Posted by News Express | 5 May 2015 | 3,299 times
The Nigerian military has confirmed the death of 32 suspected militants in last weekend’s operation in Plateau State, dismissing reports of a vengeance mission and the wanton killing of civilians as hogwash.
According to Defence Headquarters in a statement posted on its official website, “The claims in those reports are totally false and gross misrepresentation of what happened. The truth of the matter is that between 2 and 3 May, 2015, a combined team of soldiers of the Special Task Force (STF) carried out a raid operation to dislodge suspected militia groups habouring in villages in the borders of Plateau and Taraba states. During the operation which was carried out simultaneously in Kadarko, Kunmi and Wadatan villages all in Wase LGA of Plateau State, the militia group engaged the troops in a shootout. In the ensuing fire exchange, 32 of the suspected militants lost their lives while soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries. 10 other militants were arrested with various calibers of weapons and are currently in the custody of the military.
“It is public knowledge that prior to that operation, that particular axis had become very dangerous owing to the atrocities and sundry security breaches obviously perpetrated by the audacious militia group. The fact that the group was growing in strength and ambition and expanding in scope and sphere of criminal activities meant that they must be checked. That they were also audacious enough to engage the troops means that they were already a formidable criminal gang that must be stopped.
“The above clarification has become necessary in the face of mindless fabrications by those with ulterior motives who are now trying to capitalise on the unfortunate incident to syndicate their well rehearsed smear campaign against the military. The operation was never a ‘genocide mission’ nor targeted at ‘innocent civilians’ as some of the press report suggested. It was a well-intended operation aimed at apprehending the ring leaders and foot soldiers of an incubating terrorist group. The operation however went awry when the audacious and dangerous group opened fire on troops.
“It must be stated very clearly that never again shall the Nigerian military allow any militant groups to rise again to constitute themselves into grave danger to innocent citizens of the country.”
•Photo shows Defence Spokesman, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade.
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