Air Force slams officials for flogging Zamfara suspects in viral video

NAF Nigerian Air Force helicopter

Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has condemned the flogging and physical assault of suspected bandits by military personnel in Zamfara State.

A video of some suspected bandits being flogged by military personnel including NAF personnel after being disarmed, has been circulating on social media.

NAF spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement on Sunday, said their action was unacceptable and against rules guiding their conduct of the operation.

Daramola confirmed that the incident took place at Shinkafi LGA in Zamfara after a joint team of military personnel intercepted a group with arms at Sububu Forest across the border.

He said: “The NAF wishes to state unequivocally that the troops’ actions of flogging and physically assaulting the disarmed suspects were totally unacceptable and not in consonance with the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) guiding the conduct of the operation.

“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.

The spokesman added that a board has been set up to probe the incident and punish its officials involved.

“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,” he said.