The Nigerian Army has described as laughable, the claim made by residents of Mbator in Shangev-Tiev of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State that at least 70 innocent persons were killed during an invasion by soldiers.
Daily Trust had reported how a group known as Shangev-Tiev Assembly (STA), stated that at least 15 other surrounding communities have been destroyed by the military since the aerial and ground raid against the villagers began three days ago.
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One Elder Tyoh Jude, who spoke on behalf of the people, had said, “The army has so far razed and demolished farms, schools, hospitals and residences of Bonta, Tse-Jembe, Tse-Anyom, Gbinde, Mbaakpur, Aku, Agidi, Gungul, Adoka, Guleya, Awajir, Shiliki, Achoho and Ullam in Gwer Local Government Area, and are still planning to do same to other neighbouring towns within Konshisha LGA.
“Our unarmed people are being killed intentionally in large numbers by armed personnel of the Nigerian Army. Presently, over 70 persons are reported dead and more than 100 people are missing, mostly women, children and the elderly and hundreds of thousands displaced with its attendant humanitarian consequences.”
But reacting to the allegations in a telephone interview with our correspondent, the spokesman of Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen Mohammed Yerima, described the claim as incomprehensible.
He maintained that the residents are the ones killing troops while carting away their rifles, saying they would not fold their arms.
”How can you comprehend this claim? If they kill 70 people the whole Nigeria will not know? That’s not true. We have not killed anybody. We are only searching for those who killed 11 of our troops. May be they don’t like the way we’re searching but that’s their problem. We want to fish out those perpetrators,” Yerima said.
When asked whether gunmen have not killed more troops, the Army spokesman said, ”No, they have not killed more than 11. We want to do now, is to fish out those people out and bring them to justice, arrest them and prosecute them, so that the whole world will see the consequences of such actions. We are in the place to maintain peace, we are not there to kill anybody.”