The Nigerian Army’s high command has dispelled speculations that the army was on a revenge mission following the alleged killing of a soldier.
Army spokesman, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who dispelled the rumour also, noted that no soldier was killed.
Yerima said the “attention of the Nigerian Army was drawn to a story making rounds in the social media that troops are on vengeance mission in some communities in Abia State following the death of six soldiers in a clash with ESN/IPOB terrorists.
“The story further alleged that as a result, residents of Elu, Amangwu and Amaekpu in Ohafia Local Government Area have embarked on mass exodus out of fear,” Yerima said.
“The army wishes to debunk the allegation as 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 working in conjunction with personnel of Nigeria Police and other security agencies leveraging on timely and accurate intelligence provided by patriotic citizens, are working 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.”
The Nigeria police launched an operation in southeast Nigeria around May 2021 to put a stop to rising violence and crime there, including a spate of attacks on police, military checkpoints, which have triggered fears of a return to war and state-sanctioned violence.
Armed gangs, popularly called ‘unknown gunmen’ have carried out a series of killings of police officers in the region in recent months and mounted a jailbreak of more than 1,800 prisoners in the city of Owerri in April.
Nigerian authorities blame a proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and what police call the group’s armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the attacks on government facilities and security personnel.