Posted by News Express | 21 December 2017 | 2,251 times
Armed robbers masquerading as soldiers have invaded and burnt down houses in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
A statement issued by Major Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, Assistant Director of Army Public Relations at 707 Special Forces Brigade, Makurdi, refuted media reports alleging that the acts were carried out by soldiers.
According to the statement, none of the troops of the Brigade was involved in any unlawful act of invading any community.
The Brigade recalled that "there was an incidence of reported armed robbery at Agirigi Community in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State on Monday, December 18, 2017, where a discharged soldier travelling from Lagos to Katsina-Ala ran into unidentified suspected gunmen that fired at his vehicle and killed him. Troops on Joint Task Force, Operations Zyenda immediately moved to the scene of the incident. Unfortunately, the assailants absconded before the troops’ arrival.
“The body was recovered and moved to Makurdi, the state capital. Patrols were also immediately intensified in the area of incident with a view to arrest the suspects, ensure normalcy, restoration of law and order and to also give confidence to the locals to pursue their daily activities without fear.
“Consequently, in the early hours of December 18, 2017, there was an intelligence report that some people dressed in military uniforms were burning houses in the general area of the incident. Upon arrival of own troops, nobody was seen in the area. However, it was suspected that the same armed men returned to attack the community probably assuming the locals gave the security agencies information on their location.
“Unfortunately, there have been allegations in the media that Nigerian Army troops were involved in this terrible act. Thee allegation are baseless and most unfounded as our soldiers have been conducting themselves professionally in line with established Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct for troops.
“Therefore, we wish to reiterate that this assertion is completely untrue and targeted at tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Army amongst the citizens who have over the years developed strong confidence and trust in the Nigerian Army. We wish to state that it was not the troops of the Nigerian Army that were involved in the alleged arson; such uncivilised act is against the ethics of the Nigerian Army.
“It is our constitutional responsibility to protect the lives and property of the civil populace and ensure peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians. Our troops are trained to ensure this without fear or favour.”
The Brigade assured the locals of Agirigi Community and Benue State in general that Nigerian Army troops were on ground to protect them as well as their lives and property, urging them to have trust and confidence in the troops.
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