The Nigerian army has dismissed reports that troops were on a revenge mission in some communities in Abia following the alleged killing of six soldiers in a clash with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Soldiers were said to have been killed in a clash with gunmen in Ohafia LGA of the state, and in retaliation, troops had invaded the town, shooting indiscriminately and burning houses.
But Mohammed Yerima, spokesman of the army, in a statement on Monday, said no soldier was killed in Ohafia LGA.
Yerima also dismissed the report that residents of Elu, Amangwu, and Amaekpu in the LGA had fled their communities over the fear of reprisal.
He described the allegation as a “baseless fabrication aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian army as well as creating distrust between the public and security agents in the state”.
Yerima explained that troops only carried out “routine clearance operations in the area in line with the rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens”.
He said the operation was aimed at restoring socio-economic activities which had been disrupted by “criminal activities of IPOB elements” who had attacked security agents and destroyed government infrastructure.
“Troops, in conjunction with personnel of the Nigeria police and other security agencies leveraging on timely and accurate intelligence provided by patriotic citizens, are working tirelessly to restore normalcy to troubled spots and to rid the state of criminal elements, “he said.
“Consequently, we wish to reassure the good people of Abia of the safety of their lives and property.
“We 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.”
TheCable had reported that the Nigerian security agencies were set to launch a major offensive in the south-east following a sustained campaign of arson on government facilities and the killing of police officers in the region and parts of south-south.
Source: The CableNG