The Nigerian Army High Command has debunked speculations that made the round on social media that troops were on a revenge mission in Abia State, following the alleged killing of a soldier.
Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who dispelled the rumour in Abuja, noted that no soldier was killed.
Yerima said the attention of the Army was drawn to a story on social media, which claimed that troops are on vengeance mission in some communities in Abia State following the death of six soldiers in a clash with ESN/IPOB militia.
He noted that the story further alleged that as a result, residents of Elu, Amangwu, and Amaekpu in Ohafia Local Government Area embarked on a mass exodus out of fear.
He said: “The army wishes to debunk the allegation as a baseless fabrication aimed at not only tarnishing the good image of the NA but to create distrust between the public and security agents in the state.
“The true position is that troops carried out routine clearance operations in line with the rules of engagement and respect for fundamental human rights of the citizens aimed at restoring socio-economic activities, which were hitherto disrupted by criminal activities of IPOB/ESN elements who attack security agents and government infrastructures.
“Troops of the Nigerian Army are working in conjunction with personnel of Nigeria Police and other security agencies leveraging on timely and accurate intelligence provided by patriotic citizens, tirelessly to restore normalcy to troubled areas and to rid the state of criminal elements.
“Consequently, we wish to reassure the good people of Abia State of the safety of their lives and property and also urge them to continue to report suspicious movements and activities of strange individuals or groups in their vicinity to the nearest security agency for prompt action.”
Ripples Nigeria reported that the police, in May, launched an operation in the South-East to put an end to the spate of insecurity in the region, including the increasing attacks on police and military formations, which triggered fears of a return to war and state-sanctioned violence.
Armed gangs, popularly called ‘unknown gunmen’ in recent months, carried out series of killings of security operatives in the region, after mounting a jailbreak of more than 1,800 prisoners in Owerri the Imo State capital in April.
However, the authorities have blamed the proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its militia arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the insecurity in the state.
By Victor Uzoho…
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