The Nigerian Defence Headquarters, Thursday dismissed the claim by the Boko Haram terrorists that the recent massacre of rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, was retaliation for the arrest of one of them.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this while giving an update on the operations of the armed forces between November 26 and December 2, in Abuja.
Recalled that Boko Haram group last Tuesday released a video claiming that the terrorists carried out the massacre in retaliation for the arrest of one of them by the farmers.
They also claimed that the farmers had also given information on their movement in the area to the military.
Enenche said the claim was the practice of the sect with the sole motive of instigating fear in the minds of the people to discourage them from cooperating with the security agencies.
He said that the information received by the military from one of the survivors revealed that the farmers were called for a meeting with the terrorists on the sad day before they were slaughtered.
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“The truth is that whenever they are losing ground as a result of the military activities, this is what they resort to.
“It is a fallacy because we killed one of them and that the farmers gave information about them, but the likelihood is wickedness.
“They want to use that to instil fear in the minds of the people because they have seen the governor trying to make sure that people return to their homes,” he said.
Enenche said the claim was the usual propaganda of the terrorist, adding that it is one of their major weapons.
“Our message here to the general public is that they should not be discouraged and that we are moving forward and with your cooperation, we are going to end this menace,” he said.
Enenche said the military had sustained its onslaught against the terrorists through both ground and air offensives across the theatre of operation.
He said the troops had raided some of the identified hideouts of the terrorists killing scores during the week and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition.