Baga Casualty Figures Exaggerated Says Nigerian Military

The Nigerian military has dismissed as mere speculative conjecture claims that 2,000 Nigerians were killed last week by Boko Haram insurgents in an attack on Baga in Borno State.

The director of defence information, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, who made the assertion at a press conference at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, said it was unfortunate that a fictitious account of the incident and grossly inaccurate casualty figures were being peddled around by a section of the press, particularly on-line media.

The defence spokesman stated that the on-going surveillance activities which included use of aerial photography have not corroborated the casualty figures being bandied in the media.

Those killed in the attack, Olukolade insisted were not more than 150, adding that this figure included some of the insurgents who also lost their lives.

“From all available evidences, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim.  This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms and got killed in the course of their attack and battle with troops,” he said.

The military pokesman said the casualty figures given by purported eye-witness were extremely exaggerated estimates, given the fact that many residents had to flee in a hurry.

Acknowledging the reality that terrible atrocities had indeed been committed against Nigerians in Baga, the army spokesman said that debates about casualty figures were unnecessary given that the life of every Nigerian is important.






     

     

     

    Olukolade, however, noted that the peddling of rumours and celebration of occasional setbacks while downplaying the successes of the nation’s troops was a disservice to humanity.

    Stating that it was noteworthy yet unfortunate that international bodies are being misled in their interpretation of the situation owing to sensational headlines and stories, Olukolade cautioned media professionals to be circumspect in adopting casualty figures, especially those supplied to them by the eyewitnesses who may have been influenced by the shock of the incident.

    Almost appearing to take things personal, the military spokesman said that the “misinformation” is capable of discrediting the military and the government and warned “those who are adept at spewing falsehood or exaggerating situations with intent to embolden the terrorists and diminish the efforts of the security forces” that their actions could be endangering people.

    “The tendency to celebrate the occasional setbacks while downplaying the efforts and successes at containing the terrorists is unfair and very unfortunate.  It is noteworthy that many international bodies are being misled in their interpretation of the situation owing to sensational headlines and stories,” he stated.

     

     

     

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