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Army accuses NGOs again of Boko Haram ties – but its message faces same roadblock

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Army accuses NGOs again of Boko Haram ties – but its message faces same roadblock

The Nigerian Army on Thursday repeated an accusation that some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the North-East are providing humanitarian support including drugs and food supplies to Boko Haram terrorists.

The alleged confessions of a terrorist: The Army spokesman, Sagir Musa, a colonel, claimed in a statement that its allegation this time is based on the confessions of a prominent Boko Haram commander, Mohammed Modu, who it arrested on Sunday.

“He (Modu) revealed that the Abubakar Shekau faction of the Boko Haram has been receiving humanitarian support of food and drugs supplies from some Non-Governmental Organisations operating in the North-East theatre,” the Army statement said.

  • Which NGOs are involved: Musa did not disclose.
  • What next: Musa said the Army won’t hesitate to sanction organizations involved in the “sabotage”.

The problem with the Army’s latest accusation is the same problem it has had with all its previous allegations against NGOs. The military does not have a lot of credibility due to its problematic human rights records, frequent alleged cover-ups and previous untrue claims (including the several times it allegedly killed Shekau). Last December, the Army ordered the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to stop its operations in the country for allegedly working for Boko Haram insurgents. It reversed itself. Then a week later, it made a similar baseless accusation against Amnesty International, which it accused of trying to destabilise the country. In that second case, the Army received backing from President Buhari, but considering the president’s own spotty records on military violations under his watch as commander-in-chief, not much premium was placed on his support.

Bottomline: The Army did not mention names this time of the NGOs allegedly providing support to Boko Haram, but its recent track record suggests that even if it did, it may have a hard time convincing Nigerians.

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