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Terrorists packages, cash distribution to Yobe, Borno residents for Ramadan is fake news – Nigerian Army

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The Nigerian Army has reacted to a publication claiming that Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP fighters distributed Ramadan welfare packages, gift items to Yobe and Borno residents, describing it as fake news.

In a press statement by the Army’s Director of Army Public Relations, Brig General Mohammed Yerima which was obtained by CAPITAL POST on Thursday in Abuja, pointed out that the story lacked substance of truth as well as it tended to glorify the terrorists as a way of distracting the public from achievements of troops in battle against the terrorists in recent times.

The statement said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to an ill-informed publication by an online news medium Sahara Reporters of 11 May 2021 where it was alleged that Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province had distributed Ramadan welfare packages to some residents of Borno and Yobe States.

“The article went on to give breakdown of the food items distributed including cash which the publisher alleged was meant to entice the locals to join the terrorists ranks. The article then switched to speak on the 2019 report of International Crisis Group which tended to pour encomiums on the terrorists recruitment system since breaking away from the Abubakar Shekau’s faction. Unfortunately the article did not mention any specific location where the alleged distribution took place.

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“The NA being a professional organisation decided to look at the article with every seriousness with a view to making intelligence out of it.

“However, our analysis established that there was nothing substantial about the claim except that it was a hurriedly packaged piece of propaganda that was meant to distract the populace away from the recent defeats being suffered by the terrorists.

“It is a notorious fact that the terrorists at various times have made several attempts to make the lives of the residents of these states miserable through the Ramadan season which were met with overwhelming response from the troops of Operation Hadin Kai.

“The most recent of such being their failure to sneak into Maiduguri on 11 May 2021 same day this ill-conceived article was published. The fate of the terrorists that made that audacious attempt is already a public knowledge.

“The author of this article displayed his/her clear lack of situational awareness by getting designation of the various terrorist groups moduled up. In the self-styled amateurish publication, there was no single mention of any community that the said distribution took place which is indicative of the fact that there was indeed no community or village where such activity took place.

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“The writer consciously omitted such an important part knowing that once a name is attached to the publication it would be much easier to unravel the motive behind it, which is simply to mislead the unsuspecting readers.

“Our team of eagle-eyed analysts went further to critically examine the pictures attached to this malicious publication and discovered that they were simply stage-managed in a typical terrorists-styled propaganda. The uncoordinated director of the photo shoot presented the pictures according his IQ and decided to measure the standard of the Nigerian public from his own personal standing.

“He used two poorly constructed shacks sited in the wilderness in multiple scenes by simply changing the arrangement of items and introducing different faces to make it look like an existing structure. He later posted a truck loaded with bags and a few terrorists on it parked in the middle of nowhere.

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“A closer look at the background of all the pictures clearly showed an empty forest with no signs of human habitation or activity except the few terrorists and some children that must have forcefully taken away from their parents. These facts therefore met every known style of the terrorists propaganda.

“The million dollar question here is why the choice of Sahara Reporters as the medium to propagate such unfounded piece that failed every test of professional journalism? Could it be that the terrorists find the media outfit fertile enough for propagating their devilish stories? These are questions that demand answers from the publishers of this piece of disinformation.

“The NA therefore calls on the general public to disregard this article as it is nothing but a tissue of lies aimed at misleading them. The NA under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru will continue to maintain the pressure on the remnants of terrorists hibernating in the forests around the North Eastern borders until they are completely obliterated”, the statement concluded.

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