Sunday, July 31, 2011

No dialogue with Boko Haram - Petinrin

Daily Trust
30 July 2011

CHIEF of Defence Staff, Chief Air Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin who was in Maiduguri explains the challenges confronting the members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) including the Army, Navy, Air Force, police, Immigration and SSS. He also said the call for the withdrawal of the troops was unnecessary adding that the military was not ready for any dialogue with the members of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal Jihad, popularly called Boko Haram. Excerpts:


What are their challenges?

I have already spoken to them and they have informed me that they would want the public to cooperate with them. This the biggest challenge facing our officers and men. People of Borno State need to cooperate with the task force by giving information. These people (Boko Haram) who are busy causing mayhem live amongst us. So, if the people can give information, the earlier we can bring this problem to an end.

How do you intend to deal with the excesses of the JTF members?

We have rules of engagement. This is published and every trooper is aware of this and anybody who goes against that will face military discipline, it is as simple as that. And am sure you are aware that the Commander of the task force here (Maiduguri) has tried some men. Am sure you are told. So, we are taking care of any issue of abuse.

However, let me reiterate that the government did not send task force here against anybody in particular or against any religious sect, not at all. People should get that clear. We are against all those who are making life difficult for others. We are against all those throwing bombs in market places; not caring who is hurt. We are against all those who go about shooting people for no reason. Even if a man is guilty, you have to try him first; you should not just go and shoot a man to death. We are against all those people; we don’t care to which religious sect they belong.

You said you will be ready to own up to any mistake made by the JTF members. Are there mistakes committed by your men so far?
I just told you that the task force commander has tried some people.

How many?

He is trying five suspects.

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