•Says videos are false, doctored
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has dismissed as ‘make-believe’, a propaganda video by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) showing its personnel and equipment allegedly captured in the ongoing conflict in the Lake Chad Area of Northeast Nigeria.
ISWAP had in the video released in May claimed to have captured and executed about 29 Nigerian soldiers during the temporary loss of MNJTF military base in Baga, Borno State.
But the Chief of Military Public InformationMNJTF, Col. Timothy Antigha, in a statement on Sunday, described the video as largely fabricated to suit the terrorist narrative and maintain a false public posture.
As usual, Antigha said, the ISWAP video is largely make believe and without any substance, as their claims are substantially debatable, while a few are pieces of information already in the public domain.
He recalled that in previous press releases, the MNJTF had referenced a couple of ISWAP attacks on troop’s locations in Metele and Baga between December 2018 and January 2019. In the said press releases, the MNJTF had made it known that there were personnel casualties and others Missing in Action.
“Therefore, other than sheer misinformation and crass propaganda which are aimed at causing panic and manipulating public opinion, the ISWAP video has not introduced any new dimension into the conflict discourse surrounding the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the Lake Chad Area,” he stated.
Antigha also recalled that following ISWAP attack on troop’s locations in Baga and surrounding localities between December 2018 and January 2019, the MNJTF launched Operation Yancin Tafki to among other objectives, rescue missing personnel and recover lost equipment.
According to him, a sizeable number of the equipment shown in the video have since been recovered or destroyed in situ (please, refer to previous MNJTF press releases from February to April 2019).
Photo highlights of the MJNTF Operation Yancin Tafki
He further stated: “The Operation which is progressing steadily is committed to rescuing all MNJTF personnel who were declared Missing in Action. The MNJTF therefore wishes to assure the good people of the Lake Chad Region that the Force will never leave any personnel behind, as Operation Yancin Tafki continues.
“It is essential to state that contrary to the fatuous and dubious claims to expansion in the Lake Chad Region, ISWAP’s influence has been curtailed considerably due to relentless pursuits by the MNJTF and national forces, as well as rejection by populations in the region. Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED) April 2019, sheds more light on the decline of ISWAP.”
From the foregoing, he said, it is clear that while the MNJTF is growing stronger operationally, ISWAP is loosing ground and influence, growing weaker and having to rely on the manipulation of public opinion to advance it’s sinister objectives.
The MNJT Spokesperson urged the public to disregard what he described as “the spurious claims by the agents of destabilization”.