is even my first time of hearing this allegation; this is nothing but a lie just to smear the integrity of the military that are busy providing us with security day and night along with other security agents in camp.

“It may be that the Amnesty Internatio­nal wants to instigate or provoke the military to withdraw their services at the camp in order for the enemies of government and IDPs to come into the camp to cause havoc or trouble again.”

He asked journalist­s to go “round and ask the women and girls themselves to ascertain if what I am saying as their leader that if any of the women or girl has ever reported to us any rape case involving a military man since our stay here at the camp except for other cases which involved cases of stealing, fight, disputes and conflicts among IDPs.” He also said the military had never been involved in the day to day administra­tion of the camp.

Also at Dalori I IDPs, the Health Coordinato­r at the camp, Mrs. Ndas Zamdai said in all her years at the camp, no case of rape had been reported against the military.

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