By SUMAILA OGBAJE
ABUJA- The Nigerian Army has debunked the allegation that troops of 82 Division invaded Amangu community in Abia over abduction of a solders who was on official leave.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu debunked the allegation in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said the army authorities deemed it necessary to clear the air on the incident considering the weighty nature of the allegation.
He said operations conducted in the area was to rescue a soldier, Sgt. Bassey Ikunugwan, who was officially on leave, but abducted on Nov. 2, along Okwu-Ebem Ohafia road in Abia.
According to him, troops on Nov. 3, acting on credible intelligence, embarked on a search and rescue operation at Amangu village and forest, a confirmed enclave of Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network.
Nwachukwu said that troops came in contact with members of the proscribed armed groups during the operation resulting in exchange of fire.
He added that another operation on Nov. 4 at Okon Aku led to the killing of one of the criminals and recovery of one AK 47 rifle with a magazine loaded with seven rounds of 7.62mm (Special) and one mobile phone.
According to him, in a follow up operation on Nov. 5, troops raided another enclave of the groups around the Amangu village and neutralised two of the criminals, while some fled with gunshot wounds.
“Troops recovered two locally fabricated AK 47 rifles, four Pump Action guns, one locally made Pistol, one Sniper rifle, six magazines, 13 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) and one motorcycle.
“Other items recovered from the dissidents are two CCTV cameras, one solar panel, flags, one walkie-talkie, two mobile phones, two pamphlets of Biafran anthem, one INEC box, 12 face caps, machetes, pairs of combat boots and pairs of rain boot.
Other items recovered are, camouflage uniforms, one transistor radio, two jungle hats, two knee guards, one power bank, one INEC image capturing machine and a PVC.
“Sadly, during these engagements, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice,” he said.
Nwachukwu said the Nigerian army would leave no stone unturned in the search of the abducted soldier.
He assured that all operations would be conducted within the ambit of the law and in line with global best practices, Rules of Engagement and Code of Conducts guiding Army operations.
According to him, it should be clear to all that criminal attack and abduction of service personnel is an act against the state which will not go without consequences.
“The recourse to employment of propaganda by these criminal elements will not deter the Army from carrying out its constitutional mandate.
“Law abiding citizens of Amangu community are also advised to go about their legitimate businesses without panic, as the military is always on ground to protect lives and properties,” be said. (NAN)