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Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for violence against civilians- Commandant

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Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for violence against civilians- Commandant

The Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Adm Murtala Bashir, says the Nigerian Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for violence against civilians.

He said this at a workshop on Protection of Civilians in a Challenging Environment, on Tuesday in Abuja

The workshop was organised by the Centre for Civilians in Conflict(CIVIC) in partnership with the Alumni Association of the National Defence College(AANDEC).

While admitting that there could be unintentional harm to civilians in conflict situations, the commandant said all must be done to protect civilians at all times.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria operates within some laid down rules and the rules of engagement emphasise the need for protection of civilians.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria does not condone any form of irresponsible act.

“Just this week, there was news of court marshalls going on in the North East.

“Some soldiers were recommended for dismissal and some for several sentences like reduction in rank,” he said.

Read Also: Army dismisses report of disquiet among troops over poor working conditions

While commending the organisers of the workshop, Bashir who was the keynote speaker at the event, said continuous training and retraining of security personnel, particularly on the protection of civilians was paramount.

One of the solutions is this kind of training workshop, where we sensitise the middle-ranked officers who are the ones on the ground with the civilians.

“Though they know their responsibilities, this type of workshop is a reminder of how they can carry out their responsibilities in a professional manner.

“This type of training should not be limited to Abuja. We can sensitise the commanders in the field of their primary responsibility of protecting civilians.”

In tackling asymmetrical conflict, the commandant said the training syllabus of military institutions was increasingly focusing on trends in asymmetric warfare.

Bashir noted that asymmetric warfare was a global challenge, and stressed that training and retraining would help commanders in the field learn how to protect civilians.

Dr Benson Olugbuo, Country Director, Centre for Civilians in Conflict, said the workshop became necessary following repeated reports of alleged violence against civilians.

He said the workshop aimed to enhance the capabilities of security forces in Nigeria to mitigate civilian harm and reparation in accidental cases.

Olugbuo added that the workshop was organised to expose participations to the concept of civilian harm tracking as tool for understanding conflict-related harm.

Armed Forces has zero-tolerance for violence against civilians- Commandant

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