Tuesday, November 29, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Nigerian Army quietly embalms four soldiers in mysterious Lagos incident

Six soldiers who took part in the mysterious operation are currently receiving treatments at an orthopedic hospital in the nation’s commercial hub.

• October 27, 2020
Former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai
Former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai

The Nigerian Army is currently managing a mysterious operation in which at least four soldiers were killed and six hospitalised at the heart of Lagos, military sources have told Peoples Gazette citing an official communication.

The 10 soldiers officially identified to have suffered casualties in the undisclosed operation were all attached to the Nigerian Army 81 Division Garrison in Victoria Island.

Military sources said the casualties were announced in an internal memo on October 25, five days after the massacre of unarmed protesters in a military operation in the affluent Lekki district. 

Four soldiers were announced killed and their remains deposited at a military hospital in Lagos, officials said. Six soldiers, including a lieutenant, were gravely injured and now hospitalised at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi.

The operation in which the soldiers died remained unclear. A medical official at the hospital also told the Gazette the military did not say how the soldiers sustained gruesome injuries. The official sought anonymity to comment on an internal management matter — which was granted in line with our editorial policy on anonymous sources.

Military sources said officers were still baffled by the unusual decision not to disclose the operation that inflicted a disaster of this magnitude.

“We have our suspicions about where the soldiers were killed and why the military did not want to disclose it publicly or even internally,” a senior military officer told the Gazette Tuesday night. “But whatever it is can only be covered for so long.” 

The Gazette has withheld the name of the fallen soldiers because it was yet unclear whether or not their families have been notified by relevant military authorities.

A spokesman for the Nigerian Army did not immediately return a request seeking comments about the attack on Tuesday night. 

At least nine people were killed when the Nigerian Army sent soldiers to violently quell a protest in Lagos on October 20. The military initially denied having personnel on the scene, but tactically walked back its position following overwhelming evidence.

Nigerians have repeatedly asked Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai and other military commanders to come clean on what they might know about the shooting, whose aftermath has been largely shrouded in secrecy despite the interest of the International Criminal Court in the matter.

Authorities in Lagos have already set up a panel of inquiry, with Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu telling CNN on Monday the army will be held accountable for casting such a pall on the state’s civil liberties chronicle.

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