The Nigerian Army has faulted claims that its troops have been deployed to some communities in Abia State on retaliation attacks, allegedly coined as ‘vengeance mission’, saying the allegation was baseless and farther from the truth.
It explained that contrary to several reports making rounds on social and traditional media, the military had no such mission among its current operations and that the claim was aimed at bringing the nation’s army to disrepute.
The Army’s Director, Public Relations, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, said that what was termed as ‘vengeance mission’ in the state was routine clearance operations in collaboration with Nigerian Police Force.
Through a statement made available to newsmen on Monday, the Army’s spokesperson debunked claims that six soldiers were killed during the clearance operation, adding that the report was false.
He noted that the army was aware of a report trending on social media that the soldiers were killed in a clash with members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN)/ Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying the military refrained from commenting since the report was the handiwork of mischief-makers.
Yerima also clarified that reports on residents of Elu, Amangwu, and Amaekpu in Ohafia Local Government Area of the state embarking on mass exodus out of fear over alleged killings of soldiers and vengeance operations were false.
“The NA 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,” he said.
Recounting what happened, the army spokesman narrated, “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.”
Yerima assured the people of Abia of the safety of their lives and property and urged 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.