UNICEF Report Accusing Military of Rape in IDP Camps Malicious, Says Group

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Coalition for Peace in Nigeria (CFPN) has described the recent report released by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), accusing Nigerian troops of raping 20 girls in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Borno State, as false and malicious.

To this end, the group has given UNICEF 21 days ultimatum to retract the repulsive report, stressing that any thought of disregarding the ultimatum by refusal to issue a corresponding rebuttal within the stipulated time frame would leave the group with no option than to permanently occupy UNICEF office in Abuja, until the organization is forced to vacate Nigeria.

The Convener of the group, Comrade Danesi Momoh, disclosed this during a protest march to the UNICEF Office in Abuja on Friday, where he lamented the alleged attempts by some international organisations working with foreign forces to destabilise, polarise and divide Nigeria.

The group stated: “Of course, you are aware of the latest sensational report cooked by three staff of UNICEF, namely; Priscilla Hoveyda, Maher Farea and Milen Kidane, who are working in the Northeast. The trio conspiratorially released a report alleging Nigerian troops raped 20 girls in IDP camps in Borno state.

“This transparently condemnable, false and malicious report against Nigerian troops, yawningly betrayed the satanic motives of the crafters or originators. And we believe it is intended to denigrate the Nigerian military, project a bad image about Nigeria before the comity of nations and dampen the morale of troops on the warfront against terrorists and nothing more….

“The report from the UNICEF staff has understandably provoked outrage from Nigerians, especially the coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) who have demanded a retraction and an apology from UNICEF to the Nigerian military and the Government of Nigeria.”

It alleged that, “the timing of this fictional and imaginary report is to halt or frustrate the sale of Tucano jets to Nigeria, at a time the Nigerian Government has reached advanced stages in actions over the contract with the United States Government for the purchase of 10 Tucano jets to assist the military battle terrorism in the country.

“Like other CSOs have separately and jointly emphasised, we lend our voice to this cause. We demand for the immediate withdrawal of that report on our military as it contains nothing, other than baseless lies, fabrications, and unfounded or insane outbursts crafted to sabotage the ongoing war on terror in the country.

“UNICEF and the staff fingered in this aberration have 21 days ultimatum to retract the repulsive report. Any thought of disregarding this ultimatum by refusal to issue a corresponding rebuttal of the infamous report within the stipulated time frame, we shall have no option than to return to permanently occupy UNICEF office in Abuja, until they are forced to vacate Nigeria.”

The group claimed that UNICEF had not long ago commended the Nigerian military for its professionalism especially in the Northeast.

“We recall that in February 2017, this positive recommendation came from UNICEF’s Country Representative, Mr. Mohammed Fall, when he visited the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division of Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Brig.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu”, it claimed

Mr. Fall specifically said, “Thank you for protecting civilians and by extension protecting children which is part and parcel of our mandate.’’ It is the same military some odious staff of UNICEF are attempting to denigrate and defame now with a mischievous and fake report.

“No Nigerian is ready to tolerate any attempt by any individual or organisation to prolong the pains and agony of innocent children and women in the hands of Boko Haram even for one extra day. The gains on the war on terrorism cannot be reversed either, with such grand plots and conspiracies against the Nigerian military,” the group said.