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How Nigerian Army's poor intelligence makes them harass innocent civilians

- There have been a series of credible reports on the Nigerian army’s abuse of civilians

- But the army has always insisted that it observes the best practices in human relations

- Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell writes on the issue

A story on the front page of the February 28, New York Times cites a particular village where residents told Nigerian soldiers that there were no Boko Haram members present.

Nigerian Army abuse of civilians - John Campbell

Nigerian soldiers on the front line in the North-east

Apparently, the soldiers did not believe the villagers and concluded that it was nest of Boko Haram. In response, the army proceeded to torch the village and slaughter the majority of its male population.

Civilian survivors of the attack maintain that there was no Boko Haram presence in their village, but their testimony is difficult to verify.

According to Campbell, such absence of such verification is representative of the notoriously poor army intelligence on Boko Haram.

READ ALSO: Nigerian army sets up board, detains 6 soldiers over alleged brutality of woman

Nigerian Army abuse of civilians - John Campbell

John Campbell says the Nigerian Army has poor intelligence on Boko Haram

He noted that the New York Times is anecdotal, but credible, adding that situations contribute to the reluctance of some in the U.S. Congress to sell sophisticated military hardware to the Nigerian government that might result in civilian casualties.

Campbell said Boko Haram appears to be embedding itself in the general population, making it more difficult for authorities to distinguish between innocent civilians and Boko Haram fighters.

''Dimensions of Boko Haram that fuel the army’s frustration include its religious overtones which supplement its populist revolt against the Nigerian political economy,'' he wrote on Council on Foreign Relations.

While acknowledging that President Muhammadu Buhari has re-equipped the army and advocated for an emphasis on training and discipline, Campbell however noted that it will take time before such measures effect army behaviour.

READ ALSO: Nigeria military makes revelation on why Nigeria has not imploded

He added that such deficiencies in training and attitude leave Nigerian soldiers ill-prepared to confront a shadowy and murderous enemy, whose recruitment activities are emboldened by the army’s human rights abuses within civilian populations.

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