On Thursday, the Defence Headquarters dismissed claims by the Boko Haram sect that the massacre of rice farmers in Borno State was in retaliation for the arrest of one of them.
Abubakar Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram had said the 43 farmers massacred in Borno were killed because they were collaborating with the Nigerian Army.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, while giving an update on the operations of the armed forces in Abuja, said the claim was the practice of the terrorist group, with the sole motive of instigating fear in the minds of the people to discourage the public from cooperating with the security agencies.
Enenche said the military’s information from one of the survivors indicated that the farmers were summoned for a meeting with the terrorists on the said day before they were beheaded.
“The truth is that whenever they are losing ground as a result of the military activities, this is what they resort to.
According to him, Boko Haram wants to use this to instill fear in the people’s minds because they saw the governor trying to make sure that people return to their homes.
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 operation theatre.
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.