The Nigerian Army has denied media reports alleging that eight suspected herdsmen were killed by soldiers deployed to Southern Kaduna, for internal security operation.
In a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of the 1 Division, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, the Army boss described the report as unfounded and misleading, stating that troops that were deployed to Southern Kaduna have been carrying out their operations in a professional manner and in line with the rules of engagement.
He then urged citizens, community leaders and other stakeholders to always speak and act in the interest of peace rather than engage in propagating falsehood, capable of worsening the already delicate security situation in Southern Kaduna.
“It serves no useful purpose to continue to fabricate stories about the already delicate security situation in Southern Kaduna.
“Troops of 1 Division remain resolute in their commitment to the return of peace to the entire area of responsibility.
“The command therefore implores all law abiding citizens to go on with their legitimate business as no amount of falsehood will deter the troops from ensuring security in their domains.
“The citizenry are encouraged to come forward with useful information that can assist the troops in the performance of their duties.
“While it would have been very convenient to ignore such unfounded and irresponsible story, the importance of safe-guarding lives and preventing more losses supercedes that convenience.
“For the avoidance of doubt, at about 10.30pm on Sunday March 19, 2017, troops responded to a distress call of an attack in Asso village in Asso District of Kagoma Chiefdom In Jema’a LGA.
“A phone call to the Chief of Kagoma confirmed that a man was matcheted to death in the bush by suspected herdsmen, but that the situation was under control.
“However, at about 5:00am on Monday, a call from the Zonal Chairman Of Miyetti Allah in Kafanchan, indicated that after the killing of the victim by unknown persons, the natives mobilised and attacked some herdsmen settlements with two boys missing and feared to have been killed.
“Troops responded again to stabilise the situation and on the same day, at about 11:00am, one Mr Steven James, a 55 year old farmer at Aso village in Kwoi was found dead.
“Tension in the area was getting higher while troops battled to calm the situation.
“In the process, troops came in contact with unknown gunmen about 5 Km east Of Asso – during the firefight, one gunman was killed and another captured.
“Troops remained in pursuit and conducted clearance operations around Gada Biyu, Gidan Waya, Jagindi, Getti Village and Bakin Kogi axis.
“On Wednesday March 22, 2017, further clearance operations into Asso forest led to the arrest of three suspected gunmen, and one the gunmen later died from gunshot injuries, two are still being interrogated.
“In total, from March 19-22, 2017, two miscreants were killed and two are presently in custody in Southern Kaduna.”
The statement also added that the troops have maintained day and night patrols along Gidan Waya – Jagindi – Asso Road and environs.