Barracks Explosion: Council Chairman Commiserates With GOC Over Death Of Two Soldiers
The Chairman of Bassa Local Government Council of Plateau State, Mr. David Rachas, has commiserated with the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Major – General Fatai Ali, over the death of his two soldiers who were killed while conveying the unserviceable weapons to the designated area to be destroyed.
Rachas explained that they were in the GOC’s office to sympathise with him over the unfortunate incident that occurred, commending the Public Relations Department of the Division for clearing the air as to the real story behind the situation which led to the bomb blast in the area last weekend.
Responding, General Ali appreciated the chairman for the show of concern, adding that the soldiers who died and those injured as a result of the blast were on their way to dispose the expired bombs when one mistakingly exploded.
The GOC further assured the public particularly the host local government (Bassa) that efforts are being intensified to forestall a re – occurrence of such unfortunate incident and called on the general public to have confidence in the Nigerian Army.
On Saturday last week, one of the high calibre explosives kept in the armoury at the Maxwell Khobe Cantonment of the 3 Armoured Division Jos, exploded killing two soldiers, who were detailed by their Commander to separate the expired ammunition from the functional ones. This happened on the outskirts of the soldiers’ residential area but still within the barracks.
The expired ammunition were to be separated and later destroyed at a designated place meant for the purpose. It was gathered that in the process of assembling those expired explosives, one of them went off with a heavy bang which shook the environment thereby sending a wrong signal to the residents, who though that the barracks was under external attack.
But the fear was later discovered to be unfounded as the soldiers took it upon themselves to douse the tension that it was from within. According to the source, “It was not an attack; the barracks was not under any attack. It was not a deliberate one; the soldiers were just evacuating the expired ammunition to be destroyed somewhere.”
He denied the insinuations from some quarters that it was an external threat to the soldiers and the barracks at large. The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the Division, Col. Texas Chukwu, confirmed that what happened was not an attack as being bandied around, adding that the military authorities had given them permission to destroy the expired explosives in the armoury.
He said that since it happened before the day they were to be destroyed, there was no other option than to issue a press statement to that effect. “The attention of 3 Division Headquarters at Maxwell Khobe Cantonment Jos, was this morning drawn to the news making the rounds in some media houses that a bomb exploded in the Cantonment as a result of handiwork of insurgents.
“I want to use this medium therefore to state that this Cantonment was not under attack or attacked by the insurgents. There is an ongoing demolition exercise, which started on Wednesday 20th April 2015 to terminate on the 4th May 2015; the public was informed in the media.
The explosion heard in the cantonment was from an accident that occurred while troops authorised to destroy unserviceable ammunition exploded in the process of being moved to the demolition site.
The explosion did not affect the Cantonment or the neighbouring communities. Unfortunately, 2 soldiers lost their lives and one sustained injury. Normalcy has since returned to the area,” he explained.