By Augustine Aminu, Abuja
The Nigeria Army on Tuesday, debunked reports by the Punch and Thisday Newspapers which claimed no fewer than 17 soldiers were killed during a gun duel between the Nigerian troops and Boko Haram insurgents, just as many others were abducted.
The Army described the news of the killing and abduction that was alleged to had happened along Bama – Gwoza road, last weekend as malicious, fictitious and untrue.
This was contained in a press release by Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu.
According to him, the false reports, which could best be described as Yellow Journalism, have exposed the ignorance and the desperation of its authors and their unscrupulous but failed attempt at creating unnecessary security concerns where there is none.
Other Online Medias that published or posted the story online on 19 January 2020 include; allAfrica.com, scannews.com, publicnewsupdate.com, newswirengr.com, thedefensepost.com and guardian.ng, amongst others.
The release reads in part ” The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a fictitious news report credited to Thisday and Punch newspapers, as well as some online news media, including allAfrica.com, scannews.com, publicnewsupdate.com, newswirengr.com, thedefensepost.com and guardian.ng, amongst others, published or posted online on 19 January 2020.
The malicious reports claimed that “not less than 17 soldiers were killed in confrontations between the military and Boko Haram insurgents along Bama – Gwoza road weekend.”
The report further claimed that “many soldiers were also said to have been abducted by the insurgents during the confrontations even as the number of casualties, though also large from the Boko Haram side, could not be ascertained.
It is pertinent to categorically state that the said news reports are not true but are simply the figments of the imaginations of their authors.”
Col. Iliyasu stated that, while the Nigerian Army recognizes the role of the media in nation building and indeed considers them as partners in progress, she however frowns at some of the unprofessional conducts and activities of a few enemies of our great nation who, by their false, speculative and sensational reportage, continue to undermine national security either wittingly or unwittingly, and in so doing, are not only soiling the good reputation of some media professionals, but are indeed undermining the sacrificial efforts of the troops fighting the insurgents.
This, he said, is clearly demonstrated in the fabricated or unsubstantiated reports under reference.
The release continues, ” The false reports, which could best be described as Yellow Journalism, have exposed the ignorance and the desperation of its authors and their unscrupulous but failed attempt at creating unnecessary security concerns where there is none.
It is indeed unfortunate that, while Nigerian Army troops have been doing their best to ensure that there is a safe and secure environment for our people, there are a few people within the media world who, perhaps for pecuniary reasons, are determined to thwart such sacrificial efforts of the troops through such mischievous and completely false publications.
The Nigerian Army wonders who were the alleged 17 casualties and would indeed be glad if those behind the Thisday, Punch, and some social media publications could tell their audience precisely where the said casualties are and where such imaginary fight actually took place.
It is a well known fact that sensational headlines and reports attract bumper sells. However, it should be noted particularly by the observed unpatriotic reporters that, such bumper sells should not be at the expense of the their reputation and the precious lives of our gallant troops. It is quite disappointing to also observe that, some international organizations have equally fallen prey to the Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province propaganda antics”.
According to him, the Army has keenly observed that fake news, particularly on security-related issues have become rampant from the inception of the New Year, 2020 hence, warn the perpetrators to desist from unnecessarily peddling false reports that are capable of undermining the counter terrorism and counter insurgency efforts in the North East
” It is pertinent to add that the Army Headquarters has keenly observed that fake news, particularly on security-related issues have become rampant from the inception of the New Year, 2020. It is therefore necessary to warn the perpetrators to desist from unnecessarily peddling false reports that are capable of undermining the counter terrorism and counter insurgency efforts in the North East.
Contrary to some false insinuations making the rounds, the Maiduguri – Damaturu road as well as Bama – Gwoza road are some of the safest commuter roads with over 5000 vehicles plying them daily”.
To this end, the Nigerian Army wishes to unequivocally state that the claims contained in the disjointed reports under reference and indeed any recent claims of heavy casualties on Nigerian Army troops are nothing but fake, malicious and frivolous news reports. We therefore request the general public to disregard them in their entirety.
The Nigerian Army also wishes to call on the good people of the entire North East to go about their legitimate businesses without any fear.
We wish to state unequivocally that the worst days of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province
are completely over.
Our gallant troops have successfully reduced them to mere common criminals who are now fighting themselves for a hiding space as our troops continue to step up their onslaught against remnants of the criminal insurgent groups.
Our troops’ efforts will not be deterred by sponsored false reports and insurgents’ propaganda being spread ostensibly by some unpatriotic elements through fabricated media publications” he added.