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Nigerian Army denounces claims of mass killing by troops in Southeast

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Nigerian Troops

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday denounced claims of mass killing of innocent people in the Southeast, saying such claims were despicably false.

The Army, in a statement by its spokesman, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu said it has noted with dismay a mischievous and systematic campaign of calumny by Simon Ekpa, a self acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafran terrorists.

Nwachukwu said the self-acclaimed leader through spurious and unfounded claims raised alarm on a viral video alleging that troops of the Nigerian Army were carrying mass killing of innocent Igbos at Oliver and dumping them in the River.

He said the report also contained some unimaginable and not well couched falsehood targeted at whipping-up negative sentiments against troops and inciting anarchy in the South East region.

“Contrary to the falsehood being spread from the devious propaganda machinery of the desperate and self-serving terrorists’ leader, the NA wishes to state that it has conducted a comprehensive investigation on the allegations made by devious infamous leader and his associates.

“Accordingly, we wish to categorically refute these baseless claims by throwing more light on the occurrence. In the first instance, the troops in the video footage are not personnel of the Nigerian Army as the insignia visible on their berets clearly identifies them as personnel of the Nigerian Navy, who were engaged in a routine test firing of a weapon system mounted on a vehicle and in order to ensure the safety of other road users and commuters, the troops took precautionary measures by halting vehicular movement along the road, until the test firing was safely concluded. Observers were also kept at a safe distance, maintaining transparency and prioritizing the safety of all involved.

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“Secondly, preliminary findings also indicate that the occurrence took place in the Southwest region of the country and not the Southeast as advertently portrayed by the alarmist propagandists. Furthermore, it was observed that there was no evidence to support the assertion that individuals were being shot at in the river, nor have there been any report from local communities regarding the discovery of corpses in the area.

“Consequently, the NA wishes to enjoin the public to disregard the unfounded claims and irredeemable falsehood being propagated by Simon Ekpa and his associates, whose apparent objective is to disseminate misinformation and incite unrest,” Nwachukwu stated.

He added that the army and indeed sister services and other security agencies remained steadfast in their commitment to maintaining peace and order, ensuring the safety and security of all citizens in the country.

“The Nigerian Army is vigilant and prepared to counter any attempt to destabilize the southeast region. We reaffirm our dedication to protecting the lives and livelihoods of all Nigerians and will continue to work tirelessly to uphold peace and order. We encourage the public to seek verified information and not be misled by those who aim to incite violence and disorder.

“We salute the courage and patriotism of well-meaning and law-abiding ndigbo, domiciled in the South East and across the nation, who despite the brazen atrocities and threats being perpetrated by Simon Ekpa and his terrorists group, have continued to build bridges of peace and harmony across the country and promoting our national ideal of a united Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Army remains a pillar of stability and security, committed to the well-being of the nation and her people,” he said.

 

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