The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it would take action against any of its officers caught engaging in acts that disrespect and violate human rights.
The NAF said this in response to reports that some NAF personnel were involved in flogging and physical assault of suspected bandits by some military personnel in Zamfara State. A video that went viral on social media showed some military personnel flogging suspected armed bandits at Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA) in Zamfara State.
However, while confirming that its officers were involved, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, spokesperson of NAF, said its officers are always directed to “respect the rights of innocent civilians as well as captured combatants, no matter the provocation”.
A statement issued on Saturday by Daramola read: “The NAF has discovered that some of its personnel were part of the joint team stationed at the Galadi Sub-Sector at the time. “Our personnel have always been directed to respect the rights of innocent civilians as well as captured combatants, no matter the provocation.
“The joint team had, sequel to intelligence reports, intercepted a group of suspected armed bandits, including some fighters from across the border, at their Sububu Forest hideout whilst they were on the verge of executing an attack against innocent civilians in Shinkafi. In the process, the team recovered one AK-47 rifle along with 3 loaded magazines and 3 dane guns from the bandits.
“In an effort to obtain further information on the criminals’ plans and the location of their armoury, the troops employed unauthorized, crude corporal methods. “The public is to please note that the NAF has zero tolerance for such human rights violations and has since initiated appropriate action to address the anomaly.
“In this regard, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) has been set up by the Headquarters Special Operations Command (HQ SOC) to determine the remote and immediate causes of the incident with a view to ensuring that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against all NAF personnel found culpable.”
Air Commodore Daramola maintained that NAF would continue to uphold rights of every Nigerian and operate within the law at all times. He said: “The NAF, as an organisation, remains a professional fighting force that would continue to operate within the ambit of all relevant laws and procedures.”