We won’t spare officers taking sides in Plateau skirmishes, says Army chief
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja warned troops on Saturday not to take sides in Plateau skirmishes but to maintain the peace in the state.
Mr Lagbaja gave the warning while addressing troops deployed in the Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau, where assailants killed at least 30 persons in Kwahaslalek village on Wednesday.
He expressed sadness over the wanton destruction of lives and property in the state and charged the troops to go after lawbreakers.
Lamenting the worsening insecurity in the LGA, the army chief urged personnel to go after criminals threatening the state’s peace.
“In the last week, the security situation has deteriorated, and so I am here to charge all of you to end these happenings.
I know that the situation here is complex because people have imputed religion, ethnicity, and what you are experiencing here, but as soldiers, your focus is on one thing. Every lawbreaker must be apprehended.
“Your rules of engagement are clear, and you must work within them. Do not take sides because if such is reported, anyone found wanting after investigation will not be spared,’’ he said.
Mr Lagbaja also tasked the troops to be professional and committed to bringing lasting peace to all troubled parts of Plateau.
The army boss dismissed the allegation that soldiers were behind the recent killings in the state and advised the troops not to be swayed by the allegations.
He also called on state residents to cooperate and support the military and other security agencies to address current security challenges confronting the state.
On Wednesday, the Plateau State government called on military authorities to probe allegations of bias against troops in the Mangu Local Government Area.
His calls followed allegations by the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Mangu, Timothy Daluk, that the military aided the attackers who torched several houses and destroyed properties during the violence.
Mr Daluk questioned the failure of troops to stop the killings and also demanded the withdrawal of the military from the crisis area.
Wednesday’s attack occurred a month after 195 persons were gruesomely massacred in Barkin Ladi, Mangu, and Bokkos Local Government Areas of Plateau on Christmas Eve.
About 221 houses were burnt, including other properties worth millions of naira.
Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with the December 24 killings.
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