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Soldiers clean market, offer free medical services in Edo to celebrate Army Day
By Dauda R Pam Maiduguri

The Defence Headquarters has described as falacious a report released by Human Rights Watch, HRW, accusing the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, of arbitrarily detaining children in it’s detention facilities in the Northeast.
 It raised concern, that while troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) are intensifying effort to ensure lasting peace in the North East (NE), Human Rights Watch (HRW) is set release a report accusing the AFN of arbitrarily detaining children in its detention facilities in the North East (NE).
 It describing the  report as not only false but capable of undermining the joint efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to restore peace in the NE.

Adding that it is an established fact that Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) usually indoctrinate its victims who are mostly,women and children,who they use as suicide bombers in the theatre of operations.

The Defence Headquarters said that in the conduct of their operations,troops arrest these children while attempting to detonate explosives and provide tacit support to insurgents such as intelligence on troops movements and deployments.

And that contrary  to claims by the HRW, the AFN manages children in the North East theatre as victims of war and not as suspects as apprehended children are kept in secured places, where they are adequately fed, profiled and de-radicalized before their release.

 According to the HRW Report, it purported that “since January 2013, Nigerian Authorities have released at least 2,200 children from detention nearly all without charge,which  further attested to the fact that, the children are released to appropriate authorities after de-radicalization efforts by appropriate government agencies and NGOs.

In its own statement,the Defence Headquarters maitained that was expedient to state that only profiled Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are held in detention pending their prosecution by appropriate prosecuting agencies, as the AFN is not vested with the power of prosecution.

It also clarified, that aside the set of children involved in acts of terrorism, some adult female Boko Haram terrorists arrested in terrorists’ enclaves during combat have also been found to be with children ,but  that during the process of profiling and investigations the women usually,opt to keep their children rather than hand them over to relations.
The female terrorists,it added,are kept in the detention facility, their children are given protected care in a welfare holding facility, not a detention facility, where they could be accessed by their mothers under supervision by female personnel just as the children are provided with regular feeding, clothing, requisite medical attention, in-house spiritual and educational tutoring and other welfare needs.
“The DHQ therefore wishes to state that no children are kept and tortured in any detention facility. The children caught in the act of terrorism are moved to safe facilities such as the Borno State Rehabilitation Centre in Bulumkutu, Maiduguri, and Operation SAFE CORRIDOR, where they are de-radicalized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society”.
Also that”those whose families could not be traced are handed over to IDP Camps officials for administration”,the statement added.

“It must also be noted that several attempts have been made by these sponsored Rights groups to lay allegations of arbitrary arrests and extra judicial killings at the doorstep of the AFN all in an effort to undermine the successes so far recorded in the ongoing Nigeria’s Counter terrorism and Counter insurgency operations against Boko Haram and ISWAP in the NorthEast”.

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