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Protection Of Civilians Is Front And Center In U.S. Engagement With Nigerian Military Officers

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The United States and Nigerian military officers spent three days working on ways to improve civilian protection during military operations in Nigeria. 

The U.S. Embassy and the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) conducted an institutional capacity building (ICB) engagement with 19 officers from all three Nigerian military branches from June 7 through 9.  This event, called the “Joint Operational Leadership Workshop,” furthered the Nigerian Defence Headquarters’ efforts to improve civil-military coordination during military operations. 

This effort includes increasing the role of legal advisors in operational decision-making and ensures an emphasis on human rights and the protection of civilians during military operations in Nigeria.   

Throughout the ICB engagement, DIILS advisors shared U.S. lessons learned and worked with Nigerian legal advisors and commanders to develop draft pre-deployment mission briefings.  

These briefings focused on rules of engagement with detailed mission objectives, applicable laws, and proposed civilian harm mitigation and response plans.  This is the fourth DIILS engagement with leaders and legal advisors from the Armed Forces of Nigeria since September 2021 and is part of DIILS’ ongoing institutional capacity-building program in Nigeria.  The U.S. is proud of these engagements and looks forward to more programs in the future.  

Through such engagements, the U.S. and Nigeria aim to further develop officers’ abilities to make effective and legally compliant decisions in dynamic combat environments with a focus on ensuring applicable law and policy and protection of civilians is integrated into the planning and execution of operations. 

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