The Nigerian Army has described recent viral photos showing members of terrorist groups — Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province —distributing Ramadan welfare packages to some residents of Borno and Yobe States as fake and stage-managed.
The Army in a statement signed on Thursday by Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Mohammed Yerima, said the incident never happened but was a mere propaganda to distract Nigerians.
Yerima also knocked Sahara Reporters for publishing a story on the so-called donation on Tuesday, adding that story was not factual and lacked substance as the location of the distribution was not stated in the story published by the online medium.
The statement partly read, “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 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.”
Continuing, the statement read, “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.
“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.
“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 Army also inferred that the terrorists chose “Sahara Reporters as the medium to propagate such unfounded piece” because “the terrorists find the media outfit fertile enough for propagating their devilish stories”.
It, therefore, called on the general public to disregard the “propaganda” by the terrorists, adding that the troops under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru would continue to maintain the pressure on the remnants of terrorists hibernating in the forests around the North-Eastern borders until they are completely obliterated.