Army denies killing eleven IPOB members, to focus on insurgents
The Nigerian Army has warned that it will no longer tolerate spurious and unfounded allegations by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that soldiers killed 11 of its members in Port Harcourt recently.
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations sixth division, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, yesterday described as baseless and unsubstantiated allegation by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, that 11 of its members were killed by soldiers on January 20, 2017 in Port Harcourt during a solidarity rally to commemorate the election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.
Iliyasu stated that on the said date, members of the group were mobilized from Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Cross River states for an alleged rally with dubious intent of molesting innocent citizens, intimidating passers-by and wrecking havoc on commuters thereby disturbing public peace, safety and security.
He explained that the choice of Port Harcourt as the epicentre of the protest has left much to be desired. According to him, it is however worthy to restate that one of the constitutional responsibilities of the Nigerian Army is to come to the aid of the civil authority whenever the need arises.
And in line with this constitutional mandate, troops of 29 Battalion Nigerian Army, were deployed in conjunction with other security agencies to prevent any loss of life or property with strict adherence to the established rules of engagement.
“Despite all provocative attempts occasioned by the stoning of security agents and the smashing of commuters’ windscreens by the violent protesters, troops refused to be cajoled into the criminal gang’s trap to fire a single shot. This is indicative of the troops’ total compliance with their rules of engagement. The violent protest was subsequently subdued with the use of tear gas and arrests were made by a sister security agency with no casualty recorded on either side,” said Iliyasu.
The army spokesperson said it is however worrisome and disturbing for anyone to falsely accuse troops deployed in support of civil authority who conducted their duty professionally under the beaming lenses of cameras of allegedly killing 11 citizens of the country. A well observed trend of IPOB, according to him, is the malicious posting of old videos and pictures from their archives on social media platforms that has no bearing on their claims, to attract public sympathy and whip sentiments among the citizenry.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, has said that the military would put more effort in winning the war against any form of insurgency in the country.
The army chief who was represented by the 33 Brigade Commander Artillery Regiment, Bauchi, Brigadier-General Abraham Luka Dusu, made the commendation in Gombe during end of year of West Africa Social Activity (WASA) over the weekend.